Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What happens when I have Gluten, Casein and Soy?

When I often tell people that I have an intolerance, or allergy, to gluten, casein and soy, their first question usually is: "What happens when you have it?"

Well, in my quest to be "normal" (again with that normal word), I indulged for dinner Sunday night. I pretended, after being on a gluten-, casein-, soy-free diet for 6 months that I didn't have a problem to any of these foods and went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Yes, it was tasty, but not enough for me to EVER want these foods again! The results are documented.....
The symptoms began within minutes of ingesting the glutinous meal of chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes (both with white gravy), fried okra, hash brown casserole and 2 biscuits. What I first noticed was that I became very itchy... my face, my arms, my scalp. The next symptom actually surprised even me, as it was a first to be correlated - my left knee started hurting badly. It felt as if someone was stabbing me with small knives right above my knee cap. I also started feeling as if I was congested, mucus built up in the back of my throat and in my nasal passages, and I started clearing it. During the ride home, my husband had to ask if I was going to get sick because I couldn't stop burping. My response "no, I'm just gassy!" By the time we got home, I had a stabbing headache, was extremely bloated (to the point where I looked and felt like I had regained all the weight I've lost in my stomach), started to get very tired and felt like crap! It was at this point that I really started to regret my decision to be "normal" for just one meal.

Note: Since I have noticed a decrease in joint pain since being on this diet, I assumed that either the gluten, casein or soy was causing an inflammation in my joints. Until I experienced this symptom within 30 minutes of eating, I hadn't been 100% convinced - I mean not every symptom I experience is related to my problems with these foods. But this one is clear.

During the night, even though I took 4 tums, I suffered from acid reflux (almost throwing up in my sleep). And vivid / terrible dreams. I also had extreme night sweats where I woke up with my hair drenched.

The next day brought on more symptoms: stomach pains, lack of energy, trips to the bathroom that almost cleared me out of the house, more headaches, loss of concentration, and just feeling like shit. What surprised me here was that I couldn't control my mood (even by working out which generally gives me a great feeling afterwards). I felt so out of control, I basically told my husband to leave me alone... I was irritated.... at him for saying "hi", at the people talking on the TV, by the way I felt. I couldn't stand it! To feel that out of control of your emotions is scary, and isn't very pleasant.

This brings me to today, two days after my gluten, casein, soy binge. I woke up feeling like I have a cold. I have an extremely sore throat, have been very lethargic all day (have taken 2 naps), have felt hot to the touch (but not feverish), feel muscle achy, and have been coughing off and on throughout the day. 

Interesting Note: A few days after I had my skin prick allergy test, which didn't show a skin reaction / anaphylaxis allergy, I came down with a sinus infection and bronchitis. Due to the way I'm feeling now, I think my assessment that my recurrent sinus infections and bronchitis were in part related to my diet is correct.

My symptoms are known to last up to a week after having any offending foods, so I am eating a very clean diet (with lots of veggies and water) trying desperately to heal the damage I just caused. I am also making sure my workouts are as intense as they can be, helping my body rid the toxins out of my body (although I didn't work out today). Here's hoping I don't have any more symptoms pop up.

But one thing is for sure. I have determined that I am normal.... even with all my food restrictions... and that I don't have to have the occasional indulgence prove this to myself any more, because the way I feel after I have these foods is NOT normal!!

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