Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gluten Free does not always mean Hakuna Matata

So I don't make a point to talk about it all that much, but I have Coeliac disease.  Which means I have to be careful about what I eat and I don't eat anything with gluten of any kind in it.  I also don't eat oats because they contain a similar protein (avenin) that could trigger a response and it's just not worth the risk to me.  One thing which I haven't touched since being diagnosed that I used to enjoy were wheat grass shots and greens products.  I used to use Lightforce greens a lot when I was grappling at a high level and found it to really help with my cardio.  Wheat grass is supposed to be harvested prior to the formation of gluten proteins but I've never seen a product that guaranteed this until now.
Gluten Free perhaps but still not safe for me

So the wife discovered a product called Amazing Grass that apparently tests their greens products for gluten and assures they are all gluten free.  So she received her first order around 7/8 and I tried some of the products around that time.  This is also around the time I started having problems again.  I don't know why I didn't put this together until 2 days ago.  I guess because it's such a small thing in the scheme of a day to shotgun 5 grams of powder, that I didn't pay that much attention to when I was doing it and I didn't do it everyday.  I started having the same symptoms I had when I was originally diagnosed.  Abdominal pain, breaking out in a sweat at random, feeling like crap etc.  At first, after following Der Scott's lead and consulting Dr. Google I thought I might be having Gallbladder attacks or I had begun menopause (I guess this is why Dr. Google isn't a real doctor).  Then it seemed like I was having problems all the time and I was feeling more and more rundown each day.  So it's been 48 hours since I last took Amazing Grass and I'm feeling much better.  I did some searching on the Celiac forums and some Coeliacs blogs to find that I'm not the only person with Coeliacs who had a bad reaction to this product.  I guess it's common for us to have a wheat/barley allergy or something.  Either way I won't be trying any wheat/barley grass related products again.  In retrospect I can't believe how haphazard I was in my use of this product.  Normally I over scrutinize everything I put into my body to avoid the chance of getting sick, but I think the large "GLUTEN FREE" markings on these products waylaid my fears.  It seems to take awhile for me to get all the "evil" out of my system, so hopefully I'll be feeling back to normal in a week, but after 48 hours I'm already feeling a lot better.


  1. Coeliacs disease, eh? Freak. Just kidding!
    I can totally see why a statement like "Gluten Free" would lead you to believe that it is safe for your Coeliac-affected body to process the substance. What a disappointment for you. But, then, at least it wasn't like you'd found a delicious loaf of bread that claimed to be gluten free only to find that it wasn't. What a let down that would be! Glad you're feeling better.

  2. That gluten is evil stuff. Although not celiac, I am definitely gluten intolerant. Bread just *kills* me, and I *love* bread (god, I miss pizza!). So, although not as bad as you, I will certainly raise my glass in commiseration. Thank god I can still drink beer!

    Oh, and never trust Doctor Google. He lies!!!

  3. Oh, I'm not gluten intolerant, celiac, or anything of the sort. I was merely speaking hypothetically about the gluten free bread to put your disappointment into perspective, saying it could have been worse, etc.

    Actually, I do avoid dairy products. So, I can relate to your sense of pizza deprivation. ;-)

  4. .:Ash:.
    Oddly enough there was a baker in Durham who got 11yrs for selling bogus gluten free bread! I bet it was delicious though! I used to avoid dairy, but ice cream is about the only dessert that is naturally gluten free.

    Der Scott
    That's great that beer doesn't bother you. Brixx has good gluten free crust, followed by Mellow Mushroom. Zpizza has it as well, but I've only had theirs once. CPK just added a gluten free crust in the past month. I tried it once and it only made me miss regular CPK pizza that much more :-(

  5. I've never tried any of the gluten free pizzas. I've just come to the point where I avoid bread/wheat altogether (not worth the discomfort). I'll step out and try beer though. ;-) I seem to do fine with most high hop ales, pale ales, and IPAs. Unfortunately, one of my old favorites Blue Moon, is now a no go, as are all wheat beers. Fortunately, the barley protein doesn't seem to affect me like the wheat protein, although I'm not sure what the exact difference might be. God help me if I become intolerant to barley... :-(