Gluten Free, Week 6

This weekend marks the 6th week of my gluten free diet. (For those of you who might not know, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species.) I mentioned it flippantly in a post about a month ago but didn’t really elaborate much. I suppose I felt like if I was going to go into all the details, I might as well see if it was something worth mentioning. At the beginning of February, I was feeling absolutely awful. I was tired all the time, I kept getting the horrible headaches (I’m not sure if I can technically call them migraines but they made me nauseous until I fell asleep). I often would feel sick if we ate out resulting in bloating, stomachaches, and headaches.

Around mid-February, we spent a weekend in Illinois with my 14 year old sister. She has celiac disease and has been gluten free for three years (my mom also has a gluten sensitivity). I explained exactly how I had been feeling and without hesitation she said, “You should go gluten free. Seriously.” It was like a light flipped on and I immediately felt this twinge of hope. The next day I eliminated gluten from my diet and I haven’t gone back.*

*Okay I had to put that asterisk there because I did cheat one day. About 3 weeks in, I started mentally freaking out. “I want a hamburger. I need REAL pizza.”  These were the thoughts going through my head. Deep, huh? I caved and ended up eating a burger and fries. I felt sick for the next 24 hours. Not dangerously ill…but not exactly how I’d like to live my life. That’s when it hit me. I need to live my life so that I feel best. I don’t need a blood test proving that I have any type of disease, I don’t need to prove to anyone that it’s for the best, and I certainly don’t need  to eat hamburgers. And to be honest, it hasn’t been difficult since that hamburger-nomming day.

So what do I eat? Well I eat a lot of things. Really delicious things. Below is just a sampling of my favorite gluten free brands:

  1. Udi’s granola paired with yogurt
  2. Gluten Free Pantry’s sandwich bread! I make a loaf and freeze half. Lasts me 2 weeks!
  3. Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust. Delicious and we can choose our own toppings.
  4. Udi’s Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. So so good. Better than regular bagels in my opinion.
  5. Tito’s vodka. Made in a gluten free facility and pretty darn good.
  6. Orange San Pellegrino. My guilty pleasure. Who needs candy or pop?
  7. Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Rolled Oats.
  8. Annie’s Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese. So easy. Comfort food.

And really, these are the only brands I really go out of my way to buy. Besides these, we pretty much eat meat, produce, and eggs. It’s so easy to pick up corn chips (instead of flour) or take an extra minute to make sure the cheese you’re about to buy is all-natural and gluten free. Plus, we’re saving money because we don’t go out to eat as much (I’m thankful that if I’m not up for cooking we have Chipotle, Noodles and Co, and Zpizza are minutes away).

So there’s my story. I feel awesome and I’m being intentional with my diet. I truly hope that when people read this or find out, they don’t feel like I’m trying to convince them to do something. If anything, I’d rather encourage people to really look at what they’re eating. It’s so important. I read a lot of what Dr. Mercola writes and his thoughts on gluten are really interesting.

Feel free to recommend any brands or products! I’m always up for finding and trying new things. I’m hoping that every weekend I can take some photos and share some of my favorite GF recipes here on the blog. I’m weird about getting really good lighting when photographing food so that usually doesn’t happen while I’m cooking dinner during the week. I have a GF coffee cake recipe that is 10x better than ANY other coffee cake in existence. I’ll share it next week.

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24 Comments
  • Jewel at Eat.Drink.Shop.Love.
    Posted at 10:22h, 23 March Reply

    Try Peanut Flour! It’s gluten free.

    • Allison
      Posted at 10:34h, 23 March Reply

      Oh I will definitely try it out! Thanks Jewel!

  • kim
    Posted at 10:32h, 23 March Reply

    This couldn’t have come at a more poignant time! I too have just started out on a gluten free diet. It was a bit daunting at first, thinking about all of the things I’ll miss out on – cake, croissants, thick crusty bread…but one week on, I feel tons better and actually really excited about the diversity of my meals now. Thanks for sharing this and being so open about it, really looking forward to some of your upcoming recipes!

    Kim >.<

    • Allison
      Posted at 10:36h, 23 March Reply

      Hi Kim! I agree, the first 3 weeks (for me) were the most difficult. After I slipped up and ate a hamburger, I realize the QUALITY of the food I was eating while gluten free was so much better. I’ve been loving all of the fresh produce and I don’t feel sick when I eat my gluten free bread, bagels and pizza. I just spent some time over on your blog–I love it!

  • Andrea
    Posted at 11:01h, 23 March Reply

    Haha! I love that Titos made the list :D

    SO Delicious stuff is gluten free and their ice cream is awesome sauce (though expensive). Al Fresca chicken sausages are GF and very tasty.

    I’m not a big carb person in general so I usually eat my burgers (and veggie burgers) with out the bun. Bonus, without all the extra fullness of the carbs, I can have two! :)

    Ezekiel breads might be (double check on that), they are sprouted grains so possibly more digestible? They’re in the freezer section of the grocery stores and are really tasty. Different but I love them.

    • Allison
      Posted at 11:41h, 23 March Reply

      Haha a girl’s gotta have her cocktail! Thanks for those recs, Andrea!! I have some of that bread in our freezer right now from awhile ago. I need to check it out.

      Ps your blog (while not GF focuses) has been one of my favorite resources for recipes since I started this.

      • Andrea
        Posted at 15:35h, 23 March Reply

        Thanks Allie! I appreciate that! I need to get my butt in gear and get more recipes typed up. I’m way way behind!

  • Joe
    Posted at 11:09h, 23 March Reply

    Nice, my wife Courtney is g-free since just before Christmas. Has made a big difference for her from the same situation you were in. I am not gluten free, but I have to say…I do love SanPellegrino haha. Totally addicted.

    We’ve found BoneFish grill has a decent gfree menu if you want to class it up a bit. Also, I’m not sure if Pucinnis Pizza is in Ohio but if you see one stop in for a pizza. Everyone we know that is gfree LOVES their pizza. As someone who is still living in gluten sin…I have to say their gfree pizza is pretty good.

    • Allison
      Posted at 11:39h, 23 March Reply

      Mmm isn’t San Pell so delicious? I get excited when we get it. I’ll have to look up where that pizza place is! Thanks for the rec, Joe!

      Also, tell your wife if she has any favorite recipes to contact me. I’d love to swap.

  • Shanna
    Posted at 11:25h, 23 March Reply

    I heard recently that going gluten-free without having a sensitivity to it or celiacs can actually be bad for your health. Of course I can’t remember where I heard it. Anyone know anything about the claim? I’ve considered going gluten-free because of digestive issues but it seems so hard, any other tips, or meal plans?

    • Allison
      Posted at 11:38h, 23 March Reply

      Hi Shanna,

      I’ve spoken to my mom (a nurse who works closely with holistic health and doctors) and really the only danger is not getting enough magnesium in your diet if you eliminate these grains. You can get that magnesium by soaking your feet in Epsom salt a few times a week.

      Honestly my mom and sisters feelings towards going gluten free are: if you feel better after removing it, you probably were affected by it. We weren’t made to eat so much processed food (and going gluten free moves most of the including preservatives, food coloring or artificial flavorings).

      And this isn’t just “no-carb.” I’m eating a lot of rice, fruit, beans, etc. I know my sister had to go through an elimination diet to find some of the foods that were causing her issues. Not JUST gluten. She also can’t have black pepper or garbanzo beans. For some it’s dairy.

      I’ll be sharing 3 recipes per week (a breakfast, lunch and dinner) so check back next week. Also feel free to email me if you ever need ideas!

  • Hannah
    Posted at 12:30h, 23 March Reply

    So excited to see this post! I’m currently on day 12 of my gluten and dairy free trail because I was having all the same feelings you described for months and months!
    After 3 days I felt better already, its insane isn’t it!

    Can’t wait to see the meals you post :)

    • Allison
      Posted at 21:08h, 23 March Reply

      Yes! What great timing. I hope my recipes will help :)

  • Heather P
    Posted at 12:56h, 23 March Reply

    Yay! I’m glad you tracked down the Titos! It’s our house Vodka- and we’re not even GF…. it’s a good one for martini’s or mixers.

    • Adam Lehman
      Posted at 16:12h, 23 March Reply

      And a good one for not mixing…. :)

  • Susan
    Posted at 09:55h, 24 March Reply

    I have been gluten for almost 7 years now. There is no doubt that I feel better. I am also dairy free. (for the most part.)

    For me, much of the damage of not going gluten free (or even knowing what that was when I was younger) is done. I have likely done enough damage to my small intestine or gotten my enzymes so off, that I have Pernicious anemia, or chronic B-12 deficiency. I have B12 shots weekly.

    I think that an elimination diet is a great way to see if what you are eating is causing you troubles… It can’t hurt anyway.

  • Valerie
    Posted at 16:57h, 27 March Reply

    I determined my gluten intolerance last summer after spending the weekend with a friend who has celiac disease. I realized I hadn’t been sick all weekend since I was eating what she ate. It runs in my family, so I wasn’t shocked, but still a little heartbroken (I love beer). I would never turn back now. When people question why I eat GF or if I actually have celiac disease, my husband always points out that as long as he’s known me, I always had a stomachache – until I started eating gluten free. When I’m accidentally exposed, I get pretty sick since it’s been out of my system for so long. I try to rely on naturally gluten-free foods, but some of my favorite “specialty” brands are Daura beer, Jules Baking Mixes and Flour, Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Dough (we always grill our pizzas), Chebe Pizza Dough, Glutino Pretzels, NutThins Crackers, and Crunchmaster multi-seed crackers. I buy most of these things on Amazon because they are way cheaper, but you do have to buy a larger quantity usually (3-12 packages). I share extras with my friend or my mom if we won’t eat them before they expire.
    Marcella’s and Basil are other good places to eat around town – actually, I think all Cameron Mitchell Restaurants have GF menus. Oh – and Spinelli’s Deli and Jason’s Deli are good for sandwiches! Good luck!

  • candace m.
    Posted at 12:57h, 28 March Reply

    girl, girl, girl…we need to get together. i have so many tidbits of info.

  • Pingback:allison lehman : show + tell / Hello Adulthood: Healthy Living
    Posted at 07:01h, 21 June Reply

    […] been gluten free since February 2012 and I haven’t regretted it once. Oh and you can read my post about going gluten-free and some of my favorite […]

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    Posted at 07:03h, 10 July Reply

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  • Carol
    Posted at 14:52h, 25 August Reply

    Hi Allison-So glad I found your blog. Like you I have been feeling so lousy for years with headaches (my dr. wanted me to have a CAT scan), joint pain, constant fatigue and of course stomachaches (that could incompasinate me for days at a time). I happen to catch Dr. Oz’s videos on gluten sensitivity and that sealed the deal. I decided I would try eating gluten-free this summer while on summer vacation from teaching. OMG! HUGE difference! I can’t believe how much better I feel. I so appreciate your sampling of gf brands. Please keep them coming!

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    Posted at 07:01h, 28 January Reply

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  • Kelli Brochon
    Posted at 08:14h, 19 August Reply

    It is very important that you have a diagnosis for Celiac. Celiac is an auto immune disease that can seriously destroy your intestines. Inside your intestines you have little hair like structures whose job is to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals and if you have Celiac, those are destroyed by your immune system. The problem is, if you stop eating gluten before you go for testing the results will not be accurate. Additionally, it is important to be under a doctors care because it is very common to develope another auto immune disorder such as RA or Lupus once your immune system has been compromised. Just wanted to share this important thought.

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