Two years ago, my most common responses to the term “gluten free” would be…….
-eye roll (a big one)
– Ummmmm….that is dumb; people ate bread in the bible
-It is a trend
-Oh! Some food marketer got you good
– Never would I ever
Then came a crazy day that I wouldn’t think would ever lead to being Gluten Free. In December of 2013 I got Swine Flu. Yep, remember that…..the flu circa 2009 that nobody talks about anymore. I brought it back en vogue……like the toe ring! It had to be reported to the CDC, and I was also generous and passed it to my husband. It was rough. It was the flu, just weirder symptoms than a typical flu. I was able to function thru the 102.3 fever. I’m a women…..we just push through. My husband, in typical male fashion, yes I went there 🙂 was down for the count. For about 4 days he laid in the fetal position on the couch while I was up doing laundry and still checking my work email. However, after his 4 days of being what I jokingly refered to him as being a “big baby,” he was back up and good to go. I was not. The “swine like” cough left, but my high fever lingered. Actually, when I say it lingered, I am probably underplaying it. I had a fever from December 11th thru mid-February. It was scary.
I saw the doctor multiple times and was put on a vitamin/nutrient drip, but the fevers still occurred. I was pretty much always at 99.9 but at times throughout the day, specifically if I exerted more physical energy or got out of a stressful work meeting/conference call, the fever would spike up to almost 102. The Swine Flu was out of my system but my body was obviously still oppressed with something. My doctor encouraged me to give up Gluten. This is where you can insert one of the many responses above (eye roll, sassy comment). I was Not going to stop eating gluten….And to me it made ZERO sense why I should. What I didn’t know, was “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”
The fevers persisted and I was scared and became desperate. Blood work came back and showed that my body had produced Autoimmune Antibodies. Perhaps triggered or at the very least, escalated by the Swine flu. My doctor mentioned again, that I should try to give up Gluten for a short time just to see if my body would react and see any benefits. So I did.
I went 1 full day (24 hours) without Gluten and my Fevers were GONE. My immediate instinct was “well that was just a crazy coincidence” so I made a sandwich and up came the fever again. Okay, so this was the point I couldn’t deny it anymore.
One month of being Gluten Free, Fevers were GONE, my skin looked Amazing, and energy level was better than it had been in a decade. A year and a half later there is no way I can go back to Gluten. There have been times where I accidentally ate it and I pop a fever, and then projectile vomit (sorry, but it is true). There are reasons for this that would take such a long time to explain. But part of the reason is that my body has now been Gluten Free for so long that when it comes in contact with gluten, the gluten is such a toxin to my system that it violently wants it OUT.
What I have learned was that the Swine Flu may have highlighted the severe need for me to go GF but FAR before the Swine Flu, I had seen issues of my body reacting to gluten and I didn’t know it. I just thought things were “normal” and I had no idea of knowing otherwise. I will list them below because they may be what you are experiencing and just think it is normal stuff.
Symptoms of Gluten issues I experienced…….
-Constant Drained Feeling
-Difficult to get out of bed in the morning
-Irregular periods (sorry for the TMI but it is true and probably one of the biggest signs of my intollerance. Ever since I was 14 they have been irregular….once I gave up gluten they were regular. Crazy right?!!!!)
-Severe stomach bloating (you could see it in the mirror) after eating pasta, bagel, or any large portion containing gluten. This swelling would last 24-48 hours.
I hope this helps someone out there who may be experiencing symptoms and has no idea. Giving up gluten gave my life so much quality that I would NEVER go back. It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice knowing the true tradeoff.