When I decided to adopt a more healthful diet, the very first thing I did was cut out gluten. I had never had any specific problems with it but it seemed like an obvious place to start. So I went over a year with no gluten - no wheat, barley, rye, beer, etc. I was fastidious about it. No miracles (or any noticeable changes at all, really) happened but it was easy so I stuck with it. Over the holidays I decided to tune out for a few days and just ate whatever. I ate gluten containing items 4 times. Each time within minutes my mouth would start to tingle and then get itchy. By the fourth time it started to swell a little bit and I began to worry about anaphylaxis as my throat got mildly tight. I decided not to risk it and stopped eating it again. To make sure it wasn't a freak thing that just happened in a foreign environment (my in-law's house) I tried a tiny bite of some at work yesterday and the tingle began again. I've never been allergic to anything in my life but am wondering if I have actually somehow caused myself to be sensitive to wheat by avoiding it. Is that even possible? Everything I've read about people who don't have gluten allergies, but do have sensitivities, actually build up tolerance when they take breaks from it.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
Paleo does NOT create gluten intolerance. What you got there is well understood among the Paleo and GF peeps. Basically, gluten is keeping the immune system under-utilized for years when gluten is injected daily. When gluten is going away, the immune system awakes and performs as it's supposed to perform. This is why Paleo people get fewer colds or infections (very telling are teachers' stories or moms with kids at school where their kids bring back bugs). Anyways, after a month without gluten, the immune system now works. When gluten is ingested again, it is perceived by the body as it's supposed to be perceived: poison, that destroys your body little by little. Your body this time had the right, healthy reaction. So, paleo did not create the intolerance. The intolerance was always there. Masked.
The same goes for hypothyroid symptoms that become visible when *some* people go Paleo. The issue was always there, but now it becomes unmasked.
Whether you had a latent gluten intolerance, and the long term "dangers" of gluten is moot.
What you have here is a simple case digestive enzymes for grains and gluten being down-regulated. The body does not continue to create enzymes that it doesn't need.
If you continue to eat gluten containing foods, it will probably take 2-3 weeks for your body to accept them again.
Same thing happens whenever you make a drastic dietary change. The body has an amazing capability to adapt to what ever status quo it's given. However, it has a hard time accepting changes. ** This does not mean that you do not have a gluten sensitivity.**
You probably gave yourself a gluten intolerance. A coworker did the same thing. His brainiac doctor told him to cut all gluten out of his diet during his time on Paleo, so he did. He says that he was never sensitive to gluten (or any other food) before, but now two months later if he so much as thinks about eating anything with gluten in it he gets sick or has an alergic-type reaction. He talked to his doctor who apparently admitted that it was an intolerance caused by the diet.
Now, of course take this third hand accounting with a grain of salt, but I've read about it happening to other people in pretty much the exact same way, and in the same way that you're describing.
There are certainly some downsides and maybe even some minor dangers to certain parts of the Paleo diet. :( To personally make sure I never build any intolerance to a basic, natural food like grains (bread, gluten, whatever...), I continue to eat small amounts of bread on my "cheat" day once a week. Usually a nice sour dough or good wheat bread.
Best of luck busting that intolerance!
If you doubt the dangers of gluten and grains to your overall health then I suggest you do a Google search on it and read up on some of the medical and clinical evidence that these grains are actually genetically designed by nature to fight off consumption by human bodies. We are not built to eat them, only cloven hooved animals - some with 4 stomachs - are equipped to deal with the toxins these plants produce in the body. Gluten is poison, and as Eugenia pointed out, your body is now noticing it and clean enough to LET YOU KNOW ABOUT IT by reacting to it. This is because your body is now healthy. Congratulations, keep it up.
I stopped eating gluten and legumes for about 2 years and recently tried to eat some, everytime I eat gluten I get pretty bad diarrhea and legumes (beans) give me terrible gas. Not saying I gave myself an allergy but they definitely do not belong in my diet.
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