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."

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Comments 25 comments

Indrhiie 3 years ago

This was absolutely deucliois. This was only my 2nd try at using the bread machine first try did not come out so good. I used agave nectar, 1/3 cup. The bread was sweet and the texture was perfect. I am making it again, this time using molasses, because agave is so expensive. I highly recommend this recipe.

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sycamorepanther 4 years ago from United States

My brother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and my whole family is on his diet. I generally have a tough immune system so I have never had any allergies. But these foods you have mentioned it is generally healthier to stay away from them. Some pro athletes do. Such as the #1 mens tennis player in the world. He switched his diet and did a few other things and he won a couple grand slams.He was said to have the best year in all ofr mens tennis. Until you are diagnosed with a gluten allergy you generally do not realize how many foods have gluten in them. Also if you have a Gluten allergy you can develop cancer in your mid -adult life. When my brother stopped eating gluten he grew 7 inches in about 8 months.

kate 4 years ago

Thanks for the info on Celiac and allergies. My 10yr. just dx with Celiac, I had many allergies up till I was 13yr, just dx with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and my skin feels likes it's crawling and so itchy!! Scratching causes open wounds and well take it from there. Hope to c a GI specialist soon, to help with the IBS, still having tons of probs, ? I could be Celaic also. Only one thing am having problems with - in Canada, we can claim for a tax deduction for Celiac disease and I'm having to write down everything we buy that is GF compared to a non-GF and hopefully get pd. the difference. Does anyone know where I could find a comparison list of food prices?

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bwaltman 4 years ago

This is so much like my experience! And I'm still discovering. Thanks for sharing!

gayan 4 years ago

bade new aitam

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Smireles 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you for commenting. It is interesting to know that technology made it possible to add more gluten to wheat grown today. Thanks for commenting.

TT 5 years ago

I recently went to a celiac gathering. It was led by a couple of local doctors who are very in tune to the issue (many doctors are not). Someone asked the question 'is there really more celiacs now or does it just seem like it'. The answer was interesting. She said that 90% (ish..don't remember exact %) of the population has the propensity to develop this and always has. However, something in our environment is turning it on. They said that latest studies are pointing to the fact that wheat grown now has more gluten in it than 100 yrs ago. It has been gradually modified over the years to make products taste better and more 'workable'. So, we are ingesting more foods that have gluten in them (due to our 'American' diet but also the foods we are eating have more in them than before. This influx is turning on the trigger in more people. i found this very interesting. I come from a family of celiacs and would love to learn how to turn it 'off' or at least not turn it on for future generations.

chamilj profile image

chamilj 5 years ago from Sri Lanka

Important facts. Thanks sharing.

Voted up!

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Smireles 5 years ago from Texas Author

This problem with wheat gluten has been around for a long time. My father was diagnosed with Celiac disease in the 1970s but he had terrible skin problems that caused an unbearable itch on his arms since the early 1960s. He was totally gluten intolerant. His gluten intolerance indirectly caused his death because he became chemically dependent on cortisone which was a new drug at the time and researchers did not know the dangers or how to administer the drug. He died from a heart attack brought on by withdrawal from cortisone. It was a terrible time. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment D.Virtual.Doctor

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D.Virtual.Doctor 5 years ago from Europe

It is baffling to know that almost anything eatable is beginning to develop some kind of fight back to man by creating allergic reactions for us.... Is there an evolution going on? Nice hub, and I am privileged reading it. Cheers!


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Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you, Rookie70. depending on the cereal it is something to be avoided if gluten intolerant. Blessings.

Rookie70 6 years ago

I thought cereal would be something good to add to the list.

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Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Believe me, Butterfly Lady, I have three sons who do not listen to a word I say! hahahahaha! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

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Butterfly Lady 6 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK

My daughter has been suffering with all the gastrointestinal symptoms of this disease. Thanks for all the info. Will bookmark it for her and now she will have more than just me telling her the facts. You know (mom doesn't know anything) lol. Thanks for the hub. God bless.

CB3 6 years ago

Yes ma'am, you are His most beloved child. Thanks for sharing your walk with Him. Love, Clare

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Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you for visiting my hub, Clare. God is helping me and I am doing much better. What a coincidence that we live in the same state! Blessings!

CB3 6 years ago

Your blood is simply dirty, dear. The secondhand building blocks of the meat and dairy you eat that your body didn't use have been thrust into your blood stream. Just clean it up and you will feel better a lot. Just words from my life upbringings of teachings. Did you know that statistics show that children with asthma have overprotective parents? I come here in love and I'm thankful you came to my hub. We live in the same state. How about that? I think you're great. Love, Clare

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Chelsea_Jans 6 years ago from California

Great hub with lots of gf info all in one place, definitely one to bookmark.

Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Good information Smireles. I am passing this one on to a few people because I think it might be in their best interest to follow up with their doctors. Thank you for taking the time to write this one

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Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you. You are right. I, too, am amazed at the difference in my body now that I have changed my eating habits.

Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee

Very informative article, thank you. My wife's coworker was diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago.

Nearly two years ago, my wife was getting sick a lot like sinus infection symptoms and had been to see more than one doctor who just prescribed antibiotics. When she had a headache for nearly a week, I suggested she go get an alergy test. She did, and was tested for Candida which it turns out she is quite allergic to. Well, candida diets are only slightly less restrictive than the gluten-free diet, but it goes in stages. It is possible to eat some restricted foods in moderation a few weeks after one has starved the candida yeast in the body.

It is simply amazing to me that the foods we eat can be the very thing making us sick. Great hub!

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Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Many times children outgrow their allergies. Unfortunately, I didn't.

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Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

This is a very enlightening article. Some alergies seem to appear or disappear at puberty. I had used penicillin all my life until I was 13 then I got big bald hives. This proceeded to my throat swelling almost completely shut. A quick trip to the emergency room and a shot of epinephrine did the trick almost instantaneously.

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Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for your comment. I am going to test for almonds. Never thought that might be part of my allergies.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

This is an excellent article. My brother has celiac disease and I have allergies, along with asthma. It is always good to learn more information about these problems. I am allergic to almonds which I thought of when you had that reaction to the candy bar.

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