It all began with my first 28 day detox in January 2014. I had been off sugar for a few months and began the 28 day cleanse that removed all inflammatory foods. The cleanse focuses on the top 5 foods that people have sensitivities to; soy, gluten, corn, dairy and eggs. For 28 days we all ate a very specific menu that had no animal proteins and very minimal grains and after the initial shock to the system most of us felt fantastic. I lost nearly 10 lbs. on my first cleanse and I saw an increase in my energy and mental clarity. It was great, but as soon as I started to add the other foods back in I noticed a mild digestive reaction, my itchy ears and vertigo returned, but nothing serious. I knew I was eating something that I made me feel less than my best. I suspected it was gluten or corn, but didn't really want to put forth the effort at that time to figure it out.
I did the same cleanse in January of this year and had the same response. I decided this year I would figure it out. That was one of my goals when I started working with a fellow Health Coach. I'm no different than anyone else, many of us have a good idea of what we need to do to be healthy, but we can talk ourselves out of the actions we should be taking. I needed someone to be accountable to, someone who will call me on my excuses and to push me to stick with it. Working with Pam has been a great benefit to me. She helped me stick to the food elimination long enough to figure out which food item was getting in the way of my goals.
This is what my food sensitivity looks like. I had been avoiding grains in general since mid-May. I had been strict about anything that contains gluten, but occasionally had rice and corn (usually a tortilla). I was waiting for my 8 week anniversary of being gluten free and had planned on going out to Macaroni Grill to really load up on pasta and bread to see if I have a reaction. About a week before I had planned this amazing dinner I ordered a Tostada at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, this was an item I don't think I've ever ordered there before. About half way through the dish I noticed the tortilla at the bottom was flour not corn, so I stopped eating the tortilla. I probably had about 1/2 of a 6" tortilla. I figured since I'd already introduced gluten I should add a bit more and the next day got breaded zucchini sticks. I woke up the next morning with a bloated belly and gas. As the day went on I noticed my ears were itchy and my vertigo was flaring up. I gained 2" on my waist from that small amount of wheat flour. My energy also decreased dramatically, and I needed a nap for 3-4 days in a row, I had a harder time concentrating as well. I haven't had gluten since those 2 days and it took over a week for my belly to go back to its normal measurement.
There are many reasons for food sensitivities, it's possible I'll need to avoid gluten for the rest of my life, it's also possible that I can heal my gut and be able to have it occasionally without a reaction. It is very unlikely that I'll ever be able to go back to having gluten on a regular basis without accepting a lower quality of life. My plan for now is to be strict about keeping it off my plate for a full year then try it again to see if it is an option and if I have a similar reaction I'll live without it.
I've decided not to switch to gluten free products. Pastas, breads and cookies were the few processed food items that I was still eating on a regular basis. To me it doesn't matter what other flour they are made of, they are not good choices for people who want to reduce inflammation and keep their blood sugar balanced. I'm sure I'll occasionally eat a gluten free cookie or hamburger bun, but I'm really focusing on eating whole foods.
I'll also be looking into some tests. I think it could be useful to see if I have the MTHFR gene mutation. I want to do some research to see what the best way to test and who can help me interpret the tests and help me understand what else I would benefit from changing.