I have known wheat and I weren’t friends since I was a little girl. My hands would break out in dry bleeding rashes every time I feasted on wheat crackers – my favorites. This caused my mother to seek professional advice. It was decided I had a wheat or gluten-intolerance and all wheat products (including the crackers) were cleared from the house, much to my little girl chagrin.
Until recently, I have passively tried to avoid wheat. Key word being passively. My hands never broke out into rashes again and I didn’t give it a second thought. That is, until recently. Here in my early twenties, I find myself breaking out in hives, having bouts of dizziness, fatigue, sleeplessness, weight flux, cold sensitivity, and a persistent tremor in my left hand. Diligently, I have tried to track these individual symptoms to find their root cause and could not find a culprit. Finally, my loved ones urged me to seek more medical attention and I discovered my family has a history of autoimmune disease particularly Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Basically, this is where your immune disease attacks your thyroid and causes it to under perform.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases with the majority of that number being women. Oftentimes, autoimmune diseases can be misdiagnosed (for instance as depression or anxiety – two diagnoses I have heard myself but knew in my body and soul that they were incorrect). Here are ten symptoms of autoimmune disease from Mind Body Green that you should pay attention to:
1. Joint pain, muscle pain or weakness or a tremor
2. Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance or rapid heartbeat
3. Recurrent rashes or hives, sun-sensitivity, a butterfly-shaped rash across your nose and cheeks.
4. Difficulty concentrating or focusing
5. Feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain or cold intolerance
6. Hair loss or white patches on your skin or inside your mouth
7. Abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your stool, diarrhea or mouth ulcers
8. Dry eyes, mouth or skin
9. Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
10. Multiple miscarriages or blood clots
Conventional Western Medicine typically treats autoimmune disease by whatever part of the body it affects. For instance, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism is only treated by taking thyroid hormone supplements. This tactic simply treats the symptoms of the disease and not the root cause.
Gluten can be one of the root causes of autoimmune disease. It can cause negative symptoms not only in the gut but also neurologically (sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment, fatigue, etc). Do those sound familiar?
My goal at this time is to remain at a subclinical level. I do not want to use hormones in my body and would rather figure out what makes my body happynaturally. Like Hypocrites said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I have begun to actively cut gluten out of my diet and have noticed a dramatic reduction of symptoms. While removing gluten from the diet can be a challenging road, there are many tools and support out there along the way. I have increased my consumption of naturally gluten-free foods (raw fruits and veggies) while also being supported by products such as Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder, Endangered Species Dark Chocolate , and the variety of gluten-free grains for cooking offered by Bob’s Red Mill. Also, great companies like Becca’s Gourmet Goodies, Canyon Bakehouse, and Grouse Malting and Roasting make it possible for gluten-free integrity to spread to our communities. That little girl who loved crackers is still here but she is healthier and happier without them.
How are you letting food be your medicine?Zum Wohl!