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Gluten Free questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I posted this in the allergy forum and didn't get any response there so maybe I will post a more general question here:


DH has had digestive issues his whole life but in the past few months it has gotten worse. The only thing we can seem to link his episodes of digestive sickness is wheat. He sees a doctor on Friday but we are thinking about going gluten free in the meantime. So a few questions...


1.) how long on a gluten free diet before you see improvement of symptoms?


2.) are there other health benefits to going gluten free, even if you don't have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease?


3.) is there a good book or web resource anyone would recommend?

post #2 of 12

You may know this already, but if you want an official diagnosis of celiac disease (or the possibility of getting an official diagnosis), then he has to be eating gluten before the testing. So if you go gluten free now, and then later you want to test for celiac, I believe you'd have to start giving him wheat again.


In the absence of celiac or gluten sensitivity, it seems to me that the main benefit of going gluten-free is often that people end up eating much more nutrient dense foods and seeing improvements in their overall health status as a result. Your mileage may vary, of course.  smile.gif

post #3 of 12

My daughter has a speech delay. I asked a friend when her speech delayed son (who is now fine) started talking and she said after she took him off gluten. We tried gluten free and 3 weeks later her speech exploded. We don't know if it's actually from the gluten or if it was a coincidence, but since we love a gluten free diet, we decided to just keep her gluten free. I have since learned a lot of people will have neurological, but not necessarily intestinal, problems from gluten. 


I have been told that a lot of people with celiacs initially have problems with dairy. After they go off the gluten, it takes a year or so for their guts to heal to a level that they can sometimes start using dairy again.


Our daughter has had diarrhea since about 6 months of age. Long story short, last year we went to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Since our daughter was growing and doing well (except for speech delay which her biological family has) and because blood tests did not indicate celiacs, we did not do biopsy. GI doc said she probably had something called Toddler Diarrhea and she'd outgrow it by 4.


So, fastforward to this spring when we took her off gluten. Diarrhea continued. Another long story short: We went dairy free (and continued without sensitive foods.) Her poops got better. Today she got some half and half and had diarrhea again. We'll see what she's like the next couple of days.


It sure seems like it's dairy. The questions are: does she have celiacs that was affecting her speech or her bowels? If she does and it was effecting her bowels, is that why the dairy was bothering her? Or does gluten not bother her bowels but only dairy does? Ultimately, for us, for now, it doesn't matter. I LOVE being gluten free just because it has forced me to make healthier foods for our family. (As long as you avoid all the processed gluten free foods out there.) I also am a vegetarian who has wanted to go dairy free for years and this has forced me to do it. At this point our daughter has been gluten free long enough that we cannot have her tested without reintroducing gluten. We're not going to do that so it really doesn't matter. When she gets older we can re-evaluate all this.


Regarding your situation, trying him without wheat for a couple days will not effect the test. I don't know if you'll even see a change in his gut in that amount of time. Is there any chance it could be dairy related? A couple days without dairy might be more telling than a couple days without gluten.


Gluten is everywhere: Wheat (durum, semolina, kamut, spelt) rye, barley, and triticale. Oats are questionable so we just stay away from them. Then there's caramel color, malt, soy sauce, etc. Almost all fast food french fries have wheat coatings. (In and Out burger doesn't.) Here's a good quick start guide: http://www.livingwithout.com/resources/gluten_free.html


I went to a gluten free food fair here a few months back. The local celiac group was selling this book. http://www.amazon.com/gluten-syndrome-wheat-causing-harm/dp/0473124726/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311226801&sr=1-11 I bought it, though I haven't read it yet.


You'll need to talk with this doctor about your husband's condition. If he is gluten sensitive, there is a HUGE world of gluten free living out there. As I said, I avoid all the gluten free products. They're just not that healthy and don't always taste very good. I have found lots of gluten free alternatives (and am now finding dairy free alternatives) that taste SOOOO yummy and are so healthy for you. Today I made gluten and dairy free cupcakes with almond flour and yummy whipped chocolate frosting. Almond flour is so healthy. And I'm really annoyed because my dogs seem to have eaten the almond flour crackers I made. I really like those and wanted some tonight. And for dinner tonight we had egg burritos made with homemade mung bean tortillas. Again, really yummy and really healthy. Check out www.elanaspantry.com for some great recipes. She uses a lot of almond flour and coconut flour. I'd also be willing to share some of the food ideas I've discovered. Feel free to pm me.

post #4 of 12

Again.. you need to be eating gluten to take the test.


Within in a few weeks you should feel pretty good maybe even immediately. It takes 6 weeks to get all the gluten out of your system, any contamination and you have to start over.


If you don't want to do the biopsy, you can check out enterolab.com  it's a stool test and while gross a lot less invasive.


Here's the thing. If you are allergic to gluten.. yes the digestion pains are awful and the most unbearable thing that you want to get rid of. However, what is happening inside is your body is attacking the gluten in an immune response. It then cuts up your intestine in this battle of theirs and then your intestine scabs over making it so you cannot absorb any nutrients and then you could die. So there are reasons besides the pain to stop eating gluten (not just "wheat*). Gluten is hidden in everything.. soy sauce, barley malts in cereals.. it's in everything and you will need to figure it out.


What I would do is when I'm in pain go back to the basics. Boiled chicken and rice.. nothing but maybe salt and pepper added. I do that for a week or however long it takes for my stomach to stop hurting then I add other foods in when I feel strong enough... Keep a diary because you may not notice the initial reaction until the next day or so.


I remember when I first started the only cereal back in the day was Corn Pops that was gluten free. I started to feel better than I got really sick again. Ended up they changed their recipe and added gluten back in. So you always even trusted and old true foods you've been using.. always have to recheck the ingredients. Now they actually have gluten free written on the boxes! So nice! Kix is gluten free and all the rice chex and they just came out with a gluten free rice crispy cereal. It's different than the normal blue box with barley.


Most fast food places add wheat to their fries and grilled chicken even or share the oil the cook nuggets in with the fries. It's a lo of work but worth the relief of pain.


And you can develop gluten over time if you carry the gene.




And if you really want to skip all the tests.. go ahead go gluten free completely for a few months and if you feel better you have celiac or intolerance and don't worry about going through the hoops. I suggested that to my gastro and he thought it was worse than death to do a gluten free diet but yeah... it's not that bad. There's lots of options.

Edited by babygirlie - 7/22/11 at 11:34am
post #5 of 12

Oat protien is extremly close to the wheat protien. Some people can do gluten free oats (they use seperate machinery so less cross contamination). Oats kill me. It's just way too close. I wish I could and keep trying now and then and end up on the floor in pain. :(

post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post
 my endo and he thought it was worse than death to do a gluten free diet but yeah... it's not that bad. There's lots of options.

So funny, I love being gluten free and I'm not even sensitive to gluten. I just loved the world of healthy, yummy foods it has opened to me.


post #7 of 12

FYI, there may be some 'withdrawl' symptoms (bathroom changes, irritability, headaches, etc) the first week or two off gluten. everyone is different.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for all the information everybody!


DH went to the doctor's office yesterday. They agreed his issues certainly aren't normal or comfortable. They are starting with some bloodwork to rule out any liver/gallblader/kidney issues and going from there. They think going gluten free for awhile is a good idea too and we will see if that makes his symptoms go away. If the bloodwork is all clear then he may see a GI specialist although if the gluten-free diet clears everything up we may skip that entirely and just assume he is gluten intolerant / possible celiac.


We have actually enjoyed being gluten free so far, it gives us an oppurtunity to eat healthier and less processed foods (which at least I didn't care for much anyway). The only thing DH really misses is beer, lol!

post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by CrunchyMama19 View Post
. The only thing DH really misses is beer, lol!

There are actually several gluten free beers out there (my husband is allergic to wheat and several other grains). Look for Redbridge or Bards. We are actually also currently looking for a good homemade dark beer recipe as my husband had just gotten into beer making before being diagnosed a couple of years ago.

post #10 of 12

You can eat crappily gluten free also :P


You can buy Redbridge beer at Walmart. ;)

post #11 of 12

I have a loaf of this bread http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-bread-20/ in the oven right now. It's easy to make and SOOOO good. My two year old scarfs it down. (So do I.)

post #12 of 12

I have been GF for about a month now. I have crohns and I thought it would be a good idea. I have also had repeated early losses and all my screenings have come back normal. I read that cutting gluten may help. I dont feel as great as I thought I would, but I am giving it my best shot. I figure a 6 month trial should be sufficient to see if it helps. Once I replaced my pasta with rice pasta, and got wheat free soy sauce and worchestershire sauce, I found it easy. I dont do bread often but when I do I just buy the bread mix and pop it in the oven. I do GF cereal for breakfast or I bake GF muffins and keep them on hand. Eggs are also good anytime.

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