How Does Gluten Affect You?
Try this simple test: Eliminate wheat products from your diet for one week (this generally means all regular cereals, breads, pastas, bakery items, etc.) and observe your body's reaction. This is called an "elimination diet," whereby you single out one food group at a time to discover whether those items that have a noticeable impact on how you function, feel and look.
I decided to try this elimination technique to figure out whether gluten could have anything to do with my chronic stomachaches, weariness and post-nasal drip. Before I started, I tried writing down what I thought my symptoms were. After my first week of no wheat, my stomachaches were gone, my mucous cleared up, and I felt incredibly energetic. My headaches were also less frequent and less severe, and I had lost 3 pounds, most of it swelling and water weight my body had been holding onto as part of its response to the wheat products in my diet. I was also told I was less irritable. (Good to know.) These last few symptoms were things I hadn't even noticed were affecting me daily until they were gone! Even more compelling, within a day of reincorporating wheat into my diet, I was back to my achy, cranky, stuffy self. That's how quickly my body rejected the presence of gluten.
Just limiting your gluten intake (once a day, once a week) can have dramatic benefits for those of us who have mild reactions. My symptoms are noticeable, but not terribly severe, so I've tried to limit gluten to special occasions. You may find this to be your perfect solution too. However, for those with a real gluten allergy, complete eradication is the only answer.
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