Wheat’s Dirty Little Secret Makes It Hard To Go Gluten-Free

Have you ever tried to go wheat-free or gluten-free, only to give up after a few days? Did you blame yourself? Call yourself a wimp with no will-power? Give in to that one little piece of birthday cake that sent you back to eating other wheat products again?

Well, take heart. If you have had trouble giving up wheat, it’s not because you’re a wimp. It’s because wheat and other gluten grains contain a little-known ingredient that makes you crave them, just like a drug.

That’s right. Wheat’s dirty little secret is…it actually is addictive!

According to James Braly MD, and Ron Hoggan MA, authors of Dangerous Grains, wheat and cereal grains contain small amounts of opioids, a substance that makes them addictive.

Opioids have a calming effect, they relieve pain, and they produce euphoria, as do the endorphins our bodies produce. They’re not the same as opium, which comes from the opium poppy and is used to make morphine and codeine. (Opium is a type of opioid.)

Because the opioids in wheat products are addictive, when you don’t get your regular dose of bread or pasta or whatever, you start craving. That’s the real reason wheat is so hard to give up.

As with all addictive substances, when you give up wheat, there are definitely withdrawal symptoms! After I read Dangerous Grains and its terrifying list of gluten-related diseases and chronic conditions—and recognized several of my blood relatives’ health problems on that list—I decided to go completely gluten-free. No grains at all.

Let’s face it. The opioids in wheat and grains are pretty mild. So you’d think coming off them would be nothing compared to what people go through when they quit famously addictive drugs like morphine or heroin. Or even coffee. HA! Little did I know. (Not that I had anything to compare it to, since I don’t even drink coffee.)

Coming off grains was brutal. I had a headache for two weeks and I felt exhausted, depressed, and irritated the whole time. I was shocked to find that the withdrawal symptoms were so bad. If I hadn’t known that my body was going through a process of detoxification, I would have thought there was something REALLY wrong with me. Or maybe that I was going crazy.

But here’s the weird part…

Once the withdrawal symptoms were over, I pretty much lost interest in wheat and grains completely. I didn’t miss them—I didn’t even think about them. I also lost my food cravings. It was very interesting. Now when I see wheat products, they don’t even seem like food any more.

And yes, my emotions balanced out, the headache went away, and I got my energy back. In fact I ended up with more energy than before, probably because my body no longer had to deal with grains it couldn’t digest properly.

So the best thing to do when going gluten-free is to be prepared. Get all your grain substitutes in place before you start and choose a couple of weeks when you don’t have a lot of other pressures in your life.

Now that you know about wheat’s dirty little secret, you can use it to take control when you go gluten-free. When you go through those uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and negative emotions, make sure you lay the blame fully on the opioids instead of yourself. Detoxing from wheat and grains isn’t fun, but once it’s over, it’s over forever, along with all the other problems gluten causes. (Yippee!)

About the Authors

Hi. We are Karen Alison and Kathy Raymond and we help people self-heal their IBS naturally, with a doctor-recommended method that addresses the least-recognized aspect of this hellish condition – the way the brain triggers uncontrollable symptoms in the gut.

IBS is a lot like having PTSD (also once believed to be untreatable) because of the way your autonomic nervous system is triggered into producing symptoms. But, in a few short sessions, you can learn how to retrain your brain so you shut down the neural pathways that lead straight to diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, and anxiety.

If you don’t deal with this underlying root cause of your problem, you’ll have to spend the rest of your life at the mercy of your Irritable Bowel… and it usually gets worse.

But you can make it stop NOW. Just click on this link for more information and follow the instructions to access the program.

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113 thoughts on “Wheat’s Dirty Little Secret Makes It Hard To Go Gluten-Free”

  1. At about 4.5 weeks GF, I wish I would have read this sooner. Yes, I have been feeling like I am losing it and worte it off to not eating. I now realize that I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms like crazy.

    I was diagnosed with CD on 11/16 via biopsy so I did nto have much time to prepare, thus adding to my sense of “what the hell do I do now?”

    Thanks for your post-helps a lot!

  2. Hi Chris, Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear this post helped you and I’m sorry to hear about the CD. The detox from going gluten-free really adds insult to injury when you get that diagnosis. Detoxing from grains is something hardly anyone talks about, but it does end if you’re strict about staying off grains and refined sugar. I know the holiday season can be hell for that. The best of friends and relatives often don’t understand that you can’t eat even one bite of their fancy cookies, cake, or candy. In self-defense, when I went GF, I always took along my own stash of dates with almond butter for a sweet treat. (But maybe you’re not a sweet freak like I used to be.) One other thing that can help is using natural, unscented personal care and laundry products because all the chemicals in the regular versions are very hard on the bowel, your emotions and your energy level. All the best for good health in the coming year!

  3. I went wheat and gluten free a little over a week ago. I feel energized and already are not craving wheat or sweets. But I do have a headache everyday. So it is nice to know that it will go away

  4. I am off, day two, and I am starving! Despite all the other good stuff I am eating, I am still hungry. Is this anything you’ve experienced? (I do have a headache fatigue and am irritable too!)

  5. Hi Lavinia, Sorry, no, I don’t remember experiencing that. I’m curious what you’re eating. Did you go off all grains, or just wheat? Have you tried eating every 2 hours and including some protein and a little fat every time you eat? Fat is what provides satiation, so if you’re vegetarian, it could be some avocado or if you tolerate it, some flax oil or almond butter. Do you think it’s true physical hunger, or is your brain signalling you that you’re hungry because you’ve cut out a whole food group that your body is used to having? On the other hand, are you eating enough? (Back to the suggestion to eat every two hours – at least for the first four or five days.) You might also try eating some of the heavier vegetables for that added feeling of bulk and comfort in your stomach – i.e. winter squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc.

  6. Thanks for this article! I have only been off wheat for a little over 24 hours and am so tired. But!! my bowel problem is returning to normal and I am a type 2 diatetic and my blood sugars are normal! I wish the dr. had told me to get off gulten and I might see an improvement in my diabetes. I will definatly be GF forever. The benefits are too many to name and I know when the detox is over, I will feel so much better. thanks again.

  7. You’re welcome, Carol. Thanks for your comment. It’s exciting that your bowel and blood sugar symptoms are improving after only about 24 hours! Just goes to show that when you give your body what it needs (or take away what it doesn’t need,) it can heal itself.

  8. I’m so glad I came across this. I’ve had to give up gluten as been diagnosed with CD and I was feeling a little disheartened that although my stomach was feeling much much better, some of the other symptoms hadn’t really disappeared – nausea, tiredness, aching muscles, etc. It’s pretty cruel of nature though that you get almost exactly the same symptoms coming off gluten as you got from eating it!

  9. Thank you for posting this informative article. I was recently diagnosed as being allergic to wheat & corn. I’ve always been a huge fan of bread, pastries, pastas, etc & anything corn (pop corn, banned corn, corn chowder, etc). Giving them up hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be because eating those things makes me very nauseous & extremely itchy! Finding wheat free products hasn’t been as hard either, it’s finding products that don’t contain corn oil, corn starch or corn syrup that’s been difficult! Those items are in products that you wouldn’t suspect. I was in a hurt last night & bought some granola as an alternative snack to potato chips. After I got home I found that it contained corn syrup & wheat! I would appreciate any tips or suggestions on detoxing & avoiding these products.

  10. Hi Arianna,
    Are you able to eat nuts? If so, making your own trail mix from organic or unsweetened, untreated nuts, seeds and raisins is a good snack. Just make sure the raisins aren’t processed with an oil that’s problematic for you. Some brands of raisins are coated with oil to keep them from clumping.
    If you want a salty snack, what about dulse? It’s a purple seaweed that tastes great if you like seaweed. You can eat it straight out of the bag.
    I guess the most important thing is to read labels on EVERYTHING. The only products that will not contain corn are foods that are not processed like meat, veg and fruit. You might take a look at the Paleo or Primal diet. It completely avoids grains of any kind and there are many cookbooks for this eating style on Amazon. If interested, google Mark Sisson or Robb Wolf – two experts on Paleo/Primal. Their sites have many eating tips.
    Also, be careful licking envelopes – the glue could have corn in it. (Really!)

  11. I have been Glutan free for about three days now, I have had the worst experience since I started. Cannot eat, feel like I’m going to throw up. Stomach cramps and a head ache. My doctor recommended to do this diet. I have read plenty about what gluten can do to a person. Have anyone experience anxiety with withdrawals?

  12. Hi Al,
    Yes, I had anxiety. The opiods in grains are calming. I believe there’s also an increase in serotonin – a calming brain chemical – when you eat grains (science types, feel free to correct me if this is wrong), so when you take all that away, yes, there can be lots of anxiety. Take a look at the tapping video on our blog post called “Self Treatment for Anxiety When You Have Irritable Bowel Symptoms” Even if you don’t have IBS, you can do what Kathy shows you in the video to help calm down the anxiety.
    Also, maybe it will help to remember that a lot of the anxiety you’re feeling is likely a chemical reaction inside your body from coming off gluten, so think of it (gluten) as a toxin that’s coming out of your body and making you feel sick and anxious on its way out.

  13. Hi THere
    I am so glad i looked this up today, I was diagnosed as being wheat intolerant and have only been off it for 2 days, but have been exhausted miserable and have had headaches, and so wondered if this could be withdraw as i know a bit about my body and other withdraws. Thank you so much for posting this 🙂

  14. Hi Kim, You’re welcome! Thanks for your comment. Your symptoms sound a lot like the ones I had when I went off grains. Pretty yucky, but they did go away after a while.

  15. Only 3 days into avoiding gluten and cutting hugely back on dairy, except for unflavored Greek yogurt, I feel awful! It’s very helpful to know that withdrawl symptom are common and will eventually end! I am also trying to avoid grain-fed meets and/or dairy items. This is very difficult. I’m married to a man who can eat anything without consequences! I’ve been avoiding preservatives for decades as much as possible, but have indulged at times and paid a huge suffering for doing so. Must read ALL labels and/or prepare all as freshly as possible. Fortunately, I love to cook/prepare meals! Still, I need a padded room at this point of early avoidance of gluten and grain fed dairy. Grass fed dairy is hard to find and very costly. I plan to tough it out!
    Hoping for the eventual improvements. I’m almost 63, feeling like 133 years old just now. But I expect to feel better down the line.

  16. Hi Alice,
    Hang in there! Think of yourself as a person who is entering an elite category of eating – i.e. the super-healthy. I know it might not seem like it right now, but once you get through the gluten detox, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be surprised at how much more energy you’ll have. Plus you’ll avoid all those horrible health problems that are linked to grains and gluten. Yay!

  17. Whew! I thought I was having a stroke or something. Now I realize it is “just” withdrawl. I have been wheat free for 2 days (post-Thanksgiving) & made this decision due to seriously impending health problems (near IBS, borderline diabetic, etc.) not to mention weight gain & some curious intentinal issues. I am DIZZY and have been off & on for 24 hours and all I really want is a scone! SO far I am pushing through, knowing it will not last, and every night when I close my eyes, I say to myself “I am going wheat free, I am going wheat free”. Trying some self-hypnosis I guess. I know it will be worth it but it has a lot in common with quitting smoking (24 years and counting….). Thanks for the support!

  18. I’ve been off Gluten and Lactose for about 3 weeks now and my withdrawal symptoms have reached their peak. I am fatigue, have muscle aches, the constant hunger pangs and worst of all I feel so defeated and irritated. It seriously is hell. Last night I experienced some brain fogginess. I’m 19 years old and i feel no one grasps the severity of my condition. I would just like to know how you guys cope emotionally and how long did your withdrawal peaks last?

  19. Hi Julie,

    Yeah, I can relate to the dizziness! When people go on the Paleo or Primal diet (basically fish, meat, poultry, nuts, veg and fruit – no dairy, no sugar or grains) you can go through carb withdrawal which is a lot like wheat detox – so all the same symptoms. And I just learned that in the olden days, before the 20th century, wheat didn’t have all those opioids plus it had a lot more nutrition. So what we’re getting as “wheat” now is more like a drug than a food, at least that’s how it seems to me… Anyway, good luck and hang in there. You’ll make it.

  20. [quote name=”Udette”]I’ve been off Gluten and Lactose for about 3 weeks now and my withdrawal symptoms have reached their peak. I am fatigue, have muscle aches, the constant hunger pangs and worst of all I feel so defeated and irritated. It seriously is hell. Last night I experienced some brain fogginess. I’m 19 years old and i feel no one grasps the severity of my condition. I would just like to know how you guys cope emotionally and how long did your withdrawal peaks last?[/quote]
    Hi Udette,
    To cope emotionally, I used EFT tapping (see videos on this site or go to NoIBSvideos on Youtube) and I took lots of ETS+ an essence solution that’s like Rescue Remedy only stronger. Withdrawal peaks? Like I said, I had a headache for 2 weeks, then it went away. I also felt depressed. One friend had symptoms for 6 weeks. For hunger, try eating some protein every 2-3 hours. It helps. And watch out for sugar- it can make you feel worse.

  21. Hi, is this the case with all grains? I’ve decided to try the blood type diet, and according to that, wheat is really bad for me, especially hindering weight loss. I’ve only given it up for 2 days and already having serious trouble keeping up. I feel really weird..not really sick, but kind of shaky, cold-sweaty, light-headed..really annoying. I did have oats for breakfast, though, and still nothing.Meaning I still feel like crap. Oats and Rice are recommended for my blood type, so I plan to eat them, are those addictive, too? Must say, I used to eat lots of wheat products, like most people, breat, pretzels, cakes, you name it, then went cold turkey.

  22. Hi Sandra,
    That’s a very good question. Oats and rice are often recommended for a gluten-free diet. But some authorities condemn ALL grains because of the way they affect the lining of the intestine and can migrate through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, causing the body to mount an attack. This can lead to auto-immune health problems. So I guess you have to decide based on your own health history and that of your blood relatives, especially parents. If they have digestive and auto-immune conditions, you’ll want to decide whether grains should be part of your diet. For me, personally, oats put me to sleep. Don’t know why, it just happens.
    On another note, good for you for getting off wheat. It IS hard at the beginning, but it gets better the longer you’re off!

  23. Its true. There’s opiates in this genetically altered wheat. Not the wheat from the 1950’s when women were all size 4. I had a headache and irritability for two weeks. I have no cravings for it. I’m angry and feel tricked. I thought it was my weakness. Its opiates.

  24. You said it, Kat. The genetically-altered wheat is definitely different from the wheat of 50 – 100 years ago. And, as we both know, anyone who can go off wheat successfully does NOT have a weakness. You have to be pretty determined to take on this challenge. So when you say you’re angry and feel tricked, I hear you!

  25. some withdrawal symptoms in my opinion like headache are because of lack of carbohydrates, too sudden cut-off. If you have severe symptoms eat some gluten free carbohydrates. If you are acoustomed to eating lots of carbs don’t go cold turkey – you may faint due to lack of glucose. The body needs time to swith to burn more fat.

  26. This is a VERY important point that henieck made. I found this out the hard way. It’s especially important if you exercise. Eat some sweet potatoes or squash or even an apple with some nuts or nut butter (if you’re not allergic to nuts.) Dr. Mercola recommends eating protein every 2 hours for the first three or four days when you go off grains to help prevent this. Also, make sure you have a little sea salt to replace electrolytes.

  27. Been wheat free for 15 days-lots more energy. Did have the mood swings for a few days-didn’t recognize myself! Is anyone having issues with their body itching?? I got bronchitis when I first started and thought maybe it was a viral rash…It went away after a couple days, but again I am itching-you can really not see a rash-just a bit mottled red on my torso only…I am wondering is this a withdrawal symptom.
    I don’t want to eat wheat-I am loving all the other grain/flour choices and find I do not crave it anymore(Of course I haven’t been faced with a pizza yet)! And I don’t seem to have the brain fog I had before…

  28. Hi Kristen,
    Congrats on going WF! A friend of mine also had itchy red marks on her torso – turned out to be a fungal rash which went away when she dealt with her candida. Don’t know if this would be the same for you or not. FYI, refined flour products and sugars are the food of candida yeast, so if the skin thing doesn’t go away by itself, you might want to check if you need some antifungals. (Even after you’ve stopped eating grains, the ones you ate in the past could still be affecting your digestive system where the yeast lurks.) There’s a blog post on this site about Candida. Click on the Site Map at the bottom of the page to find it.

  29. I have an intolerance to wheat,dairy,nuts and corn.IBS has been a major problem for me for many,many years and I’ve recently learned that the only way I can be symptom free is to COMPLETELY AVOID all of these foods. This means that for once in my life,I can be gas/diarrhea/cramp free and actually NOT look 8 months pregnant! Today is only day 8 of being wheat free and man is it hard.I’m in such a rush to fast forward the withdrawal phase because it’s just hell: Headaches,nausea,loss of appetite,hot/cold sweats,exaustion,depression,lack of motivation,flu like symptoms,intense cravings,feeling ‘deprived’,grief,loss of appetite at times,wanting to just cry a river,snappy/irritable,very impatient,feeling unsocial,fed up and just ‘not feeling my usual self’. I realise we all react differently when saying goodbye to wheat/grains,but it’s certainly not an easy process. I just can’t wait to feel human again…

  30. Hi Kristy, You’re right – the withdrawal phase IS hell. (I’ve been there.) The good part is, once it’s over, you start to feel amazing. I wish I’d known about grains years earlier so I wouldn’t have had to suffer for so long! Good for you for sticking it out. You won’t be sorry.

  31. I am gluten intolerant and have just developed bronchitis and inflammation from ingnoring my intolerance, I cried for two days when I decided to go GF. I have started to look at it like this “I was choosing wheat and flour products over my health and my family” when I say it like that it makes my actions seem so selfish. I didn’t know about he addictive properties but I sure feel like an addict. I will stay strong and overcome my addiction. I may cry for a few days but it will get better 😀

  32. Hi Robin, Don’t you find it ironic that we’re always being told how nutritious grains are supposed to be? Meanwhile, for people like you and me, they’re the worst. (Anyway, you get more fiber and more nutrients out of vegetables.) The crying part is pretty bad but at least you know it’s not you, it’s the gluten withdrawal. And, yes, you’re absolutely right – it WILL get better!

  33. Thanks for your article! It’s quite extraordinary how powerful wheat addiction is. I went gluten-free only 4 days ago, mainly because of the indigestion it was giving me. Within 24-hours of cutting gluten out of my diet, my 5 year bout with indigestion has stopped – it’s [i]completely[/i] gone.However, today is my 4th day into the gluten diet and I have all the symptoms of detoxing. It’s only 2pm in the afternoon here right now, and I am soooo tired – wow I feel like I had been out all night drinking. Also, my tongue feels weird. Drinking a lot of water and soldiering on! Liked your comment (quote)[i] “Once the withdrawal symptoms were over, I pretty much lost interest in wheat and grains completely.”[/i] Looking forward to this day!

  34. Hi Stavros,Thanks for your comment and good luck! It’s a long time since I went gluten-free, but I still remember it as one of the most brutal detoxes I’ve been through (the other worst one was for candida.) FYI, the fifth day of going off grains can be bad because, ordinarily, it takes about five days for a food to fully exit your system (although the effects of gluten seem to take much longer.) But because of that, you might experience increased cravings on the fifth day as your opioid receptors stage a last-ditch effort to get you to feed them. Sneaky devils. Don’t fall for it!

  35. I am detoxing from gluten and the itching in my scalp and arms and legs are making me crazy!!!I have tried lotions to calm it down, and no luck there. How long does this last, anybody know?

  36. Hi Ellen,Did you have any eczema or skin problems before the detox? Sometimes old symptoms are temporarily re-activated (some people call this a “healing crisis.”)Try eating some essential fatty acids to help lubricate your skin from the inside – like high quality fish oil or flax oil, or eat some free range eggs cooked so the yolk is runny. Probiotics might also help, especially probiotic foods like sauerkraut (but fermented in water NOT vinegar.) Also, are you keeping hydrated? Filtered water is important. If you’re drinking straight tap water, the chemicals in it can cause problems. If you don’t have filtered water to drink, you can pour a pitcher of tap water and leave it for an hour so the chlorine evaporates.Also, you might try honey on your itchy skin, or a mixture of honey and olive oil. Honey is quite soothing to the skin.Hope that helps!

  37. This article is a great resource. Thank you to the people who commented here and even though my gluten test showed negative I am certain that grains and Wheat specifically is causing my issues. Only 1 week now to see if that is the case. health and happiness to you all 🙂

  38. Hi George,Thank you! Dr James Braly says that it can be difficult to test for gluten sensitivity because even some of the blood tests are not always accurate or specific enough. Personally, when I looked at my family’s health history and saw that most of the chronic conditions they had were linked to reactions to gluten, dairy and sugar, I went ahead and took action since I didn’t want to end up with similar health problems! That’s worked very well for me.All the best!

  39. I gave up all grains 5 days ago. At first I felt wonderful. Then my facial skin went nuts! It’s been red, burning and irritated. So, my chronic bloating, gastric distress, chills and arthritis pain are drastically improved in exchange for a crappy face 🙁

  40. Hi Julie,My guess is that the skin problem is temporary and it will likely clear up. Your skin is an organ of elimination, so the effects of grains may be detoxifying through your skin. There’s something called “a healing crisis” where you seem to get worse before you get better. Give it a few more days or even a couple of weeks.

  41. I just stopped eating wheat & gluten laden foods and have many of the withdrawal after just 36hrs. Will eating wheat immediately stop them so I can go to work, then take “vacation” time to go through this transition without having to work while feeling like I have the flu?

  42. I gave up gluten about 5 days ago and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. Last night I thought I had the flu. I was achy and had the chills. This morning I felt better but had no appetite and felt very weak. Are these normal reactions? On the up side, my arthritic feet aren’t as painful.

  43. Hi Jenifer,Unfortunately, yes, your symptoms are perfectly normal. I believe it’s the opioid withdrawal (and probably carb withdrawal) that hits us so hard. The flu, the chills, the weakness and all the rest – especially feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck – those are all classic symptoms of gluten withdrawal. If you can wait it out, things will get better – they did for me and many, many others. But, I know, while you’re going through it, it’s pretty terrible. Hang in there. I’m rooting for you!

  44. I have been gluten free for over six weeks and though I dont get cravings for it, it still haunt me psychologically

  45. Hi Chris,I would do some EFT tapping for that. It’s great for dealing with that kind of issue. There are some videos of how to tap on this site. Here’s one: http://www.no-ibs.com/blog/self-treatment-for-anxiety-when-irritable-bowel-symptoms-calm-brains-alarm-center.html Or you can go to our YouTube channel: NoIBSvideos and look at the tapping instructions there.If it were me, I would tap every time I had a thought about eating grains or a craving for them. That should reduce the intensity of the craving.Also, you might want to look at whether you have cravings in certain situations. Some people crave grains when they are stressed because there is a slightly calming effect when you eat them. But you can actually get a better calming effect from EFT tapping or deep, slow breathing. If you do notice that you crave grains in certain situations or when you’re around certain people, try doing some tapping on your feelings about those situations or people. You could also talk to your subconscious mind when you’re falling asleep at night and ask it to stop the cravings or replace them with cravings for healthy food. A great book is – The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy.

  46. Hi all, I just gave up all grains three days ago and all I want to do is sleep and I can hardly put one foot in front of the other. My doctor took me off coffee because I have over active bladder syndrome. Is there anything I can take to wake me up?

  47. Hi Katherine,You could try green tea. It has significantly less caffeine than coffee but still gives you a hit of alertness. Make sure you buy a good organic brand from Japan, not China. Apparently, tea from China can be contaminated with lead.Also, you may be dehydrated. Try drinking some good quality water when you’re tired. You’re probably going through a carb withdrawal as well as a grain detox, so you may have to wait it out. If you can last a few days through the tiredness, it should go away by itself.A third idea is to eat a small amount of protein every couple of hours to give your body a boost. Are you taking any essential fatty acids? That could help, too.

  48. Hi all, I’ve noticed that since I’ve given up wheat, my allergies have subsided. When I ate grains I was so congested that I couldn’t breathe. I took allergy pills, decongestants, etc. but to no avail. It’s only been 3 days that I’ve gone no grain. Kathy

  49. Very exciting! But at the same time, not a surprise. Grains are the source of many allergies – they put stress on the body, holes in the intestines and cause inflammatory and auto-immune reactions. So that’s fantastic that you have reduced your allergies through avoiding grains, Katherine!

  50. What did your diet contain when you went wheat free? im having problems with food allergies and im trying to go vegan but im not sure what variety of vegetables i should be eating.

  51. Hi Graham,I actually went Paleo when I went off grains. I had been vegan, but I had an injury that wouldn’t heal for over a year until I started eating fish and chicken again. I ate all green vegetables, no white potatoes or other nightshades, and no grains of any kind. So basically, proteins, veg, a small amount of fruit, lots of nuts and some seeds. Heavy on the avocadoes.If you have food allergies, you might want to get tested for food intolerances or sensitivities to find out exactly what the problem foods are. Some people find that when they cut out all grains and white sugar, their allergies go away. That may be because leaky gut syndrome is a major contributor to food allergies as it allows food molecules to travel through the wall of the intestine and causes an inflammatory and auto-immune response in the body. Cutting out grains, dairy and legumes helps the gut wall to heal.But it doesn’t help you with going vegan. Frankly, veganism is extremely tricky in terms of getting the right nutrients and, as you probably know, you will have to be especially careful to get enough vitamin B-12 or you could end up with a very dangerous form of anemia. You might want to look at recipes and cookbooks put out by the raw food movement since they tend to be vegan and have solutions to getting enough protein without meat, grains and dairy. In going vegan and GF, you also have to watch out for texturized vegetable proteins which are often wheat-based.Hope that helps.

  52. Fantastic explanation of withdrawal esp the bit about thinking something really wrong if you didn’t know you were withdrawing. .I’m 2 months in and have parkinsons and fibromyalgia so I realise it may take time for major improvements. Nina

  53. Thank you so much, Nina.BTW, there’s some interesting info about overcoming Parkinson’s in Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain’s Way of Healing. And in James LaValle’s, Cracking the Metabolic Code, he has nutritional and lifestyle protocols for helping to relieve Parkinson’s and fibromyalgia.

  54. Just got diagnosed with Celiacs one week ago and I have been gluten free. First couple days were good but now I’m getting lightheaded & nauseous after each meal plus my energy level is non existent. I’m barely eating 700 calories a day because of the nausea. Anyone else experience this? When can I expect it to go away?

  55. Hi Marina,Nausea and light-headedness are classic symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Also the lack of energy. I know it feels horrible, but it means you’re on the right track. Make sure you’re drinking enough water or ginger tea (ginger helps with nausea), take some magnesium and probiotics to help with the detox. Sea salt or Himalayan salt (i.e. salt containing minerals) may help with light-headedness. Can you tolerate some ground flax for omega 3 fatty acids?You could also get someone to do the Spine Rub on you – it helps with nausea. Kathy demonstrates it in one of our videos on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFLJtEIguzg You can do it on yourself, as Kathy shows, but if you’re not feeling that well, it might help if someone else can do it on you.How long will your symptoms last? Unfortunately, it’s hard to say, since everyone is different and I don’t have a crystal ball, but judging by what people have said, the nausea could be gone within a couple of weeks.

  56. I just started the detox yesterday. I had a major migraine but today I feel much better. My hard part so far is that I want chips and crackers. Pasta sounds great too. I mostly have questions however at this point. Can I chew gum? Sugarfree of course. And I have tons on allergies. Mostly to Nuts (all of them) and cinnamon. How can I make bread type foods? I can’t find any recipes that substitute except for nut flours. Much help is appreciated. I know there will be more bad days coming but the mental battle is the worse for me so far. Thanks

  57. Hi Jessica,For the mental battle, I would use EFT Tapping (see articles and videos on this site.) Gum is fine as long as it’s gluten-free and I would look for one that’s sweetened with xylitol (from birch) or stevia, because artificial sweeteners can give you a whopper headache and gastro problems.For “bread-type” foods, personally, I would avoid all that stuff like the plague at least until your gut has healed – which could take 6 months or more. After that, you can see if you tolerate amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat (which is not a wheat, despite the name – it’s from the rhubarb family.) In the meantime, if you’re craving carbs, you could try baked sweet potatoes or make your own sweet potato chips in the oven. If you tolerate the fats, eat potato chips when you’re desperate – but not Pringles or other types that have wheat in them. I know chips aren’t the perfect food, but it’s a better choice than cookies when you’re going gluten-free!Eat fruit. Make fruit salad or bake pears or apples with a bit of maple syrup if you like sweets. If you tolerate seeds (you mentioned nut allergy but not seeds?), you can make a really great fudge with 1 cup of tahini, (sesame seed paste), 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of cocoa powder (dairy-free) or carob powder. Heat on the stove enough to mix together then press into an 8×8 pan, or roll pieces into balls. Can you eat dates? They often help to relieve feelings of deprivation. Make sure they don’t have sugar on them, like those blocks of cooking dates do. Also, if you eat a few bites of protein every 2 or 3 hours, it will help you get through the first few days more easily.

  58. Hi Nicola,Thanks for the feedback. The reason IBS is like PTSD is because – unless your IBS is from parasites or food reactions – IBS symptoms are frequently triggered by the amygdala and Autonomic Nervous System because of a brain pattern that forms in response to a trauma – whether physical or emotional. People who have had car accidents, and war veterans (especially female,) often end up with IBS, and this is a function of the unresolved trauma. That’s why it’s similar to PTSD.Hope that helps.

  59. Stopped wheat and sugar 7 weeks ago,don’t miss them but the withdrawal has been horrible, I have cfs/fibromyalgia, must say my digestion has really improved so far.Looking forward to getting through it

  60. Hi Sandi,Keep going! I know it’s hard but you’ll get through it.BTW, I don’t know if you’ve only stopped wheat or you’ve stopped eating all gluten grains (rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and some oats.) It goes faster if you cut out all the gluten.

  61. Hi i gave up dairy 7 days ago and gluten and wheat 3 days ago.i felt good for the first 2 days,i woke on the 3rd day with a painfully sore throat and 2 hours later lost my voice and my face felt very warm,this lasted 2 days.on day 7 my face is still warm and now my legs are acheing and ive had a headache from day 1.also my face is breaking out in spots.ive also lost a lot of cattarh from my body..i dont care though,i have enjoyed the gf food so much and i cant believe how healthy my new diet is.i had become very bored with food and didnt enjoy cooking a week ago,now im enjoying shopping and food so much more.my reasons for quiting were bad stomach,alopecia that never grew back,lesions that couldnt be dignosed,swollen hard lymph nodes on my elbows that arnt lymphoma and excsema on my elbows and very itchy ears and very manic depression.i reached my lowest point and just happened to see a post about dairy and gluten allergys/sensitivity.i had been lactose free for a year and wondered why nothing had improved.after 7 days the lymph nodes are no longer red and swollen,my ears have hardly itched atall,my depression and hypers have eased,excsema isnt sore and the lesions arnt itching.and even though i am a new gf convert i know deep down my problems are over ?

  62. Wow, Becky – good for you! It sounds like you are really moving in the healing direction.Your bad stomach, eczema, alopecia, depression, etc, are all classic symptoms of gluten intolerance. Depression and brain fog are symptoms people often don’t realize are part of the gluten problem. In Elaine Gottschall’s book about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, she talks about how many people find their mental and emotional problems clear up even before their physical symptoms, when they go GF.Anyway, back to you – that’s fantastic that you are seeing such positive changes from going GF! Yay!

  63. Thinks scary and a relief…makes the effort to go gluten free worthwhile knowing the cravings will disappear..as the first few hours..I was craving more than ever..another awesome article written so beautifully.

  64. Thanks for the kind words, Wendy.Interesting that you had such strong cravings in the first few hours. Some people find it’s a day or two before the really bad cravings set in. But eventually, they do pass, as long as you avoid all forms of gluten.

  65. This is a relief to know that although the withdrawals will be hideous…that the cravings will subside/disappear. Scary how wheat is addictive tho…

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