Celiac – That’s When You Get Super Skinny From Not Eating Wheat Right?
I had the pleasure of sitting down with the guys from Sickboy a few weeks ago to talk about Celiac disease. I didn’t know much about their podcast but a good friend asked me if I wanted to talk about my disease and I figured why not! I was intrigued about a podcast that solely talked to sick people about being sick…. Most of my life has been spent talking to my family and friends about my daily issues with being Celiac and I’m not sure they always welcomed the conversation with open arms. Sometimes these convos involve a lot of graphic detail…. Like this one time explaining to my now fiancée how I felt like I was being stabbed in the side of the stomach with a knife followed by someone pouring hot acid into my side. This was my way of describing pain. Or the regular conversation around how irregular I have bowel movements. We seriously celebrate when I have a “regular” week.
Celiac is an auto immune disease. You know that because you listened to this podcast (I hope!). What I find fascinating about this disease is that the only cure is food – or lack of food. Namely gluten. It’s led me to spend many hours, probably too many, becoming obsessed with how food can heal and harm you at the same time. I’m not someone who believes that gluten is evil (well not for everyone at least) but I do think that some foods can do some serious harm to our bodies. There is some interesting research now that suggests that for Celiacs there are other food items that may cause the same inflammatory response that I get when I eat wheat. I was first tuned-in to this article on a pseudo-science website (don’t hate me but its true) called Mind Body Green. This article basically goes on to say that most things, including coffee and chocolate, cause an inflammatory response in Celiacs: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7875/are-you-not-healing-because-your-body-thinks-coffee-chocolate-cheese-are-glute.html. After reading this article I freaked out and cut everything out of my diet…. And then the scientist in me decided to do some more research. I also didn’t want to have to give up everything else I loved on top of giving up all things gluten. Turns out the list of items to remove from your diet are actually the list of items tested in this study (only a small portion of these items actually created an inflammatory response). The study quoted in the article had also not yet been peer reviewed and the authors even said additional research was needed…but of course none of this came out on the website and so Celiacs like me, who haven’t gotten 100% better on a GF diet and are looking for anything to help them feel better, end up making extreme diet changes based on opinion not science based fact!
I’m not knocking the website entirely and I’m glad it got me tuned-in to Celiac research but it does lead me to wonder about all the other “science” we read about in magazines regarding how food can heal or hurt you. It also makes me think that articles like this are what continue to propagate my ridiculous obsession and anxiety around food. What ever happened to everything in moderation (except gluten of course)? I live in Vancouver and everyone here is fuelled by $15 dollar green juices, quinoa everything and bandwagon diets. I sometimes wonder if this whole search to be the healthiest we can be is actually making us less healthy? So far I’ve found that the simpler I keep my diet the easier chance my body has of not dealing with a flare up. I get super sick up from cross contamination (think exorcist style reaction) but I also get sick from eating too much dairy, too many lentils, not eating regularly enough… the list goes on. I’ve found that there isn’t any one diet that has truly helped me. I’ve also noticed that the stress I create around food has caused me more harm than good. So for now I’m learning to chill the f*&%@ out and just take everything day by day. Who knows if one day there will be a cure for this weird disease but I sure hope so because I would love a big pizza and beer right now!
Well with that rant out of the way I just want to thank the Sickboy fans who listened to this podcast. I wasn’t sure anyone would want to hear about Celiac. It’s not nearly as interesting as other diseases. But if you’re one of those people who just can’t get enough of autoimmune diseases, stomach pain and bowel movements give me a shout… I’m always happy to chat.
Ps. These guys are doing something pretty special so keep supporting them!!