Saturday, January 23, 2010

Taking the Plunge

I have decided to take the plunge and experiment with a gluten-free diet. I have not started yet, as I need a little time to find some more recipes and make a menu. (By the way, have you seen that the Frugal Abundance site is now gluten free?)

Many of you know that I have had joint pain (off and on) for a few years. And, I have been struggling with fatigue for years as well. (And, no, I do not think it is merely the stress of having so many kids so close together in age... if I hear that one more time...)

Anyway, here is what I have been thinking:
1- It can't hurt to try!
2- My first spell of joint pain and muscle weakness began right after I read Dr. Sears' family nutrition book. I was challenged by the book to use more whole grain wheat products. That is when we switched to whole wheat bread and whole wheat flour.
3- Last winter/spring we were mostly doing a whole foods diet. During that time my pain and fatigue never completely went away. And, at times it flared up badly. And, when it was at its worst was right after my friend taught me to bake real bread. (And, during their 10 day visit at our house we ate a LOT of homemade bread).
4- A few of my blogger friends are gluten intolerant, and they have repeatedly encouraged me to try it.

So, as soon as I can get a menu made, we will begin. But, here is what I want to know from my readers.
1- How many weeks should my experiment last? Is one month enough? Six weeks?
2- Are there any sneaky foods that contain gluten? Something I would not at all expect? (I already found wheat flour in the Campbell's tomato soup... that surprised me.)

Paul and I have talked this over, and he is very encouraging about this experiment. I will be forcing the whole family to eat my food (and I am almost hoping to see a change in one of my children's behavior). However, Paul has decided that he and the children will not be obligated to stay gluten-free at church meals (weekly) and eating out (when Grandparents come).

Honestly, I have mixed emotions about this whole gluten business. For one thing, I am already overwhelmed putting together a diet that is whole foods only. Secondly, I LOVE breads! I do not want to have to give up breads - not for 6 weeks, certainly not forever. However, if being gluten free gives me a new lease on life (as I have read from other bloggers) then I cannot afford NOT to try.

This experiment will take A LOT of patience and endurance. But, I trust that it will give us some answers.

12 comments:

Steve & Paula said...

Bethany,
Go to www.cookingtf.com
Kerry Ann has a menu mailer with all the menus, and shopping guide all done for you, and everything is gluten free and real food.
It makes things so much easier.
Especially for busy mommies.
Just getting one menu mailer can be a big help in figuring out the process.
Plus, Kerry Ann provides amazing support service on her forums.

It takes a full year for all gluten residue to clear the body.

To test at home, making all your fooods from scratch will ensure you are not contaminating your food with gluten.
After 1 month or so, just have one bite of whole grain bread.
You should know within hours if you are having a problem.
But!! Just being gluten free is going to tell you a great deal.
You may even decide not to eat any to test.

My new food blog has excellent gluten free recipes as well, in case you are needing something like a good pancake recipe.

And yes, gluten is hidden in lots of products.
Even things like shampoo of all things.

I miss bread a great deal still, but I am finding I do not miss it physically anymore. Its just emotional.
That to will fade in time.

great big hugs from Alaska!
You can do this, and you will most likely have a new lease on life!
Paula

Mama Hen said...

Wow, that is a big undertaking! I admire you for trying it.

I can't believe the baby is a month old. That is amazing!

NYLass said...

Dear Bethany,
(This is my second attempt – I pray that I don’t loose this one!)

Sorry that I haven’t been commenting – life got really busy (in a good way). I am so grateful that you all are well (YEAH! on Josiah sleeping – thank you, Lord!) I pray that God blesses you on this new journey towards health.
I agree with Paula – that it will take a year to be GF. A friend of mine told me that it takes about a year to detoxify (not necessarily GF) and then another year before ALL the benefits of detoxifying will show up – I have no proof of this, but I have seen this to be true in my own life.

I have a few web sites that you might like:
1. http://www.glutenfreecookingschool.com/ - done by an Alabama Christian mom, this website has real food and even some substitutes (like when you HAVE to have…)
2. http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/ - I find that this blog is a blessing to my faith as well as my diet – I pray it blesses you.
3. (finally) http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/ - this is not a Christian website, but it has blessed me with great info about green smoothies!

I pray that God blesses you with wisdom and discernment as you navigate this path.
May God’s peace bless your home,
Blessings,
Annie

Mama in Uganda said...

I have been gluten free for years. I can give you some yummy pancake recipes...We eat a lot of rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams. You can also make great gluten free muffins.

Kimberly said...

OK- a couple more resources, the blog; http://Mennonitegirlscancook.
blogspot.com has an entire gluten free section,

A book I just checked out from the library, "Once A Month Cooking- Family Favorites" by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg has a 2 week gluten free menu plan (the book is about freezer cooking).

Yes, you must read all the labels. I have too for my sensitivities to the onions/garlic family. Watch for "natural ____", for me the generic term, "spices". I only eat products that spell out everysingle ingredient. I even had to stop eating fresh ground turkey (like Jennie-O brand here) they add a little rosemary in, um, I have issues with evergreen plant things... I couldn't figure why I felt so bad, that was why. It's a huge pain, but the gluten free thing is such a trend that there are many-many choices. We even have a local pizza chain that makes a gluten free pizza!

Good luck, I hope this helps you to feel better.

April said...

Bethany,

I've thought about going gluten-free, but have put it off for now as I think sugar is my main problem, and I need to start small or I'll burn out. BUT, I just wanted to encourage you that there is so much support available to you in this day and age. There are some great gluten-free blogs, and some good books from the library as well. I did quite a bit of research when I first started looking into it, and was overwhelmed at how much information and support there is available these days.

Here are a couple of sites that I really enjoyed:

http://www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com/ (One warning--she still uses a lot of alternative grains, which can get pretty expensive and may or may not be any healthier. BUT, she has some really great info, and some decent recipes as well.)

http://glutenfreemommy.com/

http://www.elanaspantry.com/

Best of luck, and please keep us posted!!

Steve & Paula said...

Kimberly,
Did you know that most turkeys are injected at processing with several additives, including GLuten, and that its not usually labeled, because it is not in the top 8 of allergens?
Ugh! I loath big AG, for many reasons.....
Lord come quickly....

Bethany said...

Thank you, ladies, for all these great sources!!! I have not yet had time to look around, so you have made my job easier! I cannot wait to get a few minutes to look around. I think I know what I will be doing when Paul comes home from work today! But, for now, I need to go focus on the kiddoes. I am feeling well enough to do school today... no headaches, no pain...

Bethany

April said...

I just saw this and immediately thought of you:

http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/01/free-gluten-free-samples-recipes-and-coupons.html

Steve & Paula said...

Well, you can rest assured that all of us have our Pompoms out, and will pray, cheer and support as needed!

Paula

Bethany said...

Paula,
Do you read Wendell Berry's essays? He documents the ruination of American society through agri-business.

Bethany

Steve & Paula said...

I have not. Probably should. Everythign I can learn, helps in the long run.
Weston A Price talks about it a great deal in his book.
Still working on that one.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.