Food Allergies and Intolerances.
How much fun are these things?! They’re SUPER FUN!
But seriously… I am going to try and make this short and sweet. After years of strange skin rashes on my forearms (and lots of other places), I got myself “scratch” tested to see what I was allergic to in the early 2000′s. The results were “Nickel” and “Fragrance”. I was content with the results, even though I was surprised that I didn’t react to things like shellfish. But, I was ignorant and ignorance is bliss, right?
Fast Forward to 2012. Reading through a fitness magazine, I came across an article that listed issues that might be sabotaging my weight loss efforts and the two that stuck out to me were Lactose Intolerance and Celiac Disease. I have been on a mission since 2005 to lose extra pounds that I packed on over all the previous years. I tipped the scale at 235# and had gotten down to 165# when I was sidelined by cardiac arrhythmia rearing it’s ugly head and had to forego working out for four months and then I just got lazy, adding back ten pounds despite measuring portions and counting calories.
With my cardiologists “two thumbs up”, I started back to exercising along with calorie-counting, to where I found myself scratching my head that the scale just stayed the same or crept upwards despite the fact that all my math should have me losing a pound every two weeks. The symptoms of Lactose Intolerance that I focused on were the gastrointestinal kind, everything from bloating to racing for the bathroom, many of the same symptoms that Celiac Disease can have.
I went to my GP, who decided that I should eliminate dairy to see what would happen and in the meanwhile, they drew blood to test for Celiac Disease. Eliminating dairy helped a lot but I still had a lot of the same symptoms continuing despite removing all dairy from my diet. My GP told me that my bloodwork for Celiac came back negative, but that I should remove gluten from my diet as well to see if things improved. Oh, they improved alright. I didn’t realize how crappy I had been feeling until I felt better! I was working out a lot so I met with a dietician who sat down with me and went over symptoms and what I should and shouldn’t eat.
I didn’t just have gastrointestinal symptoms, but my skin issues were also a real pain in the ass. Eczema, dry-skin, rashes and hives that I always chalked up to “fragrances” – even including rashes that I kept getting on my forearms with increasing frequency for the last half-dozen years (which was most likely Dermatitis Herpetiformis – aka “gluten rash” or “celiac disease rash”), even having the skin on my hands split/crack and bleed from late fall to spring for the last half-dozen years.
Symptoms I’d been content to think of as allergies to “fragrances” or “just eczema” were now cast in a different light. And that brings me to present. I have what my dietician calls a “99% Celiac Disease diagnosis”. My bloodwork came back negative but so many of my other symptoms point to Celiac and I’ve removed gluten from my diet, which appears to be clearing many of these problems up, that she’s happy to stamp “Celiac” on me. Is it truly Celiac or just Intolerance? I’ll probably never know; I only know that removing gluten (and dairy) from my diet has alleviated many of the problems I’ve been dealing with for years. The scale has also resumed moving downward.
Food Intolerance hadn’t been a foreign idea in my home prior to all of this. My sister couldn’t eat Whitney Crab Apples without breaking out in hives from head to toe. I couldn’t eat scallops, bay or sea, without my body “refunding” them within an hour. My husband had trouble with mushrooms. Over the last two years, we’ve discovered that the intolerances in our household include:
- duck eggs
- mussels (jury is still out)
- calamari/octopus/cuttlefish (jury is still out)
For my Husband:
- duck eggs
Thankfully I don’t appear to have such strong reactions to anything that I need to walk around with my own cooking utensils, just not eating the things I react to appears to suffice. I can deal with the occasional upset stomach. (Yes, I know… more militant sufferers would have me shot for blasphemy… but hey – I want to live life to the fullest.) At least I have that going for me.
I’ll try and keep all of my food allergy posts listed here for your convenience!
08/16/2012 Dear Stomach, we need to talk.
08/17/2012 In your FACE!… Oh. In MY face… oh… I see.
08/27/2012 A curious effect of going gluten free
12/10/2012 Clam Chowder – 1, Me – 0