Saturday, November 29, 2008

First post

I begin this blog with high hopes, not just because of the testimonials of so many people who have found relief and improved health with the gluten free diet, but because, in my limited previous experience with living GF, I too felt better!

Here's a list of the health problems that led me to try the gluten free diet: celiac disease, autoimmune hepatitis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and psoriasis. I also have severe fibromyalgia (with allodynia). Currently I need a wheelchair to be able to go to work (and have been using one since Memorial Day 2008), because I can't walk very far anymore due to pain issues. Also (although I was overweight before being diagnosed with some of these diseases), since June, when I started taking Prednisone and Imuran, I've managed to gain about 30 pounds (much of it in my face - the famous prednisone "moon face"). Note that the picture of me in my profile is before prednisone!!

So despite the fact that it is the holiday season, I decided to go gluten free now after all, particularly since my GI doctor ordered me to do so. I began the GF diet on November 25th, just 4 days ago. Right before Thanksgiving!!

Nevertheless, I actually managed to make a completely GF Thanksgiving dinner, and my family enjoyed it, and I had a hard time telling that everything was gluten free! I'm proud of myself and really happy that I was able to do it so easily, using recipes from various blogs and GF forums on I adapted some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes to be gluten-free, but I also used Erica's recipe for sausage-apple stuffing (except I added chicken broth and cooked it in the crockpot a la Stephanie), and I used Stephanie's recipe for crockpot mashed potatoes.

I made a pumpkin cheesecake in the crockpot too (recipe from Stephanie) and it was FANTASTIC!! Below is a picture of the cheesecake while it was cooling in the crockpot, before I added the sour cream topping. See the picture on Stephanie's site for the finished product.

I adapted a recipe for cherry streusel pie to be GF, by using Erica's piecrust for her apple tart and the cornstarch streusel recipe from Roben Ryberg's book "You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free" (page 432).

The good news is that I'm actually feeling a little bit better already! My vertigo is (almost) gone, my hands don't tremble anymore, and my blurry vision seems to have gone away too. Not only that, but my overall pain levels have been noticeably less most of the time. I've only had a couple of fairly mild headaches, instead of the kind that feel like my head is going to blow apart.

So it seems that the neurological symptoms are starting to clear up on the GF diet. Which is VERY interesting; it probably means that the celiac disease is responsible directly for the neuro symptoms.

My fibro symptoms, like the lower back pain and stiff muscles that prevent me from walking or standing for any length of time are still with me. But I hope and pray that they will diminish.

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