Who Me? Gluten-Free?

IMG_4970   I remember my first experience with numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, along with other weird symptoms – a rash around my elbows (yes, just the elbows), stomach pain and breathing problems. After weeks of having symptoms, I began to wonder what was really going on. I saw my doctor, who suggested vitamin supplements and said we’d observe how that went. Kinda sorta saw a minor improvement, which made some sense, but ultimately, I still had frequent symptoms. Check out this article on neurological symptoms and vitamin deficiency to find out more about that:


So anyway, she then referred me to a neurologist who cleared me of all things terrifying. I was very grateful but I still didn’t have answers. With time, I began to learn the connection between gluten sensitivity and its symptoms. I started experimenting. I went off of gluten. Felt amazing. Then, drowning in the sea of denial and bread withdrawal, I told myself my health improvement had nothing to do with gluten and I’d be fine if I ate it. Terrible idea. So I went back off. And on, and off. I did the tango with gluten a few more times before I regretfully came to terms with it. So eventually and very reluctantly – I decided to give up gluten. Bread versus being symptom-free of weird, scary sensations, I decided giving up bread, and pizza, and ugh, cookies was definitely worth it. Painful, but worth it.

I also later realized that although I had to make some food and financial sacrifices, there are a lot of gluten-free options now available. The Autism & ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide to Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) and Other Interventions by Barrie Silberberg is an excellent resource for people looking to switch to gluten-free eating (and casein-free, if you prefer). Despite the title, it is not only for those suffering with autism or ADHD. It’s a great resource for multiple reasons, really, because she also details how gluten and casein affect developmental and overall general health.

Preservatives and Breathing Difficulties

inhalerI was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 15. I struggled to get a handle on it for a long time, because even though I’ve tried to prevent triggers like kitty dander and cold weather, I still had a sudden onset of symptoms from time to time. Medication has been useful when necessary and I work closely with my doctor to manage an asthma action plan. I’ve used long-acting inhalers and rescue inhalers since being diagnosed. However, I’ve also continued to search for preventative methods that might help me avoid future attacks. I was frustrated with what felt like random symptoms. I came to realize that outside of the usual triggers, I also developed certain food allergies, like raw onions. Yet, the biggest culprits that pervaded my everyday life were the different preservatives I was eating. I honestly didn’t think much about the negative effects of preservatives for a long time because I didn’t see a direct problem with them. I ate what tasted good. However, as I realized that certain preservatives were preventing me from breathing, I knew it was time to change my diet.  If you have similar symptoms, first speak with your doctor about the possibility that your asthma is being triggered by preservatives. Then, start reading labels compulsively. Some preservatives thought to trigger asthma symptoms are sulfites, tartrazine (yellow dye), benzoates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and salicylates. Watch out for these nasties. Happy breathing.

Why Preservatives are Harmful

Researchers have found multiple reasons why preservatives are harmful to us. They are not natural and therefore, interact negatively with our bodies. Some preservatives can potentially cause breathing difficulties, negative behavioral changes such as hyperactivity, heart damage and cancer. Check out this article by livestrong.com.