Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Journey - Gluten Crazy

As I was dealing with my emotional issues I was also making strides towards trying to feel better. As I was trying to stay away from western medicine, I decided to go to a DO – Doctor of Osteopathic medicine. A DO is somewhere in between an MD and a naturopath. Looking back I wish I would have paid out of network and gone to the naturopath but I didn’t because that was't my path. I went to the DO. He was nice enough. He talked with me for two and half hours about the entirety of my health history, which was more than any of the last ten doctors that I saw had done. I was impressed that he cared and even more impressed that he didn’t throw a pill at me. He was a little odd and he charged a lot for his services. He isn't anyone I would recommenced to someone but he was beneficial in my forward process. 

After we chatted he said that I had leaky gut. Great…. that’s sexy.  He basically said that because I had been on so many antibiotics that the integrity of my stomach had become compromised, making it so food molecules once in my stomach, could leave out into my blood stream. My body would then recognize these molecules as intruders and try to fight them off. This, he said, is what was causing the high amount of inflammation in my body, which in turn, would cause the myriad of health issues that I was having. He tested me and found that I had a very high rate of inflammation in my body and a gluten allergy. I was supposed to stop eating gluten. 

Awesome. Really awesome. This probably wouldn’t have been so daunting if I wasn’t a strict vegetarian at the time. But being a gluten free vegetarian in a city that, at the time, had ONE natural health food store seemed completely impossible. But I was in so much pain that if someone told me that all I had to do was stop eating gluten then I was going to try it. 

I came home and told my husband. He at this point had a, whatever you need to do just give me my wife back sort of attitude, so with his vote of confidence, I started researching gluten allergies. What I found over the next 6 months of researching was completely mind blowing. Here is a list of some items that contain gluten:

  • White Flour
  • Durum Wheat
  • Graham Flour
  • Triticale
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Bran
  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Bread
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Muffins
  • Pastries
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Beer
  • Oats
  • Gravy
  • Dressings
  • Sauces
  • broth in soups and bouillon cubes
  • breadcrumbs and croutons
  • fried foods
  • imitation fish
  • lunch meats and hot dogs
  • matzo
  • most chips and candy
  • salad dressings
  • self-basting turkey
  • soy sauce
  • rice and pasta mixes

And if that wasn’t enough here are some other ways you can contaminate yourself with gluten:

  • Pills
  • Capsules
  • Cough syrups
  • Cough lozenges
  • Vitamins
  • Mineral supplements
  • Make-up
  • Lipstick
  • Lip gloss
  • Lip balm
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Soaps
  • Bath salts
  • Baby powder
  • Lotions and creams
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Sunscreen
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Detergents
  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Stamps, envelopes, stickers (glue)
  • Chewing gum
  • Communion wafers
  • Pet food
  • Play-dough
  • Art supplies, e.g. paints, glue, clay

Absolutely and completely devastatingly overwhelming, it might be easier to just say what I could eat. As a vegetarian this consisted of:  beans, nuts, veggies, fruit, and some dairy. There are tons of “gluten free” products but the amount of ingredients in these products made me skeptical. What the heck is tapioca flour? It all just seemed really processed and un-natural. 

This diagnosis of gluten allergy began an extensive process of learning as much as I could about food. I started researching in 2010 and I still find books and articles to this day to keep me up on recent findings. As I stated before, I feel as though my journey was a three part phase: unconscious suffering, enlightenment, and recovery. This is when I entered into the phases of enlightenment. I wasn’t getting the answers that I felt were right for me so I found what made sense and worked for my specific set of issues. Being told that I had a gluten allergy was a blessing in disguise because I found out SO much information about food in this country that I could occupy hours of your time talking about it. I want to share this information with all of you but it will have to be in installments because of the breadth of it all. 

Also during this time I decided that I would break apart what was going on with me and put it all on a spectrum. First I listed all of the things that I felt were wrong with me and then I put a number next to each. When I was done, I had a list of 22 things. Yes, 22. The number one thing on my list was my headaches. The pain was constant. I was taking 8-12 Ibuprofen per day just to be able to be physically present for my family. I then decided after breaking apart my problems, that I would find someone that dealt with that specific issue. In doing my research, I came across some really great people that helped me save myself and regain my health.  

Photo from: A HREF="">Isabel M Tirado</A> for <A HREF=""></A

1 comment:

  1. I have the same thing! So excited to hear what happens next.