Going Gluten Free

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 I've had a fairly big change in life recently that I have purposefully not posted about. The reason I put off posting has been because I wasn't sure that I would be able to maintain this change for any length of time. I still hesitate to post because this week has not been great. But here goes...

I have fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed about 3 and 1/2 years ago after a hysterectomy and I have slowly gotten worse. I also have migraines and have had since I was young. The two are a very bad combination.

Over the past three years I have tried everything. I've tried many medications. I've done several rounds of physical therapy. Most recently I've been referred to a pain clinic and have been getting trigger point injections.

I've slowly become worse and had to greatly drop my level of activity. When my kids were younger, I had many days where we would go on a field trip and then drop by the grocery store on the way home where I would then do housework, cook supper, and chase four kids. Recently it's a small victory if I can go to the grocery store, come home and put up the groceries, and then lie down. More often I use the online grocery shopping at Harris Teeter.

For many years my sister has encouraged me to try going gluten free. My sister has Celiac Disease- a major, often life-threatening- intolerance to gluten. I have been tested for Celiac and know I do not have it. But there are many links between gluten intolerance and auto-immune disorders, migraines, and pain.

I have fought this tooth and nail. I am a VERY picky eater and always have been. And, as I realized after keeping a food journal for a while, almost every one of the few foods I like contains gluten.

But the first weekend in May- after three days at the homeschool convention- I ended up in the ER with the worst pain episode I have ever had. I wanted to die. And even after medication gave me some body pain relief, I had a raging migraine for another day and a half. I decided something had to change.

So I bit the bullet and went cold turkey- no gluten.

I knew what to eat because I've watched my sister for years. I went to Earth Fare and stocked up. And I starved. The first few days were the worst for hunger, and I was ready to give up every day. From things we had read online, I knew that I needed an extended length of time without gluten to see a difference. One article Jason found said that the anti-bodies against the gluten- which are often what cause the pain issues- can be in your body for up to SIX MONTHS.

Slowly I began to find foods that I liked. I've had to try new things. But I've found a few tried and true, go to foods. I can eat Kind granola bars, and they are yummy and filling. I can eat cheese. And peanut butter. And I'm learning which gluten free breads and flours taste best.

I've been gluten free for seven weeks now. And slowly I've noticed a change. It isn't a huge "flip a switch" difference. I'm not pain free. In fact the past three days have been pretty bad. But that's coming at the end of a few busy weeks.

But the last week of May I took the kids and met friends at Discovery Place- our local science museum. We left our house at 10am. We walked around the museum until almost 4. I came home, made supper, did dishes and laundry, and then took two kids back out for swim team. I couldn't have imagined doing that a few months ago. I hurt at the end of the day. And I took some pain medications throughout the day. But to be able to do something like that was amazing.

It's still not easy. Weeks like this one still happen. I still hurt. And I really, really, really want a peanut butter sandwich on a piece of nice, fluffy white bread. But I plan to continue this journey.

I'll share every once in a while about my progress. And I'd love to share some food ideas and recipes. I'd also love to hear food ideas and recipes from any of my readers.

CONVERSATION

1 comments:

  1. Hugs to you, Leah! I would very much like to hear more of how this goes for you. It's tough, going gluten free. I did it in March or April. For me it was a "flip a switch" difference in just two weeks. I have no idea if I have simply a sensitivity or something else but suffered severe headaches for months straight as well as some other physical issues.
    Every day isn't perfect, but I hope it gets a lot better for you!

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