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My Health Experiment (Or How I Did Some Dumb Things)

What I'm about to tell you is dumb.


If I were reading this about someone else, I would think, “How could she be so dumb?”

You'll see.

A little over a month ago, I stopped eating gluten to see if it would help with my chronic hand pain. At that time, I was also taking medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and wearing hand/wrist braces to bed each night.

I didn't notice a change in my pain for the first couple of weeks. Even though I was eating a strictly gluten-free diet, my hand pain continued.

And then it went away entirely.

I don't know when exactly it went away; it just decreased a little and then a little more and then it was gone.

The rest of the story can be summed up in one run-on sentence:

I did some things to make my pain go away and then, when my pain went away, I stopped doing them because I clearly didn't need them anymore.

After about two pain-free weeks, I decided that I didn't really have rheumatoid arthritis. I had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel, and that could have been solely responsible for my hand pain.

So I quit taking my rheumatoid arthritis medicine.

Because clearly, I had been misdiagnosed and didn't really need it.

A week went by, and I began to notice stiffness in my hands. Stiffness was followed quickly by pain. By the time I realized I really did need the medicine, I was in a full-fledge arthritis flare-up and having trouble holding a pen and a fork.


At the same time, I wondered if my pain had gone away on its own (because I'm a slow learner) or if eating a gluten-free diet was really helping.

This gluten-free thing really cramps my style. I can't have a pizza with my family when we need a quick dinner. (I'm looking at you, cheesesteak pizza.) I can't have a donut with my girlfriends (don't give me that look). I can't  have fast food (again with the look?!). The only gluten-free cake I've made tasted funny, and gluten-free pasta is super expensive.

I was having a full-fledged gluten-free pity party.

Grace had been bugging me for a couple of weeks to take her to a pizza buffet. We used to eat out a few times a week, but we haven't for at least a year, and she had a yearning. I can appreciate said yearning.

I agreed to go to the pizza buffet, believing it to be the perfect test in my gluten-eating experiment. Few meals have more gluten than pizza, right?

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We went to the pizza buffet, and I partook. I devoured pizzas in every form, and they were so good.

Oh, so good.

And the brownies, too.

And the cheese sticks.

It's a good thing I exercised 6 times last week.

Anyway, I ate gluten-filled goodness until my belly was full.

That night, I felt fine.

The next day, I felt fine.

I haven't mentioned this before, but for the last five or six years, I've had almost daily bouts of diarrhea. Within two days of beginning my gluten-free diet, they stopped completely.

About 24 hours after my pizza meal, the digestive tumult began and lasted for three days.

The day after that, my hands were tingling and numb. Again, it hurt to hold a pen, and I had trouble with jar lids.

So now I have all that experimenting out of my system.

Being pain-free results from a delicate balance of nightly hand/wrist braces (I did try to go without these once, but an hour later, I woke up in pain. I put them on and have worn them every night since.), a gluten-free diet, and my arthritis medicine.


© 2013 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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7 thoughts on “My Health Experiment (Or How I Did Some Dumb Things)”

  1. I think we all do this to some extent in some aspect of our lives. We make changes and then when see progress we allow ourselves to slide back a bit. I’m glad you listen to your body and made the right changes again.

    • I suppose you’re right. On one hand, if I hadn’t gone backwards, I wouldn’t have been convinced that those changes made the difference. On the other hand, I was still in a lot of pain when I wrote this. 🙂 Fortunately, it’s finally starting to go away now.

  2. I don’t think it’s dumb. I think it was actually smart! You tried some things and the pain went away but since there were variables you tried each variable independently and found that yest it was all 3 that contributed to your painfreeness. So now you know that you need to do all 3 things and you’re not just eating gluten free because maybe it does something. You’re not taking medication because it might help. (Oh and I’m sure you’ll slip every now and again but we all do that… I have a week every now and again that I forget to take my anti-depressants for Postpartum depression – luckily I’ve found some alternative things to use to help when I’ve forgotten and I love that, but I still need that little happy pill.)

  3. When you were deciding to eliminate gluten, did you pursue testing for celiac? Do you mind me asking how you made the decision to test or not to test (if it came up)?

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