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Till This Day...

Posted Jan 31 2010 6:23am
I love a good cornbread. There is nothing ever wrong with cornbread. I always use my recipe, but, I’ve been curious to try different recipes. For my last simple chili with TVP and pinto beans, I made Karina’s recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess blog for Sea's Adopt A GF Blogger. The recipe was very good, but, I omitted the jalapeños and just left the cinnamon. I like my cornbread to be versatile, able to be used in a variety of meals, sweet or savory. It was awesome to prepare this in my free $100 pan from my old work facility. I think I might just do skillet cornbread from now on..It was just that awesome.

Cornbread salad is definitely next with leftovers.

Today is the 31st of January; the day that I discovered that I had a gluten intolerance. I thank Karina. She was the first gluten free blog I ever stumbled upon and the first individual that gave me hope that I wasn’t crazy. She describes on her blog the conditions of celiac’s disease, which I soon found I shared quite a number of them. So with that knowledge I began my task of getting diagnosed. It took a year later that I finally was able to prove it through a DNA test because I did myself wrong and went gluten free before the doctors could get to me.

In this post, I’m going to give a run down of all the possibilities that one could face with celiac’s disease, gluten intolerance and even a mere sensitivity, the symptoms, and the routes to take.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein composed of gliadin and glutenin. They are primarily found in crops of wheat and related wheat crops such as rye, barley, spelt, kamut, semolina, triticle, and a few others. It is the substance that gives elasticity to a bread product. Imagine a bagel, crusty Italian bread, or a soft hot biscuit from the oven. When you rip the bread, the bread presents some resistance as if the bagel or biscuit doesn’t want to be apart. That is gluten. Gluten is what binds everything in a dough product together.

What is a gluten allergy?

When people ask me how I can be allergy to bread, I simply respond: “Well, there are people allergic to dairy, right? There are people allergic to peanuts too, right?” What makes wheat or gluten any different? There is none. There are two, maybe even three, types of allergic reactions presented by gluten: full blown celiac’s disease and a gluten sensitivity. Celiac’s disease isn’t as automatic as, say, a peanut allergy or a dairy allergy. Celiac’s disease is an genetic autoimmune disorder that results in the gluten proteins attacking the small intestines. What happens is that your body believes that the gluten cell is a bacteria, an evil invader that doesn’t belong and, when the body attempts to absorb it via the villi in your small intestine, at the same time white blood cells are gnawing at the gluten. This leads to deterioration of your intestinal villi.

A gluten sensitivity is more or so an allergic reaction response by the body, but, it is still just as dangerous.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of a gluten disorder can vary from having every trick in the book to having nothing. There are some individuals who walk around day by day, suffering from what they believe is heartburn only, and not realize they are allergic to wheat. Common symptoms are: stomach pain and cramping, abdominal distension, mouth ulcers, lactose intolerance, intestinal ulcers, inability to absorb vitamins, anemia, osteoporosis, dermatitis, fatigue, diarrhea, weight loss, malnutrition, infertility, and even more.

The symptoms I endure are most of the aforementioned. For the longest while I was without a period, but, within the past few months, I’ve been heavily getting one which gives me hope for the fertility issue.

How is it diagnosed?

That’s a good question. It seems as the more people who discover they may have this allergy, the more doctors and physicians are becoming stupid. I have gone through every test in the book until I finally had to order a DNA test kit and get diagnosed. Part, I have to say is my fault. So if you believe you are gluten intolerant and want to go through the testing first, go to the doctors first. The villi in your intestines can heal rapidly and stay healed once you abstain from all gluten products. This will interfere with a biopsy/endoscopy and pretty much every other test. If you’re already gluten free and want to get tested, just go straight for the DNA testing. It will save you time and money.

If you suspect you have celiac’s disease and did not already go gluten free, you can be tested by a variety of methods: a biopsy/endoscopy, blood test, and the mentioned DNA test. Blood test is the simple route, but, sometimes it cannot detect it in the blood, especially if you hadn’t eaten gluten that day. The tried and true method of diagnosis is the biopsy and endoscopy, because what they do, is that they go inside you, remove a tissue piece and examine it along with the status of your villi. If it is flat, that indicates a sign of damage, proving that something serious is going on. If all else fails, go with a DNA test. Even if you suspect you have a gluten disorder and your physicians still can’t locate anything, changes are you are right because you know your body, not them.
There are four different ratings of how genes can effect your body, dealing with what alleles dominate: You either get dominant recessive, dominate dominate, recessive dominate, or recessive recessive. Those alleles also identify your blood type. It is speculated that men and those of European descent carry the gene. Me? I had a double edged sword because both sides of my family are European. The trigger factor of celiac’s disease can occur at any time but a primary source is extreme traumatic stress. In my case, I was the sole caretaker of my grandfather, a stage 6 Alzheimer’s patient, and my grandmother, who was dying from recurring cancer. If that is not traumatic stress..I don’t know what would be.

To get a DNA test kit and then rub the report in your stubborn’s physician’s face, go to It will save you time and money, trust me. My report findings were:

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-gliadin IgA (Normal Range Intestinal antigliadin IgA antibody was elevated, indicating that you have active dietary gluten sensitivity. For optimal health, resolution of symptoms (if you have them), and prevention of small intestinal damage and malnutrition, osteoporosis, and damage to other tissues (like nerves, brain, joints, muscles, thyroid, pancreas, other glands, skin, liver, spleen, among others), it is recommended that you follow a strict and permanent gluten free diet. As gluten sensitivity is a genetic syndrome, you may want to have your relatives screened as well.

Interpretation Of HLA-DQ Testing: HLA-DQB1 gene analysis reveals that you have one of the main genes that predisposes to gluten sensitivity and celiac sprue (HLA-DQB1*0201 or HLA-DQB1*0302). Each of your offspring has a 50% chance of receiving this gene from you, and at least one of your parents passed it to you. You also have a second gene that by itself can rarely be associated with celiac sprue (HLA-DQ2 other than by HLA-DQB1*0201), and when associated with one of the main celiac genes, strengthens the predisposition to getting the disease, and with more severe manifestations. Having one celiac gene and one gluten sensitive gene, means that each of your parents, and all of your children (if you have them) will possess at least one copy of a gluten sensitive gene. Having two copies also means there is an even stronger predisposition to gluten sensitivity than having one gene and the resultant immunologic gluten sensitivity or celiac sprue may be more severe.

In black and white. That is what my physicians couldn’t tell me. After suffering for so long, thinking I was crazy, thinking I was mentally imagining my pain only to find out that I was right. In today’s world doctors still aren’t trained to identify and fully investigate celiac’s disease. They like to trade off the patients symptoms as a mere IBS because it is more simple to diagnose. Please, follow your intuitions. Do what you feel is right, not what a man or woman in a coat tries to compel you to believe.

What can I do? Will it go away?

The last attempt to fashion some sort of drug to trick the body in believing that is isn’t digesting gluten when you really are, failed. Tests are, however, striving to succeed and hopefully in the future, not only will there be a medical saving grace for those who suffer with celiac’s disease, but also a cure for Alzheimer’s, cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s, and other aggressive diseases. Luckily, those who suffer with celiac’s disease can manage it moderately well, but, there are days that I still cry when I accidentally get contaminated, that I realize I am different, and that I feel like I can’t do “normal” things because I suffer from this stupid allergy. Regardless, my objective is to help others to cope with it and prove that they are not crazy and not alone.

All I have to say is thank you Karina, for realizing that I’m not crazy.
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