Not only MSG, Additive, Preservative, and Chemical Free–Now Gluten Free

I went to see an endocrinologist in August and she asked me to go gluten free. (Ok. Dairy free, too, but one step at a time!!)

We’ve been eating gluten free since September 1.   I’ve been doing (almost) daily updates on Facebook in case you want to follow along.

I waited many months for my appointment with the endocrinologist because she came very highly recommended. But even before I made the appointment, several months worth of problems stacked up. My hair has been falling out, my skin is awful, my eczema has come back, *always tired* like always tired, exhausted, afternoon crashes…

and then the pain started. First my muscles (alllll of them) felt heavy, like after a long time swimming, when you first get out of the water–like that. It was happening more often than not. A few weeks later, my muscles felt like I had just had a great workout at the gym, except for that exhaustion and pain thing that kept me on my chair all day long.  Then a few weeks after that, my feet started seizing up. I would have this pain that felt like an exposed hot nerve and the pain seared through my whole foot, my foot would actually contract during the pain. Several times this happened while I was walking down the stairs and I nearly fell down them.  Then (yes, more) my calves started cramping up close to the time or during the time the hot-nerve pain was pulsating in my feet. Then, in order to fall asleep one night, I took a muscle relaxer. I haven’t had one of those in over 20 years.  I was already crying from the pain before I took it–and I continued to cry myself to sleep.

And listen. I have a very high pain tolerance.

I was afraid to walk, afraid to drive and just afraid.  No. I didn’t share any of this with anyone but my husband and a couple of close friends.

I started Googling the foot pain and found someone who described my pain to perfection–on an MS support group.  So I looked at the symptoms of MS and yeah.

So. Gluten free. Day one was AMAZING.
Day two. Even more AMAZING.
Day three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and now ten???  Listen.



I feel amazing. Not everything is up to par, but the no pain and no exhaustion thing? BIG. Like HUGE.

I simply wouldn’t have ever believed it if we hadn’t changed our eating.  Understand that we were already MSG, chemical, additive, and preservative free when we made this latest gluten free change. So we’re not buying a bunch of prepackaged gluten free stuff (actually, there’s very little that we buy prepackaged.) Everything we cook is from scratch. And I know that makes a huge difference in our lives.


First Endocrinologist Appointment

I am so excited to report that today’s appointment was wonderful!  Dr. LaSalle is not only and endocrinologist, but  also Medical Director of Integrative Medicine, which means she treats the whole body using alternative and conventional medicine.  She studied under the direction of the man who established the field of integrative medicine.

After today’s visit, I feel confident that we’ll get to the bottom of my thyroid (and whatever other issue surfaces.)   My thyroid shut down in late 2007. Since then, I’ve been fighting to feel “normal” again.  I did for a year or so, but even then, I didn’t lose weight and still had symptoms of hypothyroidism. Those symptoms have been getting worse this year, so I made an appointment with Dr. LaSalle (and waited nearly 16 weeks for this day!)

She took me through my health history, my immediate family’s history, my diagnosis and struggle, my eating habits, the supplements I take, and so on.  She was extremely pleased that we eat clean and as organic as we can. So the next steps are pretty basic.

She’s going to run a bunch of tests  (I’ll list them at the bottom of the post) and I need to go gluten and dairy free–I might have a chronic inflammation issue. She also gave me a reading assignment:  “Spark:  The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” by John J. Ratey, MD.  Dr. LaSalle also switched me back to name brand Levoxyl rather than the generic levothyroxine I’ve been on since January.  (All kinds of changes occurred when I switched.)

Dr. LaSalle mentioned running some tests geared at looking at my neurotransmitters. She commented that when there’s a long family history of mental disorders (depression, bi-polar, etc…) that’s a clue to her that mine might be misfiring. Here’s an article that explains how the neurotransmitters work with the endocrine system.

All in all, for the first time in years, I have a sense of hope regarding my condition.  And that is priceless!!

The tests: (abbreviated from the checklist, I don’t know what some of these are)

Adrenocortex Stress Profile
CBC autoDiff
Comp Metabolic PNL
CRP Ultra
Insulin Fasting
Lipid Profile
Magnesium RBC
T3, Free
T4, Free
Thyroglobulin, AB
Vit B6-PSP
Vit B12
VitD 25 Hydroxy
Zinc RBC



Pickling Spice Recipe

No additives. No preservatives. No MSG.   Nothing but real food and goodness.

pickling spice

I’ve tweaked this recipe to my version of perfection!

Pickling Spice

2 cinnamon sticks (crushed)

5 bay leaves

6 tablespoons mustard seed

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorn

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon mace

1 teaspoon dill seed

1 teaspoon ground ginger

6 teaspoons corriander seed

3 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Menu Plan Monday–April 13

Starting March 2nd, We’re going to give this a shot. I used to be so good at planning meals and something happened–and then I found out by way of a food journal, my system doesn’t tolerate MSG–so I’m making thing from scratch to avoid the nasty stuff!

And since we’re moving soon, I also would like to need to empty out the abundance from my freezer and pantry. I’m going to try to GOING to spend less than $15 a week for my grocery budget in April and probably the first two weeks of May. WISH ME LUCK! LOL

* * *

Update on the $15 food budget: Last week was awesome! However, it was looking pretty bare in the way of fresh veggies so I splurged a little Saturday. Plus, I went to Gordon Food Services with my mom and bought some cheese for cheap. $7.00 for a 2lb block of sharp cheddar and $9.50 for 5lbs (160 slices) of American. I had to make extra cheesy au gratin potatoes (serves 30) for Easter so I used a pound of the cheddar and about 10 American slices for that. The rest of the American I’ll break up to fit in sandwich size Ziplocs and freeze it. The cheddar will appear on the menu plan!

I also bought a bunch of Polish sausage and brats that the meat dept. assured me was MSG free, but I got home, studied the ingredients and realized it said it had 2% MSG. I don’t know the technicalities of eating that much. I don’t know if I should even risk it. I opened two packages of the Polish to make for Easter before I realized, so I’m stuck with those. I can take the other two packs back. So that’s $8 down the tube.

But I did find (no lies!) Chorizo with no MSG! That was $6 but will last awhile. We love to fry chorizo with our scrambled eggs and eat them on tortilla with salsa. Mmmm!!

So while I’m technically over budget starting this week off, I’m not upset because I think the cheese was a rocking deal and we needed makings for salads. The whole time I’ve been trying this $15 food budget, I’ve not even been listing breakfasts and lunches and it seems this week I’ve run out of options and had to spend a little bit more to get us through another couple of weeks.

* * *

Monday–leftover tuna noodle casserole.

Tuesday–leftover Easter food, ham and extra cheesy au gratin potatoes (family gathering size recipe below)

Wednesday–leftover round steak with gravy and mashed potatoes.

Thursday–Grilled steak, potatoes, Brussels sprouts

Friday–ham and beans and cornbread from the freezer

Saturday–steak Quesadillas (leftover from Thursday), chips and salsa

Sunday–Chicken stir fry

* * *

Michelle’s Extra Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes (Large recipe, could be used for Once a Month Cooking groups)

It was 10lbs of potatoes diced
8 cups of milk
4 sticks butter
1lb sharp cheddar
1/2 block velveeta
2 onions
1 cup of my homemade blue cheese dressing**
10 slices American cheese
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Dice potatoes and partially cook them in the milk, after the milk is hot add in the blue cheese** dressing. Grease a full-size food service foil pan (like this) I put the onions in my food processor and gave them a zap then sauteed them in a stick and a half of butter.

Put half of the potatoes and milk in. Chunk up half the Velveeta and disperse. Same with the butter. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Break the American slices in half and lay them over the top. Add in the rest of the potatoes and milk and repeat with the remaining Velveeta and butter, salt and pepper.

Bake for 45 minutes. Stir everything up. Bake for another 25 minutes. Take out and add shredded cheddar to top. Bake 30 more minutes.

This should feed 30-40 people.

**If you don’t like blue cheese you don’t have to use it, but I suggest it highly. My sister hates, hates, hates blue cheese but she loved the potatoes because there aren’t chunks of blue cheese, they melt. But if you don’t trust me…well then you suck. LOL

Homemade blue cheese

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 lemon squeezed in
salt and pepper to taste

Mix and refridgerate.

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