Gluten. A word we had never heard a few years ago now seems to be everywhere. Gluten free products line the shelves and going “gluten-free” is trending like crazy. And that’s what a lot of people think it is.
A fad diet.
A way to lose weight quick.
The cure to all your problems… well it could be.
This post is not to debate the science behind gluten allergies, sensitivities, full blown celiac disease or the auto-immunity connection. Many people scoff at the idea of removing gluten and don’t believe it’s real. That’s not what we’re going to talk about here. If you are interested in the science-y stuff, I highly recommend reading Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by William Davis.
This post is how I found out I was highly sensitive to gluten and how it was affecting me. I believe we are all unique in our dietary needs and the best way to understand what foods work for you, or how your body reacts is by self-testing through an elimination diet. There are many challenges with testing for food allergies and gluten testing often gets a false negative. For example, I was tested for a wheat allergy when I was a teen and it came back negative.
So how did I find out for sure?
A few years after removing gluten from my diet, I was doing a cleanse. I was a few weeks in and feeling great! My energy was amazing! I was rocking the coveted “cleanse-glow”! On a Friday night I made my cleanse shake for the evening… a pumpkin, date, cinnamon fall sort of deliciousness. I drank it and about 30 minutes later at around 8pm, I was extremely tired. I felt off and exhausted and kinda like I was gonna die if I didn’t go to sleep immediately. It was weird, but I thought I must just be tired from a long work week. So I went to bed and slept like a rock.
The next morning I was going to make breakfast and remembered I had half of that pumpkin shake left. So I poured out the rest and drank up. About 30 minutes later, at 10 am, I became extremely tired again. I laid down and slept for about 3-4 hours. Then my stomach hurt the rest of the day and I felt moody, achey and generally just off. I was feeling so great during this cleanse, what happened!?
So I traced back to what I was eating to see if I had added something new. Two words: maple extract. I put about one eighth of a teaspoon of maple extract in the smoothie. Yes one-eighth! It was a new bottle that I hadn’t used before so I read the ingredients. There were about 4 things and the last one was barley extract. Oops. Barely contains gluten. That was it, the last ingredient listed in one-sixteenth of a teaspoon was enough to knock my lights out. And down goes Frazier!
Since then I became more diligent about avoiding gluten. The experience above has happened to me a number of times since I realized how powerful it is for me. Every time it’s the same experience. I ingested something I didn’t realize contained gluten. A little while later, I am so tired I feel like I’ve been drugged. I always read ingredients in anything new, ask for gluten free menus when I eat out, and use handy dandy google when I don’t know what something is. Oh and Jane Anderson… I don’t really know who she is, but whenever I google she has the most info on whether something is gluten free or not. Thanks Jane!
I share my experience to show the importance of finding out for yourself how food affects you. I spent a lot of time and money on books, supplements, tests, products, etc. None of it made me feel better until I figured out my gluten issue. There are so many conflicting opinions and so much confusing research out there. And let’s face it, most of us wouldn’t know how to determine if the research is truly valid and unbiased anyway. I don’t want to downplay research and scientific advances; they are very important and have taught us a lot. However, we still only know very little and the human body is beautifully complex. To be clear, I am referring to food allergy testing, if you have major health symptoms, absolutely go see a health professional. Just don’t rely on food allergy testing to be accurate. It was far better for me to figure it out for myself.
Remember, no one knows you better than you!