Gluten-Free + Hot Booties + Unexplained Infertility

I’m doing it again.  100% gluten-free, forever more.   I was also gluten-free for the last year of my first marriage.  It was an effort to possibly help me to get pregnant (because at that time, things were actually really great.)  It was a glorious year full of so much energy!  But when my first husband left, baby making was hugely on hold.  So, I was like GIVE ME A BURGER… 

And then dating brought many more opportunities for gluten into my life (Shake Shack & Patsty’s comes to mind 🙂 .  And then I met my dear Danny and I couldn’t resist his lemon souffle (recipe coming!  It is to die for!), homemade rolls, potato gnocci, homemade pizza and grilled cheese.  And then we got married.  And the wedding parties began, as did the cake.  And then we went to Europe for 5 weeks and LIVED on focaccia, French baquettes, crepes, croissants, pain au chocolate, tarts, pizza, and pasta. 

But, in the months following, I ended up sicker than I ever had been in my life.  I am convinced it was related to the gluten (and ahem, the sugar).  So, with all this baby making that I now get to enjoy 🙂 + with an arsenal of more research that I’ve done on the subject, I started up again a few months ago with going 100% gluten-free.  No cookies here and there.  Not even a crumb.  No delicious bread at restaurants.  No more calzones or pasta from La Villa or pizza from Guiseppina’s.  Nada.  And holy heck, as tricky as it can be to navigate a grocery store or a restaurant menu, I am not mourning the American (& Italian & French) diet all that much…. because I already feel tons of  positive effects.  I feel extra energy, a clearer mind (I think I actually just got smarter), and um, my flat, flat stomach came back in about a week.  (Before that, even with the minimal amount of gluten that I was eating, my little tummy was just sometimes, well, a little puchie.)  Right now I’m fitting nicely into my itty bitty J.Crew tooth pick cords, ones that previously were feeling a little snug.  And, I think I even look healthier & more radiant (I love the photo above cause it was taken in the first couple of weeks of going gluten-free again, and for the first time in a while, I think I just looked healthier!)  It may be subtle to others, but to me it is a drastic difference.  And in these last few months, I’ve gotten several random compliments on the street.  I swear, a gluten-free diet gives me a little sparkle.  And a hotter bootie (evidenced by my husband’s even greater infatuation with it lately ðŸ™‚

So in addition to all this, why go gluten-free?  Well, I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos.  I’ve learned a lot more about it recently and apparently the disease will not progress as much, or at all, if I follow a certain protocol and that includes removing gluten from my diet.  And, the autoimmune factor is apparently the only thing possibly affecting my fertility, so I am going at it like gang busters!!!!!!!!  Hoping to have long-term health and healthy babies SOON!  I’ll take as many as I can possibly get at my age, thank you very much!

Do you have an autoimmune disease and/or unexplained infertility?  Have you had any experience with any treatments or with a gluten-free diet?  As always, I’d love to hear from you. 

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  1. Anonymous November 1, 2011 at 9:51 am - Reply

    hello Mara, thank you for all the info about gluten-free x hashimoto desease… i hope danny will be able to translate something i really want to tell you after reading this post… it will bit easier trying to explain this in my native language, so here it goes… Oi Danny, exatamente dois anos atras eu fui ao medico pedindo ajuda sobre infertilidade, aparentemente nada estava errado after all the exames, entao fui com outro medico um especialista em gravidez de alto risco e etc… a primeira atitude dele foi examinar minha thyroid e disse que parecia anormal, me mandou a um especialista que identificou hipotireodism de hashimoto…comecei altas doses de levothyroxine and was told not to get too excited about getting prego too soon cause it would take sometime for my body to addapt… this was end of october/2009…fiquei gravida em janeiro/2010, abby nasceu 5 semanas antes do due date pesando 4 libras, mas muito saudavel e so precisou ficar no hospital some extra days for precaution… i don't know whats your case, mas a escolha de mudar de medico fez toda diferenca pra mim. I have to start taking care of myself and this post has inspired me to act and do something better about it, all i can think right now is about the super big fridge in my kitchen "smilling" glutten EVERYwhere. So, thank you.

  2. Lana November 1, 2011 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Yes, yes, yes. After years of feeling yucky and bloated – with many trips to many different doctors who all told me to eat MORE fiber – and then more than two years of unexplained fertility – an acupuncturist finally put it all together and had me go gluten free. Six months later- pregnant with my boy. Two years later, surprise – pregnant with my second boy! A gluten free life gave me so much – energy, a slimmer body, less headaches, comfort, and of course my beautiful boys. Best of luck to the two of you. With love from Atlanta, Georgia.

  3. Lacey @ The Road is Life November 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Congrats on going GF! I just found your blog and am lovin it! I studied nutrition at a natural medicine school and it was there, 10 years ago, that I went GF– it changed everything– insomnia, weight, skin, energy. So many people have gluten intolerances and I believe it is that the grain isn't what it used to be. It has been morphed to thrive in non-native soils and such (when I first went GF–I did it it in Europe and didn't have the same reaction as wheat is native to Europe and better quality over there! But now it's 100% GF anywhere!)

    Well, I am babbling now– but just wanted to say hi and that I look forward to following along on your blog!

  4. suzy November 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    i've been sick for a year and a half now, and have been crying over negative pregnancy tests for about that long as well.

    i wonder if this could be something i should look into?

    • Anonymous February 14, 2013 at 2:23 am - Reply

      Same situation here including the infertility! Just went to an acupuncturist and she put me on gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free for a month….

  5. Anonymous November 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    I also have Hashimotos and have been given my life and health back by following Dr. Datis Kharrazian's amazing book (Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal) and being gluten and dairy free.

    Although I did not have problems with infertility, my three children have a myriad of health and allergy problems due to being pregnant with them while having untreated Hashimotos. All three of them are gluten and dairy free now as well. My pregnancies were also a nightmare because all my Hashimotos symptoms were magnified 100 times. Although I wish I would have had this valuable info before having my children I am so grateful that my kids can have a healthy, functioning mother.

    One thing I would like to warn you about is immunizations. My son was in the hospital comatose for several months after being injected with immunizations at 4 months old. He finally made a full recovery, but it was terrifying. The Doctor that helps me follow this protocol said it was due to his immune system from having a Hashi mom and that it's amazing he is not autistic. My doctor works with mom's with Hashimotos and their autistic children. I am so grateful that he recovered and I have not immunized my other children. My doctor says he is almost positive we would have had the same situation if they had been immunized too.

    I wish I could just yell from the roof tops to anyone with an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's or not "You can be healthy, you don't have to suffer anymore, you have all the power and control, change your diet 100% and you can change your health and life." I know so many people who have autoimmune diseases and Hashimoto's, the ones who have made these changes 100% are getting their health back at a rapid speed and those who refuse to accept that it can really be as simple as changing the food you put in your body are suffering and miserable.

    Good luck!! I know first hand the rewards that come through making this sacrifice.


  6. Amanda Blair November 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm - Reply kinda got me at boundless energy, clear head and let's face it, flat tummy. Maybe I should try giving up gluten…I already don't eat diary or meat…

  7. -Maria- November 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I'm gluten free/sugar free for hormonal issues as well. It has helped greatly. Also adding healthy fats, (grass-fed butter and coconut oil) and eating more quality proteins, (grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, cheese, etc)has been huge for me. I have heard Nina Planck's "Real Food for Mother and Baby" is good for fertility.

  8. Carrie November 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Love this! I am also GF (and sometimes casein free – the protein in milk). The GF community has grown so much in the past few years (some doctors estimate that as much as 30% of the US population has some sort of gluten intolerance) and I feel lucky that it is so easy to find GF options these days. The real kicker for my skin wasn't gluten free, but rather cutting out sugar. If I have 30 grams or more of sugar (not from fruit) in a day you can bet that I will have pimples pop up a few days later. Ugh! Good luck on your journey – I, like everyone here, LOVES hearing what you have to say about love and marriage. xo

  9. Bianca November 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    I too, Like Maria have been trying the healthy fats as per my acupuncturists request. No babies yet, but I feel so much better. (Grass-fed beef, raw milk cheese, and eating oils such as coconut oil) I feel I am hungry less, have more energy and less head aches…actually…now that I think of it, I haven't had any head aches! (I usually get head aches often) I'm currently reading, "Eat Fat, Loose Fat" that was also suggested by my acupuncturist- it's great.

  10. Noelle November 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    One of my close friends out here has been featured in the New York Times, on tv, etc. for her gluten-free blog. She is a total foodie and has done many trips to Italy and Paris gluten-free without a problem. She has Celiac disease so it's not like she's just on some diet whim – she's legit. You should definitely check it out:

  11. The Maxwell Family November 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Mara – I've been having so much fun reading your blog. It's been so long since we were in 6th grade!! 🙂 I am actually gluten free myself and my only daughter is gluten free also. We both have Celiac disease which luckily is completely healed with just a gluten free diet. My daughter was diagnosed at age 3 and me soon there after. So we've been four years GF. We both feel much better also! If I'm ever in NY I am definitely going to look up Baby Cakes! Sounds so good!


  12. Marisa November 1, 2011 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    I have Hashimotos as well and have been feeling SO frustrated lately with my levels. I take synthroid as nd I am hypthothyroid–so I'd love to hear what research has stuck out most to you–or should I just google it??? I was diagnosed after my first daughter was born and have been able to manage it pretty well with frequent visits to my endocrinologist and by taking synthroid and have had two more kiddos. But I just do not feel 100% most of the time…so I'm for sure looking into this. Thanks for sharing! I'd sure love a flat tummy, too 🙂

  13. Thais November 2, 2011 at 10:31 am - Reply


    I'm also hashimoto's and PCOS. I have no will to go GF because I live off of carbs and I work nigh shift as an RN. I just find it so hard. I'm seeing an endo, my levels were normal for 5 years and now that I'm off the pill my TSH is 10! Adjusting meds right now before we can continue to TTC.

  14. Ruthanne November 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    I'm sure you already know this but please, please make sure you are eating enough fat. You are so tiny and petite I just worry it could be part of the problem–you need adequate body fat to get pregnant. I hope this is not offensive, I just love you and Danny and this blog. You are an inspiration.

  15. Tisha November 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I'm so interested in this. My husband has a very rare autoimmune disease and although his labs are looking pretty normal these days, he just never feels great. A doctor passively mentioned he could try a gluten free diet. I'd love to learn more about it. If you have any links to share it would be much appreciated!
    Thanks for your wonderfully inspirational blog! You give so much strength and hope and knowledge!

  16. Chou November 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Mara, A present for you:

    She is, IMO, one of the best gluten-free bloggers out there.

  17. Erin November 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    PPPPPLLLLLEEEEAAAASSSSEEE look into the GAPS Diet by Dr. Natash Campbell-McBride. It's the craziest diet that totally works, totally heals your body up so it is what it's supposed to be. Everyone thinks I'm nuts, but seriously, WHY do you have a problem with gluten? This diet will explain that. And will not make you go forever w/o gluten, because it will heal you up. Warning: It's a lot of work. But please investigate, because it's SOOO worth it! Auto-immune, allergies, eczema, asthma, or mental problems like depression.

  18. Erin November 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Sorry to write two comments about this, but I wanted to make it clear that this diet will not only clear up a gluten-intollerance, but ALSO your auto-immune disease. Auto-immunes are on the rise (as are many other ailements), and medicine has given no reason why. This book explains all. Seriously, when I read this book it was so EYE-OPENING! This is my family!!! This is why my mom has MS, my brother autism, sooo many food allergies, my mom IBS and gluten intolerant, my kids colicky and refluxy. Please know that I'm not a crazy person, and I'm not affiliated with GAPS in any way other than I'm doing the diet for me and my family 🙂

  19. Scarlett November 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Hashimoto's and PCOS are the main reasons it took me so long to get pregnant. It helped me to finally get my hormone levels right by taking Synthroid and Metformin. I have asked my OBGYN, fertility specialist, and endocrinologist about diet, and none of them have suggested going gluten free, although the fertility specialist said I should definitely be staying away from refined sugars, etc. Just had my levels checked and everything was OK. But I am finding that after initially losing a bunch of water and baby weight, my pregnancy weight is not coming off at all 6 months later. I'm wondering if I would feel and look better if I made some diet changes. Would love to see some of your research! Going gluten free would be extremely hard for me, but if I thought it might help, I could give it a try. How long did it take for you to feel better after you changed your diet?

  20. Desi McKinnon November 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Mara and Danny what an amazing journey you two are embarking on. From reading just a few blog posts I can already see that I'm going to love keeping up with you two. I love how open and honest you have been.

    My husband and I are on a simular path. Josh gets terrible migraines and we have tried a ton of different dietary solutions. I know when we are really off grain (and not kidding ourselves about it) we both feel so much better.

    I recently found this blog called Roost ( that has the most amazing and inspiring gluten free recipes. I hope you get a chance to check it out.

  21. mara November 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Desi, Roost looks AMAZING. I am dying over it. THANK YOU for sending that along!

  22. Charla Sneed January 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    What are some of your favorite gluten free recipes??

  23. Anonymous February 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    I have celiac disease and as soon as I was diagnosed they made sure I was not trying to get pregnant, it really is a huge cause of infertility. I was just introduced to your amazing blog. One place in manhattan that is amazing is Tu-Lu's. Way better than baby cakes and you don't need to worry about cross contamination. Good luck with your journey. I am a huge believer in timing-not ours but the Lords.

  24. Adrie April 26, 2012 at 3:59 am - Reply

    For all of you suffering with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis that has progressed to full-blown Hypothyroidism (like myself), I highly recommend that you switch to Armour Thyroid.

    I suffered for nine years on Synthroid. (I will say that being on Synthroid was much better than nothing at all.) Even though my levels in the lab reports were always perfectly within the normal ranges, I was miserable most of the time. (Sadly, I was used to it and just dealt with it.) I was extremely fatigued, my hair continued to fall out, I was constipated, had brain fog and mood swings. (Remember, those symptoms were still there even with my lab values in the perfect ranges!)

    Once I went on Armour Thyroid, it's like I had a brand new AMAZING lease on life and my lab results were all perfectly within the normal ranges. I've never felt better (except before the Hypothyroidism), and I'm "regular" now! 😉 Actually having energy is the most amazing part. I'm truly excited that I have thicker hair now AND I lost a few pounds without even trying!

    Think about this: If Armour Thyroid has such great effects on my body in these ways, I can't help but imagine that it would absolutely help with fertility issues as well. Seriously, please check it out!

    *Disclaimer: I do NOT work for any corporation. No one is paying me to say this. I'm a stay-at-home-mom who is just trying to spread the Armour Thyroid happiness! Also, please remember that every prescription medication has different effects on different people. 🙂

    P.S. Armour Thyroid costs less than Synthroid. Are you convinced yet?! =)

  25. MrsV2008 January 10, 2014 at 3:11 am - Reply

    Has going gluten free helped your thyroid/antibody levels?

  26. Anonymous February 16, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    I'm hypothryoid and synthroid works just fine for me.
    I'm kind of tired of reading all the "stop the thyroid madness" fanaticism.
    Synthroid is not some evil drug, for many people it is effective. Fine if you want to take Armour but quit telling synthroid -takers that they are doing something wrong.

  27. Anonymous September 11, 2014 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    I am currently undiagnosed but have lots of automimmune symptoms. I have been diagnosed by one doctor with an autoimmune only to find the next doctor tell me that is not what I have. I have recently decided to try to find alternative methods to help me feel better but am struggling with how to feed myself and how to stay committed to the habits and not continually cheat. Any advice on how to leave gluten and sugar behind forever?? Thanks!

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