I’ve been eating on and off gluten free for about 2 years. It wasn’t when I stopped eating gluten that I noticed the biggest difference, but when I reintroduced gluten after not eating it for several months. When I woke up the next morning my muscles were stiff and sore and I felt bloated and slow. Had gluten been doing this to me all along? My gluten elimination coincided with a lot of other healthy diet moves, and I certainly felt better after it, but with gluten free diets being all the fad, and books like “wheat belly” making best seller lists; I often wonder how much effect gluten really has on us who are non-celiac gluten sensitive.
What I find most interesting, is that when I am feeling healthy and happy, eating a bit of gluten doesn’t have too much of an effect on me, but when I am already feeling over-tired or stressed out just a small amount of soy sauce or a sneaky bite of cake can make me feel terrible. While I have not been diagnosed with Celiac, only gluten intolerance, I have heard similar stories from those with Celiac.
Despite gluten free diets becoming more popular and thus creating a wealth of gluten free products, I often find it hard to eat well gluten free. Most gluten free breads and cakes are full of sugar, and much denser than your average piece of bread or cake. Further, it can be hard to get enough fiber and other nutrients without eating wheat, thus making it harder to feel full. My usual plan is to just cut out any ‘typical’ gluten foods, and opt for other grains like rice, corn, quinoa, and oats. But, especially eating out, it can prove more of a challenge to get a fully nutritious meal (ie. I can’t just make a vegetable sandwich and be done with it).
Why does gluten intolerance seem to be so common in CFS patients? Is it just something we are advised to try out and end up sticking to? Or is there a strong relation between the two?
I talked about general sensitivity in this post here and I suspect this may have something to do with it. I think it is the same reason that so many people with CFS and fibromyalgia find so much success with yoga and meditation. We are constantly overstimulated by our environments; what we eat, what we see, what we hear, what we breathe, and who we interact with. The same traits that help us sink a little deeper into a metta meditation than our friends, are the same traits that make us more likely to be gluten, or lactose intolerant. The good news is (not that eating gluten free is that terrible a fate) many people grow out of their food intolerance’s and sensitivities. I hope that cutting out food groups, is something we need to do to heal a part of ourselves: our digestive system, and that once we are functioning more highly, processing different foods will be easier. However, I also think that as a society in general, we tend to mix too many foods together, eat too fast, and not very mindfully. We don’t digest very well as a group. So maybe it’s best to stick to simple and easy to digest meals- certainly during healing- but maybe in the long run as well.
Do you eat gluten free? What are your thoughts on gluten sensitivity? What foods do you miss the most?