Sunday, November 28, 2010

Big Changes

I mentioned recently that I recently have changed my diet because of celiac disease.

I've known for years that I don't react well to gluten, especially that foggy-headed feeling, fertility and cycle issues, emotional swings, etc. The times I have managed to get off of it, I have felt so much better, but since I had a polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis, my focus was always on the relationship that carbohydrate digestion had in relation to how I felt.

When I was on Atkins, I felt considerably better. Six years ago, when he still took insurance, I went to Dr. Mercola's clinic. The first thing they do (and I think it is being offered for free right now on his site), is metabolic typing, which is related to the work of Paul Chek and others (its not the blood test, but picks up on signs on how fast you digest, and whether you are digesting foods thoroughly). The right food for my metabolic type -- which was a fast oxidizer -- meaning I wasn't digesting much, and I needed higher fat/protein, and fewer carbohydrates. I did that for three months, and felt amazingly well (why I fell off is another story). Also they did sensitivity testing -- the kind where you hold a container holding a potential irritant, and they tell you to hold out your other arm, and try to press your arm down. I am highly skeptical of that, but I did not tell her about my known sensitivities to dairy and soy, and my suspicion about wheat, and I could discern no difference in how she pressed down on my arm, yet I couldn't hold my arm up against the pressure when I held those things, and also corn. I never even had skin contact with these, though. Maybe the body is much more aware of threats in our surroundings than we are consciously aware of.

But in my "on the go" lifestyle, I didn't seem to have enough motivation. Three months ago, though, I had surgery on an umbilical hernia caused by my c-section scar in my muscle wall opening up again. After that, things got worse. I've read on several sites that celiac can start after surgeries.

I was dealing with frequent diarrhea, and something called steatorrhea I'll let you read about it if you want to, because it's not pleasant, but its a sign that I wasn't absorbing nurients. My ability to cope and think straight were rapidly declining. When I had my check up with my endocrinologist, the blood tests came back very low for vitamin D, and I am taking a lot.

Given my experience before, and the fact that I also have pre-diabetes (hyper-insulinemia, insulin resistance, Syndrome has lots of names), my inclination has not been to go to substitute flours and products. I don't have the patience or desire to try a whole bunch of things that range from really bad to "almost as good as wheat," and to deal with my kids complaining about it. Rice flour and other flours are also just as much simple carbohydrate, and not good for my blood sugar issues. So after reading a lot about my options, looking at my past experience, I decided that Paleo eating was the best method for me and my family (though obviously, my family is not under the same level of restrictions. The kids can have treats, these treats are just not going to sit around the house).

Basically, paleo eating is based on the work of Dr. Loren Cordain. I reject the evolutionary basis of it, but still think know that this type of eating is fairly pleasant for me, seems to work well with my metabolism, and has a history of working well with people with metabolic issues and gluten issues, and has been known to reverse autoimmune damage such as Hashimotos, celiac, and even Diabetes type 1. It is simply eating meat, vegetables, and fruit. No grains, no sugar. Unlike Atkins, it doesn't restrict the amount of vegetables. The resource I am using most is a book by Robb Wolf, called The Paleo Solution, with more deference to grassfed meats, coconut oil and milk, etc.. It's a good read.

I know. Lots of people with celiac still eat rice, quinoa, and other grains, and what about beans? From what I have read in many sources, legumes and most grains, and particularly quinoa, while they don't contain gluten, still have chemicals in them that are supposed to irritate our gut -- and keep it from healing so that I start absorbing nutrients better again. The two most important of these irritants are saponins -- a soap like coating on grains and quinoa (quinoa has ALOT), and phytic acids. Some of these can be washed away or soaked in a slightly acidic water, but not all can be removed, so for that reason, all grains and legumes will be avoided -- except that my one "fast food" exception is a steak bowl at Chipotle - with rice and beans. It's my one coping fall back. I'm really not allowing others.

But I'm good at roasting or grilling. We already get grassfed meat and pastured chicken and eggs, and raw milk. So there's going to be a lot of taking care of my self, having soups made with my homemade bone broths, more coconut products than previously, because those are very healing to the gut and the immune system, and stuff like that.

Unfortunately, when diets change this drastically, there is a detox phenomenon. For some it is barely noticeable. For me, it often is. Sometimes it is getting really sick. More often it is getting really emotional. And going right from the emotions of the malabsorption I was experiencing to the detox of the diet change, it was really rough. And the toxins that are sometimes released are neurotransmitters that are linked to some very real issues. Considering that this last year has brought a lot of stress to the surface in regard to my parents and siblings, finances, my domestic abilities, and other issues, they are all coming back up.

And I do seem to be through most of it. I was really touched by my friends' responses (and the turkey soup!!!). Thank you, very much. You guys mean the world to me. You really do.


Elephantschild said...


You are awesome!

Elephantschild said...

BTW, while I had some GI issues with wheat, by far the brain function stuff was the biggest issue.

Going off of wheat/gluten was like going ON an anti-depressant. Honestly.

Glenda said...

Interesting! I'm just finishing the book, "The Protein Power Lifeplan," by the Drs. Eades. They talk all about the Paleo diet. I agree with your disagreement of the evolutionary basis, and it is a fascinating read.

Matt said...

Cool thoughts and postings... my wife would appreciate alot of what you express ;-)

Just was looking for pastoral statistics and a link here came up...

anywho... back to work...


The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Glenda, Eades is mentioned a lot by paleo proponents as well. Is it ia good book?

Glenda said...

Yes it is. What I like most is their knowledge that not everyone is going to go gung-ho and do everything. So they have three commitment levels, "hedonist, dilettante, and purist." They explain that at the hedonist level one can still get good health benefits and still enjoy God's good gifts (not their words, mine). The purist level is for those who want the maximum benefit which could mean needing to do this for health reasons or simply wanting to do it. An example is that a hedonist could still enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and eat some grains, where a purist would abstain from all alcohol and grains. The dilettantes are somewhere in the middle.

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Thank you for posting this. I have been dealing with some of the same symptoms that you brought up, and after reading your link about malabsorption (better than the chiro.'s info and any searches I had come up with, let alone any conclusive answer from my physician) makes me think that may be what I am dealing with.

I can't wait to check into this further. I am miserable. I am behind on blog reading (obviously!).