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.



  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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