Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gluten Intolerance is not just for Celiacs

If you are suffering from any sort of unexplained illness. If you have been diagnosed with any of the 80-some-odd autoimmune diseases. If you are overweight and can't get the extra pounds off no matter how hard you try. If you have chronic arthritis. If you have skin rashes that won't go away despite all the creams in the pharmacy. If you have ever even thought for a fraction of a second that you might feel better on a gluten free diet, then I urge you to read this book: The Gluten Connection: How Gluten Sensitivity May Be Sabotaging Your Health, and What You Can Do to Take Control NOW by Shari Lieberman

Yesterday I went into Borders with the intention of buying a book that I could read and enjoy. I mean a book with a storyline and characters and all that fun stuff. I walked out of the store with yet ANOTHER book about gluten intolerance. As if I haven't already figured out that I am in fact gluten intolerant, I keep reading more and more books just to confirm it. This book over all of the others is by far the most comprehensive book about the effects of gluten on our bodies. What really pushed me over the edge into buying it is that there's a whole section on autoimmune disease, IBD and talks about Crohn's. All I needed was a few success stories of people that had been diagnosed with Crohn's and when medication failed, gluten free worked, it made me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one out there.

The book also goes into great detail about how a positive Celiac diagnosis in this country only comes at the point where your small intestines are totally damaged. The reason people can be gluten intolerant but not get a positive Celiac diagnosis is because the anti-bodies only show up on the blood work when your intestines are already ruined. Gluten will ravage your body for years before the damage is so bad that a blood test and biopsy will come back positive for Celiac. How frustrating is that??

From the moment I learned about Celiac, I knew that this was the root of my problem, not even a positive Crohn's diagnosis could change my mind. I've known in my gut (pardon the pun) for two years that this was my problem. The damage may not be bad enough yet for a positive diagnosis but I've been getting sicker sicker year after year, and I know for sure that eventually it will show, as long as I keep poisoning myself with gluten that is. I've been eating gluten for the past couple of weeks ever since I decided to go forth with more testing and today I thought I might die. I've all of a sudden developed arthritis in my hands, and today for the first time ever in my life, I'm pretty sure I had a migraine. The problem is this, I'm on a pretty high dose of immune suppressants, which seem to be working, since my stomach has been relatively good. But the rest of my body is screaming in protest. My back is on fire, my fingers ache, my head throbs....

So I did what any sane person would do and went to Stop & Shop and loaded up on healthy, gluten free foods. Fruits, veggies and meats. No more poison for me. The funny thing is, it's not even worth it. The foods I loved before don't taste nearly as good as they used to now that I know how horrible they will make me feel. Nothing tastes as good as gluten free feels. I hope by the end of the day tomorrow I'll be feeling a lot better.

But seriously, if you are suffering and can't find the answers, please read that book. It's extremely helpful. I believe now more than ever that gluten is the source of all evil! Ok that might be an extreme statement... I don't think I'm kidding though.

10 comments:

Linda said...

Could you list the book that you bought at Borders. I am trying a gluten free diet to rid migraine headaches. It seems to be working. I began 8 weeks ago and I think many people would have given up because I am just now seeing results.
I think it takes time for your body to cleanse itself. I am hopeful that this is the answer for me. I have suffered with headaches all my life and it took an alternative approach to get relief.

Sally said...

After spending 10 days with my parents, eating all gluten free foods and still feeling sick, I'm encouraging you to do the fresh whole foods diets and do all the cooking yourself. I ate totally gluten free, but I also ate things like Fritos and potato chips and, frankly, it's not worth it.
I find that when I make everything myself, even snacks (I mean I buy Nut Thins and Mary's Gone Crackers, but I don't buy pre-made meals anymore), I feel way better. Cook grains in a slow cooker and you can have hot porridge for a few days. Cook steak and roasted vegetables and you'll have the best lunch leftovers of anyone at your office.
It's time consuming, but I bet you'll find that you feel better! Plus, your house/apartment will smell ridiculously good (or way too garlicky like mine!)

Jenny said...

Linda - the book I got from Borders is the book I linked to, The Gluten Connection. I highly recommend it!

Sally - I totally agree, I love chips and fritos but I know that even though they are gluten free, they make me feel like crap!! I'm definitely going to focus on a whole foods, natural diet. My house will probably smell garlicky too hahaha.

jacobithegreat said...

"nothing tastes as good as gluten free feels." my thoughts exactly. good for you.

Linda said...

Thanks for the book info. I totally agree about eating processed food. You feel deprived without the gluten food so it is easy to turn to these snack foods but it is really best to steer away from them or eat in moderation. Whole food or gluten free that you prepare yourself make you feel a whole lot better.

Liz said...

Great, great post Jenny. I can't believe I forgot all about this book; I read it almost two years ago when the whole gf thing started for me and your post makes me want to read it again. I'm glad you discovered it and shared the wisdom!

My mother has MS - an autoimmune disease so hopefully I can get her to read this too because she will only accept a diagnosis of celiac disease in order to go gluten free.

Anonymous said...

Help...I made spagetti for my family with soy pasta, i've been gluten free for 2 yrs. with only a few mishaps, i thought my home was safe and made this pasta w/o reading the label all my symptoms are back. So I feel as though I just hit a cement wall. I took digestive enzymes with probiotics...is there ANYTHING else I can do to speed up recovery??? Suffering Rachel

Jenny said...

Rachel I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles. Did the soy pasta have gluten in it? Anyway, I don't know how to speed up recovery, I usually just try to eat foods that are natural and easy on the digestive system, and wait it out. If pepto bismol or something like that helps, try that. Drink lots of water. If you're having diarrhea get lots of fluids so you don't get dehydrated and feel worse. Applesauce, but not juice, scrambled eggs, boiled rice are all good things to eat that are easy on digestion but also gluten free. I hope you feel better soon!!

S.M. said...

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about a year ago and I'm only in my thirties. Today I made a plan to stay away from gluten . I can't eat dairy and nightshades or most grains either or I get more joint pain than I already have. There is a lab that I found online called Enterolab, they will test stool samples for Celiac and gluten sensitivity, instead of blood test from your doctor. I guess bloodwork can miss a good percentage of those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity.

Jen said...

Hey there S.M.! Thanks for the comments. I did look into enterolab as well but never had the tests done. I don't need to, I've been gluten free for a long time and I feel better than ever so that's proof enough for me. I'm glad to hear that you're trying to take control of your RA with diet, I truly believe that this is the key. I hope you feel better!!!