Thursday, October 23, 2008

Diet odyssey II

I felt great when I stuck to my diet, but over time, I lapsed, thinking maybe I was better, maybe things had shifted again. Also, I realized it was annoying to eat out with me and all these restrictions made me a difficult house guest. Not that there isn’t plenty of good food out there that is gluten/corn/dairy/soy free (like, for example, all fruits and vegetables, rice, potatoes, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, chicken, beef, lamb, etc. etc.), but if you are not used to it, you are not used to it. I didn’t think my “sensitivity” to these foods was a good enough reason to refuse eating something someone had made for me. If I was only “sensitive,” having a little every now and then wouldn’t hurt, right? It’s not like I would go into anaphylactic shock.

Meanwhile, I had been hearing more and more about laboratory tests for sensitivities to different foods from several different sources. I decided that if I was going to stick to a restrictive diet, I had to know for sure and have a good reason for my food choices, otherwise, I would waver. So I got tested through for gluten, soy, dairy, egg, yeast, and human antibodies and had the genetic test for celiac (they didn’t offer corn).

It was last May that I got the results: elevated antibodies to gluten, soy, and, to a lesser extent, dairy and human proteins. Wow. Pretty much what the chiropractor had told me. I also had a gene for celiac and a gene for gluten sensitivity. And there was evidence that the gluten had damaged my small intestines, as it will if you are celiac.

Though it is a shock to me, it looks like I am celiac. I was stunned at first, but then it dawned on me that this is really a good thing because there is something so simple and harmless I can to do to feel good: stay away from soy and gluten. I don’t have to take any medications, there are no side effects, I just have good health to look forward to.

I started a renewed gluten/soy-free diet, and within a few days, the eczema that had recently flared up disappeared. My skin cleared up. I felt more energetic and less bloated and inflamed. I feel overall healthier now that my body is not working so hard against these subtle yet chronic irritants.

So I guess that is where this Boulder diet odyssey leaves me. I no longer eat gluten (wheat, rye, barley) because it starts an immune reaction that damages my intestines. Even a small amount is detrimental. I avoid soy as it does not sit well with my digestion either. To a lesser degree, I try to avoid dairy and corn. I don’t find my new diet that much of a burden, on the contrary, I find it of great benefit to my health, but if I’m “weird” about food, now you know why. My intestines thank you.

1 comment:

cda said...

Just writing to say "You're welcome" to your intestines. So glad you found all this out. The other thing that's good about having a label for why you have to stick to this diet (rather than a vague "sensitivity") is that other people get it and are more supportive. Now I've got to go look at your etsy stuff!