Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So what about Gluten?

I have to laugh at times when people ask me what gluten is. Not because I think they are dumb, but because they think I know!!! All that I have learned and know comes directly from experiencing first hand the effects of this ridiculous little item. I don't have the scientific education to spout this grand education, however, I HAVE LIVED therefore, regarding my body and the symptoms I have survived, I think I'm pretty expert. LOL All I can share is my story (Robyn's Story, Eh, Gluten. Who needs it!?)  and the reasons I live the way I do and choose to eat the things I eat. I will also be giving you solid resources so that you can also make your own decisions.

No, I do not have Celiacs, although from what I've read in my extensive research, a gluten intolerance, like mine, if not taken care of at the first signs of a gluten issue can very well turn into Celiacs. I believe that my intolerance developed in my teenage years when I started going through puberty and my hormones began changing and raging. This is not uncommon. Gluten reeks havoc on hormones like you wouldn't believe. A lot of people I know don't understand what its like to have a gluten intolerance, and because I haven't been diagnosed with Celiacs, don't believe me. When I was 21 I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) because of my severe reactions to dairy and coffee and several other little things. It was HORRIBLE. I couldn't eat anything with dairy that didn't make me feel like I should star in Dumb and Dumber during the EX LAX scene...only add to that horrific sight me holding a bucket, vomiting at the same time. I was constantly bloated, couldn't lose weight, had a HUGE hormone problem going on with Peri-menopausal and bleeding (I was only 28), and finally went to my homeopathic doctor (yes, she is a REAL doctor with the doctorate, but has chosen to put her expertise in a different area of health), who did many tests on me. Diagnosis: "Nope, you have a SEVERE gluten intolerance. STOP EATING IT IMMEDIATELY." This is NOT IBS. I may have symptoms of IBS, but that is NOT what I had.

I think so often doctors are so UNknowledgable that throwing more pills at you to try and treat a symptom is the only thing they really know how to do, instead of researching the ins and outs of why a body will respond the way that it is. Pills were more of the band aid on the cough, if you will, for me. I absolutely believe that many and most ailments can be cured with diet. And no, I don't mean going ON a diet. I mean the food that you are putting INTO your body. I understand that in the beginning, God made everything and it was good. However, since we no longer live in Eden, I believe that most of the foods out there are either GMO (genetically Modified) or artificial CRAP. Most of what we find in boxed meals are NOT healthy at all! In fact, as I have been on pinterest and following other people who are dedicated to putting information out there that is revealing the uglies in our foods, I had to stand up and further the education here. And this isn't hard stuff!!! This is right there, ON THE LABELS...we are just way too busy or lazy to check it out...problem is, is that I've been one who's thinking was hey, I'm in a rush, I'll just grab a cake mix and get to the party only 15 minutes late instead of forgetting or being an hour late. I'm STILL in that mindset! But now that I have one child that is VIOLENTLY allergic to red dye #40 and showing signs of more allergies to different dyes, one child that is sugar and dairy sensitive, and me, who's gluten intolerant, life isn't as easy as running to get a cake mix. The part I'm embarrassed by, is that I'm an educated adult and I am also a Christian...I should know what I'm putting in my body and the effects it has on me. Because God says that our bodies are His Temple and we are to take care of ourselves. That doesn't just mean exercising and eating organically...while I do think those things are important, what we eat EFFECTS how we function. Our moods, our hormones, our brains, our organs...all of it creates a body that we are to respect and take care of. If something, like gluten, is effecting my emotions and making me a LUNATIC because its creating a mess with my hormones, then by all means, I should know the root cause of the problems! Not trying to take care of the symptoms by taking more pills. I was told once by a doctor that I was depressed. I was NOT depressed. I was told to take birth control to regulate my hormones even though I had had a hysterectomy...uhm NO.

 By taking out gluten, my panic attacks STOPPED. COMPLETELY. By taking out gluten, my hormones REALIGNED. By taking out gluten, I LOST 4 PANT SIZES. 

Is this a huge sacrifice? YES!!!! Holy crap, do you know the torture I face as I walk past a fresh bread stand? I realized something else recently: its a matter of perspective. How was I thinking about this? Was I having a pity party? Sometimes. What if I changed my thought process to 'I don't want to eat gluten, it makes me feel like crap.' This is how I changed my thought process. Even now when I see someone drinking a pop I think, 'oh that looks good' and I get one...I take one drink and the blast of sugary bubbles actually grosses me out. I feel lethargic and bloated after I drink it. I get moody and grouchy because now I'm tired...all of these negative thoughts because I chose to put something in my body that is NOT nutritious or beneficial.

 It was stumbling upon this particular cake mix pin that sent me reeling in disgust!!!! I went to my cabinet and began pulling things out that I was feeding my kids to see if they had the same ingredients on there! FREAKED ME STRAIGHT OUT.

Thats when I got on this woman's blog, My Whole Food Life, to see what else I had been conveniently NOT reading on the labels. I have been apart of the masses buying crap to let my kids ingest!!! No wonder there are so many allergies!!! No wonder our bodies aren't functioning properly!? More pills cannot solve stupid eating just because the packaging is pretty!!! If you read further on her blog, Melissa goes on to post more about other 'healthy snacks' that seriously made me throw up. I had NO idea. My guess is that most of us moms out there really do desire to feed our kids good, nutritious foods. What I'm suddenly realizing is that nutritious isn't exactly package-ready foods. I laughed the other day because I read something that said, "Fruit is always fast food." So true, and yet we race past the fresh fruit for the fruit cups with gel that is made from (get ready for this little gem) BUG SKELETONS!!!!!!! (Dole Fruit Cups~ My Whole Food Life)  EW!?!?!?!?!?!? I wonder what will NEVER be in my house.

My husband and I decided 23 days ago that we were going to go sugar free. That means ALL kinds of sugar. At first I flippantly thought, no big deal...I can give up sugar for 40 days. I am a chocoholic. I LOVE chocolate. I've been trying to eat less, but I had no intention of giving it up completely. However, after 23 days of not eating it, fruit is suddenly WAY SWEETER. I eat 3-4 grapefruits A DAY. I am addicted to them at the moment. We got strawberries and usually I would dip them in powdered sugar...I know but it was yummy okay? I cut up some of the Smoked Gouda cheese I bought at King Soopers and ate the strawberries along side the cheese. It was the most satisfying snack I've had in a long time. And it was HEALTHY! Its something I can actually indulge in without guilt! This is one way that I am taking care of my body and rediscovering that I don't have to KILL myself with rigorous and constant exercise. I will even admit something: I hate having to work out. I must for the arthritis in my knees, but by eliminating sugar even my arthritis is better!!! Who knew!? Its just that I have to mentally prepare myself to eat correctly because I enjoy the sweets and notsogood things. I think that having treats is fine as long as its not a regular thing. Birthdays should be celebrated with fun treats...but even the fun treats can be modified into foods that are good for you!!! Like gluten free fruit Pizza (GF Fruit Pizza recipe), which is SO DELICIOUS. The other thing I discovered is Stevia. Its not too long as I only use a little because it falls into the 'little dab will do yah' category.

I will get off my soap box for a moment. I just needed to vent and get that information off my chest and out into the blogging world because there has to be other moms out there, like me, who really didn't think about it...until NOW. I hope you are able to check out Melissa's blog, its FULL of awesome information. Good luck!!

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