Posts Tagged ‘rheumatoid arthritis’

How I Began….

I am a wife and mom who has always loved to be in the kitchen. It is where I can think and process. And it makes me happy! This past summer, my wonderful husband was having some severe joint pain and without insurance, we did not have the finances to go through the extensive testing the doctors wanted to have done. When the label “Rheumatoid Arthritis” came up, my research began. I figured there had to be a way to naturally minimize the severe discomfort he was having. There had to be something that would give him some relief. I looked up a lot of sites on RA, read through many diet plans, and in researching RA, colitis and crohn’s also came up. Since my husband also has colitis flair-ups every once-in-a-while, my research became even deeper. As I continued to read, process and compare, everything came back to one thing…… GLUTEN.  AhhHA! So, I went to my husband and said, “Honey, we’re eliminating gluten rom your diet and will go from there.”

Most husbands I know would NOT be happy if you told them you were taking away bread, pasta and food as they knew it. Mine just looked at me and said, “Ok. Just tell me what I can and can’t have.” Now I wouldn’t be a very sympathetic wife if I made him do it alone. I jumped on the bandwagon too. I figured if I was cooking and baking that way, I should know first-hand what everything was like, and my mom and aunt had also experienced a HUGE difference in their health when they removed gluten as well. It couldn’t hurt.

Let me back up and give you a little health history on myself as well. I have always been text-book healthy as far as blood work and physicals go. My overall problems have been things like extremely painful menstrual cramps, the kind of pain that gives you MAYBE 1 good week out of the month. Pains that doctors thought was endometriosis. I had a laparoscope done to see how bad the endometriosis was and guess what they found. NOTHING! Again, a clean bill of health. Another thing I have always struggled with is water retention and swelling. The kind where my legs would be so much bigger by the end of the day that I couldn’t wear socks. through all kinds of testing, my system was working just fine and again, a clean bill of health. Text-book health! No one has ever been able to figure out why I have these problems. I tried birth control for the menstrual issue – didn’t change it one bit. Tried prescriptions for the water retention and they didn’t do anything either. So, I was basically told to live with it because no one could figure it all out. Now let’s get back to the change in diet. I removed gluten along with my husband. I read labels, bought all the flours I needed, became creative in my cooking, changed our pasta, baked our bread, waffles, pancakes, cinnamon rolls…. you name it. Guess what? The very next month I did not know my cycle had even started. Not one single cramp. And I lost about 5 pounds instantly. Water? I think so! I no longer swell like I used to and I do not have cramps at all! Unless, of course, I choose to sneak some gluten in here or there. Because I have not been clinically diagnosed, I still sneak off and on. I am also wanting to be tested when I go in for my annual blood work, so I want to keep enough in my system for it to show if it is there. However, I have learned first-hand that if I go on a huge gluten binge, I will not be well for a few days.

Back to my husband, who inspired this whole movement in our house. He began to rest at night. Before, the pain was so much that he was not able to sleep. He could not dress himself. He couldn’t button his pants, couldn’t grip his socks enough to put them on, couldn’t lift his arms high enough to get a shirt on. Had to move to a spray deodorant as he could not lift his arm. He couldn’t hold our sweet little girls or play with them. Guess what! We removed the gluten and after a few weeks, he was able to sleep, move, dress himself, play… he was back to his normal self. He still sneaks in some gluten too, but as soon as he begins to feel the slightest twinge, he goes right back off and it all goes away. So now I cook and bake, and I can never leave a recipe alone. i love to see how I can make it better. I make bread, waffles, pancakes (which I just made allergen free), nut bars, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust and a whole bunch of favorites using gluten-free products. there are so many great things that are gluten free! You can totally feel pampered through your eating. You can feel like you have eliminated nothing! It takes a little extra time, but it is totally worth it for us. I will say that I am amazed at the difference this has made in our lives.

I will also say this. If you think you may have an allergy, sensitivity or Celiac Disease, I would highly recommend that you see your physician for testing first. We did not because we did not have insurance. The test will not be accurate if you are tested after you have already removed gluten from your diet. I am not a doctor, I am just someone sharing my story. If any of this sounds familiar and you think you might fall into the same category, talk to your physician and ask to be tested. the initial test is nothing but a blood test as far as I know.

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