I missed my 6-monthiversary of being gluten free, on November 1st!
To recap, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in September 2010. I was put on Synthroid, and felt fantastic… for about 1 week. That began a series of incredibly frustrating doctors’ appointments in which I was told that my blood tests were in the normal ranges and Synthroid is flawless and therefore not feeling well was certainly NOT from my autoimmune disease and must be caused by psychological problems. That drove me to google, which sent me to the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal. In the (amazing, life-altering) book, he says that people with Hashi’s should not eat gluten. You can read more about the gluten-thyroid connection here.
Which brings me to:
6 months. My health has gone up and down like crazy over the last 6 months, to the point where I have no idea what’s causing me to feel worse and what’s causing me to feel better and if not eating gluten has even helped me. I’ve written about these issues quite a bit.
One thing I know for sure is that the thyroid swelling / choking feeling in my throat is gone. It was mostly gone a month after I cut out gluten, and then completely gone after I started taking dessicated thyroid instead of Synthroid in August. Sometimes that feeling was so bad I would just go lie in bed because it was too uncomfortable to even hold my head up. So having it be completely gone is amazing.
As for the rest…
Fatigue. This is my biggest problem. Sometimes I can hardly get out of bed; sometimes I have enough energy to go an entire day without any napping. I am confident this has very little to do with food/gluten at this point. My new doctor thinks this is caused by my adrenals, and I’m not absorbing vitamins properly. I’ll learn more at my appointment next week.
Exercise. Haven’t been able to do much of anything due to weakness/shakiness/dizziness/heart issues. I no longer think this has anything to do with food/gluten either, and it’s probably related to my thyroid and the other problems that are causing my fatigue. Taking magnesium supplements has helped with the heart palpitations I was experiencing a few months ago.
Weight Loss. I haven’t lost any more, but I haven’t gained any back either, which is great since I haven’t been able to work out very much and I’ve stopped counting calories and I take great joy in baked goods.
I’m proud to say I haven’t intentionally cheated on my diet ONCE. I’ve made a few mistakes, most notably:
- Not realizing most Asian sauces are made with a soy sauce base. I’m still not sure if Pad Thai is as safe as I thought it was.
- Toiletries. I just found out my favourite shampoo and conditioner have like 5 wheat-based ingredients in each. Also: nail polish remover, moisturizer, etc etc etc.
Things I need to get better at:
- Planning meals before I go out / on vacation. 3 days in Venice, asking every single restaurant if they have anything senza glutine and hearing a resounding “NO” really put a damper on the trip. As did eating mostly salads in Vegas while sitting around watching my friends eat THE BEST PIZZA I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE, because I didn’t realize that “gluten-free” and “vegetarian” are not frequently overlapping concepts in the US.
- Cooking. I’ve come to realize that I LOVE baking, but hate cooking. Unfortunately 3 meals a day of cupcakes is probably not the best for my health.
- Eating at regular intervals. If I don’t eat every 2-3 hours, I turn into a complete mental case. This is probably a blood sugar thing.
- Preventing cross-contamination. I am considering buying new kitchen stuff to better avoid cross contamination. This is TOTALLY NOT AN EXCUSE to buy new kitchen stuff.
I still genuinely enjoy eating gluten-free. If, at my appointment on Tuesday, my doctor said “JUST KIDDING you can eat gluten!” I would still eat gluten-free.
One thing I am concerned about is my thyroid antibodies. I saw my recent blood test results at my Bad Doctor’s office last week, and my antibodies have doubled. One of the theories about the gluten-thyroid connection is that not eating gluten can stop your body from attacking your thyroid. So in theory, my antibodies should be lower, not higher. I am going to speak to my Good Doctor next week and he should be able to explain what’s up.