January 1st I decided to do a 21 day cleanse. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s the Quantum Wellness cleanse, made popular by Oprah. I didn’t hear about it from her. I heard about it through a friend who had a sister that did it. I’d had one or two or, okay, about a hundred, too many cookies during the holidays, and I thought a cleanse sounded dandy. I’d also been having some increasingly annoying digestive issues and I figured if this helped those, all the better.
So, I ended December with a flurry of eating “one last bite” of this or that, and started the year with excited and motivated to eat clean – no gluten, no animal products, no refined sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol. I was already mostly vegetarian, and I’ve been lactose intolerant for years. So, it wasn’t that radical of a change. Mostly, we were talking about giving gluten the big heave-ho.
Never having done that before, I started poking around the internet for recipes and advice, and I stumbled on a great forum for celiacs. I introduced myself and asked a couple of questions and I was kind of taken aback when everyone suggested I cease and desist with the cleanse and get myself to the doctor for celiac testing. P’shaw, I thought. I’m not thinking I have a problem with gluten. I’m just doing this little cleanse thing.
Well a couple of weeks passed and I started feeling good. No, really good. Better than I’d felt in, well, maybe ever. And, I’m no slouch, here either folks. I’ve been competing in triathlons for 5 years now. I’m active, I’m reasonably healthy. I thought I felt pretty good before. We reached the end of the 21 days, but I didn’t want to quit. So, I kept going.
In February, I turned 39. The day after my birthday, when it had been just about 2 months since I’d started the cleanse, I figured maybe it was about time to see if I could add stuff back in. What’d I start with? Freshly baked home-made bread slathered with roasted garlic mashed up with olive oil and salt. Oh yah, baby. That was delicious. For about 5 minutes. That’s about how long it took before my nose started to drip snot and my sinuses closed up and my head started to ache. The stomach burning came a little later. Houston, we have a problem.
The next morning, I contacted my doctor, who politely informed me that if I wanted to get tested for celiac, I should spend the next 2 weeks making myself sick. Apparently, you can’t test for antibodies unless your system is all in an uproar.
Now I’m 6 days into 14 days of eating gluten. My husband looked at me the other day and said, “you look like hell.” Why thanks, hon. I feel like hell, too.
The lesson? I should have listened to those nice folks in the celiac forum. If you have even the faintest notion that you might have an issue with our not so good friend, gluten, get tested first, ‘kay? Thanks.