Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What is Gluten Intolerance?

I've been gluten-free since August 2011.  When someone finds out that I don't eat gluten, they either ask me why, or if I have celiac disease.  I usually respond that I have a gluten intolerance and I get sick when I eat gluten, which is completely accurate.  Some people accept that, while others are still suspicious that I'm doing it for some other reason.  It really sucks when I get the feeling that people don't believe me.  I think some suspect that I'm just doing it because one of my closest friends found out she has celiac disease about 2 years ago.  While I did come to a partial realization that I may have an issue with it because I never got sick when I was hanging out with Kelley (and eating the same things she was), I certainly wouldn't give up beer just to be like her (no offense, Kelley).  Beer was one of my greatest delights.  The darker or the hoppier that is was, the more I liked it.  I tend to not be someone who does something because everyone else is doing it - especially if it means I'm giving up something I love (hello, Combos!).

I tested negative with the celiac blood test, but the test isn't always accurate, and I hadn't been eating much gluten in the weeks prior to the test (which is very important).  I was supposed to have an endoscopy to see if there was intestinal damage, but I cancelled the appointment.  You have to eat plenty of gluten before the endoscopy so that you body shows a reaction, if there is a reaction.  I was sick enough the first week every time that I tried to eat gluten, that I didn't want to tolerate 2 more weeks of nausea, dry-heaving, and major "digestive unrest" (use your imagination for that term).  I don't need a diagnosis - its very clear to me that I can't tolerate it.  As Lo will say, he's never known me to not have a stomachache, until I stopped eating gluten.  I've pretty much always had stomach issues of some sort, and it's amazing to not have those anymore.  When I also consider the fact that my cousin has celiac disease, my mom has a definite wheat allergy and probably celiac (and other autoimmune disease), and that this is something that can be inherited, I don't need to push my luck considering that it also makes me feel so bad. 

Anyway, the point of this story is because I read an article today really made a lot of sense to me and that I think others could benefit from reading, especially if they suspect gluten intolerance or if they have other autoimmune disease.  I think this is the best explanation of gluten intolerance and the ramifications of continuing to eat gluten.  Here's the link:

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