Elimination Diet Update (Bad Glutens!)

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy 8 Comments

GlutensYesterday Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy went downtown to the central post office – this required him to walk a couple of large city blocks. Within minutes, every joint in my body was burning in pain. I had not felt like this in a long time. I immediately called my physical therapist to ask if she could squeeze me into her busy schedule. It was 11:30am. When I hung up my phone, I had a 2:00pm appointment. So far so good!

As I left my house early afternoon and headed towards my physical therapy appointment, I reminded myself once again: I haven’t felt this bad in months. I wonder why? And then it hit me.

I have spoken before about the dietary changes that I implemented a few months back…although I have not provided any recent updates. This past week marked three months in which I have been gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, nightshade-free, (almost) caffeine-free, (almost) corn-syrup-free, and (recently) MSG-free.

I did recently make one big change to my dietary restrictions – I allowed myself to consume gluten. Blame it on football. Last weekend as I was watching games, I saw some German Beer that I had purchased right before I started this diet. Beer. Football. What harm can be done in just consuming a little beer, even if it does have gluten. (I’ve had gluten-free beer before, but it’s not available where I live.)

Well, once I allowed myself to have some beer, the bread on the counter looked pretty tempting. And Sunday waffles…why not go ahead and make them with regular flour instead of with my gluten free flour mix. The gates were thrown open.

And like that, I find myself in my worst physical condition in months. The last time I felt this bad was the last time when I was still consuming gluten. Is this the only factor that has changed in the past couple of weeks? Not necessarily. Yesterday we had rainstorms throughout the day and the temperatures dropped considerably…both of which for me always lead to increased pain and swelling. But the coincidence in the dietary connection is just too much for me to ignore.

So an update to my diet: I am starting on my fourth month, and I have followed it strictly with the exception of the above football-induced gluten-free grace period. (Go Cowboys!) I have identified two strong triggers: dairy and MSG. Tomatoes are high on the list of suspects as well. Restricting meat and chicken has forced me to eat more veggies, which has helped quite a bit in regards to my energy levels. I still allow myself to eat fish and seafood (my uric acid levels are always extremely low, so I have no concerns about gout).

And even though I continue to use the word “diet”, for me these past few months have been ones of culinary explorations, even as I continue to implement the above “restrictions”. When I started with my list of foods to eliminate I wondered what was going to be left to eat. I have since shown myself that there is an entire world of fruits and vegetables out there that I had not previously even thought about…and there are still many that I have not familiarized myself with.

I will return to limiting my gluten-intake, in hopes of relieving some of the worst symptoms that I am experiencing at the moment. When I started this elimination diet a few months ago I myself had doubts as to how effective it would work. I have been startled with some of the trials and tests I have performed…and in the process have become an even truer believer in the connection between diet and health.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

Comments 8

  1. Julie Woodard

    Hey RA Guy, could you please post some of your recipies for gluten free food, and perhaps a few products that one can try? I have a lot of trouble identifying glutens. All I know is don’t eat the bread.

  2. Paula

    I have RA also and recently went gluten free. I’d had sores in my mouth for about 2 years. HUGE, painful sores. The doctors said it was not medication and told me to live with them. Within a short time of going gluten free I had no more sores and have not had any since! I also feel less bloated and tired. I’m not sure about my joints yet. Fall is my bad time of year and right on schedule I am flaring…. time will tell on that I guess.
    I have also found that potatoes increase my joint pain almost immediately. Your article just reinforces that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you!

  3. Christie

    Good Morning RA Guy.
    I was diagnosed with Celiac about 7 years ago. I went totally gluten-free and felt so much better after I did. Then I started doubting the diagnosis (due to the evils of a Krispy Kreme opening in my area) and I started eating gluten again. Of course after consuming dozens of Krispy Kreme donuts over the course of a couple of years I started feeling rather crummy. I got retested. This time the test came back negative (YES! I headed to Krispy Kreme to celebrate!). I’ve kept eating gluten over the yrs but I know it’s not good for me… Celiac or not… I felt SO MUCH better when I was gluten free. You’ve inspired me to pull out my GF cookbooks, throw out my wheat flours, and eat like I know I need to.

    Speaking of cookbooks, during my gluten-free years I discovered a series of Gluten-Free cookbooks written by Bette Hagman. I don’t know if you’re familiar with her recipes or cookbooks but I feel they’re the best out there. Even the newer gluten-free cookbooks can’t compare, in my opinion. Her GF flour combinations are the closest thing to wheat-flour I’ve found. And even now with the advances made in gluten-free packaged flours and mixes I still feel they don’t come close to the flour combinations formulated by Mrs. Hagman.

    Be well.

    And “Go Cowboy’s”?!! I suppose since my Oilers no longer exist I’ll just have to let your Cowboy’s remark slide 😉

  4. Leslie

    go Cowboys! I dont watch much football but this is Cowboy country here lol I’m curious about gluten. I have thought about trying it. I know I feel better when I go low-carb which is a lot like gluten-free. Gluten seems to cause a lot of problems for a lot of people. I have noticed more gluten-free items in the grocery store lately. I dont think I could go without any meat at all though! I have to draw the line somewhere lol 🙂 hope you feel better soon! I took my daughter to the fair the other night and my feet were horribly painful ! it was worth it to see her having so much fun though 🙂

  5. cateepoo

    I think once your body has been away from gluten or any other offending food for a period of time, it recognizes how good it can feel and when we bring those foods back, it throws a tamper trying to tell us not to do it.

    When I bring gluten back into my diet, I can feel the effects almost immediately in my joints. With dairy, my stomach gets upset. Some of the other offenders are a little slower in showing a reaction but usually do.

    You are right, at first you feel there won’t be anything to eat but soon find so many wonderful foods to eat.

    I hope the weather has improved and you are feeling better.

  6. Deborah Reiter

    I haven’t been able to stick to a diet in years, but I know it really does effect my health. Two problems I’ve had are 1) I have a high metabolism and it is just hard for me to get enough calories and fat on an elimination diet and 2) most of the gluten free foods I see in the store are loaded with either dairy or palm oil! Very frustrating…

  7. Joyce

    I realize this post was written six years ago but my two cents may help someone. I was diagnosed with RA a month ago. I immediately quit eating meat, dairy, and gluten. I stick to vegetables and stay away from processed foods. After ten days of this eating plan my joints were normal sized but still stiff in the mornings. I took my first doses of prednisone and methotrexate on day 12 and on day 15 I woke up with no stiffness and no pain.

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