The Journey to Health Part 3 : Small Changes

can i drink gluten freeIt has been 11 weeks since I started making actual changes where my health was concerned. It has been nearly two month since I last shared an update here on the blog but I did share a video of my December chat with my naturopathic doctor, Dr. Lisa, on our Facebook page. Now that we’re two and half months into this journey I have updates and have some surprising discoveries. We’re still dealing with my food issues and haven’t started looking at my hormones but that will follow in the next month as I have some blood work that I will be going in for later this week.

Click here to read about why I started this journey and my issues.

Click here to read about why I decided to work with a Naturopathic Doctor.

 

Let’s Talk About Food – Gluten, Soy, Rye and Barley Free Life

When I agreed to avoiding these foods I didn’t have much hope because I felt that every ND I’ve met with asks me to do this and I see no results. The difference as you may recall was that this time I was asked to avoid it for 6 whole weeks. I was really good and was strict with my diet while continuing to go out and dine with friends. Most restaurants were pretty good on the gluten free knowledge but when it came to soy it was a hit or a miss. Gluten wasn’t the hard thing to give up, it was soy! I know!!! Who would have thought that we have soy in EVERYTHING we eat?

At the end of 6 weeks I was super excited to report back to Dr. Lisa that I really didn’t think gluten was my issue because I was CERTAIN it was soy. She smiled and asked me if the itching had stopped. YES!!! A thousand times YES! I may scratch a bit but nothing beyond a normal itch. I was so ready to go and dig my face into a fluffy croissant and told Dr. Lisa that my plan over the holidays was to test out my body’s reaction to gluten and soy. While it wasn’t necessarily what she would have liked for me to do, she looked forward to hearing about my experiment. She’s probably going to read about it here first because I haven’t met with her yet!

Gluten free dining out

Even quick service spots carry gluten and soy free options

I didn’t actually run towards the first restaurant and shove my face in noodles or baked goods, as planned. No, I took a few days and finally enjoyed a visit to T&T supermarket and a noodle bar on the same day. As you may have guessed, I mixed soy and gluten but I didn’t itch but didn’t feel so great either. I did my best to avoid gluten and soy as much as possible. Christmas week I started slipping back into my old ways and my mom’s cooking (despite it being gluten free) wasn’t helping me any. I started itching again and itching badly. My stomach didn’t feel so great either.

Over the next 2 weeks I started really paying attention to my body and while I only occasionally indulged in gluten, I kept away from soy. I noticed that gluten and I were not friends but I could have a bit here and there without itching. That said, there’s other issues gluten seems to be triggering for me!

 

What I’ve Learned About My Food Habits and My Body

can i drink gluten free

Plenty of easy ways for one to eat gluten free products while rest of the family eats regular meals

After giving my body a 6 week break from gluten and soy (I barely seem to eat rye and barely so those didn’t even come into my regular diet),  I seem to have cleaned out my system and now every time I eat gluten I feel bloated and uneasy. I’m usually running straight to the bathroom after one of those meals. I am also acutely aware of my body’s reaction to different foods. I now eat gluten filled products but not as an every day occurrence. My bread and noodles are gluten free and my mom bakes some delicious gluten free cakes. I also brought in gluten free bread and cake mixes, so I honestly haven’t found it that hard. When I go out I’ll indulge and when friends come over with treats, I indulge. However I feel rotten (but no itching). My solution to the sneak sessions is to fast for 12-15 hours and that seems to reset me nicely. I know intermittent fasting is a popular practice but I only do it from dinner to lunch and that has ensured that I don’t snack beyond 11 p.m.

As for soy, my brother swapped my soy sauce with a coconut aminos and I’m so ready to bring my own sauce when I go for my next all you can eat sushi fest. Sadly most of my cooking sauces had to be dumped out and so it hasn’t been easy cooking quick meals at home. I’ve been doing my best to avoid soy but haven’t tried putting it back into my system because I’m so afraid of the itching returning. While the itching on my legs and arms have stopped and I no longer bleed, my under arms and scalp sores still exist. I’m starting to notice a bit of a co-relation with the flare ups coinciding with my gluten binges. So perhaps Dr. Lisa was right after all!

For those looking to take a break from gluten my advice is to go cold turkey but prep your pantry with substitutes. It’s so easy to find frozen gluten free breads in the freezer section at your supermarket and now most places in Canada carry gluten free pastas, crackers and cake mixes. I’ve also discovered some great gluten and soy free bakeries in Toronto! Chris and the kids still eat gluten and I don’t plan to remove anything from their diet because my issues aren’t theirs. I’m simply making meals where I can EASILY substitute my gluten free products for their gluten filled ones.

 

Food Goals Moving Forward

I plan to be mostly gluten and soy free for the foreseeable future. I am definitely noticing a pattern when I eat those and I will admit that losing 7 pounds in the first 4 weeks of the program was a nice result. I told you weight loss was never the goal in this journey but having it come as a perk was a nice one. I’m sure I gained it all back during the Christmas holidays but losing those 7 pounds was noticeable and my stomach definitely went down as well! Sadly my period hasn’t returned yet but we can deal with that in the next phase.

I would like to try giving up sugar and dairy to see if I am dairy sensitive (as many of my Instagram followers have been mentioning) but I know I won’t be able to give up my cheese. I’ve already switch my milk to almond so that’s taken care of but that cheese….ooooh cheese how I love you!

Oh by the way, I still enjoy my wine and spirits but haven’t had beer since our 12 pubs of Christmas crawl when I felt SO lousy that I stopped drinking beer after the 4th spot! Only a few sips for me from now on, sadly.

 

Next Steps

One of Dr. Lisa’s asks was for me to introduce more fruits and veggies and I am yet to do that. I am trying but it’s still carbs and meats on my plate. She also wanted me to start back at the gym and like half of the population, I pushed it into the new year. My goal for the next 6 weeks is to get to the gym 2 to 3 times a week for 30 minute sessions. Even if I don’t do much, I plan to get my butt in there right after school bus drop offs.

I also plan on getting my blood work updated and later this week I meet with my family doctor. She may not give me all the tests Dr. Lisa needs but she has already scheduled me for a food allergy test and hopefully she’ll test me for gluten allergies and I may discover some other hidden allergies, like i did with my environmental one! I don’t fully know what tests I’ll have done but hopefully they’ll provide some insight into my thyroid, liver and hormone conditions so we can move on to the next phase now that the itching problem has been solved.

 

How are you doing on your health journey? Share your stories with me! I know most of you love chatting with me via email or direct messages, so please continue to do so!