Thursday, August 4, 2011

Experiment Part 2

Now let us enter into the wonderful world of Gluten Free. Two words of diet and nutrition that I think most of America fears, and doesn't understand. You see there is a slight difference between Celiac Disease, Gluten Allergies, and a Gluten Intolerance. All of which creates reactions to, you guessed it! Gluten. One of the main points of origin for gluten? Wheat.

Again as a teenager, I would notice after eating bread that my stomach would swell. Not just the typical female whine of bloating. But like “it's alive!!!”- alien chest burster -type swelling. Fine, not that bad, but still worse than just a little water weight-it was centralized, and noticeable. (TMI yet?)
No bread for a while, things went back to normal,and I haven't had issues since. Uh huh. At least that's what I have thought. (I will take a moment and encourage people to investigate complications that can all be traced back to eating gluten, its scary)

I know a number of people who can't have wheat. One of my closest friends has educated me over the past year or so, and reminded me of what foods she can't have. Which at first you think, no bread? Ok, so don't eat bread and you will be fine. Hehehe..oh how simple we can be sometimes.

I decided to have a little experiment, to try wheat (gluten) free for a few weeks to a month and see how my body reacts. And if I feel better, I will make it permanent. One of the issues I have had recently is what is called brain fog. Basically after eating, especially anything with gluten, it feels like you are not quite drunk. That first rush when you can feel alcohol hit your system. First there is the warm feeling that extends outward from your belly to your limbs. Then your head gets a little lighter, you are relaxed. But with brain fog it is a bit different. You have a hot flash, and you are light headed, and a bit dizzy. Almost trapped inside your own body, detached from your senses. Brain fog.

With further reading, a number of people have expressed this brain fog, and that after eliminating gluten from their diet it went away. As did their headaches. I was diagnosed with migraines when I was 13. The first few years were horrible. Then I discovered what foods trigger them, so I could manage, and fake my way through them. Then I moved from Florida to California after high school. And it seems like since then my health has been one roller coaster of medical hell after another.

My headaches and migraines have varied. A few years ago I had a migraine for 3 weeks straight. Over the past two years I have developed silent migraines, which is all the other symptoms of a regular butt kicking one, minus the actual pain in your head. And then two weeks ago I had the worst migraine I have ever had. I couldn't move my body with out feeling sick and took a 4 hour “nap” as a result.

Those are just some thoughts on part of my gluten free motivation. I am on day four of no gluten, and can already say that I feel different. I don't have the fog anymore, and though my headaches are not completely gone, it is easier to tell why I have them. Say because I just haven't eaten at all, or my neck is tight, too much computer, sitting for too on. It's not food related.

But now let me return to the actual food related headache of eating gluten free, the shopping. It dawned on me when at the movies with a friend. I thought I would get a little scoop of ice cream ( which turned out to be two BIG scoops, but oh well, hehehe) and I wanted to get cookies n' cream. Cookies. Made with flour...made from wheat...GLUTEN!

I swear my brain had a temper tantrum for five seconds when it realized all the extra thinking it was going to have to do beyond the subject of bread.

       Brain:  You mean I now have to worry about ICE CREAM! Seriously??!! I can't process every side dish, meal, snack, and beverage with FOUR food allergies! Woman are you insane??!!!!

Me: Oh shut up. Look, they have  pecan praline

Brain: Oooh! Pecan praline? YUM!

Me: sigh... (to the clerk) Two scoops please.

But I realized this really is going to be a life changer. But I choose to see it as a positive. I found a rather popular blog called the “Gluten Free Girl, And The Chef”. A husband and wife. It is cute, educational, and practical. With recipes mixed in with her thoughts and a peek into her life, plus a community of other gluten freebies. So far I love it. .

She made a good point, that substituting gluten free packaged foods for the real stuff is just as bad for you as the allergic reaction to the gluten. Kinda like having lite beer instead of regular. Beer is beer. Junk is Junk.
I found her blog because I was looking for whole foods that are gluten free. Guess what folks, turns out there are grains out there other than wheat. No I'm not just talking about the nutrient sucking corn ( I will spare you that rant for now).

So now I get to play with new foods, er I mean experiment with new recipes. I will have to be creative in my outings, but that just lends to more chances to grow in responsibility, and learn new things. Its kinda frustrating, but honestly its exciting.

Because now I have an excuse to get my family to buy healthier foods, and not complain about it..MWAHAHAHA!

Ahem. Sorry. I think now is a good time for a break. More thoughts,recipes, and failed experiments to come. 

Preview of next post: Something crafty, I promise.

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