Ups and Downs

This gluten-free journey has not been without its bumps in the road. I posted a few weeks ago about my lapse in self-control and two bites of bread that ended up toying with me for days. I wondered if it was those 2 bites of bread, or if something else was at work making me feel bad, and I was advised to do a test.

After that incidence, I wrote down everything I’d been feeling so I wouldn’t forget. The plan was to stay off gluten for a month and then do a test by purposefully eating a large portion of something glutenous to see how I feel. (I thought that was my own made-up word, but spell check didn’t pick it up so I did a quick Google search, and lo and behold, glutenous is a legitimate word! Go figure.)

Little did I know, I’d be doing an experiment a lot sooner than I expected.

When eating out, about a week and a half ago, I decided not to trouble the waitstaff with my inquiries so I just tried to eat things off the buffet that I assumed would not contain gluten. I admit, I took a few risks. I honestly didn’t think it would matter. I didn’t eat pasta or bread or anything, but I helped myself to a potato dish that could easily have had some flour as thickener, and a shrimp salad that I suppose could have contained something. Otherwise I just had prime rib and some plain veggies. It seemed harmless.


The stomach pains started that afternoon. They were mild but uncomfortable. For the next 7 or 8 days I experienced various gastrointestinal discomforts, but I’ll spare you the details. You are welcome.

Again, I started to wonder if something else was going on, as the symptoms lasted so long. I dutifully wrote it all down and began to dispair that I’d have to try eliminating other possible irritants, to discover why I was still having issues. After all, I wasn’t even certain that I’d eaten gluten that fateful day. And because I’d barely recovered between the two suspected exposures, it seemed that I’d been feeling bad for so long that this might just be something altogether new.

But suddenly, yesterday, I started feeling better!

I ate more than normal at dinnertime and still felt fine when I went to bed (feeling abnormally full after eating small amounts is one of my more annoying symptoms), and I woke up this morning feeling great. It was how I felt immediately after going off gluten originally. I honestly feel like a new woman.

I spent some time this morning, reading back through my food journal, and I noticed a striking similarities between the two accounts – the evolution of symptoms was almost identical.

I have to assume gluten is to blame, and that it takes a week to 10 days to flush it out of my system.

I have read that this can be the case, but I guess I didn’t think my symptoms were that severe . . . or something. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

But honestly? I am thrilled. Because I can handle gluten free. It’s not that bad. But if I have to give up sugar? Dairy? Coffee? Wine? I will cry. I was beginning to think any and all of them were to blame for how I was feeling, and while I’m sure they don’t help, if I can stay off gluten and just reduce my consumption of the rest, rather than eliminating them altogether, I am a happy camper.