Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Gluten intolerance

I was diagnosed with Narclepsy approximately 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with IBS before that and Fibromyalgia approximately 12 years ago.
For the past several years I've really battled with depression which I believe manifested in childhood, I've visited the doctor various times about both the depression and severe severe fatigue but I've always been fobbed off with it being a symptom of my conditions blah blah blah. In fact if my doctor has ever offered further advice it's always and only been to lose weight - if I go about fatigue it's "lose weight", headaches? "Lose weight". Joint pain? "Lose weight". I've had blood tests to check iron levels etc which were within range and I've had Cholesterol tests which while were high ("Lose weight) also had high ranges of good cholesterol.
So for years I've accepted this constant fatigue, tiredness, depression and other symptoms as part and parcel of my "conditions" and learned to well......get on I suppose.

For the past couple of years though I have noticed a pattern emerging whenever I eat certain food stuffs. Mainly bread. It seems that whenever I eat bread or pasta I immediately bloat up and get excrutiating stomach pains and if I continue to eat it another day then the fatigue will be so bad I literally cannot think or concentrate - I feel like a zombie.
So recently I decideed to google "why does bread make me bloat" and what I found totally astounded me. I kind of guessed that I must have an intolerance to it but I never knew what this intolerance to the ingredient 'gluten' was actualy doing to my body.
I googled the symptoms of Gluten intolerance. I will list them below and the ones highlighted in red are the ones I suffer pretty much on a daily basis
  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.
  2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as 'chicken skin' on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
  3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
  5.  Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance. 
  6.  Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility. 
  7. Migraine headaches.
  8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain. 
  9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips
  10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I see that I can check 8 out of 10 of those symptoms.
Having done further research on symptoms and diagnosis it seems that Gluten intolerance is actually very common and extremely debilitating if a sufferer continues to attack their body with the stuff.
I attempted to read a medical article on the different stages of harm that is inflicted on the adrenal gland of a sufferer but it became a load of mumbo jumbo after about the ninth page.

Further research has me convinced that I definitely have an intolerance to Gluten and quite possibly Dairy and chocolate (judging by the heart palpitations I get after eating it).
I figured I'll just cut out Gluten from my diet and see what happens - easy eh!  Well apparantly not - I was not aware of the amount of foodstuffs that contain Gluten - check it out

Gluten Free Foods
Foods to check Gluten Containing Foods
Cereals & Flour Corn, rice, rice flour, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, teff, quinoa, sorghum, soya flour, potato starch, modified starch, potato flour, gram flour, polenta (cornmeal), sago, tapioca, cassava, urid flour Some natural grains can be milled with wheat, barley or rye which means they can be contaminated, so check the label. Flavoured savoury rice products, oats.  Wheat, bulgar wheat, durum wheat, wheat bran, wheat rusk, wheat flour, wheat starch, modified wheat starch, wheat protein, rusk, semolina, couscous, barley, barley malt, barley flour, rye, rye flour, triticale, kamut, spelt.
Breads, Cakes & Biscuits
Products specifically labelled as gluten free, including breads, biscuits, crackers, cakes, pizza bases, rolls and flour mixes Meringues, macaroons All breads and rolls, chapattis, biscuits, crackers, cakes, pastries, scones, muffins, pizza made from wheat, rye or barley flour
Breakfast cereals Products specifically labelled as gluten free, including muesli, oats (if tolerated), rice porridge, millet porridge Buckwheat, corn, malted breakfast cereals, oats not labelled as gluten free. Wheat-based breakfast cereals
Pasta & Noodles Corn pasta, rice pasta, gluten free pasta, rice noodles, rice pasta   Canned, dried and fresh wheat noodles and pasta
Fruit & Vegetables All fresh, frozen, canned and dried pure fruits and vegetables. Fruit pie fillings, processed vegetables like cauliflower cheese, potato products - oven, microwave and frozen chips, instant mash, waffles Vegetables and fruit in batter and breadcrumbs or dusted with flour. 
Dairy Products All cheeses, all milk (liquid & dried), all cream (single, double, whipping, clotted, soured and crème fraiche), buttermilk, plain yoghurt, plain fromage frais Coffee and tea whiteners, oat milk, fruit and flavoured yoghurt/fromage frais, rice milk, soya milk Milk with added fibre, yoghurt and fromage frais containing muesli or cereals
Meat, fish & eggs All fresh meats & poultry, smoked meats, cured pure meats, plain cooked meats Meat pastes, pates, sausages, burgers, if the meat is in a sauce- check the sauce is gluten free! Meat and poultry cooked in batter or bread crumbs, faggots, rissoles, haggis, breaded ham
Fish & Shellfish All fresh fish and shellfish, smoked, kippered and dried fish, fish canned in oil or brine Fish in sauce, fish pastes and pates Fish in batter or breadcrumbs, fish cakes, taramasalata, fish fingers
Fats & oils Butter, margarine, lard, cooking oils, ghee, reduced and low-fat spreads Suet, vegetarian suet  
Savoury snacks  Homemade popcorn, rice cakes, rice crackers, gluten free crackers and pretzels. All plain nuts and seeds Dry roasted nuts, pretzels, potato and vegetable crisps Snacks made from wheat, rye, barley
Drinks Tea, coffee, cocoa, fruit juice, squash, clear fizzy drinks, wine, spirits, cider, sherry, port, liquors, gluten free beers, ginger beer Drinking chocolate, cloudy fizzy drinks, hot chocolate, cola Malted milk drinks, barely waters/squash, beer, lager, ales, stouts

This is going to be harder than I thought since realising alot of the foods I eat are Gluten rich.
I'm determined to do this though - I am sick and tired of this awful pain and fatigue. Maybe it is even the cause of my Fibromylagia, in which case it may see an improvement there.
I'm quite excited to see how this pans out, today is my first day Gluten free and I'm checking everything I eat because just cutting out the bread and pasta (the food I know causes me inflammation) isn't enough, I have to remove ALL Gluten from my diet - for life!!  


  1. I have some of these symptoms. I'll need to look into this as well.

  2. You definitely should. If you do some more online research you'll also see there are quite a few more symptoms too. :)