Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EGAD! Gluten Free?! Me?!

I know I am just not blogging enough. I was fb'ing with my friend Helen and she mentioned how she does alot of writing in her head, well so do I. I have always got something to say or that I want to talk about but never seem to have the time to really sit and write. Well, since Ben got out of school last Thursday at noon and Autumn used saved money to buy herself a pre-owned DS Lite, I might actually get some time to write in lieu of my micro-blogging on facebook. 

So, what's new with me, I have gone gluten free. I have been at 90% compliance over the last 2 weeks, most days I am eating 100% no gluten and then on 2 occasions I had some. Why the Hell would you do something crazy like that Rachel? (That IS what you are thinking right?) Well, it's because I stumbled upon some internet articles regarding joint pain and gluten sensitivity (I am not talking allergy here). I was in a car accident 9 years ago and after 2 excruciatingly painful years of neck, shoulder and arm pain (only my right side) along with LOTS of chiropractic and Ibruprofen (which wrecked my stomach lining for about 2 years) things seemed to get tolerable and I was kinda okay. Every once in a while I would get flare ups of the accident pain. I was told by regular docs that I had myofacial pain (look it up if you care to) and that I was just going to have to deal with it off and on. Whoopie! 

Fast forward to now. In the last year I have lost over 30 pounds. I got in shape primarily through walking. I didn't have the time or money for a gym. Then my right side starts to go again and I am in agony and waking up with headaches straight from the pit of HELL. Also, my knees and hips started fricking killing me. But wait, I weight less now....shouldn't they feel better? I went to a orthopedic guy and he confirmed there were no structural problems and that there was no arthritis or any kind of degenerative thing going on. He said it was probably some inflammation and to take some.....wait for it.....Ibruprofen!!! After being scoped every which way from sundown in 2004 and being on Nexxium for 2 years, I am not super interested in developing NSAID Gastritis again.

So, I am thinking what the heck to do. I start researching joint pain and inflammation and keep coming across gluten sensitivity. Okay, if you know me at all you know I love to bake. The last fricking thing I even want to consider is that gluten is making the pain from my accident worse than it needs to be, or contributing to my knee and hip pain.  At first I dismissed it. However, at the same time I had gained back 5 pounds of the 33 I had lost. I was having the hardest time with maintaining my new weight. It is really different when you're losing because you kind of get into this zone. But when you hit goal you have to adjust things. Some of the stuff I wouldn't go near were allowed back on my plate. That stuff was all gluten based: french bread, pasta,pancakes, waffles, cookies, crackers, pretzels, cake. When I was losing weight I was not remotely low carb, but I ate mostly veggies and lots of fruit. I had grains but ate really high fiber low cal bread, whole grain pasta etc... because I was watching my total caloric load. So, I am at maintainence and having a helluva time with carb cravings. At first I thought it was sugar so I reduced that. It didn't help. Then I went to whole wheat only, tried staying off the white stuff. That didn't help either. Then I found I was just sabotajing the crap out of myself gravitating to more bread, bigger bowls of pasta, more cookies etc. All my healthy habits of eating lots of lean protein, fruit veggies and whole grains were slipping away and ALL I wanted to eat was wheat based food all day. I kep a food diary for a bit and nothing but bread, scones, pasta, cookies, etc was crossing my lips almost exclusively. Talk about GRAINDAMAGE! 

I got to thinking and figured maybe my mostly wheat based diet and constant cravings for more wheat based things AND all this joint pain (which landed me back in the chiropractors office 3 times a week again) would go away or at least be significantly reduced. It was worth a shot. Well, I haven't been to the chiropractor in 3 weeks. Yes, I have pain, but it is stunningly less than what I was dealing with a month ago. But what is more profound than the reduction of pain is that I don't crave glutenous carbs like I did. I am not carb or grain free either. I have a little stash of gluten free chocolate chip cookies and I can eat 2 and feel fine. One regular choc chip cookie and I will eat them until I am full or they are gone. I have made GF bread (it tastes like corn bread but holds together better) and I just made gf banana bread and it is AWESOME! Another side effect is that Spring is when my hand eczema flares and it my hands were getting itchy and breaking out.  They are presently clear. 

Anyway, I am going to give a a couple of months. If things continue to markedly improve, I may just stay gf and discover a renewed passion for baking in a new way. However, since blood tests for Celiac Disease came back negative a few years ago (when I was having all the tummy trouble) I know that I will still be having a eeny weeny amount of gluten every week and that would be what ever is left in the host after being consecrated into the Eucharist. God's gluten I will never give up! ;-)