My plight with allergies that were actually gluten intolerance!

My plight with allergies that were actually gluten intolerance!
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My plight with allergies that were actually gluten intolerance!

 

I have had allergies for as long as I can remember, little did I know that it was actually gluten intolerance. As a child, although I wouldn’t get the flu like symptoms that I was getting as an adult, I would get hives. Sometimes had sniffles for no apparent reason but at the time what was more problematic was the hives that I would get so randomly.

 

The doctors couldn’t really tell me the cause for the hives, but then they never really tested me for allergies, it could be because maybe allergy tests weren’t as common when I was growing up. As an adult my hives went away and I developed year round flu-like symptoms. My doctors couldn’t really tell me the source of those symptoms either.

 

There was a turning point when these symptoms became more extreme and more threatening. When I was pregnant with my second daughter I developed asthma from my allergies. Basically, in addition to having flu like symptoms I would get asthma as well. It became such an extreme problem that my daughter had to be delivered a month early because if I went full term the oxygen deprivation was going to threaten both our lives.

After delivering my little girl my allergies stayed just as severe and concerning. I was finally referred to an allergies who tested me for allergy triggers and made me made aware of all the things that I was allergic to: dust, dogs, cats and so on.  The allergist treated me with sublingual drops over a period of time, which actually made my allergies more controllable but it didn’t cure them enough for me to say they worked.

 

Fast forward to more recent times, I went to my primary care doctor because I lost my sense of smell, my fatigue grew from bothersome to almost debilitating and I constantly had hives. My doctor ran some test and the only thing she could find was that my vitamin B12 levels were extremely high, which was weird because I don’t take B12 supplements. While the average B12 levels are between 200 and 500 picograms(pg) I was at a whopping 2,100 pg.

After running the test several times over a period of 6 months the vitamin B12 levels were consistently high. The doctor referred me to an ENT to help me resolve my loss of sense of smell. I was referred to an oncologist for high B12 levels. As I’m sure any person that is referred to a cancer specialist would, I really became concerned about that referral, so I had to adjust my thinking and look at the referral as a precautionary measure and not as a possibility.

The ENT that saw me basically suggested surgery due to my deviated septum, enlarge adenoids and other issues I had going on with my sinuses but gave me to reason as to what cause all these problems. The allergy tests he ran didn’t show him anything concerning, which troubled me because at that point I was still waiting for the Oncologist’s test results. To god’s credit, my oncology test results were normal…phew! I can finally breath, well not really because I still had my sinus issues, but you know what I mean.

 

One of my friends is a medical professional and although I don’t like to bring up my health problems to her, in conversation I did mention my perplexion about not knowing what was wrong with me. Thank god it wasn’t cancer, it also wasn’t allergies because the things that I’m allergic too wouldn’t result in the extreme symptoms I was experiencing specially since I was avoiding my allergens. Additionally, I mentioned that I didn’t think it was allergies because allergy medicine never seems to help me. My friend looked at me and said “have you ever thought that maybe you have gluten intolerance?” What I said next was what I now realize was very ignorant, as I was very ignorant about that subject. I said “is that even a real thing?”.  She explained how real of a thing it was and convinced me to try going gluten free to test it out.

 

After monitoring the foods that I was eating and ensuring that they didn’t have gluten, I realized I felt better. Being the skeptic that I am I just figured it was a coincidence but to dispel the coincidence theory I started adding gluten again in my diet to see if my symptoms came back again and sure enough they did. In December of 2016 I started strictly avoiding gluten. I’ve learned that there is gluten in almost everything and that there are ingredients that I didn’t know were full of gluten. However, my body has been helping get educated because as soon as I accidentally have something that has gluten, my body reacts, when that happens I investigate the ingredients and determine what the culprit ingredient is.

 

After about 2 weeks of being gluten-free I noticed some wonderful changes: my sinuses were no longer constantly congested, I didn’t constantly have hives, I was not forgetful anymore because my brain fog had disappeared and the fatigue was completely gone, I consistently had plenty of energy. Now, I am in awe that all my life I had been suffering through these “allergies” when in fact they weren’t allergies it was gluten intolerance!

 

There is such a thing as being allergic to wheat, however that is not the case with me because I was tested and the results were negative. Unlike an allergy where your body is able to process the allergen but doesn’t like it so it gives an immune response, gluten intolerance is a physical condition in the gut where your body isn’t equipped with the enzymes that help breakdown the wheat compound (gluten). Basically, gluten proteins hang out in the intestines and irritate the gut which then flattens the microvilli along with the small intestinal wall. Without those microvilli, you have considerably less surface area with which to absorb the nutrients from your food. This leads to symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more.

 

At the end of February, I had a follow-up appointment with my Primary Care Provider where she was going to check my vitamin B12 levels. My doctor asked me how I was doing and I shared with her how I cut out gluten and now all the symptoms I had originally come in for where gone. She though it was wonderful and then put me back on gluten, ha!

 

Here’s the story. She wants to test me for Celiac Disease because she says it’s important to know if I have celiac disease.  Which resulted in me asking “What is the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance?”. My doctor explained that basically with gluten intolerance I wouldn’t have damage to my gut with celiac disease I would have damage to my gut. Either way I have to eliminate gluten but it’s good to know if I have damage. So she put me back on gluten for 2 weeks because I have to have a reaction to gluten going on in my body in order to be tested.

 

Let me tell you, after having gotten used to not having any symptoms, these 2 weeks have been torture. On the first day of being back on gluten I experienced flu-like symptoms, after the 3rd day of being back on gluten I started feeling the constant fatigue and brain bog and it’s been down hill again since then.

 

I have been counting down the days to the end of the two weeks and getting the blood draws done. Thankfully, I had my blood drawn yesterday and today is my first day of eliminating gluten from my life again.

 

Today, I still feel the flu like symptoms, have the runny nose, congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and body aches. I’m sure it’s going to again take about 2 weeks for me to get the symptoms out of my body like it did before.

 

This morning for breakfast I had 2 scrambled eggs with a turkey sausage patty. When I purchase turkey sausage or any sausage for that matter I check the ingredients because sausage can be tricky, manufacturers always sneak in some weird ingredients in there.

 

The most difficult part of leading a gluten free lifestyle avoiding gluten, finding gluten free products and avoiding gluten free ingredients. I’m find that there are ingredients that I didn’t know had gluten. I was a label reader before but now I have become a label reader and label researcher.

I will continue to write about my progress on being gluten free and will share tips and recipes and future posts for those that are looking to go gluten free.  Also, below is a list of gluten safe ingredients which I acquired from celiac.com.

 

 

This list focuses on safe gluten-free foods and ingredients within the USA and Canada (last updated 08-29-2013) that are gluten safe.

Acacia Gum
Acesulfame K
Acesulfame Potassium
Acetanisole
Acetophenone
Acorn Quercus
Adipic Acid
Adzuki Bean
Acacia Gum
Agar
Agave
Albumen
Alcohol (Distilled Spirits – Specific Types)
Alfalfa
Algae
Algin
Alginic Acid
Alginate
Alkalized Cocoa
Allicin
Almond Nut
Alpha-amylase
Alpha-lactalbumin
Aluminum
Amaranth
Ambergris
Ammonium Hydroxide
Ammonium Phosphate
Ammonium Sulphate
Amylose
Amylopectin
Annatto
Annatto Color
Apple Cider Vinegar
Arabic Gum
Arrowroot
Artichokes
Artificial Butter Flavor
Artificial Flavoring
Ascorbic Acid
Aspartame (can cause IBS symptoms)
Aspartic Acid
Aspic
Astragalus Gummifer
Autolyzed Yeast Extract
Avena Sativia (Oats3)
Avena Sativia Extract (from Oats3)
Avidin
Azodicarbonamide
Baking Soda
Balsamic Vinegar
Beeswax
Beans
Bean, Adzuki
Bean, Hyacinth
Bean, Lentil
Bean, Mung
Bean Romano (Chickpea)
Bean Tepary
Benzoic acid
Besan (Chickpea)
Beta Glucan (from Oats3)
Betaine
Beta Carotene
BHA
BHT
Bicarbonate of Soda
Biotin
Blue Cheese
Brown Sugar
Buckwheat
Butter (check additives)
Butylated Hydroxyanisole
Butyl Compounds
Calcium Acetate
Calcium Carbonate
Calcium Caseinate
Calcium Chloride
Calcium Disodium
Calcium Hydroxide
Calcium Lactate
Calcium Pantothenate
Calcium Phosphate
Calcium Propionate
Calcium Silicate
Calcium Sorbate
Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate
Calcium Stearate
Calcium Sulfate
Calrose
Camphor
Cane Sugar
Cane Vinegar
Canola (Rapeseed)
Canola Oil (Rapeseed Oil)
Caprylic Acid
Carageenan Chondrus Crispus
Carbonated Water
Carboxymethyl Cellulose
Caramel Color
Caramel Flavoring
Carmine
Carnauba Wax
Carob Bean
Carob Bean Gum
Carob Flour
Carrageenan
Casein
Cassava Manihot Esculenta
Castor Oil
Catalase
Cellulose1
Cellulose Ether
Cellulose Gum
Cetyl Alcohol
Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol
Champagne Vinegar
Channa (Chickpea)
Chana Flour (Chickpea Flour)
Cheeses – (most, but check ingredients)
Chestnuts
Chickpea
Chlorella
Chocolate Liquor
Choline Chloride
Chromium Citrate
Chymosin
Citric Acid
Citrus Red No. 2
Cochineal
Cocoa
Cocoa Butter
Coconut
Coconut Vinegar
Collagen
Colloidal Silicon Dioxide
Confectioner’s Glaze
Copernicia Cerifera
Copper Sulphate
Corn
Corn Gluten
Corn Masa Flour
Corn Meal
Corn Flour
Corn Starch
Corn Sugar
Corn Sugar Vinegar
Corn Syrup
Corn Syrup Solids
Corn Swetener
Corn Vinegar
Corn Zein
Cortisone
Cotton Seed
Cotton Seed Oil
Cowitch
Cowpea
Cream of Tartar
Crospovidone
Curds
Cyanocobalamin
Cysteine, L
Dal (Lentils)
D-Alpha-tocopherol
Dasheen Flour (Taro)
Dates
D-Calcium Pantothenate
Delactosed Whey
Demineralized Whey
Desamidocollagen
Dextran
Dextrin
Dextrimaltose
Dextrose
Diglycerides
Dioctyl Sodium
Dioctyl Sodium Solfosuccinate
Dipotassium Phosphate
Disodium Guanylate
Disodium Inosinate
Disodium Phosphate
Distilled Alcohols
Distilled Vinegar
Distilled White Vinegar
Dutch Processed Cocoa
EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid)
Eggs
Egg Yolks
Elastin
Ester Gum
Ethyl Alcohol
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid
Ethyl Maltol
Ethyl Vanillin
Expeller Pressed Canola Oil
FD&C Blue No. 1 Dye
FD&C Blue No. 1 Lake
FD&C Blue No. 2 Dye
FD&C Blue No. 2 Lake
FD&C Green No. 3 Dye
FD&C Green No. 3 Lake
FD&C Red No. 3 Dye
FD&C Red No. 40 Dye
FD&C Red No. 40 Lake
FD&C Yellow No. 5 Dye
FD&C Yellow No. 6 Dye
FD&C Yellow No. 6 Lake
Ferric Orthophosphate
Ferrous Gluconate
Ferrous Fumerate
Ferrous Lactate
Ferrous Sulfate
Fish (fresh)
Flaked Rice
Flax
Folacin
Folate
Flavoring
Flavoring Extracts
Folic Acid-Folacin
Food Starch
Food Starch Modified
Formaldehyde
Fructose
Fruit (including dried)
Fruit Vinegar
Fumaric Acid
Galactose
Garbanzo Beans
Gelatin
Glucoamylase
Gluconolactone
Glucose
Glucose Syrup
Glutamate (free)
Glutamic Acid
Glutamine (amino acid)
Glutinous Rice
Glutinous Rice Flour
Glycerides
Glycerin
Glycerol Monooleate
Glycol Monosterate
Glycol
Glycolic acid
Gram flour (chick peas)
Grape Skin Extract
Grits, Corn
Guar Gum
Gum Acacia
Gum Arabic
Gum Base
Gum Tragacanth
Hemp
Hemp Seeds
Herbs
Herb Vinegar
Hexanedioic Acid
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Hominy
Honey
Hops
Horseradish (Pure)
HPP
HVP
Hyacinth Bean
Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrolyzed Caseinate
Hydrolyzed Meat Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Hydrolyzed Protein
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydroxypropyl Cellulose
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose
Hypromellose
Illepe
Iodine
Inulin
Invert Sugar
Iron Ammonium Citrate
Isinglass
Isolated Soy Protein
Isomalt
Job’s Tears
Jowar (Sorghum)

Karaya Gum
Kasha (roasted buckwheat)
Keratin
K-Carmine Color
K-Gelatin
Koshihikari (rice)
Kudzu
Kudzu Root Starch

Lactalbumin Phosphate
Lactase
Lactic Acid
Lactitol
Lactose
Lactulose
Lanolin
Lard
L-cysteine
Lecithin
Lemon Grass
Lentils
Licorice
Licorice Extract
Lipase
L-leucine
L-lysine
L-methionine
Locust Bean Gum
L-tryptophan
Magnesium Carbonate
Magnesium Hydroxide
Magnesium Oxide
Maize
Maize Waxy
Malic Acid
Maltitol
Maltodextrin (except in pharmaceuticals)
Maltol
Maltose
Manganese Sulfate
Manioc
Masa
Masa Flour
Masa Harina
Meat (fresh)
Medium Chain Triglycerides
Menhaden Oil
Methyl Cellulose2
Microcrystalline Cellulose
Micro-particulated Egg White Protein
Milk
Milk Protein Isolate
Millet
Milo (Sorghum)
Mineral Oil
Mineral Salts
Mixed Tocopherols
Modified Food Starch
Modified Starch
Modified food Starch
Molybdenum Amino Acid Chelate
Monocalcium Phosphate
Monoglycerides
Mono and Diglycerides
Monopotassium Phosphate
Monosaccharides
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monostearates
MSG
Mung Bean
Musk
Mustard Flour
Myristic Acid
Natural Flavoring
Natural Flavors
Natural Smoke Flavor
Niacin-Niacinamide
Neotame
Niacin
Niacinamide
Nitrates
Nitrous Oxide
Non-fat Milk
Nuts (except wheat, rye & barley)
Nut, Acron
Nut, Almond
Oats3
Oils and Fats
Oleic Acid
Oleoresin
Olestra
Oleyl Alcohol/Oil
Orange B
Oryzanol
Palmitic Acid
Pantothenic Acid
Papain
Paprika
Paraffin
Patially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
Patially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Peas
Pea – Chick
Pea – Cow
Pea Flour
Pea Starch
Peanuts
Peanut Flour
Pectin
Pectinase
Peppermint Oil
Peppers
Pepsin
Peru Balsam
Petrolatum
PGPR (Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate)
Phenylalanine
Phosphoric Acid
Phosphoric Glycol
Pigeon Peas
Polenta
Polydextrose
Polyethylene Glycol
Polyglycerol
Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR)
Polysorbates
Polysorbate 60
Polysorbate 80
Potassium Benzoate
Potassium Caseinate
Potassium Citrate
Potassium Iodide
Potassium Lactate
Potassium Matabisulphite
Potassium Sorbate
Potatoes
Potato Flour
Potato Starch
Povidone
Prinus
Pristane
Propolis
Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol Monosterate
Propyl Gallate
Protease
Psyllium
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
Quinoa
Ragi

Raisin Vinegar
Rape
Recaldent
Reduced Iron
Rennet
Rennet Casein
Resinous Glaze
Reticulin
Riboflavin
Rice
Rice (Enriched)
Rice Flour
Rice Starch
Rice Syrup
Rice Vinegar
Ricinoleic Acid
Romano Bean (chickpea)
Rosematta
Rosin
Royal Jelly
Saccharin
Saffron
Sago
Sago Palm
Sago Flour
Sago Starch
Saifun (bean threads)
Salt
Seaweed
Seeds (except wheat, rye & barley)
Seed – Sesame
Seed – Sunflower
Shea
Sherry Vinegar
Silicon Dioxide
Smoke Flavoring
Soba (be sure its 100% buckwheat)
Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
Sodium Acetate
Sodium Alginate
Sodium Ascorbate
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Caseinate
Sodium Citrate
Sodium Erythrobate
Sodium Hexametaphosphate
Sodium Lactate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Metabisulphite
Sodium Nitrate
Sodium Phosphate
Sodium Polyphosphate
Sodium Silaco Aluminate
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
Sodium Sulphite
Sodium Stannate
Sodium Tripolyphosphate
Sorbic Acid
Sorbitan Monostearate
Sorbitol-Mannitol (can cause IBS symptoms)
Sorghum
Sorghum Flour
Soy
Soybean
Soy Lecithin
Soy Protein
Soy Protein Isolate
Spices (pure)
Spirits (Specific Types)
Spirit Vinegar
Starch (the single word ingredient is, by law, cornstarch)
Stearates
Stearamide
Stearamine
Stearic Acid
Stearyl Lactate
Stevia
Subflower Seed
Succotash (corn and beans)
Sucralose
Sucrose
Sulfosuccinate
Sulfites
Sulfur Dioxide
Sweet Chestnut Flour
Tagatose
Tallow
Tapioca
Tapioca Flour
Tapioca Starch
Tara Gum
Taro
Tarro
Tarrow Root
Tartaric Acid
Tartrazine
TBHQ is Tetra or Tributylhydroquinone
Tea
Tea-Tree Oil
Teff
Teff Flour
Tepary Bean
Textured Vegetable Protein
Thiamin Hydrochloride
Thiamine Mononitrate
Thiamine Hydrochloride
Titanium Dioxide
Tofu (Soy Curd)
Tolu Balsam
Torula Yeast
Tragacanth
Tragacanth Gum
Triacetin
Tricalcium Phosphate
Tri-Calcium Phosphate
Trypsin
Turmeric (Kurkuma)
TVP
Tyrosine
Urad/Urid Beans
Urad/Urid Dal (peas) Vegetables
Urad/Urid flour
Urd
Vinegar (All except Malt)
Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Flavoring
Vanillin
Vinegars (Specific Types – Except Malt Vinegar)
Vitamin A (retinol)
Vitamin A Palmitate
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B6
Vitamin D
Vitamin E Acetate
Waxy Maize
Whey
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Isolate
White Vinegar
Wines
Wine Vinegars (& Balsamic)
Wild Rice
Xanthan Gum
Xylitol
Yam Flour
Yeast (except brewer’s yeast)
Yogurt (plain, unflavored)
Zinc Oxide
Zinc Sulfate

  • 1) Cellulose is a carbohydrate polymer of D-glucose. It is the structural material of plants, such as wood in trees. It contains no gluten protein.
  • 2) Methyl cellulose is a chemically modified form of cellulose that makes a good substitute for gluten in rice-based breads, etc.
  • 3) Recent research indicates that oats may be safe for people on gluten-free diets, although many people may also have an additional, unrelated intolerance to them. Cross contamination with wheat is also a factor that you need to consider before choosing to include oats in your diet.

 

 

 

 


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