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.

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13 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. Hi Jo-Lynne! I find myself feeling a little off whenever I eat out, so maybe it’s just normal for those who are sensitive? Last night I watched a PBS special with Brenda Watson talking about probiotics. Have you tried supplementing with those? I really want to add them to my diet and see if it helps with a few health problems I have. That’s funny about the word glutenous. I knew it was a word (isn’t it in the Bible?) but I never thought of it having ‘gluten’ as the root.

    1. I do take probiotics, actually. They definitely help – they were helping before I went gluten free, so I highly recommend them.

      I knew the word gluttonous, but glutenous is different – it pertains specifically to gluten. I haven’t seen glutenous in the Bible, I don’t think, lol.

      I eat out a lot, but this was more than “off” – this was misery. I am pretty sure that potato dish had flour in it. Crazy, huh? It couldn’t have been THAT much.

      Best of luck to you!

      1. Thanks for the clarifications between glutenous and gluttonous! Now I know the difference. Yes, I’d really like to try out probiotics! It’s truly amazing how a little flour (or anything else of sensitivity) can wreck so much havoc on the digestive system. Glad you’re feeling better!

  2. My friend who is totally gluten-free takes a digestive enzyme before a meal when she eats out, “just in case” something has gluten in it. Maybe that would help?

    Glad to know it’s not any of those other wonderful food/drink categories as well. I don’t think I could do that either.

    Every time my daughter reads, “gluten-free” she reads it as, “glutten-free.” 🙂 Cracks me up.

    1. Interesting, my doc (before I went gluten free) recommended digestive enzymes as a matter of course, due to my overall tummy troubles. Perhaps I should do some research.

  3. Have you ever considered doing GAPS? I am gluten intolerant as well, and have lately been toying with the idea, BUT am no where close to commiting. Just curious if you had pndered this option to heal?

    1. Oh have I EVER. I know I need to do it. I could maybe even heal and not have to stay gluten free forever. In fact, Ann Marie ( is offering a course that I think I’ll take. I want to post about it.

      I’m thinking if I do it, I’ll put it off to next winter b/c it will be easier to eat soups in cold weather, and there are less neighborhood gatherings and social events. I don’t know, it really sounds awful, but I said the same about gluten free, and I really don’t mind being gluten free too awful much. It’s amazing how feeling good trumps the taste of food.

  4. This seems to be a common reaction/length of time for a lot of people with true gluten allergies. I read Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s book and it seems she’d have similar reactions, even when being expposed to the smallest amounts of gluten.

  5. I have been reading your journey through this, but haven’t commented before, but I have to tell you that your experience sounds so similar. I have been doing this gluten-free thing for about 9 months now (can’t believe it’s been that long). I felt better immediately after I stopped eating gluten. I was shocked at how quickly the daily stomach cramps/pain stopped.

    After about a month or two, I was able to handle a little bit of gluten and not have too many problems, which was nice. But lately, I’ve noticed that even a little bit is causing symptoms to come back much more quickly and severely, so it’s looking like the days of small indulgences are over too.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m encouraged by how well you are doing and how easily you have adapted to this new way of eating. Keep it up!

  6. You’re doing great, lady! Keep it up with the food journal and see what develops further. No need to panic about sugar and all the other “goodies” for now!

  7. HEY!! It’s been a while, but I’m glad I found my way back. I gave up Facebook for Lent and have actually had time to check in on some blogs. I read about your gluten free eating and understand your pain (literally and figuratively). Remember, I have had similar stomach issues. About a year ago I realized I was allergic to the whey part of milk. So I can have cheese, but nothing liquid. So a year with no ice cream, milk, yogurt, cream, or anything else creamy and delicious. I still miss dairy! But, I don’t miss feeling sick all the time! I hope eating gluten free does the trick for you!! And I’ll be busy catching up with your blog!

    1. HEY THERE!!!!!! I still wonder if dairy is part of my troubles. I’m waiting to get this last bout with gluten out of my system and then I may try the dairy thing just to see. Whey, go figure. How did you determine that?

      I’m glad you stopped by. Don’t be a stranger!

  8. Hi Jo-Lynne 🙂 I am also gluten-free and notice a huge difference when I randomly think “it’s ok” to eat some gluten. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that I’ll be okay and then lives to regret it for the next few days. I’m enjoying your gluten-free recipes and look forward to more! Are you on Pinterest? You’d love it! I have a “Gluten-Free Yummies” inboard on Pinterest where I keep track of gluten-free recipes that I love. I’ve added a few of yours to it! 🙂 If other users click on that recipe picture, it will direct them back to this site 🙂 So…thanks!! If you’re ever on Pinterest and want to check out my gluten-free recipe board, click here: Thanks Jo Lynne! Blessings, Janessa Rae

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