Going gluten-free in 2004 was part of my holistic effort to bring my body into balance and heal my thyroid from Graves’ Disease, autoimmune hyperthyroidism. My goal was to get off anti-thyroid medication and get healthy enough to get pregnant. Although I also hoped to go off anti-depressant medication, I didn’t really expect that a gluten-free, dairy-free diet and other alternative health measures would also make such a dramatic change in my mental outlook.
That year of diet changes and nutritional supplements ended with me in a healthier, happier place than I’d ever been.
But gluten-free is not enough for me. I reduced carbs dramatically after some rough gastrointestinal episodes shortly my son was born in 2006. It became clear that I could not tolerate corn and that even limiting rice and other starches helped my gut and my psyche, especially since my body was so challenged by recovering from a surgical delivery and from exclusively breastfeeding my son until he became interested in food around one year.
My nutritionist introduced me to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS), protocols that limit sugars to monosaccharides and that eliminate all grain and starchy vegetables. Yesterday, Jenny at Nourished Kitchen blog posted a great intro to GAPS: “Why everyone is talking about the GAPS diet and 5 resources to get started.”
As my son grew, I started baking to provide him gluten-free substitutes for preschool and parties, but he wasn’t the only one to eat them! The more I ate of these breads and cookies — even if they used only a little maple syrup — the worse I felt. Finally, this past February, I felt I had no choice but to commit to the GAPS diet.
There was good progress until peaches showed up at the farmers market and yellow cherry tomatoes that taste like sunshine popped up in every corner of our garden. It’s been hard to resist the fruits of the summer harvest, but my tummy today is telling me that I’ve moved too fast. For people like me whose gut has experienced such damage, patience needs to be had before one can tolerate the sugar and fiber of fresh fruits and vegetables in any substantial quantities.
Many approaches to gluten-free living simply substitute gluten-free grains for gluten grains. So I’m interested to see what the vendors and experts will say at tomorrow’s Gluten-Free Expo sponsored by the Celiac Disease Program at Children’s National Medical Center. The issue of Living Without magazine where I learned about the expo contained an article about SCD/GAPS, so I’m hopeful that people are getting on board the grain-free, low-sugar bandwagon.
The expo is 4-8 p.m. and is followed by a cocktail reception, both at the Embassy Suites downtown. Details and tickets are available at www.DCGlutenFreeExpo.com. There will be over 50 vendors talking up and/or selling their wares (some at a significant discount), and participants can learn more about the gluten-free community in and around D.C.
Submit a comment below about what diet works best for you and enter to win a free entrance to the expo ($10) and the cocktail party ($75).
I’m gluten-free and vegetarian, which can be a major hassle. But I was veggie before going GF several years ago. Since then, I’ve felt much better. The diet is tough but it works.
I was a moderately severe symptomatic, but undiagnoses, celiac for 33 years, until I developed pernicious anemia as a result of long term damage to my gut from years of gluten exposure. Obviously, I adhere to a strictly gluten-free diet now, as do all of the members of my family–two of whom are likely celiacs as well. I can’t remember ever feeling this good–and I am so grateful that my children will never know what gluten feels like in their guts, bloodstreams and brains.
Additionally, all three of my children were sensitive to dairy, eggs and peanut proteins as nurselings and I did an elimination diet for the first 2 years of each of their lives, and although none of of them continue to be reactive, we all continue to eat a dairy-free diet.
I am phasing all or most sugars out of our diets currently, having shifted to raw agave and raw coconut nectar already. I am particularly interested in learning more about both of these dietary theories–given that the foundational principles of each have worked so well for our family thus far. I’ve done some reasonably extensive reading on the epidemiological studies based on hunter-gatherer diets, and I have found that the evidence for a dietary foundation for many modern health maladies is manifest.
Thanks so much for posting this info! My daughter has been on a strict gf diet since she was 5 years old and it literally changed her life! She is now a happy healthy 9 year old who is extremely good at monitoring her own diet because if she eats any gluten she is miserable. Because of her being gf, I eat far less gluten than I used to also and although I can tollerate it in small quantities, I do feel better if I stick to small quantities.
I have just discovered my 2 year old is at least gluten intolerant, poss celiac. (his blood test is next week). I was also recently diagnosed w Lyme and am told gluten is a no-no for chronic Lyme patients. I am a little overwhelmed right now actually! Any advice, thoughts, suggestions are very much appreciated!