5

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To what extent should one avoid Gluten?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Hey! I am not celiac but I am minimizing gluten as the obvious sources always give me issues (bread, pasta, even beer...sad) and they are of course not paleo. To what extent should one go to minimize or eliminate gluten from their diets? For instance, right now when I order at a resturaunt I just don't order anything with any obvious gluten sources in it. Is cutting out the obvious sources enough or is there great benifit to be gained by going to more severe meassures to eliminate gluten?

Thoughts?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 11:01 PM

I'll spend my money on meat, or donate it to a charity, rather than spend it on an allergy test.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:53 PM

Hohum justanotherhunt. My blood tests are fine, my weight is normal, and mostly due to high activity which I strongly recommend over reading books about porky bellies. At age 58 I've beaten some very real self-induced health problems, so I'm not quixotic. I will not adopt neo-kosher habits on the slim chance that they would thin brain fog. I'll trust caffeine to do the heavy lifting there.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 23, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Celiac disease affects the villi in your intestines and keeps you from absorbing all the nutrients in your food. This can lead to anemia, vitamin deficiencies, and less than optimal health. You might not experience these as a symptom, but it's still affecting you. Eventually, you will damage your intestines to the point that you will probably start showing symptoms, but this can cause a lot of other health problems and can take a long time to heal. This is why doctors are starting to screen patients with chronic fatigue. It's also why non-symptomatic family members should be screened.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 23, 2011
at 08:03 PM

Exactly, it's almost like a drug. Well, they do say that wheat peptides mimic endorphins if they get through the blood-brain barrier. And since gluten makes the gut permeable, it seems that it's easy enough for this to happen.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 23, 2011
at 06:15 PM

thhq, go read about gluten. You may not notice any problems now, but damage could be done without you knowing and you could have cancer in later life that is caused by it. And most wheat, if not organic is full of hormone crap and other shit. It's the worst grain there is

18d89478c2fbd0a69889ae094f5fa5d3

(418)

on November 23, 2011
at 01:55 PM

I avoid it like the plague.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 12:50 PM

In the absence of symptoms, why pay for a test?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 12:41 PM

@APC my body is very tolerant of high glycemic carbs, yet overeating them gave me obesity and diabetes. Eliminating this damage required dietary and behavioral modifications. I see no comparable damage from eating butter, gluten, lactose, meat or fructose unless I overeat them. If I can digest them they're food, not "foreign bodies", and I won't quit eating them based on an unverifiable future health event like brain fog.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 23, 2011
at 11:12 AM

That's funny, exactly how I felt after eating a hamburger, gluten for the first time in three or so months - it was free, but I don't think I'll be doing it too often. I had a stuffy nose, almost flu-like symptoms. I was wondering how much of that was actual toxicity, and how much just not being used to gluten (anymore). I bet something like that would happen if I stopped eating meat for three months (the horror), perhaps not to that extent, though.

A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:35 AM

if eliminating a foreign body results in loss of tolerance, that should be an indication that your natural state is one of intolerance. this means that even though you may have developed a tolerance to the foreign body, it is still causing damage.

Medium avatar

on November 23, 2011
at 02:19 AM

You described my exact experience with gluten. It's like you're in a coma but you don't know it until you stop eating gluten and then your eyes are opened.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:41 PM

I don't go out of my way to avoid gluten, and it doesn't bother me. No bloating, no skin rashes, no asthma. Having read many comments here and in other Paleohacks threads, I'm beginning to think that avoiding gluten can induce intolerance. Maybe similar to the loss of lactose tolerance in adults that quit drinking milk.

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10 Answers

6
1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on November 22, 2011
at 08:22 PM

I have almost completely eliminated gluten from my diet. The real final stamp on why this was right for me occurred one night after I ate some pizza.

At this point I had been almost completely gluten free for nearly 30 or so days. Without my noticing, all sinus issues had essentially evaporated. The day after I had pizza, however, I woke up with stuffy congestion and depleted energy. I said "Wow. This exactly how I used to feel... every day." And I didn't even realize how big of a difference it was until I had slowly cleaned up, only to reintroduce it and see how big of an issue it really was.

I would recommend you give yourself a window of perfectly clean. Then test it out on yourself and see how you react. I am now personally convicted as to what extent I'll avoid it, simply because I now know how I personally respond.

Even going out to to the occasional restaurant leaves me picking off the breading of deliciously fried foods (yeah, I know, bad oils, but you have to celebrate once in a while!)... well, to be honest, my willingness to eat breaded food completely depends on how much cider I'd drunk. :)

I have also heard (don't remember where) that your gut takes about 15 days to heal from a gluten bombing, so I found that that has helped in my framing. "Is this worth the 15 day recovery?"

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 23, 2011
at 11:12 AM

That's funny, exactly how I felt after eating a hamburger, gluten for the first time in three or so months - it was free, but I don't think I'll be doing it too often. I had a stuffy nose, almost flu-like symptoms. I was wondering how much of that was actual toxicity, and how much just not being used to gluten (anymore). I bet something like that would happen if I stopped eating meat for three months (the horror), perhaps not to that extent, though.

3
Fc64c023acb3e86abc5ae4a3a46f67cc

on November 22, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I think it all depends on how Gluten makes you feel. If you feel better by just cutting out wheat such as breads and pastas, beer and such, then great! But if you still don't feel right, then take it a step further. My Abuela has full blown Celiac so when we go anywhere to eat (which is rare) we have to make sure to be very specific as to how the food is prepared. We even bring her her own utensils in a plastic bag.

Its all up to you though, whatever feels good.

2
559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

on November 23, 2011
at 01:39 AM

The main improvement when I cut out gluten is reduction in brain fog. Brainfog is a really insidious symptom, because the effect of the gluten is slow and cumulative. When I start back on gluten, the brain fog starts coming back so slowly and gradually I hardly feel it. It's only when I stop for a while and the fog lifts (this seems to take a few weeks these days) that I remember - this is why I'm better off not eating wheat.

Medium avatar

on November 23, 2011
at 02:19 AM

You described my exact experience with gluten. It's like you're in a coma but you don't know it until you stop eating gluten and then your eyes are opened.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 23, 2011
at 08:03 PM

Exactly, it's almost like a drug. Well, they do say that wheat peptides mimic endorphins if they get through the blood-brain barrier. And since gluten makes the gut permeable, it seems that it's easy enough for this to happen.

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 22, 2011
at 09:40 PM

Agree with others, figure it out for yourself. At the very least, minimize your exposure to it. I keep a gluten-free kitchen, but won't stress being stuck in a pizzeria when out with friends (I won't be the crazy caveman who orders just a salad and then proceeds to quiz the waitstaff about how much soybean oil is in the dressing.)

1
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 23, 2011
at 04:58 AM

Keep in mind that many people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease have no symptoms. Add this to the people who have symptoms but don't recognize them or don't attribute them to gluten and you've got a lot of people out there who have no clue they should be going gluten-free. If you have a sibling, parent or child who has CD, your chances of having it pretty high so go get yourself screened and repeat every year or so. Even if you don't have a family member with CD, if you are worried, go get the blood screening test. It's a simple (finger prick) and relatively cheap test (about 50-75$ in my area). That way you'll know for sure if eliminating wheat is enough, or whether you have to really go gluten-free and take the behavior precautions, too, such as handwashing, clean utensils etc.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 12:50 PM

In the absence of symptoms, why pay for a test?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 11:01 PM

I'll spend my money on meat, or donate it to a charity, rather than spend it on an allergy test.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on November 23, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Celiac disease affects the villi in your intestines and keeps you from absorbing all the nutrients in your food. This can lead to anemia, vitamin deficiencies, and less than optimal health. You might not experience these as a symptom, but it's still affecting you. Eventually, you will damage your intestines to the point that you will probably start showing symptoms, but this can cause a lot of other health problems and can take a long time to heal. This is why doctors are starting to screen patients with chronic fatigue. It's also why non-symptomatic family members should be screened.

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on November 22, 2011
at 08:23 PM

I'm doing well with a pretty similar system, Pip. I am non-celiac (per negative endoscopy) but larger amounts of gluten cause me major bloating. I don't worry about cross-contamination and other trace amounts; occasionally I will eat bread or a piece of cake, but taking digestive enzymes usually helps me avoid symptoms.

1
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 07:54 PM

I am not celiac, nor am I gluten intolerant. But, I still try to avoid gluten as much as possible because I have concerns about the potential for future damage caused by eating it. Because of the kinds of restaurants I generally go to I can usually tell what is or isn't gf. But, if I have questions I'll ask. There are enough gf people running around that the restaurant staff can usually point me to the gf options without any difficulty.

0
Medium avatar

on November 23, 2011
at 03:03 AM

I would encourage you to read Dr. William Davis's recent book Wheat Belly. In it he explains all of the many diseases and health problems caused by the gluten in wheat, and backs it up with lots of research. If you suspect you're sensitive to gluten I'd get yourself tested to make sure, but there are subclinical levels of gluten intolerance that don't show up on the tests most doctors will use. The best way to determine if you do have problems with gluten is an elimination diet where you avoid all sources of it for at least two weeks and closely observe your symptoms. If you feel better, it's likely that you have some degree of gluten intolerance and should avoid it in all forms in the future. In general though, the wheat we eat today is nothing like original form people ate long ago, it's been genetically manipulated to achieve certain characteristics, and as Dr. Davis points out, this is causing major problems for a large number of people. Plus, wheat is low in nutrients compared to all the foods that are part of a paleo diet so there's no reason to eat it anyway.

0
0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512

(1960)

on November 22, 2011
at 09:35 PM

In my experience, from the past 10 months -- to a great extent. But really the only way to know is for you to try it yourself and see how it makes you feel. Give it 30 days, and assess.

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 22, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I don't worry about microscopic amounts that might sneak into a supplement, but I do avoid all known gluten-containing foods. Like Tyler, I had clear unpleasant symptoms that were very familiar the first time I ate wheat after 4 months of ancestral eating. The food actually hurt all the way through my body and for several days afterward.

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