Going Gluten and GMO-Grain Free

The First Few Days
February 1, 2010, 11:16 pm
Filed under: The First 30 Days | Tags: , , , , ,

Sunday was a really good day. I ate well on Saturday, but I am really proud of myself for the progress I made yesterday. We also got some cleaning done and I even managed to snag an hour-long nap :-).

I went to Trader Joe’s in the morning and picked up a few extra things that I didn’t get at Whole Foods the day before. Some of the hardest things about this whole change are finding stores nearby that carry organic foods and the cost of buying organic. On an average, we spend about $75 a week on groceries for my husband and I. This weekend we ended up spending $140 at Whole Foods and another $40 at Trader Joe’s. My new goal is to find a more cost-effective way of shopping. I’m thinking that only buying meat and specialty items at Whole Foods is the way to go.

 I also experimented with mayonnaise substitutes at lunchtime yesterday. I made an egg salad for myself and a tuna salad for my husband (who despises hard-boiled eggs). In both, I added chopped onion and dill pickles, but the main ingredient….. Non-fat Greek yogurt.  We scooped the salads onto hearts of romaine leaves and enjoyed. Even my picky-eater of a husband thought is was delicious.

Our only issue… we were both pretty hungry throughout the day. I snacked quite a bit but made really good choices when I did. I had tomatoes and carrots dipped in humus and dried mangoes. My husband and I also shared an orange and had some chocolate chip cookies (gluten, egg, and grain free) that my sister baked. I think that as long as the foods we are eating are healthy we shouldn’t limit ourselves on how many times we eat. I also didn’t overeat once yesterday which was such a relief to my digestive system.

My sister and I have relied on elanaspantry.com and Elana’s The Almond Flour Cookbook for a lot of our recipes. She has some really tasty dishes and deserts. We plan on having a “baking” day this coming weekend so we can try to make a few more of her recipes. Be sure to check out her page that provides detailed information about the ingredients she uses in her recipes.

I must also say that I am really proud of my husband. He was pretty set in his ways before we started this, and I even gave him the option to opt-out, but he has been excellent over the last few days. He has researched restaurants and bakeries and given me tons of feedback on what we are eating. This morning we were discussing what his lunch options were because he ate all the tuna that was supposed to be left over for his lunch today :-). It is quite difficult to find good places to eat in the area where he works so I reassured him that it was okay if he strayed from the “diet.” When I texted him around 1:30pm to see how his lunch went, he responded with “I found a Trader Joe’s….. I also got some gluten-free ginger cookies.” Gosh, I love that man! I was a little weary of how supportive he would be (he loves his donuts, pastries, and pasta) but he has been amazing as usual. Now if we could only settle the grass-fed beef argument….


You deserve answers….
January 31, 2010, 7:12 am
Filed under: Before the Diet Changes | Tags: , ,

I want to explain in more depth what this new dietary plan will consist of. It is quite simple, really. Eat organically grown, non-GMO (genetically modified) foods that do not contain wheat, barley, rye, etc.

Two common sense rules I will also implement:

If it has unpronounceable ingredients, don’t eat it.
If its shelf life is longer than one week, don’t eat it.

Here are the basic lists….

Examples of foods I can eat (all organic/free range of course):
Beef (grass-fed), poultry, fish, and eggs
Almond milk
Coconut milk
Goat cheese
Non-GMO rice products (pasta, brown rice)
Fresh produce
Dried fruits

Examples of foods eliminated from diet:
Anything processed/pre-packaged
Soy in all forms
Breads and pastries not specified as gluten free and non-GMO
High fructose corn syrup
Barley, Rye,
Pasta (except those made of rice, kelp, etc.)

Foods that I am also eliminating in order to calm sensitivities and/or allergies:

This is not a complete list but gives a better idea of what is acceptable and what is not. I will continue to add to the list and get more brand specific as the blogging continues.

I was going to wait until next week to start this new lifestyle but I’ve gotten so wrapped up in the preparations that I am pretty sure I have already started without completely noticing. I went grocery shopping for the first time since the “big change” and I think I did pretty well (my lovely sister reassured me of that ☺). I found some really good products that I am excited to try!

Why the change?

Today is not just my first day in the blogging world, it is the beginning of something that brings me hope, excitement, and most of all fear. The fear of failing to change my unhealthy lifestyle into one that will hopefully make me feel lively and youthful again. I suppose I should explain in a bit more depth.

Let’s start with a little bit of self history. From a fairly young age I have had health issues. Aching pains in my knees, wrists, and elbows, urinary tract infections, irregular bowel movements, and acute pain in my stomach and pelvic area. All of this before I was even out of elementary school. My daily life at such a young age consisted of a morning cocktail of mineral oil and stool softeners to help with my stomach and bowel issues and a restriction of certain physical activities due to tendonitis. I figured the issues would soon pass and went about my childhood thinking that what I was experiencing was normal. The physical issues continued through my teenage years and into adulthood.

More recently, I have had several episodes of excruciating stomach pain that left me bed ridden at best. My lifes routine has become filled with consecutive days of severe nausea, painful constipation, agonizing gas pains, and/or disruptive diarrhea without a “free” day in between. The only consistent symptoms have been depression and my lack of energy.

After seeing many doctors, having countless procedures and tests done, and always being told that Irritable Bowel Syndrome is to blame, I finally found a doctor that cared enough to fight for my well-being. At first I thought this doctor (who had filled in for my primary physician on her day off) was a complete nut case. I saw her during one of my “episodes” and she wanted me to do blood tests, urine tests, give four different stool samples, and be tested for all allergies possible. I suppose my persistence about having Celiac disease (which I had researched for days before on the internet) could have annoyed her so highly that she figured she would cover all of her bases to ease my fears. The exciting results of all of those tests were that I have a moderate allergy to shrimp and a severe sensitivity to oats. I suppose I should have been happier about this, as the diagnosis could have been much worse, but without real answers I was losing hope.

Being as unsatisfied with the results as I was, the doctor insisted on more tests. For the next several months, myself, my new doctor, and her amazing assistant would fight my health insurance company to get an abdominal and pelvic CT scan approved. After several appeals, all resulting in denial, we finally got through to Blue Shield that I was not having unjustified “woman issues” (as they referred to them) but that my “issues” are real and have affected my daily life.

After reviewing the results from the CT scan, the doctor found signs of a digestive disorder known as diverticulosis, or pouches that form on the wall of the colon. Now, diverticulosis itself isn’t really something to write home about. It is the episodes of diverticulitis , or infections of the pouches formed when you have diverticulosis, that are worrisome, especially at my young age. This is only a preliminary diagnosis and my newly visited gastroenterologist  is skeptical that someone of my age could have episodes of diverticulitis. He explained that he has never personally seen a patient in their 20’s with diverticulosis and it is rare for people even in their 30’s to develop the condition. He added that he strongly believes that, even if diverticulosis is present, I am suffering from Irittable Bowel Syndrome as well.

I will be having a colonoscopy with the above mentioned gastroenterologist in early March for a solid diagnosis.

So, in short, my reasoning behind going gluten and GMO grain free is to rid myself of the constant discomfort and pain I have lived with for so many years. I am hopeful that these dietary changes, when implemented into my daily life and followed strictly, will create drastic changes in the way I feel.