Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Month Gluten Free

First of all, an inspiring read on migraines and going gluten free. This blog post is by the person I met on Twitter who inspired me to try a gluten-free diet. She has celiac disease, and when she cut gluten from her diet, her migraines went away. While I do not have celiac disease (according to a blood test) I'm still thinking there could be a chance I have some level of gluten intolerance, which is why I'm trying a gluten-free diet. Here's her blog post, My Migraine Story - A Gluten Free Miracle.

Second, a VERY helpful read if you're planning to start a gluten-free diet, How to Start Living Gluten-Free.

And to add my own experience...I started a little over a month ago by eating up all my food and giving away extra flour, Bisquick, Kashi bars, etc. Then I went completely gluten free immediately by eating mostly unseasoned and unbreaded fruits, vegetables, meat, rice and potatoes. Throughout the past month I've tried gluten-free foods from Whole Foods, Kroger, Harris Teeter and Earthfare. They all have pretty good selections, and I was happy to learn that Kroger, which is my primary grocery store, labels gluten-free items (such as cookies or cereal that would typically contain gluten). When I shop I carry a list of ingredients that contain gluten so I can check foods I'm unsure about.

For breakfast I have gluten-free breakfast bars or fruit, for lunch gluten-free frozen dinners or a salad, and for dinner I'll usually have a veggie, rice and meat. I've also tried GF pasta (made from rice or other grains), quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), which is a healthy herb/grain that you can eat like rice or use in recipes like meatloaf, and Tamari - gluten-free soy sauce (yes, soy sauce contains wheat). For snacks, I have corn chips or gluten-free cookies. Eating out has not been too difficult. I'm used to having to check to see if restaurants have MSG-free options since it makes me sick, so now I check online menus for gluten-free options as well. Many places like PF Changs, Chili's, and Outback Steakhouse even have special gluten-free menus online. I've also tried a kitchen in Raleigh that lets you pick up meals that are guaranteed gluten free. They have a killer zucchini bread! And just yesterday I bought a gluten-free chocolate cupcake from a bakery selling at the local Farmer's Market that was out of this world! :)

I went an entire month without cheating, although I wasn't 100% strict either. I did check my pills and lip gloss, but I don't worry about lotion, shampoo, makeup, and cross-contamination issues. Since I don't have celiac disease, I'm guessing I don't need to be super-sensitive. BUT yesterday, I could not resist a bite of wedding cake and the crepes station at a wedding. I wanted to see if I'd get an instead headache. However, I already had a headache before the wedding, and although it did get worse, I think it's because of the two strawberry mojitos I drank!!!

So the big question is have my headaches improved? In June I had 26 headaches. Today is July 12 and I've had nine headaches so far. But the three non-headache days were in a row, which is unusual.

Of course if you read my blog, you know that I'm also doing acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and some different types of vitamins. Any of those might be helping.

For now, I'm going to stick to my gluten-free diet for five more months, or at least that's my goal.

P.S. Thanks for all the gfree people on Twitter who have been happy to answer questions and who post helpful tips!!!