one year gluten-free

One year gluten-free

Hot and Cheesy Jalapeno Chicken

I’ve been writing this post in my mind for most of the entire past year. Why? Because it’s taken me nearly that long to learn about all of the benefits of going gluten-free. People often ask me now about my experience. I’m happy to tell them about it, but I warn them I might get preachy. You see, my experience can be summed up in five remarkable words — it changed my whole life. Now this is when when my friends smirk and decide I’ve lost my mind. A select few ask me for the details, but I haven’t told anyone the full story yet. Some of this is hard to write, because I feel like I was such a fool for not going gluten-free sooner. Or it’s just embarrassing. But if you don’t mind getting a little grossed out and can pretend you never read this the next time you see me, then feel free to read on. Here is what going gluten-free has changed for me:

1. Regularity — the main reason is the grossest. I used to have to worry if my stomach started to grumble. My friends teased me for being so sensitive. As soon as I didn’t feel so good from eating the wrong thing (still having no idea what the wrong thing was), I’d have to head home or be nearby a bathroom. It wasn’t a total nightmare. I had plenty of normal days in my life, but the problem was getting steadily worse over time. I thought it was just part of getting older. All of these problems went away within three days of going gluten-free, and by five days in, it felt like a miracle had taken place inside of me. I’ve accidentally eaten gluten a few times in the past year, but besides those rare occasions, I feel amazing now. My stomach might grumble sometimes, but now I know it’s something else like stress or anxiety. And I don’t have to panic about where the nearest bathroom is.

One year gluten-free

Hot water cornbread

2. Hunger — this is a weird one, but I used to be hungry all the time, day or night. I constantly craved food, which is why I was often known to start baking cookies at 10pm at night after a long day at work. I would eat dinner, and I’d want to eat more an hour later. I was obsessed with food. Yes, I still enjoy food. My job is related to food. I Instagram about food every day. But I’m no longer obsessed, and that’s a good thing. If there is a problem with this, it’s that I sometimes forget to eat for a while. The upside is that I’m not just eating because there is food in front of me anymore, such as when I’m bored. That’s a bad habit.

3. Bloating — the flip side of feeling hungry all the time was that I also felt bloated all the time before going gluten-free. No matter how little I ate, my stomach felt full and tight. Clothes were often uncomfortable as a result, especially something fitted that pressed against my waistline. I felt “fat” a lot of the time, even if it wasn’t quite true. That’s all gone now; I have to totally gorge myself to get that bloated feeling.

One year gluten-free

Philippine adobo

4. Skin — I’ve been told this a few times, so it’s not just my imagination. My skin is much clearer. I’m mostly talking about my face, but my skin has never been as clear as it is now. Besides daily blemishes and that kind of thing which have cleared up dramatically, I had a few dark spots on my face for a year or longer. Those started fading away after going gluten-free. I thought those spots were just something that happens when you get older. No, my skin isn’t perfect, but I’m really happy with it right now. What you can’t see is that my skin has improved all over my body. For example, I always had redness and irritation on the back of my arms, around my triceps, and it’s almost completely gone now. I tended to have break-outs in other random areas on my body, and that is very much reduced or entirely gone. And most amazing to me, almost unbelievable, is that I have had some moles on my body for my entire life, or as long as I can remember. Those are fading away now too. One on my back is almost invisible now. It’s literally unbelievable to me that this is possible. This benefit took the longest. It wasn’t until about 9 months that I started to see these particular changes.

5. In-grown hairs — hey, I told you this was going to be gross, right? I used to have a lot of irritation on my neck from shaving. I’d always been told it was common for African-American people and white people with curly hair (like me) to have this problem from shaving. There are products to minimize in-grown hairs, or you’re supposed to shave a certain way (with the grain), but nothing really worked. Now the problem has fixed itself, and it’s extremely rare for me to have irritation from shaving on my neck.

6. Dandruff — now I’m getting ridiculous, right? I’ve been using dandruff shampoo for my entire adult life without much success. It wasn’t terrible, but my scalp was always dry, and I’d have some white flakes on my shoulders if I scratched my head too much. This has always been upsetting to me, something I was very insecure about. Well, I stopped using dandruff shampoo about seven months ago, and the problems are almost entirely gone now. I’m a pessimist, so I don’t want to jinx it by saying it’s 100% fixed, but it’s not a factor in my life any longer. I don’t even think about it now.

7. Weight — this is a big one. I lost weight without even trying. If anything, the last year was busy for me and I went to the gym less than ever, but I still lost weight. How much? I don’t use scales, but I’ve dropped one or two sizes in every store where I shop. There were stores where I couldn’t shop at all before because everything was too tight, more of a European cut. Now those shops are perfect for me, and I buy jeans with words like “slim” on the labels. I have stopped shopping in other stores where the clothing is more boxy, because that style makes no sense for me now. I bought a new belt a few weeks after going gluten-free, and a couple months later I had to throw it away because it was too large for me. My old clothes are all too baggy on me now, almost absurdly so. Old pants and jeans literally won’t stay on my waist. I haven’t felt this slim in more than a decade. Please understand that before going gluten-free, I wasn’t all that worried about my size. I didn’t think I was overweight, except for that bloated feeling I often had. But now I think back and can’t believe I was walking around with that extra weight and those extra inches so needlessly. I look at myself in a dressing room mirror when trying on clothes, and I smile.

One year gluten-free

Ham and sweet potato hash

8. Dairy — this is another big one. Before going gluten-free, I had diagnosed myself as being lactose intolerant years earlier. Drinking straight milk was impossible — it felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach afterwards. Soft cheese and ice cream were extremely challenging, and all I could do was have a little taste. About two months after going gluten-free, I started testing out dairy again. Now I can have all the cheese and ice cream I want without any concerns. Yes, I’m serious. I don’t actually like milk that much, but for me it’s a wonderful trade. I gave up gluten, and I got dairy back. I couldn’t be any happier about that.

9. Tiredness — now we’re getting into fuzzy territory. It’s obvious that my skin is clearer or that my old pants don’t fit. But I swear that I have more energy than ever. It used to be that I’d eat a sandwich or noodles for lunch every day, and by 3pm, I was nearly asleep at my desk. I’d have to power through it by walking around to get my blood flowing again. That never happens now. I think this is more of a by-product of going gluten-free. I’m not eating all of that highly-processed food, which is why I’m not having mid-afternoon sugar crashes. To be honest, anyone who knows me well can tell you I had a fair amount of energy before. I jump out of bed in the morning, optimistic and ready to go. But feeling tired at work was a secret of mine, and that’s all changed now.

10. Drinking alcohol — I’m still not a big drinker, and I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “benefit,” but my friends all used to call me a light-weight. I’d have two beers and feel hungover. My head would be pounding, my stomach would hurt, and I’d be done for the night. Now I’m not saying people should drink more, but I feel like a normal person now when I go out. I can drink socially, and it’s nearly impossible for me to feel hungover now. Okay one night recently I partied too hard, and there were some regrets, but generally speaking, alcohol is not an issue for me now. I just stick to the safe stuff like wine.

One year gluten-free

Chicken adobo

11. Headaches — this isn’t something I talked about often, but I typically got a headache three times a week, sometimes more. In years prior I got headaches all the time. It wasn’t really terrible, but I never left the house without aspirin or something like that in my pocket (especially if there was going to be drinking). Depending on the season or climate, the headaches were sometimes accompanied by sinus pain and pressure, and at times that was really hard for me to handle, because when it was bad, it was really bad. Now the sinus problems are 100% gone, and I’d estimate I get a headache once a month. Even then it’s only under relatively extreme circumstances that could have likely been avoided. If the absence of headaches in my life was the only benefit to going gluten-free, I would have done it for that reason alone.

12. Sugar/dessert/pasta/bread cravings — I’ve touched on this a bit, but it’s a big one. Nearly every time someone inquires about my experience going gluten-free, they end the conversation by saying, “But I could never give up [bread/pasta/cookies/etc.] because I love them to much.” For the record, nobody was a bigger gluten-addict than me. Nobody. I baked constantly, as you can tell if you have ever looked at my blog prior to January 2012. I ate cereal for breakfast every day. I ate a sandwich or noodles for lunch every day. I snacked on pretzels and crackers all day long. I made pasta for dinner three or four times a week. On other nights I would go out for noodles. The smell of bread was like heaven to me. It was comfort food, especially if I was feeling sick. And now? The cravings are gone. That took about six weeks to happen, kind of gradually. Gluten-free friends have explained to me how and why this happened. It’s not just mental. The physical cravings for those foods no longer exist. I resisted substituting for many of those foods for a long time, in the same way many vegetarians won’t eat meat substitutes like seitan. I’ve had only five or six sandwiches with gluten-free bread in the entire past year. But now I’m eating gluten-free pasta at least once every week or two. I cook rice noodles pretty often. I’ve been dabbling in gluten-free baking. But if I walk by a bakery, I have no cravings at all. My mind and body no longer see those foods as comforting or satisfying. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

13. Colds — I’m totally gonna jinx this, but I haven’t gotten a full-blown cold in about a year. Am I saying that going gluten-free makes you impervious to illness? Of course not, but my resistance is so much stronger now that my body isn’t battling gluten all the time, I can’t remember ever feeling this good for so long. When I feel a cold coming on, I take a Coldeeze or two, and it fades away. No more days at home sick, all stuffed up, coughing, stuck in bed, etc. The worst that happened was a very mild cold over the summer when I took medicine at night for a few nights to help me sleep better, but during the day I felt fine. I had that funny feeling of, “am I sick or not?” and that was about it.

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Oh yeah, I’m bullet-proof and can fly now too. Okay, just kidding. I wanted to see if you were still reading. So there it is. Now when someone asks me about my experience, I’m just gonna tell them to read this. Nah, I still love talking about it. Just don’t tell me you “love bread too much to ever go gluten-free,” because that’s the oldest excuse in the book. Love you partner, parents, children, siblings and friends. If you (or you doctor) think gluten might be making you feel sick, you owe it to yourself to give this a try. Just keep in mind that these are mostly long-term benefits which only came about because I really gave up gluten. I wasn’t sneaking a cupcake on “cheat” days. That will only hold you back. You might feel a little better by going 75% gluten-free, but you won’t be allowing your body to truly recover and beat the addiction. Yes, I’m sounding preachy now, but needless to say, I’m a convert. Going gluten-free made almost everything about my life better. And I’m not even touching on the really subjective stuff like feeling more clear headed. I do think the “fog” is gone, but there’s no way to prove that to you. The other stuff is pretty hard to deny. Now all I can think is why did I wait so long to give this a try?


71 thoughts on “one year gluten-free

  1. Well, your list is very comprehensive….and I totally get it. Gluten infiltrates every part of your body….and it only gets worse over time. Many of your symptoms are carbon copies of mine, with a couple of notable exceptions. I leaned toward chronic constipation, rather than loose stools…and I was waaaaayyyyyy skinnier before I went gluten free. You see, I couldn’t absorb nutrients, so nothing stuck.

    1. i love hearing from other people who understand what i’m talking about. and i’ve heard your story many times, that people couldn’t keep on weight before they went gluten-free. i’m not sure why that part of my story is so different, but of course i don’t mind having lost some weight.

    2. Ahhh yes this was me to a T! I was very skinny, yet hardly had bowel movements ( I still wonder where it would all go haha) it would disgust me how people would say “you look skinny” as if it was a good thing! :/

      I transitioned from being a vegetarian to vegan over the past year for the simple reason that I felt called to do so. Being vegan, of course, meant supplementing with b12 as I was not going to get enough through food alone.

      I had never considered that I was gluten intolerant, but after many months of supplementing and seeing only small improvements in my nails(healthy nails should have moons towards the base, and not break easily) I knew I wasn’t getti g enough b12. However, the fact that I was supplementing daily showed that there was a problem with absorption and not the amount itself ( especially since most b12 supplements have upwards of 5000% the RDA).

      Enter gluten intolerance. After researching possible causes of b12 malabsorption I found gluten to be a possible inhibitor, thus begins my journey of cutting out gluten.

      I also took into account my fathers hypothyroidism as well as my grandmas unexplained gallstones which led to her having her gallbladder removed, when she was never a heavy drinker or drug abuser.

      I was bad at cutting it out at first, but with each try i noticed worse symptoms when I reintroduced gluten, having the classic excruciating stomach pain and constipation.

      Finally I came to the conclusion that this truly is an all-or-nothing deal, and have been extra cautious about what goes in to my system.

      I am still not diagnosed, my parents think I am a hypochondriac and don’t want to spend money on going to the doctors, not to mention I have no desire to eat gluten and experience tha sort of pain ever again.

      So I will keep quiet and go about my own ways…

      I did want to post however because if I was not vegan I would have simply assumed I was not getting enough b12 as I am sure thousands of Americans are lead to believe, when in fact the real problem is hidden celiac…

      The scale of this problem is nothing short of apocalyptic, lol. Call me crazy but honestly this disease is killing thousands and will continue to until the rest open their eyes.

  2. Hmmm…back in August I decided to reduce my carb intake simply to help me lose weight. What I didn’t expect was the disappearance of my migraines. I did a little experiment and added a moderate amount of rice back into my diet. And, yes, still no migraines!

    I also have some schronic skin issues and my mom suggested that I try a gluten-free diet. So maybe I need to be a little more strict and a little more patient to see any effect on my skin. Oh, and more sleep would probably help, but that’s a discussion for another day.

    Thanks for sharing…I am now even more encouraged to keep up my dietary change!

    1. it’s amazing that just cutting back on carbs had such a positive impact for you. and when you added rice back in, you’d probably given your body enough time to recover and heal itself, that you were okay with it. i’m just guessing, but you might want to look into going really gluten-free just as test.

  3. Thanks for the post! I’m glad that you saw so many positive changes after going gluten free. 🙂 A part of me wonders if I could ever be gluten free but mostly i’m concerned about not being able to eat korean food since that’s what i live on.

    1. are you kidding? i practically live on Korean food now. i think by nature, Korean food is very gluten-free. at home i just use gluten-free soy sauce. i make pajeon with rice flour. the noodle dishes i like best are all made with those bean and yam-based noodles anyway. rice cakes are safe, but oddly you have to really check carefully because most fish cake products are not. i can’t have mandoo, but frankly that was the least interesting thing to me about korean food. i cook Korean food at home all the time, and when i dine out, i just order carefully to avoid dishes with soy sauce, but that’s really pretty easy.

  4. loved reading about your experience Justin – am coming up on a year myself (in April) and had almost identical symptoms as you’ve listed in your piece; we ate well before going gluten-free so it hasn’t been as hard as i’d thought. the one caveat was pizza and now we have gluten-free crust down to perfection – so many recipes simply taste better without the gluten – congrats!

    1. thank you. it’s funny but i didn’t care much about pizza for many months. i finally found a spot that is good, but it still doesn’t usually agree with when i eat out, probably because of gums they’re using. i haven’t gotten around to making pizza at home yet, probably because i keep finding other yummy things to cook. there are just so many options out there to eat good food.

  5. Thanks, I enjoyed reading your story. I have had a similar experience although I gave up a few extra foods to get to the “wellness” part. I think your blog is fun because you don’t make a big deal out of the fact that your food is gluten-free, it just is…

  6. It still always amazes me how many symptoms are related to gluten intolerance Celiac Disease. This is a wonderful post for showing people that it’s not just about a stomach ache but your symptoms could be much more varied and you would not guess that gluten was the culprit.

    1. i remember visiting you once years ago, talking with a few people about all the different symptoms they had and trying to understand the variations in everyone’s experiences. now i finally get it.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experiences. My husband has many (more than half) the issues you detailed and we had him tested for celiac disease. It came back negative, but given that his problems continue I am tempted to test out a GF diet for him.

    1. i appreciate your comment because i was never tested, but my feeling is that a lot of people might benefit from eliminating gluten from their diets, regardless of a test. the changes i experienced have been so incredibly dramatic, it’s clearly not a simple issue anymore. if your husband has that many issues, it’s really something to think about. and anyone who reads my blog knows, i’m not suffering with boring food. far from it.

  8. Just like you, I experienced the same symptoms prior to going GF. And I agree with you – going GF changed my life. I’ve never felt better or looked better than I do now. I’m so happy that you have gained such a benefit to your life and health by going GF! I’m right there with you 🙂

  9. Congratulations Justin and thanks for sharing your experience here. It’s difficult to change one’s life especially in these adult years where we’ve become stuck in our ways. Hats off to you for making a positive change for your health that has transformed your life! Very inspiring.

  10. Congratulations Justin! Not just for you and your personal transformation (which, I for one can attest to…the first thing I noticed about you at BSP3 was how incredible your skin looked) but also for how passionate you are in speaking to others about it. I am sure you have inspired a number of folks to try GF and will continue to do so down the road. I am SO making my sister read this post, I have felt for a long time now that she has an issue with gluten and many of your points in this post are all her as well. Cheers to year 2!

  11. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have reluctantly adopted a gluten free diet in the past due to stomach issues. It was really really frustrating and difficult! I didn’t have access to all this info back then – or at least was not aware of it. I think at the time, the Internet was not awash with as much information. I think I am going to give it another go and maybe start from scratch then reintroduce things. I’m glad you can eat cheese again. I am really hoping I never develop an intolerance to dairy because I love it so much!
    Pinning this for future reference – thanks again! 🙂

    1. thanks for your comment. yes, it was a lot harder in the past, but markets are filled with gluten-free products now, and depending on where you live, restaurants can be very gluten-free friendly as well. it’s a good time now to be gluten-free, but i find the real key to success is cooking at home more often. then you’re really in control.

  12. I’ve had much the same experience. It’s been 1 year for me as well. However, I gained a few pounds. I also never had any dairy issues before or after. I did have an increase in my vision quality. I had the same prescription for 25 years. After 6 weeks of going 100% gluten free, my vision went very blurry. I went to the doctor and she said that my visions increased by 50%. Crazy! She asked me if I had any changes in my diet and said it sometimes happens to celiacs and diabetics.

    I also have no more nerve pain in my body. My back doesn’t hurt any more. I can throw my son around without an issue. My feet hurt less. It’s great.

    1. obviously i know your amazing story well, Steve, but thanks for commenting. it’s funny that the last time i saw you in Seattle, we had pizza while Shauna ate something special the chef made for her.

  13. First off, super huge congratulations to you. I’m so glad that you found what worked for you. In 2008 I became severely ill and for 2 years doctors struggled to find out what was wrong. Finally we found out I had Ulcerative Colitis and I was put on medications and was never really told what I should do diet wise. My husband and I went vegan for nearly 2 years. I felt better for awhile, but I reached a plateau. So we decided to see what life would be like gluten free. Within a week I was seeing changes in how I felt. Shortly thereafter I went to see a kinesthesiologist/naturopath. That was about a year ago and now I am off all my medications. It’s absolutely amazing how diet can change your life.

    I’m just so happy for you!

    1. thanks so much for this comment. yes, now when i hear someone saying they have an ulcer, i just think “oh man, that’s probably not the real problem at all”. i’m trying not to butt into other people’s business though. so i’m just putting this post out there for friends to read and decide for themselves. maybe it will help someone.

    2. also Jade, i didn’t even realize this was you at first because i didn’t know about your illustrations, so i saw the link and though you were some other girl named Jade! now i’m even more appreciative of you posting your story. thank you.

  14. Thanks for sharing your gluten-free adventure, Justin. Have followed your postings for a couple of years now and admired your baking recipes. But, as I follow a gluten-free and dairy-free diet as much as possible, my meal planning is very specific. Definitely being off gluten is a major improvement in well-being. Chose gluten-free on my own when learning to eat The Paleo Way (fresh food, eliminate processed foods, no gluten, no dairy, no legumes. Yes on eggs, nuts of all kinds except peanuts. Yes on fruits and veggies, especially butternut squash since no potatoes.)
    Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet, also found improved skin/acne eating Paleo way and Dr. Valerie Treloar, Dermatologist/Nutritionist, wrote her book on similar findings.
    Bottom line, by changing nutrition diet, one can improve personal health and feel better. Glad I did.

    The Souper

  15. While I feel no need to go gluten-free, myself, I have a friend who made the change last year, (along with a couple of other dietary adjustments,) and has felt herself a new woman. It alleviated or ameliorated a number of issues from her, from digestion to depression. You may know that there is a famous men’s tennis player who also suffered from what was generally attributed to asthma, but demonstrated as various things, including fatigue, then went gluten-free and got to #1 in the world. I know a lot of people look down their noses at what they consider to be “dietary fads,” but I do believe that plenty of folks are helped by making sensible adjustments to their diets. It’s better than a load of pharmaceuticals.

  16. Hi Justin! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I know I always jab (jokingly, o/c! ;)) at you and J for going gluten-free, but look at these wonderful, tactile, very real results! Awesome. If it means better health for you, how can you not celebrate that! 😀

    Frankly, I am too weak to resist the traditional gluten bombs (pizza! pasta! pastries!), but I do eat quite a lot of Asian (spec. Korean) food, which I feel is naturally gluten-free. I might try a ‘test’ though one of these days – your results are pretty incredible! We’re happy for you. 🙂

  17. Wow, what an incredible change, Justin! It’s exciting to hear about the ways that a change in your diet has improved your life. Thanks for taking time to share about the tranformation! We continue to be inspired by your gluten free inspirations.

  18. Really love your honesty here. I’ve tried going gluten-free as you know, in the past, but after I read this post, I tried starting again this past weekend. Then, I forgot and ate regular pasta yesterday. I’m still going to go for it seriously. I’m trying to see if it will lift my “fog” and other issues. Your story is truly inspirational because of all the specific benefits you’ve pointed out.

  19. this is a fantastical story, thx for sharing it. Did you go to the dr at all?

    Ive been dairy free for awhile and alot of the things you listed also went away for me when i stopped consuming milk stuff. I will admit to being slightly excited when you said you can now consume cheese.

    1. right, can you imagine my excitement when i realized i’d misdiagnosed myself and wasn’t lactose intolerant at all? apparently it’s a common thing to think you’re lactose intolerant when it’s really something else. i didn’t go to the doctor because you can’t get a celiac disease test unless you’re currently consuming gluten. plus what’s the point? it clearly worked for me. in fact, i bet a doctor wouldn’t even believe the success i’d had. thanks for visiting my blog, by the way.

  20. This post was inspirational. Would you recommend that someone with pretty good health go gluten free? I don’t have half the issues you mentioned, but I’d love glowing skin and less sugar cravings. I also eat vegan most of the time, so uh, this will require lots of creativity.

    1. thank you. i think the most important thing is that i didn’t really think some of these things were “wrong” before. i wasn’t walking around saying “oh my god, there is so much i need to fix.” i went gluten-free for one reason, and everything else was a bonus. but better skin is a major benefit, so i think it’s worth trying for almost that reason alone. and you know, i talk to people all the time who say they’re fine, but then you start talking to them and you realize they get frequent headaches, or they accept some degree of indigestion in their life, but they totally deny is when you suggest they might be gluten-intolerant. i do think being vegan AND gluten-free is a huge challenge. otherwise, my best suggestion is to just give gluten-free a try and see if it works for you. but keep in mind the skin benefits are long terms, at least months to see real results. if you keep breaking it and going back to gluten for cheat days, then you’re probably not going to see the results you’re hoping for.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Justin. I’ve NEVER looked into going gluten-free because I’ve never thought I may be gluten-intolerant! But reading your post, I seem to have most if not all of your previous symptoms. This timely post has prompted me to look into celiac disease and its symptoms. Thanks again!!

  22. Hey… I have been off white flour since oct… coz I am on indian ayurvedic medicine and yes I relate to what you say. Have gone down 2 sizes in clothes, no longer crave for all the cookies breads etc. And even if I do have it… somehow that fun and satisfaction of eating the very things is lost… am still trying to give up completely…

  23. Justin, thanks for writing this great article. I suffered for 5 years before I was diagnosed with celiac in 2006, and your article definitely reflected what I was through. Because celiac is not well-known at the time, and around 2005, I was scared to eat anything and ended up stopped eating pretty much anything. At that time, I rather to be hungry than dealing with the aftermath. I lost over 40 lbs in a span of 2 months, and I wasn’t healthy at all.

    Since going on GF, my weight went back up, not bloated, no uncontrollable projectile vomit, no skin issue, no brain fog, no washroom issue, and with lots of energy.

    It is really great of you writing this article. Not only it helps others to understand the benefit of GF, it also helps others to seek medical help if having some of those symptoms that listed.

    Yes, I do need to find a GF restaurant in NYC. 🙂

  24. I love your blog post. I have recently started living the Gluten-free lifestyle (diet doesn’t seem to be the right word) and I feel strangely normal, which is kind of freaky since I’ve always suffered from stomach ailments, depression, heartburn, brain fog, tiredness and a whole host of other symptoms. Simply avoiding gluten based foods have given me a new lease on life and you explain it so well that after my fiance read it, had a much better understanding of why I’m suddenly a new me.

    1. thank you for this comment. i really appreciate it. i can relate to everything you’re saying. when i try to explain it to people who are not gluten-free (but I STRONGLY suspect should be), they are baffled and refuse to accept that i could possibly be right.

  25. Hi Justin,
    Thanks a lot for such an informative post. Since I have been gluten free, about a week ago now, I have been scouring the net getting an idea of where I fit in to it all, seeing if I can see myself in any of it and, most importantly, wondering if it will help me.
    I have suffered from depression, irritability and anxiety since my teens, had loads of therapy and been on medication. I have had OCD and social phobia too. A general lak of peace and well-being have pervaded my world and there has always seemed like there is something missing. I have always put down any bloating, stomach pain and gas down to my anxiety and my inability to handle stress very well but because my stomach bloating got a lot worse I decided to check out intolerances.
    I have never had any checks and, from what I can gather, they probably wouldn’t tell me a great deal besides what I know.
    I know it’s only been a week but I have seen some changes, most notably less gas, slightly less bloating, less irritable and when it comes to eating I don’t have a raging need to scoff my food. In fact when I eat now I naturally eat slowly, without forcing it.
    I know your symptoms were mainly physical, although you did mention the clear headedness, but I wondered if you thought gluten could be the underlying reason for my mental health issues. If so, how long do you think it will take to notice a more significant difference?
    Thanks for your help. Adam (UK)

    1. thanks so much for this note. when it comes to matters of mental health, i can only advise you to seek help from an expert. that’s why i was vague about the clear headedness. however, i do believe these things are all related. when i’d get stressed before, my stomach would tighten and start to grumble. or sometimes my stomach would tighten before i knew what i might be stressed about, and i sought to find the psychological explanation for the symptoms, rather than consider they might simply be a physical reaction to something i’d eaten. it was a bad cycle of confusion for me that i can trace back to the age of 14. i don’t have it all figured out yet, but generally speaking, things are so much better now for me. i can’t put a timeline on it for you though. i think that will vary based on a lot of different factors. for one thing, i know a lot of people who go gluten-free but “cheat.” i don’t cheat, but occasionally (sadly just last week) i make a mistake, and i felt set-backs for several days as a result because my sensitivity to gluten has dramatically increased over time. my advice is, if being gluten-free is a positive experience for you, to stick with it. some of the benefits didn’t appear until months later, though most started to appear within the first 6 weeks.

  26. may i ask how long it took before you starting noticing improvement. i’ve only been gluten/dairy free for two weeks (with no changes) how long should i give it really?

    1. my stomach felt pretty good almost immediately. three days in it was good. five days in, it was like a miracle. my stomach problems were gone. other things i didn’t expect took much longer. hunger cravings for gluten faded after about six weeks. my skin started to clear up after about two months and continued to improve over the next several months. i started losing weight after a few months. but i only went gluten-free for the stomach issues. honestly, if you’re two weeks in and your stomach isn’t feeling better, i’d say you might have other dietary issues worth examining, possibly such as other food sensitivities instead of or in addition to gluten. but i’m no doctor.

  27. I know this was posted a while ago but I just wanted to say I had a very similar experience for a few years before going gluten-free, I had headaches, stomach ache, especially when having dairy products and I couldn’t go one day without a mid-afternoon nap! Life became really difficult for me and it was only after researching online that I discovered others have had similar experiences due to gluten. Now that I have stopped eating gluten altogether for almost a year now I finally have energy again, and I too lost weight without trying, I used to get terrible migraines as well and now if I accidentally eat gluten I immediately get a migraine headache. It’s really nice of you to post your story online so that other people don’t feel so alone in the experience! I hope you are doing well with it still 🙂

    Rae

  28. I love hearing your straight up experience with going gluten free – you seem totally real, and I actually get a lot of these problems too so I might try cutting it out slightly. My skin used to be pretty bad and when I stopped eating gluten for a while it cleared up A LOT but now that I’ve started eating it again, I’m getting small bumps 😦 Thank you so much for this helpful article!

    http://addalittle.wordpress.com

  29. Hi there! Thanks for the info. I recently became GF because I had horrible allergies and someone recommended I cut out Gluten. I had been in so much pain, I was ready to try anything! It’s only been a few months and I haven’t had any allergies, however more importantly – I don’t fall asleep at my desk after lunch every day. I tell everyone how much “clearer” I feel. I’ve been raving about it around my office and I think everyone think’s I’ve gone off the reservation… I’m going to continue – I can’t go back!! I don’t crave really much but I do feel really hungry alot, I think because I’m not eating a ton of “filler” food anymore. I also don’t feel bloated or have all the stomach issues I was having. Yay!

  30. I can confirm almost all of your 13 topics in this report after having freed myself from gluten about 8 years ago! The only not relating to me are: hair issues, as I hadn’t problems with ingrowing before; alcohol, as I’m only rarely drinking some; headaches I don’t have except when having a virus cold infection, though that is limited to max once per year now. Funny as that is, that according to schoolbook medicine analysis, I’m only “gluten sensitive” not celiac.

  31. I was diagnosed with hashimotos thyroiditis and eliminated gluten 2 months ago. I feel that I have infomercial of the things you posted. First thing was a bowel movement detox for 4 weeks (ick) And now I’m super regular, which has not been my norm. I have lost 7 lbs and look way less puffy. I have pink cheeks…they’ve been a pasty color for a long time. Energy is increasing. But…and this is how I found your blog….I thought I was insane, but I swear my moles are doing weird things. I have lots of moles, and about 5 of them have been itchy (which I scratched and made bleed…oops), but they seem to be disappearing!! I can’t explain it.

  32. I’m dabbling at removing wheat. I eat sprouted wheat bread and spelt flour. Have you tested anything like this to see if you react at all?

    1. I definitely can’t tolerate spelt. I wouldn’t even think of trying sprouted wheat bread. Sprouting doesn’t remove gluten unfortunately, although it does help with digestion of nuts.

  33. I’ve been gluten free for a year and it changed my life. Dry skin gone, rough skin on back of arms and legs, gone, pain in my feet gone, shoulder pain gone, allergies gone, sneezing every morning gone, itchy rashes at night (eating snacks containing gluten before bed caused this. Who knew?) Bloating gone!! Abdominal pain that I had an ultrasound for and they tried to blame female parts but couldn’t find anything, gone. I’ve educated myself for the last year because I wanted to know why did all this clear up, so here’s the short version. YOU HAVE TO ELIMINATE IT. It’s not like cutting back on salt or sugar or cutting back on carbs. It’s like rubbing poison ivy on your small intestine. You wouldn’t say, oh just give me a small leaf of poison ivy today, it won’t do much damage. Would you? I read an article that said gluten intolerance/sensitivity wasn’t real because they did a placebo test; one day the group would eat gluten and one day they wouldn’t, the study group didn’t know what they were eating which day. Well of course there was no change, you have to heal the damage in your small intestine and the only way to do that is eliminate it. Gluten damages your small intestine and this is where you absorb your food. If your small intestine is damaged it can cause a whole host of problems, inflammation in many areas of your body, malnutrition. People who are overweight want to keep eating because their body is not absorbing nutrients because their small intestine is damaged. What do we eat? Whole foods, veggies, fruits, rice, we still eat dairy, our meat are horomone/antibiotic free. My husband and I eat smaller meals and are satisfied. We were 3 months into being gluten free when we discovered that weird feeling of being satisfied but not stuffed to discomfort. There were lots of light bulb moments during the last year when we realized our ailments were disappearing. We also eat very few boxed or shelf stable foods because of the food processing and chemicals used to preserve the food. We take no medications and my husband is the same size he was in highschool 32 years ago but his stomach issues have subsided. I’ve lot 16 lbs in the last year and that wasn’t even the goal. We eat less, we eat better and we DON’T EAT GLUTEN, EVER!! You can find articles that discuss what’s wrong with our wheat now that wasn’t wrong with it 100 years ago. Try going gluten free completely for a month and see what happens and then eat all the junk you want and see what happens. Somebody reading this is taking a medication with side affects, there are no side affects when you try gluten free, except good side affects. It’s worth a try.

  34. Thank you for opening up conversation relating to being Gluten free. I have only gone GF for two weeks now but……. my terrible stomach cramps (the reason I had to try this), have GONE !!!! And my scalp…… wow, my scalp…….. is so clear of issues. It’s normal now. No more flaking and (I’m not going into it since it’s ugly), I’m happy with this result.
    Even my skin looks better and rashes have faded that I was prescribed steroid creams for, have not returned. How awesome. And this is ONLY 2 weeks into it. Imagine what a month or more will bring?
    Is it easy going GF….. well, at first, heck NO. But, ultimately it becomes a way of living and you adapt
    And adjust and it slowly just becomes second nature. Restaurants are a challenge but not impossible.
    And if you’re NOT gluten intolerant, I don’t begrudge you of gluten. I’m jealous is all.
    Before I go into rambling mode (too late), just wanted to add my own thoughts to the mix. Rex

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