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Is Gluten My Enemy?

by Courtney on February 17, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are one day closer to Friday! Can I get a WOOT WOOT!!

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So I got my Thursday started nice and early with an early morning workout combo; and I will say that the 5:30 alarm really didn’t seem all that bad when it was accompanied by the sounds of chirping birds outside my window. Loooove that!

Today’s combo started with 20 minutes of HIIT which looked like this:

  • 0-2 mins – Warm up @ 4.5mph
  • 2-22 mins – Sprint 20 seconds @ 9.5mph / Recover 40 seconds @ 4.5mph
  • 22-24 mins – Cool Down @ 4.0mph

To finish up today’s workout, I ended with some yoga:

  • 10lb. Slimdown YOGA <—It had been a while!

After showering and getting ready for work, it was time for some breakfast. Last night, I was rummaging through our freezer and happened to come across some loaves of Manna Bread, so I took one out to thaw overnight.

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This loaf was a Fig, Fennel & Flax loaf, which I was really excited to try. But to be honest, I’m not really sure if I was diggin’ the flavor. I don’t think I realized just how strong of a flavor fennel has. It almost reminded me of licorice…does that sound right?

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To try and mask some of the strong licorice flavor, I lightly toasted it in the oven and topped it with some peanut butter and Polaner all-fruit.

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PB & J always make a situation better. Winking smile

Along with my Manna Bread slices, I enjoyed another delicious cup-o-Chobani. Lovin’ this lemon!

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Lunch

Today’s breakfast was fairly small, especially after working out, so as you can probably imagine, my stomach was definitely grumblin’ by the time lunch rolled around.

A little bit of everything happening today…

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Red peppers + celery + grape tomatoes for some hommus dippage, along with a little Clif Z Bar action. Open-mouthed smile

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And another fun, favorite combo bowl of mine:

  • 3/4 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 unsweetened applesauce
  • Raisins
  • Cinnamon + Pumpkin Pie Spice

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This is really one of my favorite ways to incorporate pumpkin into my meals. There’s just something about the cottage cheese + pumpkin combo that really rocks my socks. Especially when you get the sweet bites with raisins…mmmmm, so good!

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Dinner

Thanks to having my workout done this morning, I was able to make a quick stop at the grocery store then come right home after work and get started on dinner…I love that!

And you know what else I love?

Tonight’s meal:

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I enjoyed a lovely glass of red wine while cooking up some special pasta (which I’ll explain in a second) for tonight’s dinner, which I topped with:

  • Roasted zucchini, peppers, and onions
  • Roasted red pepper-marinated chicken (Jay and I split one breast)
  • Marinara sauce (which we bought back at Harvest Fest)
  • Fresh basil

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My veggies were hiding, but I promise…they were under there! Winking smile

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So now let me tell you about my pasta

While I was at the store today, I picked up a bag of Sam Mills Gluten-Free Pasta d’oro.

source

For the past few months, I’ve been toying back and forth with the idea of trying to go gluten-freejust for a few days – to see how my stomach feels.

As you know, I experience I great deal of stomach discomfort on a daily basis, and still can’t quite tell what’s causing it. I can tell you that last night’s pizza definitely did a number on me, and my elimination of oats and carrots really hasn’t made too much of a difference.

My good friend, Eileen, started going gluten free a few months back and it has made a world of difference for her. After speaking with her a little bit last night and picking her brain on a few things, I came up with some thoughts…

  • I still want to try out a few days of going gluten-free – I will just need to plan more in advance.
  • I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go completely gluten free, unless my life depended on it. I love my breads, cereals, and baked goods WAY too much.
  • If there are options available to me where I can lessen the amount of gluten I consume, I will try it. Such as this pasta!

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The pasta, which is a corn-based product, tasted just like regular pasta, and has actually left my stomach feeling fairly good (knock on wood!) compared to what it normally feels like after a pasta dinner. I’m pretty excited!

Perhaps with some careful planning over the weekend, I’ll attempt my stab at gluten-free eating next week? I’m on vacation all week (SQUEAL!!!) so I think it would be easier to follow. We’ll see what happens!

Questions for the Evening:

A call for any and all gluten free readers out there! Any tips / advice / recommendations you can give??

If you are NOT gluten free…do you think you ever could be?

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blog is the New Black February 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Since I rarely eat pasta or bread, I think I could do it. Although, there are other snacks with gluten that I’d have to trade in. I hope it works for you to ease some of the discomfort!
Blog is the New Black recently posted..Strawberry Cupcakes

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2 Jen February 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Ah, Gluten might be it..One of my friends has celiac’s disease so she can’t have gluten, ever. But luckily there seem to be lots of gluten free foods and baked good mixes around. I’ve had gluten free brownies before, they’re good!!
Jen recently posted..Music I Run To

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3 Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles February 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I’m jealous of your Lemon Chobani!

I don’t know much about gluten-free products, but *I think* the brand, Udi’s, has a lot of gf products.

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4 Jess@atasteofconfidence February 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm

One of my best friends went gluten free to alleviate her stomach problems, and it has worked really well for her. Just remember it can take weeks for the results to show with how you are feeling, so a few days might not do it. :)
Jess@atasteofconfidence recently posted..Flashback Friday

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5 Amy February 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I’ve had plenty of stomach issues and always have been told it was just IBS. After doing plenty of research on my bloating, cramps, gas I started to see a pattern and found gluten intolerance to be a major cause. I’ve been gluten free for a year now and my problems are sooooo much better. I do still get contaminated by eating ezekiel bread every now and then but I notice a difference when I stay gluten free I feel so much better. I do the foods for life brown rice wraps (delicious and gluten free), Sami’s bakery millet and flax bread also gluten free and yummy, lots of sweet potatoes, Amy’s gluten free veggie burgers. Gosh I can give u a list. Give it a good full 6 weeks to notice a major difference though.

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6 Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries February 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Before I got the official Crhon’s diagnosis, I decided for myself that I was gluten-intolerant. Come to find out, my doctor told me that gluten intolerance is not something that comes on acutely. But when I was playing Doctor – I went gluten free for a few days and it helped with my stomach problems SO much! But it’s not something I think I could maintain forever. I love real breads and CEREAL (rice cereal – not that great) and baked goodies. But gluten-free does help if you’re not given any medications to help otherwise. Good luck :) Sorry for the short novel!

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7 Jess Masters February 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm

A woman in my class, her daughter, is allergic to gluten. Her entire family eats gluten free, so I’m sure she’d have some wonderful tips for recipes, cooking and shopping, and eating out :-) I can send you her email if you’d like – she enjoys sharing her advice!

I’ve considered it occassionally, as well, but I also really love cereal, bread, and pasta! Good luck, Court — that discomfort after eating, even after the smallest meals, is extremely frustrating.

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8 Charlie February 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I tried a fennel bread once and thought the taste was too strong too. Couldn’t even hide it with PB :(.
Charlie recently posted..Apricot &amp Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread

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9 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

The great thinga bout being gluten free is you can still enjoy your breads, oatmeal, and pastas!!! For real – I’ve been gluten free for a year and a half, and I’m just now realizing there is a world of flours out there for me to incorporate!
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..&lt3 breakfast for two &lt3

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10 Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl February 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Gluten is in SO many things you’d never think about – even a lot of condiments and lunch meats have it! It took me about two weeks of going gluten free to notice a big difference, but I found that my killer headaches disappeared and my stomach issues were all but gone.
Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl recently posted..Sunrise- sunrise

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11 Melissa February 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Did they do a Celiac’s test on you? That was one of the first tests they ran on me for my stomach issues. It would give you a quick answer so you know whether or not to bother with the whole gluten free thing.

I could/would do it if it would help my stomach issues, but since most studies say there aren’t any particular health benefits, I don’t think I would do it just to do it, ya know?
Melissa recently posted..On Flaws

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12 stacey February 17, 2011 at 8:33 pm

yes! that’s the reason i dont like fennel, cuz it tastes just like black licorice … ewww!

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13 Cynthia (It All Changes) February 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm

You know I’m Gluten Free. It helped a TON. As long as you don’t have Celiac limiting gluten should help…that way you can enjoy your yummy baked goods :-)

And for the record King Arthur makes a great GF All Purpose flour and it makes amazing substitute.
Cynthia (It All Changes) recently posted..Is That A Cabbage Patch–Recipe

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14 Cynthia (It All Changes) February 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Another note you might have a problem with wheat and not gluten.
Cynthia (It All Changes) recently posted..Is That A Cabbage Patch–Recipe

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15 Kayla February 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I had stomach bloating, cramps, stabbing pains and discomfort almost every day of my life for 21 years and never knew what exactly it was. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS, acid reflux & lactose intolerance… and I was still feeling yucky. So I got tested for Celiac disease 3 different times and it came back negative every time. But I did notice that I got bloated and felt gross whenever I ate carb-heavy products such as pasta, bagels, pizza, muffins etc.

So I had a test done that my doctor couldn’t do, but I found a site that takes a sample from you and tests it for gluten intolerances, which blood tests can’t test for. It came back positive, and I have tried going gluten-free a couple times over the past year. However, I have been officially gluten free for almost 1.5 months now and I feel better, but it definitely takes time though. It’s been a major change in everything I eat, because my diet before was very carb-heavy, but if you want to know if gluten is the culprit, you have to cut it out COMPLTELY or you will never know for sure. You can’t just cut down on your consumption, that’s not the way gluten intolerances work. So make sure if you are serious about it, you cut it out for at least a good 1-2 months!

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16 Stephanie @cookinfanatic February 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Love the pasta dinner! Clean, simple flavors are the best! Also loving the lemon CHO, I had that one today too :)

Speaking of CHO, did you see the promo video for the commercial yet? It’s pretty funny if you want to check it out :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1mPQhGeU-0
Stephanie @cookinfanatic recently posted..CookinFanatic in the New York Times!

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17 Shawna February 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm

after years of stomach issues, i started being serious about eliminating gluten from my diet just a few weeks ago. it’s definitely made me feel better…and there are so many fabulous gluten-free options, it hasn’t even been a struggle. good luck if you decide to try it out!
Shawna recently posted..when you’re hurt and can’t cry about it- you blog it

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18 Ally (oatsandspice) February 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Seriously that bread looks amazinggg… I just checkout out their website and they have a carrot raisin bread that looks really good too – I’m thinking of ordering some :)

And Z-bars are basically my life – I am obsessed! And good thing they are gluten free – you will be able to eat them if you continue with this diet!
Ally (oatsandspice) recently posted..Veggie Stuffed Pepper

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19 Cara February 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I’ve thought about doing a gluten-free couple of days as well, just to see if it really would make me feel better. That mana bread also looks amazing!

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20 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] February 18, 2011 at 12:06 am

Yes, fennel definitely has a licorice flavor.

I think I’m going to try that cottage cheese combo – great idea!
Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] recently posted..heart 2 heart

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21 Sarah Lynn February 18, 2011 at 12:58 am

My brother was diagnosed with Celiac disease (basically severe food allergies) at the age of 12. We’ve had gluten-free products in our house for years. Gluten, barley, oats, and wheat are everywhere, so check ingredient lists well. It’s in random things, like soy sauce. Rice cakes and grits are good.

There has been an increase in the variety of products aimed towards a gluten-free diet. Check out the organic section in your local grocery store.

Hope this help! Take care!
Sarah Lynn recently posted..Family Dynamics

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22 Sarah Lynn February 18, 2011 at 12:59 am

helps** =)
Sarah Lynn recently posted..Family Dynamics

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23 Floey February 18, 2011 at 3:24 am

I love how your lunches are a little bit of everything…so snackey and satisfying :)

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24 CaSaundra February 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

I don’t think I would ever want to go gluten-free unless I absolutely had to. The gluten-free product offerings have improved over the past years, but they are still no where near being as good a gluten products in my opinion.

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25 Lauren February 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

You are brave. I could never go without my oats. Good luck!
Lauren recently posted..Tropical Oatmeal

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26 Ashley February 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Spaghetti squash is a decent substitute for pasta. I mean, it isn’t the SAME but it’s a good vehicle for sauce and meat! (I just poke the squash and nuke for 6-10 min depending on size – it basically self-steams. Much easier than cutting and baking).

You should also check out quinoa. I like to cook it with chicken broth for more flavour. Then I top it with sauteed spinach, tomato, garlic and crumbled feta.

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27 alex February 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm

i too had major stomach issues for a while and decided to try going gluten free. i kept it up for a few months, and being a bread lover as well, it was hard- but i definitely recommend trying it.
some people make their own gluten free breads/baked goods – there are a million more ingredients required and this is something i never bothered trying. i recommend udi’s breads but basically these are all made out of rice and other heavy ingredients and i really did not enjoy eating them! gluten free pasta is fine though, and i made a lot of thai-ish meals using rice noodles. the biggest problem, in my opinion, is condiments. like someone else said, most brands of soy sauce has it (i used to bring my own to sushi places) and so do many sauces, broths, etc.
i couldn’t live like that anymore and gave up. i haven’t had the stomach problems since though. it’s weird, but hopefully the same will happen to you. good luck!!

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28 Kathy February 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I just stumbled upon your blog recently and after reading your post on your stomach troubles, I just wanted to let you know that I can relate to you so much. I went through a period a few years ago when I deprived myself of any fat or sugar loaded foods, and ever since then, even though I now eat much more nutritiously and have come out of that phase of my life, my stomach has never been the same. Constant bloating, jabbing pains every now and then.. I’m very certain it is IBS and must’ve somehow been triggered by my disordered eating phase. What I’ve noticed for myself though is that STRESS is a huge culprit. I recently quit my job in finance and it’s been a more emotional time for me than usual .. it was my first job coming out of college and the economy is still not great, but it was making me miserable. This past week, my stomach pains became practically intolerable.. but after just calming down and trying my best to not worry about things / relax, my stomach is doing much better. Anyhow, I’m not sure if gluten free might be the answer to tummy troubles, but at least for me, I think trying to reduce how much I stress out may help! I don’t know if you tend to stress out a lot (I know I do), but that could be something else to try :) Glad the pasta was delicious!

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29 Liv February 22, 2011 at 2:19 am

Hi! I’ve just started reading your blog, and I love it :)

I’ve been thinking recently that gluten might be causing my stomach problems, too. I get really bloated after meals, and I tried getting off dairy for a while, but that didn’t help.

I went to the local organic food store and found that gluten free breads are always on sale for less than $3 a loaf. So I’ve been trying that, along with eating brown rice, gluten free pasta, and gluten free oatmeal. It’s really helped, so I hope it helps you too!

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