Wheat

is currently the bane of my existence.

I threw up a lot first trimester.  After all sorts of stuff.  Coming into second trimester (and weaning off metformin), one thing still makes me throw up.

Wheat.

I’ll eat something with wheat in it, purposefully or not.  (Oh, Tempura… Oh, Worcestershire sauce…How you wound me.)  Then an hour or two later, I will empty the contents of my stomach.  I will repeat the process after the next meal no matter what I ate for that second meal.  I will spend the next day or two feeling queasy depending on how much wheat I ingested.

I hate this.

The internet tells me it could be two things.  I could have a wheat allergy or I could have celiac (wheat intolerance is less likely).  Both can be triggered by pregnancy.  If it is an allergy, it might go away.  If it is celiac, I am stuck with it for life.  If it is an allergy, according to the ‘net, it could become life-threatening by suddenly causing me to be unable to breathe (so I should carry around allergy meds just in case).  If celiac, it could hurt the baby’s growth if I’m not careful.

I brought my inability to eat wheat up at the doctor’s appointment and she was all, “Just don’t eat wheat”… and I’m like, Lady, it could be an allergy and could go away or it could be celiac, and celiac is pretty serious.  So basically she was no help.  (This was one of many reasons I switched back to my original doctor the next day, despite doctor #1’s overbooked schedule.)

The internet suggested a test to me to see if it is more likely to be celiac or an allergy (since throwing up is a symptom of either, and it doesn’t stay down long enough to present other symptoms).  Apparently rye has gluten in it, so you can’t eat it if you’re celiac but you can eat it if you’re allergic.  So I ate some rye wasa wafers and was fine, so hopefully the internet is right and it’s an allergy that will go away in a few months (because insulin resistance + celiac = misery).  Of course, I’m a bit sick of rye wasa wafers from overdoing it on them even before the anti-wheat stuff popped up.

I LOVE Indian food.  I love lentil flour.  I love papadam and pakora and methu vada and some of the dosa.  One of our admin assistants told me there’s an Indian place in the city that does gluten-free lentil noodles– man I wish I could try those.  I was loving sushi (cooked or veggie only) until the tempura mistake.  Also sweet potato is on my “ugh” list because a lot of things just don’t taste good anymore once you’ve tried them the other direction.  I’m getting a bit tired of brown rice cakes and a bit tired of oatmeal (recall, I can’t eat refined grains because of glycemic load… so there are a lot of corn, rice, and potato options that are closed to me).  We keep a pot of cooked quinoa or brown rice in the fridge at all times.  Sometimes I’ll use beans in place of noodles.  While the family enjoys spaghetti… I pretend I’m in a different part of Italy.

Last time around I was unable to eat wheat for a while, but it was combined with my inability to keep *anything* except fruit down.  So it wasn’t just the wheat.  And it went away by now, I think.  (My memory is kind of fuzzy at this point, but I think it stopped shortly after 2nd trimester started.  Definitely after I’d gotten off Metformin.)

So… not much point to this post, but that I’m feeling sorry for myself!  I could do wheat-free OR insulin resistant, but doing both SUCKS exponentially.  And I am so glad a good Indian place came to town last year so I can eat there at least once a week.

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38 Responses to “Wheat”

  1. Pika Says:

    I have a problem with wheat, not because I am allergic or coeliac, but because I am extremelly sensitive to hormones and modern wheat has oestrogenic effect, because of the way it was modified for better yield, etc. It exacerbates my endometriosis pain considerably (something that has been confirmed by various studies and in the book I mention below), so I have learned to replace it with an older type of wheat – spelt (Triticum spelta), which does not have this effect. What I do for this is that 1) I bake my own bread with spelt flour and 2) in restaurants/when eating out, I choose stuff with potatoes/rice, 3) if I want pasta, I get rice-pasta, corn-pasta or make my own spelt-pasta, 4) if I want pizza, I make it myself, etc.
    There is a good description of how to get rid of wheat in your diet in this book – not related to pregnancy, but may be useful:

    • Pika Says:

      Sorry, don’t know what happened with the book, I gave the amazon link, maybe that’s the problem.
      The book is:
      Endometriosis: A Key to Healing And Fertility Through Nutrition, by Michael Vernon and Dian Shepperson Mills

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Huh, I had no idea that could happen. I seem to be ok with tofu (which I don’t eat much but don’t actively avoid), so would that suggest I’m ok with phyto-estrogens? I don’t think I could handle doing a stress test with spelt in case I failed.

      • First Gen American Says:

        Spelt Flour is Yummy. I use it in my recipes just because I like the taste of it better than white flour and my family hates anything made out of wheat flour. You can substitute it for white flour without much change in the texture, etc. It’s reasonably priced too. You should definitely just try it. It makes the most amazing tasting pizza dough.

  2. bogart Says:

    Oh no. I’m sorry. What a pain.

    If you want a good book about celiac disease — and I know you’re always looking for something to read, having so much time on your hands and all, I’d recommend Peter Greene’s Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic. It’s thorough, and clear, and informative.

    And good on you for changing docs. Good grief!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Thanks! I hope I don’t have celiac. But it would be nice to know more since they can’t actually do the second test while I’m enciente and I’ve been having such traumatic experiences with blood taking here that I’m leery of even doing the first-line celiac test unless the doctor I trust more recommends it.

      • bogart Says:

        As you probably know, there is a gene test they can do that tells you whether you have the gene that is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for celiac. So that would be another option (though I assume it also involves drawing blood — or maybe not, maybe a cheek swab is enough). But of course either way that could rule it out, but not in, and I think is expensive.

        My recollection from reading the book I recommended (which I did!) is that many women with undiagnosed celiac experience a relief from symptoms when pregnant (due to the immunosuppressive effects of pregnancy). But presumably that’s not a 100% and even if you’re in the minority, that doesn’t make what you’re experiencing any easier, regardless of its cause.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I dragged out of the doctor that they would do a blood test first. I’m not sure about the cost. It is something I plan to discuss at my next appointment!

        Apparently pregnancy can trigger celiac or wheat allergy. I enjoyed losing my green pepper intolerance in my first pregnancy, but seem to have hit the dark side of the pregnancy/allergy interaction with this one.

      • bogart Says:

        Yes, the typical blood test is antibodies, and also for something that checks whether your body would have the antibodies if it’s having the reaction (some don’t — for some reason some people’s bodies don’t produce the antibodies they usually test for). And then a biopsy. But I think the blood tests can be less than definitive and it is definitely not possible to test if you are not eating gluten (though even accidental and unwanted ingestion should cover you, there).

        Ugh.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        *sigh*
        And so if I’d done the blood test then it wouldn’t have said anything anyway because I’d been avoiding wheat for several days (after the beef strogonoff incident). So just as well… especially since the phlebotomists screwed up several different ways that day and left me black and blue on both arms yet again. Man I miss Boston sometimes. Mostly when getting blood drawn.

  3. Cloud Says:

    Oh, that sucks. I hope its just an allergy and goes away. I suddenly developed a raging case of eczema during my second pregnancy, and lo and behold, it did go away when I gave birth. Pregnancy is WEIRD.

  4. Perpetua Says:

    Pregnancy for me = unrelenting food related misery. I had hyperemesis, which for me didn’t just mean persistent nausea & vomiting, but also that all my taste buds altered, and everything tasted *wrong*. I wasn’t allergic or intolerant to anything; it wasn’t like they tasted normal and then made me throw up, they tasted bad. Anything even remotely vinegary or acidic, raw fruits and vegetables, chocolate, herbal tea, eggs, water – oh, almost everything you can think of. You have all my sympathies! I hope it all vanishes postpartum.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds just awful! Thank goodness it went away.

      There was a time with #1 that all I could keep down was fizzy water (not plain water) and fruit. But it relented! I can’t imagine chocolate tasting bad… though I definitely do not have the brownie craving I had with #1… I see baked goods and just think about how unpleasant the after effects would be.

  5. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    I’m so sorry. I had a problem with wheat in grad school (heavy stress, but not pregnant), and it went away later. So I hope that will happen for you, too.

  6. oilandgarlic Says:

    I, too, hope it’s a temporary allergy but isn’t it great (or is it?) that you can find so much info on the internet?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Given the unevenness of the medical profession, I would say it’s great. I do wish there weren’t so much MIS-information about celiac out there though. It seems like some kinds of medical things are more likely to attract nutcases with agendas than others. The internet was awesome for PCOS, but there just doesn’t seem to be so much chaff to sort through for PCOS as with wheat (no pun intended…)

  7. Linda Says:

    There are many great Indian recipes using chick pea flour to create pancakes and bread-like items, too. Madhur Jaffrey has published a few cookbooks with such recipes (I think her World of the East Vegetarian Cookbook has several) if you’re inclined to try such cooking at home and can locate a source of ingredients. There are a lot of recipes that pop up when Googling “chick pea flour recipes,” too.

    I bought a bag of chick pea flour a couple months ago with this intention and haven’t given it a try yet, but maybe I’ll find time some weekend. Pregnancy sounds so awful.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Our local grocery is kind of limited in terms of alternative flours, but we should be driving into the city in a few weeks and I’m hoping to check things out there. I LOVE the lentil flour our local Indian place uses. They also have mung bean dosas, but I haven’t tried those yet.

      We do have dried chickpeas, I wonder if flour is something one could make at home.

  8. julier Says:

    Amazon has a great selection of gluten free products in their grocery section if you can’t get them locally.

    You could also try barley, which is a non-wheat product that has gluten. Progresso has a nice vegetable barley soup.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, unfortunately grain products are pretty expensive to get shipped from Amazon (and I’m pretty limited in gluten-free because they have to be both wheat-free and whole-grain). We have barley (actually have some made in the fridge right now), but I find I’m not that crazy about it.

  9. Melete Says:

    If you can eat rye (which we’re told is not tolerated by celiac disease sufferers), the issue is probably wheat…but it’s not proof. And if you’ve had no fertility or miscarriage problems, it’s less likely that celiac disease is the issue. If you think you have celiac disease, though, prob’ly it would make sense to overcome the unhappiness with blood tests and have one done. Find a doctor who takes your concerns seriously — it sounds like this one is patting you on your pretty little head and blowing you off.

    Failing a diagnosis one way or the other, however, it can’t do any harm to maintain a gluten-free diet for the duration of pregnancy and breast-feeding. Should it be true that you have celiac disease, a gluten-free diet would head off the possibility of anemia (for you) and neural-tube defects (for the baby).

  10. MutantSupermodel Says:

    Well I feel sorry FOR you! I hope it goes away soon. You have enough on your plate (or not enough actually).

  11. anandi Says:

    Look for Paleo recipes. I know giving up grains seems wacky but once you get used to it, it’s much easier. (And I’m really, really bad about stuff like that.) The Whole30 site has lots of recipes and tips.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I did look into Paleo for recipes, but for the most part the sites I found were focused on what you *can’t* eat (and, you know, craziness) rather than recipes. I will check out Whole30.

      • arc Says:

        A cookbook called “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat” has been a lifesaver at our house. Pretty simple stuff to cook and YUUUUMMY. No dogmatic nutrition weirdness.

  12. mom2boy Says:

    I don’t think I want to be pregnant again. There is a lot about it that just isn’t fun. I love apples now and LOVED them when I was pregnant. I guess not being a food lover to begin with helps when your body says no to most everything whether you want it to or not. I’m sorry you are having morning sickness and allergies/intolerance on top of it. Double misery.

  13. First Gen American Says:

    I have IBS, so there’s already a variety of foods I cannot tolerate. Happily bread and cheese aren’t on that list yet. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to omit those as well.

  14. Tinkering Theorist Says:

    That sucks, I hope it all goes away after the pregnancy.

    I found this recent article in BMC Medicine helpful in explaining the different possible wheat related problems; http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1741-7015-10-13.pdf

    Also re: genetic testing without blood, they do have a cheek swab genetic test for celiac markers; one of the laboratories (Kimball genetics) mentioned on the U of Chicago Celiac Disease Center fact sheet ( http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/CDCFactSheets4_Genetic.pdf ) I think will send you a test as an individual (without a doctor’s request), but it’s expensive.

    I recently started to wonder if I had Celiac so I quit gluten and started to feel a bit better in a couple of days, but then I couldn’t get an appointment to get tested very quickly (I live in an area with too few doctors). So now I still don’t know if I have it, but I keep feeling better and better off of gluten, so now I don’t want to go back on. Some little issues I didn’t even realize were that bad, because they got worse slowly over the last 5-10 years and I just figured that’s how I am, are going away. Once I move to a more civilized area this summer, hopefully I can find a good doctor and get back on gluten and figure it out.

  15. Que Sera Says:

    So sorry to learn about your wheat intolerance! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is just allergies and will be gone when the baby comes. Still, what a bummer that you are still limited on what you can eat. You are a champ for weathering so much throwing up. I’d be at my wit’s end.

  16. mareserinitatis Says:

    I’m so sorry about the wheat. I have a corn sensitivity. In fact, I have a lot of food sensitivities, and the doctors always say the same thing: “Just don’t eat it.” I think I’m down to a dozen foods I can eat, which amount to meat, eggs, potatoes, carrots, milk, and, ironically, white flour (but not whole grains). I literally have fantasies about eating peaches, which is one of the worst offenders. On the other hand, it looks like I might have an IBD…after years of dealing with these issues, they finally had a test show up positive…which means I of course need more tests before they can start treating anything. (It’s tempting to start a rant on medical “science”, but I’ll refrain for now.)

    Hopefully your wheat issue will go away, though. That’s a pretty tough one to avoid long term.

  17. eemusings Says:

    Oh, I really really hope it’s just an allergy! Keep us posted.


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