By Leslie Kahn
In a moment of insanity, my husband, Martin and I, then in our mid-40′s, adopted a two- day-old infant whom we named Ethan. His aggressive, destructive behaviors started at 19 months, and we spent the next nine years testing him for everything, dragging him to everybody. Nobody knew why he did what he did. He has put holes in walls, kicked through two panes of glass, and physically assaulted me. I always thought his behaviors were food allergy driven, had him tested, but nothing came up. I wanted to try him on a gluten-free diet for years, but suspected he wouldn’t stick to it.
Everything changed a while ago when he wielded two kitchen knives at me because I wouldn’t let him eat potstickers. I called my friend’s allergist, and when I related my story, the nurse said “that sounds like gluten.” The next day I bought a mess of gluten-free foods and told Ethan he was going on this diet.
Within 24 hours of being off gluten, we noticed a significant improvement both in his gastric system (he had had loose stools, smelly gas, and a metallic body odor) and his behavior. With each day off gluten, he got better and better. When he ate gluten again, he overturned furniture and screamed at us.
This was the answer! You cannot imagine how overjoyed we were. We had considered putting him in residential care many times. Now we have our son back.
Here’s the skinny on gluten and those who are intolerant of it:
Gluten is a protein composite composed of glutenin, and gliadin in wheat, secalin in rye, and hordein in barley. It gives gluten rich foods its elastic quality and integrity. Without gluten or a substitute, the food would be crumbly and fall apart.
There are actually 3 different gluten intolerance disorders: Celiac Disease (CD), Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and wheat allergy.
- Celiac Disease occurs when the proteins in gluten trigger your immune system to overreact with strong and unusual antibodies. A blood test can confirm this diagnosis.
- NCGS is similar in symptoms but a blood test will come up negative, so you have to remove gluten to test.
- Wheat allergy is a histamine response to wheat, much like a peanut allergy or hay fever.
Here are 10 symptoms of gluten intolerance:
- Abdominal diarrhea and pain/distention
- Depression, Anxiety and Irritability
- Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies
- ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
- Lactose Intolerance
- Teeth and Gum Problems
- Headaches and Migraines
There are actually another twenty or so symptoms, but you can read about it yourself at www.gluten-intolerance-symptoms.com.
Leslie Kahn is a Licensed Massage Therapist, who lives in the W Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago with her husband, Martin Aistrope and 10 year old son, Ethan. She blogs on her website at www.kneadalaugh.com. You can find her on Twitter @kneadalaugh and Facebook at KneadALaugh.
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