Contrary to the opinion of William Davis’ “Wheat Belly” book not everyone will experience the glorious stomach settling benefits when they remove gluten from their diet. I, unfortunately, am living proof of this. My boyfriend’s doctor suggested he eliminate gluten and dairy from his diet for the anti-inflammatory and immune strengthening effects, so to be supportive (and to make things easier at home, meal prep wise) I opted to go gluten and dairy free also. The first few months were fine, my body didn’t seem to even register that a change had been made. I didn’t really eat a lot of bread or cereals so I didn’t miss them and my body didn’t miss them either. But then about 3 or 4 months in I started feeling crampy and bloated by the evening. Some nights were quite painful, actually.
Naturally, I started researching to find out if this was common and what to do about it.
All of my research gave me more unknowns than solid answers. Most of the reccomendations were to try to isolate whether or not it was another sensitivity popping up because ingredients like soy, yeast, rice, lactose (not an option for me), sugar, etc might be more prominent now. Being vegan I have an already ‘above normal’ ratio of soy and yeast products and having never reacted to them before I didn’t think that was the problem. I try to not have too much processed sugar in my diet, and try to get all of my sugars from natural sources such as fruit. Don’t get me wrong, though, the occasional bag of skittles or fuzzy peaches keeps me sane. At any rate, nothing seemed to be jumping out at me as the ‘ah-ha’ answer for my painful problem.
My next step was to look for treatments, since the source of the problem eluded me. I started with a peppermint tincture and drinking regular peppermint tea. It helped, to some degree, but I was still feeling grossly uncomfortable. When I was at the end of my rope I turned to probiotics. It sounded like such a gimicky thing to me, especially with the Danone class action suit being in the news. However, after just a few days of taking the probiotic in the morning with my daily vitamin I was converted. All of my undesireable side effects of going gluten free vanished. I’ve said before that I’m not a supplement pusher, but I think the more I’ve been researching into them, and into the rapid decrease in nurients available in our fresh foods, I might be singing a different tune before long.
Not all probiotics are created equal, but at the same time you don’t have to go out and buy the most expensive one. The first one I tried was the readily available Jamieson’s brand because it was cheap and, to be frank, I really didn’t expect probiotics to make a difference. Now that I know it works like a charm I’ll be doing more research into which probiotic I’ll be using in the future, but for now if it ain’t broke I’m not going to try and fix it.