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Healthy Mayo and Ranch Dressing

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

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Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

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Magnesium-the unloved mineral

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thyroiditis

What Happened When My Dad Went Gluten Free

It seems I am getting more and more testimonials from patients on how great they feel when they go gluten free.  I thought I would re-post this great story by one of my friend’s experiences.  Comment down below with any of your own experiences and share!

 

What Happened When My Dad Went Gluten Free

Health trends, like many trends, come and go.  But the gluten-free trend may just be a keeper.  Why is this?  This gluten thing is part of a bigger picture….genetically modified foods and how they cause inflammation, and how that makes us sick.  Here’s what happened to my dad.

It all began in 2002 when my dad was 53 years old.  His heart just wasn’t beating right, and at 35-44 beats per minute (normal is 60-100), dad felt pretty lousy.  Eventually, it was determined that dad’s thyroid was under active.  This caused his heart to beat too slowly.  Dad felt like he couldn’t breathe, and nearly passed out whenever he stood up.  But it didn’t end there.  The slow heartbeat thickened the wall of Dad’s heart, which in turn led to an electrical problem causing atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat.

Dad’s doctor added thyroid hormone to correct the hypothyroidism.  This, and a surgical procedure brought his heart back to the normal beats per minute.

But what was the root of Dad’s thyroid problem?  An autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis caused Dad’s immune system to attack his thyroid.  His body was confused by an invader, but instead of going after the true culprit, Dad’s immune system accidentally recognized his thyroid as the enemy.  Under attack, the thyroid was unable to produce enough hormone to keep his heart beating fast enough.

So what was the enemy that invaded Dad’s body, and why did his immune system become so confused?

Always the student of nutrition, Dad read that hybridized, or genetically modified wheat can cause autoimmune problems.  Hybridization of the grain makes people sensitive to gluten.  He read that the human body fails to recognize hybridized wheat as food.  This fact stunned Dad because he knew 70% of our immunity comes from digestive tract.  The logic was simple.  Inundate the digestive tract with hybridized wheat, which the body fails to recognize as food, and you could potentially create an immunological reaction.

Dad made a plan.  Calm the immune system.  How?  Cut wheat.  (He had already cut junk food years ago).

After six to eight months, Dad’s blood test showed his TPO antibodies had dropped from 2,700 to 141.  In plain language, that means his immune system stopped cranking out the little critters that had been attacking his thyroid.  After a total of 12 months wheat free, Dad’s TPO’s continued the downward trend to 101.  Additionally, the post wheat-free blood tests showed more improvements.  Dad’s TSH was low normal, measuring .5.  Normal range for TSH, or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, is .47-4.7.  This was great news because it let his doctor know Dad’s brain no longer needed to pump out TSH in order to stimulate the thyroid.  After going wheat free, Dad’s TSH had dropped down to normal, and with some adjustments to his thyroid medication, his next TSH check showed a reading of 2.0, well within the normal range.

These blood test improvements led Dad’s doctor to lower his thyroid medication from 137 mcg to 112 mcg for 6 weeks, and then down further to 100 mcg.  Dad is so happy to have less medication and, of course, hopes to eventually discontinue it altogether if possible.

Cutting wheat just may have eliminated the culprit guilty of revving up Dad’s immune system.  This simple dietary change helped my dad gain control of his rogue immune system.

About the author:

Jeanne Barker Benz is a full-time mom of three children and Team Beachbody Coach.  While her background is in law, her passion is encouraging others in faith, education, business, and health.

 

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Nutrition Leave a comment

Gluten Free Update

Here’s Superhero Sandy’s latest gluten-free update.  It seems it is possible to change and still enjoy food!  Here are a few of her recent observations and recommendations.  Thanks Sandy–we are all inspired by you!

 

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Sandy Writes:

Gluten free update: I’ve always been one to buy quality name brand products, not the generic store brand stuff that doesn’t taste as good. I’m known among close family and friends as a good cook, and it has always been my contention that good cooking starts with the choices you make in the store. I’m a picky shopper, favoring name brands and top quality fresh food; my motto is “if nobody eats it, it’s not a bargain,” so stay away from the cheap, generic stuff.

Anyway, while driving the four blocks to Kroger from my home one day about three months ago, my phone rang. It was the nurse at my doctor’s office telling me that my thyroid antibodies were sky-high and that I needed to get on a gluten-free diet as soon as possible. I also needed to start taking probiotics, selenium, and CoQ-10 to help combat the catastrophe that was taking place in my intestines and finding its way to my thyroid gland…and who knows where else…probably wherever I felt pain, including my arthritic knees. As I understand it, the antibody issue is separate from the TSH, T3, T4 markers for thyroid disease. This was something different, an autoimmune thing I had going on along with a underactive thyroid gland.

The nurse sounded serious. This wasn’t just a “why don’t you try this and see what happens” suggestion; it was an order. Oh, man. I had a lasagna pan full of semolina pasta covered in meat sauce, cheese, and sour cream…all ready to bake for my grandson and his friends who would be arriving in a couple of hours. I started doing an inventory of what I was planning for dinner that very night that I could and could not eat if I were to actually change my diet to gluten-free. Salad? Okay, yeah. Pasta? Not so much. Bread? Don’t make me laugh. First I panicked. And then I started to solve the problem.

I started changing my shopping practices on that very first trip. Luckily, I ran across some gluten-free pasta, so I bought it, scraped some sauce and cheese off the casserole, cooked up the new pasta, and mixed them together. Not bad. So far, so good. Everybody else ate the original casserole while I ate my gluten-free pasta version. And from that point on, my kitchen only contained gluten-free pasta. You literally couldn’t tell the difference…although you do have to be a bit more exact about cooking time.

Then I started doing research, shopping the out-of-the-way sections of the store: buying organic stuff, fresh fruits and vegetables. I also started going to the local meat market here in Greencastle, buying better, unsullied by hormones and antibiotics meat and milk and butter and eggs.

Now, less than three months later, I just returned from a grocery shopping expedition. I have completely changed, one or two items at a time, what I buy at the store. My shopping list is entirely different from it was not long ago. Here’s a partial list of what I buy now:

Trader’s Point milk (grass-fed, organic, not homogenized, the real stuff my Grandpa Hause used to carry in buckets from the barn to the house)
Kerrygold Irish butter (kind of like the stuff my Grandma churned from those buckets of milk)
Blue Sky free range eggs (I’ve tried several brands of eggs; these have the most golden yellows I’ve ever seen.)
Van’s gluten-free waffles…or pancakes…or whatever. These are better than Eggo. Trust me.
Rudi’s gluten-free “original” white bread (okay, so it’s not quite the same as what you usually buy…but it’s gluten-free and you can make a sandwich with it.)
Izze soda (instead of diet Coke…nothing but fruit juice and sparkling water)
Smucker’s Simply Fruit jelly…again, no sugar, no sweetener of any kind…doesn’t need it…just fruit juice.
Udi’s blueberry muffin tops (gluten, soy, wheat, and dairy free)
fresh produce from local suppliers, including some honey crisp apples from Anderson Orchard, which we picked up yesterday
heirloom tomatoes…don’t fall for vine ripe or Indiana tomatoes…heirloom are the best
100% grass-fed beef from local producers. If I can’t find grass-fed, I will still buy local. If I can’t find local, I buy organic…no hormones, no antibiotics. Sometimes this means there’s no chicken available today, so you have to buy pork instead or you can’t find the cut of beef you want. You have to be adaptable to eat well.
Kemp’s frozen yogurt (because my soul needs ice cream)
Talenti gelato (can’t eat much of this because it’s calorie-, fat-, and sugar-laden, but it is gluten-free, HFCS free, and oh, man, is it ever good!)
Simple Truth gluten-free animal crackers (a store brand, but good)
Quinn’s popcorn (although i don’t use the flavor packet that comes with it…I use the above mentioned Kerrygold Irish butter.)
Pamela’s chocolate chip gluten-free cookies
Glutino table crackers
Ronzoni gluten-free pasta
Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes (I already knew these were the best canned tomatoes and tomato sauces and spaghetti sauces around…been buying Muir Glen for a while now)
frozen corn, peas, green beans, broccoli…whatever I can’t find fresh, I buy frozen. Just the vegetables. Not the kind that come with sauces already in them. I love those ones that you can steam in the microwave.
Maple Hill creamery yogurt (full fat with the cream on top, just like the milk from grass-fed cows…and mostly I buy plain and mix in my own fruit and granola and sweeteners. Trader’s Point makes good yogurt too, but Maple Hill is thicker. I like it better.
organic blue agave syrup
real maple syrup
GiddyUpGo gluten-free granola
Nature’s Path corn flakes
Cheese…I don’t know about cheese. We still have a bunch I bought in Wisconsin last month. I can’t swear that what I have is organic and grass-fed. Probably some is and some isn’t. I’m working on that.

I try to buy things that are sugar-free, but you have to watch that. Most of the time “sugar-free” on a label means that they used aspartame or some other poison instead of sugar. Sugar isn’t good, it contributes to inflammation, but poison is worse. Sugar is also better than high fructose corn syrup.

That’s all I got for you now, but my list is ever-changing, and I still haven’t been able to explore Fresh Thyme as thoroughly as I want to. Look for more updates in the future on my gluten-free lifestyle. Oh, and I just got another blood test last week. My numbers are “a little bit better.” We’re making some adjustments. But I feel better all the time, am not sick as much as I used to be…I’m staying on top of this thyroid deal, and that seems to actually be helping with the arthritis issues too.10505625_10152531893746815_5633312240394115874_n

Posted on by Angela in disease, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Whole Food Leave a comment

The Gluten Free Saga with Superhero Sandy

So if you following Sandy’s Gluten-Free Journey —here are her most recent thoughts.  (BTW–if you are further along in the diet–don’t be confused –we are still aiming at not doing a lot of grains or gluten-free items) For many of us–(including myself)– this is a journey to a new lifestyle that we are embarking on with baby steps!!!!  Keep your head in the game! (Geez I love Zac Efron and just watched High School Musical with Emma)

 

Gluten free breakfast. Scrambled eggs, orange, and cream of rice cooked cereal masquerading as toast. I'm out of grits, but I plan to remedy that soon. Cream of rice is okay as long as you pretend it's grits.

Gluten free breakfast. Scrambled eggs, orange, and cream of rice cooked cereal masquerading as toast. I’m out of grits, but I plan to remedy that soon. Cream of rice is okay as long as you pretend it’s grits.

So far, gluten free is not so bad. It’s easy to eat meat and vegetables and fruit and not eat any bread. The thing is, the easiest thing we ever eat is a sandwich. Grab some bread, throw some meat on it, maybe some cheese and lettuce, and off you go. And bread is what we Americans use to complete a meal, to make us feel full. We sort of use it to hold everything else together, whether in the form of a sandwich or a pie or a cake…it’s easy, hand held…grab and go.

But, I am here to tell you there are other ways to eat and be satisfied.I cooked up a bunch of rice and stuck it in the fridge so I can have some whenever I need more filling up than a piece of meat and some asparagus or carrots provides.

I’ve read all the advice everyone gave me…and man, I had no idea there were so many of you out there doing this. I got comments, private messages, emails, phone calls…everybody has an experience to relate. Most of the advice is great, and I plan to try much of it, especially the polenta/corn meal mush with eggs deal and the one to add some sour cream to gluten free baking mixes. But really, so far, I haven’t needed to eat any cake or brownies.

Some people told me that the first week you feel awful, but I have not found that to be true. I feel pretty darn good. Gluten free is good for my knees and general body aches, I think.

Other people seemed to indicate that they have a bad reaction just from one tiny little misstep. I’m doing this to get rid of inflammation, and I think I’m not going to have to be quite so religious about it as someone with celiac disease. Of course, I’m also taking a really good (expensive) probiotic twice a day, selenium, CoQ-10, and several other supplements, but my goal with all that is to eventually stop taking medications for pain and high blood pressure…or at least to cut back on the ones I take now. I can see improvement already too. It didn’t take long. I had my last gluten at noon on Monday, and every day since then, I’ve had less joint pain and just feel better.

I am doing all I can to avoid gluten, but I have to wonder if I really need to care all that much about “hidden gluten” in things like spaghetti sauce. I have read too that you can overdo fruit because it contains sugar, but please…I am doing myself a favor by eating fruit instead of candy, so let’s just not even go there. Not yet.

Look for further updates. My favorite comment so far: “I’ve only been gluten-free for a week, and already I’m annoying.” I know. I know. There is no saint like a reformed sinner, so if you don’t want to hear about my gluten-free journey, don’t read it.
Gluten free update and observations:

One week ago today, I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. And that was the last time gluten has passed my lips.

I got all sorts of advice last week, and I’ve learned a lot on my own. Most importantly:

1. You gotta have something substantial to replace the bread in your diet. It doesn’t work to just leave off the bread; you (well, I) must find a replacement for it. This morning, for the first time in my life, I ate corn meal mush. It’s not bad browned in some butter and eaten with eggs. Grits, corn meal, rice cakes, rice, quinoa…there are lots of choices for carbs that don’t contain gluten. And you do need to eat some “fast” burning carbs.

2. I am trying to make sure each meal consists of a protein, a fast carb, and a slow carb. And I am eating about every two to three hours, trying to keep my metabolism burning at an even rate all day long.

3. There are lots of gluten-free cake, brownie, and baking mixes, some not so bad, but I don’t see the profit in replacing gluten with sugar. We all eat too much sugar, and besides, one of my goals is to lose some weight. So I can use those things but sparingly. I made some GF brownies. They were good. I ate one every night over the weekend. And then I cut them in pieces and put the rest in the freezer. They’re there if I need them, but I can’t go on eating them every day. (When I did eat them though, I had some low-fat frozen yogurt with them…I think this will be my emergency, gotta have something really good fall back item…and there they are…in the freezer.)

4. A dollop of sour cream added to any of those GF mixes really improves the flavor and texture of the end product. (Courtesy of Leslie Arcuri Zinn)

5. I got a lot of tips about “eat this, don’t eat that,” but I believe in making just one or two changes at a time, so I’m going to go ahead and eat fruit of all kinds, cheese, and yogurt. I am replacing the milk on cereal with almond milk, but for now anyway, I’m eating dairy products and sweet fruits.

6. I really do not know if it was the recent change in thyroid medication, the addition of selenium and CoQ 10, the switch to a more powerful probiotic, or the gluten-free diet, or maybe a combination of all those, but I have more energy. Lots more energy. So much energy that I have to be careful not to overdo it. I climbed three flights of stairs at the track Sunday and then went up to nearly the top row of seats after that. And I walked about five miles throughout the rest of that day. All that walking, and when I got home, I started right in cooking enchiladas for three hungry weightlifters.

7. I am sleeping better…maybe because I feel well enough during the day to get some exercise. Also, and this is huge. If I drop something, I don’t dread bending over to pick it up. I feel good. And my joints do not hurt. Maybe my muscles do after I do a lot of stuff, but the absence of joint pain is a miracle.

I think the best advice I can give anyone starting a gluten-free diet is be adaptable and be willing to try new things. I adapted when I made those enchiladas Sunday night. I made them with flour tortillas. Everybody else ate them up. I scraped some of the chicken and cheese filling out of a couple of them and ate it with some sour cream and guacamole on corn tortilla chips. I also have a half-dozen boiled eggs in my fridge for a snack when I need it. I have a big dish of rice I cooked ahead of time…I think of this as my loaf of bread…I can put anything on top of it or alongside it, and it’s a filling dish. I am eating corn meal mush and rice cakes, and I have lentil chips in my pantry…that’s me keeping an open mind about replacements for bread. So far, everything I’ve tried has been really good, so I’m going to eat some of those lentil chips with an open mind.

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Nutrition, Weight Loss Leave a comment