Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tips for Testing the Diet Change

If you suspect you or your child has gluten-intolerance here are a few tips:

  • The gluten protein is very similar to casein in milk and soy protein. It is often wise to avoid those as well too--at least at first.
  • You can try a few approaches, depending on what sounds most overwhelming to you:
  • 1. Eliminate just gluten, and if there is still a problem eliminate other potential irritants one at a time. This can take a long time and patience, but for some people gradual is easier.
  • 2. Eliminate one or more of the main potential irritants and gradually reintroduce them, watching for reactions. (i.e., milk and gluten; milk, soy and gluten; etc). Don't introduce new foods for at least a month--three months is better. It can be overwhelming to try to figure out how to feed you or your child like this, but it is a more certain approach than #1.
  • 3. Go to a very basic diet of rice, rice milk, fruits and vegetables, and basic meats with no add-ins (like avoid sausage and watch out for tuna because it sometimes has soybean oil). Introduce foods one at a time and watch for reactions. Don't introduce new foods for at least a month--three months is better. This can also be overwhelming for the same reasons as #2. But then there is no question as to what caused the reaction.
  • Be very careful of cross-contamination. Gluten is sticky and even the smallest trace can cause a reaction in some people.
  • It might get better before it gets worse. There may be withdrawal symptoms, similar to that of a drug. The body will not be used to it. (That never happened to us but I have seen it happen to others).
  • Don't give up! Once you get a system down and get your house stocked with "strange" ingredients it will be relatively easy to make substitutions and get by.
  • Keep a food/symptom journal to make sure you get accurate information. It can help a doctor with diagnosis as well.
  • Just because medical tests come up negative doesn't mean there isn't a gluten problem. If you feel better--that's a pretty good indication that the diet is working, regardless of the diagnosis. Gluten-intolerance is hard to pick up by tests.