Living Free From Gluten Allergies
Type I Allergies
Discovering that wheat and dairy were making my life miserable was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I enjoy my food and love sandwiches. How could I know that this seemingly innocent pleasure was causing multiple health problems for me? I should have been warned because my father was diagnosed with CELIAC DISEASE before his death. He had all the classic symptoms but we were not told to test the rest of the family.
I suffered from seasonal allergies my entire life. I was born constipated and with a runny nose. I cannot ever remember not having ‘hay fever’ as they called it back in the 1950s and 1960s. During the past twenty years my allergies have consistently worsened until I had regular bouts of coughing, post nasal drip, more coughing, wheezing, and sickness. I have endured triple rounds of antibiotics during certain times of the year. Not one time did I ever attribute the cause of my allergies to the foods I was eating.
There is no doubt that certain allergens released during the fall of the year contributed to my problem, but it is November and I did not cough at all during the month of October. Perhaps I should mention that the previous three years saw me coughing, wheezing, and gasping for air during the same time frame. How could I ever think the cause was my food?
One night my mother came downstairs with some mini bars of Almond Joy. I am also a chocolate lover! I ate one and lost my breath. A light bulb popped on in my head and I suddenly realized that I might be allergic to chocolate or coconut. I coughed and retched for hours like I have done so many times in the past.
This experience set me off on a journey of discovery that brought to light the realization that many of the foods I consume regularly were the cause of the terrible “allergy” problems I have been medicating for years.
A quick search of the internet informed me that there are several types of allergies or hyper-sensitivities. Type I hyper-sensitivities affect mainly the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and the skin.
Type I allergic reaction on the skin may cause hives, dermatitis, and itching. This type of allergy may chronically cause atopic dermatitis and eczema. You may find that in the respiratory tract, the immediate allergic reaction may cause cough, nasal congestion, sneezing, and throat tightness. It may also cause chronic asthma. Red, itchy eyes is another symptom of Type I allergies. It is possible for a type I allergy to cause tingling in the mouth, itching, a metallic taste, and swelling f the tongue and throat. These are gastrointestinal reactions to type I allergies. Abdominal pain, muscle spasms, vomiting and diarrhea, may all lead to a variety of chronic gastrointestinal problems if not treated properly.
Any or all of these reactions have the potential to be life threatening. They may cause anaphylaxis which is a multi-organ reaction that can start with agitation; a feeling of imminent doom, pale skin as a result of low blood pressure, and/or loss of consciousness. In the event of extreme anaphylaxis shock the administration of epinephrine must occur immediately or death can occur. Any of these reactions may occur lightly or greatly severe. One time you might experience hives, the next time you might experience anaphylaxis.
Just about anything can cause a type I allergy such as foods, plants (pollens, weeds, grasses, etc), insect venoms, animal dander (such as cat and dog), dust mites, mold spores, occupational substances (latex), and drugs (such as penicillin). There can also be cross-reactions, where someone allergic to ragweed, for instance, may also react to melons (watermelon or cantaloupe) and banana. The most common food-related causes of severe anaphylactic reactions are peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts), and shellfish.
While I am allergic to everything on this list, the complications of wheat gluten, dairy and certain forms of chocolate caused me to literally be sick all the time without a break.
There are many symptoms associated with WHEAT ALLERGIES. The most common symptoms are asthma, eczema (or atopic dermatitis), and, rarely, anaphylaxis. Wheat allergies also may cause exercise-dependent anaphylaxis, in which the combination of an allergen and physical exertion triggers anaphylactic shock. This is a very serious condition and a person with this condition should never exercise alone. A person able to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis shock should partner with the allergic person.
Once you learn that you are sensitive to wheat, dairy, or chocolate, you will need to change your diet. Common foods you will need to avoid will be bread, pasta, and most batter fried foods. An allergy to wheat is one of the eight most common food allergies. The other common food allergies are dairy, soy, shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. Many people allergic to wheat may suffer from a cross reaction to barley, although most other grains are permissible. People have different levels of sensitivity so you may have a slight sensitivity to wheat and may not need to live totally GLUTEN FREE. You should get tested by your physician.
Wheat Allergies and Labeling Laws:
Since wheat is one of the most common food allergens in the United States, the FDA mandates that food manufacturers label the presence of wheat clearly on all food labels. You will find either the word "wheat" in the ingredient list, or after the word "Contains" in the list.
The United States does not have a legal definition for the term "gluten-free", but most of the foods on the market so labeled are indeed wheat-free. European products labeled gluten-free follow the Codex Alimentarius, and may find tiny amounts of wheat unless labeled "gluten-free, wheat-free" or "naturally gluten-free."
- Coughing, Post Nasal Drip, Gluten Intolerance, and Other Allergies
What's wrong with me? My nose runs. Drainage slides down the back of my throat. I cough till my belly feels like it is turning inside out. I heave and heave and nothing comes up! What is wrong with me? If you have endured cyclical rounds of antibiotic
- American Dietetic Association Revises Its Gluten-Free Guidelines - Distilled Vinegar is Safe for a G
American Dietetic Association Revises Its Gluten-Free Guidelines - Distilled Vinegar is Safe for a Gluten-Free Diet
- Wheat Allergy - Profile of Wheat Allergy
All the basics of wheat allergies -- wheat allergy symptoms, where to find wheat-free products, and whether "wheat alternative" grains are safe for wheat-free diets.
- Common Food Allergies - Most Common Food Allergies
Find out which are the most common food allergies in the United States.
- Gluten Free Food List
Often I'm asked Is there a gluten free food list I can use? And I always answer, Trust no-one but yourself when it comes to your health!
Overview of allergies, what they are and some of the common tests to diagnose them
- Celiac Sprue
Home Page for Celiac Sprue Association
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