Letting Go of Gluten
Letting Go of Gluten
If you haven’t experimented becoming gluten free, you may be in for a wonderful surprise. I used to think that if I ate organic whole grains, I was eating in the healthiest way possible. I was pretty tired of hearing that nothing is good for you and cutting out wheat and wheat products seemed like just another “no no” on an already long list.
Not one to make changes easily, I need to have a good reason to let go of some of my favorite foods. Pain was the motivator for me. I had pretty severe joint pain in my hips and knees and many of the folks I talked to mentioned that I should try eliminating gluten.
My X-rays revealed I had mild arthritis in my hips and mostly my pain level was manageable. The doctor said to take Tylenol, which I would take only take really bad days. I was beginning to limp a little when I walked and I was starting to have trouble getting up from a chair and getting in and out of the car. This was very hard on my ego as a yoga teacher with a pretty consistent practice.
I remember it was Thanksgiving and I wanted to have a “traditional” meal with all the trimmings so I ignored my pain and cooked and ate with full abandon. I put flour in the gravy, served great french bread, ate pumpkin pie with homemade crusts. The next day I felt like I had been hit by a truck! Everything hurt, especially the joint pain in my hips that was now running down my legs. After 3 days, when the pain did not subside I went to a chiropractor for help. After the adjustment I was told there was really nothing more that she could do for me; and had I considered getting off gluten?
Well, that did it. At that point I was willing to try anything. My results were pretty amazing and immediate. After the first day, I felt noticeably better and by the third day I could not believe how much better I felt. After a week, all of my pain walking, moving from chairs and getting out of the car was gone! After a month I had regained some flexibility in my yoga practice!
Giving up gluten really wasn’t that hard, they have a variety of gluten free products on the market and not being one that denies myself, I tried most of them. My family was on board and we really didn’t miss pizza and pasta as there were alternatives that were tasty and that we could live with. We had fun trying the new products; but I do caution you to read the labels as some are very processed and can’t be very good for you. I had to stop myself from eating gluten free pretzels and cookies, which seemed silly because I really didn’t eat those things to begin with.
After we got over the novelty of it, we began to find healthy substitutes that were very tasty and satisfying.
Mostly when you think of gluten you think of wheat products but gluten is also found in barley and oats. There are a few places where gluten sneaks in that surprised me. Soups, yogurt, ice cream, beer, soy sauce, french fries and even some brands of corn chips. Check your labels.
We have fun experimenting in the kitchen. We use sweet potato for the crust for quiche. Nuts and dates for pie crust. We make cauliflower pizza crusts, buy Canyon bread, tamari replaces soy sauce and quinoa is a great grain replacement.
All in all it’s been over 3 years that we have virtually been gluten free. I have slipped on occasion only to prove to myself that the pain and inflammation come back when I eat gluten. I am absolutely sure that gluten causes me so much discomfort that its easy to stay away from. Our Thanksgiving meals are now gluten free and no one misses it. I am truly thankful to have found a pretty simple solution to a big problem,
Best advice: Check your labels, pass on the ones with chemicals and preservatives. Look for bread made with olive oil instead of canola oil. Try almond or coconut flour for a change. If we are converting a conventional recipe that calls for flour, we use “Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour” but for cakes and bread you must add Xanthan Gum, also made by Bob’s Red Mill. (the amount needed is listed on the package).
Check out our blog page for our favorite Chocolate Cake recipe that we use for birthdays. We use a simple powered sugar glaze for a light gluten free frosting.
If you are experiencing joint pain, bloating, or are just curious if you will feel better, join us in letting go of gluten for the month of July.
We would love to hear from you, let us know of your experience. If you already are gluten free and have a favorite recipe, please share, we would be happy to add it to our list.