Via an elimination diet, I figured out about a year ago that I am gluten-intolerant (tested negative for celiac though). After this discovery, I started by cutting out gluten for the most part (trace amounts don't give me symptoms, but I know I should stop eating it all together), and after learning about Paleo/Primal a few months later, I've been moving in that direction. I only buy and cook Paleo foods, but sometimes have a cupcake at work, or bread at a restaurant. It used to be that after eating these foods, my symptoms would start the next day, and would last for three days. Since going mostly Paleo, when I do "cheat," I am noticing that the symptoms start sooner (within a couple hours) and tend to resolve the same day; I was just curious if anyone else is having a similar experience?
I'd be interested to know more about your negative celiac result. Was it an endoscopy? If bloodwork, which test? The Mayo clinic does a genetic test. (Others do it too.) It tells you which alleles (gene variants) you have. There are two alleles that present with classic celiac symptoms. There are a handful of others that have not been well studied. I would advise you to re-test, if only so that you have more clarity on this. It was a relief for me to know with certainty that I carry one "classic" celiac allele and one "not normal but not well studied/understood" allele. The celiac/non-celiac diagnosis is far more nebulous than the medical establishment acknowledges. But make no mistake about it, you don't need two classic celiac genes to be celiac. This is not like Mendel's dwarf pea plants.
It's my understanding that the gluten response can occur after a threshhold exposure level that varies from person to person. Just because you can get away with certain amounts before reaching the threshhold does not mean that you are not reacting. Essentially, the response is not noticeable but it is happening. And then a trace amount puts you over the threshhold and...you're miserable for a day (or three...or more). I would advise you to eliminate all gluten and watch for hidden sources of gluten and cross-contamination.
When you reduce/eliminate gluten, subsequent exposures do tend to produce quicker responses. That your body is more effective at recovery on a paleo diet is a good sign that the paleo diet is working for you; but why hamper yourself by continuing to ingest a known toxin? For the gluten-sensitive individual, gluten exposure does not get an 80/20 "pass."
In my initial experiments going gluten-free, I would occasionally eat pizza or otherwise "slip up" so I won't sermonize on the cupcake issue. Suffice it to say that going bread and cupcake free, and being vigilant about contamination and hidden sources of gluten will have more tangible results than just about any other dietary change you can make, in my opinion.
From my blog:
"The other plus was discovering I was gluten intolerant. After suffering migraines for my whole life, since infancy, I was migraine free after 5 days on low carb and have never had one since. And I had the whole range of food intolerance symptoms: migraine and headaches; gastro-intestinal symptoms including stomach aches, irritable bowel, diarrhoea, urinary urgency; eczema and other itchy skin rashes; nasal congestion (stuffy or runny nose); depression, unexplained tiredness, impairment of memory and concentration,; tachycardia (fast heart beat);; irritability, restlessness, inattention, difficulty settling to sleep, night waking. All caused by gluten and modern high carb foods."
Life is so much better now! I have not had a migraine since Sept 2005, it is like being let out of prison.
If it's gluten, why not cheat with an occasional gluten free cupcake? They make very tasty ones and there are gluten free bakeries as well. SOme of the paleoized baking recipies are also delicious, especially if you don't mind ingesting a bit of sugar in them. As long as it's occasional, it should be fine. I am not saying this gluten free stuff is going to be super healthy for you, but if you have a cookie made of say, almond flour, egg and sugar, it's going to be a lot better than the typical chemical loaded gluten bombs from the grocery store. Home cooked also tastes MUCH better than grocery store fodder. I don't think I really realized how bad most of the processed grocery store food tastes until I got away from it. Now, if I taste a bit of it, I am amazed at how bad it tastes and the only thing that can really tempt me is homemade product.
Yes Jules the same happens to me. I am not celiac but having eliminated any gluten containing food several months ago, if I ever have one cookie or muffin (sometimes following a friends request) I can feel the difference.