Stumbling into the Gluten Free Diet

Sometimes others guide you down a path you yourself never would have considered. Awareness of this new trendy diet (back in 2013) started trickling in from various sources. There was a young nephew with autism. There was Lady GaGa. Then there was Novak Djokovic, who always seemed to have all the pieces necessary to become one of the greats, yet seemed slow to move past that final elusive threshold.

Then there was my partner. It was on one of our routine daily walks one bright early summer day that he jumped up onto the horizontal bars along the trail for some pull ups. When he jumped back down we were surprised to find redness and swelling expanding rapidly from his palms toward his elbows. Earlier in the year he had a bad case of hives all over his body that didn’t go away for a few weeks even with antihistamines and later prednisone. And because of this he had a standing referral to an allergist, which we finally decided to act upon.

We already knew he was allergic to cats, peach fuzz, and insect bites. Upon skin prick testing the whole panel of environmental allergens, we found him positive to nearly everything except an odd one or two. And his redness and swelling from dust mites was such that even the technician was surprised. Putting aside the question of how he survived upon this earth for so long, the allergist diagnosed dermatographism for the pull up bar incident and gave handouts on some guidelines for household products, eating, and cleanliness regarding dust mite allergy. He also explained food allergy tests were not necessary as it is impossible to not know one has it. When asked about the gluten free diet he casually suggested a two week trial then eating it again. Then we would probably be able to feel whether it had anything to do with anything.

By the time my partner came back with all this information I was concerned about his health. It was not just his allergies. He had gastrointestinal issues as well and claimed he never quite felt comfortable his whole life. Because of this I thought there was a reasonable chance this trendy diet might help even though it seemed a hassle to have to cook nearly everything at home after a crash course on what exactly is gluten free. It did not cross my mind that it would make any difference in myself. I only joined in the trial to show support. Besides, it was simpler to choose and cook one gluten free version rather than try to have both options on the table.

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