Throughout my childhood, growing up in New Jersey, I loved nothing more than the treat of a delicious pizza for dinner or bagels for breakfast. When I moved to California, I sadly bid goodbye to getting the amazing pizza and bagels that only the east coast seemed to offer. Every trip I took back east always included a pizza, a hero sandwich, and multiple bagels.
Never did I have a problem with eating a carb of any kind. But within this last year, I discovered what seems to be a “gluten intolerance.” (I previously wrote a little about gluten free here. ) Every time I ate a carbohydrate my stomach wouldn’t feel quite right, resulting in stomach pains and bloating. What was going on? I decided to go gluten-free for a while and avoided the obvious foods which contained gluten.
Thinking maybe I was taking this gluten-free thing too far and maybe I was a bit of an alarmist swept up in the gluten-free mania, I ate two small slices of pizza. I immediately began to get horrible stomach pains and had to lay down. Days later, my stomach still isn’t quite right!
Why am I suddenly unable to eat gluten? What is going on? What’s wrong with me?
I found a great website (go here for the full article) that delves into this topic and I’m going to highlight the key points for you.
*Gluten sensitivity is a common yet little-recognized cause of female hormone imbalances.
*Wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut cause the most trouble. Corn, rice, millet, and buckwheat are generally safe.
*The culprit is a molecule called gliadin, which is found in certain gluten-containing grains and causes symptoms in gluten-sensitive people.
This one is really important to read as the symptoms of a gluten issue isn’t always obvious!
*For sensitive people, gluten destroys the villi on the lining of the small intestine, and with them the ability to adequately absorb nutrients, leading to chronic nutritional deficiencies and uncomfortable intestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue, depression, moodiness, and anxiety. There also may be neurological symptoms such as shooting pain, numbness or tingling of the arms and legs, and malabsorption of calcium can cause muscle cramping and tension, skin rashes, and eventually osteoporosis. Migraine headaches are another potential symptom.
And this is where I believe my gluten intolerance stems from: “…serious problems often begin to reveal themselves when women with gluten sensitivity reach peri-menopause.”
According to this article, it takes an average of eleven years for someone to be diagnosed with a gluten intolerance.
You can also become lactose intolerant if you are gluten intolerant: “In addition to cutting out many grain products, most gluten-sensitive people must also eliminate milk products from their diet, because the cells that produce lactase – the enzyme that helps break down milk sugar – are destroyed by gluten sensitivity.” AND “A significant percentage of people who are gluten-sensitive are also allergic to soy products.”
And finally, this- “irritable bowel syndrome is often a misdiagnosis of gluten intolerance.”
WOW, that’s some interesting information to digest- no pun intended!
From what I have read and researched, the best way to figure out if you have a gluten intolerance is to eliminate all gluten from your diet. This is really hard. As I shopped at Trader Joe’s yesterday, I stared longingly at the scones, coffee cake, muffins, crusty breads and cereals that I previously enjoyed on occasion. I felt myself getting mad that I could no longer eat these treats!
If you have a gluten problem then…”eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.”
Well… there’s always quinoa.
I want to know- do you show signs of a gluten intolerance?