A lot of people have told me that they want to be healthier so they want to know about going gluten free. Some of these people have other food allergies, others have diabetes, others have hormonal issues, some of had heart problems, and some just want to eat better.
But it’s all SO OVERWHELMING!!!!
I mean, everywhere you look you see some new marketing ploy to have less calories and no sugar and blah blah blah. So who do you believe? How do you know what to choose if you aren’t a doctor or nutritionist?
Well, let me tell you first where I am coming from, you can decide if I am a reliable source, and then take my advice in any way you choose.
I am now 27. I have spent the last 13 years of my life being sick in some form or fashion. When I was in 8th grade, I was the largest girl in my class wearing a women’s size 18. So, I did what most kids do, I got active. I was in club and school volleyball and dance so was easily exercising 5-6 times a week. And sure enough I lost weight, But not for long. My junior year in high school, something changed, and all of a sudden, all that weight just came back. I tried everything. First I tried birth control pills to help regulate my cravings and crazy bad periods….no good. Then, I found Nuvaring, liked it for 10 years, then found that it built up in my body and wreaked all sorts of havoc on me. I have now had 7 surgeries and am in line for my 8th. All were designed around symptoms that in some way or another were hormonally affected and very likely some good have been avoided all together. Let me list out the symptoms I had over time and you tell me if any of that sounds like you: constant headaches, severe seasonal allergies, irritable bowel, migraines, painful and irregular periods, painful and swollen joints, exhaustion, insomnia, trouble waking up and trouble falling asleep, trouble with memory, trouble focusing, frequent diarrhea/constipation, severe weight gain, nausea, etc. The list went on and on and on.
I have literally seen at least 100 doctors and had 95% of them scoff at me or just blatantly laugh in my face. Some told me it was in my head, some told me ‘lose 50 lbs and it will go away’, others diagnosed me with everything under the son. I had fibromyalgia, depression, PCOS, PMDD, IBS, prediabetes, etc etc etc.
At one point, taking a dozen pills each day and half were to deal with the side effects from the others! As I said before, I have had 7 surgeries now, a dozen diagnoses, and 100s of doctors all to discover that I could control it myself!
So I will start this by telling you, you can’t force someone to change their lifestyle if they are not ready. It takes a metaphorical slap in the face for you to get that this is a change you have to make for life. If you’re there, lets get started.
Mine started with a letter that I randomly received in the mail; it was an ad for a chiropractor that talked about undiagnosed thyroid symptoms and offered a free dinner if you attended. So I signed me and my mom up. We listen doctor swear up and down that he could show us how wrong the medical world had been and really fix me. It was pretty convincing and we were sold. *Please be aware that some of these are scams and just ways to make money, so research the idea first (I have been scammed by the hcg diet that a doctor offered to ‘short circuit; weight loss and only was a quick way for her to make thousands off of me-learn how your body works before you waste your time, money, and even risk your health). Sure enough, I go in and meet this chiropractor, tell him my symptoms , and he sends me for bloodwork. A week later he comes back and tells me I have an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is basically where my body decides to attack my thyroid because it thinks it doesn’t belong…it is a form of hypothyroidism. On top of all that , I was going to have to go gluten free because when your body ingests gluten, it looks like thyroid hormone, so my body will see the gluten and say ‘hey look, thyroid hormone, go attack the thyroid’. And even worse, most allergies travel in pairs…i.e., if you have one, you probably have another. I admit it, I cried. What was I going to do? This all sounded so overwhelming!
Well, he made it real simple, and I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could and now find myself in chiropractic school learning the same things so that I can then pass them on to my patients.
Here is my step by step outline/ guide to wellness: Please keep in mind, this is based on experience and knowledge that I have attained, but that I am only a student doctor and each case varies by person.
1) You have to do a full body cleanse. By this I mean the 21 day allergy test. This is a food cleanse that starts out with 3 days of nothing but a small amount of water/lemon/honey combo drink ….it is very important to do this under doctor supervision so because you are severely limiting your calories….the idea here is not to lose weight, but to force your body to cleanse itself of toxins. This 3 day fast should be done on a weekend where little is done and so you can stay hydrated. You can drink as much as you want, but you have to limit the amount of honey in it to a very small amount (a tablespoon or so per glass). I cannot stress how important it is to stay on top of your thirst with this. You are ingesting so few calories that by the 3rd day, you will definitely be feeling hypoglycemia.. P.S. keep a bag of cauliflower in the fridge. Worst case scenario, if you are going to pass out, eat 1/2 cup of cauliflower and then continue on. The biggest symptoms I had were a headache and a few dizzy spells.
2) The second part of the cleanse is the food allergy part. You start off eating items that will not cause any reactions at all in most people.
This is a great website to outline what you should and should not eat during the remaining 18 days…..http://blog.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/2013/07/27/an-allergy-elimination-diet-plan-health-benefits-recipes/
The only thing she doesn’t address correctly is eliminating seafood and nuts as well.
So the idea is, for about 4 days you are not allowed to eat any of the most common allergens: seafood, nuts, eggs, dairy, tomatoes, citrus, artificial sugars, bread products, pastas, corn, chocolate, and soy. The link above give you a good idea of what you can eat during this time, so don’t panic!
After 4 days, add one of the allergens back in for 1 day, then remove it for 2 days….if you don’t have a reaction, add it back in permanently. You continue to do this until you have added in all the items and identified any problem items.
If it turns out that none of those allergens were problems for you, GREAT! You still detoxed your system and now you know allergies are not the problem.
so let’s talk changing what you eat!
3) No one can overhaul their diet completely overnight, and it’s really hard to maintain that, so don’t try. Instead think of these six simple rules of thumb:
The more natural (less processed) the food is, the better it is for me.
This is as simple as it sounds. Think of how you were designed to eat when we were cavemen…we would eat fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and eggs. This is what our diet should comprise of and show be as minimally processed as possible. When I say processed, I am not talking about organic necessarily (although that helps),, but how much work does it take to make it at home vs in a restaurant. For example, a Mcdonalds milkshake has like 63 ingredients….what the heck are they putting in there?! It takes like 3 to make that at home! That’s what I mean by processed. How about the American Cheese that come in singles and have that nasty rubbery texture….pretty sure cheese should not naturally feel that way. How many ingredients are actually in those chicken nuggets or that beef patty? At the grocery sore, you would buy 100% meat but is that the case at the restaurant? Have preservatives been added to this so that it doesn’t ever go bad (like a twinkie)? These are the questions you should be asking when you are looking for processed foods.
Don’t forbid yourself from having something; all good things in moderation
I love chocolate. I’m a girl, therefore, sometimes I need it. I also love ceaser dressing. These are things that I refuse o give up, but that does not mean that I cannot make healthy choices with them. Lets take chocolate; I know that making a snickers bar at home would have far fewer ingredients then the one at the store, but there are still better options and honestly, I just need a little to satisfy that sweet tooth. SO try these snazzy snacks out: fruit dipped in dark chocolate (the darker, the healthier it is for you because it keep it’s antioxidants (is less processed)), no butter popcorn drizzled in dark chocolate, or mix melted chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit n a bowl and put a few dollops onto a tray and freeze…next thing you know you have frozen chocolate turtles that are super yummy!
You can do fun things with deserts too that ramp up the health and bring down the bad. Like swapping bananas or avocados for the butter and oil in a brownie recipe….trust me, its delicious!
shove as much veggies into every meal as you can
this is an easy one, if you make pasta, then throw in a bag of frozen veggies. If you are making fish, throw it in the oven with a bag of frozen veggies and olive oil and cook for 45 min. substitute banana, yogurts, and avocados for butters and oils. instead of sugars, try honey or a little maple syrup or even olive oil can give a nice sweet tanginess to foods.
Every meal should have at least something green in it and veggies should comprise almost half of the meal!
no fried foods or artificial sugars!
technically this breaks the rule of don’t eliminate anything but these two are huge no-no’s! You already know fried foods are bad for you, so just get rid of them. Instead trying baking a crunchy crust onto it using corn flakes or rice crispies! Very yummy! Always, always choose baked, roasted, seared, smoked and grilled over fried or pan fried foods.
Artificial sugars are a marketing scheme that actually end up hurting diabetics more than just plain sugar! In a nutshell, your body knows how to handle real sugar because it is found in nature. But artificial sugars are man made, and thus your body has no idea how to process them…so it doesn’t, and you are left with higher blood sugar levels, lots of free radicals (think of damaging bumper cars just floating around looking for trouble) and you still crave more sugar because it bypassed the sugar metabolic pathway entirely.
if you must have bread, or pasta, choose the whole grain versions or try experimenting with other grains
note to diabetics- aside from drinks and fruits, breads are incredibly high in sugars so if you can avoid them, do so! If not, try whole grains. This can be deceiving in the grocery store though! You must make sure that the very first ingredient is not unbleached or enriched flour. This means that the flour has been stripped of all its nutrients and then added back in later. The first ingredient must be whole wheat or a whole grain. Also note, that while corn is a whole grain in and of itself, it is very high in sugar and often used as a filler, so try not to make that your dominant whole grain.
Also check out quinoa! it is a real substitute for rice and is a whole protein, so instead of counting as a carb, it counts towards protein!
each small change I make, adds up to a world of difference- even if that change is one change a week!
The best way to start is to make a small change week, that way you don’t feel overwhelmed. This is as simple as making the choice to order a salad with your burger instead of fries, or order a sirloin instead of a rib-eye. These changes add up to HUGE differences over time. WIth this I also recommend the Eat Ths, not that books by David Zinczenko. He has a website here http://www.eatthis.com/home and you can find his books very reasonably priced on amazon.com.
With all that said, this is just a jumping off point. Stay tuned for a post tailored to diabetics and one for vitamins/ supplements. I am also debating going into how your body actually processes these things and the biomechanics of it all; let me know if it is something you are interested in!