For those who've read here long or know me or have read the archives (Has anyone actually done that? Of course, all four of you who read here probably know me anyway.), you know that we're vegans. Actually, Davan and I are 100% vegans. Anthony is more like 98%.
We've been mostly vegan for some five years now and totally vegan for about three. We strive to be whole food vegans - that is, not eating anything processed or more than minimally processed in some cases. We don't always achieve that goal. We've had Voodoo Doughnut kicks and Newman's O's kicks and eating out kicks...some of those kicks have lasted longer than others.
Over all, though, we do pretty well with eating, by far, more fresh produce than your average Americans. We all exercise more than the minimum recommend amounts for maintaining health. Very occasional and notable late nights aside, we all stick to a sleep routine that allows for plenty of sleep (that's only about 7 hours for Anthony, but more like 9 for Davan and I).
And yet? We're still tired often. Feeling kind of run down. Davan and I get sick quite often. It seems like pretty much anything that goes around, we get. Additionally, Davan and I both have bathroom issues that I don't need to get into great detail here about here. Davan has pretty bad acne in spite of eating pretty well. I have achy joints. I had some blood work done in the spring that shows that I'm at the very low (but within "normal" still) side of things in regards to my iron, sodium, potassium, and calcium levels, which blows me away because I eat lots of foods rich in those nutrients.
It's really discouraging, to be frank. In fact, in the last 6 months or
so, I know that's contributed to my attitude of, well, why not eat that
- it's not like I feel good anyway. And that attitude has added a good
10 pounds to my 5'3" frame in that time period.
I don't love that weight. I really don't love feeling run down...but do I feel any more run down eating more junk? No, not really. Of course, I hasten to add, I do still eat a lot really healthy things. I eat kale on an average of 5 times a week, just for an example.
Any-who, here I am. Here we are. My family would like answers to these issues. If this is just the way our bodies work, we got a bad rap. It doesn't seem right.
Then I happened across some information about Celiac Disease. I mean, really, who hasn't? After all, it's quite the trendy food issue these days. But, what I mean, is information about the symptoms. Many, many of my issues fit the profile. The lowness of those particular minerals, being tired, achy joints, bathroom stuff. Several of Davan's issues also fit - acne, tiredness, bathroom stuff. Anthony? I don't really know. He just seems to feel run down a lot. He had the same blood work done that I had, but nothing seemed out of place for him. (We did also, by the way, have testing for thyroid and a few other fatigue-related things done with nothing coming up for either of us.)
There are tests that can be done. And we've debated doing them. But, Davan and I have already cut out most of our gluten sources, which can impact the results. The other thing to do is to try going truly gluten free for three months and see if we feel any better. It can take the gut a while to heal, so giving it ample time is important.
So, yesterday, we went through the kitchen and pantry and really got rid of everything with gluten. Anthony isn't going gluten free, so he took some things to work. We Freecycled some things. A couple of things we just threw out. We were careful to figure out hidden sources. For example, most Mrs. Dash seasoning is gluten free, but our favorite blend, Southwest Chipotle, isn't - bummer. And one of Davan's favorite teas - Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride (which she had some still from the last holiday season due to stockpiling) isn't, even though most Celestial Seasonings teas are.
We talked about which restaurants might truly be gluten free (probably not VegThai, one of our favorites, due to soy sauce, but we'd been ignoring that when we just cut out the obvious sources of gluten), but one or two others that we like probably have some options that are gluten free and would be open to us asking nitty gritty questions about what goes into the food. And we found a couple other vegan friendly, gluten free option having restaurants in the area to try, both of which I've actually been wanting to try for a while.
So, we're making a real go of it. I think eating at home will be fine. I'm not intimidated or worried about that. It's just that we're now that much harder to feed away from home - at restaurants, other people's houses, while traveling - and I'm not overly thrilled about that. It'll all work out, though, and either it will be worth it because we'll feel so much better or we'll give it up in a few months.
We shall see.