An Unexpected Change of Plans

I’ve been experiencing some pretty nasty neck pain and headaches in the last few months. A friend of mine referred me to her chiropractor (which mind you, I was leery of). I finally broke down and made an appointment to go see him. It was, to say the very least, an eye opening experience. He did his evaluation and informed me that I had several vertebrae that would need adjusting in future sessions and that I have an allergy to gluten.

I sat there thinking, “Say what?? Uhmmm, doc? I’ve been eating this way (whole wheat everything, brown rice and the like) for five years now…if there was an issue, don’t ya think I would have picked up on it before now??” I did, however, decide to hear him out…though truthfully at the time it was only so I could do my own little experiments to prove him wrong! My mind just could not wrap itself around a gluten allergy…not one that concerned me anyway.

He continued saying that he would send more information via email about a gluten allergy as well as some information on a gluten free diet. Again I sat there thinking, “Uhm…hello? Do ya remember the part about how I told you that I’m a trainer…I got the whole nutrition thing covered.  I don’t need your cute little email, just keep it. I’ll figure this out on my own, just like everything else I’ve done so far. Thanks, but I’ll pass.” My mind was still absolutely reeling…a gluten allergy? Certainly he had been smoking crack just before he came into the room for my appointment….right??

So what is a gluten allergy, what is gluten and where is it found?

Gluten-sensitivity, is an auto-immune response of certain individuals that usually effects the intestines (but not in all cases…like mine *eye roll*) and is caused by gluten, a protein found in various cereal grains. The principle sources of gluten in the diet include wheat, rye, and barley. Oats may be tolerated in small amounts by some people with celiac, although those with severe cases of the disease typically do not. Dairy foods may not be tolerated when someone with celiac disease has active symptoms, since lactose intolerance frequently develops. However, this is due to the lactose sugar in the dairy foods, rather than the proteins, which can cause milk allergy. Understandably, given all this information, a person with celiac disease or even a remote sensitivity to gluten, should follow a gluten-free diet. Ugh.

Why Follow a Gluten Free Diet?

  • Even if there are no obvious symptoms, celiac can cause serious vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, due to the fact that the intestines may not be able to absorb important nutrients if gluten is being eaten.
  • Rates of certain cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are much higher in people with celiac, however, there is evidence that this risk is decreased with a gluten-free diet.
  • People with active celiac disease are at increased risk for other auto-immune conditions, (such as  diabetes mellitus type 1, Graves disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) especially those with continued gluten exposure.
  • Mothers with untreated celiac disease are at increased risk for having a low birth weight baby (Okay, so FORTUNATELY, this one does NOT apply to me!!! Woo hoo!)
So, in short…since revamping my nutrition plan and excluding anything with gluten in it…I am feeling noticeably better, and yes, my headaches have definitely lessened in frequency and intensity. It looks as though there definitely is more than one way to skin a cat…err, I mean, eat healthy. 🙂


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