I know it’s been a while since my last blog post. Lots of ideas have been flowing in my mind. I was going to post about my revelations after doing 1000 kettlebell swings on Christmas. I’ll probably still do that in a later post, but this time I felt something more pressing.
Some of you already know that I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant a couple of years ago. Because of how I was diagnosed, I don’t know if I have Celiac Disease or if I’m just plain gluten intolerant but that’s another story. I also discovered that I have several other food allergies and intolerances along with some other GI issues. As I cleaned out all of the toxic junk from my system, got everything under control and finally felt no GI upset for the first time in years, I realized just how chronic my symptoms were. But due to the nature of my diagnosis, I started questioning whether I was really gluten intolerant. Perhaps it was just a wheat allergy or perhaps it was all of the other allergies and issues that were causing my problems. I’ve been dabbling in wheat and gluten here and there and felt some mild symptoms but I still questioned it.
A week before Christmas, I threw caution to the wind when I was invited to celebrate a friend’s traditional Croatian feast. I decided that I would try to be cautious with the obvious offenders, but I wasn’t going to worry about the flour that thickens the sauce and things of that nature. My friend was really great, trying to tell me what was in each dish that she served. But before I knew that and before she could get to me, I was greeted with their tradition of taking a spoonful of this stuff that I only remembered from past years as being yummy. Yummy, whole pearls of wheat as it turned out! I don’t know if the yummy whole pearls of wheat were the catalyst, or if it was the wafer cookie, piece of baklava and torta cake that followed the meal. Either way, I went home feeling HORRIBLE. My GI system is still out of whack from it and my mouth started getting ulcers again. I also don’t know for sure if it was just the wheat or if it was the gluten, but upon further reflection and some research I think I found my gluten intolerant answer.
I recently read something about the addiction and withdrawal aspects that follow “being glutened”. I got out my Dangerous Grains book again and looked it up. They actually liken it to the neurological response of drug and alcohol addicts. They say that just like a substance abuse addict, your body does go through withdrawal and just like an addict, you can’t have just a little bit. If you do, it starts the whole downward spiral. Those were very powerful words to me. It made some sense of why I ate all those deserts, knowing they contained gluten. Why just one brownie on vacation turned into several each day on vacation. And it was also true in the days that followed that wonderful Croatian meal. Although I didn’t feel good for days, I still couldn’t resist the urge to eat just one of the cookies at the photo shoot, just a little taste of homemade cran-apple bread at work, just one of those darn ravioli samples at Costco that I missed so much.
As if the resurgence of GI symptoms and the truth that I found in the words of Dangerous Grains weren’t making enough of a point, the lesson was driven home in a big way just a week later. I am sick as a dog with a nasty respiratory virus. I don’t know if I forgot how horrible it was to be sick all the time from my immune and GI systems being so compromised or if I took for granted how much better I actually was. But either way, I haven’t been this sick for this many days since I started my gluten-free journey 2 years ago. I pray that I am not starting at square 1 again with the detox, but either way this blog post serves as a permanent reminder for my future. No more brownies because I’m on vacation, no more “just a little bit won’t kill me” when family is visiting…NONE. I already know how much of a pain it can be to lead a “normal” gluten free existence but this is a necessary evil and it’s just not worth the aftermath. No more gluten for me!