Why I Went Gluten Free...and What I Noticed

It’s been four years since I decided to completely eliminate gluten from my diet, a decision I was certainly not happy about. However, after dealing with severe eczema for over a year that would just not go away, I was willing to try anything. I ended up getting a food allergy test the showed I had a sensitivity to gluten.

The gluten free craze had completely erupted at that time, so finding alternatives to my favorite foods was thankfully not that difficult, and is especially not difficult now. However, many of these replacements were laden with the other foods on my don’t eat list, or chemicals and artificial ingredients. This forced me to revamp my entire diet to essentially whole, unprocessed foods.

So What Happened?

I didn’t notice much at first, but I did however notice that after eating pie and some home made rolls at Thanksgiving a month later, I woke up to a horrible stomach ache, acne, and my eczema was itching like crazy.

Still wanting to believe that gluten could not possibly be the cause, I went back and forth like this for a few more weeks and every time, I suffered a “gluten hangover” the next day. Once I was able to accept this, that’s when I started to notice lasting changes.

The clear skin continued, my energy was more stable, especially after meals, and my digestion was working smoother than it had in years, plus I lost weight by being forced to make more conscious food choices. These changes were subtle, but the biggest one of all was that my eczema completely disappeared. It took about four months to be completely gone, but only a month until it dramatically reduced. After struggling with it brutally for almost two years I couldn’t believe that it went away with only a change in diet. I had tried every kind of steroid cream my doctors recommended and to no avail. No one had ever told me to change my diet.

Now, I’m a little more flexible than I was back then. I don’t completely shun gluten, and certainly enjoy it on special occasions and have found the foods that don’t seem to be as irritating, but I’ve been proven over and over again that gluten directly affects my skin and digestion when I indulge. Maybe not after one bagel, but daily, weekly, for a short period of time, will be sure to bring that pesky eczema right back or an upset stomach for me.  

Should you go Gluten Free?

Gluten free has remained a lasting trend, prompting people to question whether or not those of us who are not celiac really need to be shunning an entire food group, and if it’s healthier. Here’s a great article that explains the facts vs. myths of gluten.

There still doesn’t appear to be any evidence that just going gluten free for the sake of going gluten free is healthier. However, if you’re unsure if some pesky discomforts you might be experiencing could be related to gluten or your diet, the best way to tell if it affects you is to stop eating it and re-introduce it into your diet a few weeks later. Then watch what happens.

Many people aren’t affected by gluten, but many people are be it something as “minor” as a stomach ache or as major as auto-immune disorders.

The biggest change that I think going gluten free provided for me, and for beating my eczema, was the way it forced me to find an entirely new way of eating regularly. It’s easy and tasty to reach for the replacements, but as stated earlier, these are often far more processed, and and unhealthier than a normal piece of bread.

If you’re trying to be gluten free, for whatever reason, look for foods that are naturally gluten free, and start using that as a guideline for your diet, and see what happens.  

Bryan FlynnComment