Miz, My doc asked me to try gluten free eating to manage rheumatoid arthritis. It’s helped swelling/my stomach but I feel obsessive trying to figure out if there’s hidden gluten in foods. I’m afraid to eat out. It’s stressing me & the stress is pushing me to rebel/overeat which doesnt help weight loss. How can I eat GF & not stress/obsess?
A gluten-free diet eliminates the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.
I dont have celiacs disease (never tested) but about 20 years ago I felt consistently like crap (technical term) & knew something needed to change. Swollen, rashy, achy, joints hurting and constantly exhausted. I took it upon myself to play around with my food, eliminated a few things, shed about 35 pounds and carried on with my life. Fourteen years or so later I learned what Id eliminated was gluten.
I do NOT THINK gluten free is for everyone. I feel so strongly about this I blogged at MizFit for close to 3 years before mentioning it’s how I approached food. If it’s for you—I believe you’ll know immediately. Not from weight loss, but from swelling reduction, full body rash ridding, and an increase in overall energy/depression mitigation.
Since releasing my e-book Ive received a number of these emails.
I do not advocate GF eating as a panacea, yet since I became GF when there were no bread/cake/processed substitutes my “diet” still consists mainly of unprocessed foods—something I believe all benefit from.
(except for my raging JERKEE addiction but youll have that)
I also feel compelled to share I did NOT struggle when I went gluten-free.
Id no idea precisely what I’d eliminated but I felt so much better & looked so much better (Ill spare you the rashy details) quite frankly I had no temptation to return to old eating habits.
Which brings me to my response to the emails *AND* the fact Id love for you to chime in below.
Three ways my approach to gluten free eating evolved into a food plan I could stick with for 20 years:
- I got excited. I was swollen, overweight, achy, lethargic, and rashy. After I eliminated bread/pasta I felt so much better I couldnt wait to see what else I could do to lessen my symptoms. My excitement eclipsed any feelings of deprivation I may have had. I wont say I didnt feel, at times, mentally exhausted by it (trying to figure out meals etc. NO ONE had thought of using lettuce leaves as sandwich wraps back then) but I was excited, energetic again & it all felt worth it.
- I became empowered…LATER. It really was close to fourteen years later when I realized what Id eliminated from my food plan. Once I figured all this out I read VORACIOUSLY on the subject. Some of the reading matter applied to me. Some did not. I empowered myself through education. (This is a great post on getting stated with GF eating).
- I listened to my body. Since no one else was talking gluten free initially my only real option was to try foods & pay attention to how my body responded. For example: *many* who are gluten sensitive can not tolerate oatmeal. I can tolerate oatmeal. For a short while I kept a food journal (what I ate & how I felt immediately afterward and hours afterward) which was tremendously helpful in creating a list of foods which worked for my body (this is a fab list of common places gluten can hide).
- I kept it simple. I still keep it simple. With a few deviations I eat foods my grandmother would have recognized. Whole grains. Veggies & fruits. Lean proteins. Lately the Tornado has noticed I eat differently from her dad & has begun asking WHY. I love I have a simple answer: this is how I feel my best. these are the foods which give me energy. (and, since she’s noticed times when Ive accidentally glutenized myself) these are the foods which keep mom’s SKIN BUMPS away.
Im confident the way I eat might be viewed by those with celiacs disease as not *truly* gluten free.
- I only buy/consume gluten free foods.
- I don’t order anything at restaurants which could potentially contain gluten/eat anything potentially gluten’y at friends homes.
- I’m fortunate I don’t have to obsess about cross contamination (manufacturing or restaurants) because while I swell & rash my gluten-reaction is neither debilitating nor life threatening.
All I know–and can share with our emailers– is what has worked for me.
Which is why, as always, I look to *you* in the comments below.
If your approach to eating is gluten free how did you stop *obsessing* and start living a GF life?
Links to blog posts are welcome!