Monday, July 8, 2013

Amy's Bandwagon: How Does Gluten Affect You?

Welcome to the second month of the Gluten Free Health Challenge. Amy will be sharing her journal entries here the first 3 Mondays of every month from now until December. To join the conversation, become a part of our closed Facebook group and get advice, tips, and support from challengers and coaches alike.

I have been trying to follow along with my fellow challengers' posts. Rebecca's most recent post really resonated with me. I know that I have gluten issues. I have had a blood test that showed that I had multiple potential allergens, including wheat and gluten. Dairy and yeast were two other major potential allergens that I have not really done anything about yet. There are some people who do not believe that this blood test is an accurate, valid test. Some people believe that there are too many false positives for the test to be valid. I think that this was always in the back of my mind and made it more difficult for me to follow through. Since doing this challenge, I haven't always been sure that I have as serious issues as other people, and maybe like Rebecca mentioned, there are others that could have benefited more than I. 

What I've realized is that, yes, I have some digestive issues and physical issues when it comes to gluten, but I think that for me, gluten affects me more psychologically. I think that I tend to have more emotional ups and downs, less patience, and less of an ability to deal with things that life throws at me when I'm eating gluten. Since doing this challenge, I have realized that I don't need to have foods with gluten to feel satisfied. I have realized that I don't feel that intense need to binge on these foods when I have a small amount...or so I thought. I attempted to see how I reacted to French bread - not a good idea on my part. I ate way more than I should have. Afterwards, I started a downward spiral, and the next day I felt miserable. I was tired and had no patience. I seem to have less motivation, feel more emotional, have less of an ability to deal with life's daily adventures, and I make other poor decisions with regards to my food.

I am realizing, very slowly, that it is going to be really important to pay attention to that blood test and the possible foods that affect me negatively. I am also realizing that I can do this. It is not going to be easy, but it will be easier than I think in my mind. Yes, I miss these foods that I shouldn't eat. Yes, my symptoms may not be as severe as everyone else's. And yes, it is going to be difficult to advocate for myself when I am around people that don't understand, want to understand, or even care why it is so important for me to eliminate these foods from my diet. What is important is to remember that those people and all those negative thoughts are not my problem.

It's important for me to remember that these changes are going to make me healthier. I'm going to be a better mother, wife, and person. I have a higher than average risk for breast and ovarian cancer since I have the BRCA2 gene mutation, and removing foods that cause inflammation (such as gluten) will hopefully help prevent cancer from taking hold in my body. So yes, Rebecca, you and I do belong here even if we don't think our issues are as serious as other people's issues. 



Dorothy said...

Hi Amy, I was so glad to read what you said about gluten and mood changes. Because that has been a big change for me too. The mood. I feel so much calmer with the GF eating. Yes, you (and Rebecca) definitely are part of this neat group of women. We're all discovering things, becoming aware, on our own journey. I love reading your stories.

Kaaren Carone said...

Amy, thanks for your post--so helpful to hear that someone else suffers more psychological than physical symptoms from gluten. (The physical ones come from some other foods for me.). Both my daughter (age 22) and I suffer severe depression when we get glutened and neither of us tested sensitive to wheat! It is nearly impossible to get anyone who doesn't live with us to believe that so we both resort to the "severe allergy" routine. While the "celebrity" of a GF lifestyle has done much for the availability of GF foods, I think it also has had somewhat of a backlash effect in that uneducated people think it is just another diet-of-the-moment and fail to give credence to the fact that gluten can have very adverse effects on some of us.


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