What is gluten intolerance? Is it the same thing as celiac disease? If you test negative for celiac, does that mean it doesn't bother you? According the Chris Kresser in Your Personal Paleo Code, and the science that he gets this from, gluten is one of the defense mechanisms of wheat, barley and rye, which acts as a toxin to the animal that eats it. In the first century the Greek Physician Aretaeus described celiac disease (it's not a new fad, despite what people try to make it out to be) and it was in 1950 when Willem Dicke proved that gluten causes celiac disease.
If you are diagnosed with celiac disease you are having an autoimmune reaction caused by wheat that attacks the villi of your gut lining. This damages your ability to absorb nutrients and this chronic inflammation can lead to other conditions such as cancer.This can be diagnosed with a blood test.
The problem is, what if you have symptoms of a sensitivity to wheat products but you do not test positive for celiac disease? Should you continue to eat gluten? Well, there is a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). This just means that there is a reaction to the gluten, it is just not in the villi of the small intestines and your body is not making the one antibody that is tested for. It is making others....
Celiac and NCGS are not limited to the gut lining. Gluten can cause symptoms through out the body such as headache, fatigue, joint pain, numbness or tingling, and dermatitis. Also people who have celiac disease may not experience any symptoms.
The reason I am wondering about celiac disease, is because I didn't test positive for the blood test, but I have been debating if gluten has an effect on me. Because I am trying to adopt the "Paleo" lifestyle, I was trying to never have gluten again. It's not enough not to make wheat products at home, I've been debating giving up wheat products altogether. No pieces of bread or bites of cookies. I was thinking that having it once in a while, despite the warnings from Paleo scientists like Loren Cordain or Chris Kresser, was okay for me. Well, last week I decided to start my 21 day sugar detox. (I want to lay of the sugar from Paleo sources such as honey and dates and all the paleo treats, even if I am not eating straight up white sugar). On Sunday, (the day before my detox) I thought let's go to our favorite vegan restaurant ( the antithesis of paleo lol) and have some wheat products. I didn't order sugar, but I ordered my favorite seitan wings. I love them more than chicken wings. And I promised myself that this was the last time, because the Sugar Detox doesn't allow gluten products or anything that is not the strictest paleo. Seitan wings are basically made out of pure gluten, probably some salt and buffalo sauce. OMG, that night and the next morning I had the worst indigestion and heart burn. And I only get heart burn when pregnant and this was worse than that. Coincidentally, this is what happened last time I had these, and the time before, and every time that I've ever had them. So, 20th time is the charm, maybe it's not a coincidence. My daughter also loves these gluten masterpieces. I asked her how she felt that morning and she said fine but her stomach was gurgilly.
Whatever gluten is or isn't doing to me, causing indigestion isn't a good sign. It tells me something is wrong. I have officially decided to give up gluten. I will give in to the Paleo cult and I will become a loyal follower from here on out. I also know from salicylate sensitivity that just because you don't feel the effects in small amounts (when I eat a high amount of salicylate) doesn't mean the small amounts aren't adding up and causing chronic low grade inflammation that is quietly damaging your body (ulcerative colitis) until it's not so quiet anymore. Even if I don't feel anything from that piece of bread or bite of cookie, doesn't mean it is not having an inflammatory effect that I will feel another way (eczema, joint pain) and not ever connect it with the gluten. There is a lot if evidence about the damage gluten does and you can do a simple Pubmed search and read some articles. You can also read the books by Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, and Loren Cordain, who are all exceptional scientists and check their sources.