When I tell people I can’t gluten, many immediately think I’m trying to follow a trend or diet. I wish it were so simple.
When my TMJ disorder came back with a vengeance, my doctor urged me to remove gluten from my diet. What does diet have to do with my jaw, you ask? Her theory was that because gluten is a neuro-toxin, it is likely contributing to my body’s inflammation (as per a thorough exam), which can impact the health of my joints. Basically, no good could come from ingesting gluten and that I needed to just get off of it.
Related: Gluten free brownies
If you’re like many who do not know what gluten actually is – it’s a protein found in wheat. It basically helps food maintain their voluptuous shape (pastas, breads, etc). You can find it sauces as well. It’s a pain to stay away from because it feels likes it’s everywhere. Food today isn’t processed the way it used to be, and now we have millions of people with all different types of gluten allergies to varying degrees.
It took me about two years to finally listen. I know. I’m crazy stubborn. A life without bread and noodles seemed daunting. But I finally made the decision after being “comatosed” by a large bowl of ramen soup for 48 hours. I felt bloated, fatigued, lethargic, nauseous. It was awful.
That was the moment I decided to commit and go gluten-free…
About 10 days into my gluten-free experiment, I felt a surge of energy. In fact, maniacally so. You see, I didn’t know that my inflammation would go down so fast and that it would impact the absorption of the medication I was taking. I was on 10mg of Lexapro, which was prescribed to me when I started treatment for TMJ. I immediately had to wean down to 5mg. The medication was now too strong.
I’m mentioning this because I didn’t see a lot of information online about a change in diet possibly affecting a medication dose, and it’s a very important piece information to know!
As the days went by, I noticed that my stomach got flatter, the bumps on the back of my arms (Keratosis pilaris) went away and that the swelling around my joints (which I thought was fat) was gone. I won’t say that I lost weight, but there was a visible difference in the reduction of inflammation throughout my body.
I’ve been clear from gluten for two years or so, and I can’t even touch the stuff now. If I accidentally eat it, I get horrific stabbing pain in my stomach, heart palpitations and my arms fill back up with bumps. It’s awful.
If you feel horrible after you eat foods that contain gluten, you may be intolerant. You don’t necessarily need to be Celiac to have a serious intolerance to it. The only way to find out is to remove from your diet and see how you feel.
If it’s any consolation, my doctor said that if I ever went to Italy I may be able to eat the bread there. The problem is what we’re doing to food in the states.
Italy, here I come!