Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Giving up gluten

We have been gluten-free for two months. It's been a long time coming, for me personally. But it was some reading I stumbled across that linked a gluten-free diet with improvements in childhood hypotonia that made me sit up and listen once and for all.

It's well known that for some people, gluten inflames their digestive system. There's now a school of thought that believes gluten may inflame more than just the gut, affecting muscles, joints, and the brain. Hamish's hypotonia affects his muscles and is neurological in origin (we believe). Avoiding inflammation of his muscles, joints and neural pathways can only be a good thing, so, we decided to cut gluten out and see if it makes any difference.

And there is most definitely a difference.

Of course, it's impossible to attribute it solely to a gluten-free diet, because he may very well be going through a developmental growth spurt too, but both T and I have seen a discernible change in him.

He seems to have more energy. He is talking a lot more confidently. He is moving with better balance and riding his balance bike with gusto. He has started working out how to take his own t-shirts on and off. And he is climbing more and with less fear.

His kindy teachers have noticed an increased attention span, and an ability to stay upright and maintain posture for longer.

A coincidence? Possibly. But I too have noticed a dramatic change in my body. 

Abdominal bloating has almost disappeared along with headaches.My sinuses are clear. I'm sleeping better, and I feel more energised during the day. Before, I was lethargic in the mornings and exhausted by evening (although admittedly that could be parenting!) but, excruciatingly, unable to sleep enough to recover. The dermatitis I have had on my hands my whole life has disappeared and my fingers have stopped swelling, which means I can sleep with my wedding rings on. A little re-introduction test saw me swell like a balloon within minutes after a gluten-free fortnight.

It was a light-bulb moment for me, as someone who, on occasion, felt the need to undo a button after eating just to feel like I could breathe. Mostly, I feel simply lighter - like I don't have a brick sitting in my stomach.

The transition hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be. This year, we have consciously shifted our diet to include more whole ingredients and exclude preservatives, colours and flavours. Gluten-free recipes are all over the internet and I was already milling grains, lentils and pulses into flour at home. I am still baking, just using a combination of brown rice flour and corn flour instead. 

Kindy lunches have probably been the biggest change, but I've been making batches of gluten-free zucchini slice and savoury muffins, which have gone down a treat. I'll need to come up with a few more options though, or I'll put them off those foods for life.

Weekend eating is a little more challenging, but we're getting there.

And for now, we'll keep it up. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen, so happy to hear about these improvements with you little one. xx


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