A few months ago, I posted about being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. If you haven’t read that post, I recommend you go read it here then come back to this post.
With Hashimoto’s disease, if I eat gluten, my immune system sees it as a poison and starts attacking it. That in itself isn’t really a bad thing, but then my immune system starts attacking my thyroid because the hormones produced by it look very similar to gluten. This throws off the thyroid production and usually causes hypothyroidism (underproduction of the thyroid hormones). With that can come abnormal weight gain, tiredness, hair loss, cold intolerance, etc.
Hashimoto’s disease doesn’t have a cure, but it does have treatments. One of which you might have guess: reducing the gluten in my diet (quick note: when I use the word “diet” I am not referring to a weight-loss diet, I am just talking about my daily food intake).
However, I really struggle with being completely gluten-free.
I really love food, and thanks to my Greek roots, I really love pasta and bread. Can you get a lot of these foods in gluten-free versions? Absolutely! Do they taste as good? Sometimes, but most of the time, they leave much to be desired. A lot of restaurants still don’t offer gluten-free options. Unless you want a salad… every day… at every meal…
And gluten is in EVERYTHING! Not just in food, especially food you wouldn’t expect (like soy sauce. who knew?), but in things such as makeup, body wash/lotion, medicines, etc.
Since I am not allergic, just intolerant, I don’t worry about that stuff ^^^ for right now. I’m just trying to focus on the gluten in my food, one day at a time. Really, one meal at time. And I mess up constantly because I have a serious lack of willpower. Did I mention that I really like food???
It makes it even harder that I work in the food-service industry. Being surrounded by food combined by my lack of willpower works out well for me [insert very sarcastic tone]… But the good thing is more and more people are becoming aware of food sensitivities like gluten, dairy, etc., so more options are becoming available. If only Bojangles’ would come out with a GF biscuit.
Not only am I supposed to be gluten-free, but I am also supposed to be dairy-free. Can you guess how this is going?!
I am not just lactose-intolerant though, I am casein-intolerant (casein is a protein in dairy that looks a lot like gluten to your body, so of course it makes sense that I would be intolerant to that as well) too. I’ve never been much of a milk drinker, so that part isn’t hard. However a lot of recipes use milk, so I usually just substitute it with coconut or almond milk. With cheese, I try to get cheeses that aren’t made from cow’s milk, such as goat or sheep cheese. My body seems to not have as many issues digesting that type of dairy. And as for yogurt, I really love Greek yogurt, which I also don’t seem to have as many issues digesting (something about the yogurt-making process makes it easier for the body to digest than just straight milk from what I understand).
Some other things I am doing is taking a thyroid pill (my doctor prescribed Nature-Throid for me) and vitamins B12 and D3 every day. Along with the intolerances already mentioned, Hashimoto’s (combined with the PCOS symptoms I also have) make it hard for my body to absorb these vitamins directly from my food. I sound like so much fun, don’t I?!
Anyway, I think this post has gotten a little lengthy, so I am going to stop here. If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I am sure I will talk more about this in the future as I am always learning and adapting to this lifestyle change.
Also, here are a couple links if you are interested in some more gluten-free reading:
***Note: I am not an expert on any of the below information nor would I ever claim to be. I am just posting on my experience, what my personal doctor and I have discussed, what I have personally researched, and what I have found that works for me. Every person is different and I am not medical professional, so please keep that in mind and make sure to talk to your doctor before implementing any changes to your diet/lifestyle.
***Another note: there is a big difference between an ALLERGY and a SENSITIVITY. I am sensitive, not allergic, to the things I mention above. I also use the words “sensitivity” and “intolerance” interchangeably (though I am sure this is probably an incorrect use of the English language lol).