Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wheat Free for Cour-ta-ney and the Elimination Diet

If you know me, you know I'm allergic to the environment. I have fondly (?) been called the "bubble girl".  Even being allergic to "everything", there is only one thing that is so bad that it sends me to the E.R. It's my enemy and it's name is wheat. I'll tell you more about that in a minute. First, I fill you in how I came to find out about my wheat allergy. (and on another post, I'll also let you know about some new products I've found that are gluten free and delicious)!

FINDING OUT:

Four score years ago, I was swollen for months. I felt blah, I was moody (more the normal) and I just knew something was wrong.
My eyes looked like I had been in fight club. We all know what happens in fight club, stays in fight club, but I was starting to worry (and so was mama). I needed to know what was going on! So I left fight club and went to the doctors.

I went to ALOT of doctors and went through ALOT of test. I think it was doctor 21 or 22, that suggested I get allergy testing. I went to an allergist and she did a skin test. She tested me for many things, but one stood out more then others. My arm started to swell.  She told me that she was going to have give me a shot of benedryal and should find a ride home.

As you can guess, what made me swell was wheat. It was just a tiny bit that made me swell and that sealed my fate. As she sat me down to talk about what I need to do, she basically told me from this moment on, I have to check everything I use or eat. I was in shock because that never crossed my mind.

I would've never guess that wheat was making me sick. But what I really never would've guess is what all has wheat it in. The allergist gave me a list of somethings to look out for. When I came to, I realized how much stuff I was using had wheat in it. My lotion, shampoo, NAIL POLISH, all contained wheat. I had to go through everything I used and see if they had wheat. Since four years ago, wheat or gluten free wasn't as common as now, I had to call 800 numbers on the back of my products and wait for phone calls back to see if I could use it.

I've been wheat/gluten free (It's easier saying gf then saying I can eat all but wheat) ever since. At first, It was hard. Mama and I spent HOURS at the store trying to figure out what I could/couldn't eat. When we found out what I could eat, it was a challenge trying to figure out what was good. Really, the biggest challenge was to see what was edible.

Now that being gf isn't just for celiac disease (click on the link to find about more at celiac disease) and the 1% of the population like me that has an allergy. (Click on the link to learn more about wheat allergies). People have found it to be a new fad diet, too? Why? Still not sure. It's high calorie and expensive.


WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?


I want to inform people at how serious food allergies are. I want people to know it's nothing to play with. If someone says they are allergic to wheat, peanuts, soy, eggs, etc. I want people to take them seriously. I think people take it to lightly and to someone that  this affects, its not a joke.

Sadly, a couple of weeks ago, someone didn't take my allergy seriously. He brought in food and told me it was "gluten free". He knew what happens to me when I eat wheat (He even said, "I'm going to watch you eat to see if you blow up"). He didn't order the food gluten free and one of the sauces had wheat in it.

Within two hours, my eyes, lips and throat was swollen. I was in the Emergency Room at the hospital with Epipen jitters and hopped up on Benedryal and steroids. I had to stay there for the next seven hours to be monitored for a relapse.

Once, again I was making my rounds to all my doctors. The wheat had re-triggered my migraines, had made my head foggy and of course I was still swollen.

THE DREADED ELIMINATION DIET

Three days off work, 5 nights at my parents house and I still wasn't feeling great. That is when my doctor said the dreaded words, "Courtney, you have to go on the elimination diet".

The elimination diet is when you take out all possible allergens to kinda get your body back to the basics. After nine days with only a short list of foods, you reintroduce other foods that are known allergens. (I will never been able to "reintroduce" wheat because we know it causes an anaphylactic response.)

Once again, I had to research the elimination diet. While do so, I found that there are other reasons people do this diet.  Food can affect/trigger all of the conditions listed below.
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • IBS
  • Chronic Migraines
  • GERD
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation / Diarrhea
  • Sinus problems
  • Weight loss / Weight gain
  • Infertility
Since sis, has psoriasis I asked her if she wanted to try the diet with me this time. (Just a FYI, please consult your doctor before you start this diet or any diet. Of course, not all diets are meant for everyone and we are under a doctors care.)

HOW THE DIET IS AFFECTING US! 

I'm really glad sis is doing the diet with me. It's so hard to do and I needed the support.  We started this diet on Tuesday with two days of green smoothies. I loved the smoothies, sis not so much. On Thursday we started the Phase 1.

It is almost shocking how different the diet is affecting us. Apples, grapes, chicken, and brown rice are serving sis well, me not so well.

Sis- Lost 15 lbs and inches from her body.

Me- Not so much. I have lost 5 pounds.  I'm trying to remember that weight loss isn't the reason I'm doing this. Which is kinda hard to do when your sister is dropping half an Olsen twin in 5 days.

Sis- Has also lost 14 inches.  Her bust, hips, waist, neck, legs and upper arms are all smaller.

Me- I've lost 1/2 an inch. Not too bad you say? Well guess where that missing 1/2 inch came from? Drum roll please....MY ANKLES! Yep, I'm down 1/2 inch in the ankle department. I hope people notice when I walk into work tomorrow.

(As I type this I think, "Who even measures their ankles in the first place"? Really? Does anyone but us even do that?)

Sis - Has said that she can see clearer and farther then she normally can. She said her head feels better then ever.

Me- I'm dizzy, tired and have hives. (The doctor said this is normal and can last up to 7 days.) I'm also a short fused monster. I'm still don't know if it's called a shiv or a shank but I'm thinking about making one out of the straw in my drink. (The mood the doctor said is normal and can last up to 7 days. I didn't tell him about wanting to make a prison weapon, so I'm not totally sure if that is normal.)

I'm going to have to side with my doctor. I know (pray to God) this isn't my new "normal".  I'm giving myself 7 days of cray cray, then it's over. I know I'm going to wake up next Tuesday morning an even better CoCo.

Sis and I are keeping diaries of what we are going through. I'm picturing her diary with drawings of rainbows and cute little puppies, while mine has witches and monsters in the margin of it.
We will share some things that we think are funny, interesting or helpful.

As, I said earlier, make sure to check with your doctor if you want to try this diet. This diet wasn't a choice for me. It was made for me by someone's carelessness. (And sis wants to see if it helps her skin.)



I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. (See, I'm already getting nicer!)

Take care of yourself and each other.
AG




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