Food. We all love it and for those of us who are #FatKidsForever, like myself, it’s really hard to stay away from it. To be honest, if I knew what I know now back when I was in high school and college, things would probably be a lot different. I’m sure I would look at food a lot differently and I would be more mindful of the things I put into my body and indulge in. Now we are here, working to heal ourselves from the inside out, starting with gut health — staying away from all the things.
With Hashimoto’s there are things that you may or may not be advised to say away from, primarily because they are known to irritate the thyroid and can cause fares, etc.. This, of course depends on your tolerance and how your body responds. The list begins with alcohol, nightshades, caffeine, and gluten. Those are the basics, just to start really. There’s so many other things to watch out for, but again, it depends on your body and any advice/support from your medical team.
One of the first things you’ll hear more often than not is that gluten is the d e v i l and you should eliminate it ASAP. Frankly, this freaked me out. Because I’m like, what in the h e double hockey sticks?! I llloooovvveeee pb&j’s, breakfast bagels, french toast, PIZZA and all things doughy. So how in the world do I even begin to remove it? At first I seriously felt like I was starving myself, but it’s really because I just needed to change habits and get creative. I promise it’s not so bad now, and there are more gluten free options available than one may think.
Recently I had a friend ask, if you’re going to start a gluten free journey, where should one begin?
Honestly, I thought it was a really great question and decided to turn to my facebook group “Gluten Sensitive, Intolerant and Celiacs” and ask the same question. This is what we all came up with (in no particular order):
1. Find a support partner. Someone who understands the frustrations and will be an encouragement.
2. Make a list of all the GF foods you can eat or are willing to try. This will give you a good place to start.
3. Check your seasonings. Some of them do contain gluten. If you find yourself cooking more at home than before, this will be really important for you.
4. When in doubt — don’t eat it! Sometimes the pain really isn’t worth it. Eating out will be a challenge, every single time. Always speak up for yourself and even ordering off of a GF menu reiterate your allergy/sensitivity.
5. Be patient, you will mourn having to change your diet. Remember that it’s okay and will get easier.
6. Cut out processed foods unless labeled gluten free. Also be sure to check the ingredients just in case. Be mindful that it will say gluten free, but may have been made in a factory that handles other gluten products. This can be huge depending on if you have Celiac or if you are just sensitive.
7. Snacks. Always have snacks in your purse/pocket or wherever. You never know when hunger will strike. To prevent from anyone feeling your hangry wrath, this may be a life saver.
8. Drink lots of water. Like, a lot more than you ever did before. It will help.
9. Throw away anything in your house that isn’t gluten free. It will help prevent the temptations. (again, the pain isn’t worth it)
10. The biggest one to know – Focus on different kinds of whole foods rather than gluten free substitutes. Typically what they lack in gluten, they’ll more than likely be filled with other crap.
There’s so much more to the process of going gluten free, but I wanted to share the biggest things we’ve all come to learn while on our own journey.
I think the biggest struggle for me personally, beyond changing the foods I eat, was to give myself permission to not feel bad about my decisions. Sometimes I feel like it’s more of a burden to those around me to be gluten free than it is to just keep my mouth shut and take my chances. A few bad flares and trust me, I’ve learned my lesson. Sure, I still have moments when I slip up, but then I get right back into things once I’ve given myself time to recover from it.
There are so many things to help starting this journey. I received a gluten free magazine from my bestie MelRod and ordered myself the AIP Cookbook for Hashimoto’s. I plan to share some of the things I’ve cooked along with the recipe for you to try it yourself in the months to come. But I encourage you to go out and find things to help give you ideas, to help inform you on steps to take. Don’t just take my word for it, be sure to do your own research.
I hope this helps you or someone close to you. It’s all new, it’s all life changing and it’s all a lot to take in. I know, we know and you know it to. Just take your time, ease yourself into it and I promise, you’ll start to feel better soon.
Keep your head up darling, right now it really isn’t you per se. It’s the autoimmune disease that is taking over.