Here are the results of the week-long poll asking the question:
Have you experienced a wheat re-exposure syndrome?
No. Wheat is sacred and you’re all nuts 13 (2%)
There are several interesting observations to make from this informal poll. First, as I have observed, the most common wheat re-exposure syndrome is gastrointestinal, usually involving cramps, diarrhea, and lame explanations to your dinner partner.
Second most common: joint pains and/or swelling.
Third: asthma or sinus congestion.
The incidence of emotional or nervous system effects surprised me a bit. I didn’t expect 10% of people to share this effect. This is an effect I also experience personally, along with the gastrointestinal consequences.
To be sure, this is a skewed poll, since many people likely come to this blog in the first place because of such issues. But I was nonetheless impressed with the relatively modest proportion of people who did not share such a re-exposure syndrome: only 19%.
Beyond the interesting numbers provided by readers, a good many also provided some fascinating and graphic comments. Here’s a sample:
Reflux — starts a day later and goes for up to a week. And Bloat:2-5 inches on my waistline in a day, lasting up to three. Miserable. And why, having experienced this once, have I done it often enough to verify the connection with certainty? I am working on that one.
Also, when I was trying to get off wheat, I noticed that 2 eggs and 2 bacon and I could go 5 hours before hunger, or 2 eggs and 2 bacon and toast was good for three hours before hunger. That was the final step to giving up wheat. Now three years and 59 Kg [130 lbs!] loss later, there is no doubt in my mind that wheat is evil, and I do not regard it as suitable for human food. I speculate that it increases ghrelin or cortisol.
My husband wants to think he’s fine with wheat (though I know that he has at least one gene that predisposes to celiac), but IMO, he isn’t. He eats no wheat at home because that’s the default, and he’s OK with that. But if he goes out to dinner at a restaurant that serves “good” artisan bread, he will indulge in a few bites (he does restrict his carb intake, so it’s still a limited amount). More often than not, he will sleep fitfully on those nights, snore more, and wake in the night with indigestion. He wants to bury his head in the sand and will only acknowledge the discomfort being due to eating too many carbs, not the wheat itself. I notice he sleeps fine if he eats a small amount of potato or rice. Go figure.
Our 12 yo son has been eating GF for two years also. About 6 months into GF, he unknowingly ate wheat a number of times (licorice candy laces at a friend’s house), which resulted in outbreaks of canker sores in his mouth each time. He also exhibits mood and behavior changes when he eats wheat, which is what prompted me to test him for gluten intolerance in the first place.
I get red rashes around my neck sometimes right away and sometimes up to a day or later and sometimes get bad diarrhea.
I have never been tested for celiac or gluten intolerance but I would like to be. I think it would help explain to my girlfriend, family and friends why I can’t go out and eat pizza or have a beer or ice cream. Right now they all think I’m a hypochondriac. At times I have experienced an intense fatigue the next day like I can’t wake up and also sharp pains in my body and headaches.
Fast forward: We all suffered some inadvertent wheat exposure yesterday via some chocolate covered Brazil nuts (of all things). This accidental A-B-A experimental design resulted in the following:
1. My celiac wife experienced what she calls “the flip” within an hour of exposure (i.e., intense GI distress).
2. My five-year old son went to bed with some wicked reflux.
3. I woke up with some twinges in my lower back and an ache in my football-weary left shoulder. I was also complaining to my wife about fuzzy-headedness that refused to respond to caffeine or hydration. I could only describe it as “carb flu”…
And then I read your post!
The first two weeks were brutal – calling it a withdrawal flu was a massive understatement. So, I thought I would try some wheat and see what happened (could not be worse, I thought). Well, it was.
I still felt extremely crappy, but I was now MASSIVELY GASSY – AMAZINGLY GASSY, for about 48 hours – flatulence on wheels, in spades. I did not go out at all in those 48 hours – when the gas came on, it went out, LONG, and QUICKLY and LOUDLY.
I am easing back into wheat and grain free. I am gluten free today and tomorrow (Sunday and Monday). I expect to try a small amount of wheat on Thursday, then maybe a little more the following Thursday.
Last week I ate a small piece of cake and dessert pizza. Shortly thereafter I started sneezing, had a scratchy throat, and runny nose. I called off sick the next day for fear of being contagious. My symptoms subsided quickly and I am now attributing them to the processed flour eaten at my work luncheon. I think it was an allergic reaction since I recall having much more severe symptoms fairly regularly in my wheat eating days. Those were attributed to an “allergy” of unknown origin back then.
Another odd thing about wheat: it was hard for me to stop eating it once I started. I could go through a whole box of cookies in one sitting, even though I wasn’t a binge eater. But I can have a couple of gluten-free cookies and stop.
My mom has had the worst acid-reflux for 40-plus years. It had become so bad that she was on three medications just to deal with the symptoms. After much training and coaxing, I finally got across to herhow to totally get off wheat. Not at all to my surprise, after being wheat free for a few weeks, she lost weight and her acid reflux was GONE!
But she had been addicted to wheat for so long, she relapsed, and the reflux fire soon returned. Wheat must be akin to heroin with some people. Even though they know it’s very bad for them, they can’t help themselves.
My mom complained of gastric reflux for years, but never filled the prescriptions that her doctors would give her. I suggested wheat-avoidance- gastric reflux disappeared within 3 days and hasn’t returned (has been 6 months now). I’ve already commented elsewhere on this blog about how much weight and bloating she has lost…
A few weeks ago my daughter brought home a pizza and, once again, despite my knowing that I shouldn’t, I ate a couple of pieces. I was sick for two days. The pain in what I think was my transverse colon was so bad I thought I might have to go to ther emergency room. Before I ate the pizza I had never gone grain-free that long before. I did this after reading Robb Wolf’s book.
I AM CONVINCED. No more wheat for me! Please, Lord, give me strength.
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