I think that people hear that I'm on a Gluten Free Diet and assume that I'm actually not eating gluten just because it sounds fun or it's the new fad. When people say things to me such as "Oh, I've heard that's a really great diet" I want to slap them. Really, you think I'm giving up cake, pasta, bread sticks, seasoning salt, 90% of sauces and dressings because it's a great diet... Um, in case you haven't noticed I really don't need to lose weight. I'm not depriving myself from the things that I love because Eisabeth Hasselback is promoting it. I'm certainly not depriving myself because I feel the need to lose weight.
A lot of people have asked me why I stopped eating gluten. The answer: it made me sick! The textbook symptoms for Celiac disease were not the symptoms I had at all. To read more about the textbook symptoms you can go here.
While I did have some of the symptoms listed in that article such as Anemia (Iron Deficiency) & Vitamin D deficiency these aren't uncommon deficiency's. I live in Oregon - We don't see much sun & 90% of people living in Oregon have a vitamin D deficiency. Anemia runs in my family so I really didn't think much of it.
What were my symptoms: Headaches was my biggest symptom. I had constant head aches. They usually started with in 10 minutes of eating. They were over the top, unbearable, and annoying. Advil wouldn't touch them! I was also experiencing some bloating and GI symptoms but those were things I felt I could handle. I had suddenly started having acne. I had never had acne in my teenage years and I was breaking out like crazy! Dandruff - out of control dandruff and no shampoo was controlling it. Eczema (this can also be linked to dairy and I'm also giving up dairy) which has gotten better but still not gone. Mood swings!!! Poor Adam had to deal with some major mood swings when I was eating gluten. Anxiety and I'd feel overwhelmed easily - also things I hadn't dealt with before. I've always handled stress well.
Diagnosis: I was at my parents house one afternoon and it was around 3pm. I hadn't eaten at all that day and I didn't have a headache. I said something to my dad about not eating yet & that I didn't want to eat because I didn't want to get a headache. He looked at me and said "Karli, you need to go back on a gluten free/dairy free diet. This is out of control." I knew he was right. I started out just giving up gluten and diary to see if I felt better. For the first time in over a year I didn't have a headache all weekend.. I continued not eating gluten or diary for 2 more weeks. No headaches. After 2 weeks I added dairy back in - Still no headaches. I did notice though that adding dairy back into my diet definitely made me more congested. I had blood work done after about 4 weeks of being off of Gluten (IGG - 5 days later reaction, IGA & IGE - both are immediate reactions) IGG produced no reaction. IGE & IGA both produced huge reactions. My Doctor diagnosed me as a Celiac. I went 9 weeks with out a single ounce of gluten! 2 weeks ago my Dad had us over for dinner. He didn't realize that Johnny Seasoning Salt had wheat in it. He added a teaspoon of it to our meal and within minutes of finishing the meal I had a splitting headache & stomach cramps that lasted for a week. I didn't find out for 4 days that he had added Johnny Seasoning Salt to the meal. Adam later confessed that I had been bitchy all week. I also tied in the fact that I had been super stressed and overwhelmed all week. A teaspoon of Gluten set my whole body into panic mode.
Comments: I have had a lot of people tell me that I can't be a true Celiac because "You don't have the typical symptoms". On a blog that I read a Nutritionist commented that the blogger couldn't have had Celiac because she didn't have true symptoms and that people who thought they might have a gluten intolerance didn't unless they had text book symptoms. To be honest reading that comment pissed me off. As a nutritionist she should know that Celiac disease and gluten intolerance effects everyone differently. No two Celiac's are alike.
Awareness: I wrote this post today in hopes that people realize how huge gluten intolerance is in the United States. I hope that this post will help one person who may be suffering from Celiac to realize that just because their symptoms aren't text book doesn't mean they don't have the disease! I also hope to maybe impact one person who knows someone with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease to understand that it is serious. Your friends or family aren't giving up these foods for fun.
In my case I gave up Gluten to get my life back. I know many others have too.
I plan to do posts in the future on some of my favorite Gluten Free meals. If you're suffering from Celiac and don't have any resources, please email me. I have many great blogs & books to point you to!