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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wiggly Legs, Sleep Deprivation & Gluten

When I was pregnant with our little Sam, I started having restless leg problems (Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS). I thought it was just a pregnancy complication. Well, unfortunately it came back to haunt me about two months ago. After several nights of sleep deprivation and several days of grouchy sub-par mommying, I asked my doctor about it. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug to take at night only when I need it. It's like prescription strength Aleve. I took it for a few nights and it really did help. I was able to go to sleep faster and I was very thankful.

Then I remembered that, in studies, NSAIDs have caused stomach bleeding. So let's just say I wasn't too enthused about having to take this medicine a few times a week for the rest of my life. Not to mention, you can't take it while pregnant and we are hoping to have more kids. 

So one night, while up late because I couldn't keep my legs still, I started researching diet changes to help restless leg syndrome. I came across this website and was really intrigued by what I found. 

The website said that there are several things in our diets that cause inflammation and restless leg syndrome is, in part, caused by inflammation in the nervous system. To me, it makes sense and even confirms this that my anti-inflammatory drug would help. So I set out to see how I could reduce the inflammation in my body.

Then I remembered that a few months ago, I listened to this podcast of the Dr Lo Show. The discussion was largely about how even if you don't have Celiac disease, the gluten we eat today causes inflammation in almost every body. So even if you're not having horrible stomach issues, there is probably inflammation somewhere in your body because of gluten. After listening to that podcast, I tried to go gluten free. It worked for about a month. Then Thanksgiving came, and of course I wasn't giving up dressing. I mean come on. Let's be real. Well, after a couple of weeks of a gluten bomb, the RLS got MUCH worse.

All of this to say, I am back on the gluten free train in hopes of clearing out the inflammation in my body. The diet to reduce inflammation also includes cutting out sugar, artificial sweeteners, MSG and caffeine (I know. Tragic).

And to answer the question, why wouldn't you just take a pill for the rest of your life? 

Well, I'd rather change my diet in a way that's probably better for me anyway and find a natural, long term solution to this problem than have to take a prescription med that could cause stomach bleeding or ulcers when I'm older. 

I used to be super afraid of going gluten free and while it is a challenge, it's not as hard as I thought it would be. There are so many awesome gluten-free products out there now that you really don't have to sacrifice much. Some of my favorites include: Udi's Gluten FreeLara BarsGlutino Crackers and did you know that all of Boar's Head's products are gluten-free? 

Next week I'm planning to write a post on making a holiday favorite gluten-free. I'll be using Udi's Gluten Free bread and granola. 

I've also had a lot of meal planning help from JoLynne's Gluten Free Meal Plan linkup. These have all been delicious meals. 

I can already tell a difference in my legs at night and I'm hoping it continues to improve. 

Recipes to come! Until then, check out my G FREE board on Pinterest!


  1. Hi Stephanie

    I ran across your blog in my research. I host the RLS Blog you mentioned and the website

    I hope that your RLS is getting better.

    Please keep checking back. After basically not posting for the last couple of years, I'm back with a passion posting new information that I hope will help.

    best regards.

  2. "gluten bomb". I do not think it means what you think it means.