Something weird happened to me a few weeks ago. Let me begin by saying that I started cutting gluten out of my diet maybe a year ago (I’m not exactly sure) due to my endometriosis. I learned that gluten and soy can make my endometriosis symptoms worse, so I slowly started eating them less often.
I have also had chronic headaches and migraines since the age of 14. They were so bad that when I was a teenager I was convinced that I had a brain tumor so I asked my parents to take me to the doctor to get checked out. All of the tests and scans came back normal. For the rest of my teenage years and my young adult years I went from doctor to doctor to find out why I got headaches nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY from the age of 14 to my late 20’s…..and I’m not exaggerating. None of the doctors were helpful so I just accepted that for the rest of my life I would have daily headaches and/or migraines.
A few weeks ago I was REALLY craving a Vegan Chocolate Cake from Whole Foods. I knew it was made with gluten flour, but I didn’t care. I had been so good with not eating gluten for so long and I wanted to treat myself, so I prepared myself for the horrible abdominal pain and bloating I would inevitably experience over the next few days. What I didn’t prepare myself for was the horrible migraines and depression I would get.
I bought the cake, went home, started a movie on netflix, cuddled up on my couch and DUG IN to my cake! A few hours later my stomach started hurting, but I knew that would happen so I paid it no attention. I went to bed that night and woke up the next morning with a horrible feeling in my chest. You know, that feeling you get when you are super sad. Like, your heart literally hurts. I felt that when I woke up. I was so sad for no apparent reason. I tried to walk around, go on with my day, and shake it off, but that didn’t help. Halfway through the day I felt like I couldn’t move because I was so sad. So what did I do? I ate more cake! lol. Cake makes everything better right?!
The next day I still felt extremely sad and my head was killing me. It hurt so much. Before this day I hadn’t even realized that it had been weeks, maybe even a month, since my last headache. I was wrecking my brain trying to find out why I was so sad and why my headaches were back with a vengence. I thought to myself, “What have I done differently lately to cause these issues?”. My husband was out of town so I wrote him this super long text message about how depressed I was. I figured writing my thoughts down, or talking to someone, would help, but it didn’t.
And then I thought, “That DARN Chocolate Cake!”. The only thing I’ve done differently over the last few days is eat gluten. What the hec! Gluten causes depression? And is gluten the reason why I’ve had daily headaches for over a decade? I guess that’s why doctors couldn’t figure it out. They don’t consider food and nutrition very much when diagnosing illnesses and disease.
So I started my research.
The Link between Gluten & Depression
It turns out you don’t need to have Celiac Disease in order to have issues with gluten.
I learned I was not alone. Tons of people experience depression when eating a diet containing gluten. Plenty of people who tested negative for Celiac Disease still cut out gluten because they felt so much better without it.
So I threw away the rest of the cake and gave my body a few days to get it out of my system. I ate super clean, had my daily green smoothie of course, and 2 days later I was back to normal. It was like I was a new person! I woke up feeling SO good. I had energy, I wasn’t sad, and I didn’t have a headache!
I’m telling you, I have been learning about nutrition for a few years now and I am still amazed everyday at how much food affects us. I know for a fact that gluten is what caused my sadness a few weeks ago and I know for sure it is a MAJOR reason why I had Chronic Headaches since the age of 14. The only time I get headaches now is if I stare at the computer too long.
This is why I constantly urge people to take charge of their own health. Doctors know a lot, but they don’t know everything. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. They had no solution. So I found a solution. Eating clean has change my life so much that I’m honestly grateful for my health issues otherwise I would still be eating S.A.D. (Standard American Diet full of processed foods and loads of animal products).
Now it will probably be a while before I try that Vegan Chocolate Cake again because I’m scared, lol, but if I do at least I’ll know what to expect.
What if I Do have Celiac Disease
Also, if you believe you do have Celiac Disease, here is a very informative article that breaks down the symptoms, causes, and potential treatments for this disease. This article was reviewed by board-certified physicians and contains a ton of helpful information!
Gluten Free Bread Recipe!
Here is an awesome Vegan Gluten Free Bread recipe for those of you who miss eating bread because you cannot have gluten and you’re sick and tired of that horrible frozen gluten free bread you purchase from the store that breaks apart as soon as you thaw it out! Ugggghh, I hate that stuff!! This bread is MUCH Better. You can use just about any gluten free flour you want. The recipe below uses Sorghum Flour and Millet Flour, but I’ve made it with brown rice flour and oat flour. It also calls for Xantham Gum, which is an ingredient you cannot skip because it holds the bread together. Gluten helps hold bread together so without it we need a replacement. Xantham Gum is that replacement. I purchase mine from Whole Foods and you can definitely find it online.
I hope you give it a try and also try my super moist gluten free vegan chocolate cake!
***NOTE: This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner. All information contained in this blog is the opinion of Monique and is not to be interpreted as medical advice.
- 1 1/2 c. millet flour
- 1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
- 1 c. tapioca flour
- 1 c. potato starch
- 1 c. arrowroot powder
- Mix Everything together in a bowl.
- Place it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer so it will keep longer.
- 3 cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix recipe above
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil melt before measuring
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons warm water
- Grease and dust with GF flour an 8×4 loaf pan. Heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Combine GF Flour Mix, xanthan gum, salt, sugar, and dry yeast in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- In mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and warm water together and then add the dry ingredients. Mix on high for 2 minutes, this activates the yeast. It should resemble a thicker cake batter.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and cover with a tea towel. Turn OFF the oven and set the covered bread in the warm oven to rise. Carefully shut the oven door.
- The bread will take about 30 min. to rise to just below the top of the pan. Take the bread out carefully and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Place bread in preheated oven and bake 45-55 minutes. After the first 10-15 minutes, tent tinfoil over the bread for the remainder of the baking time to prevent the crust from darkening too much.
- Test the bread with a toothpick. After you’ve removed the bread from the oven, immediately rub the top with butter (or to keep it vegan, try a little melted coconut or olive oil). Remove loaf from the pan to a wire rack to cool.
- Let cool completely before cutting. This makes a big difference on how well it will slice and stay together.