I’ve been trying to write this post for a week. I keep thinking, “I need more information, first.” Well, I’m never going to have all of the information. Here’s my starting point:
[[WARNING: This post is going to be LONG. And personal. Proceed with caution.]]
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a little bit crazy. We’re all a little crazy. I know that. But I’ve always been kind of crazy. A lot of people have called it a lot of names over the years. In high school, I had boys tell me I was “psycho.” Friends try to make me feel better by telling me “it’s all that creativity!!” Doctors have called it anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. “Intense” is a real common descriptor for my personality. Whatever you call it, it all feels the same to me: it’s like electricity in my veins. It’s an energy I don’t know how to control. It’s over-flowing emotions and irrational ideas.
I have spent the majority of my life attempting to manage… this. Whatever the hell “this” is. But now… now my boy is a little crazy, too. My mom tells me that he is “exactly like you were at this age.” I love that she can see me in him, but then I immediately fast forward twenty-something years and think, “HOLY FRIJOLES! I don’t want THIS for HIM!!”
And then, out of nowhere, there seemed to be some light in the tunnel.
I don’t dare jinx it and say “light at THE END of the tunnel,” because, quite frankly, I have no idea how long this tunnel is. For me, this tunnel has been about twenty-years-long. But as I was saying:
My email dink-dinked my phone at lunch last Thursday. It was my mom. The subject of the email was the title of an article she wanted me to read: The Gluten Made Her Do It: How Going Gluten Free Saved my Daughter’s Mental Health. WTF? Really? “I’ll read this later,” I thought. But then I got anxious about it. Kind of butterflies-in-my-tummy about it. I HAVE TO READ THAT ARTICLE!! So I came straight home after lunch and rushed my Little Bubbie off to nap-land and opened up my laptop. And I was fascinated. Completely intrigued. Was this the answer all along?
For those that don’t want to read the article referenced above, that’s okie-dokie. It’s long. I get it. Let me summarize it for you: This lady’s little girl was… intense. She had huge tantrums (not just two-year-old-tantrums), she didn’t want to be hugged or snuggled, she got completely out of control for no reason. She was just like my little babe, and exactly like I was at their age. So what did she do for her sweet-little-girl-turned-monster? She removed gluten from her diet.
I immediately started thinking about all that I knew about gluten-intolerance. My grandmother had a false diagnosis for Celiac disease for 8 years. I was all too familiar with a gluten-free lifestyle. But what would make that mom remove gluten from her physically-healthy-but-a-little-crazy baby’s diet? I set off to ask Google. And Facebook. And Pinterest. I asked friends and family and total strangers and search engines: WHY? What’s the link?
Wanna know what I found? I found that it makes total sense. I found that parents of Autism-spectrum children often put their kiddos on a Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF) diet. I found that there’s something called Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) and these folks also benefit from a gluten-free diet (among other things). I found that a physical reaction to gluten isn’t the only way that our bodies can be intolerant. I found that it sure as hell couldn’t hurt to give it a shot.
So, all that being said, I have spent the last week reading EVERYTHING I can get my hands on that relates to going G-Free. I’m currently reading Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s The G-Free Diet: A Gluten Free Survival Guide (only $2.99 for the Kindle version!!) and it has been really informative. She addressed gluten intolerance from an almost strictly Celiac perspective, but the information she offers about the diagnosis of such conditions in America is enlightening. These problems are so much more widely diagnosed in other countries, but just as prevalent here as they are in the rest of the world. Why aren’t they being diagnosed in America? Because there’s no money to be made on a gluten intolerance issue. All you do is change your diet. No pills, no supplements, no therapy. The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t make a dime. So doctors don’t diagnose it. It’s more profitable to diagnose something else that DOES require a pill. Even if it’s the wrong diagnosis.
I have been in the process over this past week, also, of overhauling my house, namely my kitchen, to prepare for a g-free transition. I’ve been continuing to feed my family glutens and observing behaviors even more carefully. Sunday is the transition day, though. We will make the full switch this Sunday and I will continue to update you all on our progress.
The purpose of this [incredibly long] post is dual-sided. One: I want to inform those around us of what’s going on in the simplest manner. I’ve talked to a lot of friends and family about our plans and what this means for us, but I know that there are other people in my life that would benefit from this information or simply might find it interesting. The second purpose is this: if you have found yourself in my shoes, would you mind offering up any advice you think might be useful to me in this transition. As the mom, I’m responsible for all the things my family eats… and I’m also responsible for making them taste delicious. My boy is terribly picky, so I’m nervous. But I know a lot of people have gone before me on this, so I’m hoping for some good insight. I’ll keep up my search and let you know if I find anything super interesting, too, m’kay?
NOW, ALL OF THIS BEING SAID, I MUST OFFER THIS DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. The information presented in this post is merely a discussion of the things I have found to be true for other people, like me, looking for an answer to an invisible illness. Take what you’d like from it, but you should obviously talk to your doctor before making a dietary change this drastic.