Why I’m Trying a Gluten-Free Diet

For some reason about a month ago, I started thinking about the fact that MAYBE I have a Gluten Sensitivity.  With the little bit that I knew about it, it sounded a bit like my unexplained symptoms.  After I started researching it a bit, I realized that A LOT of my issues can be symptoms from Gluten Sensitivities or Intolerance.  I honestly believe that my doctor has not seriously thought about this, because of the fact that I am overweight.  Many doctors do not expect gluten issues from overweight individuals, because another common symptom is unexplained weight-loss.  My doctor did have the test for Celiac Disease done awhile back.  He said that it was negative as he thought that it would be due to me not having weight-loss and being overweight.

I do not believe that I have Celiac, but you can have a negative test and really be Celiac.  I believe that I very likely have a Gluten Sensitivity, but not to the extreme of Gluten Intolerance.  I think that is the case, because I would think that SOME doctor I have had would have caught it by now.  I am also extremely hopeful that my issue is not to that extreme, so maybe that is affecting my reasoning…I can admit that…lol

I have had three doctors over the years who were certain that I have Lupus, because of my symptoms, but my tests are always negative.  My current doctor has actually told me that he still thinks that I have it, but that I am one of the very rare false negatives for this.  I have always half joked that my body really does not want anything new or different in it, because it almost always over-reacts to medicines and such.  I also have a very fragile immune system, and gluten issues can cause that.

Additionally, I have early-onset Parkinsons.  I was finally diagnosed almost two years ago, but have had definite symptoms for at least five years.  I am currently 44 years old.  When I started seriously researching gluten issues, I quickly discovered that many believe that going gluten-free has helped their Parkinsons tremendously… especially those who are early-onset.  They say that it has seemed to slow the progression and made some of their symptoms not as bad as before they went gluten-free.  There is currently no cure and Parkinsons DOES NOT get better (unless you are on the medicines that make it seem better).  There have not been any official tests, that I know of, but I figure that even if this is the only benefit I get from going gluten-free, it is a HUGE benefit!  So, why not try it out!

There are over 250 documented symptoms of a gluten sensitivity and everyone is different.  Of the “most common and most important” that I found at Gluten Intolerance School, I have about 23 of the around 45 symptoms listed.  I am currently on some medications for a few of them and just live with the others.

Some of the ones I have are the following:  anemia, ADD, a very confused digestive system…lol, fatigue, hair loss, infertility, depression, lactose intolerance, and numbness or tingling in hands and feet.  My current doctor and my neurologist were pretty certain that I had Peripheral Neuropathy for a couple of years, but were baffled that mine did not include one or two of the symptoms or test results that it basically always includes.  While I had several symptoms to a rather extreme, they did not think that I could be diagnosed with it.  This led to MRI’s and such looking for brain tumors, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.  I also have been diagnosed as having IBS, esophogitis, skin sensitivities, arthritis, asthma, and was previously diagnosed as having gastrointeritis.  All of which issues/symptoms I have found on some other lists of gluten sensitivity issues.  My son also has Asperger’s and I have Sensory Integration Disorder.  I know that many believe that those on the Autism Spectrum often benefit from a gluten-free diet, so that intrigues me, too.  If it could explain all (or at least some) of these issues and be taken care of with a gluten-free diet, that would be wonderful!

I am currently a little over a week as gluten-free and another week of almost gluten-free.  My system seems a bit shaken up with the change right now, so I think that maybe I am on the right path.  If I didn’t have an issue with gluten, why would removing it cause these problems?

My hubby and son are not going gluten-free at this time, so that seems to be making it a bit harder for me.  I have found, however, that my desire for some forbidden foods gets squelched pretty quick when I think about the fact that it might make me sick.  I am also thinking A WHOLE LOT more about what I plan to eat, so that seems to help with quantity and quality.  I cannot just stop at a drive-thru or just grab a sandwich… which is a good thing.  My son is really loving a few “healthier” gluten-free snack-type items that I have gotten at our Whole Foods store for him, so I figure that at least he is getting some healthier alternatives.  My main problem foods (ones that have gluten that I REALLY like to eat…lol) are: sandwiches/burgers, pasta, and pizza, so finding alternatives for those are a big focus for me right now… 🙂    As I progress through this experiment and possible life change, I plan to blog about some of my experiences, include some recipes that I really like, and reviews of tasty and not-so-tasty gluten-free alternatives. 

So, have you gone gluten-free?  If so, what tips do you have for me and others?  I need all the help that I can get…   🙂 

* Update ~ June 13, 2013

Within a few weeks to a month, I was off of my one Imodium a day for my IBS and feeling much better and IBS-free than anytime before going gluten free. It has been a little over eight months since I went gluten free and I am SO happy that I did. Yes, it complicates things like especially grocery shopping on a budget, going out to eat, road trips, or even going to a ball game… but it has been worth it.

I have not really noticed if my Parkinson’s is better, but it is not any worse. My regular doctor still does not believe that I need to be gluten free, because I did not test positive for Celiac and I am not skinny or losing a lot of weight… Biggest reason why I believe he does not agree is that he did not personally think of it and he is always very sure of his own decisions and diagnoses. That has ceased to bother me recently, because I have decided to change my primary doctor for a variety of reasons anyway. My chiropractor, whom I trust MUCH more and is personally much more knowledgeable in natural health, is proud of my decision and improvements. Most importantly… I can tell that I am MUCH better!  😉

As I have gone through this journey, I have gathered quite an impressive “Learning about Gluten-Free” Pinterest Board! When you check it out, go ahead and follow all of my boards (you can always unfollow any that do not interest you). I am forever adding new boards and breaking others down into more detailed topics. I have MANY boards regarding gluten free recipes and a big variety of other topics.

*  This was actually posted originally on my other blog in October 2012, but it still contains important information about topics such as a link between Parkinsons and gluten issues.


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