Welcome To My World!

Welcome to Gluten Free and Healthy For Me!  I’m so happy to write my first post.  My first few posts will mainly tell you who I am and why I’ve decided to write this blog in the first place.  My goal is to share my world with you while staying healthy in every aspect of my life.

The face that goes with the post!

The face that goes with the post!

My name is Jamie, I’m 27, and I got married in 2008.  I currently live in New York City and work in advertising.  Since my high school years I have exercised on and off, but mostly on.  That may not have showed at all times in my life since I also liked to eat.  I liked to eat healthy food, but I guess I always ate too much of it.  This has been a constant struggle for me; trying to find the right balance.  In the three years before my wedding, I lost around 30 pounds…some of it on my own and a small amount with the help of Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.  These programs helped me, but in the end my own plans always worked best because they didn’t feel like I was really on a diet. 

After my wedding, I quickly gained around 15 pounds and felt very off, always feeling too full no matter what I ate.  I will spare you the full details of all of the stomach issues I experienced, but I thought I was normal at the time since many of the symptoms I had felt to varying degrees for my whole life.  In March of 2009, I got sick with bronchitis and made a visit to a new doctor.  At the time, I did not think anything else could be wrong with me, but the doctor wanted to do a full physical.  He asked me my medical history, took some blood, gave me an antibiotic and I thought that would be it.  About two weeks later, I got the call that at the time I never thought I would hear.  My doctor told me that I was severely anemic due to the fact that I had an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease (a disease that causes damage to the small intestine when the body cannot break down gluten; the protein found in wheat, rye and barley).  I was almost in tears at the time since I knew exactly what Celiac Disease was.  My younger sister, Dara, had cut wheat and gluten from her diet 4 years earlier, but was never diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  After many tests and visits to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, I was given the full diagnosis.  The Celiac Disease had caused several other problems in my body including Osteopenia (weakening of bones) and a Vitamin D deficiency. 

Once given all of my diagnosis on April 29th, 2009, I went fully gluten free even though my biopsy was not scheduled until two days later.  As the doctors suspected, the biopsy came back positive for Celiac Disease.  The doctors put me on a calcium supplement, a daily vitamin, and 50,000iu Vitamin D/week.  I’m happy to report that as of August 20th, my Vitamin D levels had gone back to normal.

I think that it is important to share the details of my diagnosis so that you have a basis on where I have come from.  Also, if you are like me and have Celiac Disease, I think it’s important to know how others get through it.

Even though I have Celiac, I eat almost the same as I did before…just making a few modifications to certain things.  For tonight, I will leave you with a picture of my dinner.  I bought frozen tilapia from Trader Joes.  I seasoned the fish with a sprinkling of garlic powder, montreal seasoning, parsley, and paprika and baked it for about 15 minutes on 400.  I took it out of the oven and let it cool.  I filled two bowls with baby greens, chopped red pepper, and cucumber.  Then topped each bowl with a piece of fish (my husband got two pieces) and some mango salsa.  The mango salsa was store bought, and was a little spicier/less sweet than I expected.  It was still good, and I’m hoping to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow…yum.

 

Before Picture

Before Picture

Final Product -- It was Yummy!

Final Product -- It was Yummy!

 More about me tomorrow!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Welcome To My World!

  1. Anne

    Hi there-
    I came across your blog and am really enjoying reading through it, because I am also attempting a gluten free diet for about the umpteenth time– and like you, I am an exerciser and hope to complete a half marathon soon! (my third). I wonder, did the gf diet make a big difference in how you felt exercising? I feel like I don’t have as much energy as I used to and it takes me forever to recover from a tough run. Though I do not have a diagnosis of Celiac (I have been tested) I also have unusual fullness “no matter what I eat” and “just feel off.” I DID have elevated IGG gluten antibodies, but they were nonspecific for celiac. I always try to start a gluten free diet but then fall off the band wagon after a few days of frustration–I don’t feel any better, but rather, just feel deprived. Once, a year ago, I tried it and experienced almost immediate results, and was able to stick with it a full month, but then fell off the bad wagon again b/c of work related stress. I know you mentioned your disappointment at the diagnosis, but ironically I almost WISH I have one because then I could be convinced that this gf diet is what I need. As it stands now, I am maybe 60% convinced that it will help me. How long did it take for you to feel better once you went on the gluten free diet? Have you heard of nonceliac gluten intolerance causing chronic fullness? Or, maybe I should just ask in general, do you have any words of advice for me?

    • gfreeandhealthy

      Anne, there are many people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance who have tough time adapting to the gluten free diet. There are also many people who have different stomach problems, and have been tested, but nothing related to gluten shows up for them, yet they feel better on a gluten free diet. There are so many different symptoms that people have which is caused by gluten and wheat in food. Really, people should probably not be eating wheat or gluten in the quantities that they do because the normal body does not break it down very easily. My mother does not have celiac disease, but she does not feel as bloated, full, or tired while remaining on a gluten free diet. Once you start a gluten free diet, you cannot feel deprived that you aren’t eating what others eat because your body will be in much better shape. That is how you have to think about staying on a gluten free diet. In regards to running and training, I wasn’t running to the same extent before being gluten free as I am now, so I cannot answer whether I felt different once starting a gluten free diet. I was so anemic and had been for so long that I probably had no idea how off my body really was. I don’t know whether I would have been able to run as much as I do and train for a half marathon while eating regular gluten foods. I think my stomach would not have been able to handle it either. My main advice would be to go gluten free, and take it a day at a time. Remember how much better you feel and continue on the diet. Eat healthy food, and enjoy it. There are even mainstream foods that are gluten free now like chex cereal and betty crocker mixes. I believe if you feel healthy and think about that when the opportunity to stray from the diet comes up, that you won’t fall off the bandwagon again. Please continue to read the blog and keep me updated on your status. I hope you get some ideas for your gluten free life.

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