Hey! I am not celiac but I am minimizing gluten as the obvious sources always give me issues (bread, pasta, even beer...sad) and they are of course not paleo. To what extent should one go to minimize or eliminate gluten from their diets? For instance, right now when I order at a resturaunt I just don't order anything with any obvious gluten sources in it. Is cutting out the obvious sources enough or is there great benifit to be gained by going to more severe meassures to eliminate gluten?
I have almost completely eliminated gluten from my diet. The real final stamp on why this was right for me occurred one night after I ate some pizza.
At this point I had been almost completely gluten free for nearly 30 or so days. Without my noticing, all sinus issues had essentially evaporated. The day after I had pizza, however, I woke up with stuffy congestion and depleted energy. I said "Wow. This exactly how I used to feel... every day." And I didn't even realize how big of a difference it was until I had slowly cleaned up, only to reintroduce it and see how big of an issue it really was.
I would recommend you give yourself a window of perfectly clean. Then test it out on yourself and see how you react. I am now personally convicted as to what extent I'll avoid it, simply because I now know how I personally respond.
Even going out to to the occasional restaurant leaves me picking off the breading of deliciously fried foods (yeah, I know, bad oils, but you have to celebrate once in a while!)... well, to be honest, my willingness to eat breaded food completely depends on how much cider I'd drunk. :)
I have also heard (don't remember where) that your gut takes about 15 days to heal from a gluten bombing, so I found that that has helped in my framing. "Is this worth the 15 day recovery?"
I think it all depends on how Gluten makes you feel. If you feel better by just cutting out wheat such as breads and pastas, beer and such, then great! But if you still don't feel right, then take it a step further. My Abuela has full blown Celiac so when we go anywhere to eat (which is rare) we have to make sure to be very specific as to how the food is prepared. We even bring her her own utensils in a plastic bag.
Its all up to you though, whatever feels good.
Agree with others, figure it out for yourself. At the very least, minimize your exposure to it. I keep a gluten-free kitchen, but won't stress being stuck in a pizzeria when out with friends (I won't be the crazy caveman who orders just a salad and then proceeds to quiz the waitstaff about how much soybean oil is in the dressing.)
The main improvement when I cut out gluten is reduction in brain fog. Brainfog is a really insidious symptom, because the effect of the gluten is slow and cumulative. When I start back on gluten, the brain fog starts coming back so slowly and gradually I hardly feel it. It's only when I stop for a while and the fog lifts (this seems to take a few weeks these days) that I remember - this is why I'm better off not eating wheat.
Keep in mind that many people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease have no symptoms. Add this to the people who have symptoms but don't recognize them or don't attribute them to gluten and you've got a lot of people out there who have no clue they should be going gluten-free. If you have a sibling, parent or child who has CD, your chances of having it pretty high so go get yourself screened and repeat every year or so. Even if you don't have a family member with CD, if you are worried, go get the blood screening test. It's a simple (finger prick) and relatively cheap test (about 50-75$ in my area). That way you'll know for sure if eliminating wheat is enough, or whether you have to really go gluten-free and take the behavior precautions, too, such as handwashing, clean utensils etc.
I am not celiac, nor am I gluten intolerant. But, I still try to avoid gluten as much as possible because I have concerns about the potential for future damage caused by eating it. Because of the kinds of restaurants I generally go to I can usually tell what is or isn't gf. But, if I have questions I'll ask. There are enough gf people running around that the restaurant staff can usually point me to the gf options without any difficulty.
I'm doing well with a pretty similar system, Pip. I am non-celiac (per negative endoscopy) but larger amounts of gluten cause me major bloating. I don't worry about cross-contamination and other trace amounts; occasionally I will eat bread or a piece of cake, but taking digestive enzymes usually helps me avoid symptoms.
I don't worry about microscopic amounts that might sneak into a supplement, but I do avoid all known gluten-containing foods. Like Tyler, I had clear unpleasant symptoms that were very familiar the first time I ate wheat after 4 months of ancestral eating. The food actually hurt all the way through my body and for several days afterward.
I would encourage you to read Dr. William Davis's recent book Wheat Belly. In it he explains all of the many diseases and health problems caused by the gluten in wheat, and backs it up with lots of research. If you suspect you're sensitive to gluten I'd get yourself tested to make sure, but there are subclinical levels of gluten intolerance that don't show up on the tests most doctors will use. The best way to determine if you do have problems with gluten is an elimination diet where you avoid all sources of it for at least two weeks and closely observe your symptoms. If you feel better, it's likely that you have some degree of gluten intolerance and should avoid it in all forms in the future. In general though, the wheat we eat today is nothing like original form people ate long ago, it's been genetically manipulated to achieve certain characteristics, and as Dr. Davis points out, this is causing major problems for a large number of people. Plus, wheat is low in nutrients compared to all the foods that are part of a paleo diet so there's no reason to eat it anyway.