Wednesday, July 29, 2009

There Shall Be No Wheat in the Kitchen

This summer, I have discovered that my children and I are allergic/intolerant to wheat.

Oddly enough I’m thrilled over this discovery. Why? Because it’s an answer to a question that has gone unanswered for years.

We have known we have allergies. We’ve been to doctors and to an allergist. There’s been skin tests and blood work, but everything comes back inconclusive.

Over the years we have found a few triggers. I am severely intolerant of all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. Our daughter is intolerant of dairy and our son can’t eat certain preservatives or artificial colorings. However, none of these were a conclusive answer to our problems since on any given day, between me and the kids we dealt with many symptoms including:

· Chronic fatigue
· Headaches/migraines
· Mental fogginess
· Congestion/nasal issues
· Inability to focus
· Eczema

Our only other option, according to the doctor was a complete elimination diet of all known allergens with a reintroduction of singular food groups to test for reactions. To be honest, the idea of accomplishing this with two small children loomed over me like Mt. Everest would to an amateur mountain climber. And so, I put it off.

However, this summer I was done! I was done fighting the battle of one or all of us not feeling well. But this time, I went to the cross first. I asked my prayer group to join with me to seek the face of God on these issues. In prayer, I heard the same word whispered to me three times….wheat.

Wheat? I really couldn’t believe wheat had anything to do with what we were going through, but I started researching none the less. In my research, I found a book released just this year titled Healthier without Wheat by Dr. Stephen Wangen.

Reading the book was like reading a biography of my medical history. Pretty sure I was on to something, I put myself on an elimination diet to test the theory. Three days into the gluten free diet (I chose to eliminate all gluten instead of just wheat), I started noticing a difference. After two weeks on the diet, all my symptoms were disappearing.

My transformation was so amazing my husband and I decided to include the kids. This took a lot of planning and preparation. I talked at length with the kids regarding the diet changes, and made sure I had plenty of alternative snack ideas on stand-by. And then, we took the plunge and changed their diet.

Our son’s transformation has been amazing. He no longer suffers from headaches or fatigue. He no longer craves wheat (which was a clue to his pediatrician as to the allergy) and he’s trying, and liking most of the time healthier food options. In fact, his quality of life is so improved that he voluntarily does NOT want to eat wheat. That says a lot coming from a 5-year old.

Our daughter, on the other hand, misses wheat. At one point during the first few days of the diet, she grabbed my leg and started crying and begging for some cheddar goldfish. But, she made the transition and is doing much better.

So, needless to say, our summer has consisted of converting our kitchen to a gluten-free zone. It’s been an interesting journey, which means I’ll have plenty of stories and recipes to throw out to bloggy world, but it has been well worth it.

Here’s to a wheat-free future!


Melanie said...

Yay for you in finding the answer!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm glad you're back!

Krista said...

the Captain just found out he has low-level allergies to wheat, corn, and peanuts (in addition to every mold and grass common to texas).

I had never considered a gluten-free diet, but am just now beginning to research what I can do. seriously, if you're allergic to grass and wheat is a grass, it makes so much sense that avoiding eating ground-up grass might improve your health!

all the best.

Warren Baldwin said...

I linked here from Gwen's blog. This post caught my eye.

We have a daughter that had to go on a gluten free diet for about 2 years. Incredibly, once her system cleared and healed she was able to start eating ORB again (that is, oats, rye and barely).

Jenny was terribly ill. During her senior year of high school she spent about 2 weeks in the hospital. Doctors wanted to take out her gall bladder. I contacted a medical doc who also practices nutrition. He looked at Jenny and said, "There is nothing wrong with her gall bladder. It is her intolerance for gluten." He put her on a gluten-free diet and it proved him right.

The diet turned her around almost immediately. It was a nuisance at college, Bible camps, etc., but she followed her diet faithfully and within the last few months has been able to eat about anything.

God's blessings upon your family as you begin this new, healthy diet. wb