Welcome to Gluten Free / Dairy Free NJ! I'm looking forward to sharing all I know and discover about eating gluten and dairy free in and around New Jersey. I've had digestive problems since I was seventeen. It started first with dairy and expanded from there. After eliminating dairy completely (and pork, citrus, anything carbonated, and cutting back on some other foods) I got my problems to a manageable state and "learned to live with it" - to paraphrase my gastroenterologists.
Five years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to investigate Celiac Disease and sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal which noted that a large number of people with dairy intolerences also had Celiac Disease. I went gluten free (p.s. don't do this in this order) and started to feel a little better over all. I attended my first support group meeting The Northern NJ Celiac Disease Support Group in Paramus, NJ. Now, I knew to get tested I would need to eat gluten again but I figured I could just have a bagel and go for the test. That evening's guest speaker was a pediatric gastroenterologist who mentioned that the worst part of his job was telling parents who had taken their kids off of gluten that they had to poison their child. You see, you need to consume gluten (about four slices of bread worth) every day for EIGHT weeks before the getting the test. I almost fell out of my chair.
I added back all the wheat I had removed from my diet. Since I had never had any direct symptoms from wheat products, I didn't have any immediate reactions but overall I didn't feel great. Of course, by the end of the two months, I was beginning to question whether or not I had really been feeling all that better. I went for the blood test (the full panel) and again quit gluten. Within 24 hours I was convinced! I felt more energetic and more importantly, that constant discomfort I had felt for 15 years was gone. I swore I'd never eat gluten again!
The entire panel of test were negative and since I would have had to eat wheat again, I skipped the endoscopy. If you're not sure if you have Celiac or not, do not cut gluten out of your diet before you get both a full celiac panel blood test and an endoscopy. [I did later get the gene test but this was negative as well.]