Friday, February 15, 2013

Going GF & DF

Ahhhh...what does GF and DF mean?  Well, GF is short for Gluten Free and DF is Dairy Free. Well, Alaska Girl, what does that mean?

"A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat (including kamut and spelt),barley, rye and triticale. Corn and rice also contain gluten, but are considered gluten-free, as the gluten in these species do not cause celiac disease. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis and wheat allergy, but not gluten allergy."(wikipedia)

Wikipedia-the end all be all for info! Not really. So, here is info from celiac.com "wheat, rye and barley, it is obvious that you will need to avoid these grains. Less obvious however, are the myriad of products that contain gluten as a hidden ingredient."

So. Gluten-free basically means cutting specific grains out of the diet. Especially wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is in EVERYTHING. Even envelopes and stamps (made flour paste before?) and shampoo/conditioner.

"Wheat and wheat products are often used as thickeners, stabilizers and texture enhancers in foods that might otherwise seem wheat-free, like some salad dressings. Since the term "gluten" is rarely used on product labels, it is vital that a person on a gluten-free diet learn the typical places that gluten can hide. Thanks to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), it is easier now to identify wheat-containing ingredients: if a food or an ingredient contains wheat or protein derived from wheat, the word “wheat” must appear clearly on the food label." (Eating Well)

Most times when I am looking at a food label and I am unsure, I look to see if the label says "Gluten free". Some products plaster this in size 50 font across the front of the package (almost any of the LIFE cereals). Others place it below their contact info (Bush's Baked Beans and Hormel Chili.)

Dairy-Free is similar in idea. The dairy I am avoiding is cow. I have known for quite some time I am lactose intolerant. Totally avoiding liquid milk. Not really the by-products like cheese, sour cream, whipped cream and ice cream. Ahhh...Ben and Jerry, I miss you. Dairy, like wheat, is in EVERYTHING. Words to look for: lactose, casein or whey. For now, I am cutting out the obvious cow/dairy products and avoiding 'easy to spot on the ingredient list' products. What to use in place? I LOVE coconut milk. The kiddos and I have been drinking almond milk for over a year. When we do have cow milk, it tastes terrible and produces tummy aches. In my coffee I use honey as a sweetener and coconut or almond milk. Cheese is more difficult. For many years that and an apple have been my go-to snack. In trying to avoid soy (thyroid issue) I have limited cheese options. Last week I picked up a pack of Daiya shredded cheese. Its ok. Not the same.

Over the last week I have dropped wheat. I am as gluten free as I can get. I read the food labels, and have started making my own GF bread again. I have also dropped cow dairy from my diet. Coconut and  almond milk all the way. I even use it for my creamer in my coffee. For cheese, I have started using Daiya. There are other cheese alternatives BUT they usually contain soy and casein which is a milk protein. Sugar? Well, that is a bit harder. I use it in baking but I don't add it to my coffee. I am planning to change up the types of sugar. Instead of using white refined sugar, I'll start using honey (locally produced) or other alternatives.

Soooo...Why?
November of 2011, my stomach started hurting and progressively worsened in pain. The pain was so bad that I stopped eating. Only when I was feeling weak would I have a small bite of bread or something that would be easy to digest. I did see one doctor that suggested I had giardia. February of 2012 I visited Mat-Su Integrative Medicine for my yearly and all that. After asking questions and examining me, Dr. Amy suggested I had Candida  in my stomach and I cut out wheat, dairy and sugar (?!?!?!?!?). In addition she prescribed Nystatin. After finishing the treatment, I felt tons better. Stomach pains were gone and I had more energy. Fast forward to January 2013. I started having stomach pains again. After thinking about my diet for the month of December, I realized I ate a lot of junk. Good tasting junk, some of which I made myself. Pumpkin bread, caramals, taffy, banana bread, cookies, and more. The common ingredients in those foods were (drumroll please) wheat and sugar. Not only were the pains back, I gained about eight pounds. So, thru self diagnosis (something doctors *love*), I have Candida.

Why not use soy products?
I have hypo-thyroid. In other words, my thyroid does not function correctly and is sluggish. I was diagnosed several years ago and started on levothyroxine. It helped, I could feel a difference in my body. Dr. Amy changed my medication to Armour Thyroid. (I'll talk more about my thyroid in another post.) In wanting to help my thyroid, I researched what foods to eat and avoid. Soy is on the list of foods to avoid on low thyroid. Which is fine. Soy tastes nasty to me. 

Helpful Websites:
Candida
Daiya (soy free cheese alternative)
Dairy Free
Eating Well
list of sneaky dairy
lactose intolerant

2 comments:

Becca Campbell said...

Good luck! I'm gluten, dairy, sugar, coffee, soy, yeast, celery, asparagus, cranberries, mushrooms, cod and halibut free. It's a tough road, but we (us allergy sufferers) are here to help you out. =)

Alaskan Girl said...

Hey Becca Campbell- gonna need all I can get! Can't imagine all you have to avoid. Not sure I could go without coffee. I could. But do I want to? And yes, it is tough. I wish you all the best.