Jen's Kitchen Blog

Learning to cook the food I like to eat…

Why I eat Gluten-Free

Posted by jenskitchen on June 2, 2009

I don’t talk about it in many of the recipes I’ve posted so far – and I probably won’t in the recipes I still have left to share, but I eat gluten-free. All of the recipes I post will be gluten-free as well. That’s how I eat.

Why do I eat gluten-free? I am not currently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance or even wheat allergy. So, why would I do this to myself, you might ask?

Many years ago I started the Atkins diet. I’ll leave that story to another post. The reason that this is important is that after starting Atkins, I had a revelation: I felt better than I had in my entire life! I’ve been dealing with depression, anxiety, digestive issues, reproductive system issues, weight issues and more my entire life. So, until I started feeling better, I really didn’t know how sick I had been feeling before. I had nothing to reference. That was just how I felt all the time. I was sick – and just thought it was “normal”. I actually remember thinking after a few weeks on Atkins, “So, this is how other people feel normally? You mean, they don’t have horrible stomach pains all the time? You mean, they don’t feel like they’re walking around through a cloudy haze – unable to think clearly all the time?”

Even with this revelation, it took me some time to realize the cause of this. Even with one cousin diagnosed with Celiac disease (and one who was to be diagnosed later), it took some time for me to put it all together. Eating low-carb had significantly reduced (but not eliminated) gluten in my diet.

I stopped eating Atkins in July, 2006. I had just found out that I was expecting a new sous-chef! It didn’t occur to me at the time that I could keep eating the way I was eating (with modifications, of course) while pregnant. And, my ob kept stressing the importance of eating plenty of whole grains. Well, the only whole grains I even knew about at that time were wheat So, I reintroduced wheat to my diet (much of what I introduced I wouldn’t consider whole grains, now).

It was a stressful pregnancy. I felt ill a lot. I felt tired a lot. Where was the energy I had felt during my first pregnancy? Where was the energy I had felt while eating Atkins? Why was I suddenly gaining weight at an alarming rate? My doctor didn’t have any answers for me – just kept telling me to eat my whole grains and sent me to get tested for gestational diabetes (negative, thank goodness!)

After the birth of the little sous-chef, and after he finished nursing (it was his choice – suddenly one day just before his first birthday), I decided to return to Atkins. I remembered the energy. I remembered the feeling of being in control of my weight (I was gaining even while nursing at an alarming almost 1 pound per week!)

Within a few weeks, my energy returned – my health returned – my life returned! Then, I started having strange symptoms again. Some digestive – but something new, too. There was an odd rash – mostly on my wrists and ankles, sometimes other places. I figured I had a food allergy. I dilligently recorded everything I ate and tracked the symptoms – looking for what food was causing it. It was tricky – and it took some time (and finally remembering that my cousin was diagnosed with Celiac and another cousin had just been diagnosed).

Oh! Every single food that I had eaten before the rash had occured had gluten in it. It was the only common theme. I didn’t even think twice – gluten had to go. And it did. And, I’ve never felt better.

I spoke to a GI doc about getting diagnosed. I currently have no symptoms (I haven’t knowingly ingested gluten in over a year now). The doctor thinks I should start eating gluten. I think I need a new doctor. For now, I’ll just keep myself (and this blog) gluten-free. Even when I don’t talk about it a lot : )

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7 Responses to “Why I eat Gluten-Free”

  1. Alida said

    This was a great read.

    A

  2. Fellow gluten free blogger,

    I’m staring a carnival blog as a one-stop shopping place for gluten free information. A blog carnival is like a magazine of articles that gets published on a schedule. Every 3 months (I hope it catches on so that we can do this more often – at least monthly), bloggers submit an article related to the GF lifestyle from their blog. The submission will be combined with all others onto 1 carnival page, which will include links to each participant’s article on their own blog (so you retain the rights to the post, and your trademarks stay intact). We can all take turns being the host blogger (if you are interested in hosting, let me know!). We hope that we can all learn from each other and introduce our readers to other gluten free sites out there.
    If you’d like to see a sample carnival, check out http://allergickid.blogspot.com/2009/06/living-with-food-allergies-blog.html.

    Joining the community of contributors is a great way to get more readers to your blog. It’s easy to do. Just follow the below link and fill in the quick form linking one of your best blog posts to the carnival page. Topic areas will include recipes, tips, research, advice/support, etc. Your post will be posted along with contributions from other GF bloggers.
    http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_7356.html

    The deadline for the next carnival is July 25, 2009. Be sure to let your readers know about the first carnival. It’ll be posted on August 1st at http://thefoodallergycoach.blogspot.com/.

    Looking forward to reading your post,
    Kim

  3. Jeffrey said

    Jen,

    Thanks for the great information on living GF. I too suffer from wheat allergies, not as serve, but a pain nonetheless. It’s September now, how do you feel? Have reintroduced wheat back into your diet?

    I recently join the Atkins community after being away for many years. My first experience with Atkins came in 1998. I lost 37 pounds and improved my health. Over the years, I’ve come back for OWL or Pre-Maint tune up. Recently just completed a nutrition class at a local univ (Oregon) to better select my foods and nutrition sources. There’s a lot to learn and incorporate into our poor American diet and food system.

    Are you a chef or restaurant owner? Great recipes!

    Jeffrey

    • jenskitchen said

      You’re welcome! And thank you…
      Hope to see you around the Atkins community : )

      Jen

      • jenskitchen said

        Oh… and I did briefly re-introduce wheat into my diet. I haven’t had the time (or energy) to blog about the experience yet. (Please note the lack of entries during the month of July – sadly I was in a gluten funk.) I’ll write about it soon.

        Jen

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