Hey y’all! We hope you had a fabulous weekend and start to your week! We wanted to share our response to a friend who wrote in for some advice. She has been struggling with fatigue, feeling sick all the time, and anxiety. She has decided to do her own test because going through the doctor is out of her price range. We thought we would share our response with you all. We hope it helps any of you who are struggling with similar symptoms. This is our advice to those who think gluten and/or lactose is the culprit of their problems. Please let us know what you think and if you have any advice for this fellow Gluten Free Anonymous member, please share in the comments below!
Hope you are doing ok!
Ok, I re-read your email a few times to kind of get a gist of what you’re going through. Again, we are so sorry to hear you have to go through this. Self testing, in our opinion, is the best way to do it anyway. That way you get a true feel of what YOU are sensitive to. It’s true that endoscopies can sometimes be inconclusive, especially if you haven’t been eating gluten. The test really needs to be taken while you are eating gluten to see if it’s causing damage to your stomach or intestines. If you haven’t been eating gluten & you’ve been in the process of healing your gut, there would virtually be no sign of damage, except maybe a little inflammation and possibly acid. When we were tested through a saliva test, we didn’t know what we were being tested for, so you are already ahead of the game! If we had known to even suspect something like gluten with our symptoms, we might have just done a self test also.
Your struggles are very similar to ours. We would sleep anywhere from 14-18 to hours a day. It seemed we never could get enough. If we weren’t sick, which was constant, we were fighting something. It was so easy to catch any form of sickness. It was terrible. We were nauseous all the time. These kinds of symptoms are probably why bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety are very commonly misdiagnosed in those who suffer from CD/GI (Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance). It messes with every part of your body and it impacts your state of mind so you do actually experience some of those symptoms, which can confuse the diagnoses. Once gluten is eliminated from your diet (if you have CD/GI) these symptoms will begin to lift. Bri went undiagnosed for 17 years and we feel that she has struggled with anxiety due to chronic pain from gluten.
The best way to go about self testing, is to get back to basics: fruit, veggies, & lean protein, nuts, etc. It’s helpful to go off all grains for a few weeks to clear your system. It’s important to focus on healing your gut at this point . There are so many healing properties to fruits and vegetables and they are nature’s vitamins and minerals. Assuming you do have a problem with gluten, your gut has been through it. The lining of the gut has been damaged and it takes time to heal it. Food is medicine. Incorrect food damaged your body, correct food will heal it. You should start to notice a difference soon, but it takes time, be patient and be committed. Slowly start re-introducing foods back into your diet and see how you feel. Every time you do this, you are testing to see how your body reacts. Gluten issues act as a catalyst to other food allergies. It takes awhile to figure out what sensitivities you have developed. Lactose intolerance often goes hand in hand with gluten intolerance. After we eliminated dairy for a while we were able to reintroduce it in small doses. I personally tried to eliminate just gluten but i was still stick. Brooke gradually had to eliminate dairy, sugars, starch & nuts. When she accidentally ate dairy when my stomach wasn’t ready, I would have a terrible reaction. But over time, as my gut healed with the proper food, I slowly added it back in and now Brooke is able to eat dairy in moderation. You might still struggle with dairy afterwards, but that is what this testing period is for! To figure out your sensitivity! Also, try looking into casein which seems to affect many of those who suffer from lactose intolerance. You could have an allergy to that as well.
We have also found that the order of what you eat is important during the day. To a normal person, eating a brownie for breakfast might not give them the energy they need for the day but they can still function pretty well. If we have a brownie for breakfast we might as well just go back to bed! It slaughters us! It messes up our system for the remainder of the day and it almost feels as if we can’t get back on track until we sleep it off! It’s very important for us to start off our day with protein or something hearty and basic, such as oatmeal (gluten free of course!) or fruits and quinoa, and then gradually work into the rest of our meals that day. We have also found that our systems exhibit hypoglycemic symptoms. We can’t go long periods of time without eating. If we do, we start to go down and get extremely fatigued, shaky, nauseous. What a load of fun, we know!
As far as feeling overwhelmed: if we told you that you can get through this without getting overwhelmed, we would be lying to you! It’s such a drastic life-style change that it’s difficult NOT to. However, once you start getting the hang of it and feeling better, having more energy, finding what you can and can’t do, learning that YOU have the power to make yourself feel better, it will make things easier. You will be so much happier once you know exactly what it is that is making you sick. One thing that helped Brooke tremendously was having a husband to support her. So, get your husband on board and tackle this together! And, of course, having each other has helped us get through this. You might not know anyone personally who is going through this right now, but you always have us!
As far as eating out, our advice is to call ahead and check to see if they have a gluten free menu. You have to understand that regardless of receiving a confirmation of a gluten free menu, you are always taking a risk for cross-contamination. In your email you asked if it’s ok to have a little. Even the smallest amount stays in your system for up to 6 months.
Brooke cooks gluten free for both herself and her husband aside from the occasional exception of making pasta; in order to save money on the noodles, she will make up the sauce and then cook wheat and gluten free pasta separately. They buy Colby his gluten snacks, cereals, and breads.
We hope this points you in the right direction. There is so much to learn and do when trying to figure out what you can and can’t eat. It’s important to stay vigilant though, and understand that although it takes time to feel better, you WILL get there! Please let us know if you need anything or have any more questions! We are here to help and get you through this.
Brooke & Bri