I started following gluten-free diet at the end of 2011 to help relieve my symptoms with Hashimoto’s disease. However, for about 3 months in 2013 I cheated myself. My body didn’t like what I was doing it to her much. After that experience, I am back to following a gluten-free diet, for life.
From 2011 until late Spring 2013, I was faithfully following my gluten-free diet. My gluten-free diet never included “gluten-free” pizzas, pastas or breads. I was content with veggies, fruits, meats, nuts and occasional gluten-free grains as side dishes (such as brown rice, quinoa etc). One of those days around late Spring, early Summer, we went to a museum, where kids wanted to run around and I was hungry. I can not run on empty, so I purchased a bottle of Naked Juice Green Machine. What I didn’t realize was “Green Machine” was the only Naked Juice that contained “gluten”. I felt something was wrong immediately after drinking it. My digestive system reacted rapidly. That night and following 3 days were gruesome until the basketball sized bloating in my abdomen receded.
After initial reaction subsided, I decided to try some of the gluten goodies lying around the house. It bothered me a little, but not as much. Realizing my body was getting used to gluten, slowly but surely, I introduced gluten containing foods into my diet. Again, not pasta, pizza or bread. I don’t crave for those. I’m talking about cookies, cakes and pastries, not only sweet ones but salty ones as well. As our vacation to Turkey was approaching and I thought, oh I could eat all the gluten goodness I could not eat last year. So I kept going.
The month in Turkey was all about food. I ate my way through my vacation, marking off my mental checklist of main dishes, pastries, sweet cookies, salty cookies, cakes and all the baked stuff with wheat flour one by one.
3 months and +30 lbs later, I realized eating gluten wasn’t all as pleasant as it felt for a brief moment when I ate those foods. On top of that, I quit working out because I had all kinds of excuses. Without workout and with gluten, I was falling into the vicious cycle of chronic fatigue, not wanting to do anything because I felt tired and exhaustion was taking over me because I wasn’t staying active. As my physical wellness went into a spiral downturn, my mental wellness was even getting worse. I was having major memory issues. My forgetfulness was causing serious safety issues. I started to fear myself. My mind was in a constant fog. I was having hard time focusing or motivating myself to do the things I was supposed to do. Overall, I was discontent with myself and my life. I started to think the pleasure I might have been getting from eating gluten foods, was not worth it.
At that time, I was back in Chicago. I started reading “Why my brain is not working?” by Dr. Kharrazian. It was scary but very informative. Especially the section on gluten’s impact on memory functions and possible early Alzheimer’s trigger for Hashimoto’s patients was a game changer. Then I read “It starts with food” and I decided to start following paleo diet. On October 1st, 2013, I went cold Turkey with gluten, never looking back again. I also left other grains and legumes behind as well. It took me a month to feel like a normal person.
I complemented my diet with Beachbody workouts which made me fill with energy and helped me become more focused. Since December 2013, I have been working out with Beachbody programs every single day, almost every day. I workout in the morning to give my metabolism a jump start and keep energized for the rest of the day. I practice yoga on my rest days in Beachbody workout schedule.
A friend of mine recently sent this article from The New Yorker. There is also another article on NY Times about gluten, and the rise of gluten-free diet and products. Both of these articles mention that, even though doctors and scientists cannot prove the exact reason or the cause, a lot of people, like myself, swear that gluten causes really disturbing symptoms that decrease the quality of our lives. Therefore, eliminating gluten maskes the most sense. If you read my gluten-free diet, you’ll see by taking gluten out of my diet, I am not really depriving myself of any essential nutrients. On the contrary, without gluten-containing junk food, I have more capacity for healthy veggies, meat and fruits in my life.
I’ve tried and proven myself that the trouble is just not worth it. I can live without gluten. What’s more important, is that, even though its not proven scientifically, the quality of my life and health is way better. I am happy with it. I’m sticking with my gluten-free diet for life.