When I got tested for food sensitivities two years ago, wheat came up as a reactive food so I obviously eliminated it from my diet. After several months of not eating anything with wheat, I would eat it on occasion like for Friday night (which has been my family’s pizza night for as long as I can remember). At first, I would feel food sensitivity symptoms immediately. While I was still chewing my first few bites of food my stomach would start rumbling. After awhile, I would only have symptoms if I ate wheat several meals or days in a row. I could eat it once a week and be fine. My problem is if I give myself an inch I will take a mile. I do much better if I tell myself that I can’t have any wheat than it’s ok to have “a little.”
My mom had mostly eliminated gluten as well due to health issues she was experiencing but she was not totally convinced that it was helping. While visiting us, we had eaten take out a few nights in a row (pizza, Chinese food - only the healthiest options). After the third day of eating gluten, she woke up and her joints were so stiff and painful. She finally was able to make the link between gluten consumption and inflammation so she decided no more gluten for good!
It was after this experience that I finally realized, maybe I should get tested for Celiac Disease. After all, Celiac Disease is genetic. If I can’t eat wheat and my mom can’t eat it maybe there is a medical reason why. I had also been wondering if it’s ok for me to have a little (sometimes you can’t feel inflammation even if it’s happening on the inside) or if I need to be super careful about possible cross contamination. Finally, I came across this article:
This convinced me to get tested. I want to know how careful I need to be. Is cross contamination ok or is it doing serious long term damage? I also want to make sure that I am protecting my family (like I mentioned Celiac Disease is genetic).
The problem is you have to be eating gluten every day for 6-8 weeks (and I’ve even seen 12 weeks recommended). So my final tour with gluten began in August. At first, it was actually difficult for me to eat gluten every day unless we were eating out which is rare. Instead of eating healthy options like whole grain bread (like a well behaved Dietitian would) I decided that I was going to fit in all the foods that I have been avoiding for years (I’m talking mainly desserts here people, desserts and pasta and pizza and…you get the point). One thing has led to another and my gluten consumption has snowballed and has led to not only increased gluten consumption but increased sugar as well. The two sort of go hand in hand for me like one logically leads to the other. Since eating gluten, I seem to have more sugar cravings (probably because I have been eating things like cake, cookies, and brownies) which leads me to eating more gluten and more sugar. And you guys, I have felt awful! For the few weeks it was my stomach, then for about a month it became an immediate headache after I ate anything with gluten, and then my symptoms seemed to mostly reside, or did they. I started becoming increasingly tired, fatigued, anxious, irritable. Is it the gluten, the sugar or something else going on? Unfortunately, my doctor’s appointment somehow kept getting pushed farther and farther back.
Good news! I have finally been screened for Celiac Disease and it was negative. The best screening tool is to check for Tissue Transglutaminase IgA (tTG) and IgA antibodies. The tTG-IgA test is positive in about 98% of people with Celiac Disease who have been on a gluten containing diet. If you have elevated antibodies then the gold standard for diagnosing Celiac Disease is with an intestinal biopsy.
Now that my testing is out of the way, it’s time for me to get back to my gluten free diet. Oh how I will miss the pizza, cookies, and brownies but my body will thank me in more ways than one for avoiding them.
The takeaway from this article is that if you think gluten may be causing your health issues then you need to work with your doctor on getting tested for Celiac Disease BEFORE you go on a gluten free diet. Learn from my mistake!
Source: Celiac Disease Foundation