Why the change? On January 6 I started the Make A Change Challenge after reading about the connection between gluten and thyroid disease which, for me, is a diagnosis of Hashimotos. My goal? Find out if a gluten free diet would improve thyroid functioning to the point of no longer having to take a prescription or at least greatly reduce the amount.
What I have learned.
What explains the connection? Gluten is particularly problematic for those with Hashimotoʼs thyroiditis. It’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid. A constant attack on the thyroid causes the gland to under-function, leading to hypothyroidism. (Source)
I’ve also learned that gluten-minimal won’t work. It’s all or nothing.
How has going gluten free affected me?
100% Gluten Free? I almost hesitate to say I’ve been gluten free 100%. Gluten/wheat is in foods that you would never expect. I’ve been careful and diligent about educating myself and reading labels. So, with a disclaimer of as far as I know, I have been 100% gluten free except for two occasions when my husband cooked salmon stir fry for dinner and I forgot to tell him to change the marinade.
Eating out? I’ve mentioned before that my family loves to eat out and it’s not likely they would be willing to give it up (I would never expect them to). Eating out is tough. Even with restaurants that boast a gluten free menu I have found that the staff does not appear to be trained on gluten free, what it means, prep, etc. I’ve experienced the blank look of what do you mean gluten free followed by “um…um…” At one restaurant our server actually kneeled down next to our table (I got the impression he was ready to stay awhile) and asked me to tell him more about being gluten free. He admitted to never being trained. Little did he know I love talking about all things nutrition when asked! At this point my most successful and pleasant gluten free dining out has been at Chipotle and PF Changs. The staff at both restaurants are knowledgeable and the specialty diets are readily accommodated.
My meals? I actually haven’t noticed that much of a change. I eat a diet the is primarily veggies, fruit, and fish and the grains I most often eat are naturally gluten free (quinoa, brown rice, gf oats). I would have to say snacking was probably the most challenging. In the beginning, I missed pretzels terribly!
How do I feel? Probably the biggest physical difference I have noticed is I NEVER feel bloated or overly full. I always thought that feeling was from eating carbs in general but that seems to not be the case. I also noticed a difference in how I feel after I eat mexican food. Kind of a queasy feeling. I wasn’t ready to give up my favorite food so I started experimenting (this was happening several months before I went gluten free). I eliminated salsa. Same queasiness. I eliminated tortilla chips. Same queasy feeling. This went on with no luck in finding out why I felt less than great after eating mexican food. I resolved to accept that a little queasy feeling in my stomach was worth eating my favorite food. Now I know, it’s so not necessary!! I eliminated gluten from my order and after eating at my favorite mexican restaurant 3 times I have not once felt bad afterwards. I’m convinced it was the gluten.
What’s next? I’m continuing a gluten free diet until May which is the next time I have blood work done to monitor thyroid levels. Do I still think giving up gluten products would be worth not having to take medication. Most definitely! Not only that. As I understand it if removing gluten aids in repairing the gut which helps digestion and nutrient absorption than I feel like it’s a no brainer. We’ll see if I still feel that way 3 months from now. One more thing. If my current doctor is not willing to explore this option with me as a treatment option it’s time to find one that will.
This post is sponsored by Van’s Natural Foods. I was provided Van’s gluten free products in exchange for my honest review.
Ironically, not long before I made the decision to try this I was contacted by Van’s Natural Foods to try their new line of gluten free snacks. I was a bit skeptical at first because my experience with many gluten free snacks was not good.
About The Products
Van’s Multigrain Chips (MSRP: $3.29-$3.49) in Nacho, Nacho, Man! and Mighty Good BBQ! are loaded with 18 grams of whole grains and just 130 calories per serving. Made with gluten-free oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa and amaranth, Van’s Multigrain Chips are crispy, crunchy and bursting with flavor. These guilt-free treats keep it real, containing no high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils or GMO oils, and they’re great for dipping or enjoying right out of the bag. 15 chips/130 calories.
Van’s PB&J Sandwich Bars (MSRP: $3.99 – $4.49), a delicious, classic blend of real peanut butter and fruit jelly, sandwiched between two whole grain, gluten-free bars. This sweet, chewy delight, available in Blueberry and Strawberry, is perfect for a quick, healthy breakfast, lunchtime treat, snack or dessert featuring 10 grams of whole grains. 1bar/160 calories.
I was shocked by how good the snacks taste and the texture. You would never even realize it’s not a regular gluten loaded snack. The true test? My kids and they love them! I don’t typically snack on chips and crackers very often but there are those times when only a salty crunch will do.
No high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils and is non-GMO.
Van’s Natural Foods is offering a chance for one reader to win 5 coupons for free Van’s snacks, a branded tote and water bottle! Giveaway ends at midnight (EST) on Saturday, February 15.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
On the Menu
Eggs and Oats (new recipe!)
Grilled Salmon Salad
Veggie Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Asian Power Bowl
Mary’s Gone Crackers with Avocado
Egg Whites with Hummus and Paprika
Apple with Almond Butter and Cinnamon