Most of my adult life I’ve tried out new eating regimes.
I was a vegetarian for about 18 months until I fell pregnant with Laura and thought bacon was more important than lentils.
I’ve done food combining, where you avoid mixing starches and proteins in the same meal. It means all the favourites are out fish and chip, cheese sandwiches, pizza, pasta and cheese, roast beef and Yorkies. You can imagine that didn’t last long. Especially as I spent most of my meal choices eating carbs and wondering why I wasn’t making any progress.
I tried the Blood Group diet by Peter D’Adamo. I have a lot of respect for this and have helped people adopt some of his principles for improved health. Interestingly I am probably about to go full circle with my current plan.
Did vegan for a spell, it really didn’t suit me at all. If you refer back to the blood group diet it’s no surprise. I am blood group O and we suit a Paleo diet better.
Gluten free, clean eating, sugar free, booze free, and heaven forbid coffee free all of these and the above have had some part in my adult life.
The one consistent theme for about 10 years has been a mainly gluten free diet. I’d go months not eating it at all and then choosing to eat pizza or a mince pie or my mum’s shortbreads knowing the consequences.
What are the consequences? Not what you might expect. Yes I get some bloating and rapid weight gain when I eat gluten but I also get outbreaks of a rash called Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH). I’ve had this since being pregnant with Laura in 1993 and for years no one could tell me what it was. It would come aggressively or not at all. I thought it was a herpes like condition and cut out all foods that aggravate cold sores like nuts and seeds, but still it persisted.
Then in 2012 I read Wheat Belly by William Davis MD and towards the back of the book he talks about
“Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), described as skin inflammation in the form of herpes, is yet another way that an immune reaction to wheat gluten can show itself outside of the intestinal tract. It is an itchy, herpes-like (meaning similar-looking bumps; it has nothing to do with the herpes virus) rash that persists and can eventually leave discoloured patches and scars. The most commonly affected areas are the elbows, knees, buttocks, scalp, and back, usually involving both sides of the body symmetrically. However, DH can also appear in less common ways, such as sores in the mouth, on the penis or vagina, or odd bruising over the palms. A skin biopsy is often required to identify the characteristic inflammatory response.”
I’ve never been so pleased as I was to read this paragraph! It was exactly as I was experiencing and no one had been able to tell me what it was, I was ecstatic. It made me even more determined to be gluten free.
And it did get better, but there were times when I’d appear to have been glutened and not known why.
When I got my Hashimmoto’s diagnosis with the high antibody readings I was already gluten free. Laura said that her first suggestion would have been to go gluten free, but given that I already was I was reacting to something else in my diet. It was at this point that I decided to find out for sure.
To be sure that you ready to be tested, you need to eat a variety of foods and consume them for 10 days.
So for 10 days in February/March I ate a range of foods that could be checked in one blood test.
I ate bread, cereal, crackers all the stuff I don’t normally eat. And over the course of 10 days I got more and more ill.
- My digestion completely seized up.
- My breathing became very shallow and I couldn’t catch my breath.
- I had the outbreaks on my skin.
- I had an underlying and relentless headache.
- And I was so rigidly stiff that I couldn’t even bend down to put my shoes on. All of me ached. When I went to bed at night I was kept awake by the pain of lying on my own body. It was relentless and horrible and I whilst I enjoyed the foods ( I do love this stuff) I also couldn’t wait to stop eating it and get back to normal.
Then you wait 25 days for your antibodies to develop.
I am hoping to get those results back in the middle of April (2018).
In the meantime I have read and completely enjoyed Why Isn’t My Brain Working? by Dr Datis Kharrazian which has confirmed the gluten association to thyroid malfunction, skin rashes, brain fog and intestinal damage.
His auto-immune protocol is strict but not impossible and I have decided to implement it and started after Easter.
And there we are. All up to date and waiting for blood test results and signs of improvement from my dietary changes. After a period of clean eating on this regime there’s a process of reintroduction to see how certain foods react with me, so this isn’t life long. However I can’t see a time when I eat gluten grains again, my long term health is too important to me to risk it for a piece of granary toast and marmalade or a slice of cake.