I've been wheat-free for 3 full months now (started in late August, decided to do 6 full months so counting from September 1.)
I have noticed some positives:
First of all, I have much, much less joint pain than I had when eating wheat. It's amazing and impressive. I am not saying I never have joint pain, but now my joint pain is clearly EDS-related, rather than a constant gritty, inflamed, stabbing ache.
Second of all, I have noticed that I am tolerating the cold much better than I have in years. It's been quite cold here, in the 50s at night. Usually I would be miserable, and in a lot of pain from the cold itself. As in, I have for years experienced extreme cold as painful. Now, this could be a matter of the climate, however it's also been very damp off and on, and I still am ok. So I am pleased.
Third of all, even though I am not on any neuro meds right now, I am having far fewer stabby nerve pains than I had before going wheat-free. Before, I had these stabby pains all the time, and the only thing that stopped them was bupropion. They feel like someone stabbing you very hard with a big pin or even a knife. Related is the tickling feeling like a bug is crawling on you, and I am hardly having that at all. Both of those are problems that the bupropion treated, but without wheat, they are both drastically reduced.
I am struggling with depression. Some of that is situational, but I suspect some of it has to do with withdrawal from the opiod effects of wheat. I am not sure how long it takes to get over those. Note to self, look up the neurotransmitter-affecting foods in the IR diet book.
I'm gaining weight. I definitely have sugar cravings a lot, and conversely I am having a hard time eating enough normal food because I'm so tired and distracted. Those two things together lead to weight gain for me EVERY TIME.
Not only am I gaining, but I am gaining it all in my lower body, which is very weird to me. My upper body is slimmer than before, but my lower body is the biggest it has ever been. My hips, legs, and lower belly are enormous. Overnight, I became a pear. And I do not like it.
I've also been having some increased IBS problems since becoming wheat-free. I am not sure why or how to address them.
It is very frustrating sometimes. B has been great about it but even he got frustrated the other night. Tempe is surprisingly GF-friendly, more so than Houston for sure, but I am still pretty limited in terms of where I can eat. It has to be a place with wheat-free options, and that actually rules out most restaurants. I'm grateful that there are places I can eat, at all, but it's frustrating sometimes trying to find a new place. For example, I still haven't found a Chinese place where I can eat wheat-free.
And I miss just being able to eat whenever, whatever. I miss the flavor and texture of real wheat bread (though I may be getting close to it in my baking.)
Going wheat-free does not seem to have affected my CFIDS at all. One of my reasons for doing this was that a few people told me that they had been diagnosed with CFIDS, but after 6 months wheat-free, all their symptoms were gone. I have seen no alleviation of symptoms yet.
While this post was sitting in draft mode, I spoke with a classmate who, it turns out, has PCOS. She has been wheat-free for 9 years, and she mentioned to me that she also became more cold-tolerant when she went wheat-free. Make of that what you will.
- Wheat-free midpoint update