Thank Goodness I Ditched The Gluten!

Today’s guest post is from Court Tuttle, whom John and I met through a business coaching group a few years ago. Court found the gluten free diet through a somewhat unconventional path and we are happy to get to share his story with you.

For almost a decade of my life, my energy levels were completely erratic. I found it impossibly hard to fall asleep at night and impossibly hard to stay awake during the day.

There were many nights when I was up until 7:00 a.m. without even a hint of a sleepy feeling. I would still force myself out of bed at 9:00 a.m., afraid that sleeping in would cause another sleepless night. I would then stay awake all day, completely exhausted, only to be wide awake again the next night, completely unable to fall asleep.

Needless to say, it’s very difficult to function normally with sleep/energy issues like these.

How I Stumbled Across the Solution

Early in 2011, I started getting frustrated with my workouts at the gym. I was getting weaker for no reason. I finally decided to have myself tested for low testosterone. While I was at it, I tested my levels for estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol – all of which can interfere with the intake of testosterone into cells.

When the test came back, my testosterone was within normal range. However, my cortisol was not. It was four times higher than normal. I was honestly relieved. High cortisol explained a lot of things that were going on in my life, including my strength and energy level issues. I was hopeful that I could fix them.

There are a lot of things that can cause elevated cortisol so it took me a while to figure out what was going on. Caffeine contributes so I went cold turkey (I wasn’t drinking much at that point anyway). I learned that taking naps helps a lot, so I started taking them. Exercise helps, but I was already exercising regularly and had been for years.

I tried thing after thing until I read a book called Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James L. Wilson. One of the chapters talked about how food allergies can cause issues with the adrenals (the adrenals produce cortisol). I had read about gluten sensitivities and leaky gut and had a sneaky suspicion that gluten might be causing my issues. I decided to ditch it as an experiment.

Amazingly, within a few days I was falling asleep at night and have been ever since. My strength at the gym was also restored. It honestly seemed like a miracle – a very quick miracle.

Learning to be Gluten Free

I was really excited to have ‘cured’ my cortisol issues but honestly, I didn’t understand fully what it would mean to live life without gluten. For a while it started to seem that gluten was in almost everything I ate.

I can now see that it isn’t necessarily harder to learn to eat foods without gluten, it’s just a different skill and like any skill, it has to be learned. I am completely satisfied with my new diet and wish I had found it a decade earlier. It’s easy now that I’ve adjusted to the switch.

For me, breakfast was the hardest and it seems like that would be the case for most people. I now eat a few eggs with some protein like chicken, turkey, or lean ground beef for breakfast. If I want something sweet, I add some strawberries or half a grapefruit. After a few days of switching to this for breakfast, I became completely satisfied with it. In fact, now I crave it for breakfast and don’t want anything else.

Most of my other meals consist mainly of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olives and avocados. I have just recently started to learn how to actually cook gluten-free meals like gluten-free pancakes, etc. I was stoked when I learned about the Gluten Free Cooking School. I’ve need a resource like this for the last year.

Healthy Side Effects

Ditching gluten has had a few unintended side effects. For one, my body started losing a lot more fat with a lot less exercise. Since I’m in the business of helping people to lose fat and get in better shape (at The Skinny School), this was a huge plus. Gluten was really inflammatory for me and on top of that, the cortisol added to my belly fat levels. It does this to most people.

Comments

  1. I also saw this when reading a book on why gluten affects people. It talked about the adrenal glands getting stressed out when you are allergic to foods and you eat them. It said that the adrenal glands make four major hormones. Cortisol, adrenaline, a hormone that keeps your potassium and sodium balance (this helps your blood pressure so if you have high blood pressure you might look into getting your adrenal hormones check even for that reason) and also the hormones that work on your sex organs (hence why you would have abnormal periods, miscarriages etc.) So, since I have gotten off of gluten, I have found my blood pressure coming down, and my periods are getting closer to normal.

    When your body is under stress, the adrenal gland will stop producing all hormones except cortisol. And that is when all the other things get out of whack too!
    Also remember stress on our bodies comes from food, immune systems being over worked, inflammation from yeast/fungal infections, and EMOTIONAL STRESS!

    Us ladies have more emotional stress than ever. So take time for yourself. Get away weekly, or daily to do something without kids, work, etc. Prayer and meditation are great DE-stressors. And doing a favorite hobby like painting, knitting, shopping also work great!!! Remember to that worrying only keeps you meditating on the negative. Choose to think positive!

  2. I have been feeling the same way for some time. One night, during an insomnia moment and wanting to munch on something salty, I sat on the couch and googled “Why do I crave salt?” I was then introduced to Adrenal Fatigue. I am still trying to learn how to overcome it but I recently downloaded an app called MyFitnessPal which helps you count calories. It also tells you what nutrients you are not getting enough of in your diet and what you are getting to much of. Surprisingly my sodium intake is quite low on a daily basis. It also indicates I do not get nearly enough potassium in my diet. I am hoping that making some additional dietary changes, on top of already being gluten free, will help address the adrenal fatigue.
    Kelly

  3. Thanks for this information. I have been working on eliminating gluten and at home, I am good. Dining out is very difficult. It is hard to change the mindset. I will keep in mind the tests if I ever get insurance again.

  4. I too had crazy hormone issues which was initially diagnosed as adrenal fatigue. My cortisol curve was way below normal but one form of estrogen was off the charts high! A nutritionist was the person who figured out that the adrenal issues was caused by gluten. I went off the gluten and have felt so much better since.

  5. Irma, many restaurants now have GF menus, especially franchises in mid-range, like Red Robin, but you have to ask. It is getting a little easier to enjoy food on the road;)

  6. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. My blood tests showed the opposite…extremely low levels of cortisol. One doctor wants me to take a supplement, and another doctor said, great! You don’t want high levels of cortisol and told me to do nothing. I don’t really do supplements…I just eat whole foods…but I have been gluten free for almost 2 years and I have never felt better! Wonder what the blood test would show now. Let us know what yours say after you’ve been gluten free for 6 months or 12 months or so!
    And this website has really been an awesome resource, thank you! Just got my pizza stone and food scale, and I’m trying the pizza recipe this weekend!!!
    Thanks so much!

  7. Julia Sotelo J. says:

    I found it difficult at first whenI realized the culprit in my life was gluten, but yet I had been warned in the 1980´s that I was allergic to wheat by a naturopathic female physician. Self-control is the empowerment that we all need and should seek, because health is of prime importance. It takes only a few months to adjust and the desserts that I now enjoy have less flour in them and frankly my sweet tooth craving has become more normalized just by being content and enjoying the natural fruits that are in abundance in every season.

    I am amply satisfied with non-gluten breakfast crepes and my wonderful gluten free corn recipes. Every restaurant offers grilled chicken or fish, and salads can be a hearty treat topped with my favorite dressings that work wonders on the most bland of vegetables. I have discovered that yeast also causes havoc even worse than gluten, but I don´t really need it on my pizzas. The Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1970´s already had a yeast free recipe and not I just substitute the wheat with rice flour and whatever other gluten free flour that I have in the kitchen. I do fine with aluminum free baking powder and I can enjoy any pasta dish without any gluten flours-just by adding potato starch the pasta stays together very well.

    Mexican food has a lot of wonderful cornmeal recipes that do not require any gluten at all. So there is quite a variety of food that those of us who with gluten allergies can enjoy. Yes, I also sleep better not overdoing the sugar and eliminating all caffeine beverages. There are plenty of alternatives out there so celiac dispositioned folks should not envy anyone. You will add years to your life by not blindly grabbing processed foods from the store shelves. Everything fresh is so much better for everyone.

  8. I highly suspect I suffer from gluten intolerance, and i am seeing the doctor tomorrow. I am secretly hoping that i am intolerant as it would explain alot of symtoms i have been suffering with, however bread is my favourite food and i am vegitarian. im really worried on what is left for me to eat, how difficult it will be to eat out, how much will power i will need and if i will be getting enough nutriants??? advice anyone, please? :S
    Thanks!

  9. Hi Holly,

    You’ll definitely be able to eat good bread (especially if you do use eggs). Eating out is possible, though it takes more thought. There are ways to work around the need for willpower. I should know, since I have very little =) And, you definitely can get enough nutrients. Just as on any diet, you have to be thoughtful about what you’re eating in order to get a well-rounded diet. We ate gluten free and vegetarian for 5 years and is was delicious =)

  10. Holly, I was a bread addict before I found out that gluten was the culprit behind the years of vague, mysterious misery that had plagued me and was beginning to affect my children. Now, I have NO desire for it at all because there are too many delicious alternatives, and without it we are finally well. Bookmark this awesome, wonderful website. I use the sandwich bread recipe weekly. I actually have it memorized, lol!

    Mary Francis, there just aren’t enough words for me to adequately thank you for running this website. I really can’t overstate how much the generosity with which you share your expertise helps me on a daily basis. Many thanks!

  11. I suffered from every digestive symptom you can think of for about 3 years without a single diagnosis. Doctors had no clue what was wrong with me, and I spent thousands on useless test, and visits. One day I was fed up, and I told myself If these useless doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me, I will. I researched the internet for countless hours, and one day I came across a site that pointed me to my problem. I had celiac disease. It made sense. I was a college kid, and my diet consisted of beer, pizza, and tons of processed foods that all contained some type of gluten. The next day I went gluten free, and after one month I felt better than ever. 75% of my symptoms were gone!!! My energy levels were back to normal. If I would of never took matters into my own hands I would still be suffering to this day. If you need any information about living gluten free check out this website. It has saved my life literally!!
    http://glutenfreecommunity.weebly.com

    For All of the information you need to live gluten free comfortably visit…
    http://glutenfreecommunity.weebly.com

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