How do you know that you are gluten intolerant? There isn’t a real test yet, the only way to know is by complete elimination of gluten from your diet.
Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
The symptoms you may have such as constipation, abdominal pain, inflammation, migraines, skin disorders, nerve pain, fatigue, depression and more. The list just keeps growing could be indication that you are gluten intolerant.
I have always been active in my life playing lot of competitive tennis, hiking, paddle boarding and my diet has been fairly healthy or so I thought.
In the last few years I noticed that my energy has decreased, had migraines, bloating, nerve pain, my asthma has been acting up, stomach pains and more. When I went for my annual physical exam, I discussed my concerns with my doctor. After complete physical exam and blood work apparently I was healthy with the exception of raised blood pressure. The diagnosis I was given is “you are getting older and it is normal to feel this way”.
I am 58 years young, have three wonderful children and two grandsons, so I thought maybe this is what life is like at my age but at the same time I would not accept it.
But I did not give up at this point. I booked an appointment with naturopathic doctor. We have discussed my diet and life style and then did intense testing for food sensitivities and food allergies.
The difference between food sensitivity and food allergy is, food sensitivities are common but most are caused by intolerance to food causing same symptoms as food allergy but generally less serious. Food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. In some cases food allergy can be life threatening.
After all the results came in I was encouraged because I had some sensitivities and some food allergies. At least I knew where to start improving my health. I cut out all the foods that my body was allergic and sensitive to and some of my symptoms have disappeared but I still felt tired, bloated had migraines and had nerve pain and just did not feel well.
After reading many articles about gluten, I decided I would try and go on a gluten-free diet. I thought Gluten-free diet couldn’t hurt as long as you have well balanced meals. This is when it all began.
First thing I did is empty my pantry of all products that contained gluten. To my surprise most of the things I had although they were organic had gluten. Then I made a list of all the products I will need and started shopping the gluten free way. I feel it is important to discard everything from your pantry that contains gluten to avoid temptation. In order for you to feel better you can’t cheat it must be 100% gluten-free.
The next thing I did is thoroughly washed all my utensils and cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination, this means that if for example you used your cutting board to cut bread and then you used it without thoroughly washing the board your food may be contaminated with gluten.
The next step was to start creating healthy recipes that are gluten-free. This was a lot of fun for me because I love being creative in my kitchen and cooking has always been my passion. There were some meals I made that were… lets say not great but experimenting was a lot of fun.
The hardest thing for me was eating out in restaurants, even though you can find many restaurants that offer gluten-free meals some of them are truly not gluten-free. I once read on the menu “to the best of our ability our food is gluten-free” The reason I say they are not gluten-free because of the cross contamination that can happen by using same cutting boards and utensils and most spices are NOT gluten free unless they are certified gluten free.
After going on a gluten free diet, I saw slight improvement in my health within the first two weeks, but as each week, month and year passed I regained my health the way it use to be. Although I can’t attest how anyone else may feel after following a gluten-free diet it has changed my life. With each day I feel healthier, stronger and my energy is back to where it use to be.
To everyone, if you are thinking about going gluten-free, if you wondered why you felt that something just doesn’t feel right, your body is trying to tell you that you need to change your diet.