I've been avoiding most gluten, particularly wheat, for over a year now. I never had obvious symptoms that I could clearly link to eating wheat, although I had my suspicions. I've made many changes to my diet over the last decade, and I feel much better than I did ten years ago, but it's hard to disentangle all the factors. I don't think I ever went an entire month without eating any gluten at all before this January. After posting Matt Lentzner's challenge to go gluten-free this January, I felt obligated to do it myself, so I signed up!
I succeeded in avoiding all gluten for the month of January, even though it was a pain at times. I felt good before January, and didn't start with any health or body weight problems, so there wasn't much to improve. I also felt good while strictly avoiding gluten this January, perhaps a little better than usual but it's hard to say.
At the end of the month, I did a blinded wheat challenge using the method I described in a previous post, which uses gluten-free bread as the placebo (1). I recorded my blood sugar at 30 minute intervals after eating the bread, and recorded how I felt physically and emotionally for three days after each challenge.
The result? I think the bread gave me gas, but that's about it. I'm not even positive that was due to the wheat. My energy level was good, and I didn't experience any digestive pain or changes in transit time. There was no significant difference in my blood glucose response between the bread and the gluten-free bread.
I decided that I didn't have any symptoms, so I celebrated by having a porter (1) with friends a few nights later. I slept poorly and woke up with mild digestive discomfort and gas. Then I ate wheat later in the week and slept poorly and got gas again. Hmmm...
Some people might say that the body adapts to any food, and wheat is no different. Go without it for a while, and the body has a tough time digesting it. But I can go for weeks without eating a potato, a chicken thigh or broccoli, and all will digest just fine when I eat them again.
I'm pretty sure I don't have a severe reaction to gluten. I think I'm going to stick with my mostly gluten-free habits, and eat it occasionally when I'm offered food in social situations.
Did anyone else do a blinded wheat challenge? Describe it in the comments!