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giggleburger

Gluten Elimination Plus Discovering Other Intolerances

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Okay, first, this is my first post here and it is going to be LONG. So if you read all of it, thank you!

Halfway though highschool I started coughing when I would eat food, usually bread/wheat related items. This didn't happen when I was younger ( but on a side note, I've always had a slow digestive system, often getting constipated, and I got acne at a very young age and still have it to this day), but the coughing slowly started, so it took a while to realize that this was more than just allergies or things like that causing it.

I stopped eating things with gluten and tried gluten free items. However, my parents and I hadn't known much about this, only that if I eliminated bread I coughed less. The gluten free things sometimes still made me cough. However, not knowing much about this we didn't actually cut out EVERYTHING containing any gluten. We figured it wasn't necessarily gluten, and I just ate less bread.

I'm now part way through college and don't just cough with wheat related items. I don't know if this might be because I have so much gluten in my system I now cough at everything, or because I'm sensitive to more than gluten.

Now comes some TMI info. One time I was eating shredded wheat (before I had completely narrowed down what bugged me) and I started feeling weird in my throat and had to sit over the toilet gagging until I coughed everything up. This has happened a few times sense. However, the food that has given me that feeling most commonly is turkey of all things.

Right now I'm trying to compile a list of things that I'm 100% positive have never affected me. I've looked at plenty of websites that say foods that are okay to eat on the first part of the elimination diet, but a lot of those bug me. I've always had slow digestion and I feel that it is going to take a long time before all symptoms go away and I can start adding food.

And since I'm doing this I'm going all out in testing anything that commonly affects people, lactose, caffeine, soy, anything. For the first part I've so far only found about ten things I'm absolutely positive have never affected me.

I also just think I'm intolerant, and don't have celiac, but the diet issues remain the same.

So with all that I have a few questions.

Does anyone know of foods that practically never affect people? I've searched tons of sites, but I'm looking for a REALLY strict list since so much affects me.

Do you think I should go all out and make sure none of my shampoos, makeups, and anything has gluten? Or just food?

Since I think it will take a long time until I can add food, how do I know when I can start adding things? And if it only slightly affects me is it likely I'll miss some things that bug me?

And the turkey issue. We buy free range turkey, so what most likely bugs me there? What the bird ate? Is gluten added as a preservative? Gluten free sausage often bugs me too (turkey, chicken, and pork. all kinds!), and I just don't know what in the meat could be bugging me!

And just in general, anyone have any tips for keeping up nutrition on this probably months long venture? Especially while attending school and work?

Thanks, and sorry for the long post.

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First off, welcome to the site. You're in good company to try to help you through figuring out what's going on.

I know I've gotten to where I feel like everything is affecting me, in one way or another, but it always turns out to be one thing, or a SMALL number of things. Of course, you could have a true allergy to some or more of these food items, but it seems that is extremely rare, especially for something like turkey. Still, nothing would surprise me at this point. But for starters, it seems like you perhaps have one or more food intolerances. With that said, food intolerance can take minutes, hours or even days to manifest a symptom, so when you think you are reacting to something more recent, your body is actually being affected by something ingested prior to that time.

And some things have a cumulative effect. As an example, I do not eat anything processed, but I took to eating nitrate free bacon a few months back. I got to the point where I was eating a couple slices each morning for a week or so. Then I started noticing a weird feeling in my chest every morning around 10AM. It felt as though I was having trouble breathing in a small way and frightening. After a battery of tests that revealed nothing, I realized that it had stopped when I ran out of the bacon and stopped eating for a few days. Waited a week with no symptoms, reintroduced, and there it was again. So no more of that brand of bacon for me, while other brands are fine. My point is that it may not be the food specifically, but the process used. And even a free range turkey (unless you're actually defeathering the thing yourself), can still have something there that is disagreeable. Plus if you are eating any kind of colorings, preservatives, processed foods, those are huge culprits in addition to gluten, dairy and soy - even in trace amounts.

An elimination diet can help. Eat only a handful of items daily that you know do not bother you. After a few days add ONE item to the list for a few days, then another and another. All the while you keep a journal of EVERYTHING YOU EAT AND DRINK, the date and time you ate each meal or snack, then start recording symptoms and severity and the time of onset. Do this for a few weeks and you'll probably narrow down the true culprits.

This was just my two cents. I know you'll get some other responses that may shed additional light or ideas. Let everyone know how you are doing!

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Commonly recommended neutral foods are bananas (although a lot of celiacs have problems with them), rice, lamb, applesauce and a few others I can't recall :( YOu might try pumpkin/squash.

As for your shampoos, toiletries,etc., yes I would definitely throw out any that have gluten. The big one here is hydrolyzed wheat protein, but there are others. The more sensitive you are the more important it is to do this. Check your soaps, dish soap too. If you have a pet there is no doubt gluten in the pet food. Also bird seed can be a problem.

Good luck on finding a stable diet you can eat so you can start weeding out the problem foods.

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Thanks to both of you for your thoughts!

It's interesting to know that it could be a brand of something that affects me, not necessarily just the food. That seems like it's possibly more likely in the case of turkey than anything else. I'll have to experiment once I start adding foods back in. The main thing I hope is that the foods that most often don't affect me just are because of a buildup of gluten or whatever I have, so I'm glad you think that's a possibility too!

Lamb seems to be the meat most often on the okay list. That's pretty interesting, I might have to look into buying it because I don't think it's ever affected me before... So here's hoping I can have some meat in the first stage of my elimination diet!

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I wanted to add a comment about the gluten-free sausage -- if they're not a breakfast type sausage it might be one of the spices that bother you. I have a hard time finding any except the 'natural' sausages that don't have corn syrup added, and the last ones I tried had too much fennel seed as well as too much pepper (black pepper). ugh! Fennel seed has almost a licorice sort of flavor, and some sausage makers put a ton of it in their sausage. I pulled out something like a dozen of them in just 1/2 of a sausage. I'm just going to have to figure out how to create my own sausage meat I think!

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I wanted to add a comment about the gluten-free sausage -- if they're not a breakfast type sausage it might be one of the spices that bother you. I have a hard time finding any except the 'natural' sausages that don't have corn syrup added, and the last ones I tried had too much fennel seed as well as too much pepper (black pepper). ugh! Fennel seed has almost a licorice sort of flavor, and some sausage makers put a ton of it in their sausage. I pulled out something like a dozen of them in just 1/2 of a sausage. I'm just going to have to figure out how to create my own sausage meat I think!

Oh man, SPICES might even bug people? Wow, I'll add that to the list of things I need to test I guess... That could be an issue with a few things actually, so thank you for the tip.

How did you find out if a spice bothered you? I can't imagine eating it alone as a test. I guess adding it to things you know don't bug you?.. Hmm..

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Generally if you stick to single ingredient herbs and spices you are going to be safe. Danger territory comes from seasoning blends where they use the gluten as a binder to hold the mix together. McCornicks is mostly reliable on their single ingredient herbs and spces.

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It's possible that you have Celiac..or at least gluten intollerance? You could have secondary intollerances too?

If your small intestine has damage, particles from the foods you eat can leak out through the wall of the intestine and get into your bloodstream. That can cause inflammation and all sorts of reactions. That could be where the coughing comes in?

Keep a detailed food log as suggested and start taking probiotics to help heal your system. Digestive enzymes might help you too? Check for gluten free though!

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@mushroom : Thanks, I'll keep the brand in mind. Most of my spices seem good since I don't have many blends or seasonings. I guess know it's watching for spice blends added to things.

@Bubba's Mom : Yes, that's my fear. That not only do I have gluten intolerance, but something else. Sometimes it just feels like EVERYthing bugs me. But I'll look for some probiotics to help with the healing. Thanks!

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Just a few random thoughts:

After having read a number of books and been on this forum for a while--I don't think that there is any food that someone does not have a problem with.

I am allergic/intolerant of lamb. My sister has several spices she cannot tolerate.

It takes three days for my symptoms to show up. It may take a while to figure out whether you react sooner or later.

I've been working on this for a year and a half and still have some intolerance besides gluten and sugar that I haven't figured out. Be patient.

Keep a detailed account of "everything" you eat and drink. It took a long time to figure out the the flavored coffee I drank just once a week (so didn't bother to record) was a problem.

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Just a few random thoughts:

After having read a number of books and been on this forum for a while--I don't think that there is any food that someone does not have a problem with.

I am allergic/intolerant of lamb. My sister has several spices she cannot tolerate.

It takes three days for my symptoms to show up. It may take a while to figure out whether you react sooner or later.

I've been working on this for a year and a half and still have some intolerance besides gluten and sugar that I haven't figured out. Be patient.

Keep a detailed account of "everything" you eat and drink. It took a long time to figure out the the flavored coffee I drank just once a week (so didn't bother to record) was a problem.

Wow, three days. Every time I get more information this process of discovering intolerance's seems like it's going to take longer and longer.

I'm doing this super slow and am eating very few items in the beginning so that I can catch ANYTHING that bugs me. Especially after a few comments it seems like I might need to really pay attention to spices too, so I'll be keeping an eye on those as well.

I'll definitely keep a crazy detailed journal, that seems to be a common suggestion.

Thanks for the input!

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giggleburger,

I highly recommend you get tested for eosinophillic esophagitis (EE). The symptoms are exactly like what you describe and it has to do with a tightening of the esophagus that makes it difficult for food to get into the stomach (you don't necessarily feel this tightening, but it causes coughing and regurgitating food). The most common foods to cause the problem are bread, meat, and thick or grainy foods. However, the foods that cause the symptoms have nothing to do with the foods you're allergic to, it only has to do with the food's texture: more difficult to pass into the stomach. But EE is a disorder caused by allergies (kind of confusing I know) as it is the foods you're allergic to that make the esophagus get tight over time, thus causing the symptoms when you eat thick or heartier foods.

It can be diagnosed via an endoscopy and should be caught as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can lead to only being able to tolerate a formula. If caught early, you simply have to avoid the foods you are allergic to, which is assessed through a scratch test, skin prick test, and/or blood test, or possibly through process of elimination.

My sister was just recently diagnosed with EE. I really think this is what's going on for you, please talk to a doctor about it. Good luck!

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giggleburger,

I highly recommend you get tested for eosinophillic esophagitis (EE). The symptoms are exactly like what you describe and it has to do with a tightening of the esophagus that makes it difficult for food to get into the stomach (you don't necessarily feel this tightening, but it causes coughing and regurgitating food). The most common foods to cause the problem are bread, meat, and thick or grainy foods. However, the foods that cause the symptoms have nothing to do with the foods you're allergic to, it only has to do with the food's texture: more difficult to pass into the stomach. But EE is a disorder caused by allergies (kind of confusing I know) as it is the foods you're allergic to that make the esophagus get tight over time, thus causing the symptoms when you eat thick or heartier foods.

It can be diagnosed via an endoscopy and should be caught as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can lead to only being able to tolerate a formula. If caught early, you simply have to avoid the foods you are allergic to, which is assessed through a scratch test, skin prick test, and/or blood test, or possibly through process of elimination.

My sister was just recently diagnosed with EE. I really think this is what's going on for you, please talk to a doctor about it. Good luck!

Oh my god, that totally sounds possible.

I've never heard of it before. It sounds very odd. It's caused by your allergies, but can get worse over time if you ignore your allergies? So if you learn all your allergies and avoid them can the esophagus tightening reverse?

I'll definitely look into that. Thanks for the info.

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Yes, it can reverse for most people, but you have to be very diligent about avoiding allergens. A lot of the process of healing is figuring out which allergen is the one causing the problem. You can be allergic to twenty things and only have one of them affect your EE. So figuring out how to eat healthy usually involves taking away most food that you have any chance of being allergic to and then slowly adding them back in one by one until you find the one causing the problem. You will not be able to notice the healing on your own and will need an endoscopy every few months to track your healing and figure out which foods are the problem.

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