[Gluten] Freedom?

[I should probably warn you right now that this might be a verbose post. Feel free to skip reading it if you came here looking for foodie pictures, which will surely be back soon. However, I hope by reading this post and maybe even providing your input, it will help me and others with a similar dilemma.]

What up bloggies? How’s your week been going? Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

In yesterday’s post I mentioned I had something personal to discuss. As you can probably guess from my title, my question revolves around the issue of gluten.

Before I get to it, let’s back track a little bit. This winter, my family and I got sick with a horrible stomach flu. It was so debilitating that I litterally could not do anything but lay on the couch for 5 days. I think you can imagine how much fun that was.

Toasted and topped with warm blueberries, this was just what the doctor ordered.

Anyway, I found myself gravitating towards gluten-free items while I was sick for a reason that I could not explain. In fact, when I tried to eat glutenious bread and cereal, my stomach bloated like never before and even cramped up. At first I saw no correllation and continued to try eating glutenous products. No luck.

While there very well could have been another reason, everything I tried seemed to point to gluten. After numerous uncomfortable moments, I finally learned my lesson and decided to try to avoid it, but only if possible. I did not mean to eliminate it altogether, but my gravitation towards whole grains and non-grain complex carbs (like sweet potatoes) made it natural. I actually found I was able to nourish myself better this way because I did not feel bloated.

Everything has been going great since then. I have noticed I have increased energy and strength (more push-ups & stamina in yoga—wahoo!), experience less bloat and heaviness, and even need less sleep.

However, when I started eating things that could be gluten-contaminated, my body acted out against me. Again I wrote off my difficulties (read: excessive gas (gross, I know), “icky” feeling, congestion/allergy symptoms (HUGE for me) and even headaches), but just could not go on living that way. I tried changing some things and went back to normal, until my third rebellion. A few days ago I was actually woken up by my horrible cramps and was unable to go to my morning classes. The third time must be the charm because after waking up with horrible stomach cramps, now I am seriously starting to wonder if I have a gluten sensitivity.

Gluten Facts:

  • gluten is found in most processed foods; gluten-containing grains include wheat, barley, and rye
  • grains that are gluten-free include amaranth, corn, quinoa, millet, teff, and rice
  • individuals with Celiac’s disease are not able to eat gluten because when consumed, it produces a toxic reaction in their bodies that can cause damage to the small intestine
  • 1 in 100 people has Celiac’s disease (but most go undiagnosed)
  • an estimated 50-70% of the population has some sort of
  • wheat rapidly converts to sugars, thus causing a rise in insulin levels and an inflammation burst at the cellular level

While I don’t think I have Celiac’s disease, I do wonder about the possibility of a gluten sensitivity. To try to rule out other factors for my symptoms, I experimented a little like Ashley (check out her reacap here—maybe something like this would help me rule other things out better?) while keeping the other variables constant. All in all I learned that gluten definitely has an effect on my energy levels and the way I feel. While I do not wish to label myself as “gluten-free,” I think it might be best that I be “gluten-aware.”

My favorite gluten-free product: Pure NRG Bars

So, my very informed readers, what do you think? Can you think of another cause for my bloating/cramping/fatigue/conjestion problem?

If you are gluten-free, what made you decide to go that way? And if not, what do you think about eating gluten-free? Have you noticed any other personal food sensitivities?

I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to me! I really hope we can come to the bottom of this, and that this post might help people with similar symptoms get help, too.

Have a lovely day!


7 responses to “[Gluten] Freedom?

  1. I’ve never noticed any signs that I could be gluten intolerant. My body seems to respond to it well. But Regardless I buy Food for Life’s gluten free breads a lot. The millet one is my fav. 🙂

  2. Although I don’t believe that I have gluten intolerance either, I also noticed a huge difference in my overall physical wellness when I reduced my gluten intake. Therefore, I do believe I am sensitive. I suffered from extreme IBS and a very young age and seem to have kept it almost completely under control in my teen years as I started watching more what I ate. I think the lower gluten intake also helps that for me. You could easily have a mild IBS or another food sensitivity such as dairy.

    My suggestion for you would just be to avoid gluten when you can (aka don’t purposely buy a loaf of bread to eat every day), but don’t stress too much about it. There are so many great alternatives out there that it’s decently simple to avoid, especially if you notice it contributing to your health! Play around with your foods and see what seems to help/not help! 🙂


    • Thanks for your advice, Heather! My dad actually has IBS so I wouldn’t be surprised if I have a mild case, too. In any case, I agree with you that it’s best to just play around and see what works. I’m glad to hear you’ve found relief by eating consciously.

  3. Although I don’t know a great deal about gluten-free diets and the many ways gluten affects our bodies, I can say that I know A LOT of people that have had to go gluten-free because they were experiencing the same symptoms you are. I myself think I’m OK with gluten in my diet, but I’ve recently been experimenting with grains like amaranth and buckwheat to try something new!

  4. thanks for this post!! i have never rly thought about gluten until blogs.. i kind of wnt to try not eating gluten to see if i feel any different! it sounds like you have done some good research though on your body and how much it can tolerate 🙂

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