Do you have a gluten intolerance?

ID Barley Field

Amber waves of grain……or waves and waves of pain?  The grains we buy from the store in 2013 may look like the those that existed when Katharine Lee Bates wrote the Song, “America the Beautiful”  in the year 1895, but how our bodies respond to them are quite different -or was the response always the same but we as a modern- day population have decided we can’t stand the symptoms any longer?   There seems to be an epidemic of people with food intolerance/allergies/conditions-whatever you want to call it more now than ever before.  Speaking for myself, over two years ago I was diagnosed with an intolerance to gliadin. Gliadin is a class of proteins present in wheat.  It has become easier for me to just tell people I’m allergic to GLUTEN because few people know what gliadin is.

HOW did I know something was awry?  As an adolescent I constantly had bowel issues.  Periods of constipation and gas.  “You must need more fiber!” said the doctors. So my mom, being the good baker, made delicious homemade bread-from wheat.  I gobbled it up.  One time I was in so much pain my dad (who NEVER took us to the doctor-unless it was serious) was SURE I was suffering from an appendicitis attack.  Nope.  Gastritits-severe gas.

Other times I would break out into hives for no apparent reason.  I had chronic sore throats (which my dad would treat with a  jugular-gagging swab of iodine) and I  would arbitrarily gain and lose weight with no change in exercise or diet. Not to mention my energy level.  I was hyper-hyper and other times I was so tired and sluggish. My mood was constantly U-N-P-R-E-D-I-C-T-A-B-L-E.  In a nutshell I was depressed and couldn’t stand myself!! These symptoms went on for a number of years. About 10 years ago, my body decided to add new ones. Sinusitis semi-annually.  Strep throat periodically.  Swollen lymph nodes in my neck and behind my ears…..for years. Leg -pain, turned to tingling and numbness of the feet. My back locked up over the most simple of tasks like applying make -up or bending over to set a paper plate down on a picnic table. My joints hurt all over.  

Finally, after receiving no answers from conventional doctors, I went to a Naturopathic doctor.  After blood and saliva tests were done, the writing was on the paper. At first I was in denial.  After all, who wants to avoid pasta, bread, cakes, pie, cookie dough…….. social situations and convenience? NOT ME!  But here’s the thing, until I quit eating it, I did NOT feel better.

Since my own discovery I have learned of many others in my community also suffer from not only gliadin intolerance, but all gluten.  Some of their symptoms include; skin rashes, headaches, irritable bowel, severe flatulence, mood changes, tongue swelling and inability to focus.

Everyone’s body reacts differently to food.  Wheat and other grains that have been touted as the best staple for our life aren’t for everyone.  Maybe back in the late 1800’s there were no problems like we have today.  Maybe it is from our modern-day genetically modified food. Maybe it’s from the different fertilizers and pesticides and preservatives used to grow the grains, remove the pests, and store through the winter, that are causing this epidemic of (wheat, barley, rye, kamut, orzo, semolina, bulgur, bran etc….. ) intolerance. Or perhaps our pioneer ancestors just didn’t talk about it.

Some may say, I’m not going to get tested, that way I don’t know whats hurting me.  I’ve also heard, Can’t you just take pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs for that?  If your body is sensitive to something you are eating, it’s trying to tell you by giving you clues (symptoms).  Pay attention.  Best case scenario, you have an intolerance and you manage it. Worst case scenario, that intolerance that you’ve stuck your head in the sand about, has caused more damage-possibly an autoimmune condition that is not curable, just manageable.

Be your own best advocate.  Don’t rely solely on a doctor, or doctors.  Keep digging for answers for your body.


Michelle 🙂



  1. Missy Westergard says:

    I really love this article, and although we have talked about the subject before, I haven’t heard of the gliadin stuff before. Keep the good information coming, I hope to completely win my fight against my food allergies (but for now I am going to eat a piece of chocolate :))

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