Can You Stomach Wheat? How Giving up Grain May Better Your Health

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In the relatively short amount of time I have been on a gluten free diet, the wheat free and gluten free marketplace has become a booming business. It’s not surprising, since Celiac Disease affects 1 out of 133 people. But, what is surprising is that 97 percent of people with Celiac Disease go undiagnosed. And according to the Mayo Clinic, “young people today are more than four times as likely to have Celiac Disease than was the case 60 years ago.”

Celiac Disease should not be mistaken with a food or wheat allergy. It is an autoimmune disease and digestive disorder based on the severe intolerance of gluten found in all forms of wheat. And once you start looking, wheat is in everything – from less obvious foods like soups, soy sauce, licorice, ice cream and salad dressings, to obvious foods like bread, cereal and crackers.

While four years ago I scratched my head in bewilderment wondering what in the world I was going to eat, now I am able to find an ample amount of pre-made foods, companies, grocery stores and personal care products that cater to those with wheat and gluten intolerance. I had no idea (nor did a slew of specialists I visited in my search for the answer to my woes) that the culprit of my intense health maladies was an unsuspecting grain that looks so carefree blowing in the breeze. Turns out, I’m not alone. Most people with Celiac Disease as well as wheat allergy sufferers are clueless as to why they are in ill health.

Some symptoms of Celiac Disease, which may appear at any time in a person’s life, include: recurring bloating, gas or abdominal pain, migraine headaches, nausea, and fatigue, weakness or lack of energy, among many others. Celiac Disease/wheat allergies are often confused with IBS or food poisoning.

The complex structure of wheat makes it very difficult to digest. If you have been suffering from unexplainable symptoms, you might consider talking to your doctor or nutritionist about trying a wheat free diet to see if your health improves.

A word to the wise: the blood test administered to determine whether you have Celiac Disease does not always produce an accurate result. Go with your gut… literally. If you feel better not eating wheat, avoid it! Doing so will take research and education, but it’s getting easier and easier to forgo the grain.

Image: Vox Humana

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DISCUSSION

8 thoughts on “Can You Stomach Wheat? How Giving up Grain May Better Your Health

  1. Pingback: 7 Reasons to Go Wheat-Free (At Least For a Bit) « Peaches and Popcorn

  2. Pingback: 6 Reasons to Go Wheat-Free « Cardiovascular Library

  3. Pingback: 6 Reasons to Go Wheat-Free (At Least For a Bit) | Care2 Healthy Living

  4. I also have a gluten intolerance! I just figured this out a few months ago, and since cutting out wheat I feel a million times better everyday. My face cleared up and my migraines almost completely stopped. I had suffered from debilitating migraines my whole entire life, and was never able to pinpoint a cause even with a specialist and keeping a food diary. Apparently the effects of a gluten intolerance take up to 4 days after consumption to surface… making it super hard to pinpoint!

    Makes you wonder what is going on to make Celiac Disease such a growing issue!

  5. Thanks for weighing in here, everybody. I too tested negative for a wheat allergy, but I clearly have one! Avoiding wheat has suppressed the majority of my ill health, but I do still get migraine headaches frequently. I wonder if there’s some other link? It’s amazing that three people on our EcoSalon Team have had to forgo the grain- further testament to the fact that this is a pervasive issue that shouldn’t be ignored! I hope this article gets people to think that wheat may be the culprit of their health issues… and helps them stop suffering.

  6. If a blood test comes back inconclusive and you still think you have Celiac, ask your doctor for an endoscope. The only “sure’ diagnosis of Celiac comes from a biopsy of your small intestine (they are looking for damaged villi).

    If you forgo a biopsy and just give up gluten, you are also giving up the chance to know if you have Celiac for sure. In order to get a sure diagnosis, doctors have to find evidence of damaged vili via biopsy. If you give up gluten and start feeling better, then your intestines will heal (good!), but if you ever decide that you want a secure diagnosis via endoscope, you’ll have to start eating gluten again (bad!) so that doctors can see how it affects your villi.

    Pursuing an endoscope after inconclusive blood tests is a personal choice, but having a secure diagnosis can be handy. I’ve had doctors give me that “you’re following a fad” face before (so annoying!), and it’s helpful to be able to point them to my medical records and endoscope results.

  7. Yep. After suffering brutal migraines for years I gave up grains (wheat, rye, similar grains) and rarely suffer from them now – unless I cheat and have dessert or too much beer. ;) It was accidental how I discovered the connection, but the physical effects are unmistakable anytime I consume a wheat or similar grain product, from bloating to the awful headaches. I’ve found it’s not that hard just focusing on veggies, beans and nuts instead – lots of great foods available that don’t have wheat. Though I hate when they sneak it in!

  8. This is exactly what happened to me. Started getting the pain about six years ago. After frequent visits to doctors offices I was diagnosed with IBS (multiple times), a sprained muscle, diverticulitis, crohn’s disease and the best one – “it’s all in your head.” I eventually connected the dots (took about three years to pinpoint it) and now live pain-free when I stay away from wheat. The blood test for celiac came back negative, but the doc said I’d have to eat about 3 slices of bread a day for about month to get any conclusive results. No way was I going to do that.

 

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