02-20-2013 11:56 AM
Over the weekend I got some turkey lunch meat that I thought was safe to eat, but what followed were stomach cramps, time in the bathroom (painful), severe insomnia, terrible fatigue to the point of stumbling and loss of balance, and -- this always happens about 48 hours after consumption -- losing my temper over something trivial.
The reason for these problems is gluten. I've been gluten free for three years now, and felt a dramatic increase in energy, better mental focus and more smooth moods from the first month I went off. I got a celiac blood test before discontinuing, and did not realize the one my doctor chose for me is only 50 percent accurate, so while the test was negative I may have celiac. (Once you are gluten free there is no test except for a genetic test.) If it's not that, it's some kind of immune mediated response. I know this because from time to time I forget to read a label and buy something containing that particular critter, and the reaction is quite marked. What makes it more difficult is that gluten comes disguised under a food additive that can by one of dozens of names that sound perfectly innocent and nothing like wheat. Shelf tags in supermarkets help but the best way to know is from the manufacturer directly.
Thank goodness this recent episode is almost over -- I still feel some residual muscle weakness and lethargy. And now I have the privilege of buying more expensive gluten-free lunch meat, to go with the higher priced gluten free bread etc.
Years before this discovery about how gluten affects me, I was dx'd with fibromyalgia lupus and raynaud's (may have sjogrens too, dry eyes & mouth just never tested). The symptoms related to gluten consumption go back to childhood, so I believe that the poor absorption of nutrients arising from gluten intolerance likely was a factor in developing the other illnesses.
I share all this, well partly because I like to talk and partly to let people be aware that if you or a loved one has an autoimmune illness, food allergies, weight fluctuations, or chronic headache, joint or other pain -- or exhibits any symptoms of celiac disease, it's worth it to get tested (there are more accurate blood tests). It might even be a good idea to go off gluten for a month, see how you feel, then try it again to determine if there is a reaction. That is the only real way to know if any specific food not right for you. However it is not enough to "cut back," it's an all-or-nothing proposition. A good book on the subject of how re-engineered wheat can affect our bodies is "Wheat Belly," which I got from my local library. But if you don't want to read a book, google celiac or gluten, there is plenty of free information on the web.
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