Monday, July 18, 2011

Results--My Wheat Free Experiment

Ok, well, way back here in October, I decided to test myself and go wheat free to see if wheat had an affect on me.  I have been off it and back on it and off it and on it and off it since that time to see if I could tell any difference.  I have told myself there is no difference and my health issues were not related.  I really hated jumping on a "bandwagon" because if there is nothing truly scientific about some "health fad" I want nothing to do with it.  I did it to prove to myself, I guess, that this was just something I could write off as another health fad I need not be concerned with.  It seemed like everyone was going wheat free suddenly, whether they needed to or not.  I'm sorry, but I really like wheat! I love being able to still use some low carb products that have wheat in them.  But...

To my surprise, my sinus inflammation began to clear up.  Hmmm... was it the wheat or my imagination?  I wasn't really keeping a journal, which I should have to truly see. But then there were times when I'd go back on wheat and every time my sinuses would become inflamed again.  I'd go off the wheat and sometimes it would clear up and sometimes it wouldn't.  So I told myself, well since it is not clearing up every time, it must be coincidence.  But then this little voice in my head said, "what about traces of wheat in ingredients you are using, or cross-contamination? You haven't been checking for that."  Hmmm... so I realized I was still using my family toaster for my gluten free bread to toast it in the morning.  I quit using it and my sinus inflammation cleared up.  NO!!!  You're kidding me! I have to be that careful????  NO!  But yes, it seems so.  I began reading labels also, and looking for what those hidden wheat sources are in things.  *Sigh* -- really, I didn't think I had to go that far!

Unfortunately, every time my sinus inflammation is bothering me I check everything I've eaten and read labels for ingredients and find some trace of wheat in something.  So, I'm facing facts now.  Wheat seems to be the culprit.  Also, much to my surprise, I suddenly began to notice that joint pain was pretty much gone.  Now, I'm no scientist or doctor, and I've also added cod-liver oil and turmeric to my diet recently which is anti-inflammatory, and so it may be what I've added and not what I've taken away.  My IBS (for my daily diarrhea and having to use Immodium to get out the door), began to clear up, but I also have been using kefir daily in my diet and when it really improved was after doing a Grapefruit Seed Extract enema along with the kefir use.  I was having problems with yeast infection from antibiotic use for strep throat back in the Spring, and all this got me finally through it, together with taking Oil of Oregano daily.  So since this has not been a scientific, controlled study, I can't say for sure the wheat thing was causing the IBS problem and going off has helped, I don't know, but I suspect that since it seems to cause inflammation in my body, that it certainly has helped in getting me through all this, to go off it as well as using the other treatments.

I've had sinus inflammation and stuffy nose ever since I can remember.  I became addicted to nasal spray in my teens, and after reading scare stories of what that can cause started to seek answers for it later in life, but nothing helped.  I developed Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction in my 30s and was bedridden for a couple years much of the time.  I got better, had a hysterectomy at 43 and relapsed really bad.  I began searching the internet for answers at that point.  I read about candida infections and went on a candida diet, using natural antifungals and started taking lots of supplements, and slowly but surely began to improve.  I regained my health to some degree and was able to function again, normally, for the most part, but never to the point where I did not have to be careful to get my nap or resting time daily, and to be careful of not over-doing.  I eventually was able to get a part-time job and work again.  But one thing I noticed while on the candida diet was that my nose was more clear.  I sort of went, "hmmmm..." and blew it off. I eventually went back to eating wheat.

I ended up having to have surgery on one side of my nose because I was breathing through a pin-hole, as the dr. put it.  I was miserable.  He did a turbinate reduction to reduce the turbinates and open up the passage way so I could breathe again.  It worked and for 8 yrs. I was doing great.  In the last 2 years however, it has again been problematic, and I did not want to go through another surgery!  The surgery meant panic attacks and misery for 2 weeks after with complete blocked up nose--no way!  So it's been wonderful to find that this is clearing up and I can breathe by just changing my diet!  Even though I love my wheat, I really grieve losing it, I am also happy to discover there is something besides surgery or drugs with horrible side affects that I can do to feel normal.

As for my energy level, that has not improved.  Maybe it will in time.  I don't know.  I can hope. I can function normally for the most part, and have energy in my mornings, but afternoons--forget it.  I have to have my nap in the afternoon, and evenings I have enough energy to cook supper and clean up and then try to stay awake until bedtime.  I have to have my days when I stay in bed and stay quiet and lay low and let my body recover when I've had a lot of activity or a lot of social interaction.  I suspect I have adrenal fatigue and things normal people don't consider stressful, are too much stress for my adrenal system and wipe me out.  I find even good stress wipes me out.  Good times with family and friends can put me in bed for a day or so to be absolutely quiet and still until I feel strength again.  I don't know that not eating wheat can remedy that.  It's not a cure-all.  It would be nice if there were a cure-all, or a magic bullet.

I was feeling a bit down and depressed that I can't go to a family gathering or social event, or eat out and enjoy all the good food, but I was reminded, by the Lord I believe, that I can be thankful for all the good gluten-free, low carb foods I have available to me to tickle my taste buds and fill me up and make me healthier.  God has provided so many good foods for me to enjoy.  I have nothing to feel sorry for myself for.  I have much to be thankful for.  I am very thankful that I seem to have an answer for pain and inflammation that has been causing me misery for years.  I'm wondering what else I'll discover as I continue to leave the wheat behind.  When I was missing a particular food yesterday, at a family reunion, I realized that the food I make for myself tastes just as good as the food I've given up, and maybe even better.  I've discovered new foods, and new tastes along the way that I would not have.  Some of my taste has changed.  One day I indulged in some bread when I went out to eat, and was surprised to discover it didn't taste all as great as I thought it would.  It wasn't the treat to my taste buds I thought it would be.  It wasn't any better than what I am able to enjoy every day.  It certainly wasn't worth what I suffered after.  I think we fool ourselves sometimes.  We make ourselves believe the "forbidden fruit" is so good and we must have it.  We really don't have to have it.  I'm finding out I really am not deprived at all.  I've just fooled myself to think I was.  It's all in how you look at it.

I went into low carbing kicking and screaming inside.  I knew I had to when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, but did it very reluctantly.  It took me a year to quit feeling sorry for myself.  Then I actually began to like it.  I wasn't hungry anymore and I felt better.

I have also gone into this gluten free way of eating kicking and screaming inside.  But I'm finding the benefits far out weigh the little bit of pleasure to my taste buds for a few minutes.  I am also finding I have many good things to please my taste buds that are better for my body.  So my wheat free experiment has now become my wheat free way of life.

17 comments:

  1. Love this post. It is great to hear about how you are overcoming. I feel the same on so many things you touched on. When people hear that we eat low carb for John's Diabetes, they always wonder how we can give up all those carbs. When I make an effort, we can have a low carb version of most anything we miss. Sometimes I too get feeling sorry for myself that almost everything has to be home made. But, I have to say, his health is worth it. It is odd how dietitians always assume no one can stick to a low carb diet long term, and refuse to consider the possibility.

    My sons seem to have a chronic stuffiness too. I may do some experimentation myself to see of that could be a problem for them too. Gluten free is not too hard for those of us who already low carb. I appreciate your testimony, Ginny. Keep us updated.

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  2. I'm the same way. When I don't eat wheat, my IBS goes away. When I eat just a little wheat, it comes back. I also have lots of inflammation, aches and pains when I am eating wheat. I know Jesus ate bread in the Bible so at first I couldn't believe that wheat could be bad! I've been reading about the differences of wheat they ate in the Bible and the wheat we have today.
    I found some good info about wheat at
    DR. William Davis's site -The heart scan blog and other places that have helped me understand wheat problems better.
    Thanks for sharing with us! Love your blog and your recipes!

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    1. can wheat like they had in Bible times be had today?

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    2. Not that I'm aware of. I think it is a completely different plant even if it is organic because the seed us still altered. Not sure about that but it is what I heard somewhere. You could do a search I suppose and see if you find other information.

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  3. Thanks Lisa and Penny, for your thoughts! Penny I wondered the same thing... what is wrong with our wheat today? But wheat today is not the wheat God created! I know much of it is genetically changed. I'll have to take a look at Dr. William Davis's site. Sounds interesting.

    Lisa, wish I could get my very non-compliant family to go along with me on this! I think all of them would benefit. Maybe some day. It's nice when your kids are still at the age where you can make diet decisions for them. :) At least to some degree.

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  4. Ginny, your story is touching and incredibly interesting. You are so clever to figure all of this out. You are in tune with your body more so than many of us. I am glad you find time to rest. It does sound like you have had too much stress in your life and adrenal fatigue is probably the cause.

    With less inflammation, we can keep a slimmer figure. That's a happy side effect!

    I find gluten-free, low-carb and sugar free is not that tough to do when I am at home. The temptations arrive when I go out. It is exponentially more difficult not to cheat. I am working on it by remembering to take food with me to the apartment and city.

    My husband's blood pressure is much better and his nose would always run (even when I first met him) - but now he is fine on a gluten-free diet - and he is losing weight more easily. Me, I'm not sure what the effects of being gluten-free are going to be but in time I might figure it out.

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  5. Thanks Jennifer! That's great how your husband's blood pressure and nose have gotten better. Wish I could get my hubby on this. He has issues I know would improve! And yes, I agree, it is not hard to do at home, but it's when you are out away from home. One needs to plan ahead always for those times or go hungry. I have found restaurants to be very good about it for the most part when you tell them, but still... it means the choices on the menu for you are limited and not what you'd make for yourself or choose. Sort of takes the fun out of going out. I'm still working on that aspect of it all.

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  6. Me too, Ginny - working at that aspect. :) If you have any tips on that in time - please do blog about it.

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  7. Will do! Wouldn't it be nice if someone started a chain of low carb, gluten free restaurants?

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  8. Ginny, thank you so much for this post - it really is something I needed to get me to give a wheat-free diet an honest chance. I had a bad bout of "something" that sent me to the ER a few weeks ago. The ER doctor actually suggested I find a doctor who would do food allergy testing. I think the best thing is for me to do the food test on myself. I would really love to find help for my CFS/Fibro that has come back.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

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  9. Sandra, I hope you do find the answers! These bodies are so complex. I would say wheat is the first place to start. I've been reading the "Wheat Belly" blog lately which is an eye opener about what our wheat of today is compared to what wheat once was. Basically, it is not really wheat! So no wonder so many people are finding that they cannot tolerate it these days.

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  10. Wow! this really encouraged me. I've had some of the same problems you have had. Yeast, boarderline Type 2 Diabetic, and so tired all the time. I've been doing a strict low carb diet for 6+ weeks now and I can tell I'm getting a bit better. I am glad to read you are getting better in some areas. I am wondering if your diabetes is under control?

    I have been using coconut oil and it has helped me tremendously with craving sweets and breads etc. I also take an expensive pro-biotic to help combat the yeast.

    Yesterday I came across this verse in the bible and it comforted me.

    Deuteronomy 29:6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.

    You have a great day and thank you for all your fantastic recipes! I came up with a low carb cheese cake this week to make for Thanksgiving.

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  11. I'm so glad it was an encouragement to you! Yes, I keep my diabetes under control by low carbing. I try to stick to Dr. Bernstein's 6-12-12 rule, but don't always. So far have not had to be on meds but I think it is progressing and I will eventually. In spite of my low carbing, I will eventually need some more help I'm afraid. But I've kept it pretty good for 5 years.

    I'm still in this battle, and suspect I may have other issues I have not discovered as of yet, but nothing has helped me more than the low carbing. I've come a long long way! And giving up wheat has helped though it has not been the miracle cure that some people seem to find in giving it up. It is a huge start though.

    You have a great day too, and thanks for sharing! :) I hope you enjoy your cheesecake on Thanksgiving.

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  12. I have an exciting story to tell about my gluten intolerance and how going gluten free has changed my life. 3 months ago I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Hashimoto hypo-thyroiditis, the doctor wanted to start me on synthroid with a TSH of 6.8, and positive Hashimoto antibodies, I told the doctor I wanted to research this disease and figure out the underlying auto-immune disease, so I did research until I was blue in the face, I went gluten and grain free and had my thyroid labs drawn again and my TSH had dropped back to 1.8 (which is normal) and they could no longer detect the antibodies for Hashimoto's. My endocrinologist was amazed. Gluten free for life baby. :)

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  13. Wow!!!! That is quite a story!! I'm so glad you found out your answer! Sometimes it pays to do our research. :) I'm sure Dr. Davis on the Wheat Belly blog would love to hear your story.

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  14. My husband too has the "wheat nose" problem and has suffered his whole life. He has temporal lobe seizures (an extremely mild form of petit mal epilepsy) as well, which was caused by using forceps at delivery.

    We started LC dieting to lose some weight and both his problems improved dramatically. We were not aware why until he had to have some tests done at the hospital. During these tests they told him to run and eat a hamburger in the café then return for the remaining part of his test, within in minutes of eating the hamburger his "wheat nose" appeared with it's sniffling.

    We were just talking about it and had a "aah haa" moment...the only thing different was the bun on the hamburger!

    As a side effect, he was taking 27 pills daily to keep his seizures under limited control. Our LC diet has controlled the seizures to the degree that he no longer has seizures while unfortunately still having to take the meds. Some day we are hopeful he will be able to get of them or at least reduce them. They are very toxic to the liver and he's been on them since he was 9.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing your story! What a relief it is when we get those "a-haa" moments! I'm glad your husband is doing so much better. Yes, hopefully he'll be able to at least reduce the meds!

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