Gluten Free: Two Words I Never Thought I’d Say

February 2015 was not my favorite month of all time. On Wednesday the 25th my car got totaled when a young woman rear-ended my car going 40 while I was at a dead stop waiting to make a turn. What’s even worse is that I was waiting to turn into my own driveway. Not cool.

The woman who hit me was very apologetic and said that she was having a terrible day and that her dog had been sick and that’s what she was thinking about when she hit me (the dog was not in the car with her at the time, which is good because it probably would have gotten injured). She didn’t even attempt to stop, and as far as I can tell, didn’t even know I was there until she hit me.

I can sympathize with her worrying about her dog, as my dog got really sick last year and I had to take him to the vet and have him put on an IV for two days. However, I also managed not to rear-end anyone at full speed or get into any type of automobile accident during that crisis. She felt terrible, she really did, and I felt bad for her. I hope her dog got better, and I told her that as we were driving away from the scene.

While I know she felt embarrassed and guilty and foolish whatever else, and I’m pretty sure she will always look where she’s going in future and never again rear-end someone at full speed because she’s not looking, I’m bothered by the whole thing because, um, she could very well have killed someone.

What if I’d been my neighbor who rides a scooter? I’d be dead. When she hit me it trashed my trunk and bowed in the back seat. What if I’d been in some little smart car where the back of the car is just behind the back seat? Or if I’d had kids in my back seat, or even a dog? What if she’d had kids in her car, or a dog? The grille of her 4Runner was barely dented. It was more mussed than anything, like when almost-dry nail polish gets imprints in it. And yet, in one second my car went  from being a car to being a totaled wreck.

I already have a new car, a 2007 Volvo that I got from my dad and that for a bunch of boring reasons related to proprietary over-engineering, has a stereo that I can only listen to AM/FM radio on. So I will be going without music of my choosing in the car for the foreseeable future. I hate the radio. Hate it. Nice car in all other respects, but I’ll miss the functioning stereo and the sun roof.

I am warming up to Radio Boise, however.

Speaking of going without, in February I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which my doctor’s office breezily advised me of via voice mail, and which they told me would be treated by upping my dosage of Synthroid. I thought all was fine, until I googled Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and realized that as an autoimmune disease, the thyroid problems are the result of other issues. So no amount of Synthroid is going to fix it, because that won’t stop my body from attacking my thyroid, which is what happens with Hashimoto’s.

There are several reasons the body attacks the thyroid, and one of the common reasons is because of gluten. The only thing that effectively treats autoimmune disorders is an autoimmune protocol diet, to make the body stop attacking its own cells (also known as inflammation). An autoimmune protocol diet basically means that you have to cut out of your diet everything that causes inflammation, which includes the following: gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, soy, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables of the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplant), peppers, and a bunch of other stuff.

The thing about Hashimoto’s is that it doesn’t always present with very many symptoms. I feel fine for the most part, but I’ve read some accounts of people with Hashimoto’s who experienced horrible symptoms, like constant face rashes, extreme fatigue, repeated miscarriages, infertility, and the onset of other autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia.

I don’t have any severe symptoms like those, but I have been experiencing a bunch of vague symptoms that I never knew the cause of, such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, that thing where you feel disgustingly full after you eat, some nasty stuff with my tummy, and worst of all: brain fog.

I want to curb the symptoms I have and not progress to more severe ones, so I’m going to try the autoimmune protocol diet for the recommended 6-8 weeks and see what it does for me. Basically, this is how I and anyone with Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune disorder should be eating from now on, but doctors don’t always tell you this. I don’t see how it’s possible that they failed to tell me this since, you know, gluten is the root of all evil.

I’ve always rolled my eyes at the concept of gluten free in the past, but I guess the joke was on me.

So I bid a maybe-not-quite-so-fond farewell to pasta and pizza and dairy two weeks ago and I’ve felt great since. I’ve been easing into it, but once I finally fully embrace the rest of the autoimmune protocol diet, I hope to feel like a superhero all the time.

Update: while still gluten-free, I have gone back to dairy. I just can’t quit you, cheese. 

11 thoughts on “Gluten Free: Two Words I Never Thought I’d Say

  1. I have so many invisible chronic illnesses that I cannot list them all here. At one point, I took it upon myself to try this gluten free life style and I just couldn’t do it. Because of all my digestive diseases I cannot eat most fresh fruits and vegetables. total opposite of what a normal person would be eating to be healthy. I’m also a very picky eater and always have been. No worries for now because last July I had my second feeding tube placed. I found it difficult to go gluten free, for one reason: there are so many names for gluten. I could never memorize all of them. I would have to hire a chef. I’m glad it seems to be making you feel so much better so quickly. I hope you continue to do well on this diet and have a better quality of life. 🙂

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    1. Oh, my, I never knew gluten was so pervasive. Every time I think I’m safe, I look at ingredients and I’m like, aw crap. I feel like I need a computer to do my shopping for me.

      That sucks about the fruits and veggies. No juicing either?

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      1. Now I have the feeding tube because one of my illnesses is gastroparesis. That means that my stomach is basically paralyzed and I have slow gastric emptying. The food sits in my stomach for 8,9, 12 hours, whatever it’s a long time. In a normal person the food moves out of the stomach and into the small intestines within 90 minutes. Your stomach has a vagus nerve that moves the food along. Mine doesn’t work. Liquids do move through much quicker. I did get on a juicing binge for awhile. I’ve got this all or nothing problem..LOL when my pain therapist found out how much I was juicing and drinking all at once, she just about croaked. LOL oh my. I was juicing like 8 large carrots, 3 apples, 1/2-1 whole fresh pineapple, 5 handfuls of kale or spinach and God only knows what and how much of anything else I was using. I was so damn proud of myself. First she just looked at me like you have got to be kidding me! I said, no mam! LOL I asked her if she had a problem with it and she said no wonder you’re so sick and having so much diarrhea, can’t you just do like 1 or 2 carrots, 1 apple, maybe just 1/4 of a fresh pineapple, and maybe 2 handfuls of kale or spinach. I told her that that would be a waste of time. Juicing is easy, it’s just time consuming with the prep and clean up involved. She then asked me if I could just drink 1/3 of it at a time and refrigerate the rest and wait several hours and drink some more. I told her no mam! I read that you must drink it immediately because it starts to lose it’s nutritional value almost immediately after juicing. If I’m gonna do something I’m going all out or I’m not participating. LOL I really gotta work on that all or nothing problem. She’s been trying to get me trained, but I’m a bit of a rebel, you see. I’ve got so many other things on my plate at the moment. I’m pretty terrified of what I’m about to have to go through next. Maybe if I survive, I’ll go back and give juicing another try and I’ll try to figure out a good amount. Right now, I don’t have to worry about it because I have a machine to feed my sorry ass. Thanks for bringing that up about the juicing because I had forgotten all about it. Take care.

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        1. Wow. That is both hilarious and heart-rending. I hope you make it through the next steps alright so you can tell me more funny stories about juicing. Take care. 🙂

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          1. Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny, myself. I thought she would be so proud of me. She’s the one that kept getting on me to start juicing because I told her that my mom bought me a juicer for my birthday like 2 years ago and it’s still in the box. Boy, once I got started, there was no stopping me. I was one hell of a juicing machine. I had to take a break from it because I couldn’t control how much I was juicing. She’s still trying to get me to learn about moderation. I told her that moderation wasn’t any fun. I don’t know if I can ever break this all or nothing mentality, but I can entertain you. Just give me a topic and I’ll write something that will make you laugh. It doesn’t have to be about juicing because I don’t see me getting back to that any time soon since I now have a feeding tube to feed me, that is when I use it. some days I just don’t wanna do it. I haven’t done it for almost a week now and I am about ready to fall down and break my freakin’ crown. I just about black out every time I stand up. I hate food, anyway. I have a few snack type things here and I just take a bite or two every now and again. Food is so over-rated. Maybe I’ll do a tube feeding tomorrow……………………..Have a great day! 🙂

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  2. Hey! I found your blog through Megan. I have Hashimoto’s and have been gluten free and sugar fee (most days – I am only human) for awhile. I dread giving up caffeine and HOPE AGAINST ALL HOPE that they will not take this away from me. I don’t know if I can do dairy and legumes as well because that is basically all of my protein sources as a vegetarian. How are you doing this? My only real issue with Hashimoto’s is weight gain despite running and having a standing desk and being fastidiously healthy and avoiding grains and sugar (i mean, what does it take?) and low energy and depression and brain fog, but I have always had low energy and depression and cannot recall a time since I became a mom when my brain wasn’t foggy so– is it from the Hashimoto’s? I don’t know. I just don’t want to give up caffeine.

    I am very eager to hear how this is going for you and what has worked and whether you have sought out a naturopath and brought certain foods back in, etc.

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    1. Natalie, for right now I’ve decided to just mainly concentrate on not eating gluten and junk food. Cutting all that other stuff out of my diet is really stressful (and depressing) for me, and you know how we’re supposed to avoid stress (!). I can’t give up legumes and nuts and seeds, those are things that make life worth living if you can’t have bread. As for dairy, I’m not eating it regularly but I did sneak in some cheese the other day and have not felt any adverse effects in the following days.

      I have given up coffee before but it was because I drink WAY too much coffee during the day. I have to detox from it like once a year. But I still drink English Breakfast tea to get my caffeine. I don’t even know what my point was here, other than, yeah, giving up all that stuff sucks. I’m not one of those people who can be like “Oh, yeah, I only eat a narrow range of food that I must cook and prepare all myself and it prevents me from ever being able to eat at restaurants and I’m SO HAPPY about it!”

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