Hashimoto’s disease

Gluten-Free Mondays: GF Friendly Restaurants

Instead of Meatless Monday, I’ve declared that it should be Gluten-Free Monday because, well, there isn’t a day of the week that starts with a “G” and I like meat!

glutenfreemondays

And since I've made this declaration, I'm going to try and start posting something related to the topic of "gluten-free" every Monday from now on. We’ll see how it goes… 

I’ve been eating completely gluten-free for almost 3 months now.  I have had a couple of slip ups here and there but overall I’ve done pretty well and am feeling SO much better!  It’sbecoming easier and easier to stay on track. I really thought it would be tough to eat gluten-free, especially when going out, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how gluten-free friendly a lot of the restaurants in Wilmington are.

Pizzetta’s

Hands-down the BEST gluten-free pizza I’ve had yet. Their GF crust is so flavorful and crispy! Most of the the GF pizza crusts I’ve had so far are kind of bland and don’t get a good crunch to it. My favorite pizza that I’ve tried there is the Bianco (white) pizza. My mouth is just watering as I think about it!

Osteria Cicchetti

I love that Osteria Cicchetti has gluten-free pasta and they will make any of their pasta dishes using the GF noodles if you ask. Most of the time, GF pasta has a slightly different texture and taste than regular, but there’s doesn’t at all. My sister even tried it and couldn’t tell the difference! My favorite dish is the Rigate Melanzane. Eggplant, mozzarella, and fontina— need I say more?!

Chick-fil-a

Chick-fil-a is pretty much the only fast-food restaurant that I’ve found to be gluten-free friendly. Several months ago, they added a new item to their menu: Grilled Chicken Nuggets. At most fast-food restaurants, I pretty much have to stick with salads as everything has a bun or is breaded. But thanks to Chick-fil-a, I now have an on-the-go option! (P.S. the 8 count nuggets with a medium fruit cup is only 190 calories— though let’s be real, I get the waffle fries a lot.)

Rx

Rx is by far my favorite restaurant in Wilmington bar none, though it is pricey so it’s not a regular stop. However, it’s going to be my go-to place for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. because of how GF friendly it is. The waitstaff is very knowledgeable about the menu and what items are gluten-free.  They also will let the chefs know so they can prepare it in separate dishes and change their gloves. We went to Rx for our anniversary, and everything we had was excellent! I honestly could not tell you the last time I had such amazing food! And now I’m trying to think of something we need to celebrate so we can go back…

Jason’s Deli

I’ve always loved McAlister’s, but their lack of GF options is really starting to aggravate me. So if someone suggests there to eat, I often will ask if we can go to Jason’s instead. They have a whole Gluten-Sensitive menu!  I definitely miss sandwiches a lot, and here I can get my fix!

Which Wich

Speaking of sandwiches, I really love egg salad sandwiches, and Which Wich has one of the best in town. However, they don’t have a GF bread option (at least, not yet), BUT you can get any of their sandwiches as a “Bowlwich” (essentially as a salad) or as a “Lettucewich” (which is wrapped in lettuce but you can pick it up like a sandwich).  I prefer the latter option and frankly, I don’t miss the bread at all.

I hope this list helps you if you are trying to follow a gluten-free diet!  What are some of your favorite GF friendly restaurants?  I am always looking for more options!

Important Note:  I do not have celiac’s disease, so I do not have to worry as much about gluten contamination in my foods.  I eat foods without gluten in them, but I don’t have to worry about whether the food has been made on a separate surface from gluten-containing ingredients. I am not medically qualified and information on this blog should not be treated as medical advice. Restaurants open and close, ownership and menus change. Please double check before visiting any of the restaurants mentioned in this post that it meets your requirements.

Enough with the Gluten-Free Haters

Just to warn you, I am going on a rant today.. feel free to read. Or don’t. This is just something I have to get off my chest.  And in case you are new here, I have Hashimoto’s disease and am gluten-intolerant (but I do not have Celiac’s— there’s a difference!).

Lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that gluten-intolerance is not real. That it’s a fad. That it’s all in my head.

And frankly, it pisses me off.

Many of the people who have said this bring up the fact that the doctor who’s published a study in 2011 finding that many of the participants benefited from a gluten-free diet. But he decided to retest the study (as any good doctor should) and limited some of the variables even more. After doing the second study, he is quoted as saying “In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten.” The study found that FODMAPS reduced the gastrointestinal symptoms and fatigue in the participants who were on that diet versus just a gluten-free diet. {Read more about this here or just Google “gluten-intolerance not real”.)

As the article states, FODMAPS are largely found in bread products so when you adopt a gluten-free diet that cuts out bread products all together, you are cutting out those FODMAPS which could really be what is bothering you, not necessarily gluten.

So it is possible that someone is not actually gluten-intolerant but may be experiencing reactions to FODMAPS. Does that mean they shouldn’t adopt a gluten-free diet? I don’t think so, but many people are using this study as a case against being gluten-free.

But why?  Why does it matter so much to people whether gluten-free is beneficial or not? if you are doing a gluten-free diet, and it is making you feel better, then clearly something is working.  Even if it is technically the FODMAPs being cut out, not the gluten itself, the point is it is still helping you feel better.

I think that’s been the biggest thing that has irritated me lately.  Why does someone else get to tell me how my body works?  Unless you are my doctor or have somehow pulled a Freaky Friday and are now living in my body, how do you know how I feel when I eat something with gluten in it? And let me tell those nay-sayers, if there is anyone who was more opposed to accepting that I needed to be gluten-free, it was myself.

I still try to convince myself I will be ok and eat something I shouldn’t.  And then within minutes I feel yucky and bloated and tired, even depressed sometimes.  I wish it wasn’t that way.  I resisted for nearly two years after being diagnosed that I could still eat the same foods. Being from a Greek family, I love pasta and bread, and all that other deliciousness.  Then you have my husband’s side which love all things Southern-style (breaded and fried).  It SUCKS not being able to eat those foods that I love.

However, I don’t think this is just a gluten-diet issue. Even though it’s more common now, I remember the backlash that came when a lot of people adopted a vegetarian/vegan diet (or even more recently, the Paleo diet).  Maybe it’s just because “gluten-free” is such a buzzword these days and talked about constantly in the media, people feel they “know” what gluten-intolerance is and feel they can make comments on your personal choices.

They other thing people tell me is that it’s just a fad.  And I can see where they are coming from on this— but the assumption that ALL of us who choose to eat a gluten-free lifestyle just because it’s “cool” is absolutely absurd.   I am sure there are many who are trying it because they have heard about it and figure what can it hurt to see if it helps them feel better. Or that just because you are limiting gluten in your diet, that you are a hypocrite if you occasionally cheat.  Sometimes you have a moment of weakness and cheat (unless you are celiac, cheating is not really an option since you’ll get extremely sick).  For someone like me who is gluten-intolerant, I will probably feel crappy pretty soon after eating whatever the non-GF food is, and will probably be bloated.  But as long as I get back on track, I am not going to have a horrible reaction so I might choose to indulge once in a blue moon.

There’s also a lot of talk in the media about how companies are marketing towards those of us that are gluten-free by creating products that fit that dietary need and making lots of money on catering towards this market.  And yes, I am sure that there are many people getting on the gluten-free bandwagon just because it is the “newest thing.”

What I don’t really understand is why people see this as a bad thing.  Now, let me make a point to say that I am not dumb and I do not to think most of these companies are doing this because they actually care about the food they make and care about the health of their customers.  I know that the majority are doing this because they can make money off of it (though there are several companies out there that are not doing it just for the pay-off).  But it provides those like me with gluten-sensitivities— and especially those with Celiac’s disease— more options, why is that a bad thing?

My mom’s cousin was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (same thing I have) in the 80’s, and she has talked about how hard it was to find anything to eat, especially at restaurants.  Because of major increase in public demand for GF foods, restaurants, food manufacturers, and even companies in the health/beauty industries are now offering GF options.  This is awesome for anyone who is gluten-sensitive.

I probably could write for days about my frustrations with this but I will wrap it up.  I just want to reiterate that whether someone is choosing to be gluten-free or because they have been diagnosed with gluten-intolerance, it is their body and they should be able to nourish it in the way that they feel works best for them.  If you know someone who is gluten-free, be supportive of them.  You don’t have to go buy a bunch of GF items to have when they come over, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their diet, but do it in a way that it doesn’t feel like you are criticising them or discouraging them.

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to email me (sophi[at]simplysophisticatedblog[dot]com) or comment below! I love talking to people about being GF, I just don’t need the hate.  ;-)

Health + Life Update

***In case you are new here, I have Hashimoto’s disease and PCOS.  Feel free to check out my posts about it herehere, and here.

In my last health post, I mentioned that I was starting a new thyroid medicine and doing progesterone cream in order to get my cycle back on track, so I figured I’d start out with a follow-up on those two things.

The new thyroid medicine, Tirosint, has been working great! I am feeling so much better– no longer foggy and tired all the time [though they are still occasional bouts of fatigue].

I have also been using the progesterone cream some, though I’ll admit I forget a lot of the time.  I did finally have my period in mid-April [three months after the last one] and then again in mid-June [only 2 months between them this time!!!].  I am really hoping this means my cycles are starting to regulate out.

I’ve been off the pill for almost 9 months at this point.  I am still fighting some occasional depression too.  I’ll be fine one week then really down and depressed the next.  I’ve got an appointment with my therapist next week to talk about this and make sure everything is ok.  I really don’t want to go on an anti-depressent, but if it will help, I will definitely consider it.  It just worries me to be on something like that since we want to get pregnant.

Even with the thyroid medicine working to help with the fatigue and fogginess, my weight just wasn’t budging.  I had put on about 15 lbs. since coming off the pill and I was not even close to my ideal weight before that gain, so I was definitely frustrated and very unhappy with myself.  I was doing Weight Watchers and going to hot yoga, but the scale wasn’t budging.

I talked to my doctor about it and we decided to start me on a weight-loss program they offer there.  I will probably talk about it more once I am done with it as I want to make sure I can keep going with it, but for now, I will tell you that it is working great! I got most of the initial gain off, which is AH-MAZING as I’d been doing Weight Watchers for months and had only lost 2-3 lbs.  This program is also really good for me because it cuts out all dairy and wheat products, which I needed to do but just hadn’t be able to fully get on track with.

Other than that, the biggest change for me has been going to part-time at work.  After months of being unhappy in my current position and being stressed-out all the time, Jeff and I decided it would be best for me to look at going to part-time.  I talked to my boss about it and after a couple of weeks of discussing my options, an opportunity came up that I couldn’t resist.  I have been managing the convenience stores at the college here in town, and this new position will still be with the same company, I will just be doing all the pricing/menus/register-related stuff for the dining on campus.

I’ve been on the part-time schedule for almost 2 months now, and it is incredible.  Financially, it sucks a little— we’re definitely having to tighten up on the extraneous spending— but I feel like I can breathe.  I enjoy my job more now, I have time to spend with friends and build those relationships more, I have time to clean and keep up the house, I could keep going on and on about how much I love it.

Well, I think that is all for now.  What’s been going on in your life? Please feel free to comment or email me! I’d love to hear about it!

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