Disclaimer alert: I’m not a doctor, but I want to share my story of how I discovered gluten was causing me agony.
Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I live in Florida. I love writing for Gersky’s because we share a common bond of a love for food and entertaining.
About 7 months ago, I decided to make a change to my eating habits based on research I’d been doing for my line of work. As a writer, I have the unique privilege of covering a variety of fascinating topics, many health and food-related. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was writing about something I was experiencing. Only I didn’t know it.
Since I’m in my 40s, I believed this was how we’re supposed to feel all the time. Tired, brain fog, gassy, bloated, frequent headaches, joint pain, eczema-like rash on my hands, and weird zapping sensations all over the body. I was also depressed but I chalked that up to the pandemic.
Fate always finds a way to intercede and soon, I found myself researching gluten sensitivities. I’d always thought that gluten troubles were for the small segment of the population with celiac disease. What I learned was that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is far more common.
Gluten Sensitivity: What are the Symptoms?
You might not have all of them, but if you have most of these symptoms, it could greatly benefit you to experiment. Try to eliminate some foods or swap ingredients when you eat.
These are the symptoms of gluten sensitivity for non-celiac conditions:
– Gas, bloating, or frequent abdominal pain
– Constipation or diarrhea (or both)
– Joint pain
– Brain fog
– Neuropathy (that weird zapping sensation)
– Skin problems
What to Do If You Think You Have a Gluten Sensitivity
Gluten sensitivities are becoming more and more common. It’s believed that the phytochemicals used on wheat are to blame. Every day, I’d exercise and eat healthfully, always choosing whole grains and wheat products. Yet my weight never budged, and I felt rundown.
While there are tests your doctor can conduct to check for celiac disease, there are none to confirm gluten sensitivities. You can keep a journal of what you eat and your symptoms to see if you can make any connections. You can also share that with your doctor when you do finally go in for blood work to see if that’s all that’s ailing you.
As for handling gluten sensitivity, try removing foods that contain wheat. Reading labels helps as products are required to announce when they contain wheat.
Yes, that means no more bread, pasta, baked goods, pizza, or cereals as you know them. The good news is that there are plenty of gluten-free ways to enjoy the things you do love. Looking for gluten-free bread, pasta, pizza, baked goods, and snacks will help you avoid FOMO. However, hidden glutens can be found in things you’d least expect. Foods like soy sauce, salad dressings, marinades, teriyaki sauce, and hoisin sauce all have gluten.
Once you do an elimination and see if it benefits you, you can start swapping all the things that contain gluten out of your life. You’ll know within a few days if gluten is to blame. For me, my rash on my hands cleared up within days of not eating wheat. By the end of that week, I felt energetic and the fog had been lifted from my brain.
After another 5 days, I didn’t feel those weird zaps and aches anymore. Now 7 months later, I’ve finally lost weight while still enjoying the gluten-free forms of foods I once enjoyed. My digestion is finally normal and I now realize it wasn’t that I was in my 40s. It was my body that developed the gluten sensitivity.
What if you eliminate things with gluten and still see no changes in the way you feel? Then go back and enjoy the foods with gluten. Just continue to experiment. See if eliminating other common agitators (like dairy or sugar for example) might be what’s bothering you. Keep a journal of what you eat and detail how you feel. That information may help clear up the mystery and gives you details to share with your doctor to keep your health on track.
Join me next time as I walk you through shopping for gluten-free foods and how to cook with your newfound gluten-free lifestyle!