Goodbye, gluten

I didn't expect to get issued one of these things for at least another 20 or 30 years, but it's the easiest way to keep track of the dozen supplements I'm now taking to fix the parts of me that bread broke.

I didn’t expect to get issued one of these things for at least another 20 or 30 years, but it’s the easiest way to keep track of the dozen supplements I’m now taking to fix the parts of me that bread broke.

The $1K battery of tests that I sent off to labs in Texas and Georgia came back of one accord: Wheat is the Devil. At least that’s my digestive system’s take on the matter. I’m gluten-intolerant.

The story goes something like this … Genetically predisposed to reject wheat as a recognizable nutrient when I hit the half-century mark, I began dumping most of it and incarcerating the rest inside my cells. This somehow triggered malabsorption of other nutrients, as well as decreased testosterone production, increased estrogen production, lymph node inflation and thyroid afterburner ignition.

Recoiling in horror from what it perceived to be an imminent reversal of my core identity (testosterone down + estrogetn up = OMFG!! We’re turning into a woman!!), my body hit the panic button: lightheadedness, queasiness, numbness, intestinal madness, poor sleep and, lest I leave anything out, other stuff, too.

My dietitian, Bernadette Saviano, who ordered the tests, took one look at the numbers and exclaimed, a bit too gleefully I think, “Wow! The rabbit died!” By which she meant that there was no doubt in her mind that we’d found the root cause of my symptoms. Bullseye. Nothing but net.

I’ll be celebrating our discovery for the next two years with a steady diet of supplements and for the rest of my life with a strict avoidance of 95% of grocery items not sold in the produce, meat or dairy aisles … and many of those that are.

As I know from countless meals eaten with a gluten-intolerant friend, wheat is (in addition to being the Devil) everywhere and, where it’s missing, there’s usually a placeholder of soy, which isn’t as bad for me as wheat, but which I’m supposed to avoid also.

A month or two from now, I should be feeling much, much better, she says. Let’s hope to hell she’s right.