Can you smell the Gluten in the air?

Okay, so we’ve been primarily gluten free for the past two years.  Basically this means that I haven’t used any flours containing gluten in my kitchen (they’ve been relegated to the highest shelf in my pantry where one needs a step stool to reach them).  I’ve also been reading labels and trying to avoid buying anything with wheat.  Sadly, though, until recently – we have been “cheating” by eating breaded seafood, chicken, etc. when we go out to eat – or removing the bun from the burger or chicken sandwich.  I’ve finally recognized, however, that I have not done myself nor my family any favors by doing this half-way.  All this has really accomplished is to make us just gluten free enough that its unlikely we could be sure of results were we to be tested for celiac disease.

So, having now realized all this (after learning more from hearing some of The Gluten  Summit talks) I’ve realized that the on-going headaches and other unpleasant issues I’ve been dealing with are likely a direct result of our treating this like a fad diet.  This is NOT a fad diet, though, folks.  For those who are truly celiac, this is a game changer.  Either you continue eating a little here and there, allowing friends or family to tempt you with things you know will make you sick; or you bite the bullet and choose to heal your gut and live healthy by getting off the gluten wagon.

For our family of four, at least two of us have or have had issues that are strongly tied with celiac disease – asthma, skin issues that have not been diagnosed (dermatologist wasn’t sure what to call it – we suspect dermatitis herpetiformis), endometriosis, irritable bowel, migraines/cluster headaches, belly bloat, etc.

Since becoming even more diligent for the past two weeks, the daily headaches I had been awaking with had disappeared – as had my daughters stomach aches.  As we know from what we’ve been studying, cross-reactivity (non gluten foods causing reactions) is often a problem for celiacs who are trying to recover. For that reason, I’ve personally dropped from my diet anything with corn products knowing that I’ve had a problem digesting corn for my entire life.  I have also become lactose intolerant, so am avoiding milk and cheese as well as the range of gums and thickeners that are in things such as coffee creamers and even coconut milk.  This means I’ve learned to enjoy my morning coffee with a little homemade ginger syrup and a tablespoon of coconut oil.

All this leads to this weekend, and my first headache in two weeks . . .

Saturday night, the family decided to go see The Hunger Games in the theater.  Excellent adaptation of the book, by the way – wish the others were ready!  Just before the movie started, a lady sat down next to me.  Wearing perfume.  Did I mention that smells are a problem?  It wasn’t even that strong, but it did set me up for a headache.  We followed the movie with a bite out.  Three of us had a freshly made salad with no croutons or bread.  Headache persisted most of the night and pretty much all day on Sunday.  Probably didn’t help that we decided it was time to clean out the pantry – so we’ve now boxed up for a new home every bit of old flour, wheat, wheat based products or canned goods containing same which we will be passing along to those who will use them.  This meant I was in direct contact with some dust and containers to clean out.  Could that be why I felt so yucky all afternoon?  And why I had a headache into Monday morning? Could inhaling airborne gluten be that bad?  Or was the problem from cross-reactivity from our salad coming into contact with gluten on Saturday night?  Or did that perfume REALLY set me off?

The question is, is it worth my health – or that of my family to risk it?  If truly celiac, it could take up to two years for my gut to heal.  If we continue on the hap-hazard path we’ve been on, two more years could be devastating.

~ Kay ~

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