I’ve now been gluten-free (yes, I’ve been strict!) for over a month. It hasn’t been difficult at all and certainly nowhere near as challenging as going low histamine. I’ve substituted Doves gluten-free flour mix for normal flour in recipes and it’s worked really well. You can buy gluten-free pasta and cereal in all supermarkets now, and I’ve been baking my own yeast-free gluten-free bread. Many of the commercial products containing gluten, eg. sauces, biscuits, cakes, I’ve been avoiding in any event as they have ingredients not allowed on the low histamine diet.
Despite my best efforts I’m sad to report I don’t feel any different whatsoever (with the exception of one symptom – see below). This may come as a shock to all those who tell me gluten is ruining my life, but it comes as no shock to me being as though I’ve tried a gluten-free diet twice before and it didn’t help then either.
I’m sleeping appallingly, consequently I’m so exhausted I can barely function. I have hives, I am itching, I am sneezing my head off. I have stomach pain, and back pain, and really bad brain fog. My bowels are unchanged. I have nausea, I have throat weakness and I have had 3 migraines this month (which is more than normal). Honestly guys, I feel just the same.
The exception being that my heartburn is much reduced! However, before we all get too exited I started on Zirtek (H1 anti-histamine) at the same time as I started the gluten-free diet. I’m also doing hiatal hernia massage daily. So out of the three, I’ve no idea which it is that’s helping (yes, I know I should only do one thing at a time, but I needed a good trial of the Zirtek before I go back to see the Consultant next month).
My gluten-free experiment is up at the end of November, so I will switch back to eating gluten. If the reflux gets worse, I know it’s the gluten. If it doesn’t, then gluten isn’t a problem. And before you all say that 6 weeks isn’t long enough to see a change, I’ve done gluten-free before: 6 months the first time and 3 months the second time. I didn’t see any change then either. When I started the low histamine diet, however, I noticed a change within the first week.
My good friend K has had M.E. for over 12 years now. She found out by accident she was Coeliac following a routine blood test about 8 years ago (followed by the usual biopsies), so consequently she has to follow a very strict gluten-free diet. I asked her if she had noticed any improvement in the symptoms of her M.E. and she said no. None whatsoever. I know gluten is an issue for some people, but it’s not at the root of every disease known to man and I wish the gluten zealots would accept this.
For me, the jury is still out as to whether avoiding gluten is helping my reflux, but as for anything else it’s a dud I’m afraid. In fact, I’ve felt absolutely rubbish during November and have had the least energy I’ve had all year 😦 Trust me when I say I was hoping with all my heart that avoiding gluten would make me feel like a new woman, and I’m more bummed than anyone that it hasn’t turned out that way. Onwards and upwards.
What I did discover in my gluten-free quest was a really good pizza base flour mix. It’s made by Isabels and is also yeast-free. You buy it as a packet flour mix ( sorry, it does contain milk powder for those who avoid dairy) and you mix it with egg, oil and water, knead it, roll it thinly, pre-bake it for 10 mins, add your pizza topping, and then bake for another 10 minutes. It makes a thin crust pizza and you get about four 9″ pizzas out of one box (containing 2 packet mixes). I used one box, ate one pizza fresh, rolled out the other 3 and froze them. You can then just bake straight from the freezer. The only mistake I made was rolling out the bases too thinly and next time I’ll do them slightly thicker. For the topping I used my red pepper sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and veg. I’ll put the details up on the recipe page when I have time – it’s available to buy from select ASDA and Booths stores or online at Amazon.