An education in Gluten-Free cooking and experimenting with kicking Prilosec:
Healthy Living Project #1

Good morning! We are embarking on a new culinary path I have dubbed Healthy Living Project. I hope you'll come along and see the results of our experimentation. As we adapt our cooking and eating style I wanted to journal the results. Naturally we are hoping for success. Let's get started with the back story and initial stages.

Last month my husband decided he’d wanted to get off Prilosec. Actually, he’s been wanting to get off that OTC drug for quite some time but acid reflux can make your life miserable if left untreated. Prilosec and it’s kindred drugs such as Nexium and Prevacid are pump inhibitors and assist with that terrible acid that causes so much pain. But it has drawbacks such as causing headaches, depletion of B-12, fatigue and much more.

After doing some research he found other people who had been on a pump inhibitor and successfully kicked the Prilosec by using DGL (which stands for deglycyrrhizinated licorice). I can’t pronounce it. I can pronounce licorice.

He’d take the DGL about 20 minutes before a meal and that helped with the acid. Lots of times it worked well but on occasion he’s had to take another acid controller (Tagamet).

The Tagamet wasn’t a daily need and we figured, this still is better than taking a Prilosec every single morning. Further exploration led him to folks who mentioned wheat and/or gluten was their issue. When they went gluten free, their stomach acid issues went away along with fatigue, headaches and joint pain. Could he be afflicted with a wheat intolerance? How simple would that be to alter our diet and eliminate that as a possibility.

So, now I am getting to the gluten-free part. Saying it out loud – gluten-free….. It’s an odd clumsy word that doesn’t roll off the tongue smoothly. Gluten…awkward sounding. I imagined gluten free cooking/baking as being difficult. Oh no! Gluten and wheat are in most of our simple indulgences! It sounded like we were headed for deprivation, that is until I started reading about gluten free cooking.

Fortunately for us, we don’t buy many convenience foods so adapting to foods which don’t have wheat flour isn’t as challenging as I thought. We don’t buy the packaged mac and cheese mixes, Hamburger Helper and rarely buy a cake mix. That part is super easy as we didn’t load our shopping cart with prepackaged foods before this little experiment.

We do buy boxed cereals and so, that part changed a bit. I love Special K, but alas, it has wheat flour so we ditched it in favor of Chex cereals. The rice, chocolate and honey nut varieties have been very tasty, especially with the addition of strawberries or blueberries. Low calorie too. Other breakfast items are eggs, bacon/sausage, grits, fried tomatoes and potatoes…….no deprivation there and no changes needed. Toast is a different issue (I will get to that).

If you have been reading my site for the past several years you’ll know we rarely eat meals out and we have a very basic cooking style. It’s a blue moon if we fry something. All meats are roasted, baked or grilled. We eat fresh vegetables, fruits and I have been making my own bread for years.

Other than the bread, I guess we have been eating gluten free about 90% of the time. (I am really bad at math so that percentage may be off). The foods I need to modify immediately are pizza and bread. We ate bread every day, freshly baked every couple of days. Now the experiments with gluten free bread will begin. (Saving my first attempt at GF loaf for another post :-)

Pizza – I will miss Oscar’s pizza in Havana. They have a wonderful pizza and I love the people there. But there are GF baking mixes for breads and pizza so – let’s get that stand mixer working and start the bread trials!

Tracking Results

While I thought we may only be tracking Doug’s progress with kicking Prilosec as well as the ebb and flow of the pain he experiences with acid reflux, I am realizing there may be other possible benefits. What if eliminating gluten from our diet and bodies results in weight loss, fewer headaches, less fatigue, less brain fog? I started a journal to keep track; we will see. Maybe his reflux is from a wheat intolerance and if that’s the case, we should find out soon as we modify our diet.

Ok, so it’s been a month since his last dose of Prilosec. In a nutshell:

* There were good and bad days the first month, but more bad than good. It was almost two weeks into quitting Prilosec that he took the occasional Tagamet. He did take DGL before each meal (for a while)

* 10 days after quitting wheat he’s had two good days in a row and, for the first time since quitting Prilosec, has not needed Tums, Tagemet or DGL. Coincidence? We will see.

*As of this date, he has not taken any Tagemet or DGL to assist with reflux. Good days so far.

* Over a two week period he’s dropped 3 pounds. I got on the scale Wednesday and I had lost 1 ½ pounds.

This is an experiment in progress so all I can do is record the results. I wasn’t devoted to writing this down when we started but I am now. Hopefully the good results will continue.

Since this is a new culinary road for both of us I have dubbed this Healthy Living Project and will number my updates. I hope you'll come along and see how our experimentation proceeds!

Coming up will be more Nigel Slater recipes and photos of meals we've prepared in our quest to eat gluten free.


~~louise~~ said...

Kudos to you Tina! I give you and your hubby a lot of credit for doing the research and experimenting along the way.

It must seem overwheming now but I'm sure you will get the hang of the goods and the bads especially since you are going to journal them.

I'm along for the ride. My little grandson has such a priblem with acid reflux and my daughter has been holding off on any kind of medication. She too has started a journal to try and figure out what the culprit or culprits might be. (he's also allergic to way to many foods also:)

Keep up the good work you two. I look forward to the results and that bread you will be baking, gluten free!

Thanks for sharing, Tina...Have a wonderful weekend!

Joanne said...

I am excited to see how this experiment of yours goes!! Thankfully, there are a TON of GF products on the market now, so you shouldn't be wanting for anything!

Tina said...

Louise, what we have figured so far is wheat was the problem. After 10 days without wheat Doug isn't on any acid reflux medication. He isn't bothered at all now so, must have been the wheat.
I will be posting the journey and results. But try keeping your grandson off wheat completely and see if he doesn't feel better. Worth a try on my opinion.

Joanne, you are so correct. We are feeling better already and I don't feel deprived at all. Trying your quinoa recipe this week

Debra Eliotseats said...

Wow--kudos to you guys for trying a more natural relief to kick some of the meds. Luckily, I do see a lot more gluten-free offerings in the grocery store and most restaurants now. (Beware, though, a friend of mine who MUST eat gluten-free has some horror stories about supposedly gluten-free pizza.)

Take care!

Laurie C said...

That's great that your husband has seen so much improvement already! One of my favorite G/F food blogs is No Gluten, No Problem. Looking forward to your posts on G/F bread baking!

Tina said...

Debra, Do you recall the brand of the pizza? We tried Udis and i'm not sure if that caused a flare up or if it was the grits. Yes, we prefer more natural solutions to health issues is there is a safe alternative!

Laurie, thanks for the tip on Gluten Free, No Problem. Will definitely check that out. Thank you for your supportive comment!

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