So many people have asked me to share how I figured out I had a gluten intolerance and what my symptoms were that I felt called to share my personal experience with my journey to discover what was wrong with how my body functioned. I began with headaches that stole complete days from me. Then the complaints went to digestion and repeated trips to my GP gave me answers like, “you have irritable bowel syndrome”. Well , duh, you didn’t have to go to school for 7 years to tell me that!
I carried weight around my middle. I was bloated, gassy and crampy. I never knew when it would hit. So I wasn’t content with a name for my symptoms, I wanted a cure.
That didn’t seem to be in the cards for me through traditional western medicine. I was told to avoid triggers like caffeine, chocolate, beans, fiber, …. Didn’t help. There was a period in my life where it wasn’t safe to travel. I needed immediate access to a washroom when the incredible cramps seized my abdomen. Truly, I can say after having two children naturally, that those cramps I had from my “irritable bowel” would rival any labor pain.
I am a donor for life at Canadian Blood Services and decided a couple years ago that I would donate platelets a couple times a month. Prior to each donation I had to go through iron level test, a Q&A session,a Blood pressure check and provide a sample of blood to be tested. I watched my white blood cell count (WBC) go through the roof and come back down to safe range over the months I was able to donate platelets. I also watched my blood pressure do the same . The readings crawled higher and higher, and then when I changed one thing, which we will come to,I watched them come back down into safe range. Each time I came in with a high WBC the Doctor had to be called and I had to assure him that I was not ill with a fever or flu. Canadian Blood Services has since changed the guidelines, excluding women who have had a child as platelet donors, including myself although I do still donate whole blood and encourage others to do the same. It’s your chance to save a life!
Back to what was causing this rise in white cells and blood pressure? I noticed aches in my sciatic, and down my legs every day. I had pains in my side. Low energy plagued me. I started to notice that my heart would just add in an extra beat occasionally, causing me to stop and wonder what was going on? I could be just sitting and it would happen, and started happening several times a week. I, of course, still complained of bloating and gas and occasional cramping. I had intense food cravings or just plain thoughts about food- much like an alcoholic thinks about a drink.
I can recall getting all dressed up to go to my husband’s Christmas Staff Party several years ago. Supper was late that evening so we had time to get a cocktail and mingle. The staff had placed baskets of buns on the tables. To tell the honest truth I barely remember eating that bun. My husband was off socializing and I was by myself at the table when I was gobsmacked by a gluten reaction. My head pounded, sweat poured , my stomach cramped up like I would be torn in half by it. I gathered myself together and stumbled to the washroom, passing by my husband and telling him I was having a spell. I left the washroom and went out to the truck to lay down. I felt awful. Then the cramps hit again and back to the washroom I went. Feeling slightly revived but worn out I rejoined the table. Thank God the meal was steak and baked potato(both gluten free), so I made it through the rest of the evening.
I still didn’t understand what had caused my sudden demise that evening or hundreds of other times this happened. I did the only thing I could do. I begged God to tell me what was wrong with me. The secret was to listen.
Memories came back…..the holistic practitioner who tested me in her kitchen and told me,” Wheat is not your friend” years ago. Ok, I had a starting point. So I bought barley flour and whipped up a batch of cookies. Wheat was not my friend, but surely the barley that my aunt baked with all the time would be ok. Nope! Wow did I get bloated from those cookies!!
Okay, so , no wheat-no barley. What did they have in common? Gluten. Gluten! Holy crow, I used to add extra gluten to my flour in my bread maker!!
It’s been three years since my epiphany! I had a trial and error experience. I found some foods that were good and some that were like cardboard. I bought two great books-The G FREE DIET A gluten free survival guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Kathleen’s Light and Easy GLUTEN FREE Cookbook by Kathleen Thomson.
I stumbled upon a great list of DO NOT EAT foods today and it can be found at
Since acomplishing a revamp of how I eat so thatI only have gluten free I am happy to say that I am in control of my health. No more sickness hitting out of the blue. The aches are gone! Hallelujah , Praise the Lord! : ) As I mentioned my BP and WBC are normal- no meds for me!! The food cravings are gone! Oh so this is what I should feel like. Nice. And my energy, my energy is so much better.
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Here are a couple blog entries entailing other ailments that gluten causes to the gluten sensitive body:
Some Related articles
- Surprising Foods That Contain Gluten (fitsugar.com)
- Is It Really Gluten-Free? Reading Labels 101 (fitsugar.com)
- How a Gluten-free, Dairy-free Diet Helped Heal My Son with ADHD (blogher.com)
- What is Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance? (glutenfreedietnutrition.wordpress.com)
- Food Intolerance Testing Can Put Stop to Problematic Symptoms (prweb.com)
- Celiac Disease and IBS: Differences and Similarities (everydayhealth.com)