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What the Gluten

I’m not one to give into fads of any kind.  I find that when something is gaining a lot of chatter it usually makes me question the validity of it.  I’m also not one to jump on the band wagon with everyone else, because I believe diets are designed to fail.  If everyone is veering left, I usually end up going right. I kinda have a bit of a rebellious streak (can you tell?).  I like the idea of self discovery and organically stumbling into something–whether it be an article of clothing or a dietary change.  So when I kept hearing about going gluten-free for people with no real health issues, it was hard for me not to roll my eyes back into my head and think it was another dietary trend to lose weight.  It made me want to ask to pass the gluten my way at the dinner table and say, “See look guys, I’m eating gluten and I’m turning out just fine!”

I strive to keep healthy and try to be fit.  I work out almost on a daily basis and I am a predominantly clean eater.  What that means is that I tend to eat more “whole foods” and less processed ones.  So when I went in for my annual check up and had my thyroid reexamined (I have hypothyroidism), I was told I would have to mess around with my synthroid prescription yet again to balance out my thyroid.  For those of you who don’t know, your thyroid helps your body use energy and keeps your brain and the rest of your body working as it should. So, when it’s out of whack, it can cause a myriad of symptoms that leave you feeling less than stellar (including brain fog, dizziness, forgetfulness, dryness, weight gain or loss depending, tiredness or anxiousness, agitation… the list goes on).  It’s incredibly common to have thyroid issues, and hypothyroidism is something all the women in my family deal with.  I was sitting at my doctors and he suggested I go gluten-free to assist the regulation of my thyroid, it piqued my interest.  It also meant that maybe I could help treat the problem and not just the symptoms.  I figured, why not try for a minimum of a week? Ideally a month is optimal for an elimination diet, but I thought a week would be a fun way to document shopping, cooking, and snacking gluten-free on a manageable scale.

Aside from my doctor, I also reached out to my nutritionist who gave me an incredible insight into gluten and why it could benefit my health as well as others.   When I asked her about trying a week of no gluten she both encouraged and supported me in doing so, and stated that there was zero harm in avoiding gluten–so why not try going for it?  The new way of thinking is that the gut is the gateway to all things in our body.  It’s the wall that lets our nutrients in and keeps potential invaders out.  That’s one of the main reasons to also maintain a healthy microbiome. (That’s why you take those awesome probiotics, folks!  I could go on and on, but I’ll try and keep this succinct as I can!)

Now that a gluten-free diet had officially landed on my lap, I felt I had to take a hard look at my health, and started delving into the research.  First, what actually is gluten? Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as spelt, wheat, rye, barley, and kamut.  A ton of foods contain gluten–bread, bagels, crackers, pastas, cookies, cakes–basically all the yummy stuff.  It’s light and malleable, which is why it’s often used in baked goods.  It can also sneak up and behave as a binder; it’s used in some meats to hold foods together. So it’s important to ask first and pay attention as it can tiptoe into other foods as well like soy sauce (tamari would be the gluten-free alternative).   

Upon scratching the surface of this gluten-free adventure, many sources (Wheat Belly for one) seem to think that one of the reasons gluten might have a negative impact is that it has been tampered with by human intervention as its been bred to be more resistant to pests and weather changes.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason why some people’s bodies have an inflammatory response to gluten.  From what I understand, gluten can behave like a disruptor in our gut.  When our bodies eat gluten (mainly those with a sensitivity–which a lot of us have without realizing), our bodies attack one of the components of gluten.  When this happens, our bodies produce an inflammatory response which can manifest anywhere from brain fog to bloating, depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease (such as Hashimotos, which is associated with the thyroid), migraines, bloating, weight gain or loss… (all very similar to thyroid problems as well).  

In one great resource of gluten elimination, the book Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter states that “the nerve cells in your gut are not only regulating muscles, immune cells, and hormones, but also manufacturing an estimated 80 to 90 percent of your body’s serotonin.”  In fact, your intestinal brain makes more serotonin than the brain that rests in your skull.”  Wow, this blew me away–so I could also curb my anxieties with the help of diet?! Now I’m definitely intrigued.  The more I read about the gut, the more it seems so much is at stake with our diet.  As Dr. Perlmutter further explores in Brain Maker, “Today, much of the focus is on studies that show a link between gut dysfunction and the brain, and, more specifically, the link between the presence of inflammatory markers in the blood (indicating that the body’s immune system is on high alert) and risk for depression.”  It just goes to show how much we can heal and be preventative with what we ingest.  

While I am currently halfway through my gluten-free week and am desperately missing my flour tortillas and regular multigrain bread. I have to admit, I do feel a little less bloated and a bit lighter.  It’s obviously too early to really tell, but I am glad that I am trying this elimination diet out.  If the goal is to achieve a healthier lifestyle (especially with proper guidance and under the care of medical professionals), I don’t really see the harm in trying.  Long term, I don’t foresee myself being disciplined enough to do this every day and being so strict with every meal, but I could see how changing the way I look at food and paying even more attention to what I put into my mouth could have a positive impact. If I’m already seeing small improvements, then what’s the danger in feeling a bit better with the assistance of healthy eating? I also agree that a healthy balance and allowing small amounts of flour might need to be factored in for me in order to live in the real world.  I love all kinds of food too much to cut half out, but I do think I can focus more on putting gluten-free products and ingredients first when meal planning and ordering.

What I have found best about this “challenge” is that it has made me question what is healthy and why.  It’s not just good enough that food says “healthy” or “organic” on the label: the ingredients and how they affect MY body is what’s at stake.  And for the record, I am not a doctor of ANY kind, but I am passionate about my health and my family’s health.  And because of my passion, I have sought out multiple medical resources for help.  In no way am I saying that going gluten-free is is the only way to go, but I am saying, from my experience, that this is what was recommended for me and I wanted to give it a try.  Thanks for following along, hopefully I didn’t bore everyone!  I’m just hoping I helped shed some light on why it could benefit your health by eliminating gluten–whether it be for a week, a month, or for as long as you can resist.

Literature on Going Gluten Free

Here are a few books that have been helpful for me during the gluten-free week as well as an overall understanding of gluten and nutrition.

Grain Brain by David Perlumtter, MD

Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis

The Thyroid Connection by Amy Myers, MD

Gut by Giulia Enders

Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam

Gluten Free Family Favorites by Kelli and Peter Bronski

Eating Purely by Elizabeth Stein

Whole Bowls by Allison Day

Brain Maker by David Permutter, MD

 

Stay tuned for my Gluten Free Meal Plan and Menu!

 

All Photography by Angela Doran Photography

 
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66 Comments

  • Kali Desautels

    Thank you for sharing this, Gen. This is something I have done in the past, due to my
    Life long battle with Hashimoto’s and the fact that I passed this disease on to my baby girl. Your Gluten free challenge is inspiring me to go back to putting my health first, over the convenience of gluten-laden foods.

    • Sara

      I saw that you were going gluten free for a week and I thought.. Oh another celebrity jjumping on the GF band wagon. (Sorry… haha) Then I read your blog and you have thyroid problems. If it is hashimotos, gluten can exacerbate your autoimmune response and antibodies will attack the thyroid more. I have hashimotos, but I also have celiac. So, I have No choice. If I eat any gluten, the next few days are going to royally suck. ..and it happens. Restaurants are a huge problem and inconsistent. Often I do it to myself because I don’t have a fully GF kitchen. Dinners are GF, but I allow my girls to have what bread, cereal, crackers…

      ANYWAY, I Hope that you see a difference in your health. Maybe a clearer mind, ( I know that brain fog well) a happier gut. Looking forward to a final decision on how it went.

    • Silke

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with a gluten-free diet. I didn’t know at all that gluten can be linked to “hypo” and depression. I definitely want to explore this since I have both, and see what good it can do for me. I’ve already been on a very light diet due to surgery, so I don’t have to change my diet radically. It feels like a good time for a reset to recharge body and brain that way. Thank you also for the book references.

  • Jenn

    I have Hypo as well! I got diagnosed over a year ago but I think i have had it much longer…. It really is difficult to live with and all over the place. Good days and bad days. i am on nature-throid to treat mine as synthetic meds made me very sick. i have an appt with a naturapathic doctor tomorrow and i think she will mention gluten straight away. Its nice to read when someone else is going through it. Your post means more than you know. Thank you!

  • Jessica Matta

    I have Hypothyroidism as well. It’s so bad that I’m losing my hair. It went from super thick and curly to extremely thin and and even bald in some places. I never knew gluten could be a reason why my body is so messed up! (I was also one to roll my eyes at the gluten-free craze) I just figured my Synthroid dose was too low. I keep telling myself I need to see an Endocrinologist!

    This was eye-opening and really helpful. I hate dieting, like SO much, but if I could try some gluten-free stuff then why not? I’m sure my fat gut and depression brain would love it lol

    Thank you for this! I will have to check out those links and try it for myself!

    On a side note…You are an inspiration and a wonderful human being whom I greatly admire <3

  • Katie K.

    The perspective you are placing on going gluten free is so important and refreshing! You’re right, there are so many out there treating the gluten free lifestyle as a diet when it is truly meant as a healthier lifestyle for those facing medical issues related to its consumption. For those with Celiac and/or a digestive intolerance there is not much choice in making this a way of life. Personally, I have both a gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s. I have been strictly gluten free for over a year and I credit this shift with helping my body prepare and maintain a healthy pregnancy after miscarriage and infertility. I have continued to maintain a gluten free lifestyle since delivery to avoid potential problems with postpartum healing and healthy breastfeeding. It may seem daunting with all that has to be eliminated but in my mind it has absolutely been worth it! Also, the number of alternatives available to replace the cookies and cakes and pastas have significantly improved and are really quite tasty!

    • Jess

      I’ve had thyroid issues for almost 13 years now. I started with Graves Disease and had to have radiation to kill my thyroid gland. I was on levothyroxine and synthyroid for years. Even though my levels showed “normal” I felt horrible and had every symptom. I’ve been on Armour Thyroid for a year and a half now, and feel so much better. I still have bad days, but for me it has made a huge difference. It maybe worth talking to about. 🙂 good luck!

  • Stephanie Rowley

    Thank you for sharing !! My mother also struggles with hypothyroidism and has debated on going gluten free! I can’t wait to share this article with her, your finds and your recipes!!

  • Dina Greiner

    I’ve also rolled my eyes at the gluten free barrage, but you’ve peaked my interest with the serotonin comment. Could I ease my anxiety with diet changes? Off to do some research! Thank you for the info!

  • Kelly M

    This is great! I love that you gave this challenge a try. I’m 19 and I’ve been gluten free for 3 years now and it has really benefited me, my family and my parents. My mom was diagnosed with hashimotos and hyperthyroidism, and that opened the door to a lot of different changes, lifestyle and diet wise. Anyway, I really love that you gave being gluten free a try! I’ve known a lot of people to be too intimidated by it to try, and you’re brave in giving it a shot! I’ve become more interested in taking care of my body and what I eat, and reading your blog has opened my eyes to a lot. Thank you so much! You’re absolutely lovely ❤️

  • Mikayla Oelschlegel

    First off: The fact that you were brave enough to drop the flour tortillas for a week is amazing! Being born and raised in South Texas, I live off of flour tortillas (sometimes literally!) Second off: As someone who also suffers from hypothyroidism, this really peaked my interest! I’ve been dealing with my thyroid problems since my freshman year of high school, and it never once occured to me that maybe I could help along my thyroid by watching what I eat a little more. This is definitely intriguing, and while I don’t know if I am brave enough to actually try gluten free for a week, I am very excited to see how your second half of the week goes with this.

    XOXO, Mik

  • CAROL

    Gen, Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are both great, eye opening books! I’m not gluten-free, but I now make better choices!
    For hypothyroidism and gut health, may I suggest you look into Plexus? Gut health is the main focus of Plexus supplements. At the risk of coming across as a weirdo, please feel free to contact me for information.

    Best wishes and happiness to you!
    Carol

  • Gifs Dee & Gen

    This is amazing ?? thank you so much ???
    You are the best ??

  • Loreena

    I love this it’s an honest perspective from someone whose doctor sort of shook up her world. When my doctor told me I was 22 I cried as back then gluten free wasn’t a thing yet. I love the positivity and grit in this piece of her writing.

  • Katie Cox

    Omg! This is amazing! I have never thought about this before. I’m going to start doing this next week. I have been thinking about doing gluten free for a while now and after reading this, I’m all in.
    Thanks,
    Katie

  • mary bryant

    This is similar to the information I found while researching leaky
    gut , as I’m struggling with body wide inflammation.
    It’s great that you can introduce this information to the people that follow you ( many of whom are young ladies ), since many would not be exposed to this way of living and the reasons that necessitate it.
    Congrats on advocating for a healthier life, being open minded and brave enough to try Something new!
    Will you post any meal plans? This is where I struggle.
    I can’t make it such a strict daily affair either because it’s such a labor intensive endeavor.
    Have you found anything yummy?
    Tx
    Mary

  • Shandi

    I’m starting my gluten free journey but man is that food expensive. I can only get half a month of gluten free stuff because food stamps is stingy.

  • Jordan

    Thank you for sharing your journey! I’ve been gluten free for about 2.5 years for health reasons, and it’s not easy. I accidentally ate a small amount of barley the other day, which I discovered makes my anxiety disorder go crazy. (I’m still learning new things about my body despite being on this diet for so long). I’m in the process of trying to get diagnosed with Celiac Disease which will most likely mean that I have to eat gluten again for a couple months in order to get accurate test results.

  • Ana

    This is so amazing! Thank you for being so open to share such personal information about yourself. And thank you for showing the truth of how healthy diets should work. Having someone who can give solid, honest, and safe advice to many thousands of people is rare these days. You are truly incredible. You are so inspiring and I can’t tell you how much you have impacted so many lives. Thank you again for being so gracious to share with all of us, and know that we all truly appreciate everything you have to say ❤️❤️

  • Katelyn

    Hey Gen,
    It’s nice to hear about someone else who also has hypothyroidism as I have it. I’ve heard about this diet as well, but since I’m just starting on my journey, my doctor told me not to cut out anything yet because I am still young and growing. She suggested I wait until she has my medication regulated (basically on he proper dose for my thyroid) and then to take a look at my diet and see what I can cut. Now I’m a poor college student in a nursing program and have started hitting the textbooks I have for some answers. My entire moms side of the family also has hypothyroidism and it usually isn’t caught until your in your mid to late 30s. So, it’s a miracle they were able to catch mine while I’m 22. However the biggest thing they advocate it keeping active and eating healthy. One problem I have is that I’m currently restricted on physical activity due to a knee dislocation a year ago that is now coming back to haunt me, causing pain in my knee joint when I move the knee and sometimes making it impossible to get up some days. My doctor keeps telling me that I need to be healthy and active, but at the same time I shouldn’t be too active because of the knee problems. I would be interested to know what kind of work outs you do to keep in shape in order to try and become more active myself. I hope to have my movement restriction lifted once I visit my doctor and she orders the CT scan to look further into my knee problem. So, hopefully soon I’ll be back up and running like I used to.

  • Lorraine Yanick

    I’ve researched gluten (granted not in depth) and I panicked a bit because it seems like it’s everywhere! I felt like gluten free equated to starvation!
    I cannot wait for those recipes!

  • Jackie Bailey

    Thank you for bringing attention to this. Going gluten free has helped my auto immune issues. Gluten is so inflammatory. I found it is was easier than I thought it would be.

  • Holly

    Are your sons picky eaters? How has this been with them? I’ve come to understand you want your food to be colorful, and strive to stay away from white flour. My biggest worry is missing those tortillas and pasta! I have even tried wheat pasta and wheat flour shells because it’s definitely not the same.

  • Rachael

    You should read The Prime by Kulreet Chaudhary MD! It’s amazing and really focuses on cleaning the body and your gut ??

  • Kendra laytart

    You’re such a Beautiful and strong person. You make these life changing choices along with your children but you do research first. I love you so much!!!

  • Elena

    Can’t wait for your recipes. I have lupus and Crohn’s disease and have to eat clean. Eliminating gluten didn’t do much for me but I try to limit my intake for sure. Eliminating dairy, night shades, and high fat foods/fried/greasey foods/alcohol/caffeine/ spicy foods was super hard. But I feel so much better wrong clean.

  • Alexandra Rae

    Thanks Gen for this intriguing article. I too have never really thought too much of gluten free diets but I could definitely see the appeal. I’ll have to read some of the books you linked and maybe start to integrate it into my diet. We can all be a little healthier sometimes. ?

  • Karen

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, and the resources to begin our own journey. I have Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos and I have had to increas my medication dosage almost every 6 months for years now. Going gluten free a chance can’t hurt, so I think I’ll give it a try! Looking forward to your menu plans

  • Kristen

    The first thing that popped into my head when I read “thyroid” was Hashimotos, how it’s often co-morbid with Celiac disease specifically, which you probably know from all of your research is a bit more intense on the gluten-free front than most cases of straight-up gluten intolerance. Hubs and 2/3 of our boys were diagnosed with Celiac 10 years ago, and let me tell ya, products (not to mention public education and awareness as well as medical research!) have come a long way, baby! Most things that contain gluten to begin with are probably not what would be considered “clean” but let’s face it-clean eaters need pasta too. And cookies. Ya know. Books have great info but sometimes you need to know what other moms have fed their kids without mutiny. 😉 So that said, crazy as it might sound, my email is attached to this post… if you find yourself looking for a product or brand the kiddos might embrace should you decide to reduce their gluten, we’ve got lots of experience to share, since the oldest was only 5 when diagnosed. He’s made it to 15, so we must have landed on a few decent gf offerings here and there! 🙂

  • Kim

    Hi,
    I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, which is a thyroid disorder. I found information online from Isabella Wentz who is a naturopath and thyroid pharmacist online. It was very informative. It was about leaky gut and the things that it sounds like you have learned. I also have Crohn’s disease. I tested negative for Celiac. However, I also tried going gluten free for 3 months to see if it would have a positive effect. It was hard and expensive, but I had to give it a try to see if it would help with inflammation and to feel better. For me, unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, there was no improvement; but now I do eat healthier because of trying it. Good luck! It’s not convienient nor easy, but worth trying.

  • Destinee Mercer

    This is so inspirational and so eye opening, sorry I don’t have too much of a paragraph to comment but I just wanted to say great job and you’ve inspired me to change my life in a better way now! Thank you!

    Kind regards,
    Destinee Mercer

  • Rachel

    This is really challenging even with candy in the house from Halloween but im trying my best?

  • Erin Sayess

    Thank you so much for doing this. I’ve been waiting for this blog since your Instastory. My sister had tested positive for celiac disease and in the last 10 years has literally changed her entire life. I’ve had one test in my IGG tests came back negative. So I assumed my dietary issues were not related to celiac disease and more related to my anxiety and depression. Watching your Insta story enlightened me on how testing for celiac disease really works. While I may not actually have celiac disease I do know that personally I feel better when I eat better. My struggle is that I work night shift I have three kids I’m a single mom and I don’t really live in an area where they are farmers markets and great access to haul healthy food not that I’m aware of anyway. I ran my home in the soil is in that great. However I do envy people who have beautiful gardens that they eat from and chickens and other animals that they treasure in their daily lives. I look forward to your next blog and possibly a new lifestyle change for me for 2018. I’m done making excuses! Ordering Wheat Belly and GUT tonight….. stay tuned, lol 😉

  • Jax

    I also have hypothyroidism, and have had a lot of trouble with bread/certain types of wheat over the past few years. I’ve basically cut out bread but never seriously considered going GF because my celiacs test came back as “Inconclusive” (which I now know from your livestream means nothing!). GF diets seem overwhelmingly complicated (the soy sauce thing, yikes), and I have read they can be harmful because they deprive people of essential fibre, etc if they aren’t careful.
    This all said, I’m really glad you’re doing this! Your GF posts in my insta feed have been forcing me to think about it on a daily basis and I’m becoming more open minded every day. I’m looking forward to your recipe posts, and overall thoughts at the end of the week.

  • SupportBones

    When people are considering going GF they often look for all the wheat analogues/go a bit crazy w/GF snacks. From what you’ve shown us over the years you’re a clean eater; I’m willing to bet that you make a ton of recipes that are *already* gluten free. Grilled/roasted meats and vegetables, salads and smoothies. It’s worth going though your favorites and seeing which are naturally GF and if others could be adjusted. Use tamari (or Braggs) instead of soy sauce for your stir fry, use a corn tortilla for your taco (which is actually authentic), grab the GF oats for your oatmeal. These are changes you can make in the kitchen that don’t need to be announced, no one will notice. If you’re having sushi try to eat more sashimi instead of elaborate rolls w/possible hidden panko. My favorite dishes at my favorite Thai place were already GF (curried roast duck & chik. pad thai). If you want a shopping list of the best ‘bread’ analogue products at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or your local co-op, I’d be happy to provide one, you can benefit from my years of trial and error! I’d be using Trader Joe’s gluten free pumpkin pancake mix even if I didn’t need to – it’s so good. I think if you identified food you already make/like that’s GF you wouldn’t feel like it would require so much discipline to keep it up. Good luck! (get rid of dairy next!)

  • Rachel Raulerson

    OMG, I was so excited you were doing this challenge. I’m on a really restrictive inflammation diet right now — no gluten, dairy, caffeine, red meat, etc — and I’m sick of getting the side-eye when I ask if something is gluten-free. I agree with you completely about staying away from fads, and have had to fight hard to swallow down my instictive awkwardness and need to apologize for appearing difficult or too hipster.

    Also, when bread cravings are really intense? Oddly enough sweet potatoes make a great craving alternative. I like them roasted, but also mashing them together once they’re soft and then sticking them under the broiler with a little granulated garlic and pepper to crisp up is so, so good.

    I’m really looking forward to your recipes. Now that you’ve done this, any interest in doing a gluten casein diet? Because I bet you would come up with some amazing alternatives.

    Thank you for being so forthcoming with information during your testing this week. And thank you for doing the live Instagram with McCall McPherson. It was SO engaging and informative.

  • Trudy Handel

    I tried going off gluten last summer for two weeks. I have suffered from Bakers Cysts in both knees for many years – just standing still for any length of time was agony. After I’d been off gluten for two weeks, the Bakers Cysts disappeared and they haven’t returned, so I’m off gluten for good. Bakers Cysts are an inflammatory response, so I can only assume that I have a sensitivity to gluten, even though it’s not an outright allergy. There are so many different and delicious things to eat that don’t include gluten!

  • Susan

    I too have Hypothyroidism, and a myriad of other health problems (intestinal being one). I have found that going gluten free (100%) has been an impossible task for me. Money is one heck of a huge hurtle in going gluten free.

    Cutting back helps some, but the biggest one is checking the preservatives used in gluten products. I found this out when certain brands would bother me, yet not a single thing I baked myself would! (But working makes baking hard!)

    All that long windedness to say: I truly hope you continue to update! Would LOVE to hear your thoughts and experiences on this whole thing. I myself am too worn out to attempt much more than think about following through.

  • Kass Foley

    Been waiting desperately for this post and I am so happy you shared it with us! Although I personally don’t think I could go gluten free (I have a rebellious side too), you have definitely opened my eyes to the idea of what is healthy and why. I am definitely going to take more care about my food choices and what it will do to benefit MY body. Thanks Gen x

  • Brenda Lewis

    Well that was incredibly informative. You’ve piqued my interest in examining my own diet. As someone who middle-aged diabetic and hypertensive (what a cliché), I do try to eat healthier. Now I think there is some tweaking I could do. Everyone can improve right, thanks Gen

  • Linds

    I have hypothyrdoisim, too, and it’s something I’ve really struggled with over the last few years. It’s made losing weight and feeling healthy virtually impossible in my case, but you’ve piqued my interest.. I may have to try this, too. Thank you!

  • Christelle

    What I appreciate in this post is the fact that you are promoting the benefits of a gluten-free diet without demonizing other types of diets.
    I especially like the fact that you encourage people to try the experiment without feeling guilty and that any experience, no matter how small, can be beneficial.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    I love reading your posts, they are always full of little tips and kindness. Above all, keep going!
    Thank you Gen!

  • Ute

    I love your beautiful, insightful blogs! I am glad you decided to write them. They are full of life and interesting observations. Thank you for spreading joy in such a sad world!

  • Amy Shanley

    Glad you shared this. My hubby and sis in law both have celiac.

  • Agnetta

    My mother has hypothyroidism, and I’ve been tested several times but results always come back clear. I have so so many of the symptoms of hypo, not to mention a slew of depression and anxiety. I haven’t specifically tried gluten free, but I found a fresh and non processed food diet helps keep be balanced emotionally and physically. But difficult to maintain financially or preparation/cooking time and motivation.

    Is there any alcohol safe to drink besides hard cider? I don’t drink everyday, but sometimes you just have that day. Or few days.

  • Chloe

    I’ve been gluten free for about a year now due to coeliac disease and I’ve found that there are so many amazing gluten free versions of things like pasta and bread that helps soften the blow, you just have to try a few different ones to find your favourite. And also it’s really quite surprising how many restaurants have gluten free options and some even whole menus. Sometimes a gluten-containing food slips in but I find as long as I’m eating mostly gluten free that the odd thing here and there isn’t so much of a problem. I think it’s about control and I guess kind of like a diet and having a cheat day? But less cheat days.

  • Michelle Moss

    Looking forward to your recipes!! The one thing I’ve found so far in following this gluten free week with you is I lack imagination in the kitchen and find I’m eating the same thing over and over. That’s OK for a week but would get old quick for any longer period of time!! So thanks in advance for any and all recipes!!!

  • Geert Verschaeve

    Hey Gen, I’ve been searching for a way to reach out ever since I saw your Insta post about Hypo and gluten. Gluten has far reaching effects on it that most people don’t know about. So you have found a good doc! As I’m sure you are aware by reading all of those books, gluten attacks the intestinal wall, creates openings and allows food particles that are not supposed to be there into our blood stream. This makes our immune system go crazy and pushes it to attack our own cells and organs (the thyroid in your case). Given that my mission is to help people with anxiety and panic attacks for over a decade, gluten is an important bogey on the radar. I’m really hoping you will keep this up for more than a week, because the true effects will be felt at around the 30-day mark. The effects on your thyroid can take a bit longer. I’ve seen people going OFF their meds because of a glutenfree diet! Further interesting reading: “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the root cause” by Isabelle Wentz and “A mind of your own” by Dr Brogan (has Hypo herself). Good luck with your experiment!

  • Rachel Fishbein

    This is really awesome insight, Gen! I have congenital hypothyroidism, meaning that I was born without a thyroid gland period. I’ve been taking some form of synthroid since I was 3 days old. It seems that since 1991 when I was born/diagnosed, a lot of new science has developed around this disease. It wasn’t until I was 18 that my doctor told me to wait an hour between taking the pill and eating, and just that development made my mornings difficult because, ya know, college. Only in the past year have I learned about dietary restrictions, particularly soy, and those came from blog posts rather than my doctor.
    It’s a weird time in my life surrounding this. I had a thyroid check about a month ago, and my levels are a little out of whack. However, I was also preparing to move interstate for a new job the following week, so I wasn’t very diligent about taking my meds. Now I’ve moved, but my new insurance isn’t valid until December, so it’s hard to get medical advice right now. I’m planning on Whole30 as a self-correcting start to better, more thyroid-friendly dietary lifestyle. My older sister had a lot of success with it for weightloss, so it’s worth a try while I don’t have access to a nutritionist who would know how to approach this.

  • Julie

    Thank you Gen, for sharing this. Currently, I am fortunate to not know of any medical condition I have although I have been tested for many things this year, mostly involving my tummy/heart/mental health on some level, due to very stressful recent events. I understand the links between the gut and the brain and I am trying to maintain a reasonabley healthy form for as long as I can by eating clean and exercising regularly, although as I’m sure many would agree it’s not always easy. I too love tortilla chips! Like yourself, I have felt a relatively quick difference in my body when I have avoided gluten, over a short period of time and I intend to continue with it, as much as possible. I have not been diagnosed as gluten or wheat intolerant, thankfully, but I notice the changes when I steer clear. I feel new to it, like yourself, but by reading your article, it has spurred me on to continue with clean eating and avoiding gluten where and when I can. Thank you Gen! I love your honestly, level headed-ness and the fact that you want to share your story. ? I look forward to reading more. X

  • Kimberly

    Currently I am living and working at an ashram, and here we deal with so many various dietary variations, and gluten free is one of the major ones. I have found that gluten free options taste better homemade and fresh! Bagels are super easy and fun to make, and they actually taste better than gluten ones, and exploring out to other cultures, recently we have been exploring a lebanese flatbread, that really can be turned into so many things, from thick buns to nann, and even with a little suger and fresh fruit on top, a dessert. I found gradual conversion from gluten to gluten free helped me not to binge on the multigrain sour dough, and also if it doesnt taste good- dont eat it! Yummy foods send all the good hormones out to the body, and not enjoying the food being put into the body isnt helping any part. Its great to know Im not the only one who rolled her eyes so hard at the gluten free trend. Happy eating!

  • Jess

    I’ve been gluten free for 2 years now and it has been a life changer! I suffered regularly from chronic migraines and headaches, sometimes getting 2 or 3 on a weekly basis. After a month of going GF, I felt so much better! I had a ton more energy, migraines and headaches were gone and I lost 10 lbs! I tried to use organic wheat and bam I got a migraine. It’s been hard giving it up but gosh do I feel great! Some great websites for GF recipes – kimberlysnyder.com, foodmatters.com, thehealthyapple.com and makingthymeforhealth.com. I’m still looking for a recipe for homemade tortillas lol. Oat flour has been a great substitute for me. I even have a great pizza crust using oat flour. Love the site!! Lots of great info. Thank you!!

    • Tracey

      Hi Jess,

      I too suffer from very bad daily headaches, and 3-4 migraines a week. I have done a lot of research about migraines, but have never come across anything associating the migraines and gluten. So I am going to try doing a week gluten free, like Gen, because a week sounds more manageable than a month! Thank you for sharing your story! ?

  • Clarissa Lins

    Gen I have systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE) that made me lose my kidneys. During the hemodialysis phase my nutritionist recommended me a gluten- free diet. At the time I did not understand. Today I am transplanted, but I can not overload my renal graft, so when I have fluid retention, swellings, I do the gluten-free diet and I immediately feel positive. My lupus is in remission since 2013. And knowing of active lupus leaves inflammatory cells in the body. This diet helped me control my Systemic Lupus erythema and conserve my kidney received.

  • Aleksandra

    Hello! I live in Russia 🙂
      It was hard for me to read your text, but it was very interesting to me
    At me too gipoterioz, but my doctor appoints or nominates to me only hormones, for maintenance of a normal hormonal background
    I also want to try not to use gluten, I’m only 20 years old, maybe I have a great chance to improve my health !!

  • Dawn

    Gen, not to split hairs, but has your nutritionist ever talked about GMO’s? Does it make a difference if the gluten contains them? Just wondering since I’m also considering gluten free.

  • April

    I’ve been following your gluten free journey over instagram. I usually pass up those things, but it helped to know that you were originally a skeptic. I have not been to a dr in ages. Not that I don’t need it! (A myriad of problems). Thyroid disease runs in my family also on the women’s side. My sister even ended up with thyroid cancer (she beat it!) I never feel good. I always have digestive issues and extreme fatigue paired with crippling depression and anxiety among many other things. The last few weeks had been worse. Once I really took a step back, I noticed a trend of my diet being mostly bread related because it’s easiest with kids right?? Not only that, sandwiches aren’t supposed to feel like needles in your mouth eh? Just found out it’s not like that for everyone. Lol. So! All that being said, I, myself would very much appreciate if you thought of doing a blog post of gluten free recipes for the average busy maybe semi poor mom.

  • April

    I’ve been following your gluten free journey over instagram. I usually pass up those things, but it helped to know that you were originally a skeptic. I have not been to a dr in ages. Not that I don’t need it! (A myriad of problems). Thyroid disease runs in my family also on the women’s side. My sister even ended up with thyroid cancer (she beat it!) I never feel good. I always have digestive issues and extreme fatigue paired with crippling depression and anxiety among many other things. The last few weeks had been worse. Once I really took a step back, I noticed a trend of my diet being mostly bread related because it’s easiest with kids right?? Not only that, sandwiches aren’t supposed to feel like needles in your mouth eh? Just found out it’s not like that for everyone. Lol. So! All that being said, I, myself would very much appreciate if you thought of doing a blog post of gluten free recipes for the average busy maybe semi poor mom.

  • Samara

    Going gluten-free is of course your choice, and it may be one with serious benefits to your health. However, it is not, as you say, “zero harm in avoiding gluten.” A gluten-free diet can mean your body doesn’t get enough vitamin B, iron, and folate. Also, gluten-free versions of certain products (ie bagels,) can have more than twice the fat and sugar of regular bagels. Maybe you’ve taken all of that into consideration, but you shouldn’t claim that there’s “zero harm.” I know you’re a big reader (yay!) and you believe in the power of words (double yay!). If you’d consider changing your blog to reflect a more accurate representation of the benefits and drawbacks of a gluten-free diet, that would be awesome.
    –A High School Bio Teacher

  • Trish

    Thank you for posting this! This just pushed me to try it out. I’ve been seeing gluten-free eating repetitively and when I see things several times, I feel like it’s the Universe telling me something. I too have hypothyroidism and have had ridiculous weight gain. I should workout, but usually don’t have the energy for it, so I know I need to do something.

  • Jen

    Hey Gen!
    I have to say, I’ve been looking forward to reading this one. I, myself, have considered trying a gluten free diet for a period of time now but I have absolutley no idea on how to go about doing it. I enjoy my whole wheat breads and tortillas. I think that it would have to be a progression for me. This was extremely insightful and I am so glad that you enjoyed it and found some differences in your week. I look forward to what you come up with next. Much love to you and your beautiful family! Thank you for sharing!! xoxox

  • Sandy

    HI Gen, Thanks for doing this on Gluten. I was diagnosed with RSD/CRPS in 2013 after suffering 7 years of severe pain to the point of becoming bedridden. My weight escalated 90lbs due to inactivity. After being diagnosed, I started infusions to control the pain and was told to go gluten-free because of the inflamatory aspects of the disease. I am now 90lbs lighter and can honestly vouch for going Gluten Free. I am no 62 years old and I think anyone at that age has aches and pains of their joints, avoiding Gluten does work. Now if they could find a cure for RSD/CRPS I would be GREAT!!!! Thanks again.

  • Tracey

    Hi Gen,
    Thank you for all this information! I was wondering if you had trouble finding a Dr that believes in thyroid problems? I have read a few books about it, and have learned that some of the thyroid tests aren’t accurate. And that some people can have symptoms even if their thyroid levels are “within the normal range”. But my Dr doesn’t believe anything I’ve told him. He says my levels are “in the normal range”, and that there’s no possibility I could be having symptoms!
    Thank you so much for this insightful, beautiful blog! I am really enjoying it! My only wish? That you could post more often! ?. But I also have 3 kids, so I know there’s only so much time left for things like this. God Bless you and your family.

    Tracey

  • Shana

    Hey! It’s nice to see people giving Gluten Free a real go! My mom has Celiac’s Disease. She, unfortunately, did not get diagnosed until she was 38. Out of the blue, she had a grand mal seizure from consuming gluten. She already had developed thyroid problems which were contributed to other issues. Did you know 1 in 100 people have Celiac’s Disease and are unaware? Continuing to consume gluten when you have Celiac’s can cause an amazing amount of organ damage, auto immune diseases and neurological disorders! It can also cause infertility. Celiac’s is not the only reason to avoid gluten, however. There are a lot of other benefits. You are right about it helping a bloated “wheat belly”. There is also a gluten face, though! I own a small gluten free, peanut free and tree nut free bakery in Salem, Virginia. (As I sd, my mom has Celiac’s…my 9 year old son is anaphylactic to all nuts. It’s super scary!) As a baker, I strive to convince people that gluten free does not have to taste bad! You can still have your multigrain bread and it taste phenomenal! Please stop by if you ever come my way. Best regards!

  • Shavon Houk

    I have hypo too. It’s been pretty consistent the past year. Before that it was all over the place. had to be checked every three months. Such a nightmare. But I will try gluten free for a month and see how it goes! I have gained weight this past year though which is super annoying when your hypo because it’s like you can’t lose it unless your body feels like it regardless of how much you work out.

  • Michaela

    Wow, thanks for sharing Genevieve! I have problems with my thyroid too, but no one ever told me that a gluten-free diet could improve my status… So I think I might give it a try (after some planning of course – otherwise I know I would fail).

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