Monday, October 15, 2012

Adjustment and Disappointment

Just a warning, this post contains a little bit of whining on my part J

If you have read my last few posts you will note that I have been moving into the gluten-free world, not because I think it’s some great new diet that will help me lose weight, but because I have Celiac’s disease and it’s required.  I understand that some people out there think this is a way to lose weight, it isn’t, and actually, many of the replacements that are used to make baked goods are higher in calories than plain ‘ol whole wheat.

This is where I pause for a bit of a rant.  Eating out is a pain in the you know what.  I used to enjoy going out for dinner, even on WW, there were always a bunch of options for me.  Now that I have to eat GF the options are severely limited.  Even restaurants that offer a so-called GF menu offer very little on that menu.  Most of the time you will find salads and plain chicken or fish (no sauce, those always have wheat), a burger with no bun of course, I always have to ask because a good portion of restaurants put breadcrumbs in their patties.  It’s frustrating, discouraging and all of those negative things.  I have been shocked about what isn’t GF, no wonder I felt so awful all of the time, wheat is everywhere.

I had a particularly bad experience yesterday at the local Olive Garden.  My husband wanted spaghetti and meatballs that weren’t GF.  Ok, this I can do, I checked Olive Garden’s website, where they say they have a GF menu and even GF pasta (penne only).  When I get there I ask for the GF menu, it has 5 items on it, not including salad and the kids menu, two of the items are basically the same thing (pasta with marinara sauce, one is a little different because they put fresh tomatoes and garlic in the marinara sauce).  To say I was disappointed was an understatement.  Why in the world would a meat sauce contain wheat???  I make meat sauce at home all the time; there isn’t any need for wheat unless you are using it as an inexpensive filler.  When I relented and ordered one of the two pasta dishes on the menu I thought, this is ok, at least I can still eat here.  Then it arrived, it looked good at first, but it only looked good.  When I dug into my big bowl of GF pasta it wasn’t even close to fully cooked.  I couldn’t get a fork through the pasta, it wouldn’t even bend!  I was upset, my husband was mad because I was upset and I just wanted to cry.  To say that the manager was dismissive about it would be an understatement.  I’m not sure I will go out again for a long time; I’m really tired of being disappointed.

Anyway….after that I went to B&N and found some good cookbooks.  Everything I eat from now until I can convince myself that it will be ok to go out again will come from my kitchen.  I’m a better cook anyway.

On the positive side, getting back to tracking in WW is making a difference, I lost 2 pounds last week, yay!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gluten-Free Transition and Health

My goal is to write in my blog at least every other day.  I have been bad about keeping up with it lately with good reason.  Managing stress and getting as much rest as possible have been my primary focus for the last couple of weeks.  I ended up with a sinus infection and bronchitis, and was told by my doctor that it is likely that my immune system is just plain tired right now.  So, I need to watch the stress, get lots of rest and try to stay away from germs!

The last couple of weeks have been good otherwise, I’m settling into the gluten-free thing pretty well.  I am getting good at noticing what does and doesn’t work when feeding my body.  For instance, I think I may be allergic to soy.  I’m not positive it’s an allergy, but there may be a sensitivity there.  I often have headaches after eating it, and I no longer have gluten to blame for that.  So, I’m watching the things I consume, note when I am having soy and make sure to note how I’m feeling a little later.  I had a headache after eating my chicken/veggie “fried” rice.  I’m having it for lunch today, right now I don’t have a headache, we’ll see what happens.

One good piece of news is that my body finally seems to be settling out when it comes to weight.  I have been tracking what I’m eating, entering it into my WW journal, but haven’t seen any losses, there were a couple of weeks where there were slight gains.  This past week I broke even.  I’m hoping that’s a signal that I’m finally leveling out.  Now I can get the exercise worked back in, keep on tracking, and (hopefully) see the results.

I have been doing some research on gluten-free recipes, there are a ton of resources out there, including some recipes on the WW site that look really good.  I have even discovered that there are a lot of things in the store that are GF as well.  It’s a whole new world.  I miss bread though, I’m not going to lie, whenever I smell it I am tempted.  I try to remember the pain I was in before, that usually keeps me from having anything.  I haven’t given in, and I’m getting used to the bread made with rice flour (it isn’t too bad when it’s toasted).  It’s a good thing I’m not a sandwich for lunch type of person, I usually only had toast with my eggs in the morning.

Dinners (and leftover lunches) for this week have been….Sirloin Black Bean Chili (~6 points/serving, my own recipe), Chicken and Veggie Stir Fried Rice (~7 points/serving because I opted to add in some sesame oil), Baked Pork Chops (~7 points/serving, they are covered in a great salty/sweet/sour sauce that is amazing).  When I need a side I will usually add a cooked veggie of some sort and a salad.  Sometimes I will have some potato, but not often because my husband is diabetic and they aren’t great for him.

In the next post I will share some things I have found on GF eating….happy day everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I have learned quite a bit on my journey so far.  Learning to listen to my body about what it needs to function correctly has been a looong journey this year!  Having two autoimmune diseases has really reinforced that I need to do a lot of listening. 

Hashimoto’s has taught me the value in slowing down and making sure that I’m taking care of my body, particularly my sleep schedule and overall stress level.  The Celiac’s has taught me that natural eating is the way to go.  There is wheat in nearly every processed food out there. I never realized just how much wheat product I was eating.  The gluten-free way of eating has made me shop the perimeter of the grocery store out of necessity…which is the way that all of the health gurus say you should be shopping.  I choose to look at the two diseases as my body telling me that improvements are necessary, thank goodness I’m listening.

Now I’m weaving in my WW points too.  I gave myself a week of experimenting, seeing what I needed to eat, and what I could do without, then came back to start tracking points.  I’m seeing that I’m staying more within my DPs than I was before.  Why?  Because I’m eating a lot of fresh veggies and fruits along with lean meats which means that my points are mostly coming from those lean proteins.  It’s great!

It will be interesting to see where I end up on weigh-in day.  I have given myself permission to have a couple of weeks where I may not lose much; my body is still in the process of adjusting to food and medication changes.  For now it just feels good to be eating well and treating myself well.

Oh, tonight is pizza night!  Woo hoo!  I found a recipe to make the gluten-free dough and bought all of the necessary flours.  I made the dough last night; put it in the fridge, fingers crossed that my all roasted veggie pizza has a good crust!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blood Pressure and Adventures in Gluten-Free Land

Things got a little bit crazy last week; I had a problem with my blood pressure dropping way too low on Tuesday. I nearly passed out at work!  Silly me, I thought I was coming down with the stomach flu until I really started thinking about it and realized I was experiencing symptoms since the day before and it might just be blood pressure related.  The doctor confirmed it, 72/58, and that’s when I was feeling better, who knows what it was when I thought I was going to end up on the floor!  She made some medication adjustments, told me to drink a lot more water and had me buy a blood pressure monitor to check it periodically.  I have been doing ok since, the bp has been a bit on the lower side, 100/62, but at least it’s more positive than before. 

Besides that I’m happy to report I’m starting to feel better.  I’m not exhausted like I was, I do still get tired easily and quickly but I figure that will be improving more as I go.  The gluten-free eating has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, I just have to adjust to making everything from scratch (which is better for us anyway).

I have come up with a couple of great recipes and found some products along the way.  Veggie stir fry (I found a fantastic gluten-free soy sauce, right a Kroger), Bragg Liquid Aminos, it’s great! Chicken Enchiladas (my own recipe) and a few from others as well.  I’m still learning everything but I’m slowly coming around.  My step this week is fitting it all into my weekly WW points (ha, notice the pun, “fitting”).  Anyway, so far so good.

I’m not going to post everything I ate since last week, instead I figured I would share some of my recipes so far.  I haven’t had any trouble with them, but, as is always the case when eating gluten-free, you need to be sure you are ok with all of the ingredients yourself.

Veggie Stir Fry (serves 4-6)

1 T olive oil (you could use peanut as well)
1 inch section of fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into small strips
½ package of cole slaw mix (this one had cabbage and carrots)
2 T of soy sauce (I used Bragg Liquid Aminos)
1 T of rice wine vinegar
2 cups brown rice (I cooked a bunch over the weekend to use in various things)

1.                   heat olive oil up in a pan on medium high heat
2.                   add in ginger, garlic and onion, sauté until onion is soft
3.                   add in vegetables and sauté until cooked to your preference (I like mine warm but still having a bit of crunch)
4.                   dump in the rice, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir well until the rice is fully incorporated and warmed

I had this without any meat, but you could certainly add ham, chicken, turkey, shrimp or tofu to it if you want.  It’s very filling!

Chicken Enchiladas (serves 6)

3 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¼ C lime juice
¼ C olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, sliced somewhat thin (I use red, a matter of preference)
2 large zucchini, sliced into thin strips
1 large jar Herdez green salsa (salsa verde)
10 white corn tortillas (made sure they are GF!)
6 oz. shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 can fat free refried black beans

  1. mix together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano, add in garlic and pour over chicken breasts that have been placed in a glass bowl/baking dish, cover and marinate overnight
  2. grill or bake chicken breasts until cooked through (375 for about 30 minutes in an oven)
  3. sauté onion, zucchini and pepper in a skillet with a little bit of oil until soft and onions have slightly carmelized, remove from heat
  4. shred cooked chicken and place in a bowl with the onion/pepper mixture, add refried beans and about 1/3 C of the salsa and mix well
  5. add 1 oz of cheese and mix well
  6. char tortillas in a hot dry skillet so that they become pliable
  7. spray a baking dish with a little bit of cooking spray
  8. pour a little of the salsa in the bottom and move it around to coat
  9. fill one tortilla at a time with the chicken filling, roll and place in the dish seam side down (make these a little full or you won’t use all of the filling)
  10. once you have placed all of the enchiladas in the dish (you may have to squish a little to get them all in) pour the remainder of the salsa and cheese over the top, covering everything
  11. cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until top is browned
  12. serve with sides of chopped tomato, sour cream and/or guacamole

I hope you enjoy everything….I will let you know more about my adventures in the kitchen as I go!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going Gluten-Free

The beginning of the transition to gluten-free and moderate-carb (for my diabetic husband) eating began over the weekend.  I had some headaches, I’m thinking that’s because my body is just getting rid of what it perceives as toxins any way that it can now that I’m not putting more in. 

Overall it was a good weekend and beginning to the week.  It has been a good easing into the new way of eating.  It will take some time for me to really get good at this, but I know it is going to make me feel better, which is the best motivator.  On Saturday I went through my pantry and refrigerator and threw out anything with gluten in it, I was amazed at everything that has it.  Then, the trip to the grocery store took a while because I had to read any label I came across.  It is so much easier when in the produce section where you don’t have to read a label, and at the meat counter as well.  I’m still a little stunned just how much has some form of gluten in it.  No wonder I was feeling so awful!

Yesterday I had a little trouble with dizziness.  It didn’t occur to me that by going moderate carb I would need to watch my electrolytes (for those of you that haven’t experienced it, you lose a lot of water fast).  My husband made me weigh myself last night because I was dizzy, I lost 11 pounds between Friday and Monday evening.  Not good and not healthy.  Though I do believe part of it has been my body getting rid of what it sees as toxins.

Here’s to a new day…one great side-effect is that I’m thinking more clearly, there is less “brain-fog”, it’s fantastic!  Next step is adding exercise back into my morning routine as my energy finally starts to come back.  I’m really looking forward to getting back on my treadmill, I actually miss it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Here I Come

This blog is going to change just a bit due to recent life happenings.  I mentioned a couple of times that I have had trouble with health issues in the last several months and finally have some answers (after several doctor visits and finally breaking down and crying to one doctor about how awful I feel).  I already knew I had Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your thyroid.  I have had that for several years and it was mostly controlled through medication.  Then, in February/March, an extremely stressful period, my health started declining rapidly.  I lost nearly 40 pounds in 2 months.  Silly me, I thought it was due to my health efforts when in reality it was due to a hyperthyroid swing.  I was taken off of my thyroid medicine by an extremely uneducated doctor.  I learned later that’s one of the worst things you can do to someone with Hashimoto’s, oops.  When I finally got back on I was still having troubles, a lot of them, and got desperate for answers.  I am getting them.

Along with the Hashimoto’s I also have Celiac’s disease, nothing that’s earth-shattering, there are a lot of people in the world with it.  The significant thing for me is that the effects from that is likely what has kept my immune system continually attacking my thyroid.  Oh, and my vitamin levels had bottomed out because of it too.  Answers, that’s all I needed.  Now I have a plan of attack.

First, supplements for everything that’s lacking…iron, vitamin d, vitamin c (to better absorb the iron), folic acid, b12, flaxseed oil (to up my HDL).  Second, I’m going gluten-free.  The gluten-free should even out my system and get rid of the aches/pains and exhaustion.  I’m really looking forward to feeling good again!

So, this is still a journey, one toward health, a little bit different path, but still moving toward that healthy direction.  The great thing I’m learning about gluten free eating is that it still focuses on fresh veggies, fruit and meats, I need to leave processed foods alone because those generally contain gluten (unless, of course, they are indicated as GF).  I like the idea of using as many fresh ingredients as I can then using the processed foods every once in a great while.

Here’s to better health.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Accountability if nothing else

I’m still smack dab in the middle of the health issues that I have been having.  What’s incredibly frustrating is that they still aren’t 100% sure what’s causing everything.  At my appointment with my endocrinologist they took 11 vials of blood for tests.  They are looking at everything in the endocrine realm.  I’m hoping for results in the next few weeks. 

I took a break for a while from caring about just about anything for a while.  I tried to rally there for a bit but just broke down and gave up.  So, here I am, rallying again.  I need this to keep me accountable to myself.  Why is it that it is easier to be accountable to others than it is to ourselves?  I would think that letting me down would be something I would be the most concerned about.  I need to track food; I need to blog daily, even if it is just two lines.  So, that’s what I will do from this day forward.

Here I am, at times I feel very alone in this health battle, even with an incredibly supportive husband, wonderful family and friends by my side.  I keep telling myself they don’t know, they can’t feel what I feel and they can’t see what is happening.  Then I realized this morning, there is someone who does, and I haven’t talked with Him much if at all the last few months.  And when I say talked, I mean really talked, not just that cursory thanks for all of the blessings you put into my life that I do every night.  So, from here forward, I’m going to be giving more time to do a little more talking and a lot more listening.  I have to trust there is a reason and a purpose for this little blip in my life, and I’m going to do that now.

So this was just a quick note, I’m here; I’m going to be here daily, even if it is just to say hello.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still out here, just struggling a bit

I have been missing from the site for a bit due to health problems.  The thyroid issues have gotten much worse and just getting up and getting through a normal workday has been a tremendous struggle.  Things haven’t been good and I have lost my focus.  I have an appointment with a specialist in a couple of weeks; I’m just hanging on until I get there.

I stopped exercising near the end of last week; it seemed to drain so much of my energy I wouldn’t be able to function for the remainder of my day.  So, that’s been set aside for a bit.  I did get on the treadmill for a while this morning, I miss it, but I’m going slow and not on there for long.  For now I’m trying to get back to caring about what I eat.  I have been cycling through eating too much and living on nothing but coffee, not eating at all.  There is either not enough food in the world or everything but coffee sounds gross.  It has been a struggle.  When you are this tired and have no ability to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes the idea of figuring out what to eat that is on Weight Watchers that is on plan and within points is just plain mentally exhausting. 

I weighed myself on Sunday, even though I told myself I wouldn’t because I didn’t want anything to upset me.  Luckily I have only gained 4 pounds, I’m thankful for that.  I have decided that I’m not getting back on the scale until after I see the specialist, things are too out of control right now and I don’t need to add to the stress.  I’m going to focus on healthy foods and move along from there.

So, I just wanted to say hello.  I’m still out here, just really struggling.  If there are any people out there with Hashimoto’s or any other kind of thyroid disorder that can relate I would really appreciate some encouragement/words of advice at this point.

For information on thyroid disease / Hashimotos:

Have a great day everyone.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ordinary Days

I skipped a blog day again, ugh, I seem to forget a lot lately.  It wasn’t intentional this time; I fell asleep last night when I got home…oops J

I will recap the last couple of days because I skipped.  On the thyroid front, the ultrasound went relatively well.  There are a couple of nodules, kind of expected because that’s normal for people with Hashimoto’s.  They needed my tests from 2005 to determine if they have increased in size at all.  My next step is an appointment the specialist at the beginning of August.  I’m getting closer to answers every day!

Food has been good, though I have been really hungry lately (swinging back into hyperthyroid).  I have been able to manage it to the point where I am using my WPs.  I didn’t want to this week, but I also need to listen to my body.  I haven’t used all of them and I won’t dip into activity points so I feel like I’m staying on track.  Luckily my cravings haven’t been for sweets/chocolate, they have been for crunchy and protein.  The crunchy is easily taken care of by an apple, or dill pickles or my home-baked corn chips…check.  The protein I’m just focusing on low-fat stuff, mostly chicken and some tuna. The exploding chicken taquitos from Hungry Girl have come in handy.

Exercise has been going well.  I love the feeling of getting stronger.  Am I crazy to be excited about putting the treadmill up to 6% incline and trucking like I’m climbing a hill?  I love that I can, that my muscles work well and feel strong and that I know if I were on an actual hill I could do it no problem.

Ok, that’s it for today.  I don’t really have much more to say.  Happy Friday!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Long Pause and Hashimoto’s

I have been absent for a few days, life got a little crazy here.  My husband ended up with a serious infection in his leg that put him down for most of the week.  Between that and my struggle to get my thyroid acting right again I just plain fell back into old eating patterns.  For me that means no cooking healthy wonderful food, it means buying food that others have cooked (aka take out from restaurants).  The result?  Only a .4 gain, thank goodness I kept exercising through it all.  I even added some more weight workouts, it makes me feel like superwoman afterwards.

I saw my doctor this week for the first time in the past two months.  She was out of town for my entire thyroid blowout.  I have Hashimoto’s disease, my immune system attacks my thyroid making it either to into hyper or hypo mode.  About a month and a half ago I went to the doctor for a racing heart, a symptom I recognized meant I was well into hyperthyroid.  My doctor was out of the country and the on call doctor, without looking at my history, took me off my thyroid medication all together.  Big mistake, one of the worst things you can do for someone with Hashimoto’s is take them off of their meds, that gives the immune system free reign to further damage the thyroid.  The biggest problems I have had since are brain fog and total exhaustion along with what is likely depression.  Not a good combo for someone that is trying to really focus on getting healthier.  My doctor put me right back on my meds, it will take a bit for me to level out, I’m looking forward to that.  She also set up an appointment for an ultrasound because my thyroid is now enlarged, and also with a specialist because she wants me to have someone there that knows everything about my condition (I love my doctor!). 

The silver lining in all of this?  I never once skipped exercising, even when I woke up so tired I didn’t feel like rolling over in bed.  I pushed myself; I made sure that I continued at least one healthy thing for me.  I’m really proud of myself for that part.  In the past I would’ve given up altogether and just gone into a mode that was totally unhealthy.  Yay me for maintaining focus in at least one area.

My plan for getting back on track?  Obviously, no eating out!  I also decided to make my entire week’s menu, tracking points for every day.  I put it all down on paper and left a few points on the table for any “oops” I may have.  The goasl for the week are to stay within DPs as much as possible, maintain the same level of exercise and focus on getting the food back on track while my thyroid evens itself out.  Oh, and posting in my journal, it’s important and keeps me focused.

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday!