Help! Gluten Makes Me Sick

When I eat gluten I get very sick, very quickly. My stomach becomes bloated, I feel sleepy and dull. I have very low energy. I want nothing more than to curl into a ball on the couch or the floor, wherever I am, maybe undo the top button of my jeans, and grog off to sleep.

The only cure is prevention… do not eat gluten.

What is gluten in? The main cereal grains: wheat, oats, barley, bran and rye. So I have to avoid ordinary wheat based bread, pasta, pizza, cookies, cake, beer, etc.

If only it were that simple. People sneak wheat into food all over the place. I have to be careful of certain products that I know from experience make me sick.

For example:

  • Ordinary soy sauce must be replaced with an organic, specially-marked gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Ginger ale makes me sick.
  • Most restaurants coat their french fries in flour to make them crispier.

Eating out can be quite tricky. Aside from salad, the healthiest fast food I can grab is sushi. (Without the soy sauce, of course). I do best to pack lunches and snacks, and eat at home. My money is usually wasted at a fancy restaurant. I’d rather buy a good cut of meat and a nice bottle of wine, and dine where I can control the music.

So what do I eat?

  • Meat
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Rice
  • Rice or corn based pasta
  • Potato chips! (That’s my junk food vice)

And I bake my own bread using alternative flours made from: corn, chick pea, rice, potato, arrow root, etc.

If Gluten Makes You Sick

It is normal to feel a bit of anxiety while you adjust. I have been gluten-free since 2000 and after all these years, I can honestly say that it has improved my life. I am healthier and happier than ever. I have more energy, and my body is in better shape.

I find that the hardest time of day is late at night when I am hungry, but don’t have the energy or inspiration to cook a meal. You will want to plan ahead and have food ready for late night cravings. Cook extra portions of meals and keep left-overs in the fridge. Stay stocked up on snacks such as veggies and humus or nachos and salsa.

It will take time to adjust, but as your energy is renewed, you will find it gets easier. And once your body learns what it feels like to be enjoy gluten-free food and not get sick… your temptation to cheat will lessen. I used to have mad gluten cravings. I would want pizza or McDonalds. But I’ve had enough painful and painfully obvious lessons, my appetite rarely outranks my body.

You can do it. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worthwhile.


  1. I think most people would be surprised to learn of the things their body may be allergic to even though they’re considered part of a normal diet.

    For years I thought I was allergic to apples. I still may be, but I’ve noticed that allergic reactions seem to only happen after eating a store-bought, wax-covered apple. Same with nuts. A handful of mixed nuts may give me some allergic reaction, but i’ve never narrowed it down to a specific nut – nor is that an experiment I’d like to try.

  2. Dan, you’re so right. It’s very easy to eat “normal food” and disconnect from how it makes our body feel. Or blame low energy on other things.

    Once I had narrowed down what was making me so tired, my mother thought back to how I was always such a sleepy kid. And I remember sleeping through chemistry ~ certainly not for boredom. My chem teacher was top notch. But because it was after lunch, and I was unknowingly eating food my body couldn’t process.

    The world will benefit from increased deep listening.

  3. Oh my goodness! I can totally relate. I’m 20 years old and was never officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease. In fact, I got a negative blood test result and negative biopsy. This leads me to believe I have a gluten intolerance. I feel EXTREMELY tired after ingesting gluten, so much so that I failed an entire semester of classes because I was so tired from the gluten. I would eat pasta for lunch and dinner nearly every day, and couldn’t figure out why I was so fatigued all the time. I then decided to cut the gluten out of my diet and my fatigue went away! I was completely recharged and focused. I have been making straight A’s and B’s in school since I’ve been gluten free.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Sydne. I, too, was tested for Celiac Disease. The specialist thought I was a dead-ringer based on our discussion, but the biopsy came back negative. He was gung-ho for more testing… of an even less pleasant nature.

    I politely declined.

    So I’m not officially, positively-tested Celiac. But I know my body, and I know what makes me sick. (And it’s the same thing that make other Celiacs sick….) That’s enough for me to make informed menus.

  5. Extremely interesting blog post thanks for writing it I just added your blog to my bookmarks and will check back :) By the way this is off topic but I really like your sites layout.

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