About me Fall 2018

My 30 Day Gluten Free Journey

For the month of September I went gluten free. If you’re just joining us, 2018 has been a year of health issues for the single girl. I had surgery in March 2018 and it has not healed well. Specifically I had granulation tissue after my wound was supposed to be done healing. To help combat this, I decided to go gluten free. Wait, what? I know, hang in there, there’s a rhythm to my madness.

What is granulation tissue?

In my case it was new vascular tissue in granular form on the healing surface of a wound. It can be associated with a non-healing wound.

What does gluten have to do with granulation tissue?

My story

So here’s the deal. As I said, my surgery was in March 2018. At my six-week follow-up, which ended up being a three month follow-up because I was working two jobs, my doctor told me I had granulation tissue. She wasn’t too alarmed, so I wasn’t either. She applied some silver nitrate and told me to return in a month.

A month later I returned. Now it’s July. Same thing. Lay back and spread ’em. Sizzle, sizzle with the silver nitrate. Come back in a month.

A month later I returned. Now it’s August. Same thing. I’m sure I cried during at least one of these appointments. The granulation tissue was still there! At this appointment, she happened to mention that my immune system was sill trying to protect me. Aha! A light bulb went on.

Gluten and granulation tissue

So granulation tissue to me is like a part of the inflammatory process that isn’t cooperating. Wounds are supposed to heal. When treated well, the body is a well oiled machine. When she mentioned my immune system kind of doing more than it needed to (doing the most! as the young kids say), it triggered a memory. I had heard a couple anecdotes from people I know about gluten and a disease called Hashimoto’s. It’s a type of auto-immune process that leads to disease.  Because gluten is sometimes recognized by the body as an antigen (basically an intruder it tries to rid itself of), some osteopaths have tried to mitigate the condition with a gluten free diet with intermittent success.

I normally have a hard time digesting gluten anyway. Most people do, they just don’t know it. It’s why baby food is mostly rice based. Gluten is freaking hard to digest. If I eat pizza or sub sandwiches more than three days in a row, I feel as though I’m going to die from the gas, bloating, and constipation. It just sticks around and it makes me feel icky.

I digress. So having heard that gluten is sometimes recognized as an antigen by the body, I thought why not try life without it. Not eating bread hasn’t killed anyone that I know of. Without my doctor’s instruction, I decided to just stop eating gluten until the next sizzle and poke visit. I was getting tired of using my vacation days for these appointments with a $40 copay to boot!

My 30 day gluten free diet

What the heck did I eat, you might ask. All sorts. It wasn’t that hard in terms of missing out because pizza and sandwiches aren’t my favorite foods. The hardest part was that wheat is in most convenience foods so things like crackers, which were a staple in my lunch box, and fast food burgers, which have supplemented many a single girl lunch, were no longer an option. Here’s what I did eat.

Week 1

What I ate: potatoes, li’l smokies, more potatoes, peanuts, pistachios, bananas, oatmeal, apple sauce, refried beans and nachos, rice with corned beef, rice with sardines, rice with salt, rice with egg, gorged on Unreal chocolates because my sweet tooth could not be satisfied without my nightly snack of packaged cookies

Biggest thing I missed: snack food!

Overall: I was so hungry! But I had some great potty time. It was more difficult to snack or indulge in convenience foods as my work lunch go-tos were fast food burgers, Subway, KFC Chicken Littles, or even hummus and pita at the Middle Eastern place around the corner.

Week 2

Breakfast: oatmeal, nuts, cantaloupe, bananas

Lunch/Supper/Dinner: Hunan shrimp and rice, chocolates, rice and onions, majadara

Overall: I started to get more organized with the eating once I realized some of my go-to fast food options were out. I ate Chinese take out two or three times during the week. I started to get sick of it, and my gut wasn’t having the last bit. I think soy sauce probably has gluten in it, but my body didn’t complain too much. And I actually didn’t realize it until now.

Week 3

Breakfast:  nuts, dry cereal, banana rice bread

Supper: rice and chicken, Kind Bars, fruits (grapefruit, cantaloupe, grapes)

Overall: I found I was hungrier more. I didn’t stay full as long. I woke up hungry and was generally hungrier throughout the day even though I was snacking more. Overall, I was snackier. I just couldn’t get full on rice and potatoes. To sustain a gluten free diet, I suspect I would have to train my stomach to recognize satisfaction from hunger rather than that feeling of fullness. I guess that’s why they call the bread basket you get at restaurants fillers.

The banana rice bread was my favorite friend. Here’s the recipe, if you’re curious:

Recipe

4 brown bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cream of rice

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 tsp teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 tsp  cinnamon

1 tsp coffee

1/4 tsp  nutmeg

1 tsp fresh ginger (1/4 tsp ground ginger), optional

Muffins: Mix it all together. Bake 22 minutes at 375*F or until dark brown.

Week 4

Breakfast: peanuts and grapefruit

Lunch: popcorn, rice cakes and peanut butter, Kind bars

Dinner: rice and greens, more banana rice bread muffins

Overall:  I was running out of ideas.

The Results

For the diet itself, with limited food options, namely Chinese or Mediterranean vegan rice, I found myself eating out less at lunch. I just went with smaller meals and packaged snacks and bars. Or just got tired of trying to figure out what to eat and just waited for the next meal time.

As for my health, my granulation tissue did in fact heal! It took six months and a radical diet, but heal it did! Praise be! I went to my last visit at the end of September. My doctor was unimpressed by the strategy I tried when I told her. I’m guessing she just thought I was another backseat-Google-doctor whacko. But hey, she said my immune system was being overprotective. So I took it out of overdrive. I didn’t die and my immune system is back to normal. I call it a win for the single girl! Why, yes, I would like to keep that $40 copay for my chocolate and cable habit. Thank you very much!

Your turn

You ever get into fad diet trends?

 

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6 Comments

  1. I’m glad you’re doing better. I’ve tried a no bread, pasta, etc diet before with higher protein and I lost much needed weight. Sometimes diet is the only thing that works. Plus you know your body better than anyone. Great job on healing!!!

    1. Thanks, Andy! I know the ads say diets are bad, but I think they can serve a purpose especially in the short term.

  2. Hi there! I found you on the financial diet comment section, where we discussed being happily child-free and planning to always be that way.
    I recently went gluten-free as well. I just discovered I have hypothyroidism and as you mention, gluten is seen as an antigen so my naturopathic doctor had the wherewithal to get me to cut it out so I can better support my body. I’ve really relied on coconut flour (great for biscuits, crepes and banana breads) but also this edamame bean pasta from Explore Cuisine. Delicious pasta but also incredibly high in protein and full of nutrition and it’s really helped my carb-obsessed self get by (I get it off Amazon).
    Have you found it’s been pricier to go gluten-free? I’ve had to replace a lot of things in my pantry (flours, crackers, soy sauce, etc) and it hasn’t been cheap. I know it’s necessary but not fun as someone who is aggressively trying to pay off debt!

    1. Oh nice! You’re right we really are living parallel lives right now! Going gluten-free for thirty days didn’t make any noticeable dent in my budget because I didn’t have to fully commit for the long-term. I also didn’t buy “gluten-free” things. I just chose foods that were already gluten free like rice and potatoes as opposed to gluten-free versions of bread or pasta. The most noticeable difference was how difficult it was to buy convenience food items as that is my big crutch. It would effect my baking long term though because I enjoy doing that especially in this weather. I have tried gluten-free baking in the past, but it’s a lot of hassle and ended up not being worth it or as tasty. The banana rice bread is something I’ve been eating since I was born. That’s a family recipe. 🙂

      I am soo looking forward to checking out your site!

  3. That’s a great win MERJ! You’ve healed yourself and dumped the daily burger (I jest). I’m not gluten free but definitely keep it to a minimum (biscuits & pastry, nom, nom!). So bread is only occasionally and I definitely don’t do take out burgers (for so many reasons).
    In fact I think you’ve been letting me think your diet is worse than it actually is. There was a lot of seriously healthy, nutritious food you consumed this month. There’s me worrying that you only eat take out and cereal and now you’re talking bananas and nuts and cantaloupe!

    1. Hmm… no take out burgers? How do you live?
      My diet can’t be that bad, I am still living after all 🙂
      I do generally get 2 oz of nuts and 2 servings of fruit each work day and suppers are weekends are left to my own design 😉
      Not quite at the Tuppenny household of growing my own vegetables though.

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