“I’m TERRIFIED of gluten.”

My doc asked me to try gluten free eating to manage rheumatoid arthritis. It’s helped swelling/my stomach but I feel obsessive trying to figure out if there’s hidden gluten in foods. I’m afraid to eat out.  It’s stressing me & the stress is pushing me to rebel/overeat which doesnt help weight loss.  How can I eat GF & not stress/obsess?



A gluten-free diet eliminates the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.


I dont have celiacs disease (never tested) but about 20 years ago I felt consistently like crap (technical term) & knew something needed to change.  Swollen, rashy, achy, joints hurting and constantly exhausted.  I took it upon myself to play around with my food, eliminated a few things, shed about 35 pounds and carried on with my life.  Fourteen years or so later I learned what Id eliminated was gluten.

carla birnberg, mizfit

swollen, rash’y GLUTEN-LIVING


I do NOT THINK gluten free is for everyone. I feel so strongly about this I blogged at MizFit for close to 3 years before mentioning it’s how I approached food.  If it’s for you—I believe you’ll know immediately.  Not from weight loss, but from swelling reduction, full body rash ridding, and an increase in overall energy/depression mitigation.

Since releasing my e-book Ive received a number of these emails.

I do not advocate GF eating as a panacea, yet since I became GF when there were no bread/cake/processed substitutes my “diet” still consists mainly of unprocessed foods—something I believe all benefit from.

(except for my raging JERKEE addiction but youll have that)

I also feel compelled to share I did NOT struggle when I went gluten-free.

Id no idea precisely what I’d eliminated but I felt so much better & looked so much better (Ill spare you the rashy details) quite frankly I had no temptation to return to old eating habits.

Which brings me to my response to the emails *AND* the fact Id love for you to chime in below.

Three ways my approach to gluten free eating evolved into a food plan I could stick with for 20 years:

  • I got excited.  I was swollen, overweight, achy, lethargic, and rashy.  After I eliminated bread/pasta I felt so much better I couldnt wait to see what else I could do to lessen my symptoms.  My excitement eclipsed any feelings of deprivation I may have had.  I wont say I didnt feel, at times, mentally exhausted by it (trying to figure out meals etc. NO ONE had thought of using lettuce leaves as sandwich wraps back then) but I was excited, energetic again & it all felt worth it.


  • I became empowered…LATER.  It really was close to fourteen years later when I realized what Id eliminated from my food plan. Once I figured all this out I read VORACIOUSLY on the subject.  Some of the reading matter applied to me.  Some did not.  I empowered myself through education.  (This is a great post on getting stated with GF eating).


  • I listened to my body.  Since no one else was talking gluten free initially my only real option was to try foods & pay attention to how my body responded.  For example: *many* who are gluten sensitive can not tolerate oatmeal.  I can tolerate oatmeal.  For a short while I kept a food journal (what I ate & how I felt immediately afterward and hours afterward) which was tremendously helpful in creating a list of foods which worked for my body (this is a fab list of common places gluten can hide).


  • I kept it simple.  I still keep it simple.  With a few deviations I eat foods my grandmother would have recognized.  Whole grains.  Veggies & fruits.  Lean proteins.  Lately the Tornado has noticed I eat differently from her dad & has begun asking WHY.  I love I have a simple answer: this is how I feel my best.  these are the foods which give me energy.  (and, since she’s noticed times when Ive accidentally glutenized myself) these are the foods which keep mom’s SKIN BUMPS away.


she's NOT GF. She has no need to be!

she’s NOT GF. she has no need to be.

Im confident the way I eat might be viewed by those with celiacs disease as not *truly* gluten free.

  • I only buy/consume gluten free foods.
  • I don’t order anything at restaurants which could potentially contain gluten/eat anything potentially gluten’y at friends homes.
  • I’m fortunate I don’t have to obsess about cross contamination (manufacturing or restaurants) because while I swell & rash my gluten-reaction is neither debilitating nor life threatening.

All I know–and can share with our emailers– is what has worked for me.

Which is why, as always, I look to *you* in the comments below.

If your approach to eating is gluten free how did you stop *obsessing* and start living a GF life?

Links to blog posts are welcome!


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  1. says

    This is such an informative post for those not sure how to eliminate gluten from their diet…I agree with you – eating mostly natural, unprocessed foods always makes me feel better. I do love my pasta though (can’t help that – HA)!!

  2. says

    I was dx’d with Celiac back in 2005 (before you could find bread that didn’t taste like styrofoam). Hair loss, trips to emergency room where I felt like I had a large rock in my stomach, rash, swelling, joint pain so bad I thought I had arthritis, and migraines.

    Still since I didn’t have the “classic” symptoms (diarrhea/weight loss) it went undetected until a chance blood panel by an allergist that was paying attention.

    I am VERY careful but also try not to obsess. I order typically safe foods but I don’t go crazy on wait staff asking for a sterile cooking environment. I simply eat out a lot less….healthier in general. I rarely get a reaction from eating out. If I do, I don’t go back to that restaurant.

    Ours is not a GF home but I watch cross contamination. Still, I don’t obsess, it just becomes habit.

    As for GF products, I eat them sparingly. The fillers/binders make my stomach/joints feel just about as bad. I can tolerate occasional oatmeal. Grain in general are not my go to food (yet occasionally I feel a need for them). I’m a protein girl. Feel much better that way.

    And….I just wrote a post in your comments. Bygones. :)

  3. says

    My Dad was diagnosed Celiacs a few years ago and going gluten free has changed his life completely. I agree that many going GF don’t medically ‘need’ to, but we can all cut down on the carbs! I notice my IBS virtually goes away when I eliminate carbs. But, sometimes I totally cave and eat a plate of alfredo. #SoWorthIt

  4. Healthy Mama says

    I am not GF, but you captured all of healthy living with the word EMPOWERED.
    Good job, Miz!

  5. Shelley says

    I agree with Healthy Mama – you are great at saying what’s right for you without a blanket prescription for other folks. I’m definitely not GF but I love that this works for YOU and that you don’t make a big deal out of it. Great post.

  6. says

    I’m grateful that my body has no issues with gluten. But, I am glad that there are so many options for people who have different needs, and their needs get me to try new things (like bulgar, etc.) :-)

  7. says

    I know several people that are absolutely fine with eating gluten — I thought I was one of them until I gave gluten up. I feel incredibly better now!

  8. says

    We’ve talked about this recently, so you know where I am with this…

    I’ve got to say that I feel a LOT better since eliminating those gluten laden items from my diet.

    Right now Sprouts (formally Sunflower Market) is having a Gluten Free Festival (gluten free products 25% off) and with coupons, I’ve been trying a few gluten free options. It’s been fun, and I’ve found a few things I absolutely love, but also have learned that a lot of the stuff marketed as gluten free is stuff I can do without in my life. There are whole displays of gluten free cookie mixes, breads, and muffins… things I don’t eat because they trigger the kind of insulin spikes that aren’t healthy for someone with hypoglycemia. Rice is not my friend.

    The one thing that we all miss in this is that we all have our OWN bodies, and regardless of diagnosis (or after taking those necessary diets into account) there are going to be things that make us feel better (physically, I’m not talking about emotional satisfaction here) and things that make us feel worse. As you pointed out, GF isn’t for everyone… no single diet is.

    But with the genetic changes in wheat over the last 60 years, it sure seems a growing number of us are having problems with gluten…

  9. says

    Yes yes yes! it’s about HEALING. Gluten free allows nourishment in the body. We can absorb more nutrients and really thrive. Our bodies don’t know how to digest gluten, yet we continue to eat it because we don’t know any different. Sometimes gluten sneaks into foods, we can avoid it, but we can focus on REAL SIMPLE WHOLESOME ingredients. That’s all, just focus, no obsess. yes? LOVE THIS POST!

  10. Miz says

    I AM SO SO HAPPY TO SEE YER COMMENT TOO Miss.Zippy (yep. shouting.) as thats completely why I never mentioned this here for…years.
    My bod? NOT HAPPY WITH GLUTEN on all levels.
    The husband and child’s bods? HAPPPPY HAPPY.

    it’s all so unique to the individual.

  11. Valerie says

    I think it’s important that people realize that there is such a thing as non-celiac gluten intolerance, and the only way to know if that’s what’s causing your problems (and the potential problems are legion) is to try the diet and see if it helps. :-) I think that anyone who waits or a diagnosis of celiac to try it and see may be putting themselves through a lot of unnecessary suffering.

    I, too, believe that those who can benefit from eliminating gluten will know very quickly, if not immediately. My rheumatologist suggested I give it a try, I did, and my life changed dramatically in so many ways – yet I’m non-celiac. I don’t put it down to avoiding processed foods, because that’s something I’ve done for years. I’m a hundred percent certain that gluten is my problem, but I also know that isn’t true of everyone…gluten isn’t the devil. :-)

    Even knowing the effects, I do still struggle, simply because 40 years of habits don’t die quickly…but a lapse is traumatic enough to put me back on the straight and narrow pretty quickly.

    I’ve also had to take my daughter off gluten, recently. Now THAT is hard…

  12. says

    I have gallstones and all sorts of digestive problems (which I always assumed were related to them). I recently decided that I had to investigate a bit more and shouldn’t just say “it’s the gallstones.” I have currently eliminated a whole bunch of things from my diet, including gluten, and will reintroduce them slowly to see what’s the culprit. Right now, I feel so much better. Veggies, protein, and whole grains are what I normally eat anyway, I just add other “stuff” (cheese, eggs, bread, soy, etc.) And if the “stuff” doesn’t make me feel good, there is no point in eating it.

    I love that you point out (again) that we all need to figure out what works for us. It’s a journey, and we have to all find what works for us in all aspects of our life.

    P.S.: I’m still reading your book and love it! My sleep is really off lately, and I’m up at 3 a.m. every day. I usually read before going to bed but am so tired that I fall asleep. That’s why it’s taking so long… Once I’m done, I’ll write a post.

  13. says

    As an employee of the Arthritis Foundation and a gluten-free eater, it’s easy to say this post peaked my interest! At my food and wine events, we do our best to try to feature foods that minimize/decrease inflammation of the joints in order to give our constituents something to really enjoy.

    I too went GF because I was feeling less than stellar, and eliminating gluten changed that. The adjustment period is hard, but once you’re settled in it, it’s second nature. I know what to look out for now. I know the types of foods to order when dining out. I know the questions to ask. Continue to do your research, look up restaurant menus online ahead of time if possible, and be patient.

  14. says

    I am finding that your tips of listening to your body and keeping it simple are by far the most important things.

    For me it seems to be about carbs. It could also be about gluten. I could be about sugar. It is part of the reason I don’t really talk about what I am eating either. 😉

    I do find that as I am closer to my goal weight I can experiment with a greater range of foods and watch what happens. Such a wonderful gift I have given myself!!

    Thank you for your post…gets to to think.

  15. says

    I actually just got back from traveling and for me being prepared is key. I bring my own food, if possible. Stop at grocery stores in the area I am traveling too and bring a cooler or try to get a fridge in hotel. And then when I do eat out I ask if they have gluten-free menu, but I pretty much know that what to order that would be safe.

    My twin sister and I also created an ebook with 21 all gluten-free recipes!! Just because we eat gluten-free does not mean we cannot enjoy treats 😉 http://purelytwins.com/cookbook/

  16. says

    Thanks for sharing! I ate gluten-free for 15 days during this “program” thing I followed and it was not that big of a change for me since I don’t consume a lot of gluten anyway. You nailed it though – just eat whole foods that are not processed!!

  17. says

    Great post! I was diagnosed with Celiac about a year and a half ago and it was definitely a life changer. I’m still learning all the cross contamination protocol, etc.. but slowly getting there. I do agree that so many people are gluten intolerant and just don’t know it. I dealt with bloating and fatigue for years before finally getting a diagnosis. I love your approach to eating mostly whole foods anyway. I am not the biggest fan of the packaged “gluten free” products, hence needing a tour from a whole foods professional 😉 but it is nice to know that we do have options if we want a slice of bread or a bowl of cereal!

  18. says

    This is a great post. And a good future disclaimer!

    Those who can eat gluten totally should because it’s delicious. 😀 I would if I could!

    And wow. Your before and after pictures are phenomenal. I definitely was swollen when eating gluten too.

  19. says

    We are blessed in that no one in my family has to be GF. That said, i got tired of being fat a few years back, and now don’t consume a lot of processed foods (actually, i try to make it none). That keeps me feeling better and at a healthier weight.

    Whole foods are the key to healthy eating, for me.

  20. says

    Whole grains. Veggies & fruits. Lean proteins. I eat this too Carla BUT I also can eat the grains that give you the rash & all the other stuff!

    THANK YOU for saying it is not for all & if you don’t get these symptoms than you don’t have to go gluten free.

    THx to misszippy for saying that too. I often feel like somebody is going to pressure me to go gluten free cause everyone is doing that or Paleo these days. :)

    I get bloating from some good foods but that is the cruciferous ones mostly. I don’t get rashes & the other symptoms yet I know I could be leaner or get rid of my lower tummy inner tube if I ate less of the bread/grains – I think. I am not trying at this point in time. I like them too much & as far as I can tell, I am not gluten intolerant.

    Really great post Carla!!!!!

  21. Kim says

    I was recently diagnosed with RA and after doing a little research went gluten free. I’m interested in any resources or research that ties RA to gluten. Also, have you seen anything that ties rosacea to gluten or other food allergies?

  22. says

    my approach to being gluten free is one of abundance, actually, instead of limits. I eat a (mostly) whole food, real food diet, as I focus on anti inflammatory as one of the most important aspects, at least for me.

    I focus on foods that are naturally gluten free rather than trying to eliminate everything* – I look for natural replacements that will make me happy and satisfied. *you obviously need to look at labels an avoid those with gluten, but if you are mostly eating Food Without Labels, you might be naturally eating gluten free (much of my food comes from bulk bins and produce section.

    I have similar issues, chronic joint inflammation and arthritic pain. gluten may be a good aspect to look at, as are the highly inflammatory nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers. It can be frustrating, but to me, my pain is even more so. It is worth my time to research and find what worked for me.

    thanks for this AMAZING post, Miz.

  23. Bonnie says

    Very intriguing. I have rosacea and wonder if the pastas I eat could be a trigger?
    I may need to look into this.

  24. says

    This was a great post! We are a unique family here in that my grandmother was diagnosed with celiac 11 years ago which started me in a whirlwind of research when there wasn’t that much out there on the subject. I have suffered with dairy intolerance/allergies (my whole life), soy allergies and then realized that gluten was a problem. Then about 4 years ago, my sister-in-law was finally (after years of numerous problems) diagnosed with celiac. This led to questions about my husband as he had been suffering for years with joint pain, hair loss, swelling and extreme fatigue…he was then diagnosed with celiac. Through many years of eliminating food groups from our diets, we have discovered that eating fresh and closer to the source is the best way to go. I didn’t have as much trouble going off the foods that hurt me because once my body was cleared of them, I felt incredible! My husband, well, not having bread or beer have been a little more upsetting. Since I’m a chef and not afraid in the kitchen, I’ve played with different flours to come up with great alternatives to bread (we have eaten our share or muffins that taste like bugs). I’m not gonna lie, you have to change your way of thinking when you do this, but I’ve actually discovered that I love gluten free baking more than baking with wheat (most of the time – cinnamon rolls are tough to come up with a gluten free version). Using bean flours and other gluten free grains gives different flavors to your baked goods and I really like that. Don’t be afraid to try new foods and branch out a little more. I like to think of it as a food adventure as opposed to an elimination diet.

    If anyone is suffering from swelling, bloating, unexplained fatigue or other issues that are questionable, they should definitely keep a food journal. I actually ask my clients to do the same thing for fitness. Make sure you note how your meals make you feel (bloated, energized…). That way you have a reference to look back on that can actually help you figure out where to make changes.

    Great post my friend!

  25. says

    Love this post! I am relatively new to the GF lifestyle because I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. My doc recommended going GF. I didn’t know how good I felt off of it until I started eating gluten again. My allergy to wheat is not as life threatening as my other allergies so I have cheated a bit.

    I am in the stage of feeling sorry for myself that I can’t have some of my favorite things but I keep reminding myself about how good I feel when I eat well.

  26. says

    So so interesting!

    I am not GF but a lot of the food I eat is GF.

    I eat what makes me feel good :)

    I listen. Sometimes I deviate but for the most part, I listen very well!

  27. says

    I have to share this with my step daughter who is trying GF for the same reasons as you did…she feels better when she eliminates it.

    As for the rest of us, we probably would feel better if we at least cut back!

    You LOOK like you FEEL great! That’s all we need to know 😉

  28. says

    Funny, I’m not gluten free as I don’t need to be.

    But I cannot eat most wheat products without severe acid reflux. I avoid breads and limit my exposure to desserts. Don’t know how to explain what I have a problem with, just know that it’s there.

    Finally admitted to my close friends that I can’t eat it and why. Most now remember and don’t give me flak about not eating things…

  29. says

    My SIL was diagnosed as celiac a year ago, and at first it was tricky finding gluten free options, but once you start and have go to products, and find a good GF flour mix, it can be relatively simple to cut out gluten. We’ve found a lot of good meals and recipes to share and it’s gotten simpler with time. I know I eat less of it than I did, and in the process I have found that I do better with less carbs (they just make me more hungry and moody after eating them, like I haven’t eaten at all) so I try and stick to more complex carbs and whole natural foods. I work with people who found living GF made them far more energetic and feel so much better (they had arthritis or IBS), so it’s hard to say what kind of difference, if any, it will make for you until you try. For me, I’m sensitive to (of all things) oranges and orange juice, so when I remove it I feel worlds better. The trick is finding what may be causing issues for you :)

  30. says

    Love your advice. Very spot on. I’m curious Carla, were you tested for celiac before you did your elimination diet? Oftentimes rashes ARE one of the first symptoms of celiac disease – some people have no abdominal discomfort and are then surprised by the diagnosis.

    Also, LOVE LOVE that you advocate that gluten free is not for everyone – TOTALLY !10000% agree. I hate the fad label gluten free living is getting.

  31. says

    LOVE this Miz. I think focusing on what you CAN have versus what you CAN’T is an important mindset. Also, with regards to “cheating” (if you need to be gfree for medical necessity/not feeling awful) – for someone who is severly intolerant it’s really important to not cheat. I know alot of family/friends/people who don’t understand can make it difficult and say “But it’s just a LITTLE bit…” well, it’s like saying “I’m just going to have a LITTLE bit of rat poison”.

    Also, gfree is a personal or medical choice, so no one should feel bad or ashamed of it (I’m totally guilty of this, especially in restaurants). I’ve got lots of tips/posts about it on my blog!

  32. says

    I love all the different points of view shared here.
    We still eat (and love) gluten. Sometimes I wonder if I should change that but after reading this I think for now it works for us so we will continue on (and I won’t feel like a bad mom for serving it!!!).

  33. says

    We don’t eat a lot of pasta but we do have bread. I’ve eliminated bread from my diet entirely on a few different occasions. I didn’t notice a huge change but what I did notice was that once I stopped eating bread,I never craved it!

    • MizFit says

      VERY INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE. and Im there too in a sense with the “really. do any of us neeeeed the highly processed stuffs?”

  34. says

    I’m not GF and have never had any issues. Everyone is different and has to find what works for them. I like that you stressed that its not just a fad – it’s a real symptom that some people need to incorporate GF in their lives.

  35. says

    Great post, I love that you emphasize figuring out what works for you because thats really the key in healthy living in terms of both nutrition and working out. I’ve gone mostly gluten free for the diet aspect- eliminating most carbs and sticking to a Paleo diet during the week. This makes me feel SO much better, healthier and energized especially when it comes to running and CrossFIt. It isn’t a health concern for me either, its just the way I feel best. Great advice!

  36. says

    Listen to your body, yes. BUT… sometimes your body doesn’t manifest symptoms until it’s too late. My mother has been very overweight most of her life. She is now in her mid-60s and suffers from RA, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and more. I have hypothyroidism and from what I’ve read, meds can decrease calcium absorption. So I wonder if all the years she was taking the meds it was just gearing her body up for some of the other problems.

    What does this have to do with gluten? Well, I have no symptoms I can *see*. No digestive issues. Yes, I do experience moodiness, fatigue, and anxiety sometimes, but it doesn’t really interfere with my life. I am generally healthy & happy. But reading about the gluten-inflammation connection, I am convinced that going gluten-free could be the answer to curing my hypothyroidism, getting off the meds, and hopefully staving off problems later in life.

    I’m not saying everyone should be gluten-free. But I do feel strongly that reducing the gluten-rich, processed foods we eat will absolutely benefit anyone, symptoms or not.

  37. says

    Hi Miz C. I don’t have anything to add re: gluten free, as I’m very fortunate and have no issues, but I would like to say, love the pic of you and Tornedo, and you have arms to be envied! Have a great day.

  38. says

    While I am not gluten-free, I try to limit the amount that I eat. My meals are Paleo/Primal based, so basically my gluten consumption comes in the form of my baked goods. I do notice a difference when I limit gluten- my joints stop making noises every time I move, my IBS goes away, the stomach bloat goes away, and my psoriasis gets a little better.

  39. says

    Hi there, just turned into alert to your blog thru Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you happen to proceed this in future. A lot of other folks shall be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  40. says

    I enjoyed reading the background story behind your journey to becoming GF and reading everyone’s responses. Lots of good wisdom has been shared.

    As far as I know I do not have issues with gluten.

    I think it’s easy to forget how much power what we feed ourselves has over our bodies and how we feel. Many issues can be helped with an improved diet.

  41. says

    I had a similar experience to yours, Carla. I’ve never been diagnosed but I know that I feel SO much betetr on a gluten-free diet. And I approach it much the same way, too (though I’ve expanded my repertoire in recent years to things like homemade baked goods): I eat whole, real foods and aim for as little processing as possible. In fact, I feel as if my culinary abilities and the list of foods I make/eat has actually increased since going gluten-free! I recently wrote a bit about this on the Attune Foods blog, and included a real-food recipe that’s also gluten free (and it’s easy to make–promise!). :) For those interested, it can be found here: http://bit.ly/13GYKU8

  42. says

    Not GF, but I have a really severe allergy to peanuts that tends to get in the way a lot. It used to drive me crazy when I couldn’t eat anything at parties or when I would read ingredients labels in the supermarket and see the phrase “may contain traces of peanuts,” – I would get all ‘woe is me’ and start feeling sorry for myself, but I decided to eventually take charge, start contributing dishes to parties, and try making my own versions of the foods that I couldn’t buy from the store. Gotta own it :)

  43. says

    Thanks for a very helpful post. One question…how long before you felt the results? Although I imagine it might be different for different people/issues, I tried gluten free for three weeks at the suggestion of an RD. I did not notice any difference, but I sometimes wonder if I gave it enough time. I’ve also heard that it would take six weeks to really analyze the benefits.

  44. Miz says

    I wonder if I’m an anomaly? I noticed immediately.
    Practically overnight since my swelling gets so bad when I eat gluten (I’m straight from ankle to hip:-) no knee joint). I do think it took weeks for my rashes to clear up (lovely I know) but I felt better IMMEDIATELY.
    I’d be curious to hear other people’s experiences too.
    I know from friends with Celiacs they FEEL the effects of gluten almost immediately…

  45. says

    I am not GF, but I don’t eat nearly as much wheat as I used to. Have you read either of It Starts with Food or Wheat Belly? Such interesting research on modern wheat and how much more gluten it has in it than the ancestral form.

    And gluten has been implicated in chronic inflammation, which affect weight, energy, skin, joints, hormones and even the incidence of cancer.

    After reading that Reynaud’s Syndrome symptoms can also be exacerbated by wheat consumption, I have scaled waaaaay back!

  46. says

    It is amazing how healing making changes in your diet can be, but how is it is to overlook diet as a cause of our health issues.

  47. says

    I’ve eliminated most gluten from diet. Not really on purpose, but just because I was feeling sluggish and tired, and my weight would not budge. I started eating lots of veggies, fruits, beans, and eggs and found that without gluten I felt better, had tons of energy, and I lost some more weight. I do eat oatmeal, but with everything else, I definitely feel better GF

  48. says

    One chiro said I was sensitive to gluten, dairy and corn so I eliminated all of those. Went to a naturopath a year or two later and he said I was fine with wheat, but to be aware of the sugars used in the breads. I don’t feel effects from gluten but IMMEDIATELY feel the effects from dairy and corn! It’s hard giving up cheese, but when you get to the point that you feel like crap whenever you eat it, it’s not that hard to say no. I think journaling your food and how your body reacts is a really good way to determine what it is that your body does and doesn’t like. My naturopath does muscle response testing and has a list of bad and good sweeteners so I cut out sugar, too.

  49. says

    This IS such a wonderful post! My experience with gluten is similar to yours, in that by eliminating it, I FELT amazing results, not in terms of weight loss but in terms of not feeling like “crap”, exactly as you say. Not bloated, not lethargic, and no skin rash. Amazing.

  50. says

    I’m coeliac and had to go gluten-free after being diagnosed about 6yrs ago. I’ve never felt great though. Heaps of others – after diagnosis – have felt better, but not me. My recent endoscopies etc however, show that my condition hasn’t improved despite my GF diet.

    I have to admit I sometimes get frustrated by people who make a half-hearted attempt at being GF (not because they’re doing it, but because it confuses those who have to cater to those who need to be GF!).

    For eg, a friend of mine won’t eat the obvious things (bread, cakes, biscuits), but drinks beer and will eat things with thickners, stock powders and soy sauce. I’ve eaten out with her and had staff try to tell me I don’t need to worry about the stock powder in risotto etc and that my gluten-free friend isn’t worried etc…


  51. says

    I’ve been trying to carve out 10 min to post all day! Miz, love this piece. I’m the same. Not celiac but I simply don’t do well on gluten. Sanity wise, mostly. With patients, just like you say, it varies from person to person what needs are. And that said, more people do better off of it, in my experience.

  52. Halie says

    Everyone is GF these days to get skinny. THANK YOU for breaking this down and making sense of why it is really for some people.

  53. says

    Great post! As with everything, I respect others’ personal opinion on diet, but it is MY personal opinion that carbohydrates from wheat, rice, potatoes, etc. are not tolerated well by most people, especially those with a history of weight issues. I am a Primarian (basically Paleo with dairy, in line with the research of Dr. Barbara Berkeley of Refuse to Regain http://refusetoregain.com), meaning I eat lean meat, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts and some dairy. I eat this way because I have a strong predisposition toward weight gain, and these foods don’t mess up my insulin system or cause wild blood sugar swings. I do NOT believe a calorie is a calorie, and I don’t subscribe to the idea of “everything in moderation” for people with a history of weight issues. We Westerners live in an extremely immoderate food world, and for me, it’s far easier to just tell myself I don’t eat certain foods than to decide a dozen times a day whether I’m going to eat that scone/cookie/baguette/cake/bagel. It is truly amazing how much better I feel when I live this way. Not only do I feel euphorically happy and grateful multiple times a day, I find myself more motivated at work, too. I’ve been eating about 80-90% Primarian (allowing myself to have some chips and salsa or a piece of dark chocolate here and there, and of course a beloved craft beer on occasion), and I find that balance works really well for me.

  54. says

    i do eat gluten but I try to eat minimal amounts. i stick with either whole grain or mostly ezekial bread which is sprouted. i do feel a difference in my body if I eat white flour, or a lot of gluten products but when i only eat it 1x a day, i’m good. :)

    i do have an organic gf granola company because i found many people are and like to be GF http://www.blissful-eats.com :)

  55. says

    I went GF about 2 yrs ago.. like you I work with women with eating and body related issues and have noticed that people tend to be very sensitive (vs allergic or celiac) to both gluten and dairy.. and those are the things they binge on.. Getting them out of your system can lead to big changes and big relief for people struggling with overeating or binge eating or disruptive cravings.
    I also noticed for me that what i thought was a bit of early arthritis disappeared as did ALL of my longstanding allergy symptoms and mild asthma. It was a small miracle. Growing up I was a kid that was put on allergy shots at 3 (through college) and now suspect if I’d gone without wheat/gluten I would have been asymptomatic.

    Also.. have never seen jerky w/o gluten via the soysauce…I ate some recently and had an immediate reaction.. was so disappointed.

    Love to you..

  56. Brenda says

    Thank you so much for posting about this as promised…. Since I wrote this question I faltered and enjoyed some gluten over the holiday. I must say the reaction was so bad that I now know I can not keep torturing my self like that. I must be kinder to my self. The pain and swelling in my joints was so painful. The rashes appear almost instantly and Im itchy all over and my belly feels like it will explode. Yet with all these symptoms I tested negative for celiac. But I am choosing to be kind to my body and listen to it… despite who thinks I am crazy and doing a fad diet.

    thanks again

  57. says

    I love this post!! AHH!! YES! I went GF a year ago and I felt so much better. So many people in my family think it is weird, but it is how I feel my best. My stomach pains are gone. I still obsess over it too much at restaurants and getting “glutened” but I’m getting better.

  58. says

    Your response is EXACTLY how I feel! I was always bloated/swollen and frequently had rashy/blotchy skin and never knew what it was from! I found out that I was allergic to wheat by taking a skin allergy test about 4 years ago. I started to eliminate gluten from my diet, just to see, and I immediately noticed a difference! I felt 100% better, more active, no longer swollen, and never had rashy blotchy skin again! I once tried reintroducing gluten back into my diet and that was not pleasant. I had hives all over my body. I agree with you, Gluten Free living is not for everyone, but if you do have a sensitivity, it is amazing how much better you feel after eliminating it. I love your take on oatmeal as well. I am fortunate enough to be able to eat it and not get the effects!

  59. Toni @Runninglovingliving says

    I think what works for you may not work for everyone else. Eliminating Gluten is usually a good thing for most people as intolerances to wheat are prevalent in our society. I am not Celiac but have considered eliminating wheat and other products but have not been able to follow through yet, as I love bread, wheat, barley and other gluten products too much!

    I am glad that you found what works for you!!!

  60. says

    This was a great read. I have quite a few friends who go on gluten free diets with the intention to lose weight, as if it’s the next new diet fad. As you stated, it’s what worked for YOU. Thanks for the post :)

  61. says

    This is a great post! I just found your blog (don’t know how I missed it for so long) and recently started a gluten free, dairy free blog of my own. I’ve never linked to myself in comments, but my very first post was all about my (very hard) forced transition to gluten free living due to a Celiac diagnosis. I wish I had known about the blog world when I was diagnosed, and I hope this could help someone else!