Gluten Elimination Challenge: An Easy Way to Figure Out If It Affects You! (part 2)

March 31, 2011

The easiest and most affordable way to figure out if gluten affects you is to do a 2-week gluten elimination trial (and see how you feel) and then provoke or challenge with gluten (and see how you feel). The 2 week trial will mean zero consumption of food containing wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale or oats. Oats must also be excluded as they are frequently contaminated with gluten during processing. It really is best that you eat home-made, real, whole foods (always, but especially during the trial) as gluten is so often “hidden” in many processed foods. Watch for ingredients like hydrolyzed protein, textured vegetable protein and all derivatives of wheat, oats, rye and barley (including barley malt, modified starch, most soy sauces and natural flavoring).

Other wonderful grains and nutritious starchy vegetables

Rice, corn and buckwheat are acceptable, as are the wonderful ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth. You can find gluten-free-everything – pasta, crackers, you-name-it – made from rice, bean, potato, coconut and corn flour. There are also many wonderful recipes books but some call for margarine, soy milk and excessive sugar – so make substitutions as needed. Rather than simply replacing the problem grain with another grain, consider incorporating more vegetables into your diet. Starchy vegetables like sweet potato and squashes are a wonderfully nutritious source of carbohydrates.

Adding back the gluten

Once you have removed the gluten from your diet and seen improvements in your mood and other symptoms (digestive, pain, skin etc), add it back after 2 weeks and see if it affects you adversely. This test is often more powerful for my clients than any lab test. I’ve seen symptoms ranging from severe mood swings to terrible anxiety to stomach aches to general aches and pains to fatigue and brain fog (and all of the above in some very sensitive individuals). If you experience any of the above, then it’s important that you remove gluten from your diet and work with someone to do additional testing. I’ll cover additional testing in a future blog post.

See here for part 1 (Gluten, your mood and your health) and read more about this and other food intolerances in my forthcoming book The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods you eat can calm your anxious mind, improve mood and end cravings. Find out more at www.antianxietyfoodsolution.com

20 Responses to “Gluten Elimination Challenge: An Easy Way to Figure Out If It Affects You! (part 2)”

  1. Right on Trudy! Always good to spread the word about gluten and its problems–seen and unseen! Thanks for helping spread that word!!

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Lovely to see you here Sheila and I know your expertise in this subject area helps so many of your clients too, especially those with major pain issues. It’s pretty powerful!

  2. Such important information to share Trudy and such a simple thing to try and work out through process of elimination rather than taking chemicals and tablets to combat symptoms.
    Heidi Alexandra

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Thanks Heidi – and I totally agree

  3. Very useful information. You always provide such clear advice. Thanks! ♥ Katherine.

  4. It about did me in to eat gluten-free for a few weeks, but for sure I felt better. Your instructions are easy understand and great info for someone looking to try gluten-free living.

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Sue – so pleased to hear you felt better

  5. it is fascinating to see how many people are becoming gluten intolerant these days. It feels like the energies of the earth are changing and they are calling the energies of our bodies to change too.

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Yes so many people have issues with gluten – I think part of it is also awareness and being more in tune with our bodies

  6. Trudy,
    Great way to test our bodies for gluten intolerance. Thanks!
    Kiyla Fenell

  7. Great information for gluten elimination Trudy.
    Dr. Robert Fenell

  8. Trudy,
    Interesting concept. I may just try this out!
    Mitch

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Mitch – I’d love to hear how it goes?!

  9. So glad to receive your emails Trudy – you share a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate it so very much!

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Kimberli
    Thanks and I really appreciate your feedback!
    Trudy

  10. Be careful w/ gluten-elimination diet. Yes, you will very quickly learn if you have a gluten sensitivity. However, in order to discern if your gluten sensitivity is due to Celiac Disease or not, then you need to be on a gluten diet for the tests (a simple blood test and possibly a biopsy) in order to have a proper diagnosis. If you do an elimination diet prior to these tests you will need to be on a gluten diet for an extended period of time (equal to about 1-4 slices of bread/day for 6-12 weeks…) As someone who had to do the tests AFTER I had done a gluten-elimination diet, I was in serious pain for 3 months.

    My recommendation is as follows: prior to the elimination diet, speak to your doctor about having the Celiac Blood Screening test. Believe me, you’ll wish you had done it.

    Once the test is done, you can decide with your doctor if you need the biopsy. After that, you can try the gluten-elimination diet with an eye to feeling better.

  11. What you say is true. However, I like many others do not have health insurance. I’m on a community ‘charity plan’ through our county hospital. I can barely get them to run my routine blood panels. They refuse to prescribe my HRT even though I had a hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries at a young age and my (private) physician felt that it was crucial for me due to many factors including my age. Heck, I can’t even get an appointment for a basic physical or whatnot without a 3-6 month wait. Thus, I have to do a lot of my own healthcare and ‘backdoor testing’. I can do this elimination trial and keep a diary, and hopefully present that evidence to my county doctor. It might not do a lot of good and I doubt that they would ever bother with any of the tests (just tell me to take Gas-X or something), but if eliminating gluten from my diet works and I feel better, then I’ll know that I must go gluten-free as a permanent change. It won’t get a true diagnosis, but it might afford some relief for someone else who is in the same boat.

    Also, a note to Catholics and others who celebrate Communion at their church: be aware that even ‘little’ things such as a Communion host or Communion bread may contain gluten so beware! If you are Catholic, your parish might have a ‘low-gluten’ host. While not totally gluten-free (Vatican rules require at least a tiny bit of gluten in the host), it may be small enough that those with mild issues can partake in the Body of Christ. Just mention it to one of the staff, and they will make sure to have some set aside for Mass and Consecration. If you are very sensitive or simply wish to avoid gluten altogether, you may still make a full Communion by receiving the Precious Blood (the wine) alone. However, there is a chance of cross-contamination if others have partaken of the host and the cup before you. My parish has a ‘gluten free’ line just for the Precious Blood, and those who have partaken of the Body (the host) are requested to receive the Precious Blood at another line in order to prevent contamination and flareups in extra-sensitive people.

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Hello
    If you do the elimination and challenge and do feel better, then you are moving in the right direction. And keep in mind that testing is not always conclusive so this really is a good option for you, especially since you don’t have health insurance.
    I appreciate you sharing the information about Communion – this is very valuable information that I was not aware of! Now I’m curious as to why the Vatican requires at least a tiny bit of gluten in the host!?
    Thanks
    Trudy

  12. Since I gave up gluten and my high fiber wheat/oats/barley cereals, I have been having a problem with constipation. I eat a very high fiber diet – LOTS of vegetables, some fruit, a fiber supplement by Metagenics called Metafiber, whole flax seeds, chia seeds, and rice cereal. I also drink at least 1 gallon of water/herbal tea each day. I recently also starting taking iodine & selenium for hypothyroidism. Would that cause constipation? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

    everywomanover29 Reply:

    Hi Barbara
    My thoughts are that the wheat/oats/barley may have been an irritant which possibly kept you regular. It’s common that gluten can cause lose stool. Now that’s out of your diet, you may now need to add more fiber (from additional flax, leafy greens, possibly psyllium) and address other possible causes of constipation – low thyroid, adrenal issues or low enzyme status. Iodine and selenium help the thyroid so they are not likely the culprit. You may need more thyroid support. Also, if the rice cereal is a new addition, I’d suspect this too.
    Hope this helps
    Trudy

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