Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Have I Discovered "What's Wrong with Me?"

I have the sinking feeling that I might have gluten sensitivity. I’ve had the nagging suspicion for some time but I’ve tried to tune it out. I am pretty severely lactose intolerant so I’ve resisted the notion that I might have to limit another major food group. While doing a little research on a site about gluten, I’ve come to see that the two might actually be related!

The reaction of gluten proteins in the gut creates a substance called gliadomorphin. This morphine-like compound causes you to become physically addicted to the gluten that is creating so many problems! This is the reason why you crave carbohydrates. You actually become “addicted” to them much the way an alcoholic becomes addicted to alcohol!

Specific cells lining the intestinal tract create enzymes to digest food and these, too, are damaged in this process. If you can’t secrete the enzyme lactase, lactose can no longer be digested and you become intolerant to milk as well!

And to top it off, the undigested dairy protein, called casein, reacts in your gut to make ANOTHER morphine-like substance called caseomorphin. So you become intolerant and addicted to dairy as well!!

So, at this point, if gluten sensitivity is left untreated, you will crave wheat, milk and sugar - exactly the foods that are the worst for you!!

The above basically describes me to a T. I’m pretty sure I’m intolerant of casein as well – I had a test done long ago that suggested it. I certainly crave dairy, despite my intolerance, and use lactase supplements to allow me to eat it often but do nothing about the effects of the casein in milk. I also tend to crave “comfort food”, which to me is generally carb-tastic like cereal and pasta.

While looking through a list of possible symptoms of gluten intolerance, I see that I have a few including:
- acid reflux (that was markedly better when “dieting” in the past, when I often curtailed my carbs in an effort to cut calories),
- bloating,
- psoriasis on my scalp,
- lower digestive issues (fun TMI!),
- fatigue (or general “laziness” when put through a judgmental filter in my head),
- mood swings, and
- hello! weight gain.

Sure, many of these things could be completely unrelated and attributable to other things. But I can’t ignore the fact that this is a real possibility. I owe it to myself to put my big girl pants on and try a gluten free diet for awhile to see if things improve. I’m not too fearful of trying this out, mostly because I try to eat a varied diet anyway so I’m already familiar with many of the alternatives to wheat products that are out there. I’m more hopeful that this change might actually help me feel better, which would make it worth it.


Christie {Honoring Health} said...

Good luck going gluten free, please email me if you need advice. I have been gluten free for about six months now and am doing great! The biggest challenge is hidden gluten in places you would not expect (like soy sauce).


Hi Christie! Would you believe that the first thing I did after posting this was to visit your blog? I’m reading through some of your older posts right now :) In fact, following your blog has helped me put two and two together about this gluten sensitivity thing. I will definitely contact you with questions. Thanks so much for inspiring me to face this possibility with less fear.

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos said...

Gluten free isnt as hard as it may seem - there is amazing products and recipes out there! I have been gluten free since 2007 - check out my blog for recipes and product reviews and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

HUGS - I hope you feel better soon!!


Thanks so much! I just checked out your site and love the Orange Beef recipe. I am so trying that soon. I have to say that right now I’m not too freaked out about going gluten free. There are so many choices out there, even for convenience foods. However, our go-to meals are usually pretty simple anyway – broiled meat, fish, or chicken with veggies and a starch. Very traditional. We eat a lot of brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc. already so I don’t think it will be that big of a change. I’m trying not to think of what I’m going to be giving up, rather what I can add to my diet to make myself feel better. Just a little tweak to my thinking, but it helps me tremendously! (We’ll see what I’m saying next week or month!)