One day, when the sun was shining and the bumpers were bangin’, these fellas Robb and Greg told me to stop eating gluten. I am pretty sure I was doubled over in pain with a stomachache I had had for roughly 17 years.
When I was a child I had a stomachache nearly every day. I didn’t have the greatest home environment so doctors repeatedly diagnosed me with stress and ulcers, and/or malnourishment. I was hospitalized twice in a year when I was 13. I was put on every ulcer medication available and nothing helped. I got worse. Doctors put me on the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast), I got worse.
On to high school… I was afraid to eat lunch at school because I didn’t want to have a stomachache all day. I wouldn’t eat before any basketball games or track meets because I didn’t want to spend my game time in the bathroom. A doctor in high school told me I was eating too much meat, and suggested I become a vegetarian (GASP!). So I did that for about a year. I got worse.
I was very skeptical of everything I learned from Robb and Greg. Now this was 7ish years ago when Paleo was not as popular, and I was not as in to listening to these guys. I never in my wildest imagination thought that food could have such an impact on your life. Never, even if there was a fire. I didn’t even know what gluten was. Is that some sort of mildew that grows on rotten cheese or forgotten left-overs?
Robb and Greg, together and separately, convinced me to stop eating gluten. At the time I was also training really well and it was leading up to the best Weightlifting competition of my life… one in which I ended up becoming the National Champion.
I completely change my eating habits. I eliminate gluten, and train my ass off. After about 3 or 4 months, I realize I haven’t had a stomachache in all that time. ALL THAT TIME! NONE! But guess what I did… I said to myself, ‘Self! You are feeling so amazing because you have been training so amazing!!’ So this is the dumbass I am…
Duh, right? Skeptical ole’ me thought no freaking way has food been the reason I feel so amazing. It is because I have just had such an amazing training cycle! So I went back to eating all the things I loved… sandwiches from the local yummy deli, my favorite pasta dish, Oreo cookies, burritos, onion rings, deep-fried whatever. And I thought I would just continue on my awesome way.
After about 2 weeks, my stomachaches were back full force. And worse. Severe cramping, lethargic, terrible, terrible yuckiness.
I was wrong. It was not my training. It was the gluten. Robb and Greg were right.
I again eliminated gluten from my diet and have not had a constant stomachache in over 5 years.
I went to the Doc last year because I was having pains in my abdomen. During the process of trying to figure out what was happening (it ended up being my ovaries), I explained to the GI doc that I didn’t eat gluten and believed that I was intolelrant. She wanted to put me on a heavily loaded gluten diet for 2-3 weeks so that she could then test for Celiac. I told her no freaking thank you. I did not want to have weeks of pain and discomfort simply to be tagged Celiac. I know I am greatly intolerant, because I just know. I get very sick when I accidently get a gluten dose, and all the symptoms I get are exactly the same as those who do have Celiac. You see, all those years of eating gluten my body built up a sort-of-tolerance. So although I had one stomachache over the course of 17 years, it was sometimes tolerable. Now when I get gluten after getting it the F out of my body for so long, I am just screwed. Just plain out-of-commision. Those doctors who told me I had ulcers and subscribed me pills and toast? They were just fueling the fire that was my guts.
Here’s a recent story. It is no secret that I love treats. We had gone to the movies and they were selling this gourmet liquorice in bags. I bought a bag, and it was so delicious! I just ate and ate and ate those little bite-size devils. My stomach started hurting so bad during the movie, I don’t even remember how the movie ended let alone what movie we even watched. I was like WTF man? I was sure that it was something I had eaten earlier in the day and was racking my brain to figure out how gluten got in my belly! We skipped going to dinner after the movie because I pretty much felt like a knife was sticking out my stomach, and I just wanted to get home. A bit later we were watching TV and Greg brought the bag over to me and said, ‘here do you want the rest of your liquorice?’ YUM! Uh, duh, I do! Chewing on a piece, I thought it was freaking delicious and so I turned the bag over to see who made it and where I could buy some more…dum dum dum.
There, next to the smiling faces of the F’ers who made the stuff, in big bold letters was the very first ingredient. WHEAT FLOUR.
I never, ever thought to even look on the label (and I literally check everything, what a fool!) because who would put gluten in liquorice?
Lesson learned. I was literally sick for 3 days. Like, rolling-on-the-ground-crying, sick. I was weak and so tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I was run down and listless and all the things that go in the bathroom. All from F’ing liquorice!
Do you know what this means? If some liquorice can make you that sick, think…. just think for one second… what do you think eating wheat toast every single morning, and a sandwich for lunch, rolls with your deep fried chicken and side of pasta for dinner, and your bread pudding for dessert is doing to your guts?
When your guts are fucked up do you know what else gets sick? EVERYTHING! Autoimmunity? F’d. Insulin resistance? F’d. Solid Poop? F’d.
There are lots of big words and big reasons I don’t really understand about gluten insensitivities. I read Robb’s blog posts and sometimes it’s so far over my head I just don’t understand all of the scientific reasons. But what I do know is this. Gluten is really screwed up. It goes in to your guts and just ruins everything. I know this because I have been a victim nearly my whole life and doctors couldn’t figure it out, and by Robb knowing all he does, and Greg understanding all Robb knows, they have given me a life free of stomachaches and a host of other problems. A gift of health. They saved me.
So, you ask, why is gluten bad? I wanted to do it Dave Letterman style and write out a top 10 list of all the reasons gluten is bad, but you really only need one reason: Gluten makes your body sick and can lead to a whole host of auto-immune problems I would rather live without.
I know gluten is bad because a few measly pieces of liquorice turned my life upside down for 3 days.
*If you or a loved one, or even an enemy, suffers from tummy aches and/or would like to learn more about all the reasons gluten is bad, visit robbwolf.com.