Monday, November 12, 2012

Healthy Living : My Disease, and Diet


So good to be back and blogging! I've had a crazy amount of stuff going on, and a huge chunk of that has been my health.

As I have talked about in a previous Healthy Living post, I am anemic, and have a low-functioning thyroid. But recently, my doctor diagnosed me with something that not only explains the anemia, it explains the past 10 years of my unsolved health mysteries. My diagnosis?

Celiac Disease.

For those of you who have never heard the term, it means that my body cannot process Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When I eat food containing Gluten, the villi in my intestines are damaged. Unfortunately, my villi are pretty destroyed. My doctor believes that the onset of my disease was about age 11. At age 21, that means that I have been destroying my stomach for 10 years, and the damage shows in my tests. This has not only affected my intestines, but my liver as well. The good news? My villi will repair themselves over time as long as I stick to a strict, gluten free diet. The bad news? I have to be on this diet for life, and EVERYTHING has gluten in it! Ugh!

Despite the challenge to find good, gluten-free foods, I feel amazing! I have truly never felt better, and I have lost 7 pounds in the  last 2 weeks. I have so much energy, I look healthy, and I haven't suffered any tummy aches( before my diagnosis, tummy aches were almost daily!).

I know many people go on Gluten-Free diets to aid in weight loss even when they don't suffer from Celiac or other Gluten Intolerances. I have never heard anything negative, people really do feel better! I would reccomend everyone to try it. So, now that I have explained Celiac, I am going to go over how to go Gluten Free the healthy way, and how a gluten free diet can aid in weight loss.

First, let's talk about how people gain weight, or have trouble losing on a Gluten-Free diet. When you see chips, breads, pastas, cookies, etc. labeled 'Gluten Free', most people's minds translate it into "healthier". Let me clear this up. Gluten Free does not mean 'calorie free', 'carbohydrate free', 'fat free', etc. In fact, most gluten free products have MORE carbs than the regular products do. "Gluten Free" is not a license to eat loads of carb-rich/ fatty foods. It's all about portion control! I reccommend reading labels and measuring food so you can have a clear idea of how much you are consuming. I also reccommend limiting carbohydrate-rich foods. Another thing to keep in mind for those of you who are actually Celiac patients: because your villi will be healing themselves, they will eventually be able to absorb more of the nutrients from the foods you consume. Without a good, monitered diet and exercise, this can cause weight gain. I'm not big on calorie counting, but it is a good idea to talk with your nutritionist (or find a trustworthy online calculator) to learn approximately how many calories you should be consuming, and try to stay at or under that limit daily. The easiest way to do this is with the use of a food journal.

Now, onto the weight loss/ being healthier tips when going gluten-free:
~ Use a food journal. Recording everything you eat not only helps keep you aware of calorie consumption, it gives you an idea of where you should increase/ cut back. If you can look back in the diary and see that most of your calories came from breads, and there weren't many veggies, you can be more concious of where those calories are coming from.

~ Make sure to get the majority of your calories from Fruits and Veggies. Fruits and veggies are naturally gluten free foods, and are high in fiber, hence, more filling. I have been eating fresh foods and eating little to no processed foods. I have lost 8 pounds in just 2 weeks.

I hope you found this information helpful! Are any of you on a gluten-free diet?

X's and O's,

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