Non-ceoliac Gluten Or Wheat Sensitivity? 🌾

Canva Image by Curiosity Corner Dublin

My problem lies with my doctors not sending me to the right tests. My diagnosis went from gluten intolerance to IBS, two rather different diseases. Then I finally found out that really I have a wheat intolerance, which means that I am coeliac, but my allergies only present themselves when I eat grains including barley, rye and quinoa (and others), which normally would be ok for someone with gluten allergies or intolerance. Since I figured it all out properly and switched to foods I can actually eat, I feel my best again. It took me easily the last five years to figure it all out. So let me tell you the difference between gluten intolerance, IBS and wheat intolerance, regarding what the symptoms are and what are the trigger foods.

Gluten Intolerance, IBS and Wheat Intolerance:

Have a look at the table below 👇 so you can see clearly what the differences are between the three.

NameSymptomsWhat you can’t eat
Non-Ceoliac Gluten IntoleranceVaries from person to person, but the most common symptoms are:
Bloating, gas or abdominal pain
Diarrhoea or constipation
Nausea
Headache
Brain fog
Joint pain
Neuropathy
Fatigue
Abdominal Pain
Skin Problems
Depression
Anaemia
Permanent intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Symptoms often mimic those of other common complaints, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBSVaries from person to person, but often include bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, a feeling of fullness and abdominal cramping.

Can also experience fatigue, sleeping disorders, depression, backache, headache and joint pain in combination with or as the result of IBS.
With bloating/wind: Limit intake of foods known to cause wind e.g. beans and pulses, sprouts, cauliflower and sugar-free foods such as mints or chewing gum.

With constipation: Avoid eating extra wheat bran as this can aggravate symptoms.

With diarrhoea: Limit your caffeine intake from tea, coffee and soft drinks to three drinks per day.
Try reducing intake of high-fibre foods such as wholewheat breakfast cereals and bread.
Avoid sugar-free foods containing sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol e.g. sugar-free drinks, mints, gum.
Wheat IntoleranceVaries from person to person, but generally, symptoms may be:

Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat 
Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin 
Nasal congestion 
Headache 
Difficulty breathing 
Cramps, nausea or vomiting 
Diarrhoea  
Anaphylaxis
Cut out any products that has some gluten grains and are made of wheat, including:
Rye, Spelt, Barley Maize, Millet, Quinoa, Semolina, Polenta and
Oats (even if it is certified as gluten-free).

Additionally, you may want to cut out:
Gluten-free flours and products made with Tapioca.

Possibly rice and corn – but that may be okay if consumed in small amounts and it is person dependent.
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How to live with wheat intolerance? 🤔

One of the main problems with any allergies then of course is finding the right foods in the supermarkets. You will have to be cautious and check labels meticulously (especially if you have even more allergies, e.g I also can’t eat sulphites and additives like baking soda/powder). You got to be thorough because even if you think you can eat something, you’ll bring it home and will still cause you issues when consumed. So number one tip is to keep a food diary. Add your daily foods to your Bullet Journal, or write them down somewhere you will be sure to find them and log them.

If you have a wheat intolerance, you have to be very careful getting food from the gluten-free section, as most food there will be not consumable for you. If you’re bent on eating some bread, or pasta, you either will be forced to scour the shelves and come up with not much or get back to basics and learn to bake/cook alternatives. You don’t have much of a choice.

I mostly follow a paleo diet but with variations, since I am blessed with a husband who knows his foods. He helped me the most and he leaves me with enough options that I don’t feel like screaming in panic and in desperation when I want something “unhealthy”. But let me tell you, unhealthy is not really an option anymore per se, it has become more like a cheat that I call unhealthy. There is just not much that you can do about that. Cravings may be damned, at least you’ll have a non-moody life when you follow suit and believe me, you’ll want that. For everyone’s sake, not just yours.

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You’ll have to stay away from anything that has grains (or figure out which trigger you. I can still eat rice and some corn for e.g.), and find resources that will help you prepare delicious recipes such as Yummily and consider switching to the Paleo Diet.

You can also look into flour alternatives, like almond flour, coconut flour and rice flour and their products (just check the ingredient list!) as there could be some yummy alternatives to choose from.

Not going to lie, it is going to be harder from now on, but be brave and don’t give up. There is plenty of food left that you can still eat, just have to be a bit more creative from now on.


FURTHER LINKS from Schär‘s website (surprisingly, this is one of the best sources of information I have found ever) and from beyondceoliac.org.

What is Gluten?

What is non-coeliac gluten disease?

What is wheat allergy?

MORE on wheat allergy.

What is IBS?


➡️ DISCLAIMER: If you suspect of having any of these diseases, please go and talk to an allergy specialist or your GP, as I am not a doctor, I only conducted meticulous research over the years in trying to find solutions to my own problems with food diaries that my chef-trained husband helped me with through the process of elimination over a long time.

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Hope you liked this article, and if you’d like to know more of something similar, do send me a message, and I’ll do the research.

May we always have satisfying conversations,

Szabina.

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