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Grain Brain Diet - Gonna Try It!
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Before I was diagnosed with Celiac I was very skinny and had a hard time gaining weight. I was eventually able to get my weight to a happy place. After going on the gluten-free diet, my body started accepting the calories and the nutrients, so I gained an extra 2.5 pounds. I was okay with that because I knew I was in a healthier place. However, I've been dealing with a food injury since last summer and because my physical activity was limited I gained another three pounds. I thought "Okay, my jeans are a little tight, but I'll fix this when I'm able to do cardio again." And then Christmas happened. Ugg. I've lost two pounds through increased activity and not going crazy with my favorite foods, but the last 5 or 6 are being really stubborn. I know it's only a few pounds, but because I'm a small person it is uncomfortable and I don't fit into any of my jeans or my favorite dress. And when you try to squeeze into really tight pants it can cause swelling in that area, making it even more uncomfortable. 

 

Over the holidays I read "Grain Brain" and have decided to try out the diet. I already eat very healthy, but the jump start into this program is to get rid of all carbs and sugars in the diet. This includes grains, fruits, most protein/nut bars (which have a surprisingly high amount of carbs in them), starchy vegetables, desserts, and sugary condiments. One of the ideas is that when the body cannot rely on carbs for energy it will become more efficient at processing fat for fuel. The book also talks a lot about a low carb diet being beneficial for the brain and helps to prevent psychological disorders. I highly recommend the read.

 

So I'm going to try it out for a few weeks (I am giving myself one cheat day a week). I'm very excited to start on Monday. The only reason why I haven't started yet is because I have some fruit in my fridge and I hate seeing good food go to waste, lol.

 

I'm hoping that this will help me tone up. I feel like even though I'm a fitness instructor, I've always had a hard time developing muscle mass. It's always been my goal to have really toned and strong ab muscles, rather than just being skinny. 

 

I'll keep you posted on my adventure :)

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Sounds a lot like a paleo or primal diet (which I am on) but you can have dairy, is that right?.

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I think the only dairy that is allowed is cheese. Do you eat fruit on your diet?

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. Mostly berries.

 

but I like melon and an apple on occassion.

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Gotcha. In this diet you nix all fruit for the first month. After that you can slowly start adding in occasional fruits and gluten-free grains. My regular healthy diet is basically the post-month 1 diet.

I'm very interested in how this diet will affect me physically and mentally. I'm just concerned about when I'm at work and not able to get to my kitchen for a meal. Normally I'd bring fruit and a protein bar, but that's not an option. Almonds and raw veggies? Any tips?

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I keep a bunch of baby carrots & celery sticks in the fridge for when I get the munchies.

I have almonds, yes and I have almond butter to dip into, if I need something. 

 

One thing I noticed (sans grains, legumes, dairy, sugar) is....I felt funny the first week.

Then, by week 3 my sleep improved. I had more energy. My appetitie descreased, but then steadied.

I do not feel hungry and I am not searching for goodies anymore.

 

I admit it, I like salty stuff like chips and I like chocolate, so those were tough to give up.

I salt my sweet potato fries instead. And I did not give up a vodka and seltzer while prepping dinner.

Even Robb Wolf says in his book..".Do it if you want.".LOL

 

Oh, if you can have dairy, you could chunk up some cheddar and snack on that.  

 

I added back in some feta on my salads and so I am not 100% paleo. I also "cheat" using Against the Grain bread sometimes.

It is made from tapioca starch & mozzarella, (primal ingredients, technically) but I figure the paleo police are not around, and so...lol.

 

I am doing it  for myself to see if the inflammation in my body goes down so I can strengthen the weak and atrophying muscles  and bone pain I developed from celiac. I have been able to go to the gym 3X a week and I see great improvement. 

 

Overall, I feel better and I may stick to it indefinitely.

Good luck! :)

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Over the holidays I read "Grain Brain" and have decided to try out the diet. I already eat very healthy, but the jump start into this program is to get rid of all carbs and sugars in the diet. This includes grains, fruits, most protein/nut bars (which have a surprisingly high amount of carbs in them), starchy vegetables, desserts, and sugary condiments. One of the ideas is that when the body cannot rely on carbs for energy it will become more efficient at processing fat for fuel. The book also talks a lot about a low carb diet being beneficial for the brain and helps to prevent psychological disorders. I highly recommend the read.

 

So you recommend reading the book, is it overly dense/wordy? I've been meaning to read it. It's interesting that science proves the high fat, low carb way of eating to be healthy, and actually, superior to both the low fat and the mediterranean diet. As I'm sure Dr Perlmutter discusses in his book. (I've heard him lecture but have yet to read the book).

 

Actually what really freaked me out, and made a lot of sense, in his lecture was that 54% of the worldwide healthcare usage/strain caused by people diagnosed with Alzheimer's was preventable through lifestyle change. I mean… I knew that inflammation = bad… but 54% is a huge number. He estimated that to be 2.6 million Americans! *shudder*

 

Fun story, evidently autoimmune disease + inflammation + c reactive protein also leads to accelerated atherosclerosis. So, another good reason to manage inflammation/follow an anti-inflammatory diet, particularly for people with autoimmune diseases.

 

One thing I noticed (sans grains, legumes, dairy, sugar) is....I felt funny the first week.

Then, by week 3 my sleep improved. I had more energy. My appetitie descreased, but then steadied.

I do not feel hungry and I am not searching for goodies anymore.

 

Yup, that's carb flu! :P I get a wonderful headache that lasts about a week as I acclimatize and, in essence, detox from grains and sugar and all the other naughty things I ate before. But once your body shifts to burning fat for fuel, I agree you feel pretty good :)

 

Do you find you follow a more primal style or a paleo style? (primal allowing high fat dairy and the occasional beer [mark sisson] or paleo which is more strict [robb wolf or cordain])

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Do you find you follow a more primal style or a paleo style? (primal allowing high fat dairy and the occasional beer [mark sisson] or paleo which is more strict [robb wolf or cordain])

I suspect I fall more into the primal camp as I do use KerryGold butter, sometimes eat yogurt .....oh,  and I drink vodka.  :)

Giving  up grains, legumes, cheese, all high histamine foods (shellfish, cured meats, toms, citrus, etc.)

and going to the gym is torture enough.

Not giving up those, too. lol

 

I found Robb Wolf's book an interesting read and even he says "don't make yourself crazy with this....." he has a good point.

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I enjoyed reading the book. Not too dense, but if you've heard him lecture there are probably parts of it you can skip. In fact, you may already know all of the info that he presents. 

 

An update from me - I'm beginning day 4. I've been pretty successful sticking with the diet. My only cheat is an extra piece of dark chocolate (which is allowed in the "occasional food" category) and stevia (also an "occasional food") that I used in my almond milk hot chocolate (made with coco powder - no sugar and low in carbs, so I figured it's okay). No carb withdrawls or funny feelings. I'm eating a lot but still feel hungry in some aspect. I feel like eating a bowl of oatmeal gives me a different sense of fullness than an omelet does.

 

I'm using an app on my phone to track my food, and goodness you eat so much fat on this diet! Eggs, olive oil, almonds, avocados, salmon, cheese. I don't think he says in the book how many grams of fat vs protein you're supposed to eat. I hope I'm not eating too much fat. How much is too much?

 

I'm definitely eating more protein than I have in the past few years (I've found it hard in the past to get protein in my diet with my schedule and being away from home so much for work). I'm up to about 95 grams/day, which is actually the acceptable amount for my weight.

 

And let me say - I'm eating AMAZING food! Omelets in the morning (I'm thrilled that I can tolerate eggs now!), salmon topped with guacamole, sauteed green beans with onion and garlic, kale salad with lemon and feta, pan seared chicken (seasoning is everything). So anyone interested in trying this diet - you do eat real food. The challenge that I'm finding is that it's difficult to be away from my kitchen. A lot of these foods are things you have to prepare.

 

I haven't had a chance to work out much. I actually didn't sleep much (my own fault) on Monday night, was exhausted all of Tuesday, and of course ate everything in sight (mostly cheese and almond butter). So I'm going to get better about it this week. I haven't lost weight yet (Tuesday probably played a role in that), but I can sort of feel my body working in a different way. 

 

I'll post another update soon :)

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Another update from today - feeling overly full after each meal. It's the end of the day, and I've figured out that I'll have eaten roughly 1350 calories. It's not a lot, but I feel so full that it's hard to motivate myself to work out (I did a bit of weight training anyway and am on my way to teach a class in a bit). I feel like I couldn't possibly fit more into my stomach, but at the same time I don't feel 100% satisfied. I would love some more chocolate, lol. All of my food is amazing, but at the moment it's feeling like a long week waiting to see some results. 

 

IrishHeart, did you feel anything like this the first week? I'm hoping that it will get better. 

 

I also wonder how long it takes the body to start processing fat for energy efficiently.....

 

I have some loved ones who would be perfect candidates for this diet according to the book (in terms of brain/cholesterol issues), so I'm really hoping to have a good experience. I want to be a good example. 

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. All of my food is amazing, but at the moment it's feeling like a long week waiting to see some results. 

 

 

 

Nothing much happens in the first week, I am told.... be patient. :)

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Nothing much happens in the first week, I am told.... be patient. :)

 

Thanks. Gonna stick with it! :)

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I suspect I fall more into the primal camp as I do use KerryGold butter, sometimes eat yogurt .....oh,  and I drink vodka.  :)

Giving  up grains, legumes, cheese, all high histamine foods (shellfish, cured meats, toms, citrus, etc.)

and going to the gym is torture enough.

Not giving up those, too. lol

 

I found Robb Wolf's book an interesting read and even he says "don't make yourself crazy with this....." he has a good point.

 

So… bulletproof coffee? :Phttp://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/ )

 

I also enjoyed Robb Wolf's book, Sission's was good too. I agree with the not making yourself crazy… although, I'm pretty sure I've already hit that point and beyond with celiac and research and some of the studies/projections for mucosal repair in the long term, etc. Sigh. 

 

But I really gelled with eating Primally (which is what I did for 6 months and then stopped due to life… and hopefully will start here again, soon.)

 

And let me say - I'm eating AMAZING food! Omelets in the morning (I'm thrilled that I can tolerate eggs now!), salmon topped with guacamole, sauteed green beans with onion and garlic, kale salad with lemon and feta, pan seared chicken (seasoning is everything). So anyone interested in trying this diet - you do eat real food. The challenge that I'm finding is that it's difficult to be away from my kitchen. A lot of these foods are things you have to prepare.

 

Your food sounds delicious! I'm sure it'll all pay off soon :) (also, yes, seriously, not nearly as convenient as other eating styles, it really pays off to preplan/make in bulk and freeze/store)

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A little update:

 

Unfortunately, I found out that I wasn’t doing the diet effectively. The book was misleading because it said you could eat as many vegetables as you’d like. However, the carb content in green beans, garlic and onion (which were on the "good" list) was pushing me WAY past 40 grams of carbs per day – I was probably more like 80-100g which doesn’t push the body into that “burning fat for fuel” zone. I was very frustrated to have given up fruit and grains for five days already to not have it really count. Luckily, I found out that one of my fellow personal trainers is doing the same diet this month and she gave me a wonderful pep talk. I’ve adjusted my foods, and am now clocking in at 40g.

 

Yesterday was my first 40g day. Disclaimer: I had some major problems with the NYC subway system around lunch time which made me pretty irritable (especially because I was already hungry). But the entire afternoon/evening I felt really mad, which is unusual for me. I also developed a headache, had a dip in energy, and felt like I was starving even though I ate around 1500 calories. I’m hoping that the intense hunger will go away soon. My friend told me that it is natural to feel unfulfilled and tired. This morning I ate a small serving of green beans and a large omelet and a piece of dark chocolate, but I’m still hungry. No difference in terms of weight loss (with how hungry I am I was hoping that I lost two pounds, lol), although my friend said that it takes the body about a week to kick into fat-burning mode. It’s amazing the difference I feel when eating the carb-filled veggies compared to not.

 

So far, it’s proving to be difficult because I’m officially in carb/sugar detox. Part of me really wants to eat an entire cake, but I want to stick with it. I have clients and family members who would like to try the diet if I feel like I have success with it. I want to be a good example. Although my inner cake-eater thinks that I’m crazy.  :wacko:

 

I am excited for Sunday, which is my cheat day. My friend said that she has a cheat day, too, and that it’s actually beneficial to the diet. That day I will do high carb/protein and low fat, keeping the carbs and fats separate according to her advice. (And this is a person who I greatly trust with accurate fitness/diet information)

 

On another note, I did post a few questions on a low-carb forum to ask people about my veggie/carb dilemma and ask for support, and a lot of people were very negative. A few people told me that I should only be eating 1100-1200 calories a day, which as a personal trainer I never recommend doing that for more than one or two days per week because it puts the body into starvation mode and could potentially ruin the metabolism if it’s done long-term. (And I’m not doing 40g/day forever – just for a few weeks as a kick start) When I said that I couldn’t do less than 1200 cal/day (especially while I’m working on building muscle) and none of my trainer friends would recommend it, several people got kinda snippy and said, “Well, good luck on your ‘diet’.” I didn’t read any more comments after that. So thank you to my friends on this board – it’s a joy talking with all of you. It has always been a wonderfully positive, encouraging, and helpful environment.

 

On yet another note: My boyfriend’s roommate made cinnamon rolls. It took all of my energy to resist them and to remind myself that I have a gluten intolerance. I told my bf that if he wakes up in the morning and sees that all of the cinnamon rolls are gone and I’m bent over in agony…..we know what happened. Lol……I really want that cinnamon roll…..

 

Onto another day! Today’s menu:

Green tea. Small amount of green beans sautéed in coconut oil. 3 egg omelet with sharp cheddar and broccoli. Piece of dark chocolate

Pan seared chicken and smoked gouda cheese

Kale/red bell pepper/garlic/onion sautéed medley and ground turkey. More dark chocolate  B)

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NO cinnamon rolls, young lady! :D

 

Do you eat red meat of any kind? I find that really satisfies me. 

 

Wish I could have chocolate. It does not like me right now. 

 

Last night, I veered waaaay off course and we are celebrating the fact our new home is done (it was being built and the process was lOOOOOng)

 

Not sure if it was the rice I broke down and ate or the creme brulee I was talked into (I am sure no paleo woman ate that LOL) but today,  I feel like dog poop.

All that sugar? oh man, I was awake half the night. :huh: There's something to this no sugar thing! 

 

And I have to move in to my house today. Good thing I have been working out again.

 

Hang in there! Your menu sounds de-lish, BTW

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I hope you feel better! .....I want a cupcake. Like a REALLY big one! lol I haven't had sugar cravings like this in a long time. I've been told that they go away after the first few days.

 

I try to not eat a lot of red meat because I feel like I don't digest it very well. Occasionally I'll have sausage or hamburger, but I mostly stick with chicken or turkey. I also think that my body is adjusting to all of the protein I'm giving it. In hindsight, I don't think I've been getting enough protein for the past few years. Now I'm having eggs in the morning and meat twice a day. Wow! I've never done that before. Another tip from my friend for when anyone starts to consume more protein than normal - drink a lot of water. It helps to keep things moving.  ;)

 

Congrats on your new home, IrishHeart!!!  :)

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Update!

 

I'm on Day #5 of the correct diet (40g carbs/day - I admit that sometimes I am between 41-43), and am feeling pretty good. I've lost two pounds! I've only been doing light strength training, nothing excessive outside of my normal routine. Just making a point to do a couple of extra exercises when I can. I'm still dealing with continual hunger despite eating TONS of food, but hopefully this will subside a bit. Here's a breakdown of how I generally felt over the past few days:

 

Day 1 - Massively craving cinnamon rolls, lol. Dealt with a bad headache at the end of the day and irritability (partially because of outside influences). A little tired. The cravings, irritability and general unwell feelings were so intense that I was unsure if I'd be able to continue the diet for a long time. 

 

Day 2 - Still craving sugar but enjoyed all of the food I could have. Felt odd and a little jittery as my body was trying to figure out where the carbs were hiding. However, I did start to catch a cold later that night, so that might have had some influence in my odd feelings on this day. 

 

Day 3 - Caught a cold. Decided not to do the cheat day that I had planned because it wouldn't have been any fun. Still very hungry. Most other odd feelings I blame on the cold.

 

Day 4 - I was down 2.5 pounds in just three days! And I had been stubbornly stuck at that top weight. I tend to be really sensitive about my stomach because I used to be one of those girls who had no problem staying super skinny, but when I did get sick I would bloat enormously and if I gained a few pounds it all went to my stomach. I began feeling like my system was working efficiently again - no feeling overly full or bloating. I began feeling leaner. I'm really liking these feelings. 

 

Day 5 - Was up 1/2 pound (but it is that time of the month, so I'm sure hormones have something to do with it. That may effect what comes on the scale over the next few days). Still hungry, but I still feel leaner than last week.

 

 

A few things I want to be clear about: 1) Even though I am hungry all the time I am definitely eating a lot, and I'm getting in more protein than I ever have before. Finally fueling my muscles. 2) I don't believe in "diets" because they are short lived and people normally end up gaining all of the weight back. I believe in lifestyles. I am doing this as a kickstart experiment to help my body efficiently burn off some fat and build more muscle. I don't plan on continuing the kickstart after February is over. From there, I plan on incorporating some carbs back in (because I don't want my body to forget how to digest carbs), and I will continue to weight train and eat more protein. I feel that I would be able to maintain with a balanced diet and exercise once I get to my happy place.

 

One of my clients asked me how I stay motivated to stick to a diet/exercise plan (The Biggest Loser winner gets money; a friend of mine is pregnant and dealing with complications, so she's doing it for the baby). I told her that there are a million excuses, and eventually you have to throw them all away and JUST DO IT. Now, this diet is incredibly difficult what with the inconvenience, cravings, hunger, and how you need to measure out and count every single carb. But I'm doing my best to follow my own advice, and so far I've seen a difference. I haven't had my cheat day yet. Basically I'm taking it one day at a time and trying to hold off as long as I can (Valentine's Day is coming up and I fully plan on enjoying some chocolate!). And when I get to the end of the day and I really want something sweet or extra carb-filled food to munch on, I remind myself that if I cheat at 8:00pm and have some bread or dessert, then I would have wasted the entire day of being good - and what a sucky cheat day that would be! I could have eaten fruit and a bagel and mountains of vegetables during the day if I really wanted a cheat day! So that's helping me push through. I hope that helps someone else. Sometimes you have to just do it. 

 

In moving forward one day at a time, I am hoping to go to the end of the month, but we will see where this experiment takes me. So far, I highly recommend it. 

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I forgot to mention two things in my last post:

 

1. The reason why I think I am so hungry is because my body is craving sugar. So my brain is telling me, "You aren't feeding me what I want, so I'm going to tell you to keep feeding me until I get what I want!"

 

2. Part of the good feeling that I'm getting is that I feel like my digestive system is working with me rather than against me. It wasn't bad before, but it feels better and perhaps more productive. So far at least. Good feeling to have  :)

 

Also, today's sugar cravings have been easier. I'm not feeling quite as "off" or "unwell" as I was in the first few days.

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I was thinking about turning this into a blog, but I'm just going to keep posting updates here in case someone does a search for it someday.

 

I did a total of 9 days without a cheat day! I feel amazing! It's SOOOO much easier now that I made it past the first few days. So far I've lost 3.5 pounds, and I feel like my digestive system is really working efficiently. Just not having those few pounds on me feels so good. And you know that feeling like your last meal was heavy or your food isn't digesting well? - none of that. Also, I only did a few light workouts, but next week I'm hoping to do some more strength training.

 

I'm reiterating this - cheat days really aren't a part of the first month on the Grain Brain diet, but I've given myself the option of having one a week (Valentine's Day and my anniversary are both in February). 

 

I'm celebrating a late Valentine's Day with my boyfriend and cheat day is today! Bagels, chocolate truffles, honey/coconut flour strawberry short cake, LOTS of veggies, chicken cooked in thai sauce. It's going to be a good day, lol  :D

 

I've already had a bunch of vegetables and a little bit of bagel this morning and no stomach aches or any other effect from the carbs. 

 

I'll update again in a few days. 

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Update on my cheat day:

 

I finished my bagel and got a big stomach ache soon after. I felt rather bloated and could feel that my body was having a hard time digesting it. I decided to have dessert with my boyfriend that night because I had already made strawberry shortcake and truffles for our make-up Valentine's Day. Sure enough I went to bed with a stomach ache and woke up with one. I told him that I was excited to be back on my diet plan today because it feels so good. My favorite thing about my cheat day was not necessarily the food, but just not having to plan out my carb intake for each meal. I could eat as many veggies as I wanted. I'll have to be more careful on my next cheat day to not overdo it as much.

 

I wonder if I have an intolerance to grains and should go primarily/permanently grain free or maybe this was just because I hadn't eaten any grains for two weeks....like how vegetarians will get a little sick if they accidentally eat a little meat?...we'll see how things continue.

 

Also today I weighed 1.7 pounds more than yesterday. Blah. It's 2:00pm and my stomach has finally completely calmed down. Onwards and upwards! 

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Latest update:

 

According to the scale, I weigh almost half a pound less than I was the morning of my cheat day 8 days ago (with the stomach aches and light weight gain, the cheat day wasn't worth it). In total, I've lost about 4 pounds in 18 days.

 

I skipped my cheat day this weekend. I had no cravings for anything. I did have a glass of wine (which I allocated the carbs for), but I couldn't finish it (it could have just been because the wine tasted cheap and I didn't care for it, lol). I also decided to have a piece of Dove dark chocolate (my normal chocolate of choice), but I wound up only eating half of a square - it tasted so sweet! I gave the other half to my boyfriend. 

 

I also found a new protein shake that comes in a can with 35 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, and virtually no sugar. Gluten free and tasty. Very grateful to have the extra option for when I am on the go, so I don't have to carry around cooked chicken in my purse worrying that it will go bad  :wacko:

 

I wore my skinny jeans for the first time in months yesterday and loved it. Feeling much more comfortable in my own body.

 

My boyfriend seems to have noticed a difference, too. He said that my curves looked more defined. Good boy  ;)

 

Until next time!

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    • Hi, I've gained so much knowledge on this forum over the past few months, which I am so thankful for. I can see how much hell people are going through with this disease and it's so lovely to see how much support and advice people give to others on here. I'd like a little bit of reassurance and advice myself from anyone that can help. I've been gluten free for six months. Two weeks after going gluten free I realised I also had a problem with corn so cut out processed food. Over the following weeks and months I continually had problems with food; fruit, dairy, a lot of vegetables, nuts, soya....it's basically dwindled down to just eating potatoes (not white potatoes), cucumber, lettuce, small amounts of red onion, spring onion, sprouts and beetroot. There may be more things I could be okay with but to be honest I'm too scared to try.  Is this all normal? Am I an extreme case? I've been taking some digestive enzymes and probiotics for about six weeks, my acid reflux has dramatically decreased but I always have a lot of loud noises going on in my guts, I'm guessing this is the probiotics working.  I've lost nearly 3st in weight since this started - which I'm not complaining about as I was overweight due to thyroid problems. I've had loads of blood tests done recently, all organs are working 'great' according to my doctor, the only thing they've picked up on is ketones, I seem to be having a glucose problem, which might explain my exhaustion and weight loss. I also have permanent numbness and sometimes tingling in one of my legs and sometimes hands and one shoulder, I thought it could have vitamin B12 deficiency but that's okay according to blood tests. I would be greatful for any replies. Thanks for reading.
    • Hi everyone, I am doing job in restaurant at evening 5 to 12 during working hours no time to do a dinner. I'm thinking to make a shake but don't know the gluten free vitamin or supplement brand which one is good for me and easily available in Berlin Germany to make me fit cause last one week i feel weak. I'm 28 year old. Sincerely
    • Hey there just wanted to warn anyone that has other allergies- these crackers may not be a good choice! I'm mildly sensitive to MSG- I only react if there's a giant amount like in Chinese food or Ramen noodles, etc.  I literally have a to eat TONS of a the offending food before reacting.  Anyway, I was excited to try these Trader Joes pumpkin crackers, kept hearing about them on the radio .... and they're gluten free!  (I have Hashi's).  I ate about 3/4 of the box last night. Woke up this morning with a red itchy face and nasal congestion, headache, anxiety. Hallmark symptoms for me of high MSG intake. (It does say yeast extract on the side but it's pretty far down the list). So if you're sensitive.... stay away! Apparently these particular crackers are loaded with it. 
    • I admit, my blood panel was "mildly positive" with only the DPG IGA being the positive, yet I had a Marsh Stage IIIB (pathologist report) though my visual on the endoscopy was fine.  celiac disease can be hard to diagnose, that is for sure.  
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