Sunday, November 4, 2012

Going Gluten Free!

For years, well for pretty much my whole life I have been plagued with stomach problems.  It had become a joke that I always felt sick after every meal.  In high school I went to a gastroenterologist and was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  After years of being sick it became almost a way of life and was seemingly put on the back burner.  It never really affected me after eating any certain type of food or anything in particular so I was lead to believe I just had a sensitive stomach.  As long as I had a bottle of pepto bismol in my medicine cabinet I was OK.

Over the years I have tried different diets and cutting out certain food groups to try and feel better, but nothing ever worked.  A few years ago with the rise of celiac disease and the concept of a gluten allergy being more in the news I again thought that maybe this could be a reason for my chronic illness.  After having an endoscopy and colonoscopy performed on me along with blood tests it was almost depressing to find out I didn't have celiacs.  Now don't get me wrong I am grateful that I don't have it, but once again I was at square one not knowing why I kept getting sick. 

Up until recently I felt defeated and that I would never get to the bottom of my stomach issues.  After much investigation and research on my part I learned that you can have a gluten sensitivity.  This is not the same as having an allergy to gluten.  If you have also been suffering from symptoms that tend to relate to gluten, it may be that you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Research estimates that there are 18 million Americans who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. That is six times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease.  The reason so many people don't know if they have a sensitivity to gluten is because there is no medical test for it.  That is why so many people like me suffer for years and get diagnosed with other ailments like IBS.

Recently I caught an episode of the Doctor Oz Show that dealt with this exact topic.  Watching the people on TV describe their battle was beyond eye opening to me.  A complete stranger pretty much described the last 15 years of my life.  They also showed what they called the gluten spectrum.  It outlines the small number of Americans on one end that have celiacs (a gluten intolerance), and the large portion on the other who are not effected by gluten.  What surprised me was the large number of people in the middle who gave a sensitivity to gluten.

I had already begun to eliminate gluten from my diet to see if I fall into the category of gluten sensitive.  But after taking the self assessment test on I was convinced that my efforts had merit. They created a simple checklist of nine symptoms and if you have four or more of these symptoms you may have a sensitivity to gluten.  I have at least seven of the symptoms listed.  They recommend going gluten free for 2-4 weeks and or consulting your doctor.  Over the last few weeks I have been eliminating gluten from my diet which will hopefully eliminate the symptoms I have been experiencing.  I will have a follow up post with my progress.  If my story sounds familiar to you I urge you to read up on gluten sensitivity.  Also if you have a few seconds take the self assessment test HERE.

Do you have a sensitivity to gluten or another food allergy?


  1. I've been thinking about going gluten free. Good luck with it!

  2. Thanks! it is a lot easier than I thought it would be!

  3. I've dealt with a LOT of food allergies and sensitivities in my past. Since I eliminated all artificial ingredients/preservatives/colourings/additives from my diet it's made a world of difference. I did greatly reduce the gluten in my diet around 3 years ago and I certainly felt better. A few months ago I realized I'd stopped being so careful and wouldn't you know it: some of my old symptoms are returning! Needless to say these past weeks my groceries have gone gluten-free again! Thanks for sharing your journey & for sharing the handy questionnaire link :)

    Micheline @ Holistic Chick