My name is Katrina, and I recently discovered that I am gluten sensitive. Tears fill my eyes as I write this because I suffered silently for 44 years.
I grew up in Maine during the 1970’s when sprinkling wheat germ on food guaranteed good health for life. My family had a glorious garden, and my nurturing mom said our food was “country medicine.” I especially loved the homemade whole wheat bread!
The nutritious meals and fresh air were idyllic for a healthy child, but I was still sick. I had many different ailments: excema, chronic strep throat and post nasal drip, ear infections, delayed milestones of walking and reading, shingles at age 16, migraines, diarrhea, restless legs with occasional paralysis, atypical mole formations, mouth sores, body aches, brain fog, insatiable desire for sugar, and an agitated disposition. As I became an adult, more illnesses appeared: memory confusion, tendonitits, rosacea, depression, and an itchy rash on my back that was maddening. I tried not to complain even though I was miserable. I just thought it was all normal. The doctors I saw throughout my life missed the correlation between my diverse symptoms and a root cause.
The root cause of my illnesses was gluten. I’ll say it again because it is so powerful: The root cause of my illnesses was gluten. This discovery began by listening to a friend a few months ago whose family didn’t eat gluten because it made them terribly sick. I also was aware of the new trendy “gluten free” way of life and thought that was only for the purest among us and that certainly wouldn’t be me! After all, I studied the science of wheat flour in culinary school, had been a pastry chef, and express my love by cooking. Well, I was wrong.
I decided to give it a try and stop eating gluten. Three days into my experiment I felt dramatically better. This was astonishing to me. This means that my body creates antibodies to gluten and then spends it time fighting off any food I eat with gluten. No wonder I was sick most of the time…my body was fighting within itself and had no time or energy to concentrate on my immune system, which was in big trouble.
I had a blood test to confirm my gluten sensitivity. My daughter and parents also had a lab test and the results were not surprising: gluten sensitive. This is a serious genetic disease. My daughter is able to fall asleep much easier, has much improved behavior, is able to focus in class, and doesn’t have a sore tummy anymore. My father, who is in his late 70’s, lost his fingernails over 10 years ago because of an autoimmune disease. Well, after 2 months of no gluten, his fingernails are growing back! My mother’s intestinal complaints are gone…the list goes on and on and on. I have solved a unique puzzle for my family. The most powerful part of this discovery is that we are helping my daughter at such an early age. If I had known I was gluten sensitive when I was a little girl, my life would have been much easier and I wouldn’t have been so sick all of the time….suffering silently.
This blog is about sharing personal gluten stories. I hope that someone else will have the life changing experiences I have had simply by listening to a friend. There is so much to learn.