Gluten Free Who? Thyroid What?? I need to do what?!

A little while back, I talked about the cranky old lady who kept asking me whenever she saw me how much weight I’ve lost after having the baby. Her greeting never included a hello- this (senile?)bitch would jump right into “So? Well how much weight have you lost??!”…I fought back by giving myself time to lose the weight patiently, trusting my body would do its job and that maybe being just 10 weeks post partum, it truly was too early to worry about it. I knew most moms drop the weight like a dirty shirt when they’re breastfeeding, and was slowly coming to grips with the fact that I’m not one of them. Fast forward to where we are today, Bella being six months old, and the question would kill me if she asked today. Because I haven’t lost one. single. pound. And its not without having tried and tried and tried.

I used to have a metabolism that not only hummed, it cranked. About a year before I was pregnant with Bella, you could easily find me awake in the kitchen at 3AM because I couldn’t sleep through my hungry, growling stomach. If I dared miss or delay ‘a feeding’, I’d spend the day battling low blood sugar bad enough I wouldn’t be able to see. To make matters worse, the low blood sugar would still sneak up behind me and take hold faster than I would realize, despite haven eaten recently, leaving me literally walking away mid conversation to get something to eat- quick! I was one of those people who had to keep snacks in the car lest I get hungry on that 15 minute ride to work in the morning. I couldn’t stand being in a grocery store or restaurant in the summer without a sweater (and sometimes a jacket on top too) because of the air conditioning. I needed to sleep all. the. time. (and still do). Seriously, I’m the only person I’ve ever come across that would say “I cant go out to breakfast until I have something to eat.” (Otherwise the wait for a meal would set me back for the entire day). It started when I was pregnant with Jax, almost six (!!) years ago. I would complain to the doctors about ridiculously low blood sugar and they told me to eat. Well, duh! If it was that easy! Thanks for making me feel like a crazy, pregnant, moron. (In my defense also, those doctors seem to have been the group that graduated with less than stellar grades, but lousy OB GYN’s don’t belong in this post). Yes, I’ve seen other doctors, My thyroid levels have come back borderline abnormal several times, but since apparently most doctors these days see ‘borderline’ as ‘untreatable’, I’m stuck feeling miserable. At least I could eat though, and I was spared the dread of going to my 10 year high school reunion overweight.

SO here I am, wishing I could have the overdrive metabolism of days past- because now my body is stuck in full reverse. My hair is falling out, my skin is on fire with flaky, dry patches of eczema, and on some days my energy level is low to the point it feels like I’m walking through waist deep water just to get up the stairs. And its all new issues since having Bella. Ugh. Cant someone fix this for me!? Well, since I’ve already seen doctors and the ones that I’ve seen were not keeping up with their research, which leaves them stumped and me without a solution, I’ll be seeing a chiropractor in a few weeks who specializes in natural medicine and particularly, autoimmune disorders and thyroid disorders. Having done my research (meaning having spent a bunch of time on Google, which means I could be an unofficial expert *not really*), hypothyroidism and gluten intolerances (and full blown Celiac Disease), go hand in hand. And to treat hypothyroidism, you have to cut out glutens… Doh. To add to the fun, the most common form of hypothyroidism, is an autoimmune disorder. Chris Kresser, L. Ac says “hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease in 90% of cases” and that “(o)ne of the biggest challenges facing those with hypothyroidism is that the standard of care for thyroid disorders in both conventional and alternative medicine is hopelessly inadequate.”
 

He goes on to say, “The link is so well-established that researchers suggest all people with AITD (autoimmune thyroid disorder) be screened for gluten intolerance, and vice versa. What explains the connection? It’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid. Even worse, the immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it. This explains why it is critical to eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you have AITD. There’s no “80/20″ rule when it comes to gluten. Being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.”

Furthermore, the symptoms of both thyroid disorders and gluten sensitivities, intolerances, and full- blown “dont touch me with that gluten molecule” issues all mimic each other, especially when someone with gluten issues has ‘silent symptoms’- meaning they experience sluggishness, feel cold, have rashes and itchy dry skin,

 

Okay. So I read information like this about a week ago and have been milling it around in my head trying to come to terms with it. “An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of these people are unaware of their condition. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. Levothyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroid hormone, is the 4th highest selling drug in the U.S. 13 of the top 50 selling drugs are either directly or indirectly related to hypothyroidism. The number of people suffering from thyroid disorders continues to rise each year.”

Got it. I totally get it. All these hypothyroid articles were written about me. Yes, I get it. But Really?? What about my undying love for crusty, artisan style bread? What about the wonderful pizza Dean made which I devoured the other night having full knowledge the research says I wont be able to do that anymore?

And for ultimate insult added to injury, my beloved vanilla Coffee-Mate coffee creamer, with its lame vanilla flavoring, is probably off the list of foods I’ll be able to eat. I’ll get over it, eventually, since its not good for me at all anyways, but come on. The discovery of gluten sensitivities has achieved something no diet has ever accomplished with me before: STOPPING ME FROM having my vanilla flavored coffee. Damn the people that started sourcing vanilla flavor from barley. Damn them! (And if anyone knows for sure its Gluten Free let me know. I checked the website and it just lists artificial flavorings so I’ve said screw it. Its probably better for me NOT to be consuming that crap anyways.)

 

In the great words of my mom, when I was talking to her about all this hootenany, “well, now

you cant even have a beer!!” Thanks mom!

I’ve always understood how serious it is to avoid glutens for those with Celiac Disease. I get it. I just never thought I’d have to deal with it. On top of that, I DO believe some people say they need to eat gluten free because they think they are on a diet. I know these people arent really gluten free- eaters though because I would watch them devour all sorts of foods without even a glance at the ingredients. Hello!?!? Its a way to drive me crazy. I know food allergies and sensitivities are REAL, and I am a firm believer that NUTRITION HEALS. But the people that waltz into a restaurant saying they require a gluten free meal but then order the soup of the day (thickened with a flour roux), the grilled chicken with vegetables (the chicken is injected with broth solution and then marinated in who knows what), and the vanilla ice cream and a brownie to share (again, the dreaded vanilla flavor, the brownie is just stupidly gluten unfriendly) are full of shit and always have been.  

The long and the short of it is that I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and stick to this. I made it through Day ONE fairly easily, and am on day two. Its easier said than done in a house full of pasta and wonderfully fluffy white bread just baked in the wood stove. This will have to be a learning process. But at this point, anything I can do to feel human again must be a step in the right direction. Have you dealt with gluten allergies?Thyroid disorders? Did your whole family have to go gluten free? What are your favorite resources? Stay tuned for more of yet another crazy chapter …

 

 

 

 

The Baby Weight

“THE BABY WEIGHT: aka Thank Goodness My Jeans Are Loose But Don’t Kick That Old Lady!”

The other night I tucked Bella into her sling and we went to the restaurant for ladies’ night- fun! Except among the ladies I saw one lady in particular, an older grandmotherly type who has trouble saying the right thing. The kind of lady you’ve known forever, part endearing and part Oh MY. We’ll call her M. Lately when I see M, the greeting I get has been “SO. How much weight have you lost?” I always respond once with a “What? I’m sorry?” As if I didn’t hear her (looking around for SOMEONE to save me), and M snarks again, “how much weight have you lost? Since the baby? Didnt your doctor weigh you at your last checkup?” No hello’s, no how are you’s, not even the ‘how’s the baby’ greeting you grow used to hearing as a hello with a new little one in tow.
Ugh. First, I should say its humiliating to even admit I feel so awful about the baby weight- why would I want to draw any more attention to the size of my ass, really? Its not a topic I like to address with others, I’m just too self conscious. I let it sit silently as I work it off. I would never be the girl standing in a dress asking ‘do I look fat in this?’. What if someone told me I really did look fat!! The horror. Its hard to face your body after having a baby, it took a long time for me to be friends with my post baby body after Jax. And this time around with Bella, I’m consciously working on letting myself take time and let it be. I’m not going to torture myself to lose it.
Yes, I’ll work on it, no one wants mush forever, but I’ll take advantage of breastfeeding’s edge, and I’ll plan on just working on adding more activity into my day. Maybe I’ll actually take the adage ‘9 months on, 9 months off’ to heart. Or, maybe I’ll lose patience, and decide marathon training is for me (not likely). The point is, its none of M’s business!
So, having said that, it leaves me feeling pretty crappy when I get asked this question by M. Why? What if she thinks I put too much on? I didn’t. What if I look like I havn’t lost enough? What is she fishing for? What on earth am I supposed to say? Why the —- does it matter to her anyways? Now the gloves are about to come off.
I take a deep breath and remind myself, ‘She’s old- if I kick her in the shins, other people might side with her’. Then I tell her I have no idea. I don’t have a scale. “You don’t have a scale!?” M snarks. No, no scale. Not anymore. “But your doctor would have weighed you at your checkup, what did HE say?” Well now M has picked a fight.
I tell her I don’t have an OB, we see a Midwife who is absolutely wonderful. And since that visit was 6 weeks ago, and lasted 10 minutes, it wouldn’t matter that they hadn’t tortured me by putting me up to standing on a scale. And I’ve told you, M, that I see a midwife. I told you several times. (Insert ‘Senile Bitch’ insult here) Besides, if M must know, my post partum visit went like this: how are you? Great!! Breastfeeding going well? Yup!! Great. Any questions? Nope! Okay, we’re all set then. (And then we got to the all important midwifey chit chat we all look forward to with midwives)
The long story short is, not many women enjoy their bodies postpartum. There are freaks of nature- sorry- some lucky women, that you could hardly tell they ever had a baby 6 weeks out. I’m not one of them. I can be quoted verbatim as “I never want to have another baby because I’m too scared of getting fat all over again!” Well, another one I’ve had. Thankfully part of the design plan is to provide for plenty of energy for breastfeeding- and its a perfect system to see your baby grow and be nurtured by your body.
Taking my time and being kind to myself is definitely a learning process. I can be patient about some things, but honestly, this one is hard. The good and the bad is that there’s little control over how our bodies grow our babies and the after effects. We can eat perfectly healthy to help them develop well, and we can breastfeed them as Nature intended, while sitting on Nature’s comfortably padded ass. If the only lesson I learn from all this is how to hold back from kicking old ladies in the shins, so be it. In the meantime, I’ll eat healthy, nurture my daughter, and maybe I’ll tone my kicking muscles up a bit.