Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gluten Free Getting Easier, but Casein Free Not So Much.

So I have actually decided to try to add casein free to my gluten free diet. And it isn't as easy as I would like it to be. Gluten free is getting easier and I've come to terms with it. I feel better when I'm gluten free. Here's the thing though. Gluten free is gaining more attention, but not all good. You see, more celebrities are turning to gluten free. Did you hear about Lady Gaga? The woman is already skinny and looks great! What woman wouldn't want a body like hers, right? Well, what "normal" woman wouldn't anyway? She apparently decided to go gluten free to lose more weight. Really? To lose more weight? When she doesn't have any weight that she actually needs to lose?

Misconception about going gluten free: Lose weight. Gluten free does not guarantee any weight loss. There are just as many unhealthy foods in the gluten free diet as there are in a regular glutened diet. Muffins, cookies, pizza, chips. Sound familiar? Yep.

Misconception about gluten free: That it's only for celiacs. It isn't. I have been tested repeatedly the past couple of years for celiac. Most of my tests have come back completely negative. My genetic test came back with one half of the two elements of the two genes (four elements basically) positive. Given my history of celiac-related issues, I personally would take that test to actually mean that I am likely to develop celiac later if I don't take precautions now if not that I may actually be celiac and have actually managed to prevent full development of the disease later if I continue to stay on the diet. I am what is considered gluten intolerant (even though I have celiac symptoms with iron anemia and other nutritional deficiencies). So, gluten free is not just for celiacs. It is for those who have gluten intolerance and wheat allergy as well. It might be beneficial to those who have ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. For me personally, a whole plethora of medical problems have eased up or gone into remission since I went gluten free two years ago. YAY! I benefit from the diet and I plan to keep it up.

Now as to the casein free. I decided to give it a try because of a dairy allergy that was under minimal management but it is so much more difficult for me to adhere to than the gluten free. There really are not as many options for casein free as there are for gluten free. Bummer! But I decided to try casein free because of a new allergy that has been very consistent and progressively worsening: orange and orange juice. I don't know if the orange and orange juice allergy were in conjunction with dairy consumed or seasonal allergies starting, but I decided not to chance things. I do periodically have what I affectionately call "cow's milk cheese" or other "cow's milk" products, but I am mostly dairy free with the exception of what's in other products (like gluten free breads or other foods). I have goat cheese (and like it) and as far as I know am not having any issues with it. But see, dairy allergy is also a little tricky. There are TWO proteins for dairy: casein and whey. Remember that Little Miss Muffet was eating her curds and whey? Open a container of cottage cheese. The curds are the casein and the liquid/slime part of the cottage cheese is the whey (milk mud). Yeah. Kind of gross. But see, there are still a lot of dairy products that don't yet have non-dairy versions yet. And some of the products that have dairy free versions are not casein free. Yep. Shocker. I'm just as flustered at seeing a dairy free product that contains casein as I am about a product labelled gluten free processed in the same facility or on the same machinery as something that is not gluten free. EERRGGHH!! Seriously?!?

Anyway, that's an update on things right now. I am hoping to get back into posting more including more reviews in the next few weeks. Now if only my life would kind of slow down just a wee bit with all of the appointments I'm being sent for.

Oh, and if anyone ever has any questions, I would like to see them! Around my area, I'm sort of seen as an "expert" on the gluten free diet and get approached a lot with questions from people who are considering going gluten free themselves. So I don't mind if anyone has questions doing what I can to answer them. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm Back and Healthier Than Ever!

It's been a while since I have been able to post on this blog, but last year I got really ill just after Labor Day. My white blood count was at a steady 14,000. The bad news: My vitamin D and folic acid were deficient. The good news: It was not cancer or leukemia. However, when my vitamin D and folic acid levels came back up, my white blood count dropped, but then my iron also dropped. In December, I would get up out of bed only to end up having to go back to bed. I was pale and weak and literally a shell of a human being barely walking around. In January the anemia was at its worst. I actually began falling asleep in the middle of the day, including at church!! Something was wrong. They checked my iron after two months of being on a long-term use antibiotic for which I also take a probiotic, and my ferritin was 41. But I was passing out and fainting. I was miserable. I received my first iron infusion in March this year. My ferritin soared to 283 and I have more life and more energy now than ever before.

Now, I have a different focus for My Gluten Free Life. You see, in December I was confirmed to be on the spectrum. At the age of 33, I am now diagnosed as not only having ADHD, but also having a high-functioning autism. This has changed some things. The gluten free diet helps alleviate symptoms of both conditions, but it's not enough for me.I am beginning a journey onto the GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet, which is good because I am allergic to cow dairy anyway. But to further complicate things, I am now on a crusade. I am trying to eliminate ALL products that contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) from my diet. Not only is that chemically processed substance bad for the body, but it tastes gross and makes me more symptomatic.

Why do they still use HFCS? Sugar is now cheaper. HFCS was created in a lab because at the time sugar was expensive due to war-related shortages. But that's not the case now. So why do they still use this offending substance?

So anyway, that's why I have been so silent on this blog lately. I have been processing things and recovering from life-threatening iron anemia.

Oh, I should say that I recently discovered that I was NOT allergic to chickpeas (I now LOVE hummus) or mushrooms (although I'd rather not eat them if I can avoid them). I also discovered that I was NOT allergic to raspberry (I just don't like the taste of it). Each of these were cross-contaminated with gluten containing food products. However, I am developing an allergy to oranges and orange juice. And that is in isolation. So now, I am seeking alternatives to oranges and orange juice to get my vitamin C.

But I'm back and I'm better than ever and I'm ready to start reviewing some more of my favorite (and not so favorite) gluten free products. Beginning with that Against the Grain pizza I had a couple of weeks ago that was so good that I actually ate some cold slices the next morning for breakfast!! Now, I'm going to buy their pizza shell and make my own all natural, dairy free pizza using a new favorite of mine: Daiya. Oh, and what goes better with that than Silk Fruit & Protein in Mango Peach?