With my recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism, I’ve been feeling a bit reflective lately about all things health related.
If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I went gluten free in 2012 after reading Wheat Belly. At the time, it was just an experiment to see if it helped any of the symptoms I’d been dealing with for years. I thought maybe it would help me serve my readers better. I never imagined it would become a necessary part of my life.
Deep down, I never really believed that I needed to be gluten free. I thought I was just being a hypochondriac. As such, I’ve always had a caviler attitude about it, and attitude I’m now paying for.
Numerous studies have shown that eating gluten containing foods makes Hashimoto’s worse. According to the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms, some 81% of Americans have some sort of genetic predisposition to gluten intolerance, which weakens the intestinal track. (An estimated 1 in 100 have Celiac – mostly undiagnosed – and 35% of Americans actually have a gluten intolerance.) When gluten slips into the bloodstream via a “leaky gut” the immune system responds by destroying it for removal. Because the gluten molecules so closely resemble that of the thyroid gland, the theory is that the thyroid is attacked as well.
Huh? You mean even if I don’t have celiac (which I’ve never been tested for) there are other medical conditions that can make staying away from gluten strictly important to my health? Apparently, yes. According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?, for those who have gluten intolerance eating gluten can trigger an autoimmune response and play a role in other disease, such as Hashimoto’s.
All this has me wishing that I could go back to 2012 and give myself a serious talking to.
Here is what I would say to myself as I begin my gluten free journey.
First, be kind. You are looking for solutions because you know something isn’t right. Don’t expect miracles overnight and don’t feel guilty for thinking that you might have a true intolerance. Taking yourself seriously doesn’t make you a hypochondriac any more than having a gluten intolerance makes you weak. In fact, you are going to have to be a lot stronger because of it.
Next, get tough. That strength I was just talking about? You are going to need it. Because everyone around you is going to try to tell you that it’s ok if you have “just one bite”. No one can see your gluten intolerance, so these will all be well meaning people who think they are trying to support you in having fun. You want to be like everyone else, but you aren’t. You are going to have to defend your needs at all costs.
Little slips do count, and big ones will cost you even more. Maybe some people who are gluten intolerant can allow for minor slip ups, but you can’t. The idea that you can “take a break” for a cross country trip or a special meal out is good in theory, but not in practice. It will make you sick, depressed and unable to care for your children. Just don’t do it because you are worth more and they deserve more.
That’s really what it boils down to.
Deciding that you are worth what it takes to stay healthy, even when it is hard and inconvenient.
Deciding that if your family can’t go to a restaurant because you can’t eat safely there that that is ok. You are worth it, you are worth it, you are worth it.
When you are sick everyone suffers.
Speaking of suffering, admit that you are. And know that while gluten may be part of the problem it may not be ALL of the problem. Dig deeper. Learn more. Read the research about how gluten is linked to other diseases and try to connect the dots between your symptoms. See if this is relevant in your world. Don’t wait two years until you’ve crashed and finally you find the right naturopathic doctor. You think you don’t have time for research, but being sick is going to take up a lot more time.
Speaking of time, it is OK to ask for help. Eating gluten free can take a lot more time. The kids can help not only in making food, but also around the house. Also, it’s time to get off your high horse on “no packaged foods”. Don’t wait a year before you realize that you can buy bread and everything will be ok. (Note: I’ve relied on Udi’s Gluten Free products for myself and the kids for the last year and am a proud brand ambassador for them. I love the fact that they are non-GMO and even though the boys don’t need to be gluten free they eat them happily.)
Not being able to do it all is OK. Not doing it all and not asking for help isn’t.
So there you have it. What I wish I could go back and tell myself two years ago.
What do you wish you had known when you first went gluten free? If you have questions about being gluten free leave me a comment below and check out the amazing Udi’s Community.
Now, if you read all that you must be hungry. Let’s have pasta! Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta to be exact!
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.
- 1 lb fresh broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 ounces quinoa angel hair (or spaghetti)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 6 ounces fresh Parmesan, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- Preheat oven to 420. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl toss together broccoli, olive oil, garlic and salt. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add pasta and pasta water and cook until the pasta is well coated and the water is partially absorbed, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with broccoli and parmesan. Top with basil and pine nuts and serve.
- Servings 6, Calories 374, Fat 20.3g, Carbohydrates 38g, Protein 14.8g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 447mg, Fiber 4.9g, Sugars 2.2g, WW Pts 10