So gluten might not be my friend after all.

Recently, during random chatting at work with my favorite co worker, for whatever reason, I got to searching what Celiac Disease actually was.  I'd heard about it first years ago in Sunday School.  My class teacher's grand daughter was diagnosed and it was touch and go til they got it figured out.  So, I assumed it was one of those diseases that you had to KNOW you had or else, I dunno, not be around much longer.  But really I'd never actually read up on it.  So, the other night I finally did.  I read that people who didn't have the actual disease could also have a gluten sensitivity. Then I read the symptoms...  suddenly my entire childhood made sense.

As a kid, I always had stomach problems. Mom kept prune juice in the fridge just for me... I was like 5!  Who does that? But not only that!  They also kept a steady stock of Pepto!  I guess we were ready for both extremes.  There's more!  We always had FeenAMint gum in the medicine cabinet - for me.  Mom never had any tummy troubles... but Dad suffered with ulcers and eventually died from GERD before they invented the purple pill etc. He was never without Tums, chugged Maalox, and was supposed to quit drinking... which he never did.  Gee I wonder if he had the same thing?

But anyway, back to my childhood...  Mon would constantly fuss at me when I'd get tummy aches and feel all swollen.  She'd say, "You packed your stomach."  Apparently she thought I always over ate, although she's the one who dished up my plate.  Up into my teens, I would have severe pains that would extend into my kidneys which would only subside with a sip of a cocacola.  The syrup would settle my stomach and ease the kidney pain for a while. Now to be fair, that kidney issue stopped when I had my gall bladder removed at age 20 in an emergency surgery when it went gangrenous.  I think the dang thing was always faulty. When it finally sent me to the hospital, the pain was all in my back, and I remember having flashbacks to the pain I had as a child...  but I digress,  this isn't about my gall bladder.  This is about how I was a faulty child.  I had such common tummy issues that I'd be sent to school with the FeenAMint and a note to tell the teacher to let me chew it after lunch.

As an adult, I had become so used to it all, that it was just a part of me.  I would sometimes wish I didn't have the problems, but didn't want to deal with tests to find out is was some incurable weird hard-to-diagnose thing like IBS.  Then I thought maybe it was a lactose issue. I went off dairy for a while, no real change. And I noticed I could eat ice cream and not blow up like a balloon, but if I had cereal, I would... still I NEVER considered it was the CEREAL!  What can I say, I'm slow.

So, while I know I should actually get specifically tested for a sensitivity to gluten, and I need to keep eating gluten normally for that to be an accurate test.. but I'm still not ready to see a Dr. God, I'm just like my Dad.  He hated Drs too. I know they help people, but I just don't anyone poking and prodding me.  So, I figured, it would be kind of easy enough to test the theory.

I stopped eating bread/cereal/etc a few days ago. I figured it wouldn't be too hard to eat gluten free since we'd done the Power 90 diet, and it's basically very low carb, simply because it's a 1-ingredient diet.  Like foods with 1 ingredient, like Chicken.  Spinach. Green beans, brown rice, etc.  So, this basically ruled out bread, pasta, etc.  I knew I THRIVED on that diet, and I could do it again.  Of course now I have a good idea as to WHY I thrived.

When I went shopping, I shopped the outside of the store aisles, like produce, meat, dairy, etc.  But I did get brown rice and even white rice (which is okay but not as good for you in general), and then looked at other stuff just out of curiosity.  I knew I'd heard "gluten free" tons of times over the years, and never really paid any attention to it.  So it was time to look at it.  I did see some cereals said "Gluten Free" in huge letters and were name brand, but they were $5 a box.. then I noticed some of the store brand things had little labels in the lower corner of each box with any special things about the contents. Lo and behold there were several that said "Gluten Free" in tiny print there in the corner.  They were like $2 a box. Sold! I love me some cereal!

So, I've been on a kind of make shift gluten free diet for about 3 days, and I've felt great.  The first night, I did notice I was still running to the bathroom, but I didn't have the pain and swelling I was used to. Then today, my husband and I were out running errands and decided to get lunch while we were out.  I was on autopilot and not thinking about it, and ordered a roast beef sandwich and curly fries. So, I had the whole bun on the sandwich and the breading on the curly fries, and before I got a 1/4 mile down the road, I was suddenly glad I was on my way home so I could run to the bathroom ASAP.  The pain was intense (as usual), and I suddenly looked like I was 9 months pregnant. I cursed that damn sandwich, and told myself to be more damn careful next time. All 4 of my girls were at the house when we got there, and I ran to the bathroom.  They're used to me needing the bathroom quickly, but they were aware I'd been talking about gluten lately, so they were talking about it with Dad and Corina when I went back out to the living room. My abdomen was still extended, and they felt how hard it was.  Corina even said it was like I was pregnant. I nodded... I was well aware.  I'd lived with that as my "normal" for YEARS. In fact there were times the swelling was so bad and lasted to long that I thought I might have the same cancer that killed Mom, since that's how she looked. But then, for some reason it would finally go away, then just come back now and then... I have no idea why I never put 2 and 2 together before.  It simply NEVER occurred to me that the bread, cereal, pasta etc was the culprit.

Of course, I'm no Dr, so I can't say it is for sure, but we all sort of self diagnose don't we?  I figure I can do as much research and testing as I can on my own. If I can get the pain and swelling and all the other stuff to just go away by simply adjusting my diet, then I don't need any Dr telling me anything.  I'll know I found something that makes me feel human again instead of a beached whale. That'll be worth missing out on some bread and cereal and other stuff, and choosing healthier foods anyway.

Oh, I'm also cutting out pop/soda altogether as well. I'm currently sipping on my very last diet pepsi 2 liter.  When it's gone, I don't plan on buying anymore.  We had stopped buying any pop at all for months once, we were even only drinking water, and it was going well, but for whatever reason we started back again.  I'm really really hoping this time, we can go longer than a few months. I want to make changes that I (and the whole family) can stick to for the long haul. 

Anyone reading this who is sensitive to gluten or even have Celiac's? Leave me a comment with any advice you might have. I know some people suffer so so much worse than I do.  I know I'm just sensitive (if that's even the issue), and for some people, it's a life threatening disease.

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