I started reading/learning more about celiac disease about 5 years ago, when I was tested for everything on the planet to figure out what is wrong with me. At that point, I was REALLY hoping I had celiac because it seemed like a much easier thing to handle compared with the alternative, and what ended up being the actual diagnosis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I have written about that previously, so you can read all about it here.
The tests came back negative and my hopes of a somewhat easy fix and a quick return to racing were shattered. I'm not saying that celiac disease is 'easy', but I really don't think following a gluten free diet is that big of a deal. An adjustment? Sure thing! A really tough thing to do? Not really... especially when you compare it to the 'fix' for CFS, which isn't as clear cut and simple (read: a 'fix' does not exist. Yet?).
About a year ago, I started experimenting with eating a lot less wheat and gluten, realizing that it doesn't really agree with my stomach. I can't say I have been following a strict, 100% gluten/wheat free diet. Probably more like 90%. I mean, I didn't worry too much about the wheat in the soy sauce when I had sushi, and I would sometimes use spelt for baking, along side other occasional slips. After all, I don't have celiac disease, so a bit of gluten every now and then won't cause any harm, right? Things were going OK, stomach was feeling pretty good and I didn't have issues with energy levels.
About 2 weeks ago, I had a bit more gluten/wheat than normal, and my stomach has not been the same since. NOT fun at all, and that is all I am going to say! You don't want the details anyways, trust me. I had some tests done yesterday and got partial results this afternoon. Apparently the tests show some sort of an allergic response, to something. To what, you are asking? Well, I asked that too. The answer I got was that it could be seasonal allergies or asthma. Not likely, because I never had either! When I told the doc that he said we should wait for the rest of the tests and then I should talk to my GP, who is (lucky me) out of town right now.
I am fairly certain more tests will reveal celiac. The problem is that to test for celiac and get accurate results you need to eat that stuff on a regular basis. That means I will need to eat 1-4 slices of bread or equivalent every day for a few weeks before the tests (blood and/or biopsy)! I know my body will not respond well to that and I hesitate putting it through it for that amount of time before getting tested again. So the way I see it, I have two options:
- Bite the bullet, eat gluten (sigh) for a few weeks and then get the tests done. At least I will know for sure and won't justify eating a little bit of wheat/gluten every now and then saying 'it won't cause too much harm because I'm not celiac' like I have so far...
- Just assume I have celiac and stop eating gluten all together, pretending I was really diagnosed properly. That way I will save myself the pain (and it will be painful) of eating that much gluten before the tests.
As a side note, I think limiting gluten in ones diet is a good strategy, regardless of whether you have celiac or not. More on that later.