Yesterday, I walked past the bread display at Trader Joe’s three times, breathing deeply. It smelled good, but not as good as I remembered. That was odd.
As I left the store about ten minutes later, my face turned beet-red and puffed up, my brain went into a deep white fog, colors faded to pastels, and the pain left my arms and foot briefly to return, five minutes later, to every joint in my body.
I was in full neurological gluten reaction. From inhaling near a bread display!
I did that in the first place because I just could not believe I was that sensitive to something I’ve eaten – and really enjoyed – all my life until last summer.
I know there’s a difference between the kind of food sensitivity where, if you avoid that food most of the time, you can tolerate a little now and then with no trouble; it’s about keeping the contact down below a certain minimum. Then there are the sensitivities where, if you eat a bit on a regular basis, your body retains an ability to deal with it and you don’t get a reaction (vegetarians who go back to eating meat are familiar with this – it takes awhile for the body to readjust.) And then there are the sensitivities that amount to true allergies, where any contact causes a reaction and the reaction can get intense enough to create a crisis.
That was an intense reaction. I’m not interested in seeing how much more my face can inflate.
It’s true that I used to eat wheat regularly and experienced nothing as dramatic. Would it be less dramatic if I ate a little on a regular basis?
Considering how quickly my health was slipping while I was eating gluten, and the fact that I continue to get sicker but I appreciate that it’s at a slower rate, I don’t see any real point in making the experiment.
Moreover, the literature on gluten allergies does not support that. The science indicates that, if your body has trouble with that particular protein, then the further you can stay from it, the better off you are.
I called my acupuncturonaturohomeopath. He gave me a recipe for gluten exposure, which is mostly about buffering the heck out of the molecule. I cobbled together a gluten exposure kit from my talk with him and my nursing background.
Gluten Exposure Kit:
– 2 Alka Seltzer tablets,
– 4 Tums,
– 500 mg body-friendly Vitamin C (not more),
– 10-15 capsules of activated carbon, to soak up any toxins in the gut. (More for eating it by accident, but it can’t hurt. I think it cleared a few things up, in fact.)
Just add water! And plenty of it.
Keep it in snack-baggies in key places: glove compartment, purse, first aid kit, desk drawer.
I turned normal Isy color almost immediately and then had a great, rippling burp every 10 minutes for about half an hour – feeling considerably more human each time. A day later, I’m not quite up to where I was before exposing myself, but am LOTS better than I’d expect to be, without that treatment. A reaction like that usually puts me down & out for about three days. Drooling Barbie doll. It’s awful.
Why so little Vitamin C? Doesn’t your body just wash away the excess?
Actually, if you take in excess Vitamin C, your body washes away all of it that it can still get hold of. 500 mg seems to be the sweet spot of maximum absorption and minimum waste. I used to megadose it, but with a frail system, that’s intolerable. 500 mg lets me take in and use every bit of it. If I need more, I just take it 3 times a day instead of twice.
Meditation and Reiki: really is that good
Today, I had to test myself on the value of my mental disciplines. I’m not sure why I’m testing myself so much; I doubt myself, perhaps. There is something surreal about what this disease does to you; I suppose the occasional reality check makes sense.
I didn’t meditate last night or this morning. The emotional surges are quite noticeable, but I’m well aware that they are what they are, which is not me.
After my gluten experiment, I feel no need to push this farther.
I’m now perfectly convinced that my relentless internal work does keep the rudder in line, the engine tuned, the brake pads operational, etc. Basically, it keeps CRPS from taking over my brain.
Dammit. I wanted to be normal again. Though, to quote the fabulous Stockard Channing in Practical Magic, “Darling, when are you going to learn that being normal is not a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of ambition!”