Surprise…you might have an intolerance to gluten!

In the winter of 2008 I noticed my hair seemed thin…it was almost like my hair line was receding, and my face was always broken out no matter what I did, I looked like a 14 year old boy going through puberty.  Except the problem was I am a female in my late 20′s.

Over the next two years to present time my skin broke out worse, and my hair was growing long again but seemed not as great as it was a few years earlier, and I would loose clump fulls of hair daily.  Not to mention the beyond embarrassing gas I had all the time which started in 2001, I had almost completely stopped having “normal” menstrual cycles, and would get random sharp headaches after eating.

I had seen multiple doctors for various health problems from 2007 – 2010 for various reasons: being bloated, constipation, constant gas every time I ate something, skin problems (acne and eczema), headaches, and a few other “female” things.  All of these doctors always said, everything looks great, this is not a (“dermatology, or obgyn problem,” or, ” your tests came out negative” and then again and again referred me to a gastrointestinal doctor.

I had even seen an allergist!  In the winter I would get extreme rashes of eczema on my arms, and it was getting worse every year.  In 2006 the rashes started the size of the quarter, in 2009 they covered most of my arm.  Of course don’t forget to test me for this self  proclaimed dairy allergy I think I might have.  My Doctor hadn’t tested me in about ten years so she tested me for a whole list of allergy’s, some by prick test, and some by blood test.  In the end, “you may have a dairy intolerance but the blood test came back negative, I’d like you to see a GI doctor to get a more thorough test.

After three referrals I still didn’t go to a GI doctor.  I figured the heck with it I must be crazy or a hypochondriac.  Plus my insurance provider wouldn’t cover a GI doctor.  Therefore, I definitely didn’t have the extra money for a doctor to tell me everything is fine or I can’t be helped.

During the fall of 2009 I noticed every time I ate something with dairy my gas seemed worse, especially ice cream, pizza, and milk.   So common sense, I must have a dairy allergy!  Therefore, I eliminated milk and dairy  from my diet.  To this day I am still dairy free and very happy with this decision.

Things got better after cutting out dairy, but I was still having gas and my skin and hair were no better.  Plus my eczema was worse then ever in softball size rashes covering most of my arm this year.  When I visited my sister in law who is a dermatologist in the winter of 2009 she gave me steroids for my eczema and told me not to wear fabrics that irritate it.

Well at least I have some relief now, but…more meds!!!

In the spring I visited my other sister.  She saw my skin and I had explained my slue of random health concerns to her.  My sister is also a doctor and has an extensive background in nutrition and how food affects the body.  She said “you eliminated dairy?, you probably don’t have a dairy allergy”.  Then she asks ” did you try the elimination diet?”

The elimination diet is pretty much a diet that helps you identify foods you may be intolerant to, have an allergy or even adverse reaction to through the process of elimination over an extended period of time.  (See post for more information.)

Of course I had a million excuses of I’m too busy, I work too much, I like to ski too much in the winter to try and organize an elimination diet into my life.

My sister told me “you should really try the elimination diet, but it looks like to me that you have a food allergy!”  The next question was” Have you tried eliminating gluten?”

Gluten I thought… hum what is that exactly and I am too busy and work too many hours to try and eliminate gluten from my diet, especially when I work for a company that provides 1 -2 meals/day for free, which by the way pretty much all include gluten.

About 2 months later nothing had improved, and I thought back to my diet over the winter, lots of pasta, tortillas, sandwiches, and fried foods and don’t forget wings and beer…which all include gluten!  Hum… looking back on it now I’m beginning to see a pattern.

March of 2010 I begin learning about what is gluten, gluten free cooking and the lifestyle change that I was about to endure.  Over the month of May I begin experimenting with gluten free living, this would be my month of mistakes and learning, with my launch date to be June 1st for being fully gluten free.

So 3 months later I am fully gluten and dairy free and seeing large improvements, and best of all no more massive amounts of gas throughout the day!!!  Going into 6 months of being gluten free all of my health problems drastically improved or disappeared all together!!!!  Now, one year into being gluten free all of my health problems are gone.  But I am still very sensitive to gluten, dairy, and even if I eat something that has been cross contaminated it causes huge set backs related to health issues.

3 Responses to “Surprise…”

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