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Total ah-ha moment re: food allergies/celiac disease

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  • Total ah-ha moment re: food allergies/celiac disease

    When I started eating Primal/Paleo, I was under the impression that I had food allergies. On my list of "allergies" were all the nightshade vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes, etc.), onions, and corn, to name a few. After starting GAPS and reading some anti-candida literature, I decided that I was pretty sure my reactions were actually potent healing reactions rather than true allergies. I tested that theory, and sure enough, I can now eat onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes without spending the day in the restroom.

    Looking back, I distinctly remember there being times I ate those things, fully expecting to get sick, and nothing happened. Very puzzling, I didn't understand it at the time. I've also had times that I didn't eat those things, but felt extremely sick as if I had.

    This is where Celiac comes in. I had never even thought about Celiac before, but looking at the questionnaires, I have symptoms/diagnoses in all 3 categories, from IBS and fatigue to infertility. The things I remember eating that didn't make me sick included a salad with black beans, corn, onions, and peppers. No wheat, no sugar. One thing that made me want to die because I was so sick was a piece of wedding cake. Wheat, sugar in abundance.

    This makes so much sense to me! Too bad the only conclusive test involves being on gluten for 3 months, that is not happening now that I know how well my body does without it. I may do the genetic test in the future to see if it's a possibility. Maybe I can get one of my sisters or my Mom to take the test, they have basically the same symptoms and the same "allergies". There's little to no chance I'll be able to convince them to give up wheat though

    Anyone else realize possible Celiac disease AFTER going Primal?

  • #2
    Well, I really have no surface reaction to wheat, per say. I digest it as fine as a person can digest wheat. Sure, it'll make you "even more regular", but other than that, I have no digestion issues to speak of. HOWEVER, since getting off wheat, my lousy seasonal and cat/dog allergies have all but vanished in as little as THREE MONTHS. I don't sneeze anymore. It's quite miraculous. Even though it may not hurt my digestion very much, it clearly is still inflammatory. My skin is better and I just did a cardiac CRP test and it's a 0.4. I can't wait to see what happens a year after Primal.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.


    • #3
      I did learn about Celiac's and wheat when it was too late as well. I didn't react strongly to it, but I didn't pick up on it until I was doing well on VLC and trying to have wheat tortillas still. I figured out on my own to cut these out, then all gluten, and just felt better.

      I lost track of how many symptoms and problems I don't have anymore. The gluten was just part of the answer, but a very real part.


      • #4
        There are no conclusive tests for celiac disease (at least in America). The best test out there still has a 20% false negative rate. Having a 1/5 chance that you'll be told by your doctor that you're making it all up is what I call terrible odds.

        In all honesty you've already taken the most conclusive test available: Stop eating gluten and see how that affects you. This test however won't make your doctor money, it won't make any lab technician money and it won't make any reagent manufacturer any money. If anything it'll cost them money as you'll find a lot less of a need for their services in the future. Surprisingly this test is not fully endorsed by the medical community.
        "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."


        • #5
          I realized I was probably Celiac after quitting gluten (primal came later). Now I'd kind of like to know just how destroyed my gut was back then, but I'd be insane to start eating gluten again. I'd get so, so sick. I did do a couple of the Enterolabs tests, as recommended by a nutritionist, and that was useful. The nutritionist was already convinced I was a gluten gal - but convincing ME was important to ensure that I wouldn't cheat. I've got a Celiac gene marker (surprise), autoimmune issues in a family full of autoimmune issues, a mom who struggles with "carbs" (aka gluten, she just won't admit it), a brother with nasty gut pain, and a dad with mysterious "gallbladder" issues.

          But I think the best test is just plain quitting gluten. I regained my ability to digest lactose and absorb some nutrients, the IBS went away, my energy skyrocketed. What better test does one need? I wish the medical establishment would validate it more, though. Since I don't have the gut biopsy done, I'm not actually diagnosed.

          Do you have seasonal allergies? About 2 years off of gluten, I noticed that my spring hayfever just went poof. Really. It's almost nonexistent, most days. I used to be one of those red eyed, red nosed, dripping faces! I must have really done my immune system a favor.


          • #6
            Thanks everyone. I think I'll just see about taking the genetic test to see if I have the markers, and if I do, then I'm for sure a lifelong gluten avoider. The biggest issue for me is that my husband will never give up gluten, and definitely wants to give our son gluten foods, but if I have actual Celiac, he has at least a 1 in 10 chance of having it too. That's the only reason I would want to know for sure, to see if I need to get the rest of my family tested.


            • #7
              The genetic markers are also very low odds and are only considered risk. People without the known risk genes get Celiac Disease. people with the known risk genes get Celiac Disease only slightly more than the general population. So the genetic testing really can't tell you very much.
              “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
              Blogging at


              • #8
                Originally posted by Strozyk View Post
                Do you have seasonal allergies? About 2 years off of gluten, I noticed that my spring hayfever just went poof. Really. It's almost nonexistent, most days. I used to be one of those red eyed, red nosed, dripping faces! I must have really done my immune system a favor.
                i didn't have TERRIBLE seasonal allergies but it was pretty significant - sometimes i would "wheeze" for months, sometimes i would have terrible headaches (from jasmine, it seemed like). Sometimes (i think it was cedar), i would have just gobs of snot/mucus; it was so gross!

                I've only been grain free since Sept 2010, and i absolutely haven't had any of these issues this spring, even when i've seen others complaining of the pollen. Zero effect on me.


                • #9
                  I kinda figured it out on my own before going primal. I had a particularly bad gluten meltdown, I was in France at a conference and had eaten copious amounts of baguettes, croissants and other gluteny things. I came home covered in a rash and with a brand-spanking new AI disorder. I tried to get a test for Celiac but my doctor waved me off. This was in the Netherlands where they don't believe in testing you for anything until you're bleeding out or having a seizure . . . Nevermind the fact that I'd been seeing her for the last 5 or so years with GERD, constipation, rashes, boils, food intolerances, etc, etc . . . Anyhow, over the next few years I cut way back on gluten, felt better but not quite good. I decided to go 100% gluten free, I had mainly just been avoiding the obvious sources, breads, pastas, etc . . . I felt better almost immediately, had energy, was able to lose about 30 lbs, my skin cleared up, assorted aches and pains were better. I FINALLY was able to convince her to have me tested but at this point I had been GF for some time. Blood test came back negative (natch), but she sent me to a GI doc anyhow. He told me that in the past all that was needed for a diagnosis was that the person improved on a GF diet, but these days the gold standard is the biopsy. I told him that I wanted to make sure that there was nothing else, as it could be a number of other things. I was biopsied, and had a sigmoidoscopy, both came back normal. I'd had numerous blood tests done over the course of this and while some markers, like B12 and iron were actually in the high range, others, like D and K were very low. The final verdict of the doctor was can't confirm Celiac but most likely gluten intolerant, at the minimum.

                  This past weekend I bought some macadamia nuts and didn't read the label carefully. "May contain traces of wheat" after I'd already eaten about 1/4 of the can. The following morning I woke up with what felt like rolling cramps across my abdomen, really foggy headed all day, tired and shaky. I'd been saying I'm gluten intolerant but I'll probably just say Celiac instead. People tend to take it more seriously and the encounter with the nuts kinda looks like it to me. But yeah, every time I've cut out gluten, either intentionally or because of doing a low-carb diet I've felt tremendously better.
                  Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.


                  • #10
                    I found much the same! As though the wheat was the co-factor in many intolerances / allergies; the foundation, as it were.

                    I used to have problems with mushrooms - eating them made me sick and bad stomach etc. All dairy products were bad.Chillies caused problems. Since eliminating all gluten, I can happily eat mushrooms, chillies and some dairy - but milk (even kefir-ed) is a no go area still.

                    Asthma - gone. Psoriaisis - almost gone. Even recurring athletes foot - is gone. And seasonal allergies, which used to plague me in spring (tree pollens), early summer (grass pollens) and autumn (mould spores) have gone.

                    I reckon if gluten was eliminated by the population at large, LOADS of the diseases / maladies of the "modern" world would be wiped out at a stroke.
                    Last edited by breadsauce; 06-17-2011, 05:56 AM.


                    • #11
                      I don't have Celiac, but I have discovered that wheat (and grains in general, though I haven't tested white rice yet) trigger fibro flares. Seeing how many people have had relief from environmental allergies (which I have in spades) is personally very encouraging.


                      • #12
                        My doc and I diagnosed me as gluten intolerant (no tests--I have Kaiser), and since going off it my migraines have almost disappeared! I still have them due to cyclic hormones, but not every single day. Also, I have noticed that I just don't get sick anymore. Usually I have several colds a year, chronic sinus infections, and hayfever--not since quitting gluten. If I feel I'm getting sick, I take some extra vitamin C, and in a just a few hours, I'm all better.

                        I am still having joint pain, and I'm starting to suspect other grains/starches. I had potatoes last night, and afterward I felt bloated, and sick, and this morning I woke with swollen joints. Sigh.

                        But back to the original question--yes it can be tested--as others have noted it's not conclusive. The best test is to quit eating it, then eat it again under VERY controlled circumstances--not with other things that might bother you. If you get sick, it's probably the gluten. As far as your family goes, just keep an eye on them. I can't make my son not eat gluten, though I think he might react to it too. If they get sick, they'll wise up, especially when they see how well you are.

                        Best of luck.


                        • #13
                          This is me too. I've never been tested for Celiac (wish I knew for sure), but I discovered that I was gluten intolerant over two years ago after much experimentation to figure out what was making me sick. Eating gluten-free helped a lot, but my symptoms didn't completely go away. When I started going primal a few months ago I was amazed at what a huge difference it made to stop eating grains entirely, even the ones I had thought were safe and depended on for so long (corn, rice, quinoa). These days I feel normal more than often than not, which feels like a huge blessing. I still have symptoms sometimes though, and I'm not sure if it's just because my gut is still in the healing process, or if I'm still eating things that are causing problems.
                          We must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility
                          -Sparrowhawk, The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin


                          • #14
                            It took me a while after Primal to realize that I might have Celiac. It wasn't until recently that I realized that I probably am, and I started last September.


                            • #15
                              Anave, and others who have gone off of wheat and then gone primal, how long did it take for symptoms to disappear? I'm better, but I still have joint swelling and I'm wondering how long that might last, and if I'm still eating something that is bothering me, like the potatoes last night?