GLUTEN – Please read this, gluten may be causing your health problems and you don’t even know it! It may even be why you’ve GAINED weight!
This is a topic that I find VERY interesting.. I am gluten intolerant, I’m not 100% sure if I have Celiac Disease but what I do know is that if I have too much wheat/gluten in my diet I start reacting with lots of very annoying symptoms. I also found out that stress in my life made it worse! The reason why I want to talk about this is because SO many people have a gluten intolerance or worse Celiac Disease and are walking around completely UNAWARE!
I am telling you now, if you have any health problems and you really can’t figure out what it might be or you’ve been diagnosed with one of the health problems listed here or on one of my linked sites.. Do some research and see if gluten could be part of the problem. There’s such a long list of health problems (yes obesity is one of them) associated with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. It’s something you can easily rule out by going on a gluten-free diet for a few months, to see if your symptoms improve! It’s as easy as that.. well maybe not THAT easy.. (Give me a minute and I’ll explain what I mean)
First I want to talk a bit about the symptoms and common diagnoses or misdiagnosis!
We grow accustomed to aches, pains, discomfort and pass it off as our “normal”. There’s no explanation for them, we’ve seen doctors and they tell us that it’s just something you’ll just have to live with. Gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease are commonly misdiagnosed as Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS), Fibromyalgia, chronic digestive disease, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression.. there’s a long list! SOME common symptoms are: weight loss or weight gain, migraines/headaches, nutritional deficiencies (vitamin, iron), aching joints, depression, eczema, fatigue, irritability and behavioural changes, infertility, irregular menstrual cycle, miscarriage, cramps, tingling and numbness, slow infant and child growth, decline in dental health…just to name a few! The sad part is many doctors don’t bother ruling out gluten intolerance or celiac disease! It’s not something they can easily cure and some doctors are simply not educated well on the disease. You can’t cure it easily with a pill (yet) and there’s no easy test to figure out if you have it (yet). Now there’s a blood test to see if you have Celiac disease but it’s not very accurate, It’s expensive and it might not be covered by insurance companies..There’s also biopsies that can be done on your small intestines, they’ll go into your intestines with a scope and take a sample, run tests to see if you have damage.. the damage is what makes the Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance different.
Gluten causes damage to villi. The villi is located on the wall of your intestine (villi are important because that’s what absorbs the nutrients from the food you eat) The more gluten you eat, the more damage you do.. You may have pain, you may not but you could have other symptoms…symptoms vary from person to person and you may not get symptoms right away… it could be hours even days before your body reacts to the gluten you’ve eaten… People with Celiac disease can NOT eat gluten ever again. If they eat it, the damage that it causes CAN lead to many more health problems.. People with gluten intolerance can react to gluten but the villi in their intestines aren’t damaged by ingesting it.
AND NOW it gets even more complicated…
If you are having health problems and want to rule out Celiac disease and decide to do the blood test and/or biopsy you should do the tests BEFORE you start a gluten-free diet! Remember though the blood test is over 100$.. It may not be covered by your health insurance (In my case, I wasn’t covered and it cost me $125) you won’t likely get in for a biopsy without the blood test first. If you start a gluten-free diet first, the tests might come back showing that you don’t have Celiac disease even if you DO have it. If you’re not eating gluten your body can’t react to it, so your blood tests won’t show any problems.. Also if you go long enough on a gluten-free diet before the biopsy, your intestines can start healing, so it can become more difficult to get an accurate biopsy…
Now with that said.. this blood test and biopsy testing can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to get done and get results back! Most people… myself included, were feeling so horrible, ALL THE TIME, that it just seemed like such a waste to wait. I could be doing LOTS of damage with each day that passed. After reading about gluten and Celiac Disease, I decided to go on a gluten-free diet immediately.. I stayed off gluten for several months (5 or 6 months) and I felt good.. but I also became less stressed over that time from personal issues being resolved, so I think stress played a very important role in my feeling better. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it wasn’t. To do the blood test I did have to start eating gluten again…but it was only for a month, so maybe it wasn’t long enough. I don’t know!
I didn’t realize when I made the decision to go gluten-free that gluten is in WAY more foods than you would think! It’s in soups, salad dressing, vinegar, processed foods, it’s even on chips(seasoning) and in sauces! Again there’s a LONG list of foods to avoid, which makes it stressful and confusing when you first start on the gluten-free diet. I had some days where I just ate the same things over and over because I had no clue what to eat! I was so lost, it was depressing! All this food, I loved! I might never be able to eat again, it was like I was attending a funeral.. I eventually made peace with the fact that I won’t be able to eat these foods again. And I realized I can live without these foods! I loved them, but I didn’t need them and I learned to love new foods, new healthier foods!
Going gluten-free is why I started eating healthier and even though I don’t know if I have Celiac disease to this day, I learned LOTS by going through this process. I learned how my body reacts to stress and different foods. I learned how to read labels, I learned that when you are on a gluten-free diet that all the foods that aren’t good for you become 10x more unhealthy. I ate out at restaurants less, I brought lunches to work and I didn’t eat any processed foods. At the time I was having sandwiches EVERY DAY. Now I rarely eat bread and I realized how incredibly important it is to know what is going into your food! I make 90%(maybe more) of my meals, myself! Going gluten-free was a HUGE wake up call for me.. even though I’m not 100% gluten-free now, it opened my eyes wide to the foods I ate. You don’t need to go gluten-free to learn about the foods you’re eating but you do need to become more aware of the foods you are putting into your body…. After all, you only get one body per lifetime, it’s your responsibility to treat it well…
If you want to learn more I found many answers at this site. You can check out the forum and ask questions to people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. They are very helpful!
Lastly here is a video done by a High School student on Celiac Disease & Gluten intolerance, gives a very brief introduction to the disease..