In May, MelissaS wrote this post about Celiac and Gluten Intolerance. I read it and kind of put it in the back of my mind. I had not really thought
much or maybe I had and I was in complete denialSHUTUP,K?about it since reading it, until this past week.
I find this chart interesting and it gives a little more info about the differences between intolerances and allergies.
I will give you a bit of the back story so you can follow along.
For the past 3 years I have trained and walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day as a way to raise money to fight breast cancer. It’s an event I enjoy but it is also very taxing on my body. Training (if done properly) takes 24-weeks of walking a minimum of 2 times a week,(but preferably 4) any where from 3 miles to 18 miles. It’s not something to take lightly. The first year I walked the only true difficulty I had was blisters, which I found a way to fight off! Last year, I struggled the whole season with some health issues but fought hard and ended up walking the event. BUT, I was in A LOT of pain. My hip was on fire and in pain that I couldn’t find a way to fix. After the 3-Day I starting seeing a new chiropractor, who happens to be my friend. She worked on me for several weeks then recommended I get an x-ray of my hip to see if there was an underlying issue causing the pain.
The x-ray showed us that I have arthritis in my hip, probably brought on from an injury that I had when I was a small child. There’s not much that I can do for arthritis other than try to ease the pain, unless I want to take drastic measures like surgery. Um….NO THANK YOU!! I will continue seeing a chiropractor, a massage therapist and work on easing the pain however I can. But bottom line, arthritis is an auto-immune disease and there isn’t a cure at this time! #itsucksjustlikeallotherautoimmunediseases
Fast forward to this spring when I started training once again for the 3-Day. Training started in March this year because I was walking with some friends that were walking this summer in Chicago. I started with 3, 4 and 6 mile walks. No real problems there. On a few of the 6 mile walks I would be a bit more sore but nothing I couldn’t handle with some Advil or Aleve. My training has progressed all through the spring, summer and fall with the miles increasing gradually and so has my discomfort. The past month or two have been very uncomfortable and I’ve been in a constant state of pain even on anti-inflammatories and ice/heat. Sometimes just a minor discomfort, but sometimes so painful it hurts to just walk around the house. I’ve been talking with friends about ideas on how to ease the pain and I’ve tried a lot of them, but they have all been like a band-aide and it was getting to the point where I wanted more than a band-aide since I’m about to fly from Dallas to San Diego, walk 60 miles and then fly back to Dallas.
This brings us to this past week when I was talking with my acquaintance who mentioned something that I had not heard. Arthritis pain can be worse when you eat gluten. It can be reduced when you eliminate gluten.
So I turned to a group of friends and asked them if they knew of any connection and much to my disappointment they all said, “YES!!” (Keep in mind one of my best friends has celiac disease and I see what she goes through to eat and I don’t want to have to eat like that.)
Let me assure you this is something I had not wanted to hear. I didn’t want anyone to tell me “DON’T EAT XXXX”! I’ve always held firm to the “if you say I can’t have it then I will want it more” camp. I’ve managed to lose 50 pounds living by this plan. I follow a moderately healthy diet now and try to eat what I want, when I want all with moderation. But now all of these people were saying if I want to help eliminate the pain I am feeling in my hip, I need to go gluten-free.
I’m ashamed to admit this but it felt like a death sentence to me on Wednesday but I’m trying to be real with you!
Most of my friends told me I need to give it at least a month to see if it helps my pain while gluten-free. My Komen 3-Day is in a month!! Um….let’s see. If I go gluten-free immediately I could reduce the pain I am feeling for my 60 mile, 3 day walk. Yeah, I felt like it would be worth trying at least. So….as of Wednesday evening I have been gluten-free to the best of my knowledge. Did you know that gluten hides in things that you would NEVER suspect it to be in?
Did you know that when you eliminate something from your diet, you start craving it ALL.THE.TIME? This year I decided to reduce my pasta and bread intake but since Wednesday evening I want both of them BADLY!!
However, this weekend I walked 10ish miles on Saturday and 19.5 miles on Sunday and I would not say I am not having any pain in my hip but it is considerably LESS than it was 2 weeks ago when I walked similar mileage. It was hard to eat out this weekend with my team mates and not have anything with gluten in it
(can you say mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, hamburger buns, pasta?) but it was made much easier when I thought about how much better I felt today than I did 2 weeks ago. In one way I’m hoping this was all in my imagination, but in another way I’m truly hoping that I can cut down on the pain I feel in my hip on a regular basis.
Honestly, this is just an experiment for me at this point. I don’t know if I will maintain a completely gluten free diet after the San Diego 3-Day and honestly, I don’t know if I will be able to do it on the actual walk but I do know I am going to give it a try to see how much of a difference there is in the amount of pain in my hip.
I would love to hear the kinds of things you experiment with to make your day to day living better. What do you do that you at one time thought you could never do but you tried it for a while and it “stuck with you” long term? Do you have pain or discomfort that might be eased by eliminating gluten (or another food)? Give it a try to see if it works. I would love to hear about it!