Hashimoto’s Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

After being diagnosed with Hashimoto after delivering my second baby, starting with the very rapid weight gain, no matter how hard I tried, my  inability to lose weight  had started  to infuriate me. I was also working an 8-hour desk job which wasn’t helping. At the beginning of summer of 2010, I decided I needed to make a change and do something about this. I started with P90X and lost 10 kilos (22.04 pounds) by myself during summer. At the beginning of 2011, I made a pact with a workout buddy and we continued to lose weight. During the summer of 2011, I was working on a very intense project. I stopped exercising. I was constantly snacking on junk foods. One of my coworkers who was working with me on that project had a wife who was suffering from similar immune problems and doing P90X. I got in touch with her. I joined their Beachbody support group group. After that project was over, I restarted the program from the beginning and 100% clean eating. Healthy body is 80 per cent what you eat and 20 per cent exercising.

80nutrition20workout

I started with a list of foods to stay away from. (I will share this list with you later) Besides these there were foods that were recommended to stay away from for a while. The top of the line item that was recommended to stay away from was foods with gluten. How necessary were foods made with flour such as cakes, muffins, donuts, pies were? At that time I reading a book about Paleo, which diet also recommended staying away from grains.  I thought this might in fact help me with cutting down on my junk food consumption. So I stopped eating foods containing gluten in the fall of 2011.

One day, after being on a gluten free diet for so long, I could not resist the home made fresh  pastry my friend had baked. In fact, instead of keeping it minimal, I lost control and went overboard which turned the following three days into a nightmare. My belly was swollen as if I have swallowed a basketball. It is hard to describe. My belly felt like it was going to blow up. When I sat down the swelling pressured my chest. I knew it was from the pastry I ate but could not quite figure out why I would be in such a disastrous shape.

Few days later, I was able to put myself in front of the computer to share what happened with my support group. People in my group told me that people with Hashimoto’s which is a immune system problem are prone to also have gluten sensitivity and that this incident I experienced, was most probably a result of that.

Some people who have similar symptoms shared their problems. Some people took pictures of their swollen bellies. When did an extensive research on the issue, a whole new world opened before me. I read, many people with Hashimoto disease took gluten out of their diet and their life quality increased. There was only one thing to do: Continuing on with my gluten free diet.

Gluten free diet followed by exercise went really well. My weight came down to 5 lbs kilos away from my pre-pregnancy weight before my son. My body was the fittest in my life. Then we went on vacation for winter break. For a couple of days, I was very careful about what I ate. Then by tasting a little of this and just a little of that, I started consuming things with gluten again. Even though the reaction wasn’t as severe as the first incident I described earlier, my stomach started swelling up. I was trying not to panic. Symptoms were slow but they were there. First a swollen belly, constipation followed by itching.

With will power, I was resisting sometimes but then again eating foods with gluten here and there. When my dad came to visit me in March, I ate the delicious pastries he brought. I gained all the weight I lost again. I had fatigue and I was at the verge of depression. Even though I was informed on the subject, I ate gluten foods and hurting myself.

All of the sources I read was telling that there is no such thing as cutting down on foods with gluten. Symptoms would still be there even if you consume a little bit of food with gluten. Even when you stop eating foods with gluten, it takes 3 months for the body to get rid of gluten’s effects on the body. Also, when I got on a gluten free diet and went back to regular foods, back and forth, the reactions got even worse. I decided that I need to be on a gluten free diet for good.

I have been completely on a gluten free diet since April 2012.  After being on a gluten free diet, my stomach went back to normal on the second week.  I started exercising again. I wasn’t depressed anymore. My weight was balanced. Even though I was on vacation for a month, I did not gain weight. This was the first time ever coming back from Turkey without gaining weight. I haven’t exercised in the last month and my muscles are loose a bit.

It is hard to find reliable resources on Hasimoto’s and gluten.  If you Google “Hasimoto’s and gluten”, you will see how widespread it is.

Gluten sensitivity or allergy has a different characteristics than celiac disease. If you have gluten sensitivity, you can live with the onging symptoms and become indifferent after a while. People with celiac disease show worse reactions to gluten sometimes even life threatening.  The way gluten damages the system is the same though. Gluten attacks the lining of the intestines and as a result causing inflammation on the lining as well as diarrhea, constipation, abnormal swelling of the belly and other symptoms. Possible reason for this is that your immune system is confused

Gluten sensitivity or allergy is hard to diagnose medically. Even if you don’t have Hashimoto’s, you might have gluten sensitivity. I heard that some tests might have wrong diagnosis or come up as negative. I heard some doctors were testing their testing by putting their patients on a gluten free diet and that having them on a regular diet and assessing to see if they have discomfort, whether symptoms are getting better or worse. I basically did that anyway.

I will wrap up by sharing the results of my most recent blood count.The count of one of the antibodies, antiGAb causing Hashimoto’s had decreased down to almost normal levels compared t last year. They concluded that this had a lot to do with being on a gluten free diet. Besides feeling much better, the numbers were the solid proof that I was in the right direction.

Being on gluten free diet without temptations is also a test of the strength of my will power. Please don’t feel sorry for me for I am happy.

Tomorrow’s post is on how to survive!! on a gluten free diet.

Dr Oz’s article on gluten allergy (Not hashimoto’s specific)
Live Strong: Gluten Foods to avoid for Hashimoto’s
Hashimoto’s 411 Facebook Group

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