I have been on a gluten-free diet for about four years now. After my dad finally figured out that gluten-intolerance was what was causing his digestive problems, I had a pretty good idea that I had the same issue. I do. So does my daughter.
The symptoms that all three of us have are basically the same. If we eat even a little bit of gluten, we get dyspeptic. Dyspepsia is an abundance of air in the stomach, when it is mild it causes repeated belching, nausea, and a stomachache. When it is more severe it can cause extreme distension of the stomach and vomiting. My father’s case is the most severe, mine the next, and my daughter’s the slightest. This is probably due to the ages at which we all chose to quit ingesting gluten. Both my daughter and I can tolerate tiny amounts of gluten, if we ingest them accidentally, but my father cannot. If he ingests even a tiny morsel of gluten, he will have a very sever episode.
After I went gluten free I was talking with my dad. He told me to look on the bright side. The disease that we have is incredibly painful and inconvenient, but in no way life threatening, as long as we stay away from the accursed gluten. He’s right. I can hardly begin to explain the long nights that I have spent with my head resting on the kitchen counter. Some nights I would sit there for hours and hours belching over and over and over. It is completely exhausting and it would go on and on for hours until I thought that I would pass out from the fatigue. There is no relief. No Alka-Seltzer, no Pepto, no tums, no antacid, no Gas-X, nothing relieves it but time. Occasionally, I just throw up. Those times are actually less painful.
Neither my father, nor my daughter and I are diagnosed with celiac disease. We are simply gluten intolerant. There are many different types of gluten intolerance. I imagine that somewhere in the medical world they have begun to classify them. My father tells me so many children are being born in the country of Italy with gluten intolerance, that they are considering it an epidemic. The numbers are growing like crazy. There have been questions asked about why this is happening. Whether GMO’s in our food are messing with our biology and causing these sorts of problems, whether it might be the pesticides on the foods that are affecting us, or whether it might be the preservatives in the processed foods we eat.
People are also choosing to stop eating gluten for other reasons. In the Autistic community, many parents are adopting gluten free, casein free, diets for their children and they are seeing very large improvements. Many people with allergies, or skin problems are going off of gluten and getting good results. If you have any sort of stomach issues or problems with acid reflux, I strongly recommend that you commit to just one month on a gluten free diet. If you don’t see any improvement in your condition after a month, then go for a month without any dairy. There is no way to judge meal by meal because the gluten or casein remains in your body for a long period of time. You’ve got to commit to the whole month.
I am not trying to put it into anyone’s mind that they have a problem if they really don’t. I just wanted to pass on what I have learned about my condition. It’s really not so bad. It’s hardest for me when we go to Publix and my other two kids run to the bakery counter for their free cookie. My poor Joelle can’t have one, and it is so sad to see your kid go through that. There are a lot of products out there now though, it’s certainly not as difficult to be gluten free as it used to be. And honestly, our whole family eats a lot more healthily now because of my daughter’s condition. It encourages me to make lots and lots of home cooked meals instead of processed ones. So you know, sometimes curses can be blessings in disguise.