Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Going Gluten Free: The Result

Over a month ago I made the decision to go gluten free (food and skincare) in a bid to see if it would help with my skin.
I've had acne for years, through taking medication its under control yet my skin remains highly sensitive and break out prone. However, going gluten free was not an attempt to see if it would have an effect on my acne, what I wanted to see if it helped with the "unexplained" breakouts I would get. These are not the same as my normal acne, its more of a skin irritation, small little red lumps appear coupled with dryness/itching, every time I get these breaks outs I am unable to link them with a product so that's why I wondered if it was a reaction to certain foods.

First of all I should mention that for at least the first two weeks I felt extremely irritable, had dizzy spells and trouble sleeping. Looking online I read that there was side effects and people spoke of withdrawal. Some say gluten produces substances that have an opiate (narcotic) effect. The severity of effect varies but its worth noting as its not something I had anticipated.

Going gluten free has proved expensive and I have found a lot of the items inedible, I've not come across a gluten free cake/biscuit that I have liked (lets get our priorities right here). Lunch times are difficult, I take a sad little salad box into work with me and glare at people eating bread. Its also very restrictive on away days/work outings.

I was hoping to be able to tell you that I feel less tired, more healthy and have lost weight, sadly not, I have lost a meagre 2 pounds and still feel as tired as ever.
There are some positives, I have not had any heartburn nor any bloatedness.
I have not had any of the unexplained breakouts, though I'm not sure this can be attributed to gluten or its just a coincidence I've not had any for this duration.

I'm not completely sold on if this is right for me, I'm going to try this for another month just to see if the longer time will reap more tangible results but although ultimately I might not carry on being gluten free, I will definitely be reducing my gluten intake.

If you have managed to read right to the end here's this little fellow for randomness sake and because I couldn't bring myself to do a post without a photo.


  1. I think it's great that you have so much willpower! It's a shame that it's expensive though - I do hate how the 'healthier' options are always so pricey.

    I think you're right to try it for another month to see if you are benefitting.

    Thank you for sharing this with us =)

  2. I was fascinated to read how you got on and that last picture made my day! Very cute. I think that gluten gets blamed for a lot of things and not always fairly. It do think cutting back is a good idea but if it can be miserable to cut it out altogether. It will be very interesting to see if you do experience a breakout during the 2nd month.

    I echo Nazia's words. Thank you very much for sharing.
    Jane x

  3. I'm a coeliac and cannot eat gluten, so I follow a gluten free diet for health reasons, not by choice. I have read a lot about coeliac disease and gluten and to be honest, as far as I'm aware, unless you are actually allergic to gluten, it doesn't affect you in any way. Going gluten free will not give you the benefits you're looking for. Healthy eating, cutting down on refined sugars and white carbs (white bread, white rice, etc.), eating loads of fruit and veg and drinking lots will make you feel much better. Also you might find cutting out yeast help. Buying gluten free food is expensive, luckily people with diagnosed allergies/intolerances can get staples on prescription which eases the pain a bit (even if prescriptions are not free in England, unlike Scotland for example). You can get really good gluten free bread and other products if you know where to look, but it takes quite a while to find the ones you like. Also going out is a big hassle and to be honest, if I didn't have to avoid gluten because it makes me ill, I would never bother.
    Anyway, good luck to you if you decide to carry on with the gluten free diet, but I honestly wouldn't bother if I were you. Also, just wanted to add, if you do want to follow a strict gluten free diet, make sure you check the labels carefully, you wouldn't believe all the things that contain gluten, even yoghurt, ketchup, etc.!

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience with this, I didn't realise that gluten has those initial narcotic-like effects.
    I'm feeling similar about missing bread, there is nothing quite like it although I have managed to find a yeast-free (sadly not gluten free) alternative which I quite like.
    In regard to gluten-free biscuits, have you tried the Kent & Fraser chocolate ones that you can get in Holland & Barrett or Waitrose? These do have a sweet, biscuit taste.

    I hope the 2nd month you get some more positive results and I like the little pic as well:)

  5. It's great that you lost 2lbs & that you at least tried this & saw it through! I don't think I could do it.

    I do wonder if the gluten did have anything to do with the random breakouts!

  6. Echoing everyone else, thank you for sharing this experience Replica. I'm sorry it's proving somewhat ineffective (at least for the time being) and I admire your resilience. It will be interesting to see if the second month yields different results. And I have to confess that I can't imagine a bread-free diet...
    Nina x

  7. I feel for you. I thought that I had developed an intolerance to gluten earlier this year and I tried to do what you've been doing... I didn't last long. It involved a lot of me sitting and watching my friends eat.

    I know that a friend of mine recently got some detailed allergy tests done and it turned out she had intolerances to a number of foods, so it may be a combination of elements that's causing your breakouts. I've had similar ones for years and I've never figured out what causes them.

    Good luck!!!

  8. Like Anitacska, I have heard that unless you are allergic or intollerant, eliminating gluten doesn't really do much. However, I have eliminated dairy from my diet fairly recently and have seen amazing changes in my acne. My face is almost clear!! I have also been drinking hot water with lemon first thing in the morning. I would definitely attempt eliminating dairy if you think you can. Good luck on figuring it all out!

  9. I too have celiac disease and dermatitus herpetiformis. This condition is not an allergy but rather an autoimmune disease. Your body makes too much of this certain antibody and when you eat gluten you make more so it results in very itchy fluid filled rash bumps as well as upset stomach. According to my doctor, a specialist at Duke University, gluten cannot be absorbed thru the skin in shampoos or lotions. Hope this helps you make up your mind. PS - there is a blood test to see if you carry the antibody.

  10. Hi Nazia,
    Thanks :) yes things like crisps and chocolate are always so much cheaper than fruit and salads!

    Hi Jane,
    I'm so glad you like the photo as I did wonder if it was a bit strange to put in! :) I think there are definite benefits but like you say I think cutting back maybe the best answer x

    Hi Anitacska,
    Thank you for your comment. I decided to try this just because I have read that some people had skin benefits and just felt more healthy, also my brother has pretty much taken out all gluten in his diet and has felt better and I also noticed that his skin was looking really good, so I thought it worth a try.
    Like you say there is gluten in many things, and I was surprised we had to change things like soy sauce, curry sauce, baked beans etc. Thanks for your input.

    Hi Meeta,
    Glad you like the pic ;)
    I haven't seen Kent & Fraser, I'll keep an eye out for them. When I was talking at work about doing it for another month my colleague seem mortified at the though of carrying it over christmas! :)

    Hi Vintage Makeup,
    Thanks, I think it was worth me trying and I don't think my lunches have ever been so healthy :)

    Hi Nina,
    Time will tell I guess, its forced me to eat different things in some ways and I think my diet as a whole is better now, I do think foods play a part, I know everytime I have ever eaten seaweed I come up in spots x

    Hi flora_mundi,
    Thats interesting about it being a combination of things that caused your friends problems, I guess I have been a bit black and white about this, I do wonder that I'll be like you and never find the cause as it were. Thanks for your thoughts x

    Hi luv2smilexo,
    I have gone dairy free in the past for quite a long time, as like you have had I'd heard people had great improvement in their acne, alas it didn't give me any benefits at all. I know the bulk of mine is hormonal as my medication keeps it under control, its just these strange other types of breakouts I get that just make me wonder what the underlying cause is.

    Hi Patpat,
    Thank you, that was very helpful, the gluten free skincare I switched too I really like anyhow so thats rather fortuitous if gluten can't be absorbed though the skin ;)
    I'm mentioned this above, but its the improvments my brother got from nearly wiping out all gluten that spurred me on to try it.

  11. I gave up gluten 2+ years ago, and it was the single best health decision I ever made. Seemingly unrelated issues went away, like my autoimmune thyroid disorder (I no longer require drugs to keep my thyroid balanced), blood sugar and cholesterol improvements, elimination of sporadic breakouts, improved allergies, no more sleep disorder (I no longer snore), and improved general well being.

    Replica, the fact that you experienced withdrawal symptoms might indicate at least a low-level sensitivity to gluten, and you probably know that gluten is not something we should ever desensitize ourselves to, the way we might for, say, tomatoes.

    I don't have celiac, and even my antigliadin serum result was borderline, but I don't need no steenkin' tests to tell me I feel better without gluten. I eat a mostly pale-style diet nowadays, so I don't consume much dairy, and I don't miss gluten products at all.

    I know it can be an extremely challenging diet adjustment, but consider trying it a while longer, now that you are out of the withdrawal phase--if you haven't already (found this older post kind of late!)

  12. Hi Zuzu's Petals,
    Thanks for this, its very interesting and encouraging to read. I admit that I did relent very recently and ate some bread, it never tasted so good!
    I definitely think its better for our systems to have a gluten reduced diet. I am going to see how things go as ultimately I would think it be beneficial if I could return to being gluten free.
    Thank you for your comment, very positive ;)


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