I've never blogged before, but I got this idea that I wanted to try it out for a finite period of time, so I am going gluten free (gf) and blogging about going gf for Lent (which is a period of about 6 weeks). From what I can tell, blogging seems to be a type of public journal, and I am making this one to be a journal of my journey as I go gluten-free. My main goal is to figure out if I feel better and/or different by cutting out all gluten from my diet. I also want to log any challenges I face, and any bonuses of doing this.
I've been told that I'm being very "Julie and Julia" by doing this. Perhaps that's true. For those of you who haven't seen the movie or read the book, it is about someone (Julie) who blogs about her experience cooking from Julia Child's cookbook. A cute movie, actually. Since we did see the movie within the past few months, that may have been what planted the seed in me to want to blog. I think what made me really want to try it now, however, was seeing OSU's Power Up campaign website (http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/powerup/) in an email recently. I decided it would be interesting to blog about health issues. "Power up is a health and wellness event that challenges you to set a goal, strive for balance, and Power Up! Open to the entire OSU Community, the Power Up Challenge gives us all the opportunity to actively seek health, wellness, and balance." So, that's the plan.
"Gluten-free" (aka "gf") seems to have become a very popular thing lately. In fact, the first blog entry I read on the Power Up site was about someone going gluten free. This made me curious. I've had a diagnosed problem with wheat for more than 8 years. In my case, after a year and a half of seeing regular doctors to no avail, I saw a naturopathic doctor in January 2002 who, in one meeting, figured out that my intestinal discomfort and pain was likely due to a wheat intolerance. To test it out, I was supposed to go off wheat for three weeks and then add it back in. It didn't take 3 weeks for me to feel better. I didn't know what to eat for breakfast for those first three days, but I did begin to feel better. I can tell exactly when I eat wheat. I feel it go through my system, and it is not pleasant. I liken it to that Pepto Bismol commercial from a while ago where you can see the pink stuff go through the persons intestines. That is how wheat feels to me, irritating all the way through.
Why Go GF Now?
Good question. I have not been eating much gluten in these past 8 years, but I do eat spelt regularly. Spelt contains gluten (and tastes good).
There have been a few things that have made we want to explore this further now.
1) Some family friends got tested for gluten intolerance/celiac disease at their regular doctor's office. I didn't realize that you could do a blood test for this, but decided to try it out.
2) I've had small bumps on my legs that don't go away. I know that skin stuff (eczema, psoraisis, rashes, etc.) are often a symptom of gluten intolerance.
3) I still have slight anemia and tiredness. Granted, I also have an 11 month old baby who doesn't yet sleep through the night. But, that doesn't explain the anemia.
What have I done so far?
I got tested for gluten intolerance at my doctor's office.
I went to the hour long class offered by Nadine Grzeskowiak, the Gluten Free RN in downtown Corvallis. glutenfreern.com
I brought my test results into her class to see what the Gluten Free RN thought about them. Even though the lab considered my results "Normal," she questioned the results for my "Tissue Transgluteminase IGA." My results came back at 11EU. The lab considers normal to be anything under 20 EU. Nadine said that anything over 3 EU is likely showing a sensitivity to gluten.
So, in short, even though I don't eat much gluten now, I'm going to try going gf for the next six weeks (starting next Wednesday, February 17th). Feel free to join me in this journey.