Talking With A Dietitian

Because of my skinniness and gluten intolerance, I saw a dietitian today. If you are gluten intolerant, I highly recommend seeing a nutritionist or a dietitian. One thing I’m so happy about is that I wasn’t told not to eat anything that I’m already eating! Too many ‘nos’ make me crazy and I’ve had enough of those lately. So, I got advice to add more meat so I can build muscle, to do some weight-bearing exercise every couple of days, to try dairy again (and hopefully I won’t get a rash from it), and to make sure I’m getting enough complex carbohydrates. Some days I have gotten enough carbs, and some days I haven’t. I am also supposed to weigh myself once a week, then email or call her in a couple of weeks, and let her know what the scales have shown. She expects me to have gained a pound in the next two weeks. She wants to keep it slow so what is gained will be muscle because I need that more than I need fat right now. I’ll also be getting my thyroid checked in a couple of weeks. She and I aren’t so sure that’s not messed up, too.

My dietitian (I like her advice, so I’m claiming her as my dietitian!) has a daughter who has Celiac, so she knows about this stuff, not just from the textbooks, but from a bit of experience. I’ve got to tell you, I was thrilled to see how much she knows.  She also has the knowledge to deal with Candidiasis, and when I talked about the skin problems and such that I’ve had, she understood what to do about carbs so that I’ll get enough of the right kinds to feed myself and I won’t be feeding yeast.

She wanted to make sure that I know about more than just what I need to do to gain weight, so we talked about gluten intolerance, too. There is a lot to know about hidden sources of gluten, and for the sake of getting the info out, here are a few things to be aware of:

If you eat a meal at a family get-together, or a club or church activity, and some dishes have gluten in them, make sure you go first in line. If someone mixes up the spoons between dishes, the gluten-free foods will be contaminated. Also, if someone picks up a roll or a slice of bread and lets it pass over a pot of veggies, or some other gluten-free food, and crumbs drop in the pot, it’s contaminated.

Don’t lick envelopes! The glue on them is made from wheat.

Check your medications and supplements for hidden gluten. You have to make sure that any starches they may contain come from corn and not wheat. Make sure your pharmacist knows you have to avoid gluten. One good website for checking over the counter, as well as prescription medicine, is Gluten Free Drugs. My doctor and nurse practitioner use this site and so do I.

Also, I get email from Jane Anderson at About.com. She writes a lot of good articles concerning gluten intolerance issues.

Cecelia’s Marketplace has a great little book which lists tens of thousands of gluten-free products. I take it everywhere I go!

Not only food, but also personal care products such as shampoo and makeup need to be checked to make sure they are gluten-free. Yes, it probably has to come in contact with your digestive system to cause a problem, but if you put lotion on your skin that has something in it, say, vitamin E that is derived from wheat, and you touch your skin and then touch your lips, you can be glutened.

OH…make sure there is no gluten on their lips before you kiss your sweetie. If you eat a gluten-free sandwich, and your sweetie has a sandwich made with bread that has gluten, and you kiss after eating, you will be glutened. I was getting my grandson out of his high chair once and I started kissing his sweet little cheeks, then realized he had cereal all over his face. Yikes! I washed my mouth off really quickly.

The only other advice I’m going to give is, again, see a dietitian or a nutritionist if you are gluten intolerant, plus one more thing. My dietitian told me, and I’m passing this on because it applies to anyone with gluten intolerance, not to let it bother you if people think you are neurotic about avoiding gluten. She said things just aren’t real to some people unless they have experienced it for themselves. Y’all take care.

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To the Point of Tears

“Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville…”  That song has been popping into my head off and on for days now. It’s not a broken heart problem, and I can’t have a Margarita, but I’ve got the “wastin’ away” part down pretty good.

Last night I was watching Survivor and noticed how skinny the contestants are lately. I’ve been dropping weight for months. First, I lost a few pounds before having to go gluten-free, then lost more afterwards, and I’ve lost one more in the past couple of weeks after having to make some other temporary dietary changes in an effort to deal with a temporary situation. When I saw the contestants’ bones sticking out, I thought that at least I’m not that skinny.

Later in the evening I checked my back with a mirror. Uh, oh. My spine and my shoulder blades are becoming prominent. So are muscles, not because I’m so strong, but because there is no fat to go between the muscles and the skin and the bones. I decided I look like the Survivor contestants looked last week. It’s kind of scary to see that and think of how my blood pressure has also dropped. I need to look up normal blood pressure for a 12-year-old. That’s probably what mine is right now.

Last week is when this really started to bother me. I was in the grocery store in the produce section, of course, piling veggies into my buggy. I felt like someone was staring at me. I glanced over in the direction of an elderly lady who appeared to be concerned. I imagined that she was thinking, “Why is that woman so skinny? It’s not nice to stare. Is that all she eats? I shouldn’t be staring. What is wrong with her? OK…quit looking at her.”  I’ve never had anyone do that and it really made me feel self-conscious.

I’ve already gone out and bought smaller jeans and slacks. My others were about to slide off. I thought I’d be Grandma with her pants on the ground on the  grocery store parking lot if I didn’t do something. So, I went one size smaller. That was about a month ago and now those jeans are too big.

The day I bought the jeans I also tried on a pair of slacks. I told my friend if I gain one pound these pants won’t fit, so I didn’t get them. I’ve lost a few pounds since that day, so I went back to the store and the pants were still there. I got them. They are a bit loose on me now, but I got them. A friend told me that her mom, who is gluten-intolerant, went from a size 6 to a 0, then up to a size 2. If I come in at a 2 when the dust settles here, I’ll be happy. The pants I just bought may not fit any more, but that will be fine with me.

This morning I was telling my husband my observations about how I stack up against the Survivor contestants’ skin and bones and I started crying a bit. He was surprised by that. It’s not something that I do very often. I don’t think he’ll tell me I look like a starving person in a third-world country any more. He did ask why I’m losing weight and he’s not and he eats pretty much the same things I do. I told him, “Beer and pretzels.” Plus, other things he can eat that I can’t like bread and cheese, but I had to pick at him a little bit.

I have to say, because I’m trying really hard to be thankful always, that we are both glad I feel good. I have lots of energy and it lasts all the way through the day and on into the evening. It’s so nice not to be dragging a protesting body through life any more. I reckon I’ll get used to being skinny. When I was 12, I was this size and my friends called me “Twiggy.” I guess I’ll be thankful and start thinking groovy thoughts and all will be well.

ADDENDUM, April 27, 2012: If you are considering going gluten-free as a weight loss plan, I wouldn’t recommend it. My weight loss started before I came off gluten. My nurse practitioner said what is happening with my body getting skinny is a result of the changes to the body caused from intolerance. I eat like a Hobbit. (That means I stop often to eat a small meal no matter what I’m doing.) It’s not caused from my diet.

When a person quits eating gluten, it’s not a matter of just buying processed gluten-free products to take the place of processed foods that have gluten in them. After all, Coco Puffs are gluten-free. Fresh and frozen foods are the best bet to get the most nutrition from what you eat. Getting proper nutrition can help with weight loss. So, as they say, shop the perimeter of the store and go to the middle for dried beans and grains.