is there something to this “gluten free” thing?


I’m not usually one to jump on nutritional bandwagons. And I’ve been hearing about “gluten free” this, that, the other for what seems like eons now. I have a friend with bona fide celiac disease (gluten allergy) who must eat gluten free, or suffer the consequences, but all the others who eat gluten free? Is it truly much more than a fad?

Then, I started reading some evidence for gluten free diets helping autoimmune disease. It’s indirect… the diet is said to help reduce chronic inflammation, which has been known for years to contribute to lifestyle based diseases (type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease…), but is now being shown to contribute to autoimmune disorders. This category includes MS, of course, but is growing bigger and bigger, including the known autoimmune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, but also other problems such as psoriasis.

Anyway, I digress. I’ve been eating almost entirely non-glutinous since the beginning of the year (most of the time it’s easy… but having to avoid even soy sauce can be a challenge). Being out of town in a heavily-Italian area (not to mention New York bagels), I’ve loosened my restrictions for the past week.

And after the first few days… I felt so bloated. Heavy. Weighed-down. ICKY.

(I’d never understood when people talked about this effect before. Now, I mostly do.)

So, am I going to stick with a gluten-free diet? It’s hard to tell if it’s having an effect slowing down my MS symptoms, but I like to have hope that it’s helping me out… so I think I’ll stick with it as much as possible. Anything that gives us hope, right?

4 Responses to “is there something to this “gluten free” thing?”

  1. I just (2 weeks ago) got diagnosed with celiac disease. It’s tricky because gluten is everywhere! Before having to go gluten-free, I have heard a lot about how avoiding gluten helps with a lot of auto-immune disorders as it is very hard to digest, but it’s hard to know what’s really true and what’s part of gluten free living as a trend. Very confusing!

    • Yes, true! I also figure that maintaining as much of a whole foods diet as possible, focusing on fruits and veggies, is helpful for anyone… so whatever is found to be true long-term regarding gluten, the fresh produce will certainly help out! And I think I’ll keep on going with the gluten experiment for a while…

      Good luck with your new diagnosis!

  2. See my blog for my gluten free experience and benefits. Tried it in 2005 when doctors couldn’t fix me. Immediately the bloating and tummy tenderness went away (not the symptoms I even wanted to cure). Since then, my pernicious anemia and Graves’ disease – both auto immune – have been in remission. And my first relapse since 2004 happened in Jan this year after I had become blasé about gluten.
    Do I think gluten free has helped? Would I have had more frequent relapses without it? I don’t know. But it has helped so much in other ways, it doesn’t matter. No more blasé.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience–I’ll have to take a look at your blog when I’m back home!
      I wish there were more connection between traditional medicine and nutrition…

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