One of my greatest pleasures in life is eating and when I met the fiancé I was surprised that was not on the top of his list. I came to find out he hated eating because he always felt horrible afterwards with serious gut problems. Although he knew this was not normal, he couldn’t pinpoint what was making him sick: all his allergies tests came back normal and the doctors couldn’t get him a diagnosis other than the hypothyroidism he was already taking medicine for.
In early 2015, things were getting worse: he was having internal bleeding that led to emergency room visits, and swollen ankles that kept him on crutches for three months. After months of reading and trying to learn about his body as much as possible, he decided to try a strict elimination diet. His main guides in this were the books “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” by Dr. Isabella Wentz and “Why Do I Still have Thyroid Symptons When My Lab Tests Are Normal?” by Dr. Datis Kharrazian.
For 21 days, he eliminated all possible allergens from his diet: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, corn, soy, fish, and shellfish. He also avoided red meat, nightshades (eggplant, tomato) and goiter foods (cauliflower, brussel sprouts). Then what could he eat??? Rice, quinoa, potatoes, chicken, turkey, and a few vegetables and fruits. Lucky for me, ground turkey and rice was something I knew how to cook, and chicken soup was something he loved to make, so that’s how he survived the first 3 weeks. Although I was being as supportive as I could be at home, I did not do this elimination diet with him and continued eating anything I wanted outside of the house.
Little by little, he added each allergen for a test day and observed the reactions on his body for the next 3 days. The whole process took about 3 months. I was so proud of the fiancé! I couldn’t even stay away from cheese for 3 hours… In the end, it was all worth it: he figured out he had extreme reactions to dairy (not lactose, but whey and casein) and wheat (gluten). So that’s when, about a year ago, we became a gluten-free and dairy-free household! And let me tell you: the fiancé feels amazing!!!
At first I freaked out: how are we ever going to eat out again??? However, this is a great time to have food sensitivities – I mean, who doesn’t have any nowadays? Restaurants are very aware of allergies and try their best to modify their dishes for you. Even Italian restaurants now offer gluten-free pasta. When worried about cross-contamination, there are some pills to help with digestion, such as Gluten-Cutter. When shopping, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers have awesome selections. Even Wal-mart has a gluten-free section! And Reno has an amazing gluten-free bakery called Haven on Earth very close to our house. As for dairy, there are lots of alternatives and we usually buy coconut milk and coconut or cashew milk ice cream now. We even make our own grated “parmesan cheese” with nutritional yeast! A whole new world of food, restaurants, and cooking has opened to us.
Although we should really be eliminating processed food all-together, we are taking this change as one thing at a time, so we are still buying potato chips, corn tortilla chips, and breads and cookies made with gluten-free flour. There are so many delicious brands out there: Schar, Daiya, Jules Gluten Free, and Bob’s Red Mill. We even have gluten-free and dairy-free pizza on a regular basis!
Since I have such a sweet tooth, I am still making cookies, cakes, and muffins. Yes, I am sure having a super clean diet of veggies and lean meat is awesome for your body, but like I said in the beginning of this post, I just LOVE to eat, so this transition to a gluten-free and dairy-free household is already a huge challenge for me, much more than for the fiancé, who is reaping the positive benefits on his body. I take my hat off to him for being able to be so consistent with his new diet, but I just need to hold on to my desserts for a while: I am having too much fun using coconut milk in everything and as soon as I can I will be posting some of the recipes on this website!