It all began when my sister urged her husband to go for a routine medical exam. His response? “I will go if you go.” Well, my sister went to find out that her husband was fine, but she was severely anemic. Luckily, the doctor immediately recognized this as a symptom of Celiac. She had an endoscopy and it was confirmed that she had a very advanced and severe case. Her body was slowly starving itself and she was absorbing no nutrients. This should have come as a surprise to no one. My entire extended family is riddled with Celiac. Why did we think we would escape it? Well, we all got tested and here is where I will start explaining something about testing for Celiac/gluten sensitivity.
A negative blood test or endoscopy does NOT mean that you are free of gluten issues. That being said, if you get a positive blood test for Celiac or gluten sensitivity an endoscopy will NOT confirm this either. I was told this was the gold standard in testing but it means nothing in terms of giving you a definite answer. How can I be so sure? Well, this is what happened to me. My whole family has the gene but my blood tests and endoscopy came back negative. Yes, my genetic test showed I had the gene and was highly likely to develop celiac or have gluten sensitivity, but it did not say that I was a Celiac. Here is the issue, many people stop there and say, “Yeah, I don’t have Celiac” and celebrate with pizza and a beer. These same people may continue to suffer when they eat gluten filled foods.
The doctor wanted to give my daughter, whose blood work was similar to mine, an endoscopy. I thankfully declined putting her under. If it was negative like mine, then what’s the point? My daughter and I can’t eat gluten no matter what the tests say. If my daughter or I get exposed to gluten we experience GI issues for days and have severe abdominal cramping. That’s the only test I needed and THIS should be the gold standard.
The bottom line is this; the ONLY way to truly see if you have a problem with gluten is to stop eating it. Do I question if anyone should be eating it at this point? What I do know is this…The gluten of today is not the gluten we ate as children. Doesn’t this make sense? Do you remember ANYONE having a “gluten” issue? In fact, do you remember any childhood friends with food allergies?
Something is different about our food supply, it is genetically modified and our bodies don’t know what to do with it. In some cases it is wreaking havoc on our immune systems and minds. Why is this the first thing that is removed when a child has autism? Is there really a “gut/brain” connection that we keep hearing more and more about? You bet! Gluten can negatively affect the GI tract and in turn affects the mind and how it functions. Remove gluten, the stomach begins to heal and the mind begins to function and receive the messages that can only be produced in a healthy gut. Just think of gluten as the “glue” that stops everything from traveling, as it should to the brain. This isn’t just the recommendation for children with autism. People suffering from issues such as ADHD, environmental allergies, GI issues, Anemia, eczema, ASD and overall inflammation can also benefit. So the bottom line is, remove it completely and see how you feel. It’s that simple. The only hard part is if you are going to remove it, you need to be hard-core. You must read all ingredients and make sure your toaster isn’t loaded with gluten crumbs. It’s everywhere and you’ll soon realize that licking an envelope gives you a large dose of it!
Going gluten-free can be overwhelming at first but I promise you that it becomes second nature. The market is now loaded with gluten free items due to the high demand. Any Gluten item you like will have a gluten free counterpart. Many pizza places have gluten free pizza and pasta. There are gluten free breads, cereals, crackers and cupcakes in all the grocery stores. Be sure not to OD on gluten free processed food, these items have just as much sugar and fat as the real deal. Like anything, we adjust to the changes and it’s worth the effort. The bellyaches are gone and someone moves up a level in reading group or starts to socialize better and make friends that weren’t there before. This is the perfect mix to a healthier you!