My Gluten-Free Journey: Finally an answer…

For those who have been following my journey navigating a gluten-free diet, I finally have an answer for you, and for me.  I do not have Celiac Disease, even though I have half of the Celiac gene (found out through a simple blood test).  What is my diagnosis?

GF_Road Sign

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

What a mouthful.

I actually found out more about this condition from the Beyond Celiac website rather than the Celiac Disease Foundation website.

I will not bore you with all of the details but here is the crux of it.  Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is an issue with digesting the carbohydrates (the sugars) that are found in certain foods.  And yep, you guessed it.  Some of these sugars are found in wheat, barley and rye — gluten containing foods.

When you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you are to look not at your intake of gluten — since that is not your real issue — you are to look at your intake of FODMAPs.  (Yeeaaah.)

What the heck is a FODMAP?  Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols

What that heck is that?!  I’ll make it easy on you, I’ll give you what the really smart people at Stanford Hospital and Clinics Digestive Health Center and Nutrition Services say they are:

“The FODMAPs in the diet are:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc.)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin, etc.)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc.)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.)

FODMAPs are osmotic (means they pull water into the intestinal tract), may not be digested or absorbed well and could be fermented upon by bacteria in the intestinal tract when eaten in excess.

Symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating &/or cramping may occur in those who could be sensitive to the effects of FODMAPs.  A low FODMAP diet may help reduce symptoms, which will limit foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, and polyols.”

(You can read the full report and see the chart of low and high FODMAP foods by clicking here.)

Technically, someone who has non-celiac gluten sensitivity can eat gluten as long as whatever else they eat with the gluten is a low FODMAP food — they should experience no symptoms.  However, as with everything, one must test oneself to see what your own personal food triggers are.

Some low FODMAP foods are:

Proteins: beef, chicken, deli slices, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey

Dairy: lactose free diary (any), low lactose dairy: cream cheese, half-and-half, hard cheeses (cheddar, colby, parmesan, swiss, etc.), soft cheeses (brie, feta, mozzarella, etc.), sherbet, yogurt (greek), whipped cream [Not in the can, or the tub! Whip it yourself from real whipping cream!]

Fruits and Vegetables: bananas, blueberries, carrots, kale, kiwi, honeydew, quinoa, pineapple, strawberries, tangerine, rhubarb, passionfruit, cabbage, spinach, turnips, pumpkin, parsnips, etc.

Some high FODMAP foods are:

high lactose dairy: buttermilk, chocolate, creamy/cheesy sauces, custard, ice cream, milk (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s condensed, evaporated), soft cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc.), sour cream

Fruits and Vegetables: apples, apricots, dried fruits, pears, plums, watermelon, papaya, canned fruit, artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, boysenberries, etc.

So, in a very real way, having non-celiac gluten sensitivity is worse than haing Celiac Disease because with CD all you have to do is stay away from gluten.  With Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), you have to stay away from a broad range of foods that are inherently all gluten free!!  (Arrgh.)

Lastly, how do you know if you have NCGS?  You HAVE to go through the process of being tested for Celiac Disease — DO NOT STOP EATING GLUTEN until you get tested!  Shall I repeat that? 🙂

Removing gluten from your diet hampers a diagnosis because the doctors need to see what your gut (your intestines) look like while on major gluten — and not for a short period of time.  So, find yourself a good GI doctor and get tested before changing your diet around.

So, back to the beginning.  What are the symptoms of Celiac?  Check it out here.

To see all of my posts about my gluten-free journey, click here.

Have questions?  Wanna talk about it?  Post your comments, your journey, &/or your questions in the comment section below.





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