Weird wheat re-exposure reactions

As the world of people who are wheat-free continues to grow, I am witnessing a range of weird re-exposure reactions when people, intentionally or inadvertently, get re-exposed.

Among the peculiar reactions:

Congestive heart failure–A woman with a clear-cut syndrome of wheat intolerance that was evidenced by diabetes, excessive expression of small LDL particles (around 2000 nmol/L at the start), high triglycerides, gastrointestinal distress, widespread joint pain, and a peripheral neuropathy (impaired coordination, reduced sensation to the legs), and negative blood markers for celiac disease, improved substantially across the entire collection of symptoms. She lost around 40 pounds of weight, reduced HbA1c substantially, dropped small LDL dramatically (to zero), triglycerides to double-digit values, with modest improvement in coordination and peripheral neuropathy, marked improvement in joint discomfort. With each re-exposure, e.g, a couple of bites of birthday cake at her grandson’s birthday party, she experienced water retention and congestive heart failure of 27-30 pounds but developing over 7 days. This happened 4-5 times with water retention developing over the precise same time course. On each occasion, she responded to diuretics, losing the 27-30 pounds of retained water, with no other cause identified (no change in left ventricular ejection fraction, no change in kidney status, no change in serum albumin or protein levels, no change in thyroid status, etc.).

Functional achalasia–A young man had been wheat-free for over one year inadvertently had wheat in the form of orzo, mistaking it for rice (since orzo is rice-shaped pasta). Within minutes, food became trapped in his esophagus, necessitating an endoscopy to extract the food. No pathologic findings were seen: no esophageal stricture, inflammation, ulcer, or tumor. There was also no evidence nor history to suggest eosinophilic esophagitis.

Delayed acute abdominal painWhile abdominal pain from wheat consumption is common, given the many gastrointestinal disruptive compounds in modern wheat (e.g., intact alpha gliadin molecules, gliadin-derived peptides, wheat germ agglutinin, glutenins, omega-gliadins, alpha amylase and trypsin inhibitors, etc.), it usually expresses itself as heartburn/acid reflux, cramping and bowel urgency of irritable bowel syndrome, or through the inflammatory conditions ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

A 50-some year old man with repeated and incapacitating bouts of mid-abdominal pain underwent repeated endoscopies, colonoscopies, multiple upper intestinal and stomach biopsies, barium swallows, gallbladder imaging, etc. with no explanation uncovered, including negative blood markers and biopsy for celiac disease. Various anti-anxiety and antidepressants were therefore prescribed by his gastroenterologists. At my repeated urgings, he finally eliminated all wheat from his diet with complete relief obtained. Occasional indulgences were followed by sudden excruciating abdominal pain, sufficient to double him over and prompt emergency room visits, again with no diagnosis made. He finally noticed that recurrences occurred 3 days after a wheat indulgence, even testing the proposition himself: As expected, 3 days later, he experienced acute, severe abdominal pain. He is now meticulously wheat-free with no pain whatsoever.

That’s just a sample. Making cause-effect associations for some of these less common wheat re-exposure reactions can be tricky, especially when there is a delay between exposure and reaction, such as the consistent 7-day delay of heart failure described in the first woman.

If you have observed unique wheat re-exposure reactions of any kind, inadvertent or intentional, please share your story!

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. I was watching some episodes of Dr. Oz on the internet. Thr show had Dr. Oz talking about how cholesterol from animals will spike a person cholesterol, and. Dr. Fuhrmann promoting the eating of vegetables for protiein instead of animal protien. Both promoted eating as little animal protein as possible. I think there is so much wrong information out there at the moment. And it is being promoted actively on T.V.

    I listened to the interview you gave on the summit and it was great.

    Thank you.

    • > … Dr. Oz on the internet. … there is so much wrong
      > information out there at the moment. And it is being
      > promoted actively on T.V.

      Dr. Oz serves several masters, not all of whom are your friends:
      1. ratings
      2. advertisers
      3. Oprah

      He’s in the business of entertainment dressed up as medical insight.
      He’s a bit of a poster child for Food Fad and Food Fright of the week.

      It’s actually a wonder that he had Dr. Davis on at all, given that much of his advertising is either wheat-laced foods that will give you chronic conditions, or pointless potions that purport to manage those maladies.

      I note that Perlmutter’s new “Grain Brain” book has a vague endorsement from a “Mehmet Oz, MD” on the back cover (known to you as “Dr. Oz”). If I wrote a health or diet book, I’m not sure I’d want an Oz endorsement on it. Frankly, I see it as impairing credibility. The reader who buys the book due to that endorsement may blow the message off as something to be contradicted by a random guest on next week’s show.

      Why, by the way, is that “Mehmet Oz, MD” and not the more familiar “Dr. Oz”?

      Well, “Dr. Oz” is a registered trademark of ZoCo LLC, which seems to be a subsidiary of Harpo Productions (that’s Oprah spelled backwards). Any endorsement written as “Dr. Oz” may require paying licensing fees to Oprah.

    • Dr. Davis

      Oh, boy.

      While I appreciate the opportunity to speak my mind on his show, I am always surprised that he clings to these ideas.

  2. Amber

    I have been gluten free since March of this year. Any time I accidentally ingest gluten, I am vomiting within 30 minutes. This is a much more extreme reaction to gluten than I had prior to going gluten free. It just goes to show how poisonous this stuff has been to my body for so long.

  3. jayna T

    I’ve only been wheat free for two weeks, but I’ll share my story…

    For the first time in my life, I eliminated all wheat 2 weeks ago.(Just stumbled across this blog a month ago). I still need to purchase the book! I’ve been feeling really great being wheat free. I can’t believe the energy I have not to mention the brain fog is completely gone! Yesterday, I was out having breakfast with my husband and decided to have just 2 small bites of his pancake. (I know — don’t ask me what I was thinking!) Later that night, I was up almost all night with severe heartburn and nausea. (This was actually worse than I ever remember having heartburn). The reason I went wheat free in the first place was to see if it would help with my heartburn/reflux and fatigue.. It did! It had completely cleared up. I really think just having that little bit of pancake caused a huge upset in the acid production. Needless to say, I’m back on track and will keep wheat far away!

  4. Rach

    I remain grain free on the GAPS diet so don’t know if this counts as it’s a reaction to dairy. But over the space of 6 months I developed a very stiff neck and shoulders. Like I was carrying round a yoke all day and nothing could relax them. At it’s worse it started to move into a stiffness in my jaw and tension headaches. I never had digestive issues with dairy but once I removed dairy from my diet my neck problems went away gradually over a month or two.
    I also link this to a level of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is driven by inflammation in the body. And what’s a source of inflammation? – food sensitivities!
    I thoroughly recommend a food dairy to document your diet and symptoms and to help make sense of your food reactions, they’re often not clear cut.

  5. I recently had dinner on a Sunday night at some old friends’ house. I’ve known these people for twenty years, they know all about my gluten issues, and they had specifically told me the meal would be wheat free. So I ate seven or eight of the grain free crackers on the living room table thinking, “Wow, these taste really good for seed based crackers.” During diner I mentioned that the wheat free crackers tasted great and they said “Oh, we didn’t think you would eat those. Those have wheat in them.” Talk about straining a relationship.

    Monday I was fine. Tuesday ditto, and I started to think that maybe I had built up some immunity in the two years I haven’t been eating wheat. Wednesday I was getting cocky. Thursday was a disaster, although not the size of some of the ones you mentioned in your post. The main symptom was extreme fatigue (which was also one of the prime symptoms I had experienced prior to dropping wheat), and a foggy head. It’s a peculiar feeling that I don’t get from any other sort of tiredness and I recognize it easily; I was in bed most of the day. Friday I was better, and then on Saturday it came back for a goodbye visit. But Sunday things were back to normal, except for my relationship with my friends. I’m trying to be forgiving (which I would be if these were people who didn’t know me and the whole wheat story I have) but it’s hard.

    Incidentally, I posted about the whole wheat thing here, and I gave you a plug. There are other posts about wheat but I don’t want to spam your site so I’ll just link to this one:

    Thanks for all your help and encouragement.

    • Well, that’s embarrassing. I put the wrong link in there and you can’t edit these posts. I did mention you in that post but the actual link to the Wheatbelly blog was in my post about getting a flat stomach after 61 years of skinny-fatness – I won’t link to it as anyone who is actually interested can obviously find the post easily. I hate spam on other people’s blogs so I want to be a good neighbor, LOL.

    • Dr. Davis

      At least you’ve been blessed with the insight of understanding your reactions, Tyranno.

      Those delayed reactions are genuinely tough to figure out. Good work!

  6. I was re-exposed to wheat through a gas-med that was sweetened with sorbitol. I used it daily for 6 months, completely re-exposing myself. I first asked, why is my belly expanding, then, how did I gain 5 pounds? depression and anxiety returned, inflamed spots on scalp and face, incredible joint pain, which is so very slowly leaving, I can move my shoulder freely again, but my hips are taking longer to recover, it’s still hard to sit for long periods. I’ve been off it for 6 weeks now, it took 6 months to really feel awesome when I first stopped wheat. My belly has shrunk and I lost the 5 pounds, my face no longer looks fat with water retention. My eyes are clear again, one person said I look so light! whatever that means, it sounded positive. My brain fog is leaving, solutions to problems are coming fast again, the gas problems and acid reflux have subsided. This has been an experience in being poisoned, plain and simple.

  7. Barrie Hurst

    I went to a Mediterranean fast food restaurant and ordered the Greek salad & hummus plate. I forgot to ask that it be made gluten free, which means the kitchen leaves out the pits bread. Well, I thought one little triangle of pita would not hurt especially since I’ve been so good (My fiancé and I started the Wheat Belly lifestyle this past March). Boy, was I wrong. I was fine for an hour or two after eating the pita, but then IT kicked in and I felt like an alien was trying to push its way through my stomach. My stomach was distended and hard and the ordeal lasted 14 hours from one little 1-inch triangle of pita!

    There was a time when I could eat bread and suffered no digestive issues at all, but now that I have been wheat free since March, my stomach revolts and tells me there is a foreign substance, which it cannot tolerate.

    I am not going to make that mistake again! I have lost 25 pounds since March! Dr. Davis’s Wheat Belly has helped me unlock my metabolism when nothing else would. I am very grateful !!!

  8. Drae

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been exposed, but when it’s happened I’ve experienced a whole range of ailments. My “favorite” is the ocular migraines that can occur within hours and they can be sever enough that I want to gouge my eye out to relieve the pressure. I usually know the migraine is coming because within a half hour of exposure my gut will loudly proclaim, for all to hear, that I’ve been glutenated. Believe me, it’s embarrassing to have your gut gurgling so loudly that people near you can hear it. Then, if amplified digestion and migraines wasn’t enough, there is the joint pain in my right knee that starts the next day and can last for 2 to 3 days total and I usually need to use a cane on those days to help me get around. Please keep in mind I’m in my late 30s, so I don’t particularly enjoy the idea of walking around with a cane as though I was my great-grandmother. So for me wheat/gluten exposure is nothing short of a three day hell.

      • Drae

        Thank you for posting this topic, Dr. Davis, because I’ve been wanting to share my re-exposure horror story for awhile now, but it never seemed like the right place on previous posts.

        What I find interesting about my gurgling gut is that it’s as though I can literally hear the wheat/gluten ripping my intestines to shreds and wreaking havoc with my tight junctions. Thankfully, I don’t experience much pain from this, maybe a touch of discomfort, but my friends who have heard it have been astounded. Sadly, it still isn’t enough for them to take Wheat Belly seriously but at least they don’t give me a hard time about it anymore.

  9. Jenny

    Exposure (always accidental) to a large breadcrumb gives me 30 hrs of diahorrhea within 40 mins, and 10 days of stomach cramps on ingesting ANYTHING, including water. A minute speck gives me 5 days of cramps.

    The worst is flour dust, to be found in a restaurant kitchen, that landed on my served-up food . Within 3 mouthfuls, this prompts an immediate desire to sleep – to the extent of finding my head on the table. The first time it happened I did not know what had happened and tried to carry on eating. I now know not too. I also immediately gave away all wheat flour from my house-hold – my husband is only allowed to bring cooked wheat products into the house as they won’t contaminate the air.

    Finally, gluten in stock – as used to flavour rice – that a restaurant has ‘forgotten’ is contaminating the meal – leads to brain fog for several days. Both uncomfortable and embarrassing if you are about to work on something that requires you to think on your feet!

    All of this means I check everything very carefully when eating out. And when out, I am not shy of explaining the ‘food poisoning’ symptoms. Actually, the best technique is to have a diet card (several languages) to send through to the chef. This seems to emphasize the severity, and I have always had careful service with this.

    By the way – as soon as I knew I was coeliac, I informed my usual pharmacist, who has noted it and checks if any new medication has gluten in it. If so, he will tell my GP what to try instead.

    • Dr. Davis

      It is sobering to know, isn’t it, Jenny, that the advice to consume more “healthy whole grains” NEVER comes with any qualifications to warn the many people who have such severe reactions?

      It is an inexcusable oversight!

  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm asks… How about we make people who don’t eat grains pay a fine?

    Check out this article. Unbelievable!

    Mom fined $10 for lack of grains in kids’ lunch
    First posted: Monday, November 18, 2013 07:25 PM MST | Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 04:38 AM MST (Article in The Calgary Sun)
    Mom Kristen Bartkiw was fined $10 for not packing her children’s lunch with a grain.

    WINNIPEG — After sending her children to daycare with a lunch of roast beef, carrots and potatoes, Kristen Bartkiw was fed a $10 fine.
    The reason: An unbalanced meal.
    Despite the presence of a meat, vegetable, fruits and juice, the meal was missing a grain. The solution was to give the Rossburn, Man., school teacher a $10 fine and give her children Ritz Crackers as a supplement.
    “I don’t blame the daycare,” said Bartkiw, who was actually on the board of The Little Cub’s Den when they decided to start fining parents.
    According to Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care when at a daycare a child’s lunch must include a milk product, a meat, a grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables. If the child is missing one of these the daycare provider must provide a supplement.
    “We chose to do it as a more of a deterrent, because parents were sending their children a lunch with only a pizza pop,” she said.
    Under provincial rules, that means that the daycare would have to provide the missing nutritional items.
    According to, a serving of about five Ritz crackers contains 80 calories, 4.5 g of fat and 150 mg of sodium.
    A statement provided by the provincial government read, “The province requires child-care centres to ensure children have nutritious and balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. These can be supplied by the centre or the parents.
    “The province would expect centres to work with parents in educating them regarding what consists of nutritious meals/snacks.”
    The daycare eventually dropped this policy and chose instead to provide children with a hot lunch.
    “It was just too difficult for parents to follow these strict deadlines,” Bartkiw said.
    Twitter: @k_annable

  11. Barbara in New Jersey

    Dr. Ford’s Gluten Summit lecture describes the reaction to food sensitivity. After ingesting even a minuscule amount, you can have a delayed reaction, from immediate to perhaps 3 days later. You have triggered your body’s immune response which then can last many months for each ingestion. Whether accidentally or purposely, eating your allergen triggers cause more and more of the cells to respond with each re-exposure, making the symptoms worse.

    The severity of re-exposure reactions seems to depend on your system’s ability to eliminate the toxin that has caused the response. Extra water, good intestinal flora and overall good health seems to help dull the reaction.
    Long term eating the carbohydrates that made us sick bite by bite seems to have numbed and overwhelmed our immune systems. By changing our diets to LCHF, over time, we should have eliminated most of the immune response (inflammation) and this should help ease the re-exposure reaction because there is less inflammation to begin with.

  12. GrainFree4Ever

    I still don’t know how I got re-exposed but I ended up with 2 cystic acne each time and a bad migraine. Could it be cheese or lindt 85% chocolate? I also had a cup of Lipton Tea English Breakfast tea (I checked a few days later, the label said it had a soy derivative in it). Have no idea what a soy derivative is doing in a teabag.

    My son tonight was obviously under some exposure because he was running around the house laughing almost uncontrollably. It hasn’t happened since we went gluten free. He did have some honey today. Would the sugar have caused such an effect?

    I am thinking of starting him on the GAPS diet. Does anyone know whether that would be worthwhile in addition to going grain and dairy free?

    • > He did have some honey today.

      Are you sure? Unless it was locally produced by a trusted supplier, it was at high risk of being “honey laundered” random syrup, that could have been contaminated with any number of adverse agents.

      And if it was local honey, “honey intoxication” is a possibility, depending on the species of flowers the bees were working.

      > … he was running around the house laughing almost uncontrollably.
      > Would the sugar have caused such an effect?

      It wouldn’t surprise me, particularly if the child had been low carb (as well as GF) and was not accustomed to consuming sugar. Keep also in mind that honey is 50% free fructose.

      At this moment in history, honey is worth avoiding for multiple reasons.

      • GrainFree4Ever

        Yes the honey was local and raw. I will keep him off it in any event.
        I had made some almond milk and he wouldn’t drink it unless it was sweeted so I gave in and put a bit of honey in it. The juicer we have seems to make it taste really strong of almond. Previously I used to blend and then strain it and it wasn’t nearly so strong tasting. I added in some coconut oil and that dulled the flavor a bit. He didn’t repeat the behavior today so that was a relief.

        One question is bed wetting in children related to gluten sensitivity? He is 6 and I still have to have him in pull ups overnight. It seems a lot of kids today have the same problem.

        • Barbara in New Jersey

          In a word: YES!!

          Gluten sensitivity relaxes the bladder in many children.
          It is important to heal the intestines and try to stay away from any other allergens that might contribute to the condition. Probiotics for him would probably help.

          There is a fair amount of information available on the internet about this.

          • Barbara in New Jersey


            You might want to investigate the work of Dr. Andrew Keech. He was a lecturer for the Gluten Summit. His specialty is the beneficial uses of colostrum. This is supposed to help your immune system “right” itself. Very interesting and compelling argument about how to get the over- reacting immune system to calm down. Taking this supplement is supposed to help heal the intestines, diminish allergic responses and much more.

          • GrainFree4Ever

            Hi Barbara

            Thanks so much Barbara. I purchased The Gluten Summit presentations and will watch that presentation today. It would be so good to get him out of pull ups.

            Do you know anything about Thyroid function in kids? He had a blood test and his Free Thyroxine (Free T4) was elevated and his Thyroid Stimulating Hormone was (TSH) was also elevated. I am putting kelp in his food. Should I continue to do that. Is the Thyroid also related to gluten and should that come down by itself?

            I do need to find a good Doctor in Australia. Very hard to find one. I have purchased the GAPS book and am planning on starting him on that as well.

          • Barbara in New Jersey


            Dr. Keech stresses that you must remove the environmental trigger to stop the “misfunctioning” immune responses. That is when the colosturm works best in re-setting the immune system.

            This supplement can’t hurt and might even help! The peptide spray is useful too, just in case dairy is a problem. Dr. Keech has found that former allergens are no longer a problem once the gut has healed and the immune system has righted itself.

            You can take this too!

  13. Maya

    Thanks Dr. Davis!! Your interview on the summit was just amazing!! I went gluten free for two weeks now and I feel great. The only thing I am experiencing these random chest pain which I m getting scared about.

    My other fear is what if I accidentally consume gluten, would it be life threatening? I would appreciate it if you could let us know if there are any research done in regards to this matter. Thanks so much Dr. Davis!


  14. Maggie

    The evidence just keeps mounting.

    Low Incidence of Spontaneous Type 1 Diabetes in Non-Obese Diabetic Mice Raised on Gluten-Free Diets Is Associated with Changes in the Intestinal Microbiome

    Human and animal studies strongly suggest that dietary gluten could play a causal role in the etiopathogenesis of type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, the mechanisms have not been elucidated. Recent reports indicate that the intestinal microbiome has a major influence on the incidence of T1D. Since diet is known to shape the composition of the intestinal microbiome, we investigated using non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice whether changes in the intestinal microbiome could be attributed to the pro- and anti-diabetogenic effects of gluten-containing and gluten-free diets, respectively.

    • Have you been able to drill down into the actual composition of the feeds?

      It would have been nice if they had also controlled for GMO (Bt in any corn present, and glyphosate uptake in any crops present), as these likely affect microbiome too.

  15. Louise Paul

    Hello Dr. Davis, I have been off of wheat since Sept. 2012 and I am doing great. Just got my blood work done and everything is great. Couldn’t ask for better results. My problems is I have knee joint pain, I am okay walking around it is when I go to sleep I wake in the morning with throbing knees but once I am mobile it goes away. I don’t know if it is just age (52) or what I can do to see what is causing this problem. I had xray on them last year and nothing showed up. Overall very healthy , sleep well. stop putting sugar in tea and coffee, don’t drink sugar drinks, etc. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,

    • mark

      excess polyunsaturated fats, either omega 6 or omega 3, in your diet, may be the culprit in inflammation. omega 6 fatty acids are unnaturally ubiquitous in the food stream these days, and are a serious source of inflammation. Intake of vegetable sources of either type of Poly fats should be greatly minimized. Intake of animal sources of omega 3’s are usually not a problem at all because they are generally in a form that is directly usable by the body less subject to oxidation after ingestion, and are actually anti-inflammatory agents.

      Try not to ingest omega 6 fats in amounts greater than a 1 to 1 ratio compared to your intake of animal source omega 3’s (DHA/EPA). If you can increase your intake of DHA/EPA, while including another source of anti-inflammatory fats (coconut oil), you should see some results IF you have been exposed like so many of us, to unhealthy levels of omega 6 Polys.

  16. Donna Dreyer

    The delayed acute abdominal pain reaction caught my eye – big time. The last 6 mo, I have been having these exact pains. I have not been following a strict gluten-free diet, but generally eat little to none. My doctor told me I have colitis and prescribe Linzee. While my bowel movements have been more regular, they are abnormal in color and consistency and I still have periodic, SEVERE abdominal pains. It annoys me that the doctor threw this diagnosis at me with absolutely no testing at all. Perhaps I need to consider eliminating gluten more strictly.

  17. David

    I stumbled upon my wheat problem quite by accident. I had done a 2 week juice faste a d noticed the only days I didn’t lose 2-3lbs was the days I had just a little wheat. Once I had a small slice of pizza like 2 bites and gained 2lb. The other was a fish stick the size of my finger. So I went wheat free a week and had a small tortilla and gained 6lbs and felt horrible. Since August 1st to now I have lost 44lbs mostly in 6 weeks. Also quit having migraines, acid reflux, bloating, and mood swings. My girlfriend is type 2 her sugers have dropped in half no more IBS and 35lbs lighter in the same period.
    My weird reaction occured after eating about 10 pieces of caramel popcorn. I religously checked the ingredients before eating. About 3 hours later I felt like crap brain fog, temper tantrum, bloating. I reinspect the label and in fine print there it is made in a, facility that handles wheat. The amount of wheat was minuscule the damage was horrific it took 2-3 days to feel normal again.

    • Dr. Davis

      It’s sobering, isn’t it David, to realize just how LITTLE wheat it takes to trigger such awful reactions?

      When we accept that wheat is indeed a poison created by agribusiness, then it all makes sense.

  18. Mcdiva

    I had an incident on vacation last May. I had been gluten free for just three months but never really thought about my cider beer being filled with wheat duh! Well after half the bottle I was completely intoxicated. An hour later I was in the bathroom all night long. Let’s just say I don’t go anywhere without my favorite gluten free beer cider! Thank you Angry Orchard.

  19. Karen B.

    I ate wheat yesterday at Thanksgiving and this morning I was trying to have a conversation with someone at the grocery store and the words just wouldn’t come out, nor could I really get my thoughts together. I’m also feeling a little pissed off and impatient and there’s nothing making me feel that way. I was up all night with stomach growls, gas pain and inability to stay asleep.
    I have been largely wheat-free for 3 years with occasional holiday or summertime bouts of wheat eating that are usually just one item or one day. I usually just experience a skin rash on my shoulders and chest, diarrhea and possibly stomach upset.
    The reaction I feel today and felt all night is the worst yet. I had half of a small roll, a small serving of stuffing and half of a slice of pie. I’m sure the gravy had wheat too and I ate about 1/4 cup of that.

    • Dr. Davis

      Gotta learn from your reaction, Karen.

      It tells you that you should never indulge in this poison again!

  20. Karen

    Although I eat exclusively GF, not all in my family do. On Thanksgiving, I took the crescent rolls off the the baking pan and put then in a bread basket. I forgot to wash my hands and sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. Within 30 min, my stomach swelled, I had my back pain, massive fatigue and pain in my chest. The reaction to accidental ingestion is getting worse and worse. It continued yesterday with the massive headache and continued body pain, especially in my back and shoulders. I also have the ringing in my ears back. I have been GF since Jan 2013 and have felt SO MUCH BETTER! I hope this goes away soon! I guess I will be wearing gloves or having someone else deal with any gluten filled products in my home.

  21. Patrice

    I’m a little late to this post but I wanted to share. I am a breast feeding mother who has been gluten and dairy free since my daughter developed colic at 5 weeks of age. I was told to just wait it out but the thought of listening to her scream for hours on end every night for months was unacceptable. I did a trial of eliminating gluten and dairy and within 2 days the crying stopped. 8 months later, when I tried to reintroduce them, I suffered from crippling stomach pains and fatigue and diagnosed myself with an intolerance. Now, its been almost two years, and even trace amounts of gluten causes a predictable set of symptoms. Within minutes, I become severely nauseous and my normally quiescent breasts turn into a leaking mess. After that I feel euphoric and restless for about 24 hours. I tend to have diarrhea during that time as well. Unfortunately, I then crash under fatigue that will keep me in bed for at least 2 days while the entire time I feel as though I’ve swallowed a bag of nails that is slowly scraping its way through my intestines. For the whole 3 to 5 days it takes to feel better, I have extreme insomnia, excessive thirst and mood swings. The last time, my reaction was so bad I ended up spending the night in the ER. I will never voluntarily eat wheat again.

  22. Kim

    Has anyone gotten a yeast infection from eating wheat again?
    I have been wheat free for 2 months and decided to cheat and had 3 Krispy Kreme donuts. 2 Days later I have a rash on my arm, and I’m pretty sure it’s a yeast infection. My days of cheating are over!!

  23. Jess

    I am so glad I found this article. I will admit I am not always good at sticking to a particular diet or way of eating. Even though I found wheat-free easy to maintain with excellent results, I ‘fell off the wagon’ after about a month, indulging myself with crackers, cookies and gravy to ‘celebrate’ my impressive 15-lb weight loss. Three days later, I started having abdominal cramps in the car on the way home from work. Pretty soon I was doubled over with pain, being pretty much unable to do anything. The next morning I felt fine again. I am not sure I am willing to go through that again just to test the hypothesis, as the man in the article did. But it is pretty strong motivation to never ‘fall off the wagon’ again!

  24. Elaine

    I am in the questioning mode. I don’t think I have any symptoms from eating wheat or grains. I ate some every day (usually ww bread, sometimes homemade) but I am very curious about what I am reading. Do you feel “everyone” can benefit from going off wheat or is it just some people? Even though I don’t have any digestive problems, I do have a problem with Heberden nodes in my fingers (bony protrusions starting in my lower knuckles) – we’ve all seen this – eventually leading to crippled-looking hands. My aunt has this. Do you have any experience with any patients with this condition? There’s not a lot about it on the Internet. Any help would be appreciated.

  25. katie

    I was wheat-free from Jan 1, 2013 until Feb 14, 2013–I had lost 20 pounds and was also working out up to 30 mins 4x a week. When I fell off the wagon—Valentine’s Day–conferences until 8pm & then home to my dad’s birthday party–TONS of temptations that day…..I lost it after that & couldn’t get it back. Within weeks I was having terrible aches in my elbows. I’ve been to 2 doctors, had blood-tests done–all came back “normal” & went to pt for my elbow pain. I couldn’t even lift grocery bags or untwist the lid off of a jar. I have an appt with a rheumatoid dr. in a few weeks—but I think after reading your book I found my answer. I’ve been wheat-free for 4 days now and already the swelling has gone down—my elbows no longer ache—the bloating in my stomach is gone–my energy is restored and I’ve lost 4lbs. I cheated last night on New Year’s Eve when my cousin brought my favorite local pizza to our party—I ate half of a piece. I already know from experience that I am prone to go crazy on wheat when I cheat, for I LOVE donuts, bagels, crackers—you name it, I’ll eat it. It’s a new year and I plan on staying wheat-free. I found your inquiry VERY interesting about when an individual re-introduces wheat after being wheat-free. Thank you for this information.
    I have a 16 year old daughter who is experiencing major eating disorder problems—we’re at 3 dr appts a week.
    we have a 2 year old PICKY eater—who just wants to eat carbs & a 4 year old daughter who will try almost any new food.
    Question: Should I be feeding all 3 children a wheat-free diet? The 2 yr old will not touch meat or vegetable (except avocado). The 16 year old is as picky as the 2 year old.

  26. katie

    I had more question: I have been craving chewing ice like CRAZY since summer. My teeth are really going to pay for it—that’s how much I chomp on it. Have you ever heard of such an outrageous craving? Could it be wheat-related?

    • Barbara in New Jersey


      Usually craving ice is a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Your blood test will show a low red blood count. The entire spectrum of B vitamins and iron supplementation usually remedies the problem.
      Check with your doctor for more information. This can be very serious, not trying to scare you, but ice chewing is “just the tip of the iceberg.” Most often it is remedied by taking the vitamins and iron, but it is worth exploring with your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions.

      • katie

        Thank you–I’ve had a ton of blood work done recently and am having my annual blood draw next week so I will be sure to mention it. Ironically, the ice maker broke yesterday, which is a blessing in disguise. I really haven’t been craving it though since I eliminated wheat a few days ago, but was chomping it all day before wheat removal.

        • Lynsey

          I experienced the same thing. For about a year I craved chewing ice. I then went to the doctor..for a different reason, because I was crazy tired, and it turned out that I was severely anemic. After a few iron infusions, the cravings went away. I happened to read something online about the connection between anemia and ice chewing and then it all made sense!