in Gluten Free

My, my – we’ve been getting quite medical on the blog lately, haven’t we?  I think this speaks to the fact that health is about way more than lifting weights or eating your veggies.  After all, it’s literally what’s on the inside that counts.


Remember when I wrote that I was taking an Adrenal Stress Index test because the Husband suspects my adrenal glands aren’t functioning properly? (As a side note, the Husband is not my primary care doctor.  He doesn’t like to treat family but sometimes it just makes sense for him to guide me through some medical issues.)  Well, we got back my ASI results yesterday.

ASI Test results - 1

I haven’t properly digested the ASI results so we’ll save the adrenal information for another post, but obviously, my cortisol levels are NOT where they should be, especially in the morning.  I was actually relieved to see these results because I’ve really been beating myself up over my inability to get up and function in the morning – I thought I was just being lazy.  It honestly made me feel so guilty.  Now I know there is a medical reason behind my grogginess!


But the part about my ASI that REALLY caught my attention was this:

   ASI Test results - 2

This means that I am gluten-sensitive.  I would’ve NEVER GUESSED that I had a gluten sensitivity.  I eat bread, pasta, rice, oatmeal, etc. with basically every meal!  But at this level, gluten sensitivity can be asymptomatic.


Even though I cannot tell I have a gluten sensitivity, my intestines certainly can.  The wheat I’ve been eating is contributing to overall inflammation in my body, which may or may not be related to the abnormal pap smears.  Interesting, right?


Obviously, I ate gluten this morning for breakfast.  It’s going to take me a while to figure out how to make changes in my diet.  Since I’m not highly sensitive, I’ll be able to eat gluten every now and then without major trouble.  But I really do need to cut back.  This is going to be a journey and nothing is going to change overnight (um, I’m eating a cookie as I write this).

Gluten Free Foods

* Please note that some readers have said barley malt is not necessarily GF.  Be careful!


Oddly, I’m not devastated.  I LOVE bread but there are much, much worse things in life than having a food sensitivity.  Also, I might be in denial.  Heh.


Since I don’t know much about being gluten-free (the full-blown sensitivity is referred to as Celiac’s disease, which I probably don’t have), I asked some other bloggers and readers to share their experiences with the lifestyle.  Enjoy!


Chelsea wrote a wonderful post on dealing with food intolerances.  She summed it up with this statement: “I spent a lot of time being angry at first about my dietary restrictions. Why me? Why can’t I just be normal? Why do I have to spend so much time planning about food? The answers… unknown. By accepting the fact that I can’t really ever go out and “grab” something to eat and truly be satisfying was hard, but totally necessary. If you accept it and are open about your struggles about eating with others and dining out, I’m sure that others will be more accommodating. Unless you tell them your struggles, they will never know!”


Check out Chelsea’s recipe for gluten-free pretzel rolls (yum!).


Maggie says it’s important to focus on REAL foods, not necessary all the GF alternatives.  “Living gluten free isn’t easy, and it’s not just a matter of substituting "standard" foods with gluten free substitutes. Sure, there are entire online and brick and mortar stores devoted to gluten free foods, and most supermarkets have sections stocked with gluten free items, but these foods aren’t necessarily healthy or whole. I’m making a generalization here, but they tend to be highly processed and full of starches and gums.  Rather than buy and eat a lot of gluten free pastas, cereals, breads and snacks (crackers, cookies, bars and pretzels) — foods I tried not to eat much of when I was eating gluten — I’ve redoubled my commitment to cooking and eating whole, nutrient dense foods.  Many people who have gone gluten free stress the importance of focusing not on what you can’t eat, but on the array of delicious, nutritious whole foods that are naturally gluten free: free range organic meat, poultry and eggs; wild fish; fresh fruits and vegetables; nuts; legumes (including soy); and seeds and grains such as quinoa, rice and corn.”  


Ricki wrote, “Being diagnosed as gluten-sensitive can be a mind-numbing piece of news. First thoughts are "why me?" or “what the heck will I eat now?” or simply, “woe is me!”. In my case, the “no gluten” diagnosis came after being diagnosed with candida related complex (CRC), so I’d already given up many foods that most people enjoy, from meat to dairy to all sweets to peanut butter. After that, gluten was easy! Even though I’m an avid baker, I found working with GF flours fun (though I won’t lie: there was a pretty steep learning curve involved). But good food is still good food: these days, I’m familiar with a huge array of grains and tasty flours that I would never have discovered without going gluten-free. I eat muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, or cakes—not only without gluten, but without sugar, eggs, or dairy, too. And you know what? I’ve never enjoyed my food—or my feelings of great health—more than I do today.”


Ricki also has a book called Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar


Nicole went gluten-free and highly recommends The G-Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide.


Valerie said, “Honestly, I truly thought the idea of gluten intolerance/disease was just a modern craze that only actually affected a small group of people and the rest were just being babies about it.”  But then she took a gluten-free baking class and learned more about it – check out this wonderful post on her GF baking class.


Elizabeth wrote, “When I first met my husband and he told me he is allergic to wheat/gluten, I had NEVER heard of it before. I was like, “WHAT? You can’t eat bread? Pasta? ANYTHING?” (This was WELL before my healthy lifestyle transformation.) Five years and a wedding later, I’ve learned A LOT, especially how much wheat is actually in (soy sauce was a recent shock to me).  I am not allergic to wheat, although I am sensitive to it, so it’s been a lifestyle adoption for me as well. I’ve learned how to cook gluten free, but after many trials and errors (I tried to make gluten free ravioli from scratch once, we ended up with takeout…) we have become very good at making gluten free versions of a lot of favorite dishes.   My number one suggestion is to invest in a bread maker and get Bob’s Red Mill gluten free bread mixes, it will make the transition a lot easier!”


Caroline wrote, “From the very day I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I can honestly say I haven’t spent a moment looking back since. It’s a difficult journey, but, after being sick for so long, what might sound like a curse to many turned out to be a blessing. When it comes to gluten-free cooking and baking, I’ve found there really is nothing that beats eating at home. That’s not to say eating out isn’t possible — with the the right knowledge it can be done! But making food at home allows the comfort of knowing the dish is safe and eliminates the anxiety one might feel about enjoying a meal. A few of my favorite recipes include: Black & White Bean Burgers, Mushroom Risotto, and Thai Tofu/Chicken Pizza. And, naturally, dessert: Black Forest Cupcakes, PB&J Cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip Cake, and Lemon Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. These and other recipes are proof that living a gluten-free life is not only possible, but delicious!”


Gabby wrote, “Eating out can be one of the most difficult things to do when you’re gluten-free.  My fiancé and I love to eat out, but it can be challenging even though he is in a culinary school (and has lots of knowledge about preparation methods and ingredients) and I’ve been gluten-free for over a year.  To have the best dining experience possible always, always ask your server if something is gluten-free.  If they are unsure, ask to talk to the chef or manager.  Specify that you have a gluten sensitivity and ask that they note it on the meal ticket.  This helps the kitchen staff know to change gloves if they have been handling gluten and helps ensure that your meal will be safe.  Again, gluten is a sneaky thing and hides in places you wouldn’t think – like sauces (nearly all creamy sauces are roux, a mixture of flour and fat, based and are a no-go for the gluten sensitive).  When in doubt, ask, ask, and ask again.”


Annie recommends checking out these wonderful GF blogs:  The Gluten Free Gooddess, Elana’s Pantry, and her own awesome blog, A Gluten-Less Foodie.


Do you have any food sensitivities?  How does it impact your life?  Do you feel like you’re “missing out” on something or do you see it in a more positive light?



  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans June 10, 2011, 1:29 pm

    I am fortunate not to have food intolerances. I think it would be challenging. On the flip side it may also get a person to try new recipes and foods that they never considered so it could be a good thing too!!

  • Lara June 10, 2011, 1:33 pm

    Wow, great timing for me! I’m currently waiting on my test results for gluten sensitivity/celiac disease, but have been eating pretty close to gluten free in the meantime (about a week). I’ve had a lot of digestive problems that seem possibly gluten-related. It might be a placebo effect now, but I’ve definitely been feeling better since changing my diet. I’m still eating some gluten, since my intolerance is probably not too serious (and I have a box of oats I don’t want to waste!), but switching to gluten free flours and avoiding bread and other products hasn’t been too difficult. I am a bit concerned about dining out though, so we’ll see how that goes! Anyway, thank you so much for the helpful links, and good luck to you 🙂

  • Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers June 10, 2011, 1:34 pm

    I am also lucky to not have food allergies. I like food, and it likes me back. I’d have a hard time if things changed. It’s awesome you’ve found so many supportive and education resources though!

  • Brittany @a healthy slice June 10, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Interesting! I’ve heard that most people have a slight sensitivity to dairy and gluten. Has anyone elae heard this?

    I used to be allergic to dairy, but outgrew it. I feel fortune that I don’t have any severe food allergies now because I love shellfish, peanuts, Greek yogurt, etc.

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 1:38 pm

      ‘Tis true… at least from the Chinese medical standpoint. Most people will notice they get phelgmy if they eat a lot of dairy – that’s the intolerance!

      • Julie June 10, 2011, 1:58 pm

        hm…i used to be allergic to dairy, outgrew it, but now i think it’s back…i’ve never heard of getting phelgmy after eating it though. i have other “bathroom related” symptoms. i do however, blow my nose like a mofo all day every day…but that’s no phelgm…hm.

    • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 10, 2011, 1:55 pm

      My dairy sensitivity manifests itself through terrible acne in my face. And cheese is the worst

    • kate June 10, 2011, 6:18 pm

      my dairy issue involved a ridiculous amount of stomach pain followed by… well, you can imagine where stomach pain goes. but what do i do? i eat the ice cream. it is a sickness i tell ya. i am trying to hard to beat it. but dairy is everywhere.

      • MelanieF June 10, 2011, 6:58 pm

        Same here! It’s worst if I eat ice cream or fresh cheese…on my god, that’s the worst. I am trying real hard to avoid dairy, but like Kate said, it’s everywhere. That’s not always easy.

      • Jen G. June 10, 2011, 9:07 pm

        I am lactose intolerant too, but if you want it on occasion, try Lactaid (or the generic dairy digestive tablets) with it. It’s not ideal, but life that allows for occasional ice cream without stomach pain is so much better!

  • Heather June 10, 2011, 1:36 pm

    I am allergic to onions. The only thing I really feel I’m missing out on is salsa. I love Mexican food, plus salsa is a typical party staple and I’ve never got to try it. On the plus side I never have to worry about onion breath. 🙂

  • Caroline @ The G-Spot June 10, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Thank you so much for including me in this post, Caitlin — and amongst so many other wonderful bloggers! Like I already said to you, learning to eat gluten-free is challenging at first, but you will be amazed by how much better you will feel! And you’ll be surprised when you see how many of the healthy foods you already love are naturally gluten-free. I’ll be thinking of you during your transition! 🙂

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 10, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Oh WOW! I can’t imagine having a gluten allergy.. I love bread so much! But I have loved every gluten free/vegan baked good I’ve ever have so maybe it’s not so bad! And like you said, there are MUCH worse things than a gluten allergy!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food June 10, 2011, 1:37 pm

    oh my goodness thank you so much for sharing as usual. It’s so crazy how much a food allergy can affect our overall health but yet we don’t know! It took my a long time to realize that although I can eat a little dairy, esp ice cream and cheese, that I feel better when I don’t drink milk or eat yogurt. Although I can get by with them, it affects my energy levels and my overall feeling of well being.

  • Amy June 10, 2011, 1:44 pm

    i’m pretty much in the same boat!! i have a gluten sensitivity, and have been avoiding gluten for the past 3 months. honestly, it has been the most amazing thing ever – i feel so much better and i have SO much more energy. it really is not that hard to cut out gluten – whenever you would eat bread, just substitute in rice or corn tortilla chips. you have so many more options than you think. also, “ethnic food” will become your new best friend.

  • E June 10, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing! In the last year, I’ve also had to go gluten-free due to a sensitivity (not celiac). I’m still working on doing it properly (i.e., eating the most healthfully without just picking up easy grocery GF products that are basically still junk food)- it’ll be great to read how you’re handling it, Caitlin! I used to be allergic to milk/milk products as a kid, but I outgrew that by high school. So glad I’m not now – love cheese! 🙂

  • Laura June 10, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Since going gluten free, in October of last year, I have felt a lot better. I am able to recover quicker from my workouts and also, I am not sure if gluten had anything to do with it, but skin is majorly nicer (my face!). I am also less bloated overall, after eating! If I have a big bowl of oats, my stomach would feel so bloated. I have found it fairly easy to live GF, but I live in SF and the food scene is fairly progressive. The only thing is that it is more expensive. But it is so fun to experiment with different grains- farro, quinoa (red quinoa my fave), brown rice, wild rice. I bet you will notice a different in your energy level…for sure.

  • Carla @ June 10, 2011, 1:46 pm

    My husband has celiac – only just discovered in the last year or so. It was an adjustment at first, but now, we’ve pretty much got it down to a science. I still eat whole grain bread and oats, but we make him gf bread in the bread maker and stick to brown rice pasta for the both of us (it’s actually pretty good, but not great for a cold pasta salad). We use a lot of brown rice and quinoa as well, and he eats a buckwheat porridge for breakfast.

    We don’t eat out a lot, but when we do, we will often check on line or ask the server. We were surprised at how many restaurtants in our area have a dedicated gf menu.

    I think the thing he misses the most is beer…the gf beer we tried was terrible! LOL

    I think you’ll find it an interesting adventure – we certainly do!

  • Dori June 10, 2011, 1:49 pm

    OK now I really want an ASI test.

  • Rebecca June 10, 2011, 1:49 pm

    No allergies or intolerances for me (so far), but my sister is allergic to practically anything red. Or at least that’s what we think. She swells up when she eats anything with red dye in it, at least (fruit snacks, gum). The allergist told her she’s just prone to allergies, which didn’t help much. She’s avoiding strawberries and cherries and stuff, which sucks. Last night we had strawberries with our waffles and she just stared at them. I felt bad.

    I do have a friend who has Celiac. One time I wanted to make cake for something at youth group and I called his mom to find out which cake mix & frosting to use so that I could include him in the party, too! A little more expensive, but I think it was worth it to be able to help him not feel left out.

  • SarahC June 10, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Talk about Tipping Point! I have noticed a growing list of symptoms over the past few years that I’ve only recently realized could be attribute to an adrenal gland issue and/or gluten intolarence (fatigue, headaches, heart palpatations, bloating, and even slight hair thinning and a minor case of perioral dermatitis). I’ve been thinking of getting tested, but have put it off due to money, work-craziness, ect. Well, girl, you’ve convinced me! I am making an appointment to talk to my doctor today.

    I’m very sorry for this adjustment you will need to go through, but also look forward to all of the great insight and new yummy recipes my favorite healthy-living blogger will come up with! 🙂


  • chelsey @ clean eatingchelsey June 10, 2011, 1:50 pm

    thanks for the link love! I’m glad you have a positive attitude about going mostly gf. I was a debbie downer for quite some time! trader joes has some awesome gf alternatives like pastas and veggie broth (yes you must get certified gf) – let me know if you need any help!

  • Julie @ Shining From Within June 10, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I have always wanted to know if I am allergic to any foods. I can usually tell by how I feel after I eat something like dairy or eggplant (eggplant hates me!!!). One day, I would love to know for real though and get tested for any allergies.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg June 10, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I don’t have any true allergies, although I avoid dairy because it makes my face break out and I sometimes get extremely bad stomachaches from it.

    Seems like you have a good attitude about things and you are right — bread is awesome but there are worse things that could happen to you. Plus they make some good GF breads (and I’ve heard Udi’s GF bagels are amazing!)

  • Chloe (South Beach Girl) June 10, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I have a hunch I might also be gluten sensitive since I’ve started a low carb diet and my tummy seems to be much more happy. There are definitely worse things in life, and now there are gluten free products everywhere that it’s fairly easy to avoid gluten if you don’t have a strong reaction!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 10, 2011, 1:58 pm

    No food allergies, but for medical reasons, I cannot drink alcohol at all. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, but it’s very socially awkward. People either try to convince me that I can drink “just this once” or they feel bad drinking around me (really, I don’t care).

    Also, fun times setting up any first dates. For some reason, dudes always want it to involve alcohol…

    • Meri June 10, 2011, 2:11 pm

      There are some pretty decent gluten free beers I’ve tried at restaurants!

  • Leah @ L4L June 10, 2011, 2:01 pm

    I outlined my issues in this post:

    I’ve been dealing with it fairly well for the past few months. I still eat oats and I do a lot of spelt and haven’t had any problems. I still drink beer. I just have these things in moderation. You can find certified GF oats. I like Bob’s Red Mill. My fav GF blog is – she has celiacs and has an amazing outlook on life and dealing with food issues.

  • Kate June 10, 2011, 2:01 pm

    This just reminds me I really need to get tested regarding a potential soy allergy/intolerance. One soy latte, serving of tofu, or Luna Bar and within a few minutes my stomach/gut feel like it is being ripped apart from the inside. I’ve tried to just do my best to mostly avoid foods with soy in them. But sometimes I just deal with the aftermath because Pad See Ew with Tofu just happens to be super delicious!

    • Beth @ 990 Square June 10, 2011, 2:07 pm

      I’m soy intellorant and it makes a big difference to go soy free!

      • Kate June 10, 2011, 2:09 pm

        And it hides in EVERYTHING. Ok not quite everything. But I started making my own bread to avoid the use of soy flour and soy lethicin.

        • Beth @ 990 Square June 10, 2011, 2:16 pm

          soy lecthicin seems to be the one thing I can tollerate, when it’s used as a stabilizer (in things like chocolate). I’ve read some places that soy oil doesn’t cause allergy problems, but it gives me fits. I make my own bread too.

          The funny thing about soy intollerance is that I think it’s a thing people really aren’t aware you can be allergic to. And people really don’t realize it’s in EVERYTHING!!

        • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston June 10, 2011, 2:34 pm

          Many people with a soy allergy can tolerate soy lecithin because it is a soy fat and not protein — which is what the soy allergy is (to the protein). However, very sensitive individuals may still react to soy lecithin.

    • Dori June 10, 2011, 4:12 pm

      You know what.. I suspect I have a soy issue as well. I never feel quite right after my soy latte that I sometimes get as a treat. I try to avoid dairy but I think next time I will try a regular latte and see if there is a difference.

  • Sarah for Real June 10, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Oddly enough, I was disappointed that my food intolerance tests all came back negative when I was searching high and low to find a cause for chronic headaches.

    I think it’s such a positive thing to be able to pinpoint one big thing like gluten that might contribute to numerous issues.

    I think of this information as empowering and so positive! What an easy, drug-free tool you now have at your disposal to hopefully feel much better.

    Plus it’s uber chic to go g-free these days!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt June 10, 2011, 2:07 pm

    I actually just did a 3 part series on being dairy sensitive! Like you said, there are much worse things to deal with than food allergies. I’ve learned to adapt, but I do feel left out when everyone else is eating ice cream, and I can’t partake. I’ve learned to find alternatives that I really enjoy though (like sorbet and Coconut Bliss). In a way, it is almost FUN trying to find new and different things to eat. Almost like a game or a challenge! Luckily for you, there seem to be a lot of GF options these days. You’ll feel so much better that you’ll find doing without gluten is totally worth it. 🙂

  • Marissa June 10, 2011, 2:08 pm

    i have a question that i’m hoping someone can help with. i believe that i am either gluten or wheat sensitive and would like to get tested. do regular MD’s do this or do i need to go to a holistic doc or naturopath? i would like to see a holistic or nat., but i don’t think they take insurance and i don’t have the means to pay outta pocket…any suggestions??

    • Beth @ 990 Square June 10, 2011, 2:17 pm

      try a gastroenterologist. they can do a blood test or an endoscopy + biopsy (which is what the doctor told me was the best way to determine gluten intollerance).

      • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston June 10, 2011, 2:27 pm

        Yes, the GI will do the blood test first and then do an endoscopy is necessary. I’m not sure if a primary care docs will order the blood panel needed because of an endoscopy potentially needing to be ordered — all you have to do is ask 🙂 Plus, if you don’t have a GI, your PCP will refer/recommend one to you.

        • Beth @ 990 Square June 10, 2011, 2:30 pm

          I should have mentioned in my original comment, I suggest the GI because my PCP insisted I had “anxiety issues” and that was why I was so sick all the time. It took a specialist to see I had real issues!

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 2:17 pm

      You can get tested at your regular doctor, I’m pretty sure. Just call and ask.

      BUT I would ask to see your test results. A lot of time, doctors will say you’re fine if your within the range, but if you’re like, 1 number off from the lowest acceptable number in the range, you’re not fine at all. So just ask to actually see the results yourself.

      • Marissa June 10, 2011, 2:26 pm

        Thanks, ladies!

        • Dori June 10, 2011, 4:16 pm

          Also, the blood test/endoscopy only tests for Celiac, not for other forms gluten intolerance.

    • M June 10, 2011, 7:01 pm

      Get an elisa comprehensive food panel blood test. they do a panel of 75 foods to test your sensitivities.

  • Taysa June 10, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I ate gluten free for a year because I thought it was the root of my digestion issues (turns out it was acidic foods.) Over time, I created a “new normal” for my everyday foods, but eating out of the house was really hard and really boring.

    Marissa, (#25) go to your regular MD and talk about your symptoms. They can order a blood test to be done as a first step.

  • Meri June 10, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I apologize if I haven’t read thoroughly or am missing something, but I am very curious about the connection between Gluten intolerance and abnormal paps… can you say more about your knowledge on this subject?

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 2:18 pm

      Well, I’m not 100% sure there is a strong connection that’s been demonstrated by studies or anything, but one of the causes of abnormal paps is inflammation in the body, and eating something you’re allergic to causes such inflammation and a suppressed immune response. So I don’t think there is a DIRECT relationship but it could be contributing.

      • Melodie June 10, 2011, 3:48 pm

        I have Celiac and was just diagnosed at age 34 after being told I had IBS since the age of 16. Inflammation is my WORST issue. I believe it could totally cause the abnormal pap. I cannot believe all of the way not eating gluten has HELPED me. Now, finding soothing, non gluten, non dairy foods is the best thing for me. Not to mention, inflammation can be a leading cause of cancer. So glad you found this out, I think going off gluten will help you tremendously! It may even help your coritisol levels!

  • Nichole June 10, 2011, 2:11 pm


    I am a regular reader but don’t usualy have anything to add however this issue is near and dear to my heard.

    I do not have allergies however my 5 year old son does. He is actually a vegan (due to his allergies). His is alergic to nuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, meat, citrus fruit, watermelon.
    Because he has grown up like the is ok as there are lots’ of altertatives out there now. Everyting from gluten free chocolate cake to soy ice cream. (of course there are healthy option.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I’m allergic to so many environmental things but somehow have no food allergies. So thankful for that. Although, I’ve been tested about 3 times for my allergies and all 3 show I AM allergic to peanuts and soy but I eat those things all the time and never have any adverse reactions. Doctors seem to be puzzled about it. I do make sure I’m not without an inhaler or epipen though when I consume them just in case my body one day decides it’s going to react.

    good luck with figuring out the GF thing.

  • stacey June 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I think that you may find that eating gluten free is more difficult than you think. Especially based on the meals that typically eat and the fact that you have such a busy schedule. It just seems to take more time and planning, but the good thing is that you should feel much better after making changes to your diet!

  • monicanelsonfitness June 10, 2011, 2:15 pm

    So interesting. I am so happy you shared. I too eat a lot of wheat. Glad you are on to something. 🙂

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston June 10, 2011, 2:19 pm

    I’m GF.. and have been for over two years now due to being gluten intolerant. It’s all a part of my life and not difficult at all for me to maintain being GF. I guess it also helps that I’m an RD 🙂

    Also, having a gluten-related issue isn’t an allergy.. it’s an autoimmune response. Lots of people seems to get these mixed up.

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 2:20 pm

      Ah ha! Important distinction. I’m new at this 🙂

    • Sally June 12, 2011, 6:48 pm

      An allergy is an autoimmune response. It is also possible to be gluten-sensitive/intolerant without an autoimmune component (more like being lactose-intolerant).

      • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston June 12, 2011, 7:31 pm

        I was just pointing out that a gluten sensitivity is not an allergy… not that allergies aren’t also autoimmune related. Just wanted to make sure you understood my point Sally! 🙂

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment June 10, 2011, 2:19 pm

    Food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances are annoying, but they can be worked with if you have the right attitude!

    I suffer from Oral Allergy Syndrome with most fruits that contain a pit or core — apples, plums, nectarines, pears, cherries, etc. I have a REALLY bad birch pollen allergy, and there’s a protein in them that mimics the same sequence as the pollen, so eating them causes my mouth and throat to get itchy and red, but it won’t cause anaphylaxis. Oddly enough, if the fruits are cooked, the protein breaks down and I can eat them, but I try to avoid them just in case!

    I also have true food allergies to peaches and any food that contains mold — like bleu cheeses and drugs that end in -cillan, and I can’t eat mushrooms because there’s the possibility that as fungi, they have mold spores. Oh, and a contact allergy to shrimp shells — I can eat shrimp, but peeling them makes me break out into hives on my hands/up my arms!

    I developed all of mine later in life (after age 20), and the hardest part was going from eating the fruits all the time to not at all. I used to eat an apple with lunch every single day! The worst part is when people assume I’m “faking it” because I don’t like something… trust me, if I could eat a juicy, ripe peach again, I would!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) June 10, 2011, 2:27 pm

    I would get a second opinion before doing anything drastic, but trying new eating styles is always fun!

    I am lactose intolerant. I developed this seemingly during college and have never received a diagnosis for it, I have come to the conclusion after my daily glass of milk in college gave me a stomachache every day. And when I eat cream, you can HEAR my stomach rebelling! I did some research about it, and it turns out that not all dairy is high in lactose — cream is on the high end, but cheddar cheese is on the very low end. Nowadays, when I’m not on a vegan kick, I will indulge in some cheese and butter every now and then. Sometimes, I have to take Gas X (dairy pills don’t quite do the trick) to control the painful side-effects, but it’s worth knowing what works for me.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me June 10, 2011, 2:27 pm

    My mom actually had a corn intolerance. It was tough. This was also before the whole HFCS was bad…so it was in EVERYTHING. Poor woman had a very tough time eating. She’s really not a healthy eater either so it was a big transition for her. She gave up not long after that and just eats whatever now. I would love for her to get on the healthy eating bandwagon but her and my Dad are just not interested. SIGH.

  • zoe (and the beatles) June 10, 2011, 2:31 pm

    i have no idea if i have any food allergies but i’m pretty certain i have food sensitivities. i have a really, really sensitive stomach (always have) but i have no idea what types of food affect it. i don’t have the money to pay for an allergy test so i guess my best option would be elimination for a set number of weeks to see how i am without certain foods. question about the ASI test…i would love to take one! do you know where i could find one? i have no idea where to start with any of this but i really want to figure out what is best and what is not so best for my body!

  • Jaci June 10, 2011, 2:32 pm

    I have Celiac disease — I would totally suggest you read Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book! It’s funny and informative. She totally acknowledges that she’s not a medical professional and just shares the reality of gluten problems!!

  • Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! June 10, 2011, 2:33 pm

    I have been gluten-free for about 18 months now, after a test from my general practitioner revealed that I have a moderate-to-high sensitivity to gluten. My diet has never been heavily gluten-focused, but going completely gluten-free has been challenging for me. At first, it was difficult because it interfered with the carefully designed program my nutritionist and I had put together during my recovery from restricted eating. The eating plan didn’t include a LOT of gluten-based foods, but it did include some (cereals, breads, etc.). It took some readjusting to find replacement foods like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, etc. Since then, I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out on anything, but as an athlete I sometimes feel depleted without the carbohydrates from gluten-based foods. It is a challenge for me to get in enough carbs when my activity level is high. Other than that, I don’t really have any issues with my gluten-free lifestyle.

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist June 10, 2011, 2:34 pm

    I do have food intolerances. One is potato which might not sound too bad except that potato is in EVERYTHING. Anything “enriched” with b vitamins has potato. That eliminates most flours and cereals and most gluten free food because potato starch is a common ingredient. It also eliminates pre-shredded cheese because they coat it in potato starch so it won’t clump together. There are plenty of other things included but I’ll spare you all the details. My other intolerance is sugar which is in everything from baked goods to mayonnaise. It can be really frustrating dealing with food intolerances but it’s totally worth it. I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I don’t eat them. Since I’ve stopped I’ve become extremely sensitive and feel terrible if I eat something with even a little potato or sugar in it. I think you’ll be surprised how much better eliminating gluten will make you feel.

  • Kendall (On An Inhale) June 10, 2011, 2:41 pm

    I think I have a gluten sensitivity! The results for celiac disease came back negative but I feel a lot better when I don’t eat gluten. I have been trying to cut down on it but It’s very hard. Good luck! I’ve found a few good foods to replace bread with suck as rice crackers. I have some on my site.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 10, 2011, 2:43 pm

    I don’t think I have any severe food intolerances or sensitivities, except for sugar. If I eat really sweet desserts (think gelato, cheesecakes, etc), it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll fall asleep about an hour or two later. I don’t think having a gluten intolerance is anywhere near as bad as it used to be (although as Gina said in her post the other day, there are a lot of gluten free foods that are stripped of nutrients, which a lot of people who just eat gluten free because it’s “trendy” don’t realize). I eat a lot more quinoa, buckwheat, and wild rice than I do bread though, so I don’t think it’d be a massive change. I think it’s great that you’re getting very medical on the blog!! Just goes to show that health is so much more than just the way you look and what you see on the outside. Great, informative post Caitlin!

  • dakota June 10, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Dear Caitlin,
    Can I be self centered here? I have learned so much from your blog, but I always have to change recipes and menus because I have to eat gluten free. Now I will get to learn as you find wonderful foods that are delish/nutritious/vegatarian and GF! To me this is a blessing!

    Now I’ll quit talking about myself and get back to you- it is really difficult to hear you have to make such a change. It will get easier- I promise. Knowing that nothing is your fault and you don’t have to feel guilty about being tired or sick (if I took better care of myself/if I was a super woman, then everything would be fine…) will probably reduce your anxiety as well. In any case, you have a big cheering section here that will see you through this and get you back to good health. Thinking of you and waiting to hear about all of the wonderful GF foods you will cook up.

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:45 pm

      Haha It’s okay, Dakota. More foods for me to eat!

  • Christina June 10, 2011, 2:46 pm

    My sister was not herself for the past two years…tired, slugish, defensive, over sensitve, depressed…the list goes on and on. We just chalked it up to her being un happy with her job and living situation. One morning, my dad found her un responsive. Turns out, she has Addison’s disease (caused by her adrenal glands not producing coritsol). The adreanal glands really do control your whole entire body. She has been on medication for the last few weeks and has honestly turned in to her old self again! It is amazing how much cortisol affects everything. I hope you get everything straightened out with yours-I have seen first hand how much something like that can change a person without even realizing it!

  • Kim June 10, 2011, 2:50 pm

    So what do you do now for your low morning Cortisol level? Will a GF diet help with that?

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 2:53 pm

      I’m going to start taking some adrenal support supplements. Hopefully it will help!

      I don’t THINK the GF and adrenal issue are related, I’ll have to ask Kristien!

      • Kim June 10, 2011, 3:13 pm

        Can you post what supplements you’ll take?

        • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:44 pm

          Because these supplements are physician-grade and need to be prescribed, I can’t, I’m sorry! But if you’re interested, you can always email the husband. Kristien –

  • lisa @ early morning run June 10, 2011, 3:00 pm

    It took three years for me to be diagnosed with high cortisol levels. For me though, I went through a battery of tests and unfortunately it wasn’t my adrenal glands, it was my pituitary gland. I had a benign tumor and was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, a very rare disease on which there was practically NO information available (until now – I had surgery to have the tumor removed and have been dealing with the effects since. Thankfully I’m doing well now. I’m happy for you that it’s your adrenal glands and that there are non-surgical options available. Cortisol is something I feel no one thinks about until they’re faced with a health issue. And even then, a lot of doctor’s aren’t familiar with the different diseases associated with high or low levels. Thanks for talking about it on your blog, it’s important for people to be aware of.

  • Ricki June 10, 2011, 3:03 pm

    So many great points made in this post, Caitlin! Thanks so much for including my two cents. And for mentioning my book! (which is actually only about 1/3 gluten free. . . written before I gave up spelt!) 😀

  • Ellen June 10, 2011, 3:03 pm

    I kind of suspected you may have a gluten problem, as someone that’s highly sensitive and has helped much of my family remedy various health issues through a gf diet. But its something that people can be really resistant to so I try not to being it up. Glad you’re getting it worked out! GF food has saved me!

    Also saw you on The Doctors today. You rock!

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:43 pm

      yay! Thanks for the support!

  • Laura @FoodSnobSTL June 10, 2011, 3:04 pm

    My husband has crohns and gluten sensitivity, so there are lots of foods he can’t eat. We try to focus on what he can eat though and are grateful there are so many options now.

  • Trish June 10, 2011, 3:09 pm

    All the info you’re providing is so fascinating. I’m learning a lot – much of which could be potentially very useful in solving my own medical issues. I am going through a lot of the same stuff.

  • Christine June 10, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I can’t have melons- not really a huge food group or anything, but I do feel like I’m missing out on everyone’s current watermelon obsessions.

  • Crystal June 10, 2011, 3:19 pm

    I haven’t been diagnosed as having gluten sensitivity, but I have suspected it for a while. I will say that my body functions a whole lot nicer when I don’t eat grains, or eat them sparingly. A great substitute for your morning bowl is millet. Its super yummy with maple and cinnamon.

  • Laura B @ My Reason to Run June 10, 2011, 3:33 pm

    Very interesting!!!! I’ve heard a couple others I know that are having or just did this test. Explains a lot about some of your symptoms! Did insurance cover this test?

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:43 pm

      I have no idea if it does, I think you’d have to call your provider.

  • katie @ KatieDid June 10, 2011, 3:42 pm

    Wow very interesting to see the results. I found out almost a year ago that I am sensitive to gluten as well. But we didn’t do any tests at the doctors other than for celiacs. It came back negative but based on symptoms and keeping a food record we figured I am sensitive to gluten. I would be interested in asking for the test you got to see just how sensitive I am. I can tolerate small amounts as well. Gluten intolerance can manifest in sooo many ways, so it’s not surprising to me that inflammation and your abnormal pap smear might have to do with it. Honestly the first week or 2 were a bit strange, but it is so second nature now. I was a vegetarian until I found out, and then switched back to eating mostly organic meat. I feel so much more energetic and healthy now, no stomach issues that I couldn’t think about switching back to my old eating habits. Being vegetarian and gluten free may prove to be difficult but I’m sure you will figure out a good routine after just a little while!

  • ashley@cookingforjohn June 10, 2011, 3:42 pm

    My mom and I both have a sensitivity to wheat, and I never knew it could be so specific. I had heard of celiac, but my holistic doc told me that mine related only to wheat. Because of this I avoid everything in the low tolerance box above except for oats. They are in their own category, but can be a problem due to cross contamination. I haven’t noticed anything but perhaps it wouldn’t hurt for me to buy the certified GF oats.

    I didn’t know what to do when I found out either! My first thought was, “WHAT ABOUT BEER?! BELOVED BEER?!” I especially loved wheat ales, but I knew I would be much happier and healthier if I let go.

    It is definitely a lifestyle adjustment, but I like to think of my diagnosis as positive. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia shortly before the wheat sensitivity, and both of these contributed to what is now a much healthier diet.

  • Carly June 10, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Just recently I discovered I am sensitive to gluten, soy, dairy, and I am allergic to nuts. Sure, it’s a pain trying to find something quick to eat, however the fact that now that I don’t eat them I feel great is a pretty fair trade off!

  • J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) June 10, 2011, 3:49 pm

    This is such an interesting post, Caitlin! I have had symptoms that have plagued me all throughout life and have has my digestive issues escalate in the past few years. My husband has a lot of symptoms that sone say may be linked to gluten and dairy, such as ADHD and morning grogginess. Most of my tests have been normal, but I’ve had minimal testing and my SED rate us elevated, which indicates inflammation. So, my husband and I decided to try a reduced gluten and cow milk diet for at least a month to see if we have any improvements. I’ve been flirting with gluten intolerance and celiac for many years now, so iknow what to or what not to eat and how to shop and cook and order at restaurants.

    Feel free to follow my blog this month for gluten free and cow milk free food and reviews: http:// feed

  • Marie June 10, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I’ve been gluten free for about 2 years now and I’ll give you the quick and dirty guide for when you’re first starting. (Someone else may have already commented this too!):

    – Eating naturally gluten free was the easiest way for me to transition. Fruits, vegetables, meats (if that’s your thing) are naturally gluten free. Eat your heart out!

    – The best gluten free bread is Rudi’s. All (in my experience) gluten free bread must be frozen while you’re storing it and it tastes a lot better toasted.

    – There are some products (oatmeal, soy sauce, etc) that come gluten free – you just have to look for them.

    – Don’t trust “gluten free” labeling – be your own critic of the ingredients.

    – Forgive yourself. If you accidentally eat gluten don’t be upset, just learn the lesson and move on. There will be lots of mistakes in the early days.

    – You’ll feel so much better once you go gluten free! Even if you don’t have symptoms I’m sure you’ll notice a difference 🙂

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:36 pm

      Great advice, thanks Marie!

  • Steph June 10, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I have a sensitivity to one or more chemical preservatives and/or dyes. According to my doctor, although there are tests out there that can assess one’s abilities to digest food additives the results aren’t widely accepted like conventional allergy testing. I know that my digestive system is happy when I eat unprocessed foods and avoid artificial sweeteners and so I do my best to avoid them. At first it was a bummer – no more crystal lite, no funfetti cupcakes, no recees pb cups; but then I realized that it’s probably for the best. Eating “real” food is healthier and makes me feel more energetic

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 10, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Caitlin…I am sooo glad you saw Chelsey’s post yesterday. It said everything I’ve wanted to say about Gluten and food allergies for years…I’ve said some of it and agree with everything she wrote. Loved it when I read it yesterday.

    And yes, food allergies. I have them and spent years in my early and mid 20s doing just what you are doing…working with a naturopath, doing various blood tests, and then it all boiling down to trial and error, food removal and reintroduction, the gold standard, for food allergies.

    Even if a blood test can’t tell you you are sensitive to this or that, by removing the food for a month, and then bringing it back in and getting headaches, GI upset, rashes, etc etc whatever the symptom is, yep, that’s your answer.

    Based on that, my body requests that I am gluten, soy, and dairy mindful. For 5 yrs I was a STRICT GF Vegan, and for 3 of the 5, also soy-free. Currently, I have *small* amounts of those items in my diet but only after 5+ yrs without and taking massive steps to heal my gut and repair the damage to it.

    I could go on and on. Love the post!

  • Clarissa June 10, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Great post! My boyfriend found out he’s a celiac a year ago, so we’ve had fun adventuring to the GF restaurants in NYC – there are a bunch! One thing GFs also can’t have is soy sauce. Who knew soy sauce had wheat in it? Also – Twizzlers have gluten in it – so odd. I’m doing the raw thing mostly, which means no bread products at all. It’s been tough, but I find I don’t need bread, pasta, etc to feel full. Brown rice is better for you anyways!

    • Cyclist Kate June 10, 2011, 10:57 pm

      You *can* have soy sauce! Just look for tamari :).

      • Amber K June 11, 2011, 12:37 pm

        or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) June 10, 2011, 4:13 pm

    Honestly, as much as it sucks to find something like this out, it makes you feel so much better when you don’t eat things that make you feel like crap! I can’t have dairy or soy and my husband has celiac, so no gluten. I actually LOVE gluten free flours. Socca is my all time favorite pizza crust and I don’t have to eat gluten free. If you need anything, please let me know. I am happy to help however I can!

  • Charlotte June 10, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I found out a year ago that I have an intolerance to several types of food. I took an elisa test after doctor’s thought I had arthritis, but could not prove it. It turns out I am intolerant to several coloring agents, cow dairy, black pepper, gaur gum cherries and a few other random things. I have gotten used to the change over the past year and all my symptoms of arthritis are completely gone. Eating out is probably the most difficult thing. Luckily I do not have that bad of a reaction so when something I can not eat slips by I can manage, it is never fun though. I almost think eating gluten free would be easier because it is so much more common than gaur gum and black pepper! Good luck! It gets easier everyday!

  • Gina (Yogattude) June 10, 2011, 4:19 pm

    I wonder if that is why I feel so unrested in the morning despite 8+ hours of sleep…

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:35 pm

      It might be!

  • Evan June 10, 2011, 4:24 pm

    Oh man – that’s so interesting! I took the same test before I started my acupuncture treatments, and my adrenal gland function is actually the opposite of yours – they’re overworked. Rather than chilling out at nighttime like they should, they decrease slightly during the day and stay steadily in the middle all night…which explains my occasional insomnia and other menstruation issues.

    Food intolerances! Honestly, it’s likely I have something subtle (I think everyone does toward something, since we’re all built differently), but food editors/writers can’t really worry about that stuff if it’s not painful or noticeable. In fact, my TCM doctor told me that most people with digestion issues are gluten intolerant!

    Anyway – very fascinating findings. Chinese medicine and its holistic approach to health – that everything is related and illness is hardly ever acute – makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss June 10, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Going gluten free would be a challenge, but you definitely are in the write community to be doing so with all these GF people to help out!

  • Abby June 10, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I have an allergy to walnuts so it makes it tough to eat certain dishes at restaurants but I have never really known anything different! My boyfriend is allergic to all tree nuts though so we have to be really careful with what he eats!

  • Rachel @ Grateful Girl Goes Gluten Free June 10, 2011, 4:35 pm

    I would never guess you had a gluten sensitivity because you never complain of feeling ill after eating gluten products! Or just having stomach issues in general. I have to tell you once you cut back on the gluten your energy will SKYROCKET! I have been gluten free for almost a year and feel absolutely wonderful!

  • Kate June 10, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I have sensitivities to both dairy and gluten! Sometimes it is rough. Right now I’m trying to make myself feel better by baking and trying out new foods.

    I found that eating dairy/gluten free makes me feel so much better that it is worth the work.

  • Jen June 10, 2011, 4:58 pm

    Hey, I’m currently eating gluten-free, and just posted an update on it today! How weird. You can go to my blog if you want to read about the affect gluten has had on my life lately. I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist next week to find out if I’m actually intolerant. Thanks for posting other bloggers’ experiences! I’m looking forward to going back and reading them.

  • Katie June 10, 2011, 5:15 pm

    I do not have a blog, but would recommend a book my friend wrote called Gluten Free Made Simple. It has been a lifesaver when cooking for my brother’s girlfriend, who is sensitive to gluten and eats a gluten-free diet.

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:35 pm

      Awesome! Thanks.

  • Molly @ RDexposed June 10, 2011, 5:16 pm

    I don’t have any intolerences or allergies…yet! And I hope I never have any. I counsel people on these kinds of things everyday but wouldn’t want to deal with it. I did a short term GF diet for a class assignment and was dreaming of bagels the entire time!

  • meagan June 10, 2011, 5:20 pm

    King Arthur brand GF brownies are amazing. They rival even the Ghiradelli box brand, only have a few ingredients: sugar, tapioca starch, rice flour, cocoa and leavening. So tasty!

    Also, I know that you’re a vegetarian but you might find a lot of help from the Paleo-diet people. I eat a low-carb/Paleo hybrid diet for metabolic/inflammation reasons, and my brother eats this way because he has ulcerative colitis. Both of us have noticed remarkable results in our overall health. Anyway, just something to take a look at–the Paleo/Primal community as a whole is gluten-free (grain-free).

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:34 pm

      Iiiiinteresting! I will look into Paleo!

  • Kate June 10, 2011, 5:33 pm

    I am allergic to onions and garlic. I love the flavor both impart but cannot deal with the hour later long lasting gastro intestinal issues. Same thing with all nuts except almonds. I am used to it but I know I am a pain to cook for.

  • brandalyn June 10, 2011, 6:07 pm

    what kind of test did you take to find out this info?

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:34 pm

      An Adrenal Stress Index test

  • Kati June 10, 2011, 6:08 pm

    This is actually how I first stumbled across your blog! About a year ago I made the switch to clean eating after finding out that my GI issues were caused by a sugar alcohol intolerance. I kept a food diary for 3 years before my doctor and I were able to figure out all my “trigger foods.” I now avoid milk and whey products (I’m also lactose intolerant) as well as sugar alcohols like xylotol and sorbitol.

    At first I felt super awkward when eating out because I always need to ask for substitutions or modifications to the meals, but I’ve learned that most restaurants are happy to help. I used to beat myself up over it and feel guilty about my eating being inconvenient to others, but eventually I just had to accept that it was something I couldn’t change.

  • Stephanie C June 10, 2011, 6:17 pm

    I have a sensitivity to dairy (lactose intolerant) but if I don’t eat more than one serving a day, I’m okay – I try to limit my intake even more though. I also have a sensitivity to all things bean! lentils, garbanzo, pinto, black, white, etc.
    A naturopath used to rent space at the office I used to work at and I had to go through all the testing if someone asked me questions. He said I had the same sensitivity, but I’ve never had any problems. I went on a GF diet for a little bit.. again didn’t notice a difference.
    It used to be hard for me to get up in the morning as well, but I found out that was due to some thryoid issues.. so I am on something for that, and I’ve found B vitamins really help, as well.
    Good luck with the possible diet switch! There is still some yummy food out there that is GF 🙂 An old friend of mine has celiac and she lost so much weight from how sick she got, but she’s learned to deal with it and said it isn’t that bad.

    • Stephanie C June 10, 2011, 6:21 pm

      Oh! I remembered another.. If I have too much line or pineapple (but not other citrus?) my tongue starts bleeding.. is that an intolerance? hah.

      • Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc June 10, 2011, 7:44 pm

        My mom used to tell me that pineapple is a fruit that ‘cuts the tongue’, so it’s better not to eat too much of it. I don’t know the science behind this though. Also,It does help if you don’t drink water straight after eating pineapples too:)

  • Ashley June 10, 2011, 6:29 pm

    Two and half years ago, I was given similar news as you. On my journey to treating my depression, I was diagnosed with a sensitivity to gluten. I cut gluten out of my diet completely and noticed an immediate improvement in both my physical and mental health and continued eating completely gluten-free for two years. Since last fall, I’ve starting incorporating small amounts of gluten into my diet (and eating larger amounts, a piece of cake for example, only every month of so) and have been totally fine. I cannot give enough credit to a low-gluten diet for all that it has done to improve my life.

    It was challenging at times and seemed way too restrictive combined with my vegan diet, but now that I can consume small amounts of gluten I am finding my sensitivity much less intimidating. I know that you’ll have no problem adjusting your diet and I hope that you see the same wonderful health results as I did!

  • Laura June 10, 2011, 6:49 pm

    Food allergies are a total nightmare for me, to be honest. I’m allergic to dairy, whole wheat, most grains including oats and rice, soy, legumes, shellfish, treenuts, groundnuts, honey, onions, garlic, shallots, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, spinach, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, sulfites, apples, pears, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, pawpaw and raw tomato. I think that’s all. But good luck eating at a restaurant, right? 🙂

    How do you do the test for gluten sensitivity? I’d be interested to know. I know I can’t eat whole wheat, but I’m not celiac and so far have been relying quite a lot of white bread particularly for breakfast. Is there a blood test you can have, and is through the GP or a holistic doctor?

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:33 pm

      Well, my test was a saliva test. I would ask your GP how they can test for it.

  • Leslie June 10, 2011, 6:51 pm

    I recently started seeing a naturopath due to various issues, in part because of abnormal pap smears (had to do the colposcopy and LEEP as well, and didn’t want to again) and also found out that I have food sensitivities. I have a severe allergy to gluten, as well as eggs, whey, and lima bean (I know, who is allergic to lima beans?), and I have to say I’m so glad I found out. As soon as I cut these things out of my diet (I had to cut them out completely due to the level of allergy), I had so many problems go away, and feel so much different. I also went in for a pap recently (which I’ve had to do every 3 months for years) and it came back normal for the first time ever! Because of that, I’ve really related to your posts about that subject, and this subject, thank you for writing about it!

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:32 pm

      I’m glad you feel better!

      Your pap story gives me hope.

  • M June 10, 2011, 6:55 pm

    I have 18 food sensitivities/allergies. Main ones being gluten, tomato, cucumber, yeast, soy,sunflower, coconut. After being sick for so long, its a blessing. It is not that hard but the tricky ones are gluten, yeast, soy and sunflower (surprisingly in so much granola, popcorn,etc).

    Knowing that my body is inflamed from the food and can cause other harmful effects on my body is enough for me to make the necessary changes.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 10, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Wow, this must be pretty surprising news for you! It really makes me wonder how many people have gluten sensitivities and don’t even know it.

    I’m allergic to nuts and peanuts (except almonds) and it’s a pain in the butt! There are so many restaurants and foods I have to avoid! 🙁

  • Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc June 10, 2011, 7:38 pm

    I’m sensitive to gluten, dairy and eggs. I think symptoms of gluten/food sensitivities appear in many forms. Some people get digestive problems, while others (like me) may break out in eczema/rash. Prior to being diagnosed with these food sensitivities, I used to wonder why I was always having eczema. The eczema went away when I stopped eating foods with gluten, dairy and eggs.

    It was not an easy thing to do, since I loved bread, pasta, cereal, milk, eggs etc. But I gradually got used to it. Like you said, there are worse things than having food sensitivities. At least it’s not an allergy that is life-threatening:)

  • Evan Thomas June 10, 2011, 7:42 pm

    What Chelsea said really resonated with me. I have a serious gluten allergy(probably Celiac but never diagnosed)and it definitely gets in the way. It makes it hard to eat out with friends and family or go on vacation without worrying about where your next meal will be. The only food I truly miss are donuts; I would kill for a Dunkin Donuts donut.

  • ashley June 10, 2011, 7:47 pm

    Gluten isn’t really good for anyone. It basically acts like a paste in the intestines. Particularly, wheat has become increasingly genetically modified over the years just as soy, and just isn’t what it used to be. The particular saliva test you took, though, tends to have A LOT of false positives with the gltuen sensitivity. In fact, a lot of docs discount its results when it comes to gluten. The gold standard for gluten sensitivies are IgE blood tests, IgG if you want to be a bit more specific but less verified by typical western medicine. I really WOULDN’T stress over the gluten thing too much. Obviously when you have the choice to choose gluten or not, try not to choose it. But the further you delve into holistic medicine, the more paranoid you can become unable to distinguish truth from fiction.

    • Baking 'n' Books June 10, 2011, 9:37 pm

      Oh – I really like that last sentence.

      It applies to everything – the more we over-think or get too picky about stuff – the more we overcomplicate things and simply forget to just live and be.

    • lizzy June 22, 2011, 10:41 pm


      Great response. As an allopathic trained physician (M.D), I have a hard time holding my tongue on these sorts of “diagnostic tests”. You eloquently said what I have been trying to say regarding this topic and the need for a gluten-free diet w/o gold standard diagnosis. There are MANY MANY things that relate to abnormal cortisol levels and pap smears…gluten intolerance is tangentially related at best.

      • ashley June 23, 2011, 12:55 am

        Haha…well, that said…I’d like to add that I wish all of the funds devoted to allopathic medicine’s research and keeping the pharmaceutical companies fat were streamed towards research that actually kept people healthy (ie-naturopathic medicine). If holistic medicine had a hold of the country the way allopathic medicine does, the health of the entire country would have an enormous shift UPWARDS. Health is the absence of disease and not managing chronic conditions that supposedly just come with age using pharmaceuticals.. With the way industry has a hold of ‘medicine’ in America, I don’t see this shift ever happening. But it’d be nice. My goal is to stay out of the hands of allopathic MDs if at all possible. Because when they’re dealing with you, the disease has set in and it’s too late. And the standard for ‘health’ is low LoW LOW. I’ve worked at top hospitals all over the country, and it’s pretty unsettling what is passed off as the standard for healthcare when there’s so much potential that we’re not tapping into with chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine, a whole foods plant based diet, etc.

        • lizzy June 23, 2011, 8:21 am

          I completely agree that the goal of out society should be disease prevention through all avenues, including CAM or naturopathic medicine. However, most diseases like Type I diabetes, most instances of hypertension and high cholesterol and cancer are the result of GENETIC MUTATION…early in development and not within our control to prevent. You can promote a whole foods diet until blue in the face, but this will not reverse the symptoms or lengthen the life of a child with a severe genetic disease furthermore NOTHING her mother/father could have done would make a difference either. I’ve spent years learning and understanding the complex biochemical processes that underlie the most simple and most complex diseases that we know about. Unfortunately, most in not all are the result of mutations that we cannot control regardless of the environment we introduce for our body (ie. trying to maintain health). Also, The “evil people” in the battle against health are not medical researchers (of which I am a member as well)…but I agree that BIG PHARMA does have a sphere of influence over the US that frightens me (not a dollar of my research funds has ever come from a PHARM company). Medical researchers don’t have sexy lifestyles, make enormous amounts of money like people believe and we certainly are not in it for the fame. We discover these genetic mutations, provide therapies and try to solve these problems so that people can do their best to be healthy independent of drugs if possible. Removing medical research would be the death of our society, education is under attack in the US and doing away with medical research will move us more backward that we already are. The biggest hurdle to jump with regard to American health standards are the standards that patients have to have for themselves…having a holistic doctor tell you to eat a plant based diet and take vitamins, let be honest is not groundbreaking..I tell this to patients EVERYDAY do they do it? No and no a thousand times over, I don’t think that changing the messenger will change this problem because the information is out there. If every patient read as many articles about healthy diet as they did about what disease they think they have and what pill I should prescribe them (even though I have a decade plus of schooling) we might not be severely obese…and that information is out there people just don’t care. Americans don’t want to be told what to do, are overworked and have the ability to get absolutely everything they want or crave in a 5 miles radius at any time. Removing this “society of now” mentality will not change cancer rates, genetic diseases, digestion problems and even heart and lung dysfunction…because the entire world has relatively similar epidemiology for these “big diseases”. Our unwillingness to embrace holistic medicine is the not cause of these diseases or lack of health….we are an imperfect animal. We harbor mutations, stochastic changes and biochemical processes that cannot be touched by holistic or allopathic medicine. This is why we have to treat symptoms and not causes….because we can’t and there is nothing in a holistic doctors arsenal that can do either, practically speaking once dysfunction on a genetic level is present. I hope that you can avoid doctors, just as I have my entire life….but I hope that (god forbid) you make the evidence supported choice and at least see an allopath for treatments like cancer, heart attacks or diabetes. My heart breaks for every cancer patient that could have been cured by Western medicine but choses something else that doesn’t work and kills them faster. I don’t want to rant, but with all the misinformation on this post I had to perk up and show support for logic and not conjecture. Besides defunding american researchers, I think we have surprisingly similar viewpoints about how the american public should approach and begin to manage their own health! Cheers!

        • Caitlin June 23, 2011, 9:25 am

          I love this opposing but nice exchange 🙂

        • Caitlin June 23, 2011, 9:26 am

          And yes, Lizzy, personally I agree with you that in emergency cases (cancer for example), holistic medicine is not the best answer. That’s when I’d be all over Western meds.

  • Sarah June 10, 2011, 8:03 pm

    Wow, Caitlin, thank you so much for this post! I just found out yesterday I may have coeliacs disease, and I was ready to cry. It is still to be confirmed (I will be getting a biopsy to make sure), but this is a great post for me to reference.

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:30 pm

      <3 good luck with everything.

  • Alicia June 10, 2011, 8:24 pm

    Woah, Caitlin! That’s totally crazy! And interesting to think about, since you felt different but didn’t realize it could be medical. But you are a smart gal, and you have made tons of food adjustments and I know I’ll see some creative/delicious recipes coming from you. You are the best person to possibly have to deal with this, and you will make it fun. Good luck!

    • Caitlin June 10, 2011, 10:30 pm

      Thanks Alicia, what a support comment.

  • Baking 'n' Books June 10, 2011, 9:35 pm

    Wow…not really sure what to say. I figured your adrenal results would be positive. I’m pretty sure mine are…haven’t been tested (can’t afford this now) – but a ND told me in the past that I was. Used to be a competitive runner…now stress, life, fatigue, family, etc. – I’m, well, not. I’m lost.

    The GF thing seems to come out of nowhere here! I don’t think you mentioned it before?

    What I HATE though is that people automatically think that going gluten-free (or mostly) means a low – carb diet – it’s NOT and SHOULDN’T BE! Carbs are essential for energy and needed in conjunction with protein for building muscle (otherwise protein is used as energy which leads to muscle wasting, further fatigue, etc.).

    My favorite bread is a GF bread actually that is made from brown rice flours. It can work with your sandwiches!

    And you can still eat Oats (maybe try GF to avoid risks). Or make creamed brown rice or quinoa?

    I still eat wheat – usually in the form of pizza crust ;)…but I aim for variety. Why not!! And I know buckwheat is popular for a lot of recipes.

    I’m kind of saddened in a way – it seemed this was one of the few remaining blogs that was just “normal” even though your veg! But I know it’s serious and for you to do what’s needed and you can still eat lots of great things!

    Personally, I agree with a comment above – eating good quality meat, eggs, etc. is so important too. I know your veg – so that’s fine. You gotta do what you gotta do!! But when I started eating a well-rounded diet again with all food groups and increasing the lean meats, etc. – I just felt so much better!! And satisfied.

    Anyways, that’s my (non) sense.

  • Amy @ June 10, 2011, 10:11 pm

    You know, ever since you mentioned your ASI testing it really got me thinking about my own issues. It is like I am useless when everyone is productive and I am cleaning the kitchen at 3:30 AM. Ergh.

  • Jessica June 10, 2011, 10:36 pm

    Do you know how you can tell if you are sensitive to gluten? Could you cut it out for a while and see if you can tell a difference? Or is there a good book/resource you know of?

    I am sensitive to dairy. Like someone else commented above, my face breaks out if I eat too much of it. But I can handle small servings (I mainly eat cheese and sometimes Greek yogurt). My acne was pretty bad when I was a teenager and I never knew that dairy contributed until a couple of years ago when I tried being vegan for a while.

    • Jessica June 11, 2011, 10:57 am

      If you have symptoms of gluten intolerance you should ask your doctor for a food allergy test before you change your diet.

      • AmandaonMaui July 28, 2011, 3:37 pm

        She should have a proper Celiac screening before going gluten free completely.

  • Cyclist Kate June 10, 2011, 11:10 pm

    I’ve thought off and on that I might be sensitive to gluten–asthma, hypothyroidism, foggy brain, achy joints…I’ve gone off of it a few times and always feel great, just haven’t made it stick yet.

    However, a couple of tips: always always always make sure you have a gluten free snack on hand. I adore corn thins, because they replace my regular crackers (I’m not much a fan of rice cakes)–I eat them either with peanut butter and jelly or some cheese. I’m not a huge fan of brown rice pasta–I know some people love it, but I prefer quionoa based pastas–I think they more closely mimic wheat pastas. This ( is the very best gluten free bread I have found. Yes, you have to make it yourself, but it’s easy enough to keep the dough in the fridge to pull out a hunk to bake off as needed. Gluten Free Girl’s blog is incredible–not only is it inspiring as a celebration of food, but she also has the best recipes, hands down. And finally, cook bigger batches of grains to keep in the fridge–a fried rice dinner ( is only minutes away. Good luck!

  • Khushboo June 10, 2011, 11:29 pm

    Great post! Sorry that most of your regular foods are on the ‘intolerable’ list but as you said, there are worse things in life! After reading Chelsey’s post, and now yours, it’s refreshing to see that there ARE ways to accommodate to intolerances without feeling handicapped! Have you tried chickpea flour? I made wraps out of it yesterday and ate them like quasadillas and they were a great alternative. Maybe you can make a batch at the start of the week and then pull it out of the fridge/freezer as needed.

  • Katie June 10, 2011, 11:34 pm

    Do you know She is fabulous. I dont have any gluten issues that i know of, but i still LOVE her blog Maybe you already know it? Anyway her blog is great, but in the past 2 weeks or so she’s specifically written about what it’s like at the beginning of a celiac/gluten sensitivity diagnosis. And basic starting out changing what you eat ideas. Good luck on your journey … Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

    • AmandaonMaui July 28, 2011, 3:36 pm

      She’s a wonderful person. I’ve been reading her blog for a while now, and she’s just so kind and full of life. Her journey has been amazing.

  • Sarah June 11, 2011, 3:48 am

    Welcome to the gluten-free club! Y’know, someone may have already said this, but you can have oats. Only people with celiac disease gluten-intolerance need to avoid oats because of cross-contamination (and even then you can get ones that haven’t been contaminated with wheat). But being gluten intolerant as is doesn’t mean you have to be careful of cross-contamination. Just saying because for YEARS I followed a strictly gluten-free diet as for celiacs only to find that I didn’t have to be super careful and worry about traces of gluten. Not sure if i’m making sense…! xxx

    • JenRD June 11, 2011, 10:45 am

      Yes, in face Bob’s Red Mill has some GF oats (no cross-contamination).


    • Amber K June 11, 2011, 12:39 pm

      Bob’s Red Mill GF oats definitely saved me! I don’t have celiac, but I still react to regular oats. Darn contamination!

      • AmandaonMaui July 28, 2011, 3:35 pm

        I love their oats too. I’m so glad I can eat them. Some people can’t even eat the GF Oats.

        • Amber K July 28, 2011, 6:18 pm

          I feel very blessed that I can have GF oats, because I have enough intolerances for just one person 🙂 And I freagin’ love oatmeal!

  • Sarah June 11, 2011, 3:59 am

    PS Good luck with it! It’s fine once you get used to it. Let me know if you need anymore tips or recipes etc (I’ve been gluten-free for almost 7 years… that makes me feel old!).

    And all the best for the race today! (It’s saturday here in the UK already).

    Lots of love

  • Jennifer @ Evolving Well June 11, 2011, 10:36 am

    Hi Caitlin,
    I had the exact same testing done a few years ago which started me down this journey. It’s a very valuable test! I will tell you, the following year I had the test done again and I was worse than the year before and found myself in Adrenal Fatigue b/c I was over-working out and from years of my immune system being elevated from food intolerances (gluten, casein & eggs). Clearly a lot had to change since then to get back to where I am now 2 years later.

  • Katie June 11, 2011, 10:39 am

    Gluten intolerance is NOT the same as Celiac’s disease. Celiac’s disease is an autoimmune disease (like MS, or rheumatoid arthritis). So Celiac’s is more than a full-blown sensitivity. There is a different mechanism going on. Gluten intolerance may make you sick, but it isn’t causing your body to attack and destroy your own small intestine like Celiac’s. I was sad to see this misinformation on your blog because the same incorrect information is everywhere. I think it is really important for people to understand the difference.

    • AmandaonMaui July 28, 2011, 3:34 pm

      You’re absolutely right! They are very different. Some more in depth research might be necessary.

  • Jessica June 11, 2011, 10:52 am

    I was really sick for about four years before a doctor recommended a food allergy test. The results showed that I am allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, almonds and walnuts. At first it was difficult to adjust my diet but now I’m just so happy to feel healthy again and I’ve gotten much more creative with my diet and cooking. Eating out is still tough and not as enjoyable but that’s ok- I love to cook anyway 😉 If you’re looking for a good GF bread Udi’s makes the best one I’ve tried.

  • Amber K June 11, 2011, 12:17 pm

    It was totally a slap in the face when I first found out I was gluten-intolerant. I totally had that WHY ME? moment.

    Especially because I found out I can’t handle xanthan gum either, which basically means I can’t eat any premade gluten-free treats. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but sometimes I’d love to be able to go and let someone else make me a cinnamon roll or muffin or something and not have to worry about the pain afterwards.

    But there are definitely harder health things to deal with!

  • Krista @ Can't Survive on Yarn Alone June 11, 2011, 1:40 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing what GF recipes you post. I have friends who are GF and having more options to serve always is a good thing.

    I have a peanut allergy but luckily not an extemely severe reaction. I used to have an egg sensitivity but outgrew it. Otherwise it’s dairy – esp full fat – and pistachios esp when cooked is when I have to watch out sensitivity wise.

  • Julia @ Do more feel Good June 13, 2011, 9:46 am

    I was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease 2 years ago after 4 years of tummy problems, severe anemia, a misdiagnosis, and a scolding from my doctor on trying to diagnose myself (after which he apologized when I happened to be right!). I definitely cried and had a “last meal” of greasy pizza and Bud Light.

    But honestly there are so many options out there now than there used to be. I now drink more wine/ciders and eat more salads and veggies. I do feel guilty when friends have to make special exceptions for me at get togethers or even in restaurants. For the most part, restaurants are really understanding and many of the larger chains have g-free menus and train their staff on it proper handling.

    Odi’s g-free bread (I get it at Whole Foods) is healthy, slightly better pricewise than others, and actually tastes like real bread. I’ve been using other options that are just awful and only good for toast. But last week, for the 1st time in 2 years, I had a sandwich. And it was awesome.

    Unless you find something you really love, I wouldn’t fall into the trap of buying too many (expensive) things that have to be made specifically g-free. Like your friend Maggie says, buy things that are already naturally g-free…hello rice and quinoa!

    • AmandaonMaui July 28, 2011, 3:32 pm

      The only thing I don’t like about Udi’s is that they use corn syrup in their products as a preservative. Blech.

      I agree that it’s much cheaper, and more healthful, to stick with the foods that are naturally gluten free than going out and buying a bunch of substitute foods.

      It’s nice to hear that restaurants in your area are all so open to serving you the best they can. I wish I could say the same about where I live.

      Stopping the gluten, I have CD, also helped me to start eating more healthfully and to pay attention to what I was eating. I am much more healthful now than I would be if I hadn’t had that shift in my diet.

  • Heather June 13, 2011, 4:43 pm

    I am not celiac but try to eat a low gluten diet, I find it gives me more energy. I prefer this because it allows for some flexibility, I just can’t overdo the gluten or I feel sick (i.e. beer and pizza…argh!).

    The definitely helps me eat more veggies and proteins….I imagine this would be much more difficult for you being vegetarian…..I base my meals on a protein rather than a starch. Hmmmm…

  • Kristin June 13, 2011, 8:11 pm

    I’m glad you finally have some answers and hopefully it’ll help. Unfortunately i’m in the same boat you are except on top of having to avoid gluten i also have to avoid sugar. I’m fructose intolerant meaning I can’t have any sugar (honey, molasses, splenda, fruit and root vegetables are also off the list). This also means that I have to check absolutely every ingredient list:( Strangely it also means I can’t have wheat because it has strands of fructans in it. I’m basically on a diabetic/celiac diet.

  • Krissy @ Make It Naked June 14, 2011, 11:23 am

    I couldn’t believe this when I read it bc I’m going through the SAME thing! I’ve recently had to remove gluten from my diet and I can’t tell you how incredible I feel. I truly am amazed and I’m sorry I didn’t do this earlier. It hasn’t been hard as I eat mostly whole foods anyway. I’m a big baker so that has been a challenge but I’m learning new recipes and replacements. I just posted brownies that are the BOMB! Better than any non-GF brownie I’ve ever had! I hope you find that you get similar results after reducing your gluten intake. My energy is ridiculous. I think I’m slightly annoying now 🙂 I try to keep it in check by having solo dance parties in my kitchen. Glad you have answers! Good luck!

  • Miranda June 14, 2011, 2:46 pm

    How did I miss this post?? Great references above, Caitlin. I kept it very simple in the beginning. Lean protein and vegetables only. Now I feel like I can branch out and explore more. But it was an adjustment at first.

  • Joanna June 15, 2011, 4:04 pm

    did you buy a test online or was this test done at a doctor’s office (do doctors even offer it)? i’m very interested to get myself tested.

    thanks and best of luck 🙂

    • Caitlin June 15, 2011, 8:19 pm

      The test was preformed at home via a saliva test, but I bought it from my husband ( You can email him at if you are interested, he does e-consults!

  • AmandaonMaui July 28, 2011, 3:29 pm

    Barley malt is definitely NOT gluten free. Not all wheat grass or barley grass is either. I know you’re not cutting out all gluten, but I just wanted to put it out there that those items on the tolerable list might end up confusing some people into think they’re okay for their friends or family members, or themselves.

  • kristin s. October 14, 2011, 2:00 pm

    I noticed online there is both a urine and saliva test. What made you go with the saliva and not urine?

    • Caitlin October 14, 2011, 2:23 pm

      I was testing something else (adrenals) and the saliva is the best for that.

  • Spark February 22, 2012, 12:03 pm

    Anyone remotely in science business will tell you that your test is inconclusive specially looking at the chart.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out different if you re-did it.


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