I started my gluten-free diet almost two weeks ago after being diagnosed with celiac disease. Going gluten free is not easy and there are many withdrawal effects. Some studies have suggested that humans can be “addicted” to gluten in similar ways that a person can be addicted to heroin. This is why it has been so tough on my mind and body.
A few days after I cut out gluten completely, I started to have very vivid and unusual dreams intermixed with bouts of insomnia. I once dreamed that I was throwing up orange jello. It was very strange. This lasted for several days.
Next, came the uncontrollable hunger. In the evenings and at night, I experienced excessive hunger. My body was crying out for gluten, but I kept giving it gluten-free food instead, which is why the hunger was never satisfied. This would last all evening until I finally fell asleep. Even though I did not weigh myself during this time, it’s safe to say I gained a few pounds during that week.
Then, the intense fatigue set in. Some days I was so tired and weak that it was hard to go up the stairs. My body was not getting its usually quick energy from breads and pastas. This confused my body and caused it to become very lethargic. People with undiagnosed celiac disease are already tired because their body has not been absorbing enough nutrients, but this fatigue was much worse.
Some people with celiac disease may feel relief from their symptoms just days after going gluten free. I know I am not one of those people. Due to my celiac disease being severe, there has been extensive damage to my small intestine and it is going to take weeks, if not months, to begin to heal. This means that I may not start to feel
“normal” for a while.
This, however, has not stopped my dreams of going abroad. I’m hoping to maybe even take a short journey abroad, while I get the rest of my life organized. It would be the perfect thing to get myself inspired all over again. Every night I continue to look at the map on my wall and know that I will accomplish my goal. It may take a while, but I know I will get there.
2 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Diet and Withdrawal”
I’m gluten free as well and have been traveling in South America for almost a year. It is hard, but it is doable! In South America I have found that they have terrible gluten free food in terms of pre-made or processed things, so I just stick to whole foods (which are healthier anyway). Good luck! You can do it!
Thank you for the encouragement! I have worried a little about finding gluten-free food when I’m in Italy, but you have good advice to stick to whole foods. That’s awesome that you’ve been able to do it while in South America! It makes me feel confident that I can do it too!