Gretchen posted this comment about her dramatic turnaround from incapacitating inflammatory joint disease, going from crippled to back on her feet, once she said goodbye to wheat.
I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease early in 2010 after being referred to a specialist for my increasing pain, stiffness and weakness. Initially, it was called Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder/MCTD, which is a rare cluster of autoimmune diseases that can ultimately manifest primarily as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, or Scleroderma.
I was put on a strong med and ordered to have very detailed eye exams every 6 months, as that med might destroy my eyes. I asked the rheumatologist initially if there was anything I could do, if there were any connections – good or bad – between foods and my condition. She told me that there is a lot of info, much of it conflicting, out there but nothing she could really relay that was definitive or universal.
As 2010 went on, my pain and weakness worsened. It was determined that my MCTD had evolved into Rheumatoid Arthritis. My feet had become increasingly deformed. A second med was added in hopes of stemming deformities in my hands. This med was even stronger, and one that is sometimes used to treat breast cancers, so I was to have labs done every 3 months to watch for any damage being done to my liver.
By the end of 2010, I was not doing any better, and I had steadily gained even more weight, exacerbating the pain and weakness. Early 2011, I was barely functioning, had a permanent handicapped placard for the car and had been using a cane for over year. I was sent to a neurologist for extensive testing, and a brain MRI was ordered.
My social life was gone and I can now say openly that I was teetering toward suicidal thoughts. I was exhausted beyond imagination and desperate to have my life back. I could barely lift my feet enough to put my pants on while seated. I had a small step built to have next to the tub so that I could step in for a shower and I could barely stand for the length of time a shower took. I got a walker and shower chair from family. Others did my grocery shopping for me; I was in too much pain and too weak to manage it. I could no longer stand long enough to cook or wash dishes. A third med was added for the RA. I bought a wheelchair.
May 2011, a friend posted on Facebook: “23 lbs lost. [name of diet] Srsly.”
I started reading and couldn’t stop. I began the diet on May 15, 2011 and started losing weight immediately. My energy was starting to improve. For 6 days of 7, it excludes all grains, among other things. On that weekly “cheat day” when anything is allowed, I saw over time that I could isolate which foods seemed to aggravate my pain, stiffness, and weakness. I had identified that wheat was definitely a trigger. About 4 months into that diet, I came across Wheat Belly, and I then knew that I was not some weird unique case, but that there are millions who are affected by wheat, and in many different ways, not just RA. Diabetes, migraines, digestive problems, skin problems, and on and on.
From May 2011 to Dec 2011, my weight has dropped by 40 lbs so far. My pain, strength, energy, mood, skin, hair – all improved. My blood pressure dropped enough to warrant cutting one of my bp meds by half. I’d been on them for 5 years. My bp on 12/19/11: 119 over 66. Nov 2011, my cholesterol stats were stellar: Total – normal is less than 200; mine is 164. HDL (good chol) normal for women is higher than 50; mine is 85. LDL (bad chol) normal is less than 130, but if you have heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease (I do not), your goal is less than 70; mine is 69. Triglycerides – normal is less than 150; mine is 52.
By September 2011, I no longer used the cane. I had used the wheelchair once. I’ve watched jaws literally drop when people who had not seen me for a while see the dramatic improvement in my mobility. I admit I am a fanatic about how foods can be much more powerful than any meds out there. I know that for me, it’s a combination of having LOTS of green veggies, very few processed foods (only once a week, if any) and abstaining from wheat that has given me my life back.
And I’m grateful beyond measure.
Ah, Gretchen, I feel blessed to hear and witness health transformations like yours, all accomplished with a change in diet while freeing you from the bonds of harmful drugs, pain, and deformity.
Listen to the critics, and they claim that such turnarounds in health are due to chance, a psychosomatic effect, or mass hysteria. Reading the stories on these pages, I hope that you, like me, have gotten the impression that stories like Gretchen’s are not the exception; they are the rule. While other stories may not be a dramatic as Gretchen’s, they are no less instructive or poignant.
May your holidays be happily and healthily wheat-free!