For years I thought of gluten-free as a bunch of B.S. and a fad. That's simply based on my own jaded perception of dieting and nutrition. I got sick of the ever-changing healthy/not healthy information shoved down my consumer throat.
Boy, was I wrong about gluten.
I don't have Celiac Disease and I believed what I heard and read that it was the only real reason to avoid gluten. I never noticed gluten particularly upsetting my stomach, but I'm pretty good at ignoring symptoms when I'm busy.
Then one fine day I was reading The Better Bladder Book—I'm sure you've read it—because I'd developed Interstitial Cystitis and it was getting worse. The author casually commented that if you have Sjogren's Syndrome (I have a mild case) you shouldn't eat gluten.
For a couple minutes I sat there trying to recall how long I've had Sjogrens. I stopped tallying at the ten year mark. As Gummy would say, NOBODY TOLD ME. Really they never had, but to be fair I've not seen that doctor since, well, let's not get mathy about it.
I read that book last April and I tried to give up gluten immediately. By tried I mean I stopped eating things with bread and flour. It took me about six weeks or so to realize there's a lot more to going gluten-free. There's gluten in everything: salad dressing, malt, additives, preservatives, dried fruit sometimes (flour on the conveyor belt), CHEESE now and then, meat sometimes, omelettes occasionally, etc.
Gluten is in everything like Corn Syrup used to be.
Before I'd eliminated all gluten from my diet I went through a couple weeks of abject misery with my flaming Interstitial Cystitis. While traveling. It had been progressively getting worse and I was seeing a specialist. Then something miraculous happened.
By last June and about a week after I eliminated ALL TRACE of gluten from my diet the I.C. bladder spasms stopped completely. It's been over a year now and I've not had them one time. Not. Once. They had been stealing about three days a week from my life. Then they stopped.
I Could NOT Believe it!
My Urologist could not believe it either. I'd seen her quarterly and this spring we realized it's been nearly a year since I had a single episode of flaming bloody wee. *insert hallelujah choir here*
She told me I didn't have to come back anymore. I graduated.
You know how annoying ex-smokers are about secondhand smoke? I'm now way worse than that about gluten. I don't even want to go out to eat anymore. It's a hassle and a surefire way to inadvertently get gluten. But between travel and social situations it's unavoidable. Usually I research the restaurant ahead, ask when I arrive—if they can accommodate gluten allergies—and quiz the poor waiter.
ARE YOU SURE, I say in my Spanish Inquisition tone.
One of my kids said, "MOM, please stop telling total strangers you'll piss blood if you eat gluten."
Okay, I don't say PISS. But I need them to know I'm not kidding! I stopped saying pee though and have substituted it with internal bleeding. I mean your bladder is internal, right?
The cool thing, besides being healed OMG, is that I don't miss bread or cake or cookies or anything that's gluten. It feels like poison to me now. Maybe it's just me but I find flaming piss to be quite inspirational.
That was a little funny though, right? Now I've been giving milk and sugar the stank eye and wondering if that would help with the vestibular migraine. I mean it's worth a try isn't it? The only thing holding me back is CHAI LATTES because CHAI LATTES.
Tell me you understand. If you don't, sorry about the health-related post. I have to share my gluten success story for the other canaries.