Going Gluten and Dairy Free

Gluten and dairy free pizza made by my wonderful husband today.
Gluten and Dairy Free Pizza made by my wonderful husband today

Gluten and dairy free salad I made today for lunch since I didn't know what else to have.
Gluten and dairy free salad I made today for lunch since I didn’t know what else to have.

Today is officially Day #3 of Gluten and Dairy Free per the guidance of my Gastroenterologist (MD), “The GI Guy”, he calls himself, which is pretty funny – but he’s really an awesome doctor. I had always suspected that maybe I had some kind of intolerance to something…but I never knew what. I didn’t want to just randomly start cutting things out without consulting a physician of some kind, so I waited for my appointment with this GI doctor. In the past I have been told things like “you need to exercise more”, or “you need to start eating better”, or “you probably just have a nervous stomach”…yeah. Okay. I remember when I was a kid in high school going into the shower and nearly crying with stomach pains while letting the water run over my belly to try to soothe the pain a while.

Things eased up when I got to college and got really into nutrition, but it never totally went away. I would always have some kind of severe stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea. Something. Then, recently, it started coming back a bit. I think it’s because with kids, there’s always the easy way out for dinner- pick up something on the way home. Invariably, this would lead to me in the shower or sitting in the bathroom wishing I had just not eaten that chicken wing.

In any case, something needed to be done. So I scheduled my appointment and waited. And just like that, he said “just cut it out”. What? You mean I can just cut it out? I had always heard to “wait for a definitive diagnosis”, and “test for everything imaginable”. Not this time, though. This time I had a physician who listened to me, talked to me like a person and not an annoying figment with some sort of made-up problem, and then came to a conclusion. Granted there are still more tests to be done, he’s not letting me off THAT easy. He has to make sure I don’t have Ulcerative Colitis, Chron’s, or any other annoying and chronic illness. But in the mean time, I am cutting out Gluten and Dairy.

The strange thing is, I do feel better already, this is Day 3. Whether that is the placebo effect or not, I don’t know. The stranger thing is, the more I research (you know me), the more I see links everywhere. I have already previously been diagnosed with PCOS and Hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune hypothyroidism, is linked with Celiac Disease (see here). There is suspicion, although I do not have a definitive source other than the word of a random quote from a gastroenterologist I don’t know (see here and take with a grain of salt), that Celiac is linked to PCOS.

It is possible that my body has been trying to tell me this for years. It’s been saying, “There’s something wrong! Just stop feeding me something I can’t handle! Stop giving me something I will react to!” I know there is still more to be seen as to whether gluten and dairy will really do it. It is still possible I have Chron’s or Ulcerative Colitis, in which case, there is no easy way out or “fast fix” like cutting out gluten. They are both autoimmune in some ways, though, so maybe that would create a link anyway.

I hope this continues to work though. I do feel much better.

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Green Smoothies and Oxalate

Smoothies are good for you as long as you limit the carbohydrates. Most people get into trouble with smoothies by adding copious amounts of fruit and spiking their blood sugar. Add some veggies in the mix, and you'll be happy and sugar-spike free.
Smoothies are good for you as long as you limit the carbohydrates. Most people get into trouble with smoothies by adding copious amounts of fruit and spiking their blood sugar. Add some veggies in the mix, and you’ll be happy and sugar-spike free.

I recently have started drinking Green Smoothies at night before bed, especially if I am feeling snackish. It is an easy way to get some extra calories without making a whole snack or meal and I can add some vitamins and minerals to my diet. Naturally, as a dietitian I am very analytical. I must analyze every aspect of the green smoothie and whether or not it is good or bad for me. On the surface it looks good, I can’t imagine that blended up, whole fruits and vegetables could possibly be bad.

The problem comes when you start to google certain things. I started to see some strange claims on certain fear mongering websites that green smoothies contain excessive amounts of oxalate which could be harmful to your health and contribute to formation of kidney stones.

What? You mean my green smoothies could be causing kidney stones? Hold on a freaking second….how could a food that has so many benefits actually be touted as bad?

I, of course, had to do some more research.

Kidney stones, you see, are often made of calcium oxalate. Thus it has been theorized that excessive intake of oxalates would lead to kidney stones. This has been studied by medical scientists, actually. In this particular study, for instance, oxalate intake was studied in relation to formation of kidney stones. Mainly the oxalate in this study came from spinach, a common component of the infamous green smoothie.

Guess what? There was no greater risk of kidney stones in this study for those who ate larger amounts of oxalate from spinach. Now, I’m sure if you went around taking oxalate horse pills you probably would increase your risk; however, that’s kind of far-fetched for some bizarre reason unbeknownst to me. (Please – I have plenty of unidentified horse pills sitting in my cabinet which I take on a regular basis – don’t judge.)

In any case, there actually ARE some proven ways to reduce your risk of kidney stones. Citrate, which comes from citrus, has been proven to reduce the risk of kidney stones, because it binds the oxalate and prevents it from combining with calcium to form a stone, as stated in this NIH reference, and countless more. In fact, many urologists prescribe lemonade for their patients who are known kidney-stone sufferers. So, if you are struggling with the idea that green smoothies might lead to kidney stones, just throw a bit of lemon juice in with the fruits and veggies, and drink up! You can enjoy the benefits and not worry about any risks.

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Feeding Your Child Junk May Lead to Future Problems

fly image

We’re talking about flies today. What do flies have to do with nutrition? Well, aside from the fact that they really annoyingly fly everywhere around your fresh fruit, the truth is flies are really useful in coming to conclusions about human nutrition. Who knew? That’s why I took a second look at this study which is a study on fruit flies and what they are fed as larvae.

Apparently the higher protein diets for the larvae led to better reproduction and development in subsequent generations. This was opposed to sugary diets.

This immediately brought to mind the massive amounts of infertility we are currently experiencing in this country. Many people blame it on obesity. Maybe, though, its more than that. Imagine you are a little tiny sapling. Sapling human being, that is. And you are trying to grow reproductive organs and turn into a full fledged human being. Your body, during this time, is hit with an onslaught of sugar, which causes significant changes on a cellular level, like number of insulin receptors on your cells, or hormonal changes like cortisol, dopamine, etc. The point is, if you screw up the endocrine system at such a young age when most of the endocrine system is trying to develop, then yes you will probably screw up reproduction later on.

So what’s the advice here? Stop feeding your kids that nasty red juice. Seriously, just stop. That stuff is disgusting.

Or cookies and crackers as snacks every blame day. 3 times. 20 times. Just stoppit!!

Stop letting your kids have sodas and juice out the wazoo like it’s something benign. It’s not.

I do realize that moderation plays a big role. I do let my children have some of this stuff, at birthday parties, or other events because I don’t ever want my child to feel like she is constantly deprived of certain foods and then overeats them later in life and has some sort of complex about it. So yes, it is a healthy balance. But even if your child is “skinny”, or a “normal weight” because she runs around all over the place and burns calories like it’s her job, that doesn’t mean she needs a bunch of sugar. What she really needs is complex carbohydrates. Fruits. Vegetables. Whole Grains. You know the drill. Based on this article, if you do these things you will have hope of having grandchildren. Don’t do it for that, though; do it for your child.

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Discussing Dietary Changes

Great things are happening in life! I am still working on my new website, so look for that in the short-term future. I have also started writing again for Demand Media Studios, which offers nutrition writers a nice flat fee per article, so I am busy with that again in addition to my part-time job at a dialysis clinic. Things are busy, but that’s the way I like it!!

As far as nutrition goes, I am working to put together a few recipes and do some experimentation. I have had a lot of GI symptoms lately and I am anxiously awaiting my appointment next week with a GI doctor. His practice’s name is “The GI Guy” – isn’t that cute?

In any case, I am going to discuss things with him further, but I am thinking of trialing a few different diets to see if they help, in addition to expanding my horizon for how people with allergies feel and what it’s like to follow a restrictive diet. Here are my possibilities:

Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Corn Free
Wheat Free
Soy Free

I am also considering eliminating everything and adding things back in one at a time. This is also known in the medical and dietetics world as an “elimination diet”, and my Primary doctor actually recommended this, but I would like to get the opinion of the GI doctor first since this is really their specialty. I think this will help me medically, spiritually, professionally, and empathetically (I know that’s not a word, just bear with me). What do you all think? Comment in the section if you do follow one of these diets and if so, what is your reasoning? Do you have to because of a medical condition? Does it make you feel better overall? Has your quality of life improved since following this diet? I would be highly interested to know. I love journeys like this and I am excited to go forth! Until next time, keep it real. The food, that is.beans image

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