The word gluten intolerance is something I have heard thrown about mostly by the public and certain health care professionals, namely chiropractors and naturopaths. It was usually the first thing out of their mouths once they saw me and couldn’t give me any answers. The problem with their suggestion was that they never really gave me any ideas on how to put this diet into effect or reasons wheat gluten might be causing issues in the human body or my body in particular. In fact, in most cases, I think it was just something they threw out there without giving it or my condition much thought. I would have used any avenue necessary to explain why gluten and other foods can and are presenting major issues in today’s world. In fact, I try to explain to people about what appears to be happening all of the time with regard to certain foods in the diet.
The word Celiac disease was something I also heard uttered here and there. I do remember exactly where I was when I heard the first story about someone suffering from it. I was talking with my realtor about her nephew, who had a strict diet, out by the hot tub that is no longer there in the backyard of my current home. I remember the story, because the mom was preparing two meals every time she cooked. My realtor told her sister that maybe she should just switch to her son’s diet for ease. My mind strayed as I listened to the multi-faceted story, one I won’t fully explain here. I thought about how difficult it would be to switch to a diet without wheat. As a child, I suppose it wouldn’t be as hard if that were always your diet. Even then, a special diet means you can’t just go to the store and get many of the things one is accustomed to purchasing. And going out to eat is virtually impossible with real fears of cross contamination. Even if cooking from scratch, many things are out that consumers don’t even think about on a daily basis. As I considered this, it seemed it would be easier for a meat eater and milk consumer to pull this off. I was fully vegan, didn’t have cheese in my diet, didn’t drink milk, and I ate no animal flesh. Such a diet change had been brought up at some point, and I thought I tried, but it is funny to me now when I think of that attempt at dietary modification.
I researched about it on the Internet before making changes, so I thought. I don’t know exactly when this was but it was between 2005 and 2007. The years have blended together while my illness went through a strange metamorphosis. After this confusing attempt to get information online, I decided to try spelt. I had read it was an ancient grain that gave people less problems then wheat. The thing is that it contains gluten and is related to wheat. It isn’t appropriate for Celiac patients or those with wheat gluten intolerance. It is almost embarrassing to write down, but it shows the intricate nature of locating consistent and clear information and making sensible decisions based on it. In addition to choosing something that made no sense, I never really outed all of the rest of the problematic products that contained traditional wheat gluten. While bread wasn’t big on my list, processed foods were. Most processed foods contain wheat, but that is not the only thing that is problematic in processed foods. There are cheap oils passed off as healthy, bad sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified organisms, and many others. To get back on point, I really didn’t find out until much later, that I had never even reduced gluten by this attempt.
It was 2007 when I went to see an “holistic M.D.” I had to put it in quotes, because she represents a typical doctor except her treatments were random, expensive supplements. There was not much science behind the way she practiced medicine. Plus, while she took my Medicare, everything she sold at each visit cost hundreds and she asked me right away how I planned to get treatment from her without money. She was right, because effectively, I couldn’t get help from her because I was poor. I stayed anyway, because I had strange symptoms and I thought maybe she was different at first. Perhaps she would be the genius doctor I had been on a quest for over the years, like the one from the television show, House, M.D. Not! At least with Dr. Gregory House from television, I would be able sit and watch his interesting relationships with people like Dr. Wilson while he attempted to use his fascinating fictional mind to try to fix me. Then, the abuse might seem worth it. Plus, for anyone that has watched this show, he always figured out the mystery the third time around. Well, for the most part. This way, I would know how it was going to end, greatly reducing the upset that might be caused by his unusual techniques as a real TV physician. My doctor, and I will call her “Dr. Teal,” was the opposite of my favorite doctor on TV, except for her bedside manner. She ran all sorts of blood tests, which came back normal except vitamin D. Then, she did some basic tests. Based on those two things, she told me I needed large doses of vitamin B-12 injected and a whole lot of other supplements. She said even if the tests were normal, supplementation often helped individuals with symptoms of B-12 deficiency. I had some evidence of carpal tunnel with a basic test where the patient holds up the arms in a certain position for a short time (seems long) to check for a nerve sensations. I didn’t have much, but she saw what she wanted. Not being able to afford either injections or the supplements, I thought I could use something at home or use foods. She said there was no way. I bought some things she recommended, like Vitamin D3, because I was very deficient and a few other supplements. Nothing really helped and some made me feel worse right away. I had gone in because of years of pain, daily sweating with no explanation (often with chills), and continuing issues since I lost my thyroid and uterus. She brought up a gluten free diet. Knowing I was vegan in part for spiritual reasons, she seemed oblivious to what those things meant. I asked her what I would eat. She said I could have all of the fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, and meat I wanted. Here was the problem. I didn’t eat meat or eggs. This left a large protein problem. Beans weren’t something I ate very well. In fact, my diet simply lacked for some unknown reason my whole life. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go gluten free and I felt desperate. I reminded her of my lack of meat in the diet. She told me I could have all the soy I wanted. That is really something else, coming from someone that puts herself out there as a natural health care provider. Soy, in my view and from my investigation, is an endocrine disrupter and one I no longer will consume. It isn’t just that information, but I think of the evil corporation Montsanto when I see or hear about most soy products. I feel it contributed to my problem and could be one reason my thyroid completely went out of whack.
I must say that Dr. House would have agreed with me, and while Dr. Teal ordered tests, Dr. House would have concurred with me if he were a real doctor. He likely would have run tests I had pushed for over the years before I even mentioned them. I have no shame in admitting this freely: many of my thoughts about my illness were supported by this show and his ideas on some of his fake patients. I quit watching the show due to this, thinking I was getting too upset with the subject matter. I had hoped that it wouldn’t be autoimmune but I ended up being right. Apparently, my favorite show had come closer to a diagnosis than any doctor I had seen over the years. Dr. House had been on the right track without ever meeting me, but I wouldn’t find out he particulars of my autoimmune illnesses for about a year after I stopped watching the show.
It was only after my visit to the Hai Shan Clinic that I understood the situation more clearly. Two other doctors helped shed light on my issues as well. The gluten diet I had tried and failed with before was a success with the guidance of my alternative doctors. It is and has been a rough road, but it is a lot rougher when you are trying figure out what’s wrong and how to treat it with no assistance.