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How to Know if You’re Gluten Intolerant

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Nutrition

The day gluten-free Oreos launched, my daughters drove twenty minutes to pick up a pack for themselves and another for a best friend. They were already on their way back before I knew they had left the house! I started eating gluten-free in 2004, and since then have helped families (including my own) do the same. Thankfully the market has exploded with tastier choices and often hits a home run in texture (like the gluten-free Oreos!)

Are you curious if you should be eliminating gluten from your diet? Then, keep reading and discover if you’re gluten intolerant with a simple in-home test that doesn’t require a doctor’s order!

I started eating gluten-free in 2004, and since then have helped families (including my own) do the same. Thankfully the market has exploded with tastier choices and often hits a home run in texture (like the gluten-free Oreos!)

WHERE GLUTEN IS FOUND

“Maybe you’ve recently seen the phrase “gluten-free” on food packaging, or take-out menus, shampoo bottles, apartment listings, the tag of your shirt, on a hammer, as a lower back tattoo, or in your friend’s resume.” LOL. Watch this FUN informative video on gluten – it’s a great way to teach children about gluten too!

Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. Because of its gooey glue-like consistency, it’s found its way into many non-food items, including personal care products like toothpaste, medicine, and even vitamins and supplements.

An excellent resource for gluten-free living is celiac.org, where you can learn how to read food labels (to ensure the food you’re buying is gluten-free) and find gluten-free recipes and meal plans! Hello, helpful.

Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. Because of its gooey glue-like consistency, it’s found its way into many non-food items, including personal care products like toothpaste, medicine, and even vitamins and supplements.

HOW GLUTEN AFFECTS THE BODY

As a grade-schooler, my daughter routinely complained about her stomach hurting. At first, I brushed it off as nerves or not wanting to go to school that day. Around the same timeframe, she also started having canker sores, and eventually (with her urging), we tested her for gluten issues which came back positive. Over two decades in practice, I’m continually amazed at the wide range of adverse effects beyond digestive problems that gluten can have on individuals. I’ve seen gluten issues in those struggling with autism, lupus, PCOS, hypothyroidism, weight gain, even acne.

When the immune system overreacts to gluten, we call it a food allergy (when it raises the antibody IgE) or food sensitivity (when it increases the antibody IgG.) There’s a significant difference. Food allergies can be life-threatening, whereas food sensitivities are more life-disturbing.

People with a wheat allergy can experience a wide range of symptoms from watery eyes, runny nose, and hives to shortness of breath and rarely anaphylaxis. In contrast, those with gluten sensitivity experience a wide range of painful gut symptoms (IBS, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, acid reflux) and struggle with fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, or skin rash. Some people with gluten sensitivity can develop celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that damages the small intestine’s lining and function. This damage can lead to a cascade of symptoms, including weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, infertility, and depression.

I’m continually amazed at the wide range of adverse effects beyond digestive problems that gluten can have on individuals. I’ve seen gluten issues in those struggling with autism, lupus, PCOS, hypothyroidism, weight gain, even acne.

IN-HOME GLUTEN TESTING

One way to tell if you have a problem with gluten is to eliminate it from your diet. Easier said than done. Gluten is tempting and everywhere, like the strawberry-rhubarb pie served at a recent family gathering. Ugh, I couldn’t resist! I paid the digestive price, but some food experiences are that worthy! If your symptoms improve when you eliminate gluten from your diet and return when you reintroduce it, you have your answer!

To stay on track eating gluten-free, I highly recommend testing. Your physician can order allergy testing (often negative), but there are two ways you can test for gluten issues without leaving your home. One way to test for gluten is through a finger-prick blood test that measures your body’s immune response to 96 foods, including gluten, wheat, rye, malt, barley, bran, and oat. Note: oat is naturally gluten-free but often cross-contaminated with gluten when grown on wheat fields.

My favorite way to test for gluten issues is through a saliva genetic test that analyzes 125+ of your genetic markers, seven related to problems with gluten. Scientists have studied some genes more than others, so each of your genetic markers has a ‘Science Grade.’ The higher the grade, the more published research on that individual gene. Therefore, the more confident we can be of its impact on nutrition and health.

If you’re curious if you should be eliminating gluten from your diet, stop guessing and start testing. It’s never been so easy to see if you have gluten issues with these simple in-home tests that don’t even require a doctor’s order. If you discover gluten is not your friend and remove it from your diet, you’ll likely be amazed at your gluten-free living results. Your body will thank you!

#WeAreInThisTogether for #HealthyChange

Rise stronger,

P.S. If you’re sad, mad, or frustrated about having to live gluten-free, don’t dig yourself a hole. Changing the way you eat doesn’t have to be so hard. Click Here for The Secret to Eating the Way You Should. Plus, here’s a quick list of gluten and dairy-free products we love! Including gluten-free pizza, gluten-free cake, gluten-free brownies, and even gluten-free bread.

P.P.S. If you’re like me and want to eat healthy organic, gluten-free meals but not spend hours in the kitchen, check out this Healthy & Organic Meal Kit Delivery Service. You’ll discover how to decrease stress in the kitchen and how to try a week’s worth of gluten-free meal kits for FREE!

About the Author: Dr. Sue

Sue McCreadie, MD (aka Dr. Sue), is a board-certified pediatric physician and wellness expert with two decades of experience helping thousands of families achieve vibrant health. In her pediatric practice, Dr. Sue helps children adapt their diet and lifestyle to optimize their genetics for health naturally. Online Dr. Sue helps other women learn how to eat for their genetics and use a nutritional system to feel confident with energy to live their best life. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Dave, and their three children, Kaitlin, Elle, and Addison.

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