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    Home Education, Other Thoughts

    Why She Went Gluten Free

    October 26, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Sigh. We have a gluten-free girl in the house (again), and this time it looks to be permanent. Many of you know that my husband is a holistic nutritionist. Our family sort of specializes in treating health problems with food — in letting, as Hippocrates said so long ago, our food be our medicine. (Hippocrates also said walking is man’s best medicine, but I digress.) But using food as medicine doesn’t necessarily mean we do lots of permanent, complicated diets. While my husband designs special diets for special cases (like cancer patients or hyperactive children), at home we just eat real food and call it a day.

    I explained my thoughts on food in more detail six years ago in my post An Incomplete Theology of Nutrition. The pertinent part of that, for today’s discussion, at least, is when I explained how socially difficult it was to have severely allergic children — how it isolated us from others, how we skipped fun things, how we felt alone.

    Why She Went Gluten Free

    Ultimately, we have to face the fact that there exist many tensions in a fallen world, and one of them has to do with food. What I mean is, God created everything, and some of the things in everything He called “food” and also He told us that everything He made was good. So logically, I can say that stuff exists, some of this stuff is food, and all that food is Good.

    That is nice and all, but what about allergies? I think the tension is resolved simply by saying something like, “Look, God made peanuts, and peanuts are Good, but that doesn’t mean they are good for all people all of the time. It’s a fallen world, and allergies are real.”

    And oh. my. word. are allergies real. The stories I could tell, people! Allergies can be so much more than watery eyes and tummy aches.

    And allergies, of course, are not the only thing. We also have issues like Celiac disease, which is not an allergy, and yet a situation in which consuming gluten — something that God put into food which He declared to be Good — can cause damage to the intestines that results in severe vitamin deficiencies and even death.

    And the list goes on. Creation groans, and we groan with it.

    I asked my daughter if I could share her story, and she said yes. In fact, she told me I need to share it — because what if it helps someone else? So that’s what we’re doing today. We’re sharing.

    One of my daughters has struggled with her brain for a long time. As she has gotten older, she’s been able to articulate it better. For the past year, she has said things like, “Mom, I feel like my brain doesn’t work as well as other people’s brains work.” Or, “Mom, today feels like I’m in a dream and things aren’t real.” Or, “Mom, I don’t feel like I can remember things that I should be able to remember.”

    I have worked so hard with her over the years, but it has always been a struggle. I was a chronically ill child myself, and I know the kinds of fruit that struggle can bear in the life of a child, so I don’t think that struggle is in and of itself a bad thing. But I also don’t feel like we have to sit back and accept every difficulty without trying to figure out how to fix it, or at least relieve it a little.

    This summer, everything sort of came to a head. My daughter was in a situation where she was, for the first time in her life, trying to keep up with other kids. And she couldn’t do it. I found her sobbing on her bedroom floor. “I can’t remember these things. Why can’t I remember these things? I want to remember these things!”

    I contacted a group of trusted friends and asked them what they thought. These are women with whom I have spent hours studying all sorts of things — everything from educational philosophy to homeopathy. I asked for a homeopathic remedy specifically. Can I fix this through medicine? I wondered.

    It was one of those time-stopping moments when my friend asked me about removing gluten. “Have you thought about it?” she asked. “In my family, our brains don’t work right when we eat gluten. I didn’t know why until I read Grain Brain.”

    Suddenly, my mind went all the way back to the beginning, so many years ago, back when I was trying to recover one of our children from Asperger’s, and discovered that I could turn symptoms off and on through food exposure. At that time, I had just finished reading Karyn Seroussi’s book Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. In it, Seroussi details part of the history of the discovery that some people do not properly digest gluten, and that the result is partially digested proteins which function as opioid-like neuropeptides and are debilitating to the brain and nervous system. The research in this area eventually resulted in a urine test.

    How had I overlooked this?

    Years ago, this same daughter had tested allergic to gluten. We had Done Things, and now she was Better. She no longer tested allergic, and all of her digestive symptoms were gone. Naturally, I had made the assumption that she was good to go on gluten. But what if this was not the case, and also explained why she didn’t learn to read until I put the family on the GAPS diet for a few months?

    I am kicking myself here.

    Allergic reactions and bad neuropeptides may both result from eating bread, but they are not the same thing, and the latter will never show up on an allergy test.

    I immediately called my husband. “We need to do an experiment!” And, thankfully, he was more than supportive. He even brought home an armful of things from his clinic that he thought might help her — fish oil supplements, that sort of thing.

    We did a two week trial. The second week, she was a different child. She was remembering things. She was happier. She was more alert, and not quite so shy.

    But how did I know it wasn’t the supplements? My inner mad scientist needed to know the truth. So my husband and I decided to allow her to go back to eating gluten, while keeping all of her additional supplements the same.

    Now, we don’t eat a lot of gluten. Because our children had to be gluten free for so long early in my motherhood, I never got into the habit of serving gluten-containing foods. The effect seems to be cumulative, and at our house accumulation takes a while. It was a couple weeks before we started to notice it. But eventually, even she noticed — she came to me and told me she thought she needed to go back on her diet — that her brain felt “broken” again.

    We took her back off gluten. Two weeks later, she was doing well again. School lessons have been so much easier for her this year. Not perfect. But easier.

    So now she’s gluten free (except for communion on Sundays), and for the foreseeable future. I never wanted her to have to be on a special diet. But how can she not be, when it makes such a huge difference in the way her brain works?

    When I knew it was permanent, I contacted my mother-in-law. She has worked in special education for thirty years. She has seen it all. I don’t know why, but I was shy about telling her — I guess mostly I was thinking it’d be an inconvenience for her whenever she was with my daughter. Instead, she said something that fascinated me. You see, I had forgotten, but I lent her Karyn Seroussi’s book years ago when I was done with it. Since then, she’s been suggesting gluten free diets to her parents. “I think this is great,” she said. “I have never had one of my students go on a gluten free diet and not improve.”

    Never.

    Wow.

    That’s why my daughter and I decided to share. Gluten isn’t bad. For many, it’s quite good. But for kids that are struggling, it might be worth the experiment.

    It was definitely worth the experiment at our house.

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    50 Comments

  • Reply Jamie October 11, 2023 at 4:55 am

    I know these posts are old, but my son in the last year was put on a therapeutic ketogenic diet for epilepsy. It has in many ways been life changing for him. But it is so,so hard. Thank you for all of these wonderful diet posts! They have been a blessing as I navigate this.

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  • Reply Leisa January 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I find this absolutely fascinating! I completely agree about the power of diet. My oldest is actually on the Autism spectrum, and before we started any therapies we removed dairy from her diet. Within 2 weeks she stopped going violently in reverse and started regaining lost ground. There were other things that resolved that had been a problem for about year. It’s truly amazing how different everyone’s bodies are and what different people can tolerate.

  • Reply Catie October 13, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve read this post several times (since you wrote it last year) and I’ve thought about it off and on since then. I have one child who is naturally more…active? (I’m trying to be diplomatic here) and finally after YEARS of off and on battles and tears (on both our parts), I’ve removed sugar and gluten (mostly) from her diet.

    To be honest, I thought it was mostly the sugar that was causing her erratic behavior, but now I’m wondering if it’s more a gluten issue? My DH has bad reactions to gluten (well, he goes back and forth on what exactly is causing the problems, but *I’m* sure it’s gluten. 😀 ).

    I, too, am glad your daughter was willing to share her story!

  • Reply Heather December 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I don’t know how your church does communion, but I wanted to let you know they make gluten free wafers. We have them at our church so gluten free people can still participate. I have also used rice crackers or even a piece of bread from home. Even a bite of gluten bothers me, so consuming gluten filled communion isn’t an option. Just wanted to throw that out there in case it helps 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 17, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      That is a good idea. I’ve been pondering bringing something from home for her — though I think she’d be horrified at first. 🙂

  • Reply Tara November 8, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    I just wanted to mention that you might find some useful information in The Gluten Summit, which was put together by Dr. Tom O’Bryan (functional medicine doctor who specializes in gluten issues). It was an online “summit” (series of presentations by experts who research/treat gluten-related issues), which was free at the time it was initially available, but currently would need to be purchased. I just remembered as I was typing this that I saw an email today about a discounted price for the next couple of days; I just retrieved the link from that email for you: https://gg110.infusionsoft.com/app/page/gluten-summit?inf_contact_key=6877ec0e4de273dc1662dce10248d30a99efefa4d59a23fa45a1b3001ca2a668

    Are you thinking that perhaps your daughter’s reaction is a sensitivity, rather than a full-blown allergy? That is, non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It’s definitely a thing, and can cause everything from brain fog to ADHD to joint pains to migraines to…. (on and on and on…) Your mother-in-law’s comment about people improving when they remove gluten reminds me of something Dr. Tom said in one of his presentations I heard; he mentioned a study in which children with ADHD all improved when they went off gluten… I forget all the details, but it was an incredible improvement, to the point where he was saying, “why do we NOT look at this??”

    I think it’s not as simple as saying that everything in the world *as we currently know it* is good. God made His good world and pronounced it good… but we are now in a fallen world. He made man and woman and marriage, and they are good… and yet we are all broken. He made oceans and water and they are good – yet they are contaminated with all kinds of things (man-made); the water from my tap contains chlorine (kills the good gut flora), pharmaceutical residues (my toddler doesn’t need to be ingesting antibiotics, birth control pills, etc, in drinking water – nor do I!), pesticides, and all kinds of other contaminants, and the oceans have seen oil spills, Fukishima, etc. I’m thinking also of the way that some of us have genetic issues that affect how we process (or have trouble processing) certain foods. In the ideal world God created, that wouldn’t be a problem; but in our fallen state, we have these genetic variants and all cylinders aren’t firing correctly, so to speak, so we might have trouble with certain foods. So although broccoli and cabbage are healthful foods for most people and we’re always encouraged to eat plenty of them, for people with a certain genetic variant, those foods can be problematic. So I feel that gluten being problematic for so many people isn’t a reflection on God’s creative goodness (or lack thereof), but rather a reflection of the fallen state of things. Also, it seems that the wheat that is currently available here (in the U.S.) isn’t what was available in ancient times, or when Jesus said “Give us this day our daily bread.” It has been changed – something about having more chromosomes, I think? If I recall correctly, it’s also different than the wheat currently available in Italy and… Latin America, maybe? And yes, it’s covered in glyphosate. 🙁 Again, my point is just that things are not in the same state as God’s original creation. The fish God created weren’t the fish that are now found to be affected by chemicals in the water, resulting in male fish having female eggs in them, etc. God made fish, and He made them good… but these hormonally-wacky fish? I don’t think we can blame God for that.

    Sorry this is such a long comment, but one more thing: Have you looked into constitutional homeopathy? I’m wondering if it might help on some level.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 9, 2015 at 6:42 am

      Tara, thank you so much for the link! I have listened to a number of podcasts where Dr. Tom O’Brien was a guest, but I have never actually followed him, so this is super helpful. I really appreciate all your thoughts here — don’t even apologize for a long comment like that. 🙂

      She has improved with homeopathic care, definitely, but never the way she’s improved by simply being off of gluten!

  • Reply Becky October 31, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I’m a gluten free goddess myself! No more migraines, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, swelling joints, breathing problems, etc. I’m so sensitive my husband must wash and even brush his teeth after eating. God is good and so is His wonderful creation, but I sometimes wonder if we have messed it up through genetic modifications and our own loss of gut bacteria (I’m a gapster too!) I have been deworming my family lately and am having some great results with their food sensitivities! Our animals get them all the time, so it’s only natural that we would have parasites as well!

    • Reply Tara November 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Becky, would you be willing to share your method for “de-worming”? It’s true that many of us have parasites without knowing it. I’m wondering what you’ve found effective at getting rid of them.

      • Reply Becky November 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        I used Purify, an herbal remedy that takes about 2 months. We like to call it yucky water! It sure works on the kids. As a nursing mama I used diatomaceous earth and sulphur. If I had it to do all over I would use msm, here is a link why: (I am not affiliated;)). https://cdautism.org/miraculous-video-testimonials

        • Reply Tara November 14, 2015 at 8:44 pm

          Thank you, Becky. Did you do testing to confirm that you were dealing with parasites before beginning the treatment, or did you just go ahead with it without testing? Is there a particular reason why you used DE instead of the Purify while nursing? I’ll check out the video, thanks. 🙂

          • Becky November 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

            The herbal remedy will cut down your milk supply and to do it for two months would mean I’d no longer be nursing. Testing for parasites is very complicated. If you go through a regular pediatrician I believe you have an 80% chance of a false negative. Someone actually has to see a worm swim across a microscope. It all depends on timing and what cycle the worms are in. My 2 year old daughter had quite a pot belly, poor hair and nails, and seizures. If you would have told me dancing on my head would make her better, I would research it and gladly do it! My crazy neighbor told me she had worms and to use herbs. She hasn’t had a seizure since. Parasites are loaded with toxins. If you chose to deworm with a prescription, the parasites will be gone the next day but all of the toxins will be left and your gut bacteria will be wiped clean. If you do the slow herbal method, the toxins and worms will leave together. Oh and the name of the other product is actually MMS.

  • Reply Nichole October 31, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Brandy, please tell your daughter thank you for sharing her story. I read it to my 13 year old son who has been gluten free for two years for exactly the same reasons as your daughter. He is a whole different kid off gluten. Unfortunately, gluten is huge bone of contention between my son and I because he would rather be able to eat pizza and cheesesteaks with his friends and “be dumb” (his words) than have to skip it or eat the gluten free kind and have his brain running at its best. It’s been really hard for us. Sometimes I want to quit because, let’s be honest, life would be SO much easier for both of us. And during these times I sometimes even manage to convince myself that I have imagined the whole gluten reaction thing and he’ll be just fine eating what everyone else eats (our house is gluten free, it’s just when we’re out that he is “tempted”). So, thank you for reminding me that this is real and for reminding my son that he’s not the only kid in the world dealing with it. Do you guys have any tips for dealing with food when you’re at parties or sleepovers?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 31, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I guess I don’t have a ton of tips, mostly because my daughter *hates* how her brain feels on gluten — so she is very strict with herself. But still, it is difficult to navigate. Parties can be a big issue, I know. When our kids were little, there weren’t many quick and easy options out there, and so we stayed at home. 🙁 NOW, it’s a different story. At birthday parties, she eats the ice cream, but not the cake. Some people do that because they don’t like cake, so it’s never been a big deal when she asks for just ice cream. I recently found out that a number of pizza places in our area now have a gluten free crust option, so my plan is that if I know pizza is being served, I’ll offer to bring a gluten free version along. My friend makes gluten free cupcakes ahead and freezes them so that she can pull one out and take it along for her little gluten free guy. Also, the toppings can be scraped off of pizza and eaten by themselves. My daughter regularly eats the filling out of sandwiches served at events — people don’t even know it is because of gluten. They just think she’s quirky. 🙂

      It might be worthwhile to compile a list of all the local places that have gluten free versions of “normal” stuff, since that is what he’s missing. For example, we have a sandwich shop that puts it on gluten free bread for fifty cents more, or makes a salad version, etc. Being able to go somewhere where she can order off of the menu and not be conspicuous helps a lot…

  • Reply Amy October 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing! We might need to do an experiment in our house. Do you have a suggestion of how long to try it for?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 30, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Sorry I somehow missed this comment before, Amy. My children always respond quickly, so I find that experiments show *some* sign by the 2-week mark. But my husband usually puts his clients on much lengthier periods — usually 4 to 6 weeks.

  • Reply Dinah October 27, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I’m curious if you think that naet allergy elimination doesn’t work?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      My husband uses a version of NAET elimination at his clinic and it works quite well, though I do think what he does works better than NAET in its usual form. Unfortunately, people can continue to develop new allergies if their underlying issues are not addressed. 🙁

      And just to clarify: I am pretty sure my daughter’s issue is a protein issue rather than an allergy.

  • Reply Kristie October 26, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Brandy, I always appreciate how wisely you choose your words. I feel sad sometimes at how our world continually calls bad what God has called good. God took the Israelites to a land flowing with milk and honey and yet so many strive to go dairy-free. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”; and yet bread has become something to avoid. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that food sensitivities and allergies are real. I know people truly feel bad and have undeniable symptoms; but I feel compelled to share our food allergy story in brief.

    My 3rd son was healthy at birth, but as my 3rd nursing child I recognized immediately that he was sensitive to something in my diet. Through process of elimination, I determined it was dairy and so did my best to avoid it during that year of nursing. The sensitivity continued after weaning, which led me down the path of reading and researching all I could about food allergies and all that entails…you’ve been there I’m sure, it’s a journey of overwhelming question marks and theories and opinions…so much to weed through to find Truth.

    I found Truth in the pages of Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions. There is so much I could tell, but to keep from writing a book of my own in your comments section, I’ll just say that one year of raw Goat’s milk and one year of only soaked grains and the allergy symptoms were no more and he has ever since been able to eat anything. Healing. It’s what we are all after really, isn’t it?

    In wheat’s defense, I just like to suggest to folks that processed wheat is not good for your gut; store bought bread is not good for your gut; wheat baked at high temperatures is not good for your gut. BUT if you might consider soaking those grains and baking your bread yourself, there might be healing. At a cost? Yes. It takes time to commit to a lifestyle of homemade bread, but maybe it would be worth it so say, “Give us this day our daily bread” and mean it.

    We don’t soak our grains much anymore and we could definitely improve on our real food eating (I’ve slacked in a few areas) but we do still grind wheat and bake bread and of our 9 children, none have had to go gluten-free. Quite startling considering the current statistics. Maybe coincidence? Maybe just lucky? Or maybe the quality is really the key. I worry that the gluten-free substitutes will likely cause just as many, if not more allergy symptoms…

    Please don’t post this if it might be more offensive than helpful. I speak up only hoping to share from the flip side of life after allergies (not that we haven’t had others to deal with; I’m currently trying to understand a sulfite sensitivity).

    PS I have a soaked whole wheat bread recipe that is quite simple, that I’d be happy to share.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Kristie, I don’t think your comment is offensive at all! I’m a big fan of Nourishing Traditions. I *do* think that for some people, a return to the traditional methods of dealing with foods will help. In the case of my daughter, the bulk of her gluten was gotten through sourdough that was about 1/3 organic soft white wheat and 2/3 kamut.

      Protein digestion is a tricky thing. I raised goats for a long time, and we found some people could drink my milk raw, some had to drink it fermented {into yogurt, for example}, and some still couldn’t drink it. These people generally had one thing in common: bad digestion. And unfortunately, that is a really hard problem to solve in some people. 🙁

  • Reply Amber Vanderpol October 26, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    I’m so glad you shared this story, Brandy! The gluten connection is so difficult to tease out, isn’t it. I have a completely different gluten related problem – gluten causes massive joint inflammation for me – so much so that if I’m eating gluten every day I’m in so much pain I can hardly walk around without frequent doses of ibuprofen. But if I cut out gluten I’m a new person who can hike for miles, run, carry my kids around… you know, move like a person my age should be able to move. Talk about life changing! And I have one child with a totally different gluten related problem that I don’t see often mentioned (urinary incontinence).

    I think the only two sentences in your post that I disagree with are these, “Gluten isn’t bad. For many, it’s quite good.” I’m starting to think that the only people who fall into this category are those who are starving and can literally get no other food. Perhaps I’m going too far, but I just keep running across so many different kinds of gluten problems that it makes me start to wonder. Not that I’m going to advocate a law against it or anything… but I do wonder how much better off we’d all be if drastically reduced or eliminated our consumption of gluten.

    • Reply Kelly October 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Amber, you’re the only other person I’ve ever heard mention joint pain in conjunction with gluten. In my case, I found that it wasn’t gluten, it was wheat — I can eat rye, spelt, barley . . . just not wheat. Actually, I’ve experimented a little with organic wheat and haven’t had trouble with it, but then I’ve never eaten more than one or two slices of pizza on a homemade organic wheat crust at a time, and it generally takes a day or two of eating a couple of servings a day before the pain sets in. Anyway, I just thought I’d mention it, in case it’s something you haven’t already considered.

      And it’s another reason I’m wondering if it isn’t current farming practices that are affecting the food. Spelt is nearly always organically grown, and I don’t think rye and barley are subject to herbicides and pesticides to the same degree that wheat is.

      • Reply Amber October 27, 2015 at 9:13 am

        Thanks for your comment, Kelly! When I first started going down this road about two and a half years ago, I thought it was just white flour (and white sugar). But gradually I found that first WW flour caused pain, but I could still eat sourdough WW bread/pancakes/waffles. But about six months ago I realized even those things started causing pain and stopped eating them (my son can still eat the soaked grains). I also started having some problems with barley and other grains that have some gluten at about the same time.

        I am suspicious of the various gluten-free substitute breads and pastas out there (I dislike eating things with long ingredient lists and odd ingredients) so I focus on vegetables, meat, potatoes and rice in our family’s diet. It isn’t ideal, but it seems far easier to just avoid gluten than to try and figure out the magic combination of foods that might actually heal – especially since it is such a trial and error process.

        • Reply Kelly October 27, 2015 at 9:28 am

          I can sympathize with you, Amber! I don’t use the gluten free stuff either, partly because some of it still has wheat in it, but an awful lot of it also has potato starch and that’s another thing that triggers my joint pain. All nightshades, to be honest — potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers — to one degree or another, but with potatoes I can feel it within hours. I can eat a little bit of our homegrown tomatoes without feeling it, but the effects really are cumulative, so I have to be careful.

          I use rice, bean, or buckwheat noodles when I want actual noodles (look in the Asian foods section of your store), but sometimes I use spaghetti squash. I’ve used cabbage leaves instead of pasta in lasagna, and that works well for me because I love cabbage. Recently I saw a recipe calling for shredded zucchini in place of pasta but I haven’t tried it — waiting for them to come back in season.

          • Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm

            Kelly, zucchini noodles are AWESOME! Seriously. I *prefer* them now. Plus, what a great way to use up zucchini. Except this year. Bad squash year here in the valley. 🙁

          • Amber Vanderpol October 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm

            That’s really interesting that the nightshade plants trigger this for you, Kelly! I’ve heard that they can be a problem for some people, but I didn’t know they could have that kind of effect.

            Zucchini noodles (we call them zoodles around here) are great! Next summer I’m going to get another Vegetti spiralizer so we can make them faster. The kids argue over who gets to use the one we have, so I figure this way there will be less arguing and more zoodles. Definitely a win-win situation, since it takes a lot of zoodles to feed seven people!

      • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm

        I have wondered about farming practices, too, Kelly…and honestly I sometimes think that nutrient depletion might be a key issue…not that I think there is necessarily a single nutrient that could cause this specific problem, but…

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      I think my one issue in saying “gluten isn’t bad” is theological — it doesn’t fit with how I view creation. But maybe it is more accurate to say that *wheat* isn’t bad — that *grains* aren’t bad — but remain silent on gluten. Because God made grains and said what He made is both good and also food, but we don’t really know how much gluten was in it, I suppose. Interesting thought…

      By the way, I am totally with you on just avoiding grains for the most part — it really is easier. When we did the GFCF diet years and years ago, I spent far too much time trying to learn to make bread that didn’t have gluten. It was such a relief to just ditch bread!

      • Reply Amber Vanderpol October 28, 2015 at 12:56 pm

        I’m willing to call gluten good as a part of God’s creation – just like I need to call arsenic or marijuana good since they are also part of God’s creation. However, I would not argue that they therefore need to be consumed. 🙂 And really, both of these things might be good examples – arsenic isn’t deadly or poisonous until refined into a certain purity and concentration. And until people bred marijuana to make far more potent than it used to be, it wasn’t the problem that it is today. And I know there are some who think that the amount of gluten found in wheat now is far greater than it used to be…

        I have been a much happier cook now that I’ve given myself the freedom to ditch the standard American diet and just make food that works for my family. Then I can make food that really is delicious, rather than a somewhat decent replication of dishes we can’t eat in their normal form.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel November 30, 2015 at 12:12 pm

          Amber, I forgot to tell you you made a good point on the arsenic and marijuana. 🙂

  • Reply MelisaH October 26, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    You just convinced me to drop gluten with G3. I had been wishy-washy about it. Your daughter’s story just convinced me to try it. Tell her thank you for letting you share her story.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      I will tell her! I was actually surprised she let me because she is usually very shy — but she was really hoping it would help others like her!

  • Reply Ma F October 26, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    While I am sorry for the struggle, I am happy you found a solution! Being a family of six celiacs with additional food allergies I know too well that food/behavior connection! Best wishes to your dd.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Six celiacs! Wow! Sounds like you definitely carry the gene…

  • Reply Julia October 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Brandy! I am jumping up and down right now. I have an almost 13 yr. old who has an extremely difficult time with learning. This has always been a painful experience for her. Last week she had a total meltdown in which she sobbed that she was tired of having a brain that works different than anyone else’s. She is so tired of not being able to remember anything.
    I have tried a sugar-free diet and careful of dyes but nothing seemed to help. I didn’t think of gluten!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply Kimbrah October 26, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I am so happy that you found a solution, what a struggle! I wanted to mention also, that a church we were attending here served gluten free communion because they wanted it to be open to any believer who wanted to take it, without causing problems. I guess they went through a few weeks of testing different brands until they found one that everyone liked well enough. It may be worth asking your pastor to consider. When I’m at a church that doesn’t serve gluten free, I just don’t partake of that part of communion because it makes me too sick to be worth it.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 26, 2015 at 9:14 am

      I haven’t noticed any symptoms from that small of an amount, but I have wondered about it. I noticed that I can buy a box of 50 wafers on Amazon for about $13, so I might just do that. It would last a year because we usually miss a couple times… I’m so glad you found a church that has that option for you! I think it’s only a matter of time for our church as I know there are little Celiacs running around, and eventually they will need to partake!

  • Reply Heather October 26, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Hi, Brandy. This was interesting. *I* feel this way sometimes but have always attributed it to sinking blood sugar. Perhaps I need to look into other causes. Did you read Grain Brain? Was it a worthwhile read? Also, what sort of fish oil? I seem to remember you writing about a negative experience with fermented CLO on the AO forum . . .

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 26, 2015 at 9:05 am

      I haven’t read Grain Brain yet, but I plan to borrow it from my friend, so I will try to say what I think later, especially if I think it’s good! I’ve read mixed reviews. I’m actually looking into the price of the urine testing to see if it’d be affordable. I really like empirical evidence when I can get it, as long as it isn’t too pricey. I’m shopping around to see what the prices are like…

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 30, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Heather, I just realized I didn’t answer your question about fish oil. There are two kinds our family uses, and it depends on the reason for use as to which one I choose at a given time. The first is called Eicosomax. We use this for Omega-3s. The other is Rosita Real Foods EVCLO. We use this for Vitamin A supplementation. It ALSO has Omega-3s — it’s just that I don’t always think we need the Vitamin A, so we keep both on hand and use whichever seems best at the time. My husband gets practitioner rates on the Eicosomax {he carries it at his clinic}, so I don’t pay nearly what you see on Amazon — it is definitely the more affordable of the two for our family.

  • Reply Kelly October 26, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Agriculture has changed so much in the last fifty years that I think that in some cases the food itself is bad for people in general. Yes, some people are more sensitive than others, but why in the world are there so very many more food-sensitive people now than when I was growing up?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 26, 2015 at 9:09 am

      I think that is a really good question! I honestly thought that it was vaccination — the mechanism makes sense because of the introduction of foreign proteins into the blood stream. So when my third child, who is almost completely unvaxed, had no allergies, and her older siblings were in a bad way, I really thought that was the cause. But then my fourth child was born allergic to everything. I mean: carrots! It was awful. He’s much better now, but still. It was very extreme. So now I don’t know. I’ve heard the glyphosate theory — because there is some evidence that glyphosate exposure can cause a manganese deficiency which in turn causes leaky gut — but them my little guy, because of his allergies, and my experience with his older siblings, wasn’t probably exposed to that until after age 2. So again: no clue. It really is a mystery! Sometimes I think that it isn’t one particular thing, but that we’ve created a perfect storm of multiple things that can tip people over into sensitivity and allergy.

  • Reply Amy (crossingthebrandywine) October 26, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Thank you (and your daughter) for sharing. Our diet has been creeping to less healthy foods, and I’m getting behavior issues, especially with my youngest son (the hyper one). I’m moving this week (yay) but as soon as we get off the road I’m going to work on our diet (and this time I’m keeping a food log). Do you think two weeks is a good length of time? I’ve always heard longer on gluten.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      My children tend to be really sensitive, so two-week trials work really well for us. But at his clinic, my husband has clients do a month minimum. He told me once that gluten technically can take a really long time to leave the body, so what some people see in a month isn’t 100% better, but just improvement enough to make it worth it to continue.

      ps. Eating well on the road is almost impossible, girl!!

  • Reply Nicole October 26, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Its definitely a story that needs to be told. I’m very much like that on gluten. With frequent migraines. I understand how hard it is with allegues for kids. My son was over 3 before he ever ate anything I didn’t prepare or someone with our very specific ingredients (limited even by brands), my daughter also couldn’t most of that time. It actually took going completely gluten free for their diet to expand at all. We still can’t eat normal, and I usually pack our food, but it’s much better. 🙂

  • Reply Heather October 26, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I never knew this about your family – thank you for sharing! We have several children who struggle with several allergies so our whole family (10 of us, though one is just nursing) is gluten, dairy (the hard one!) & yeast free, though hubby & I eat occasional dairy. It is HARD , esp around traveling, events & holidays but I’m also so grateful for all the resources at our fingertips. We are blessed to have many in our church who eat similar!

    But often, all the cooking & cleanup & shopping & planning & the THINKING…. Phew, it brings me to my knees, where Christ meets me. Every time. He is good! It’s still hard logistically but He is way better! 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 27, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Traveling and holidays. YES. Those are the hardest. You know what I keeping thinking I’ll buy? The Joyful cookbook from Against All Grain. A friend of mine said it’s really good…

      • Reply Heather October 28, 2015 at 4:05 am

        Oh, I hadn’t seen that one! Her “meals made simple” book is amazing- yummy & lots of crock pot meals!!!!

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