Thursday, November 21, 2013

My gluten journey

So after each of my children were born I had a crazy thing happen.  My hands would quit working when I first woke up...from a night of sleep or a nap.  I had to use my arms to scoop up my newborns and once I got them settled into nursing, I'd shake my hands and try to bend my fingers while they popped and cracked and eventually "warmed up" and would work.

I asked my doctor about it, thinking maybe it was some crazy post-partum thing, but she had no idea.  It would sort of come and go and wouldn't be as bad after a few months.  So I didn't really investigate it too deeply, I was too busy taking care of babies.  And I should add, my whole life my hands have been really weak. Like "invite someone over for dinner cause it's all cooked and I can't get the pasta sauce open" weak.

Another thing.  I have always had headaches. Often.  I thought it was normal.  Even up to a few months ago I thought it was normal.  Sometimes they were migraine like, most of the time just dull and constant.  So I saw a billboard a couple months ago that basically said "Headaches are not normal" and it was an adv for something...I don't even know what.  But it got me thinking.

Add in that most of my life I have had to use dandruff shampoos, but not for dandruff...they were just the only shampoos that would help heal up these soars I used to get in my hair line.

And of course...GI issues.  But I've already probably over shared.

So multiple things, kind of unassociated and never super horrible.  I just never connected the dots.


My friend, Whitney.  She shared in our bible study why she was going Gluten Free (a doctors recommendation) and I am not kidding...she described me.

Of course I am a slow study. I didn't do anything about it.  But I did kind of lose my mind regarding my inability to lose the baby weight and so I implored my sister (who is a food freak) to get me on a food plan that would help me reach my goals.  She didn't tell me to go Gluten Free, but the diet basically cut like 90% of gluteny items out of my eating.

And my hands quit hurting.
And my headaches were mostly gone.
And my hair line healed and I didn't have to use chemical shampoo.
And my stomach didn't hurt constantly.

I connected the dots.  But I guess I am still a slow learner...and I wasn't totally convinced.  So once I lost weight. I went back to eating like I had before (smaller portions, I didn't gain back the weight!).

And my hands hurt.
And I had headaches.
And the sores returned.
And my

I reached a really low low when my hands were hurting so bad that I thought I had Arthritis. And they were visibly swollen and my whole body felt like an old woman when I'd get out of bed in the mornings. I couldn't do my kids car seat buckles.  I was hurting so much.

And finally, I pushed past every excuse and bit of disbelief.

This was only a couple weeks ago.  I have been off of gluten totally for a little over a week.

I feel vulnerable.  I feel scared to eat.  I feel uneducated.  I feel mad at my body.  I feel relieved to know what is going on.  It is a mixed bag of emotions...on top of being a physical issue.

I am giving away the gluten foods in my cupboards, I am cooking it up and serving it to people who don't have my problems, I donated crackers to a non-profit.  I have let the kids have loads of snacks.  Which I will not be replacing.  I think they will benefit from a low-zero gluten existence as well. And I just don't want gluten in my house cause A. self control and B. scared of accidentally grabbing something with gluten in a thoughtless moment.

After only a week of being totally off, my hands work again.  I think the headaches, the sores and the stomach stuff I could probably sort of live with...but I need my hands.  I am hoping after being off of gluten even longer, they will stop clicking too...the pain is gone at least.

So that's my gluten story. It's weird. I never really thought it would be me. But it is.  So now, a new way of living and eating is mandatory and welcomed in many ways as well.

Thanks for reading all of this (if you actually did! ha!)  If you are also dealing with this, please tell me...I need to know who to bug when I have questions.


The Gottlieb Gang said...

Umm, wow! I think I just had an epiphany. Seriously. Maybe a God moment. My hands have been hurting so much lately I can't pick up Chase, brushing my teeth hurts and I can't open anything. Headaches? More like migraines for months.
I think you just opened up a can of worms, in a good way. Thank you for sharing your story. I think I igjt be up all night researching.

Jamie Willow said...

Jennifer ? I can't tell from the pic, it's so tiny...but I think that's you :)

A can of worms is a good way to put it. I hope you find some relief one way or another. It's not a good way to live.

Add this article to your research, a friend sent it to me and it added a couple more pieces to my own puzzle.


The Gottlieb Gang said...

Yes it's me! Thanks Jamie I'll check it out! I'm all ready to clean my pantry out tomorrow!

Melinda Ott said...

We did gluten free for a while in a an effort to stop some skin issues my son and I had (it didn't help me and, while it did help my son, we got to a point where we could control his issues in other ways and brought bake the gluten). It's definitely a lifestyle, but it is getting easier to follow that lifestyle. There are HUNDREDS of boards on pinterest of gluten free recipes!

Desirae said...

I have friends that are gluten intolerant (my sister thinks I am also, but I haven't tested it out). They CAN use Einkorn flour (, because it's an ancient grain. It has gluten, but not damaging, hard-to-digest gluten like overly processed flour. I'm not sure if you would want to try it, but research it :-) I hope it goes well for you.

Jamie Willow said...


I have actually wondered if you were Gluten Intolerant...from your posts on fb about headaches and other health issues. I tell ya what, it is SO worth cutting it out to feel better. I hope you listen to your sister and give it a try cutting it out...what if? :)


Desirae said...

I just FEELS like everything has mother went gluten free AND egg free for 60 days and it didn't help her problems...and she said it was I'm a wimp. One day I will try it!


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