November 19, 2013

What I Learned My First Week on a Gluten-Free Diet

So last Tuesday (Nov. 12th) I was told  that while I may not have Celiac's Disease I may actually have a gluten intolerance.  Just enough of an intolerance to cause fatigue, inflammation, and digestive issues, all of which I have.   Basically, I experience most of the symptoms of celiac's disease without the same antibodies and intestinal damage of celiac's disease.  I guess it's Celiac's Lite??  I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, peripheral nerve pain, brain fog, A.D.D., migraines, IBS, and depression (mostly from a lack of being able to do anything due to the aforementioned ailments.)  I was just told going off gluten might actually GET RID OF THESE ISSUES.  Say WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

So, obviously, as soon as I discovered it might actually, scientifically (not just a hunch) help my debilitating pain and fatigue, I was like, where do I sign up?!?

But it's only been a week so I am still like a newborn baby- flailing around wondering what CAN I eat?  Gluten is in wheat, barley, and rye.  There are variations of wheat, too: semolina, bulgar, graham flour, kamut, durum flour, farina, and spelt. Think about how many things are made with wheat.  A lot.  And I'm not talking about just carbs like crackers and cereals.  I've found gluten in 
pre-packaged meats, soy sauce, soups, salad dressing (there goes eating bunches of salads! No dressing? I don't know about that.)  I mean, it is EVERYWHERE.  It's no wonder people are becoming intolerant.  We are eating it constantly.   

OH and I have to check with the pharmacist about all of my medications and vitamins because they might have gluten as a binding agent. 

So obviously it is a tad overwhelming at first.  

The hardest thing for me right now is not the whole avoiding pasta and cereal and hot dogs and veggie burgers (yea, no veggie burgers!).  It's that I have to COOK.

It's not that I mind cooking.  Okay, well sometimes I do.  It's that it is such a challenge for me because I don't have the energy or I am in too much pain or both.  Maybe that will change in a few weeks without gluten but right now it is my number one hurdle to overcome.  I am pulling a chair up to the stove and laying my head down on the counter while I cook.  I'm waiting for my hair to catch on fire.  It's gotta be just a matter of time.

Image from
So far I have cut 3/4 of the gluten out of my diet.  But at least today we got new groceries, meaning more gluten-free choices.  I now have quinoa, Chex cereal (It is gluten free!), rice crackers, gluten-free chicken tenderloins, gluten-free yogurt,  fresh fruit, risotto, veggies to steam, sweet potatoes, and unsweetened applesauce.  I already had some burgers.  I don't know how to cook seafood so shrimp is off the table as far as that goes.   I am going to try out some new recipes this week and get back to you on how they taste!  

Thanks to Bryan's wife, Kimberly, for all of the help she has given me this week with this!  They do Paleo but I am going to have to get a lot stronger before I can cut out all carbs.  Kimberly is awesome!


  1. Hey, you are doing great. You are going to find your groove and it is going to get easier. I have a link I'll send you for the salad dressing issue, you may not be able to grab a bottle off the shelf anymore, but making it yourself is easy.
    One thing.. We do eat carbs, just not junk carbs. Or more than 50 a day unless I'm doing some heavy exercise. :-)

  2. Our son has been gluten free for a few months and he thinks it has made a difference. There are a few salad dressings you can eat. Also, he's found that Van's makes great gluten free crackers and breakfast bars. Keep hunting and you'll find lots of great alternatives.

  3. Good for you. And, I really hope this works for you!

    I make my own salad dressings. Oh, it looks like Shieldmaiden had that idea, too. They're pretty easy -- your favorite vinegar and your favorite oil, one or two of your favorite gluten free condiments (mustard works well), and a little honey or maple syrup if your food plan allows it, and stir it all up with a whisk. Or, make a bigger batch in a small food processor and then you won't have to do it again in awhile.

    Good luck! You're off to a great start!

    Joy's Book Blog

  4. Good luck! Our two daughters have been diagnosed with celiac disease within this past year, so this is going to be our first gluten-free Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas season. It's a steep learning curve so give yourself plenty of time to adjust to it! I like to bake, not cook so much, and g/f baking seems to be very complicated, but I've invested in the cookbooks and flours, etc. so will be diving in soon.

  5. Go you! I'm sensitive to gluten (not Celiac) too, though I've done a terrible job watching out for the minutae. I never check about medications, for instance. I just haven't eaten stuff with gluten in it for the past year and a half. Which, as you've found, is most processed foods. I'm also sensitive to corn (which is also everywhere) and dairy. The good news is that if you can stick to the new diet, you'll most likely feel better!

    Mary's Gone Crackers are delicious when you need something crunchy. That's what I missed most at first. And I totally hear you on the whole "crap, now I have to cook!" thing. I went through that, too. I have some simple gluten-free recipes I love -- mostly soups or things that get served over rice. And baked goods. I LOVE baking! I tend to look for Paleo recipes, because I generally find non-Paleo gluten-free baked good recipes complicated and not very delicious. Also...if you live in a place that has Trader Joe's, they have some gluten-free products.

    Anyway. Good luck! And if you want to swap recipes, just lemme know :)

  6. A great resource for GF recipes is pretty much any Paleo recipe you can find. Check out Just Eat Real Food on FB and also on Pinterest. Not only do they have amazingly yummy recipes everything is broken down by diet. Also I'm obsessed with Hail Merry desserts! They are GF, raw and vegan macaroons and they will literally blow your mind they are that amazing. Trust me!

    You can have pasta. Try quinoa pasta -- so yummy! Hot dogs are GF too. Try Applegate Organics. There are GF cereals. All types of Chex are GF. We are mostly Paleo and GF in our hous -- not for necessity but more for choice/feel better. There are also meal plans (like emeals and fresh 20) that offer a GF plan. You still make the food but its a weekly planner of meals, which takes the guess work out.

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  8. I don't have CD but I do have high blood sugar. I survive not eating carbs but going on Pinterest and finding new and innovative ways to make vegggies. I use to hate veggies and I'm becoming a veggie queen. Good luck sweetie.

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