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What’s your gluten tolerance level? March 18, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Living It.

heart breadIf the answer is “I don’t know” join the club. I’m intolerant, not celiac or allergic. According to my nutritionist I should test my tolerance levels with hopes of building my tolerance level up. With many cravings and this hopeful advice I have been braving it to determine how much I can take. Intolerance is a moving target. You feel OK them bam you wonder what happened.

This is how it goes. I can eat bread for two days straight. Then I think well, let me try REAL pasta. About the third day in I begin to bloat and run into digestive symptoms. I guess I can handle one to two doses per week. But hey that’s better than nothing. I miss bread so much I went to the special bakery and paid $8 for one loaf of an organic honey rosemary blend. It was worth it for the taste and if it’s going to be a treat, I’m going to splurge. Forget the Wonderbread.

…although I occasionally crave that too…with tuna or crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly. The cheap kind. It’s a lunch box nostalgia.

I’ve seen several specialists at this stage it’s hard to keep them all straight. The diagnosis is the same with every test, they know nothing. One doctor mentioned it is not possible to build back tolerance (which would mean building up production of the enzymes to digest the said intolerable item).

Do you have any facts or experiences on this? I’m looking for clarity. Comments appreciated.



1. Carl Balingit - March 18, 2011

Hi Melonie,

In an honest attempt at clarity, I realize that yet another opinion may just add more density to the issue. After all, another opinion is simply another layer of thought to sift through. But in any case…

I’m skeptical of the whole gluten craze (or anti-gluten craze) — not of celiac disease, but of the trend of identifying gluten as a culprit for so many health conditions.

But I do realize the natural desire to subscribe to gluten intolerance. As humans, I think we get a lot of satisfaction from “a-ha” moments. And the idea of gluten intolerance presents such a moment: “A-ha! So *that’s* what’s wrong with me!” …followed by the empowering feeling of taking control of our lives [eliminate gluten from diet; hell, *e x t e r m i n a t e* gluten)].

Again, my opinion…

I think our bodies have an enormous capability to process food, stress, challenges, etc. And in terms of diet, I feel many problems stem from overconsumption. For, even less-than-ideal food can be processed by our bodies if we eat in moderation.

The confusing part of this theory is that, for some people, even the slightest amount of gluten seems to set off a number of symptoms. But to counter that confusion, I suggest we think of our bodies as containers (or vessels) that hold the consequences of our actions.

So, a person may be filling their container with things besides gluten — overwork, lack of sleep, poor lifestyle habits, etc. And in some cases, gluten is simply added to the top of a container already full of triggers of poor health.

We can eliminate gluten, but some of us still have containers that are running at full capacity, waiting for that last ounce of whatever to cause an overflow.

…And when our containers overflow, we get symptoms.

(Consider this as light-hearted food for thought.)

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