Friday, April 24, 2009

Update on my general state of health

I have to say that currently I'm feeling better than I have felt in a long time. I've been gluten free for 5 months now, although it's been a struggle to be COMPLETELY gluten free. I know that I've been glutened a number of times since I started this in November, and am still in the process of making certain that all of my medications and shampoos and soaps and lotions are gluten free.

One of the biggest problems recently was that I started adding a certain brand of millet flour to my breads and then discovered that the company (Arrowhead Mills) had a reputation in the celiac community for contaminated products. As soon as I got rid of the Arrowhead Mills millet flour and any bread I had put it in, I could tell I was feeling I HAD been glutened by their product! It's so difficult to really be sure you're gluten free, especially when there are products out there that claim to be gluten free but aren't!

Of course, this is due to the fact that there is no absolute standard for what "gluten free" means. That is, how many parts per million of gluten are actually allowed before a product is NOT gluten free? So companies are left to their own devices and some of them make it up as they go along. There are many reputable companies out there (Authentic Foods, Bob's Red Mill, Pamela's, etc.) that can be trusted, but when you're a newbie you just don't know these things.

Anyway....I'm not having headaches, nor much vertigo at the moment. No hand tremors either. I did have several weeks of headaches and other issues when I was using the contaminated millet flour, but that appears to be over. My extreme fatigue has diminished as well. I am still in the wheelchair though, and I don't seem to be able to function without it for significant periods of time due to severe back pain. But I'm willing to be patient and wait a bit longer.

So if you're in the beginning stages of the gluten free lifestyle, don't be discouraged. It does get easier and you will feel better. Some people feel better right away, others take more time to see improvement. Just stick it out and persevere, and be certain to check all possible sources of gluten in your environment....clean and purge your kitchen, of course, and buy a new toaster, new cutting boards, etc., but don't forget other things such as spice or seasoning mixes (frequently have wheat starch in them), soups, condiments, marinades, etc. Gluten can hide anywhere!

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