It’s peculiar but instructive: phenomena triggered by re-exposure after being confidently wheat- and grain-free. The re-exposure can be intentional, as in “Just one can’t hurt!” or it can be inadvertent, as in “That gravy looks safe.”
Typically, someone will be wheat/grain-free for at least a week. Re-exposure from, say, salad dressing or seasoning mix then triggers re-exposure fireworks.
The most common re-exposure phenomena to are:
- Gastrointestinal distress, bloating, and diarrhea that can last hours to a couple of days. (People with celiac disease can have problems for months, however.) This response resembles food poisoning.
- Joint pain–characteristically in the fingers and/or wrists
- Upper airway phenomena such as asthma and sinus congestion
- Emotional effects such as anxiety in females, irritability or rage in males, depression, even suicidal thoughts
- Appetite stimulation–What I call the “I ate one cookie and gained 30 pounds” effect. Eating one cookie does not, of course, cause you to gain 30 pounds of weight. But just one exposure can set the appetite-stimulating machinery in motion and days or weeks of increased appetite for junk carbohydrates can result, thanks to the gliadin-derived opiates of wheat.
Symptoms and health conditions that initially went away with your wheat-free adventure can return in all their glory, such as migraine headaches, depression, mental “fog,” sleep disruption, seborrhea, psoriasis, the phenomena of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the joint swelling and pain of rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, plantar fasciitis, sinusitis, etc.
The longer you are wheat-free, the more violent the re-exposure reaction. It is a fitting reminder of just how inappropriate modern wheat is for humans. It reflects our inability to consume the seeds of grasses even though chronic consumption can lead to partial—only partial, never total—tolerance to some of their effects. Some people, enduring the throes of their re-exposure, have asked if there is an antidote. I do not know of anything that will undo the immune, allergic, inflammatory, emotional, and brain effects of a wheat/grain re-exposure. Key is to therefore just not be re-exposed.
On again, off again; on again, off again: Like pushing a button, you can start or stop the process at will. This represents incontrovertible proof of your individual intolerance to Evil Grains.
Anyone want to share their re-exposure story?