My gluten free journey started with a cut on my finger.
We were camping in Canada, as we do almost every year and I had cut my finger. By the time we got home, it was starting to look pretty nasty and no matter what I did, it just kept getting worse and worse. My husband wanted to cut it open with a knife (yeah!!) and this is when I said "No way!! Why don't we go to the hospital so they can clean it out so it has a chance to heal." Little did I know how my health would be affected down the road.
I had to stay at the hospital for 3 days. It was decided that I what I needed was intravenous antibiotic treatment to make sure my bones were not infected. I had no choice. The 3 days passed and then I made a HUGE mistake. I did not take probiotics right away. To be brutally honest, I was debating for two weeks if I should spend $80 on a very good brand of probiotics that was recommended to me (not by the doctor at the hospital but by my biological dentist friend) or just pick one up at the local health food store. This mistake has cost me tons of suffering and $$$.
Fast forward 3 months. It was Thanksgiving week and I got rear-ended at the beginning of the week. Then I consumed way too many Hungarian pastries at my friend's house after Thanksgiving dinner. The next morning I woke up with my toes itching. There were about a dozen little pimples on my skin that were oozing some clear liquid. I had no idea what was going on. My skin was so itchy that I had to sleep on the couch downstairs so my husband could rest at night. All I did was scratch and scratch and stare at the ceiling in pain and frustration. I got two different diagnosis but did they did not give me much help.
So I decided to see what foods could be making this happen. First I thought it was a reaction from eating too much sugar, but taking sugar out of my diet did not help. Next I tried eliminating wheat/gluten and corn. The culprit was wheat/gluten. Each time I ate foods that contained gluten, the itch would get so bad that I could not help myself but scratch and scratch until my skin would get raw and bleed. The skin on my feet also started to peel and I had noticed some tiny hard spots appearing inside the sole. They were itching, too. Then the skin on the middle of my left hand also started to peel off.
I was a mess.
I could not sleep. I itched all of the time and was getting more and more depressed. I knew I had to eliminate gluten from my diet 100%. And when I did and I was diligent, I felt fine. It took me a few tries to stay on track. On a side note - a few months later my big toe nail started to show signs of fungus. It was a side effect from the antibiotic treatment, I am sure.
After a few years have passed and I was strictly wheat and gluten free - I found a home test kit in Hungary and decided to test myself to see if I truly have gluten sensitivity. The kit said I needed to eat wheat containing foods for three weeks, so I started. I ate bread, cookies, pizza ..etc. As a week or so had passed, I noticed depression starting to creep up (I thought I was sad because I had to leave my home country and I missed everyone). Then the morning fatigue kicked in and I felt bloated all the time. Then I realized that all this was happening because of the way I was eating. I knew it was just not worth feeling this miserable, so that I could do that test. I went back to avoiding gluten again and working on gut healing. (Antibiotic use can easily wreck havoc on our gut flora and lead to intestinal permeability.)
Few weeks ago I decided to incorporate gluten containing foods into my diet again. First I had no reaction. No itching, no redness on the toes. I was very surprised. And happy!!
Then I bravely continued. Sour dough bread tasted so good! And pizza! Oh pizza!! I did not realize how much I missed eating a good gourmet pizza. Interestingly, I was not able to stop at 1-2 slices of bread. I had to have more and more. I should have known then that this was a bad sign. A few days later of eating gluten containing foods, I had to go back to bed at 9 am because my eye lids felt like heavy weights and the fatigue that overcame me was unbearable. I slept for hours.
Next I felt depression creeping up again and I knew that even though this time I did not get the itch, I was getting the all too familiar "other" symptoms I used to get. Incredible fatigue, feelings of not wanting to get up in the morning, having no motivation for anything. I was disappointed, sad and frustrated. (The one thing I have not tried, yet, is finding so called "ancient wheat" and using that to make bread or pizza at home. And eating wheat/gluten only once in a while might also be O.K for some people.)
The problem, as I mentioned in my previous newsletter is that we no longer eat the wheat our ancestors grew up on. We are eating wheat the is "hybridized" and it is said that about 5% of the proteins found in this new breed of wheat are new proteins. They were not existent in the original wheat plant. These new proteins are causing the whole body inflammation, why we have so many people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and higher rates of celiac.
And here it the thing. Not everybody has the same symptoms and that is what makes it so hard to identify gluten sensitivity.
Some have muscle aches and weakness, others migraines (like my friend, whose story I shared earlier), it can show up in the form of different digestive issues, or brain fog, panic attacks, not being able to pay attention to things and the list goes on.
So how do you know if you are gluten sensitive??
You can get tested through Cyrex Labs, the best and most reliable one out there. This option will set you back a few hundred dollars.
Or you may choose to go on a 100% gluten free diet for 4-5 weeks and see if you feel different when you re-introduce wheat/gluten containing foods into your diet. (Note that even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or even medications can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your system.) You cannot be gluten free at home and then on vacation or when you are out eating gluten. It is like you are either pregnant or not. You are either gluten free 100% or you are not.
Many people think that if they have only milder outer manifestations of eating gluten (such as bloating or headaches), they are ok. However, if you could look inside their bodies, you could see that their immune system is being stimulated and the effects may last for anywhere from 3-6 months. (This is why it is imperative to be gluten free if you have an autoimmune disease.) Is it worth it? You decide.
Here is a study for you to keep for reference. Read it yourself and show it to your gastroenterologist and/or doctor. It might help you solve some of your health issues.
If you are not in the position to get the lab test (and to be honest, your body knows better than any test) and want to feel better, I would like to invite you to join my Summer Cleanse program, which is an "elimination diet" program. You will receive daily meal suggestions, easy to make, delicious gluten-free, dairy free, sugar-free recipes + lots of support so you, too, can successfully discover what foods might be causing your symptoms while feeling nourished at the same time.
Click here to enroll.
Early Bird Special ends June 15th.
If you have any questions, please email me email@example.com