About 3 years ago I ended my long term relationship with gluten. It was a painful breakup. For thirty years, I consumed foods with gluten at every meal. I loved going to Italian restaurants and eating bread and pasta. What caused me to give up the foods I loved the most? My gluten-free journey began back in April 2011…
I had just finished an antibiotic for a sinus infection. Each year it was common for me to have several sinus infections. I had taken antibiotics before and never had any issues. However, this time was very different, as I had an adverse reaction after my last dose of the antibiotic. I remember waking up with severe pain in both hands and wrists, along with itchy red spots on different joints on my body. It was difficult to bend my fingers or hold anything. For months I had daily pain/stiffness in my fingers, wrists, and ankles. Joints in my fingers and wrists would randomly start swelling. On top of that, I had daily headaches, was constantly tired, and felt uncomfortable after eating.
After several tests for autoimmune disorders came back negative, my regular doctor referred me to a rheumatologist. I tested negative for rheumatoid arthritis, but other tests revealed I had some vitamin deficiencies. The rheumatologist mentioned that my diet could be causing my symptoms and suggested I get tested for Celiac Disease. She then referred me to a GI doctor.
I had an endoscopy (that was a fun experience ;) and when that came back normal, the GI doctor said he did not think gluten was the issue. All along, though, I had a feeling that gluten may be the problem, as I noticed I got headaches and felt tired soon after eating meals. Looking back, I realize how important it is to trust your instincts...you know your body best.
My GI doctor ordered a different test, and in the process, one of his nurses actually suggested I try a gluten-free diet for at least 2 weeks. One of my friends, who is a nurse, also recommended this, as she said I could have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This means your body reacts negatively to gluten, but there is no damage to your small intestine, and it does not show up in any bloodwork. The only way to prove you have a gluten sensitivity is to eliminate gluten from your diet for several weeks, see if your symptoms lesson/disappear, and then reintroduce gluten and see if your symptoms reappear. Several of my friends shared with me how their health had improved since going gluten-free, and by this point I was willing to try anything to feel better.
I went home and started researching online what I could eat and what I would have to give up for at least 2 weeks. The great gluten-free experiment was about to begin! Come back tomorrow to find out what happened!
P.S. If you think you may have Celiac Disease or a gluten sensitivity, please consult a doctor BEFORE trying a gluten-free diet. Otherwise your test results will not be accurate. Click here for more information.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.