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Gluten anyone?

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    Curious to know what folks here think about gluten. I just added some sourdough bread back into my diet after a year or more of doing gluten free. After a piece or two a day for a week I felt fine. But now I’m starting to get that old familiar ‘brain-fog’ and just can’t think straight. I highly suspect the gluten. Any one else have issues?


    I was GF for 3 years. I started it because I have two auto-immune diseases and was going paleo. I started eating it again early this year, mostly homemade sourdough, but anything goes in restaurants once a week. Going off it had no effect that I noticed, neither did eating it again. But I have some fairly serious fatigue issues that seem to overlay everything else, so who knows?


    I’ve noticed that when I eat gluten I wake up the next morning with a sore (dry) throat (goes away after breakfast). I’ve tested this on three separate occasions, going gf for about two weeks and then reintroducing it and BAM sore throat.
    Also, my skin breaks out more when I eat a lot of it, it seems. Haven’t tested this one for sure though. I just went through a phase last week where I reintroduced it and ate basically sandwiches for every meal because that’s what I felt like and I broke out a LOT on my chest/chin (which has never happened before)…I’ll have to try that again though, if I muster up the courage. Currently gf again and no more breakouts.


    I don’t really think anything about gluten per se. Depends on the person. I can’t eat it… yet. I’ve been gluten free for 6.5 years. I tried on and off recently to eat it, really hoping I was over it. And the sinus stuffiness, aches and pains in my knees, back, wrists and fingers, and eventually the mood problems all kept coming back.

    Maybe one day. But I’m ok with it. Honestly, bread doesn’t take THAT good, this much I did relearn after trying to eat it again. Eh.


    I was off gluten for several years, but I think “gluten intolerance” is a scapegoat for other issues in most cases. It was for me anyway. The biggest danger of eliminating gluten is that it often leads to lower carbohydrate intakes, which I think is unhealthy for most people.

    From my lurking around the Internet, and talking to other gluten-free dieters, I observed that GF diets were often the gateway to more and more restrictions (paleo, GAPS, SCD, etc.), which led to a gradual decline in health and an increase in neurotic thinking about food.


    I was off of it for a good while, didn’t seem different. Going back on it, youch! Had a lot of pain and soreness. But after about a week of eating it daily, I was fine and have been since. Wheat is a significant portion of my diet now.


    Yeah, wheat is freakin’ awesome. If there’s any way for a person to keep it in his or her diet (i.e., absent a clinical dx of celiac disease), then I would try to push through the ill feelings to see what happens. Eliminating gluten is not only extremely restrictive on what you can eat, but also makes it difficult to enjoy the social pleasures of food.


    I just reintroduced gluten yesterday after 3.5 years of not eating it. So far I have NO symptoms. I used to have terrible stomach pains, bloating (I looked pregnant), migraines, and brain fog. It was awful and I’d be out of commission for about a week. I’m really excited to be able to eat whatever I want now!

    My husband is also happy (though he enjoyed that there were foods in the house that were just for him – now he’s worried I’m going to eat everything – which I have a tendency to do), and has asked that I banish the word gluten from my vocabulary. I think it’s his most despised word.


    Except for accidents or trying to challenge myself – I’ve been gluten free for about 7 years. Not because I thought it is in general not healthy but because I have severe symptoms when I consume it. The last time I challenged myself was 2 years ago by eating some delicious pizza. And nothing happened right away. I did not get my usual symptoms – no extreme abdominal pain or running to the bathroom every 15 minutes. Those were the symptoms I got when I first discovered I had problems with gluten. BUT, two weeks after having that pizza, I broke out into an extremely bad itchy rash called dermatitis herpetiformis and a lot of my hair fell out. I never experienced the rash before, so for me my symptoms to gluten had changed. If you are a Celiac, and consume gluten you may not always present with overt symptoms but are still damaging your villi and increasing inflamation – things that may take a long time to see the outward effects.

    I’m not saying that is what is going on with you, but there are people who can not simply can not tolerate gluten. I’m also not saying that Celiac disease can’t go away – maybe it can, though all the experts on it I know say it is a lifelong condition.

    I really wish I could eat it – most of my favorite foods have gluten in them and there are no satisfactory alternatives to them. That said, one thing that has made it easier for me is that there are better food choices now than there used to be and it is much safer to dine out, so for selfish reasons, I’m glad more people are going GF.

    Personally, I think Celiac disease is increasing because of environmental changes and not because genes that cause Celiac disease are increasing – that wouldn’t seem to make sense in an evolutionary way. From what I know, people with Celiac disease have genes that made them vulnerable to getting it so that it is an interaction between genes and environment. Environmental toxins and other stressors have increased a lot in the last few decades and are probably at least somewhat likely to explain why more individuals are having problems with gluten.

    One thing I’m confused about is, is wheat that much more healthy than other grains if you don’t have Celiac disease?


    I don’t have Celiac, I was tested prior to going gluten-free. I started eating GF because I had been very sick with a multitude of digestive issues and the practitioner I was seeing at the time said gluten (along with other things) had to go. I had just continued eating that way because the couple of times I accidentally ate gluten, I had terrible reactions. It seems I no longer have those reactions (though I don’t know if 2 days is long enough to know).


    @Renae- I’m with your husband. After years of eating a gluten-free diet–and searching labels for evidence of suspicious ingredients–I can’t stand the word. I’m also somewhat embarrassed that I was so strict about my diet for so many years, and gluten was the first food I ever gave up.

    At the time, it seemed obvious that a GF diet alleviated some of my health problems, but I think I confused correlation and causation. Removing gluten radically disrupts a person’s diet, and it can be difficult to isolate variables. For example, when I gave up gluten, I also had to give up fatty fast food meals, as well as many other changes.

    @Lounie- You make a good point that the gluten-free fad has definitely benefited people who have been diagnosed with CD. It’s much easier than it was just ten years ago to find good GF alternatives, thanks to all the people who are buying them when they don’t need to.

    I don’t necessarily think that wheat is healthier than other grains, except that it is higher in protein. That probably doesn’t make much of a difference to most people, but it is significant if a person can’t afford much animal protein (or chooses to avoid it). That protein is also what make wheat so perfect for bread and pasta.

    The main reason I think that gluten-free diets are so limiting is that it makes it harder to eat normally, which can be isolating and contribute to food obsessions. This was true for me. It was incredibly liberating when I finally gave up my belief that gluten was bad for me.


    I’m scared to try gluten again, though I really want to! I’m not even positive that it’s gluten that I was reacting to before I cut it out (2 1/2 years ago). At the time, I was working with a functional diagnostic nutritionist who suggested that I was likely gluten intolerant. I had the blood test for CD and it was negative. I also had blood drawn for an ALCAT screening…the blood is used to test inflammatory reactions to hundreds of foods and other substances. The ALCAT showed zero reaction to gluten. The symptoms I had that went away with gluten removal were extreme abdominal bloating (NOT gas, more like a feeling of irriation and inflammation in my intestines) and depression/moodiness/irritability/anxiety. For a while, I thought removal of gluten helped clear my skin, helped me lose weight, and some other things, but those changes were temporary. I’m frustrated right now because I experienced what I always associate with gluten “poisoning” this week (the abdominal bloating I described above and moodiness/depression/irritability), and cannot for the life of me figure out when I consumed gluten. Since I have no diagnosis and no “proof” that I am, in fact, gluten intolerant, maybe it’s never been gluten that caused the reactions I associate with gluten in the first place. GRRRRRR!!!!

    Those of you who have reintroduced gluten and eat wheat on a regular basis, what sources of wheat do you eat? Regular loaf bread and pasta, or what? And, at what point did you reintroduce it? In other words, how did you know you were ready to try it?

    Also, have any of you experienced the abdominal bloating I described? It starts high in my abdomen. My belly feels swollen and warm to the touch and even my shirt touching my belly is irritating. It’s very uncomfortable. I wish I knew what caused this reaction and whether or not I really do need to avoid gluten. I removed gluten from 2 of my 3 kids’ diets, too, and it’s very socially difficult for them at times. Ugh.


    Here’s my gluten elimination and reintroduction story.

    I tried an elimination diet at the age of 21 because of issues I was having with chronic pain and fatigue, as well as stomach pain. The elimination diet was overwhelming successful, and I decided that gluten was the culprit. I had tested negative for CD, but was convinced that gluten intolerance was a bigger issue than just CD. It was nice to be able to blame something relatively simple–gluten–and I looked forward to turning my health around.

    Things were up and down for several years. I believe that I did eat healthier because of eliminating gluten–more home cooked meals–but I still had plenty of problems. It’s a long story about how I finally gave up on gluten restriction, but the short of it is that I got frustrated maintaining a strict, socially difficult diet, when it hadn’t really resolved my major problems.

    So one day I just decided to hit the gluten–hard and sudden. I went to the Pizza Hut buffet, I visited my old favorite Italian restaurant, and I ate burgers at McDonald’s. I was a white flour fiend. It all tasted SO GOOD, and truth be told, I felt much better than I had in a while–maybe just because of the huge stress release of not worrying about what I ate.

    I also gained weight, but at that point I was actually too thin, so the weight gain was welcome. Now it’s no longer welcome!

    The only down side to reintroducing gluten was that I still hadn’t solved my original health problems, and I kept looking for solutions. I turned to drug-based solutions rather than diet-based solutions, and these weren’t any more successful in the long run. The side effects became much worse.

    Now I’m back to thinking about diet, but instead of worrying about intolerances and eliminating particular foods that I think are harmful, I’m instead focusing on the foods that I think are good for me. I’m also experimenting with macro-nutrient ratios, but in a relaxed way. I find this route much more comfortable than the food elimination route, which wore me down after a while.


    I decided to wait to reintroduce gluten until I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. I didn’t want to cause myself to get sick out of the fear of it. So last week I was at the grocery store and a monster cookie in the bakery case looked tempting. I bought it, ate it, and was fine. I haven’t eaten much yet in the last week, but I’ve always been a big fan of desserts, so that’s what I started with.


    I started eating gluten again because I got tired of trying to eat GF. It’s just a pain in the posterior. I started with homemade sourdough, thinking that might be less risky. I had no issues. Most of what I make at home (bread, waffles/pancakes, cookies) is still sourdough, I just like working with it. Other gluten items I eat at home are pasta, the occasional Wasa cracker, and pretzels. Eating out once a week, anything goes.

    I was a little sniffly last week and wondering if I should try another run at GF, but then found out that everyone around me was sniffly too, and complaining about allergies. So maybe I won’t. I definitely won’t until after I go on vacation in September.

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