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How Come Gluten Didnt Bother Me In Italy


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#1 Leeloff

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:59 AM

I recently traveled to Italy, and although I've read they have many many gluten free options, I decided that I was going to eat whatever I wanted, even if it had gluten. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he said it actually may not bother me since the wheat outside of the US is typically less genetically modified and more "natural".

So after 2 weeks in Italy eating pasta daily, pizza, and all kinds of baked goods, I felt great. No headaches, upset stomach or any symptoms of gluten digestion.

Has anyone else had a similar experience outside of the US? If thats the case, could I buy imported flours and pasta made in Italy that arent "gluten free" and be okay eating them at home?
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#2 Gemini

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:21 AM

I recently traveled to Italy, and although I've read they have many many gluten free options, I decided that I was going to eat whatever I wanted, even if it had gluten. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he said it actually may not bother me since the wheat outside of the US is typically less genetically modified and more "natural".

So after 2 weeks in Italy eating pasta daily, pizza, and all kinds of baked goods, I felt great. No headaches, upset stomach or any symptoms of gluten digestion.

Has anyone else had a similar experience outside of the US? If thats the case, could I buy imported flours and pasta made in Italy that arent "gluten free" and be okay eating them at home?


Oh, Lordy...where to begin? :blink:

The first thing you need to do is get a new doctor because what he told you is only partially true. The wheat in Europe may not have as high a gluten content as wheat made in America has BUT gluten is gluten and ingestion of any is forbidden to a Celiac or gluten sensitive person. I have no idea why you did not react, unless you were indeed eating gluten free and it was so good, you didn't notice. I buy gluten-free pasta from an Italian importer in NY and honestly, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Why would you decide to throw your health to the wind and eat gluten just because you were traveling? Are you a diagnosed celiac? I'm not going to lecture you because you're a grown-up and get to make those decisions yourself but you are risking
problems if you continue to do this. I cannot answer your question because I never cheat so have no idea why you did not get sick as you expected to. But get a different doctor because natural food can contain gluten and will affect your immune system if you cheat. Just because wheat is GMO and a better version does not mean the gluten content is safe!
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#3 Jestgar

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:21 AM

I had a similar experience while traveling in Eastern Europe. I accidentally ate gluten three times while traveling and never had a reaction.

I assumed that my reaction to wheat is more than just gluten, and the protein makeup of wheat grown in Europe was sufficiently different that I didn't react to it.

The problem with buying imported flours is that you might possibly develop reactions to those flours as well. Do you really want to risk that? Or would you rather know that the next time you travel you can let down your guard a bit when eating? I'd avoid the daily dose next time (try some risotto - it's awesome), but if you're careful you might be able to give yourself low-stress vacations for years to come.
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#4 Leeloff

 
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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:08 AM

I had a similar experience while traveling in Eastern Europe. I accidentally ate gluten three times while traveling and never had a reaction.

I assumed that my reaction to wheat is more than just gluten, and the protein makeup of wheat grown in Europe was sufficiently different that I didn't react to it.

The problem with buying imported flours is that you might possibly develop reactions to those flours as well. Do you really want to risk that? Or would you rather know that the next time you travel you can let down your guard a bit when eating? I'd avoid the daily dose next time (try some risotto - it's awesome), but if you're careful you might be able to give yourself low-stress vacations for years to come.


Thanks for the replies. I'm newly diagnosed, just about 3 months ago. After years of sleep maintenance issues (I can fall asleep, but wake every 2-3 hours. I don't get much REM sleep, no dreaming, very restless) I decided to try accupuncture as sleep studies, melatonin, valarium, ambien and lifestyle changes have not worked. The accupuncturist gave me a cross sensativity test and I came back with gluten sensitivity.

I've kept on a strict gluten free diet for 2.5 months after the diagnosis. I saw slight improvement in my energy levels, less digestion issues and gas, but no real impact on my sleep issues. I made the decision that while in Italy I'd eat whatever I wanted as I couldnt imagine the impact of 2 weeks of gluten (after eating it for the past 30 years) would really cause any long term impact.

Now that I'm back in the US, I'm back to my gluten free diet. I accidentially had some cross contamination yesterday and had a horrible headache. With my experiences in Italy, eating everything and having no symptoms, I wondered if Italian products made of Italian wheat could be part of a gluten-free diet.

Again, I'm 3 months in and despite the 50 hours of reading I've done on the topic, I still have a ton to learn.

Again, thanks for the help.
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#5 cap6

 
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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:58 AM

Wheat is wheat is wheat. period. And even if you don't suffer symptoms of gluten your gut is suffering. Would you peel a scab off of a sore? Eating gluten is like peeling the scab off of your healing gut
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#6 kittty

 
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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:28 AM

The accupuncturist gave me a cross sensativity test and I came back with gluten sensitivity.


Is this the same doctor who told you that you can eat European wheat? Did you get an official diagnosis from an MD, or just this test from an acupuncturist? An acupuncturist wouldn't be able to diagnose celiac, so it could be that you're reacting to something entirely different, such as an environmental factor which would have been eliminated during your trip to Italy. For example, perhaps the sleep issues are stress related, and the stress went away on vacation.

I urge you to get an official diagnosis, just in case your symptoms stem from something else.
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#7 T.H.

 
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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:15 AM

One possibility might be that your reaction that you consider a gluten reaction might actually be a combination of things you react to when they are together, or the gluten reaction is worse when you react to something else at the same time, or sometimes not even a gluten reaction at all.

Sulfite allergy is one thing you can check that actually sounds entirely possible, based on your experience. (http://holdthesulfites.com/ )

1. Sulfites are much more prevalent in foods in the USA than in Europe, so you'd run into them less over there. I know a lot of sulfite sensitive folks in Europe now and they have SO many fewer reactions than folks here in the States.

2. Sulfites very commonly show up in the same places as gluten, at least here in the USA. They can be used to bleach certain ingredients used in glutenous products, for example. For myself, it took me a while to separate sulfite reactions from gluten ones, because so often, the ingredient that caused me to react had BOTH sulfites and gluten. The sulfites, however, often wouldn't be listed on the label because they were part of the 'processing.' :-(

3. Massive headaches are a common symptom of sulfite allergies. I know for myself, and some others, sleep issues are part of my reaction, too.


If sulfites WERE an issue, wine would be one thing that makes you very sick feeling, as this has a high level of sulfites.



There are many other differences between the food supply in the USA and Europe's. From what I've read, they're using fewer pesticides, fewer GMO's, fewer of the nastier pesticide chemicals, and even sometimes different processing techniques that can result in different end-product components. One thing the latter applies to is dairy pasteurization, I understand. Two different ways to do it, and two different end products. Some people react to the end products in American processing, but not to those in European processing. Weird, huh?


Re: the gluten in Europe being different. Not different enough, I'm afraid. Celiac Disease is as prevalent in Europe as it is here and they have to avoid wheat just like we do here, even in Italy. I have Celiac relatives in Europe and they have to avoid gluten, too. My American father gets just as sick from contamination there as he does here, even with Italian wheat. No difference in reactions at all.

If you truly did not get sick when eating gluten and wheat over there, but do you do here, you might want to consider whether you received an accurate diagnosis. Tests aren't perfect, after all. It could be an ingredient or additive that is commonly found WITH gluten/wheat that is a problem for you, instead. Although that's just speculation, of course. :-)
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T.H.

Gluten free since August 10, 2009.
21 years with undiagnosed Celiac Disease

23 years with undiagnosed sulfite sensitivity

25 years with undiagnosed mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) 

 

Daughter: celiac and MCAD positive

Son: gluten intolerant
Father, brother: celiac positive


#8 ButterflyChaser

 
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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

mmm... this is interesting. Echoing what others are saying, if you have celiac, then that was not a safe path. It may also be that you are reachng to other substances, and especially with processed foods is sometimes impossible to pick what was causing the reaction.

That said, it is interesting, and in my experience it may have to do not only with the kind of wheat/spelt/rye, and the possible other substances (Italy has crazy strict laws for food hygiene/ingredients/safety), but also with the frequency of exposure to gluten. Meaning that, probably because of the less pervasive presence of processed foods, you are less likely to find gluten in Italy outside of foods that are clearly wheat/eye/barley/spelt based, ie the sources of hidden gluten were less of a problem. It may as well be that even eating pasta and pizza you were actually less exposed to gluten than you were BEFORE the gluten-free diet.

It is curious for me, because in my case something similar happened, ie that I started having grain-related GI problems coming to the US from Italy. At first, when I went back, I, too, could eat those products without problems. But after some time, having returned to the US, and went back again, that changed, and those, too, made me react, even if less violently. This is why I would not experiment again, if I were you, if you know that what you have is celiac.
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#9 NightOwl

 
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Posted 25 November 2012 - 09:40 PM

I know this is already a few months old but because I disagree with most of what was said here I want to post my opinion for the sake of future readers.
First, unless I missed something I didn't see anywhere that the OP said he/she had celiac, all I saw was “gluten sensitivity” which is not the same. In a video I saw a few months ago on Youtube, (and which unfortunately is no longer available) the difference between gluten intolerance, sensitivity and celiac was explained. If I remember correctly an intolerance is more of an allergic reaction and sensitivity is difficulty digesting it which can lead to full-blown celiac in some individuals.
Next, I disagree with the statement “wheat is wheat”, the GMO wheat we eat here in the USA has several extra sets of chromosomes and the gluten in it is not quite the same as natural wheat. Dr. Davis explalins this in his book “Wheat Belly” and in several videos available on Youtube as the reason why so many people are having trouble with wheat and he is of the opinion no one should eat it. Also, “gluten is gluten” is not entirely correct, all grains contain some type of gluten but only some are really bad for celiacs, also, each grain has a different proportion of gluten, and naturally, wheat has the highest percentage of all, whereas oats has the lowest, which probably explains why many people only seem to have a problem with wheat. The video also mentioned that all glutens appear to cause some intestinal inflammation though, but I imagine that is more of a problem on a heavily grain-based diet and is probably the reason why some, like Dr. Mercola, actually recommend a grain-free diet for better overall health.
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#10 Gemini

 
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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

If I remember correctly an intolerance is more of an allergic reaction and sensitivity is difficulty digesting it which can lead to full-blown celiac in some individuals.


Actually, this is incorrect. An intolerance is not an allergy and does not behave like an allergy. Celiac's cannot digest gluten, period. There can be a delayed reaction to ingestion of gluten by a Celiac for up to 2 days before the mayhem sets in. That is more the norm than an immediate reaction. Immediate reactions tend to be allergies and it involves a histamine response. Gluten sensitivity may give someone many of the symptoms that a Celiac suffers but there is supposedly no damage to the small intestine. If you have the right genetic make-up to trigger for full blown Celiac then, yes, gluten sensitivity may lead to that but you would have to be ingesting gluten. There are some individuals who will develop Celiac without the main Celiac genes.

Next, I disagree with the statement “wheat is wheat”, the GMO wheat we eat here in the USA has several extra sets of chromosomes and the gluten in it is not quite the same as natural wheat. Dr. Davis explalins this in his book “Wheat Belly” and in several videos available on Youtube as the reason why so many people are having trouble with wheat and he is of the opinion no one should eat it. Also, “gluten is gluten” is not entirely correct, all grains contain some type of gluten but only some are really bad for celiacs, also, each grain has a different proportion of gluten, and naturally, wheat has the highest percentage of all, whereas oats has the lowest, which probably explains why many people only seem to have a problem with wheat. The video also mentioned that all glutens appear to cause some intestinal inflammation though, but I imagine that is more of a problem on a heavily grain-based diet and is probably the reason why some, like Dr. Mercola, actually recommend a grain-free diet for better overall health.


You are correct that the wheat in Italy is different than the wheat in the US, for the reasons stated BUT if you have Celiac Disease, you cannot eat the wheat in Italy. Any amount of wheat will start the autoimmune reaction. Just because someone does not react the same way as at home doesn't mean much.....many celiacs are asymptomatic but their gut will be damaged from ingestion of any wheat.

My statement of "gluten is gluten" is correct and you are arguing apples and oranges. Any Celiac literature clearly states that it's wheat, barley, rye and, for some, oats, that cause a problem. We know there is gluten in all grains but it's these 4 that we have to be concerned about and none of the others, unless a person has additional intolerances. The idea that all grains cause intestinal inflammation is hogwash. If that were true, no one would ever heal. There are those who do respond better to a no grain diet but that is not for everyone. People have to figure out what works for them but all grains are not evil!
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#11 1desperateladysaved

 
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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:19 PM

Years ago I heard that spelt and Kamut were less modern than other wheat varieties. I began to eat them instead. I DID NOT KNOW I HAD CELIAC. I did not get better until I cut those out of my diet. I would say from my experience that it didn't help me.
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#12 cavernio

 
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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

Assuming you do in fact have celiac disease, I have an idea not mentioned yet about this.

Firstly, some celiacs will never really have immediate reactions to gluten; it's entirely possible to have a gut reaction without a headache or nausea etc. Secondly, Fasano's research (you can find his papers online using google scholar, and plenty of news/press articles also) shows that celiacs have leaky guts, and that gluten ingestion, (among other things) is what causes the intestinal barrier to become more permeable.
Theory: many celiac symptoms like headaches aren't from gluten itself, but other things that pass through your intestines and get into your bloodstream. Perhaps being away and eating many varying foods, or perhaps the strict standards of what goes into foods in Italy, or even the difference in materials of things like furniture etc (stuff you ingest in minute quantities) has made your leaky gut not leak the the stuff that usually makes you sick.
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#13 MaxConfusion

 
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Posted 21 December 2012 - 04:34 PM

Hello Leeloff,
I only just saw this thread and I have been discussing a similar thing in a post of my own. I was recently diagnosed but just prior to that (and again recently) I had been having issues in USA but went to Australia and NZ and felt no reaction to any wheat products there. Based on that, I was convinced I couldn't have celiacs. I brought some Aus flour back to try at home, but everyone thinks that would be a bad idea. It's so confusing when some things have no reaction but are presumably doing damage.
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#14 plumbago

 
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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:50 AM

Having a dialogue with someone who has been diagnosed Celiac by an acupuncturist means we are not singing off the same sheet of music. I don't mean to single anyone out, but the common "gold standard" for diagnosing Celiac disease is a biopsy of the small intestine usually conducted by a gastroenterologist. What has preceded this, often, are blood tests, commonly known as the Celiac panel.

Having said that, I don't entirely object to (known) Celiacs "going rogue" with their own experiments. If you read books like The Limits of Medicine, you will see that advances of medicine are often made by taking chances. Although taking chances should probably not be recommended on a mass scale.

Going rogue and doing one's own experiments, though, is not without responsibility. You need to test your hypothesis, and test it openly, accurately and honestly. This would mean, perhaps, in this instance checking your antibodies. I don't think it is necessarily responsible to post what you are doing as you have here and then never report back. On the other hand, no one reading it should take your story as validation that they can do the same.

On another topic, what does the "hot" label on this message board mean? Does anyone know?
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#15 paola019

 
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Posted 18 May 2013 - 03:57 AM

Actually:

"Grains are not the same as they used to be. For 100 of years they would cut the sheaths of grains and stack them in the fields and leave them to gather the next day. The dew would make the grains sprout and unlock the nutrients and deactivate the phytic acid, and enzyme inhibitors. Than the workers would gather the grains and take the seeds off the stalks to be used. Today we have combine machine that take the seeds off instantly never allowing the grains to sprout. Then for years and still today in European countries we always used sourdough starters to rise our breads, which transforms the bread in the same way that sprouting does. It puts lactobacillus into the bread."

You can read her story at http://www.culturedf...-coconut-kefir/

Doctors don't always have the right or complete answer...
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