For several years, I suffered from various symptoms for which my doctor could find no solution. Although my low ferritin or iron stores level explained my chronic fatigue and low energy, the supplements prescribed did not help boost the level, but it did make me constipated. I was beginning to feel like ahypochondriac since none of my symptoms could be reasonably explained or alleviated. Eliminating wheat from my diet changed everything.
My Results From Eliminating Wheat
Ferritin or Iron Stores
The primary change was the ferritin or iron stores results. The normal range is between 80 and 300. In 2007 my ferritin level was 9, extremely low. By adding more iron to my diet I was able to get it up to a whopping 18. I then discovered a wheat allergy that was preventing my body from absorbing iron from my diet or supplements. Two months after eliminating wheat from my diet, my ferritin or iron stores result was up to 42, one year later up to 63, and four years later to a normal level of 100.
A second major change was the disappearance of my asthma symptoms. At my last visit to my respirologist, he was amazed at how my pulmonary function tests were completely normal. I didn’t tell him about the wheat-free diet until after he expressed his surprise at my results. He was skeptical of the fact that a naturopath figured out my problem, but agreed I should continue to avoid wheat.
Choleserol Level and Weight
Another healthy change is the difference between my before and after cholesterol results that went from slightly high at 545 to a mid normal range of 315. My weight had also been creeping up over the years hitting 140 pounds before the wheat elimination. I dropped 5 pounds within 6 weeks of eliminating the wheat and currently weigh in at 130 pounds four years later. Satisfied with my current weight, the biggest bonus to the weight loss has been the loss of flab and excess fat around my middle.
Arthritis, Ovarian Cysts, Uterine Fibroids
I have experienced similar positive results with arthritis symptoms which were getting worse every year until I eliminated wheat. I currently suffer from very minimal arthritis symptoms. Although I have not had repeat ultrasounds or chest x-rays to see if the ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and lung hyperventilation are no longer present, the symptoms associated with those three conditions have disappeared.
Further Investigation Needed
My white blood cell and platelet counts still remain low, results I have been aware of for many years. Having worked in the field of laboratory medicine for thirty years, I had many opportunities to test my blood. I have always suspected some form ofautoimmune actionwithin my body; someday I may investigate this suspicion.
I have been using this jalapeno flavored Greek probiotic yogurt made by Skotidakis in many gluten-free recipes lately. I love the kick it gives to stews, soups, and pasta sauces, blending well without clumping or separating. Because it is made from yogurt, there is much less fat involved than the sour cream or cream cheese called for to make the creamy sauces in many recipes. An equal substitution of the cream cheese or sour cream for this yogurt alternative is simple and healthy…
As I believe it was intended for, it also makes a great dip for chips or raw veggies and a tasty spread for wraps, sandwiches, hamburgers and soft tacos. I buy it at Costco, in a twin-pack, but I have also seen it sold individually at other grocery stores. It also comes in a plain flavor, but the jalapeno is my favorite…
In one of my first posts, I think I told you how the last time I went to my respirologist to check on my lungs, he told me the condition of my lungs had improved. I had been diagnosed with asthma several years earlier, with my symptoms and test results getting worse each visit to the respirologist. Since my father had recently died from pulmonary fibrosis, and my mom from lung cancer before that, the deteriorating condition of my lungs was worrisome.
At that 2012 visit, I didn’t tell the respirologist about my wheat allergy news (discovered by a naturopath) and the fact that I had been wheat-free for almost one year before this round of testing as I wanted to see if there was a change in the pulmonary (lung) function test results first. His response to my belief that my wheat-free diet was the reason for the change in my lungs was skeptical, as not many doctor like to be told that advice from a naturopath is sound. His comment at that time was “well, whatever you have been doing, keep doing it. Come back and see me next year”…
Well, i just returned from the annual respirology appointment, and my pulmonary function test results were even better than last year! In fact, the respirologist feels he doesn’t need to see me anymore, unless my symptoms return.
Although some things, like smoke and strong chemical smells, still bother me, I know to avoid them. I also know that daily exercise and reduced stress make a difference too; my new career takes care of that aspect…
This is another recipe from Living Without that sounds really good and easy to make…
Gluten-Free Pasta Pickup Salad with Pesto and Tomatoes
SERVES 6 to 8
This beautiful dish explodes with flavor. It’s best when assembled right before serving. If garden tomatoes aren’t in season, use good-quality roasted red peppers.
1 (10-12 ounce) package gluten-free brown rice or corn spirals, penne or elbow pasta
1 pint fresh, local tomatoes, chopped
½ cup good-quality pesto,* more for garnish
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon for cooked pasta
1. Bring 2 to 3 quarts salted water to boil. Cook pasta until chewy or just al dente, 3 to 4 minutes less than directed on the package. (Undercook pasta to prevent it from falling apart when tossed; pasta continues cooking after it is drained.) Rinse pasta under cold water and drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Reserve.
2. Combine ½ cup pesto with vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss with pasta.
3. Add tomatoes and dollops of remaining pesto. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Each serving contains 271 calories, 14g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 89mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein.
This gluten-free cilantro mango chicken recipe comes from my cousin Carrie Marshall, a holistic health coach in Springfield, Missouri.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts 8 ounces plain yogurt 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped 1/2 cup fresh lime juice Dash of cayenne pepper 1 clove fresh garlic, minced 1 large ripe mango, peeled, finely diced
Preheat oven (375 degrees) or BBQ
Combine 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup of cilantro, half of the lime juice, cayenne pepper and garlic. Coat chicken breasts with this mixture, marinating for at least 1 hour.
While chicken marinates, make sauce by mixing remaining yogurt, 2/3 of diced mango, 1/2 teaspoon lime juice and 3/4 cup cilantro in blender.
Bake chicken in oven for 25-30 minutes or grill on BBQ.
Place chicken on serving plates, pour on sauce and sprinkle with remaining mango, serve with extra sauce on the side.
Add a sprig of fresh cilantro for garnish.
This recipe combining the tastes of cilantro and mango, with the common staple of chicken, sounds incredibly simple and delicious and is gluten-free. It is very similar to a marinade made with lime juice, garlic, and cilantro that I frequently use at the cottage. I put the chicken and marinade in a Ziploc bag at home and transport it to the cottage like that so it is well marinated by the next day. The addition of mango, yogurt, and cayenne sounds interesting; it will certainly be my next experiment in the kitchen or on the barbecue!
Try this gluten-free cilantro, mango chicken recipe soon, and let me know what you think.
There are many alternatives to wheat on the market these days, many are available in your grocery store. Listed below are a few that I have tried:
Arrowroot is the starch of a root from tropical plants. It is easily digestible, and flavorless (unlike cornstarch). It can be used as a thickening agent in soups, gravies, cookies etc. Simply mix it with cold water before adding it to hot liquids to prevent clumping.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain-like (but NOT a grain) crop mostly grown for its edible seeds. The plant is related to beets and spinach, although the greens are not widely available. The seeds are easily digestible, and are high in protein, fiber, magnesium, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus and iron. They should be cooked and used like rice.
Buckwheat is a grain-like (but NOT a grain) plant grown for its seeds, related to rhubarb and sorrel. It is gluten-free, although it can be a potent allergen by itself. Buckwheat is high in protein, amino acids, iron, zinc, selenium and antioxidants. It has been known to reduce cholesterol levels, body fat and cholesterol gallstones. It has also been shown to strengthen capillary walls in chronic venous insufficiency and is currently being studied for use in treating type II diabetes. Noodles make of buckwheat are known as soba in Japan, pizzoccheri in Italy,and guksu in Korea. Buckwheat flour or farina is used in breakfast foods like porridge, as well as a thickener in soups, gravies, dressings, breads, and pasta. Buckwheat is also used in the making of honey and a gluten-free beer.