****I have no idea why the formatting is such a mess****
In the three years that I’ve been off gluten, one thing that has continuously bothered me is that a lot of people simply don’t believe it. People believe in celiac disease, but other than that, they don’t believe that people can be allergic or intolerant to gluten. They seem to think that I am really only off of gluten to be trendy or lose weight…and even though I do like being trendy and do like maintain a healthy weight, I don’t like it enough to never eat bread or pizza or cake! If I did not truly believe that gluten made me sick, I would not avoid it as carefully as I do.
Every once in a while, I read some article about how gluten insensitivity is not real, and doubt starts to creep into my head. Something usually happens to prove to me that I know my body better than some researcher that’s never met me. Don’t get me wrong, I do tend to believe in doctors, the medical establishment, and good research…but that doesn’t mean that I believe in it more than I believe and how I know my own body and the way he reacts to things. I would not likely refuse medical treatment or attention that my doctor believes is warranted, but I would also not stop doing something for myself, that can do no harm and seems to make me feel better, even if my doctor does not believe it is necessary. My doctor has never really said one way or another about the gluten. I don’t get the sense that she actually believes it makes a difference (although I really have no idea what she thinks is the cause of my dramatic reduction in tonsillitis occurrences! But then again, are usually want to walk in clinics, so maybe she doesn’t realize how bad it really was!).
Anyway, a story! Tuesday I was rushing between appointments and stopped at Tim Hortons hoping they had a soup I could eat for lunch. Being vegetarian and gluten intolerant, there are only a few that fit that criteria! They had cream of mushroom soup on that day, and something in my brain told me that that was one of the ones I could eat, so I got it. A couple hours after eating it, I had a brain click and started thinking that maybe it wasn’t. I checked online, and it’s true… Tim Hortons cream of mushroom soup has gluten! I started hoping to myself that maybe it was just a tiny bit, or maybe I really am not intolerant to gluten anyway! Wednesday, I didn’t feel very well. I had a headache all day, and a mildly sore throat. I checked my throat a few times, there were a couple white spots… but because my throat is so scarred from recurrent tonsillitis, I sometimes get a little bits of food stuck in there. I know, gross! Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…so I took some advil, went on with my day, and before bed I I gargled apple cider vinegar. Wednesday night I slept badly and felt hot and cold all night, I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a fever and I wasn’t getting sick…it’s just getting warmer out, right?
By Thursday morning. There was no question. I felt weak and achy, and while driving into the office I checked out my tonsils in the mirror (The rear-view mirror is the best place to do this, I can get the perfect angle! ) and there were several more white spots than there had been before bed, definitely not food since I’d had nothing to eat in that time, and had also gargled both mouth wash and apple cider vinegar that morning, which would generally lead to there being less food spots not more! I stopped at the walk-in, had it confirmed, and got antibiotics.
Luckily I caught it relatively early and although I’m not feeling awesome I’m also not feeling awful. I did take a little time off yesterday afternoon and I’m working from home today…but I’m not super-duper sick. If I let it go a day or two…I end up off work for a week!
Even though I am certainly not happy to be sick again, I am happy to have the reminder that gluten really is bad for me, and really does make me sick…whether other people believe it or not.
By the way, when I had this conversation with somebody a few months ago, they suggested that maybe going off gluten made my tonsillitis go away because I was eating better in general, and my immune system is stronger… and it wasn’t actually the gluten. I can say this is not the case. In the time I’ve been off Gluten there have been times that I have eaten very very well, and there have been times that I’ve eat them very very badly! Last summer in BlueMountain is an example…it was gluten-free heaven there and I ate horribly that entire week! I gained a few pounds, but did not get tonsillitis! The last few months I’ve been eating extra healthily (Pursley because I gained a little weight but I’m trying to lose, and secondly because I stopped eating fish and I’m trying to make up for it with higher iron and higher protein alternatives), and exercising a lot…doing things that are good for my immune system. I’ve actually even added a (gluten free!) multivitamin! But one serving of soup that has gluten in it, and Bam: fever and pus covered tonsils!