A few months ago Susan came to my office after meeting with several doctors who were unable to find the cause of her symptoms. She was experiencing bloating, gas, and fatigue after eating. She also complained that her ears would sometimes become clogged. She described it like the feeling you get when you’re on an airplane. The difference was that her ears would remain clogged for several days.
Her other symptoms included post nasal drip and very itchy skin. No matter how much she scratched, the itch wouldn’t go away all day. Sometimes she would wake up in the morning with swollen and irritated eyes. Susan tried everything she could think of. She started using allergy-free laundry detergent and all chemical-free skin and hair products. But nothing changed. The symptoms were getting worse and occurring more often.
After a thorough evaluation of her diet, lifestyle and medical problems, I determined that gluten might be the culprit. I put her on a gluten-free diet. The itchy skin stopped after only a few days. Her ears cleared after one week and the post nasal drip was gone! The only symptoms that remained were gas, bloating and some fatigue.
I decided to look more carefully at the gluten-free foods that she was eating. Many of them contained either soy or rice. Was it possible that she could be allergic to soy? We eliminated the soy from her diet. The bloating and gas disappeared but she was still tired during the day. I then learned that she was consuming rice with her daily meals.
After some research I found that there is a lot of debate as to whether rice is gluten free or not. The concern is not with the rice itself but with the coatings that are applied to the enriched rice to add vitamins. Rice itself is gluten free, but enriched rice is not because it has been sprayed with a vitamin coating and the coating could contain a gluten based grain. Therefore, we decided to eliminate the rice and her energy level began to improve.
I provided her with several gluten free recipes to help her plan healthy meals. After one month of maintaining a completely gluten free and soy free diet; Susan’s symptoms had completely disappeared! She also lost 10 lbs. and began a regular exercise program.
Susan loved to make this recipe for herself and her family:
White Bean and Thyme Soup
16oz. chicken stock (GF or homemade)
15 oz. can of white beans
1 Tbsp fresh or dry thyme
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium sauce pan to medium high heat. Add oil, thyme and garlic to the pan and stir. After 30 seconds, add the stock and beans. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the soup cook for 15 minutes on low, ladle into a bowl, top with croutons, sprinkle a pinch of thyme on top and serve!