Gluten Free

My sister has self diagnosed herself as being allergic to gluten and has now gone crazy in her eating habits, where all of Thanksgiving and Christmas has been gluten talk. She wanted us to all cook gluten free. I know she has been to a ton of doctors lately with many issues, but when I asked her if she was diagnosed with this condition she stated it was too late as she had already stopped eating gluten. Of course she insists that her MD agrees that I probably also have this issue and should start eating gluten free as well (along with the whole world). Before I do research on her craziness, I was wondering if you gluten free eaters try to cut back on your gluten intake or obsess about every drop of gluten that enters your body. I told her the ham I bought for Christmas was gluten free and she asked if I looked into how it was processed. She is on the internet 24/7 every time we are about to eat something. Every drop or just try to cut back??

If you have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, then yes, you do need to be careful about even trace amounts of wheat/gluten in foods or products being cross-contaminated during preparation/processing.

If you are just eating gluten free because you feel better while doing so or just because you want to, then you don't need to be as careful.

If you are the latter, though, please do not call yourself allergic... Just say you can't or don't want to eat gluten.

Celiac disease is very serious, and those with it suffer severe short and long-term effects, and must scrupulously avoid gluten. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity appears to be a myth, based on the best available current medical science. Some folks think that non-celiac gluten sensitivity sufferers actually have issues with FODMAPs (google it).

I have not gone to the extent of an actual diagnosis, mainly due to cost, but I have found that eliminating all wheat/gluten has resolved a major issue for me. Every, EVERY time I have even a small amount of gluten I suffer stomach upset and horrible diarehea. I finally tried removing gluten from my diet for about a month. Then one day treated myself to about two bites of churro. Bad, bad idea.

I also know people who claim gluten intolerence yet think nothing of having pizza or cereal. That would kill me. I would be sick for at least two days after a pizza dinner. I do not claim to know a lot about the science of gluten and it's issues. All I know is that I get sick as hell if I eat foods with gluten.

I know people who are gluten sensitive even though they show up negative for celiac. They say going completely off gluten cures everything from migraines to lack of energy, from joint pain to bloating. It may not be substantiated by current medical testing, but I have no doubt that gluten sensitivity is real. It may not be celiac disease, and it may not be an allergy, but that doesn't mean that many, many people don't feel better off gluten. If it works for her, then it works.

She should be aware, though, that this is not an allergy. An allergy causes an immediate hypersensitivity reaction. There is a theory that gluten sensitivity is a low-level form of allergy, but it hasn't been thoroughly researched, nor has it been proven. However, it still wouldn't be an "allergy" as we know allergies. If it were an allergy, it would be helped by an antihistamine, and she could get to a point where she'd die if she ate any gluten. While I don't discount the suffering of people who are gluten-sensitive, it doesn't compare to anaphylaxis. Try to make her see that, so she doesn't cause future problems for us allergy-sufferers.

The whole world loves a craze, and this one is BIG. I would find out before I changed my diet. But I like whole grains and bread and pizza and I don't suffer belly trouble. Here is what I think of the whole thing:

Your sister should have been tested for celiac disease prior to giving up gluten. She can decide to consume gluten for period of eight to twelve weeks and get tested. Less time is needed for a biopsy.

I have celiac disease. I had no intestinal issues when I was diagnosed. I did have anemia which was noted by my GI when I went for a routine colonoscopy. My other docs knew about my anemia, but it turns out that my genetic anemia was masking iron-deficiency anemia, along from a bout of menopausal hell. Needless to say, I was shocked. An endoscopy (biopsies) revealed severe intestinal damage. Again, I had no GI issues at all!

I enjoyed a gluten free Thanksgving with my family. Turns out four of us have celiac disease as it runs in families. Yes, I am crazy about avoiding gluten. We basically avoid eating out completely due to cross contamination risks. I hauled gluten free food to all our holiday functions this past week.

Celiac disease is serious. I have suffering from fractures doing NOTHING as I now have osteoporosis. Hopefully, I will regain my health by avoiding gluten.

Here is a link to the University of Chicago’s celiac website concerning testing. There is another page listing 300 known symtoms of celiac disease as well.

Encourage your sister to take the challenge. No one should give up gluten based on a guess.

I wouldn't say that it's a "myth" — there are plenty of conditions that were "all in patients' heads" until testing became available (or became sufficiently sensitive) to identify it. Celiac was one of those, and it hasn't been all that long since celiac sufferers were labeled as hypochondriacs. So please, don't classify something as "woo" just because the best available medical science doesn't recognize it. If people find they feel better by eliminating a food ingredient, then it's quite likely they DO have an immune issue or enzymatic profile that impedes digestion... even if medical science hasn't yet gotten to where it can say that definitively.

I have never seen an allergist, but I used to get horribly sick if I ate even small amounts of cow dairy (goat or sheep never bothers me). However, since I started taking ranitidine (which happens to be a histamine blocker) I can manage small servings without much problem... but woe to me if I forget the before-bedtime dose after having butter on my potatoes. That, to me, says I'm allergic, in the proper sense of the word, to cow dairy. Do I need to go see an allergist? Nope. I just need to avoid the food that makes me feel sick.

Medical testing is far from perfect. I'm a big believer in using it when it's available, but also, listening to what your system tells you about something. Anyone who feels better without gluten, shouldn't eat gluten. It makes no sense to eat something and feel bad afterward.

My husband is very gluten sensitive. Literally a molecule of gluten and he will spend the entire day in the bathroom in extreme distress. He has never been diagnosed with celiac or even gluten sensitivity, but he is a scientist and did his own experimentation. Originally he thought his GI issues were lactose intolerance so he tried rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, lactaid milk, all on his Cheerios. When he reacted to every bowl of cereal he realized it was NOT the milk, it was the CHEERIOS. He has gotten obsessive about avoiding gluten to the extreme - probably about as much or more than your sister and talks about it non-stop to anyone who will listen. We don't go out to dinner anymore unless he has thoroughly researched the menu beforehand. I personally think he just likes the attention that is paid when he says his food must be Gluten Free because the manager of the restaurant has to come over and discuss with him his sensitivity and then deliver his food personally. We now have 2 toasters, 2 butter dishes, so my gluten doesn't contaminate his food. I still enjoy my gluten :) but if we're having spaghetti and meatballs I now make it with spaghetti squash instead of pasta and make sure the meatballs are prepared gluten free for him. It's no big deal for me to find gluten free alternatives in the grocery store since just about everyone is jumping on the GF bandwagon. I do get bored with the same old restaurants time after time though.

I have had a reaction to gluten starting years ago, rashes, intestinal upset, it took me years to figure out that was happening for some reason. I finally have cut it out for the most part. I was tested years ago- negative and recently tested again but I wasn't eating gluten for a few weeks before that test so I'm not sure if it is correct or not. People who have celiac do have to be very careful as they can end up in the hospital with cross contamination. I wouldn't go to these extremes in your sister's case but if she wants to eliminate it that is her choice. Another reason I have eliminated it is my bg reaction- it goes crazy nearly every time too. According to the celiac site and a celiac blog I read for information some people can also have celiac with milder and varying symptoms but still suffer damage over time and end up with serious problems. I recently read an article that seemed to be saying that once the damage is done even eating gluten free doesn't seem to help repair cellular damage in the intestines in many cases.

I gave up eating not just gluten but all grains. I don't eat processed stuff and limit my carbs. It's not for everyone but it sure works for me. Haven't felt better in years. You may go through withdrawal if you cut the grains. :p

There is a difference between "being allergic to gluten" and celiac disease. An endoscopy and some blood testing will answer the question. It's important to be tested for celiac disease (which is another AI and can be dx'd and treated) before trying a gluten-free diet. Eliminating gluten may change the results of blood tests so that they appear to be normal. If in doubt, get checked out!

Nobody gives up eating wheat for nothing :-) We are so much addicted to it.
Ask her what health benefits she is getting which made her to give it up.
There is a strong correlation between wheat allergy/celiac and diabetes. Now since you have D , it may be possible that you have some form of allergies too.
I also self diagnosed my wheat allergy and then 2 years down the line line doctor diagnosed me with type 2. I insisted that it would be type 1 and I turned out to be GAD positive.

Oh she's never even had a blood test to check for celiac disease? Her doc, if he/she is worth it, should just order one to either diagnose it or let her get on with some other more useful obsession. If she truly has celiac, then my understanding is that you really need to avoid even small amounts of it. If not, she is obsessing for no reason, and causing others to suffer. I was recently told that after 31 years of T1, my kidneys are showing wear and tear and I have to follow a low-sodium diet. Well, sodium is in darn near everything, and it's been a real pain! I just don't understand why people subject themselves to extreme eating with no foundation for it. But I know I'm preaching to the choir. : ) Why don't you get yourself tested, because if you're Type 1 that's a good idea to do every couple of years anyway, and insist that she gets one too?

I absolutely did! Mind you, I was still eating tiny amounts of oatmeal (for logistical reasons), but I would go through periods of craving every grain on the planet, and I often had low symptoms with no lows until the withdrawal finally stopped.

You all are so great and you get the fact that my sister is driving me CRAZY. She does state she feels better without eating it. I believe I was tested for celiac in the past and was negative. When I see endo I will ask again. I found this news piece to be very interesting and perhaps she is suffering from indigestible sugars

I tend to believe this gluten free craze is a fad unless you have celiac, but I went away over Christmas and ate toast for breakfast. I have eczema, but keep my skin fairly clear of it, but 5 days of eating wheat and it came back on my hands and face. Not sure whether it is wheat or gluten, but since I generally eat low carb neither feature very much in my usual diet.

Food allergies can definitely trigger eczema. I think there has been research proving this. You can get patch tests or blood tests done (that detect IgE antibodies towards that food - this is differnet from celiac disease) to see which foods trigger it. It's not necessarily wheat that triggers it, though, it can be different food allergies for each person. I'm allergic to sesame seeds and my main reaction is eczema on my face (except for me it starts within about 20 minutes of eating sesame and lasts for days) and my throat getting irritated.

There seems to be a spectrum of Celiac. I have friends with it who can eat traces, but my cousin who has it had to throw out all of her hand creams and makeup because apparently they contain gluten. We could all use less carbs I guess, but gluten is not the problem for like 95% of people. If she's that crazy about her diet that it's very inconvenient to everyone else, she should bring her own food.

Gluten can be an autoimmune trigger. You have to eliminate it completely and totally for 6 months before introducing it back in to see if it truly effects you. I had a blood test recently that showed I am extremely sensitive to wheat, barley and gluten but I do not have celiacs or symptoms that I know of. If she is trying to figure out if she is sensitive she will have to cut it out and needs her loved ones support. She will ask a lot of questions, need to lookup everything and need the ones around her to be sympethic. It’s not fun or easy, but worth it. You’d be surprised what has gluten in it (soy sauce, most marinades, things with flour sprinkled on it for fun).