Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gluten-Free Day 23

So I've been doing this whole gluten-free thing for almost a month now. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a huge difference.

I've read that cross-contamination can be a big problem for some people, and I haven't be overly careful about that, so that could be part of the problem.

Or it could be that I don't have a gluten allergy (at least not a severe one anyway). I don't know. I'm going to stick it out until the end of the month (since I started it, not to the end of April), and then go see a doctor.

Well, I might keep doing it until I actually go see the doctor. I don't know. I guess it will depend on how soon I can go. I don't even know where to start as far as looking for a doc goes and stuff. I definitely want to see a gastrointerologist if I can.

If any of you have a good doctor or know someone who does, let me know. I could use some help!

In the mean time, I'll keep doing this gluten-free stuff and see how it goes. Going gluten-free sucks. Gluten-free things are more expensive in general, and you have fewer options to what you can eat overall. I think my biggest issue with it is that I'm still not seeing a big improvement in how I feel.

From my research and talking to other people I know who are gluten-free, most people noticed pretty significant improvements in the first few days and the first week. Here's a few I've read/heard:
Improved digestion (almost immediately)
Improved complexion (fewer pimples/breakouts/etc.)
Improved mood (less depressed, overwhelmed, etc.)
Improved sleep (more restful, not waking up more than once during the night)
Increased energy levels (less fatigue)

There's probably more, but those are the ones that stood out to me.

My digestion has changed since I've started this diet, but I wouldn't say it has improved. I get more pimples now than I ever did as a teenager. I haven't seen any change in my mood, except that maybe it's worse sometimes (which could be from not getting to eat what I want and the stress of buying gluten-free foods). I haven't seen any change in my sleep habits. I don't have increased energy. In fact, I think I feel more tired now.

There are plenty of other explanations for most of these that could be the reason I haven't seen any changes--stress from school and work effects just about every one of those areas where people have seen improvements and I'm not. Obviously there's not much I can do to make either of those less stressful. As far as the fatigue goes, that could be from stress as well, but I've noticed that it's becoming more difficult to get myself to go the gym on my lunch breaks. I've even been skipping a few days here and there, or taking it easy at the gym because I'm so exhausted.

Maybe I'm not seeing a lot of improvement in my digestive health because I haven't been super diligent about the whole cross contamination thing (seriously, some people suggest not even using the same pots, pans, utensils, etc.--even after they're washed--because that could potentially cause problems. I don't know about those people, but I can't afford to replace everything in my kitchen that may or may not have come in contact with something that contained gluten). And some people can be affected by the most minuscule amounts of gluten (even some products that are labeled "gluten-free" can still contain trace amounts of gluten in them; and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination before you even buy your food from the store).

It's really hard to tell what's causing what here. Maybe gluten is the problem, but with all these other factors, I'm not seeing a huge improvement like other people have. Or maybe I'm not allergic to gluten at all so cutting it out is making zero difference on my overall health.

I guess I really won't know anything until I see a doctor. Even then, I seriously doubt I'll get a straight answer as to what's causing all of my digestive problems. But maybe I'll at least have a better idea of what's going on so I can make some changes that will actually help.

Any tips, suggestions, doc recommendations, etc. would be greatly appreciated!