Beginning My Journey Through Gluten & Dairy Free Living

Over the past few months I’ve researched Gluten and Dairy Free living. I’d been thinking about doing this for a while and it became a ‘yes’ after my last physical and panel of blood work. My test results came back with high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and my creatinine (kidney function) levels are at the top of the normal range, so, yes, I need to start making dietary changes.

Before my twisted colon surgery I noticed that my tummy was always upset, especially after eating and there was major boating and gas. After surgery, I was discharged on a pretty strict diet that contained little gluten and dairy and my tummy felt fine. No gas. No bloating. After about 3 months the doctor said I could go back to my normal diet, I went woohoo and I’ve been piggin’ out ever since and having tummy issues.

Why go gluten and dairy free?

When my doctor and I were going over my test results I told her about my stomach issues. She believes I may have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (more on that later), but before she will say definitively yea or nay more blood work needs to be done. My veins are retreating at the thought of it.

And, I shouldn’t have dairy because it’s a trigger for my asthma and I’m also becoming lactose intolerant; which has been a slow boil for years. Whenever I consume dairy now, I’m bloated like the Goodyear Blimp and whew the gas is bad. Like clear a room bad.

Having said that and with my recent test results why not make the change to gluten and dairy free-living official.  And my doctor thinks it’s not a bad idea as it may help reverse some of the health issues without added medication.

The last few months I have done A LOT of research on going gluten and dairy free. And what I’ve discovered is that gluten in practically EVERYTHING you eat that is prepackaged.

The Research

I thought I’d just jump right into this new lifestyle, so I bought this anti-inflammatory cookbook. Kind of hate that I bought it now. Most of the recipes seem gawd awful and they’re super time-consuming. Even though I enjoy cooking and meal prep, I’m a super lazy cook. I’m out if it takes longer than 30 minutes, has more than 5 ingredients, and labeled anything above easy.

I realized I had to reign myself in. I needed to start at the beginning. I needed to really know what gluten is and how it affects the body. Why are some allergic/sensitive to it and others are not. So, I began with a definition.

What is Gluten?

Definition:

From Live Science:

Gluten refers to the proteins in cereal grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is found in the endosperm (a type of tissue produced in seeds that are ground to make flour) and nourishes plant embryos during germination. Later on, gluten affects the elasticity of dough, acting as a glue to hold the food together, which in turn affects the chewiness of baked products.

Gluten is a mixture of hundreds of distinct proteins within the same family, although it is primarily made up of two different classes of proteins: gliadin, which gives bread the ability to rise during baking, and glutenin, which is responsible for dough’s elasticity. 

Fun Fact: Its name comes from the Latin word for “glue,” as it gives flour a sticky consistency when mixed with water.

Gluten Names

Second. Determine the hidden names of gluten on labels. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation there’s a sh*t ton of gluten-containing grains, foods, beverages, and health care items. Click here to see the full list.

Of course Wheat is at the top of the gluten list, but did you know that there are over a half-dozen varieties and derivatives of wheat? Here are a few:

  • wheatberries // durum // emmer // einkorn wheat // semolina

And here are some more gluten containing food items:

  • rye // barley // malt // brewer’s yeast // wheat starch

Here are a few common foods that contain gluten and they just so happen to rank super high on my favorite foods list.

  • Pasta // Crackers // Pancakes //  Waffles // French Toast // Cereal // Granola

According to the Mayo Clinic here are few grains you can eat (the full list):

  • Amaranth // Arrowroot // Buckwheat // Corn and cornmeal // Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean). Bean flour. Can we just yuck 🤢

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-celiac Gluten sensitivity or Gluten Intolerance is a disorder where one cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease.

Here are the symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity:

  • Bloating, gas or abdominal pain // Diarrhea or constipation // Nausea // Headache // Brain fog // Joint pain  // Numbness in the legs, arms or fingers // Fatigue

I definitely have these symptoms, but before the jury comes back with the verdict, I have to get the test results back.

The Problem with going Gluten & Dairy Free

Problem #1: I love yogurt; especially Noosa. But if I’m going dairy free yogurt is off the table. Or is it? Well, it doesn’t have to be, but I’m not a fan of the So Delicious Coconut milk yogurt. I discovered I can make my own coconut milk yogurt; which is minus the ridiculous amounts of sugar.

Problem #2: This problem doesn’t involve gluten or dairy. I need to start looking at reducing my creatinine levels; which means I have to limit some of my favorite foods (i.e. hotdogs, bacon, pepperoni and sausage because of all the preservatives and salt. I’ll also have to limit bananas, spinach, and potatoes because they’re high in potassium).

Problem #3: I seriously can eat pancakes, waffles, pasta and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I have. There is a possibility I may not have to give them up because there apparently some decent gluten-free pastas and flours on the market. We shall see.

Problem #4: I love love cheese. And guess what since it’s dairy, I’ll have to say bye-bye to my beloved Gouda, Cheddar, Swiss, Asiago . . . you get the picture!

Up Next: The Gluten and Dairy Free Plan

2 thoughts on “Beginning My Journey Through Gluten & Dairy Free Living

  1. I totally understand what you are going through. I have a thyroid autoimmune condition which usually works with another autoimmune condition. While I don’t have Celiac Disease, I am gluten sensitive. Ever since I changed my diet where I limit my gluten, along with exercise, my thyroid has gone back to normal. Don’t fret. Gluten-free food has come a long way and it’s really good. But it will take some trial and error. For example, when it comes to Gluten-free pasta, I like the Ronzoni brand over the Barilla, based on the grains they use. You will have to see what you like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the encouragement and I’m glad you’re doing better. I’m actually pretty excited about it. Doing this gives me an opportunity to cook and fix the things I enjoy without the added junk, which I always complain about; but would always eat out of convenience.

      The other day I had a breakfast burritto and it was great. I could tell the difference in the tortilla shell, but it wasn’t anything that was bad.

      A few weeks ago I got America’s Test Kitchen Gluten Free Cookbook and it has helped a lot; especially with baking. They do have gluten-free pasta suggestions. We shall see. I know it’s going to be a lot of trial and error.

      Liked by 1 person

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