Why I Went Gluten Free + How It’s Going

I am soaking up the last few weeks of summer before my boys go back, I hope you are having a great summer as well! I recently made a decision regarding my health that I wanted to share with you. I never, ever thought I would be one to do this but I thought it was worth a try. I decided to go gluten free!!! It’s been almost 2 months now and I feel so much better!

First let me say, I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical experience what so ever. If you are feeling similar symptoms you should consult your doctor.


After my last post I was feeling better for a while, I was making good eating choices, making sure I stayed hydrated and it worked. I felt like I was working really hard at it, when generally speaking I drink tons of water and eat healthy in general. So May & June were crazy, in a good way of course, you can read more HERE. My symptoms of dizziness, brain fog & heart palpitations began to surface again. After a family trip to an all inclusive resort I decided it was time to follow up again with my doctor, my episodes were at all time high.

I was convinced it was my heart, both my dad and sister were very young when they had a heart attack and I was convinced I was headed there. I followed ALL the tests they suggested, ECCO, Carotid, stress test and they even had me wear a monitor to track episodes. It was such peace of mind to know everything came back clean, with no issues. I am just going to say this, if this helps one person. My sister passed away suddenly, with no warning at the age of 48. Stay on top of seeing a cardiologist, the symptoms for women are often overlooked.

The day after I got back from our family vacation I went to get bloodwork. Let me set this up for you, over the vacation I ate a ton of spinach, ordered red meat and took an iron pill every single day. But…I also indulged in a ton of carbs, more than I ever usually eat. The results came back, I was very low in iron and my sugars were slightly high. They ran a chemical screen and tested for pretty much everything, except Lyme’s Disease, which I will go back for, just to be sure. I was perplexed. How could my iron be so low when my body was taking in so much of it. I began to think it wasn’t being absorbed for some reason. A friend told me she had similar symptoms, they ran all the bloodwork for her and that her doctor had suggested going gluten free after they found nothing conclusive. She had mentioned this to me a few times in the past but I didn’t want to believe that gluten could be responsible for all this craziness in my body. After realizing what I ate over the vacation I began to think there could be a correlation. I talked to my doctor and he said it was worth trying.

Often we think of a gluten allergy or sensitivity as it relates to stomach issues. You can actually develop a sensitivity as you get older and the symptoms can vary. After searching many articles online, the details that struck a cord was that many individuals have low iron (anemia) & feel like they are malnourished because they aren’t absorbing the nutrients, bingo! Plus the dizziness, tingling, fatigue and brain fog symptoms I was experiencing. Apparently gluten can stick to the lining of your stomach so it prevents absorption. It is fascinating and they are different variations of symptoms, THIS article was helpful. I had no idea a food substance could cause such havoc on the body.

When I share with people I am gluten free, they have questions. First question-has it been hard? I would answer this with more of a no than yes.  My niece has been GF for years, so she has been a big help. There are so many GF alternatives these days that it makes it much easier. Basically you need to stay away from anything containing wheat, oats, rye and barley. I closely read the ingredients if in question and usually it will say “contains wheat, oats, etc…” The good thing is, there are SO many things I can eat! The only times it feels like a challenge is when it’s pizza night, I LOVE PIZZA!  But…they make that in GF as well, some are better than others though. Desserts, another weakness, I just make them at home, my boys can’t tell the difference. Or I find flourless options or ice cream. The second question- did you loose weight? No, I stayed consistent but I have way more energy and I don’t feel blotted all the time! I started out cutting all carbs but that was really hard, I was hungry all the time. On a typical day I start the day with coffee, a bowl of Cheerios or eggs, a veggie drink, a small sandwich for lunch with GF bread, loaded with spinach, a kind bar for a snack with fruit or carrots and dinner is chicken, fish, spinach salad or tomatoes & mozzarella.  I indulge when I want to, trust me I don’t deprive myself, I just watch the portions. I have found gluten free substitutes for everything  but I look at the ingredients closely, so much of the fillers are words I can’t even pronounce. The biggest take away, listen to your body, had I not I would have never pieced this together and knew enough to try this.

Again, please consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet. It is very important to go through the proper channels of care, I just wanted to share my story with you in case you felt a connection in your own life. As we get older it is so important to take care of ourselves, this is something I am constantly reminding myself of.

Please be kind with your words. Have a happy day friends!

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  1. Get your thyroid checked;also look into a sinus infection which can affect your middle ear.

  2. Hi Jen, we are following a parallel track with the gluten situation. For almost 18 months I had been dizzy to the point of fainting, severe migraine like headaches-daily, occipital neuralgia, severe chronic fatigue, joint pain, anemic, low Vit D etc. I had lot’s of gut issues but the head and neck problems were what I was focusing on. I too have severe heart problems, having had my first heart attack and by-pass surgery when I was 50, so that made things more complicated. I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis so in searching for other autoimmune diseases I ran across the Gluten Sensitivity problem. After a horrible day when I thought I had a brain aneurysm, I realized it could be Gluten that was causing my nerve pain in my neck and head. Fast forward almost 3 months, my symptoms are lessening each day and I finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea that Gluten could cause so many horrible varied symptoms. Hope you continue to feel better!

    1. I am so glad you are feeling better Debra! When you don’t feel well and have no explanation it is so frustrating!! I wish you continued wellness and bright & clear days ahead! Jen

    2. Hi Debra: I came on to look at all the pretty decor but spotted your mention of “occipital neuralgia”. I can’t remember if mine is the “occipital” or the “temporal” but isn’t the pain terrible! I used to get bouts maybe three times a year or so but lately, I’m getting it about six times a month. It feels like someone has a long hat pin and suddenly jabs the nerve, holds it in there for about three seconds then pulls it out then repeats it for hours on end!! 😥 The pain isn’t reduced by any pain medication – sleep is impossible. All I do is hold a heating pad to the area and pray it will go away. I might just try reducing gluten after reading your blog!

  3. Would you at some point share GF products you think are yum? I’m building my list as I too am GF. Some products are not great at all. I discovered a pizza place two hours that has the best GF pizza ever — the rest of my family prefer that crust to the wheat crust.

    I also have egg, soy, corn, dairy allergies so it’s been quite the process!

    Thank you for sharing this post. So impt to listen to our bodies and not just keep on plowing through, ignoring the signals.

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Hopefully its helping! That must be so much more challenging! Glad you found a GF pizza, I have one local that is pretty good. I have to say, I do miss my pizza:). That is a great idea for a post, thank you. Once I get more versed I will definitely do that! Have a great night, Jen

  4. Glad you are feeling better. Just wanted to mention that my husband is 100% GF and I’m about 75% now. We found the best frozen GF pizza at Costco. Sabatasso’s! It is delicious. We sometimes add pepperoni or other fixings.

    1. Thank you so much Brittany! I have been looking for one so this is GREAT!!! Have a nice weekend, Jen

  5. You said you have had your thyroid checked. Have you had your Parathyroid checked? It’s a completely different organ and one that’s frequently overlooked. http://www.parathyroid.com/parathyroid.htm
    A friend of mine had similar symptoms for a long time and finally found someone that knew about the problem. Sure enough, she had it removed and was dramatically better within a couple weeks. All dizziness and achiness and other symptoms evaporated. It’s a simple blood test evaluation.

  6. Great article! I too am on a GF diet, actually it’s FODMAP for IBS-d. If you have a Trader Joe’s grocery store in your area ask for a GF list of products they carry it’s super helpful.

  7. My daughter has been going through several of the same issues you are. To make a very long story short- she was finally diagnosed with Lyme. This was detrmined through spinal tap, not blood work. Blood test can be false positives. She had to have IV antibiotics 3 hr day for 2 weeks and then oral antibiotics. She is feeling better now but not 100%.
    So, best advice I can give you is to insist on Spinal Tap and not rely on bloodwork!

  8. So I’m curious to know if your Vit D, iron deficiency, and other symptoms have gone away? I’ve also wondered if “GF” is really real… I think starches like sweet potato, carrots and non-GMO organic corn would be the only real starches that you should eat.

    1. Hi Laura, the more I am learning the more I am certain it is definitely a real thing. They say it helps with absorption of vitamins and key nutrients if you are sensitive to it and I have found that to be the case. Yes, you are right, I am able to eat all of those foods. I feel so much better, I still need to stay on top on my iron but it made a world of difference. Have a great day! Jen

  9. I am new to seeing your blog. It looks wonderful. I have celiacs and have been GF for 15 years and I have never looked back. One thing that is important to understand is that if you have a sensitivity or have celiacs many other non-gf foods can and will be triggers…dairy and all other grains including rice. Going grain free is an incredible choice for your health. Most carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body and trigger a glycemic response. It is common when first going gluten free to want to find every substitute for your favorite foods. You will usually end up eating more carbs as gf foods often have higher carbs than their wheat or barley counterparts. Using coconut and nut flours will add protein to your diet and not carbs. I can not recommend the website and blog elanaspantry.com enough for inspiration and valuable dietary advice. Occasionally indulging in a favorite like pizza (so many good options out there…try Against The Grains offerings) can work. But often you begin to feel terrible when doing so after switching to a more Paleo way of life. You can really feel how certain carbs and dairy can bring you down. Best wishes to your health.

    1. Thank you so much Jessica for this info! I am learning all of this from my niece who has it, what you are saying is very true. I appreciate you taking the time to write this, Jen

  10. I’ve been doing GF for about two years now, but I have to say sometimes is still very hard for me. That may be because I don’t eat lactose as well, so I rarely eat out, pretty much everything I eat I have to make at home. Still, the advantages definitely make up for it!! The energy, the health, the bloating.. Everything got better!

  11. I have been gluten free for over 18 years now since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease while hospitalized. I weighed only 80 lbs, was losing my hair, kidneys starting to shut down and much more! Just a word of advice that my dr shared with me..A completely gf diet does not offer all of the vitamins one needs so a good gf multivitamin is recommended! Best of luck on your gluten free journey!

  12. I too went GF a year and a half ago, what a difference it makes. It’s not hard to stay on, but it is, if you know what I mean. I have given myself leeway to eat hamburger and hot dog buns in the summer because I just haven’t found ones close enough… and once I start eating it again, it’s like an addiction comes back and I start eating bad. Then I start feeling bad and I go back. Yikes. But it’s SOOO worth it.

    Curious – same thing with me – PIZZA. You mention you think some GF ones are better than others — may I ask you which ones? Thanks! Love your blog.

    1. Or should I say which GF Pizza CRUSTS you may have tried that you think are best. I love making homemade pizza.

    2. Hi Kelly, I am still on the hunt for them. I know Jeanne Oliver orders hers online, I think they are cauliflower, the lonk to her blog>>>http://jeanneoliverdesigns.com/blog/2017/09/05/fall-kitchen-tour-and-recipe-fig-prosciutto-pizza/. If you find any let me know & I will too:). Happy Friday, Jen

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