Thursday, June 26, 2014

Confessions of a Hypocrite

So...remember this?

Remember this comment I made in reference to above post?:

Yeah, so it turns out, I'm wrong. Well, there's a pretty good chance I am, anyway.  I was definitely taught a lesson in forming an opinion based on a few things I'd read and heard before learning all the facts. 

So here's my shameful secret that only a few people know: Within days of sharing that link on Facebook, I went gluten-free.

I know what you're thinking: What?! Hypocrite much?! Why yes, yes I am.  And I've never been happier to be proven wrong.  So here's the story:

The above-referenced post led to a heated debate (which I knew it would) and friends and family were quick to argue with me and tell why going GF had changed their lives.  One friend in particular, who is very passionate about this topic, ended up messaging me privately to apologize for her heated comment (which was completely unnecessary, but appreciated) and it started a discussion about GF.  I asked some questions, told more of my skepticism, and for days we went back and forth about the subject, with her sending me links and enlightening me more and more.  (She has done a TON of research on the topic so the girl definitely knows what she's talking about.) I looked up the links, read up on it, did my research (which is what I should have done before sharing the link above).  Normally I wouldn't have spent the time to do so, except for one thing: As I stated in one of my comments in that thread, I actually tested positive for Celiac Disease several years ago.  The blood test said I had it, the biopsy and endoscopy said I did not.  Well, here's the thing: I now know, through my research, that one must have gluten in their diet for the endoscopy to show the damage the gluten is causing to their stomach (if they do indeed have Celiac) and my doctor, who will remain nameless, told me to go off of gluten for a month and then have the endoscopy done.  The gastroenterologist who did my endoscopy knew I had been off gluten for a month and didn't say anything about it.  Long story short, I now know the test results were screwed up and I am not about to pay the money to go through it all again.

So my friend suggested going off of gluten one more time.  This would be my third time in about six years.  The first time was per my doctor's questionable orders, the second time was a year and a half ago when I was having crazy digestive issues.  Each time was for a month, and each time I didn't notice a difference.  My friend said a month wasn't enough, and I probably wasn't being careful enough with making sure everything I was eating was, in fact, gluten free.  Which was probably true.  So I decided to try it one last time, for at least three months, being super diligent about checking labels and not cheating, and see once and for all if gluten was causing my lifelong headaches and more recent digestive issues, which were worse than they'd ever been. 

It's been a month now, and I feel amazing.  My headaches have almost completely disappeared and my digestive issues are GONE.  But, I still wasn't convinced it was for sure the gluten.  After all, I was eating healthier and avoiding sugar for the most part.  (But not completely.) After a while I started feeling deprived as I watched everyone around me eat hamburgers and cake and all kinds of gluten-laden goodness so I started eating sugar if there was no gluten in it; you know, to make up for what I was missing out on.  (Hello, milkshakes.)  And I still felt great, so I knew it wasn't the sugar.  I was eating plenty of dairy, so I knew it wasn't that, either.  Still, I was not going to know for sure until my 3 months were up and I introduced gluten back into my diet.

And then last night happened.  I was sleeping restlessly so I got up to have some milk, which always helps, but I can't just drink plain milk without anything with it, because...gross.  And sitting in my fridge, staring back at me, screaming at me to eat them, were these amazing looking gourmet cupcakes the devil my friend had brought us.  Don't do it, Alicia, the voice in my head said.  Don't throw away the last month, you've worked too hard.  You'll regret it.  But then another voice said CUPCAKE and before I knew it I was sinking my teeth into the most delicious caramel, peanut butter-filled cupcake with caramel frosting.  Oh. My. Gosh, it was a-MAZING.  As I ate it, I knew one of two things would happen: nothing, which would make me question the no gluten thing but not give up on it since I've felt so good, or something, which would prove to me that my body hates it. 

I went back to bed and fell asleep.  Four hours later I woke up with what felt like a butcher knife in the side of my head.  I have not had that kind of headache in, well, a month.  Especially waking me up in the middle of the night.  And I knew there was no way it could be a coincidence.  And I knew it couldn't be the sugar, or any other ingredient in the cupcake, because the only thing in that cupcake that my body has not had in a month was gluten.  So there you have it.  My answer.  Which is incredibly bittersweet because on the one hand, I FINALLY know, after all these years, what has been causing my headaches and stomach issues.  But on the other hand....NO GLUTEN!!!! No cupcakes, donuts, cake, cookies, bread, pasta, and a million bajillion other things that have made up my diet my entire life and make me oh so happy.  It will be hard, I'm not gonna lie.  But it will be worth it.  I finally feel like a normal, healthy person.

So the reason I say there's a pretty good chance I'm wrong about my previous opinion, and not a definite one, is because there's still a chance I actually do have Celiac Disease, which would mean my self-discovery about gluten wouldn't prove anything about people who don't have Celiac responding to a GF diet.  But oh well.  Who cares?  Not me.  If all those people have found something that makes them feel better, then I'm happy for them, and who the heck am I to say anything about it?? 

So, add me to the list of "annoying" people asking "what's in that?" and requesting the allergy menu at restaurants.  I'm proud to join the club.

1 comment:

Lee said...

I'm three years gluten free because I have freak adult onset food allergies. I have quite the list but if I cheat I quit breathing. I'm glad you have an answer.