Apr 102013

This morning I went to the doctors to ask for a blood test to check if I am gluten intolerant. I’ve been discussing this on and off with my sister Gill for about two years, a she has been dealing with Millie’s ongoing condition.

My symptoms are not specifically obvious or outrageous, but when I eat bread I immediately get a very bloated feeling and my stomach pushes out like a balloon. I then have to deal with the excess gas that is generated, and it either comes out through burps or through farts.

I remember two occasions where it was really noticeable. My friend’s daughter’s christening was a great opportunity for a celebration, and so the lunch was a whole table full of delicious, home-made cakes and scones. Boy did I blow-up like a balloon that night. The second occasion was when I went for a walk with a friend and we had a fantastic lunch served with a freshly made loaf. As we walked along the Central Canal looking over the Vale of Belvoir, again I was like a balloon and full of wind.

So I’ve always tried to moderate my bread intake. However, this winter I’ve put on a lot of weight and decided that I need to shift it. In the past I’ve been an active and regular runner, but I have never been able to get rid of the belly. It hasn’t mattered what form of exercise I do, my pot belly has always been with me. My mother tells me that I could never eat Wheatabix as a child. So it sounds like I’ve had it for some time.

I decided, that I needed to explain this to my doctor, so last night I had a couple of fresh cobs, some malt loaf and half a pizza. What I wasn’t planning on was ‘throwing a whitey’. I don’t know what they put in bread these days, but the carb spike and the adrenalin crash afterwards was a tough one to manage. So I ended up falling asleep on the sofa.

In order to make sure that I could demonstrate the belly for certainty I had the second half of the pizza this morning, then a couple of cobs with cheese on, for good measure. No wonder I’ve put weight on. After getting back from the GPs, I had a second ‘whitey’ and ended up going to back to bed for half an hour.

While I’m not predicting any specific outcome here, this little experiment tells me that I need to be more careful about my wheat and gluten intake. Unfortunately, so that I get a positive result from the blood test the GP has ordered, I’ve got to keep eating wheat for a few more weeks yet. We agreed that I can moderate the amount to something that I feel comfortable with.

What’s interesting is that I’ve always associated these issues with a sense of moral weakness on my part, that I am greedy and prone to eating excessively. In other words, I’m a glutton. The extent to which we are prepared to tie moral values to the physiological effects of what we eat is extensive. We get pulled in to thinking that we have somehow failed as a person because we are not able to regulate our bodies, and yet when we live in a society that provides extensively for wheat or sugar based food options, there is little wonder in my mind why we are not all a lot fatter and a lot more unhealthy.

I’ve decided to share my experiences about this as I go through the process of finding out more about it, and hopefully learning from other people who maybe have the same issues and are fighting the same things.

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