Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Taking wheat off the table...

Don't remember exactly when or how wheat appeared on the radar. Consciously speaking, it was probably some time earlier this year, after stomach issues on long rides. Also, gym workouts did not seem to make me any stronger. Time to stop ingesting things, see what works.

Honestly my patience with dietary trends and fads goes into the minus territory. That's what gluten-free among athletes seemed to be. But a perk of being an athlete is we get to experiment. The body becomes a real laboratory, one we can control.

(That's also how many people realize what's true for one body is not necessarily true for another. You can see a ton of variation among individual cyclists, for example. It starts to erode the meaningfulness of large, randomized clinical trials. Whose conclusions are the cornerstone right now of medical research.)

Long story short, avoiding wheat and other things with gluten seems to help my gut feel better. A weird little rash and some other skin issues have gone away. Am sleeping better. No idea how long this has been going on.

As it turns out (believe it or not) they've recently found a connection between TBI and gluten sensitivity. Mostly among women. After a brain injury the immune system can develop a reaction to an enzyme that we need to digest gluten. The name of the enzyme is transglutiminase 6 (TGM6). Some TBI survivors go on to develop full-blown celiac disease (CD).

Even without a measurable disease or condition, this doctor believes that wheat (and other grains) can affect cognitive function.

You can have low-level inflammation going on and not realize it. And while still eating some wheat, my reaction was less severe. Now that it's totally gone from my diet, the reaction is obvious.

On the one hand, good to know. On the other, life without bread, pasta, pastries? Is that even possible?


  1. I consider trying to live without croissants but then I remember that I don't hate myself that much.

  2. Life without breads, pasta and pastries. You have just killed off the Italians and French. Being half Italian, I just couldn't live with out these. Hmmm, I think my parents must have been keeping something from me.. The other half of me must be French as I also love pastries. Sorry, I just cant bring myself to commit culinary suicide !! I love Quiche Lorraine. PS. Isnt there a tablet I could take to cure this..

    1. I know, I know. There is absolutely no way I could go gluten-free if gluten did not make me sick. On the other hand, when something makes you sick and you make the connection it's amazingly easy to give it up! Just think of getting sick! I do miss fresh croissants and these pizzas with a homemade crust I used to make...