Gluten is one of those foods which we feel very attached to. I know because I had an incredibly tight bond with my gluten!
It was in everything I loved to eat including muffins, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. When life was rough or mean to me in any way, I could reach for any of those and I would instantly feel better. It had a beautiful texture, taste and of course it made my tummy feel nice and full for a period of time. (It also gave me a hidden sugar rush, which of course I knew little about at the time!)
So, when I then suggest that gluten might be a big culprit with our Endometriosis pain, many women look at me strangely and sometimes even aggressively, like I am shunning their husband or best friend. I get it, those gluten products are your best friend right now!
What if, however, your best friend (the gluten one) was actually secretly causing you pain, inflammation and making you unable to absorb minerals and nutrients your body needs? It could be… here is an article I wrote which gives you 5 reasons to cut out gluten.
How do you know if you need to check for gluten intolerance?
Some of the most common symptoms of having a gluten intolerance include:
- Feeling tired
- Trouble with digestion (frequent constipation is a common one)
- Aching body and pains in joints
- Foggy brain (unclear thinking)
- Breathing difficulties (in some cases)
Ummm, these sound familiar, right? Most of these are common symptoms we experience with Endometriosis, so how do we tell the difference?
Mel’s 3-step gluten intolerance test
1. Eliminate ALL gluten from your life for a period of time
The trick with this is to make sure you completely eliminate every inch of gluten from your life! I mean all of it! You are having a break-up with gluten and you want to get that stuff out of your body COMPLETELY! Places to watch out for: sweets like gum candies (made with wheat), spices, sauces and soups (used to thicken) and of course the usual suspects: cookies, cakes and pies. Always check if you aren’t sure when going out to eat. Things that are crumbed are done in flour, some salads have croutons in them and most desserts will have gluten in them. Luckily, most restaurants list their gluten free options now!
I know it is easy to think that a little doesn’t matter but for the test to truly work, you need to give your digestive system and your immune system that break.
For how long?
My personal recommendation is 4 weeks but for some of us that might be too challenging at first, so try 2 weeks.
Replace your meals with salads, potatoes and preferably home-made soups and meals. You want to steer away from those gluten free products where you can but if you absolutely can’t resist then they are there for you! Choose the ones with the least amount of ingredients and definitely avoid anything with high sugar or vegetable oil in them.
2. Do the Test!
After you have completely eliminated gluten for a period of 2 weeks or ideally 4, you are now ready to do the test.
All you need to do is sit down and eat a large portion of gluten. Pick something you have been craving—go on! Maybe a big loaf of warm bread? Perhaps a bowl of pasta?
It is now your chance to totally eat that stuff to your heart’s content!
3. Measure the results
After you have eaten your bread, pasta or whatever gluten product you have chosen, it is time to measure the results of eating it. This is your opportunity to really listen to your body and know how it has been feeling for years!
Signs to look out for: these normally happen within 2 hours of eating gluten but in some cases can be up to a day later:
- Heart rate increases after eating that particular food
- Bloating (constant feeling of needing to go to the toilet)
- Just feel really tired
- Constipation and in some cases soft stools
- Abdominal aches and pains
There are many tests for gluten intolerance but they work on recognizing immune markers. This means, they will only show up if you are highly sensitive to gluten, like if you have celiacs disease. Many women with Endometriosis take these tests and have no indication that they should be avoiding gluten.
After doing my easy mini test however, they recognize that their bodies are clearly struggling with gluten.
You are serving your body better by listening to it. A study was conducted with women with Endometriosis and it revealed 75% of the patients who cut out gluten had a reduction in pain and associated symptoms with Endometriosis. You can view that study here.
Could you be one of the women with Endometriosis that could benefit from cutting out gluten? Have you cut it out and had good experiences? Feel free to share your thoughts and ask any questions…