Gluten – friend or foe?

Gluten – friend or foe?

  About a week and a half ago my doctor declared that I needed to do a test to see if I was gluten intolerant. After telling her I don’t eat gluten anyways because it is bad for inflammation, she told me I had to start eating a significant amount of gluten every day for a month until I did the test. I have been strict with my gluten consumption for over a year now and haven’t had anything with gluten in it. I was curious to see what would happen to my body when I start eating large quantities of gluten again. 

At first I got a little carried away thinking of the things I would eat that I haven’t been able to. The first thing I ate was a glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme. That was the only gluten I had eaten that day, I didn’t feel any reaction as such but my belly looked like I was 6 months pregnant. 

The next two days I struggled to get the right amount of gluten into myself. After substituting for so long it was hard to think about what to eat. I had noodles, bread, wraps and soy sauce! But found it really hard to get equivalent of three pieces of bread into myself each day. The task seemed impossible!! (To me anyways, my colleagues were not sure why I was finding it difficult). 

It was only after about four days into the gluten diet  that I started getting a headache, constant feeling like I’m always hungry but at the same time feeling full and like vomitting. I also started to get more neck and knee pain. I felt that my hands were feeling weak.  I felt exhausted and that I wanted to sleep all the time. At first I thought it was only that day, but I have been feeling this way now everyday.  It has almost been two weeks of having gluten everyday and I don’t know if I can do it for another 2-3 weeks. I have also gained weight. I’m not surprised considering how heavy my stomach feels immediately after eating something with gluten in it. 

For me eating gluten is not worth the effects I am having as a result. I just feel lousy and depressed, yet hungry and full and just feel hungover everyday with a constant headache that won’t go away no matter what I do. I can’t seem to think so clearly. I don’t feel like this is something I can do for another three weeks. It is pretty obvious from my reactions that I might not have coeliac disease but I do have a gluten sensitivity to some degree. 

Gluten is definitely not a friend of mine. 

Fruit and nut delights

Fruit and nut delights

  

My banana, raspberry and walnut muffins. 

This is a newly created sugar, dairy, and gluten free. I was lucky it turned out on my first attempt. I used my stand mixer to mix my ingredients. 

This made 12 cupcake size and 4 large muffin size muffins. 

Ingredients 

1/3 cup raw honey 

1/3 cup good mild flavoured olive oil 

3 free range eggs, at room temperature 

1 1/2 cups rice flour, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup sultanas

2 large ripe bananas,mashed 

1/2 cup walnuts, slightly broken 

1/2 cup frozen raspberries 

1 tablespoon vanilla essence 

Method

1. Whisk oil and honey together until creamy. 

2. Add eggs and continue beating until light and fluffy – I set this on an electric mixer for 10 minutes. 

3. Add the sifted flour, baking powder and almond meal and mix until just combined.

4. Add the walnuts, vanilla, sultanas and raspberries and gently fold through. 

5. Scoop the mix into greased cupcake trays.

6. Bake for approx 15 minutes at 160 degrees celcius, baking time may differ depending on your oven and size of your trays. 

Check with a skewer and remove when the skewer comes out clean and if you lightly press on the top it has a little spring. 

Allow to cool and enjoy. 
  

Week 2 (with week 1 progress)

Week 2 (with week 1 progress)

Week 1 Progress

Diet

The week went well, I used Sunday to prepare all of my meals in advance.  As posed on my Week 1 post  https://myautoimmunity.wordpress.com/week-1/ I planned the same diet for the whole week, in the past I hadn’t been able to do that because I get bored of eating the same food and feel sometimes my body craves different things depending on my  energy and body needs.  Last week  was no different.  I followed the diet exactly for the first two days, I found the lentils were aggravating  my stomach a lot, I guess I haven’t consumed such a large amount of lentils for a long time.  I decided from Wednesday this wasn’t going  to work for me.  I had the same breakfast, snacks, and dinner the first half of the week, I incorporated eggs into my lunch Wednesday, and roast chicken for the remainder of the week for lunch.  Wednesday and  Thursday I also had lamb steak for dinner as this is the craving I had, which meant my body  was craving more iron and higher protein source.  Over the long weekend, I also had sushi, and made a chicken stir fry  with vegetables, and gluten free spaghetti.  I had one treat on Sunday as it a hot weekend, I had gelato as my treat.

When it comes to diet, it has to be things that work for you and your lifestyle, it is important to try and make as many meals as you can as you know exactly what goes into each meal.  I do struggle with having to eat the same thing, specially  for lunch and dinner, and also because I like to listen to what my body is telling me it needs to run better and what it needs to recover.

Exercise

I went to the gym Monday as per my Week 1 plan and found this really drained me, I had to really recover from this, I also unfortunately did something to aggravate my  back, so I needed to let my body recover from this.  Thursday  I went back to gym and did back and chest, and I went back again and did legs on Saturday.  Overall I managed 3 out of 4 exercise sessions.  Normally I would be disappointed, but from my past  experience, I learned to let my body recover and listened to what it was able to do and as a result I feel pretty good.

Measurements

It has only been one week, so there have been no changes in any of my measurements from last week, I would be in shock if it did change.


Week 2 diet

Week 2, I will stick with the same breakfast and snacks as last week.  Lunch  and  dinners will be different depending on what my body needs, but this is what I am proposing for this week.

Breakfast

  • Chia pudding

Mid morning

  • 1 cup raw carrots
  • 10 almonds

Lunch

  • Chicken stir-fry with basmati rice, substituting with;
  • Roast chicken with steamed vegetables

Afternoon

  • Yoghurt with maple syrup

Pre and post workout

  • BCAA, and protein shake

Dinner

  • Tuna salad, substituting with;
  • Lamb and salad

(will make changes based on body requirements)


Week 2 exercise (all exercise is alternating/done in pairs as last week )

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Back and Shoulders

Lat pulls – 4 sets, alternating with;

Shoulder  press – 4 sets

Seated row – 4 sets, alternating with;

Lat raises – 4  sets

Face pulls – 4 sets, alternating with;

Face down shoulder raises – 4 sets

Wednesday- Legs

Squats – 4 sets,

Deadlifts – 4 sets

Kettlebell squats – 4 sets

Glute raises – 4 sets

Leg press – 4 sets

Calve raises – 4 sets

Thursday – rest

Friday – Chest and arms

Dumbbell chest press – 4 sets

Pull downs with bar – 4 sets

Dumbbell flys – 4 sets

Pull downs with rope – 4 sets

Saturday – Legs, same as Wednesday

Sunday – rest


Gluten and sugar free apple pie with vanilla custard 

Gluten and sugar free apple pie with vanilla custard 


I found this pastry in the supermarket and decided a pie was to be made. It isn’t the cheapest thing around with $9 for the box.  

Apple Pie

Ingredients 

5 Granny Smith apples

1tbs butter

1 tbs cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tbs vanilla

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 sheets gluten free puff pastry

Method 

1. Peel and core the apples.

2. Dice the apples into cubes.

3. In a pan add the butter and add the apples.

4. Once the apples are softened slightly add the CI naming, cloves, vanilla, and maple syrup. Stir the mix until slightly thickens. If the mix becomes too solid add a little hot water to loosen it.

5. Turn the mix off and set aside to cool slightly.

6. Roll out the pastry into a creased 20cm pan.

7. Pierce the pastry with a fork and place into the oven for about 5 minutes. It should be slightly brown.

8. Take the pan out of the oven and add the apple mix.

9. Decorate the top as you wish. If you are covering the whole pie then you will require an additional sheet of pastry.

10. Lightly brush the top of the pastry with some butter.

11.  Place back into preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for about 30 minutes or until brown on top.

12. Let it cool slightly and cut and serve with warm custard.

 

Vanilla Custard 

Ingredients 

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup honey

1tbs corn starch

2 tbs vanilla
400ml cream

300 ml whole milk

Method 

1. In a saucepan heat the cream, milk and vanilla until just warm.

2. In another large bowl separate the yolks from the whites, only the yolks are required.

3. Add corn starch and honey to egg yolks and whisk until incorporated.

4. Slowly add the warm cream and milk mix while whisking into the egg mix.

5. When all the milk mix is incorporated out the mix back into the pan and put the heat back on. Using a whisk keep whisking on a low heat until the mix starts to bubble.

6. Remove from heat and either let cool if you are serving it warm or place in the fridge if serving cold.

Strawberry and Cream Cups 

Strawberry and Cream Cups 

  
Makes approximately 4 x 250ml cups/glasses 

This recipe is inspired by a classic set cheesecake. It is essentially set without the base. It is gluten, sugar, and soy free. This recipe does contain dairy and wouldn’t be suitable to those on an autoimmune paleo diet, lactose intolerant, or those who just don’t like dairy. 

Ingredients 

250g cream cheese softened 

300ml thickened cream, suitable for whipping 

1/2 cup raw honey 

1 tablespoon vanilla essence 

1 1/2 tablespoon gelatine 

1/4 cup boiling water 

1 punnet fresh strawberries 

Method 
1. Whip the thickened cream until soft peaks form and set aside 

2. Dissolve the gelatine in boiling water 

3. Whip the softened cream cheese with the honey 

4. Add the vanilla and dissolved gelatine 

5. Continue whipping the cream cheese mix until smooth and all combined

6. Add the cream and either mix on slow or hand mix it in so it doesn’t over whip and split 

7. Scoop your mix into 4 single serve bowls or glasses 

8. Cut the strawberries into cubes and pile on top of the cream cheese mix

9. Place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours before serving 

Can be enjoyed with a little honey drizzled over the top and crushed nuts (optional) 

Sugar Sweet 

Sugar Sweet 

  
I have been a bit MIA with blog posts and this is because I have been on a couple of vacations lately. I’m going to break up some topics and things I discovered while on holiday over a few posts. This one is all about my sugar consumption. 

Let them eat cake 

I was never a big sugar eater, not one to have a sweet tooth. So giving up sugar for me was easy. I haven’t had any sugar since Christmas 2014. This doesn’t include natural sugar such as fruit or honey. After cutting it out, I thought while on holiday I would ensure I still had no gluten or soy, but dropped the guards slightly on sugar and dairy. Also because it was my Birthday I wanted to have cake (gluten free of course). 

I had something with sugar in it for the 7 days I was on the cruise ship, it wasn’t excessive, it was only as a dessert form (I didn’t go overboard -pun intended). I found initially I had a headache from eating sugar, but surprisingly for me, I did not experience an inflammatory reaction from sugar or dairy. To be honest I actually felt better, I didn’t experience fatigue and was sleeping better. (This could also be because I wasn’t at work or in cold Melbourne). Mentally I felt happier because I didn’t have to cut sugar out completely from my life anymore, at least I felt since my body didn’t react having sugar for me was still an option on occasion. 

I also attended an Indian wedding last week in Fiji and as Indian weddings go, it’s all sweets all of the time. If you love sweets it is very difficult to avoid it. You have to have an iron will to not have any. I can say I only ate 2 pieces of sweets in the whole wedding week. I avoided it because even though I didn’t react to it on the cruise ship, I know my body doesn’t need the sugar. 

I went and spoke to my dermatologist soon after to discuss my findings and she advised me that from research they have found gluten to have a relationship with inflammation but nothing scientifically proven to show that sugar, dairy or soy should be avoided. I also discussed this with my Rhuematologist and we discussed it was okay for me on occasion. 

There is a lot of talk about sugar lately and many people are completely removing it from their diet and if you want to do this it will be better for you and your body. But we are all human and sometimes you just want to eat dessert like everyone else.  Although as I mentioned I gave it up easily I did sometimes feel that I just wanted to “be like everyone else” and just eat a dessert. The mental effects sometimes I felt was not worth it.  Sometimes always cutting everything out and still being in pain made me sad. If however, when I ate sugar I had an inflammatory response (which to be honest I expected) and I was in pain, I don’t think it is something I would continue to eat even on special occasion. For me it wouldn’t be worth the pain. But for me I’m in pain most days and fatigued and eating sugar did not increase my pain levels or fatigue. 

I’m not saying for everyone now to go out and eat sugar. By no means do I encourage eating sugar. I still will remove sugar from my diet, except on occasion. But I will no longer be the sugar nazi that I had become. Everyone is different and everyone’s body reacts differently, the best way to find out if your body reacts to something is to completely cut it out for atleast 3 months then try it again in a small quantity and see what your body does. Speak to your specialist and determine if this is suitable for you and your condition. And make the right choices based on your body and your mental health. 

I will continue to make sugar free treats at home and stick to a sugar and gluten free diet because I do believe this is better for me. But atleast I know if I really wanted to, I could have a dessert and not have a reaction to it. 

That’s something for me to smile about 

Who doesn’t love a good Hot Dog 

Who doesn’t love a good Hot Dog 

There is something about having a gourmet sausage in soft bread with mustard and sauerkraut that makes me instantly feel happy and satisfied. Eating a hotdog reminds me of weekends as a child when my mum would make sausages and we would turn them into hotdogs with ketchup, mustard, and relish. When I eat a hotdog it takes me back to a happy place. 

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a hot dog in a long time because I can’t have gluten. I thought hotdogs were just another thing I just couldn’t have anymore. That was until this afternoon, while shopping at Woolworths I came across some gluten, soy, dairy free rolls. I decided then and there I was having a hot dog for dinner tonight. (There was a party in my head at this point). 

 

   

 

These rolls although gluten free, is not true paleo as it has flours from grains and also something called invert sugar. I googled it, it is pretty much sugar, with the same health consequences. I don’t have any sugar in my diet, but for the small amount in this bread and my dying need to eat a hotdog I made a small exception (I am only human). 

Being pretty exhausted today (I just had an Infliximab infusion today), I used gluten free chorizo and cooked it in a pan to heat it up and brown a little. I served my hot dog simply with mustard. 

  
The verdict: the bread itself was a little dry and felt slightly grainy, but with the chorizo and mustard it worked well enough to satisfy my hotdog craving. It was a lot better then many other gluten free breads I have tried. 

My body didn’t have any reactions to it, so I feel like this is something I am able to include in my diet as an occasional treat. (Yay!)