Going Gluten-free…

I haven’t talked all that much about some of my health challenges (it comes up from time to time though).  TBH, as far they go, I really don’t have all that much to complain about, but its enough to affect my lifestyle.  To start with, I have Hashimoto’s thyriodosis and vitiligo, which are both autoimmune issues (vitiligo can have a number of causes, but in conjunction with Hashimoto’s, its usually caused by the over-active immune system).  It just so happens that other autoimmune problems show up on both sides of my family tree as well…

The thyroid condition isn’t terribly hard to manage (more difficult when pregnant though)–essentially, I am hypothyroid (meaning my thyroid is under-active) and take medication that replaces the hormones my thyroid would normally make.  But if the meds are just a tiny bit off, over time, it all goes awry.  I have blood tests done every 6 months to make sure everything is at the right levels, but it only takes a few weeks for the effects an off dosage to accumulate.  Because my hypothyroidism is fairly severe, I’m more often under-medicated than over when there is an issue.  And under-medicated makes it hard to lose weight and keep weight off, it makes one prone to being tired, prone to being cold, prone to hair loss, it messes up the girl parts cycle, and over time it can cause huge mood swings and even heart damage.  Because of this, I have to exercise and watch what I eat, or I gain weight, and gaining weight throws off my meds, which makes me gain more weight,   in this out of control feedback loop.

To compete with the autoimmune issues, I have awful allergies (another over-active immune system issue), and after a particularly nasty cold virus I caught last January, I have asthma.  This last problem, in conjunction with the allergies and the thyroid problem, had conspired put me in  a bit of a downward spiral of feeling like crap.  The breathing troubles (of course) made it more difficult to be active… Oh, and I was having chronic tummy troubles.  Luckily I have a good doctor (and a good readership), and when we were discussing testing for some other autoimmune issues (celiac disease and rhumatoid arthritis are already a family thing) and possible environmental allergies I mentioned gluten (which a commenter had suggested), and was given the two thumbs up on going gluten free, regardless of the celiac test until my next follow-up.

So, for about a month I went (mostly) gluten free, and when I wasn’t, I felt it, and I paid for it.  My doctor is pretty much on-board with adding “gluten intolerance” to my list of issues.  Which means its official.  No more pasta, no more bread, no more pancakes, no more SOY SAUCE.  Unless, of course, its certified gluten free.  And let me tell you how freaking expensive that is!

On the plus side, I have way more energy and I just feel better.  The asthma stuff sucks, and I can still never own a cat, and I’ll still be taking thyroid meds forever…but I no longer feel like I’m free falling to the bottom of the health barrel.  And that means that I can start taking better control over myself and my activities, instead of letting my health crapulance suck all of my energy out, just trying to keep up with my kids and my job.

But this still leaves me with a problem to work on…

Radically changing my diet.

I have never been successful at radical change of anything.  I’m more of a slow, methodical, step-at-a-time sort of change person.  At least, if I want it to stick.

I need food items that we already eat, as a family, just in gluten-free versions.  Preferably recipes that everyone (including two picky kids) will eat, or that can easily be made without tons of expensive substitutes or special grocery store trips (because I can’t afford to shop at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods on a regular basis).  I can scratch pancakes off the list, but I still need a brownie recipe that doesn’t take a ton on adjustment to, and something to eat when everyone else is having spaghetti, and…

Lets just say, I’m open to suggestions.

In the mean time though, check out my GF Oatmeal Pancakes!  (they were inspired from this recipe)

2/3 cup GF instant oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, some cinnamon and brown sugar

2/3 cup GF instant oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, some cinnamon and brown sugar

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spoon onto a lightly oiled griddle and use the spoon to form the pancake shape (its pretty thick otherwise)

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served with a wee bit of syrup and pomegranate
this version tastes like a cross between oatmeal cookies and french toast

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this recipe can be made and served sweet, or savory…and even my kids like it

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