My “Gluten is The New Al Qaeda” Tee was a gift from my bestie adult star Sara Jay
Many people have asked recently why I have switched my family and I to a Gluten-Free diet. Its simple, I become extremely ill. Last summer and fall I became so ill, I had all sort of inexplicable stomach pains, digestive problems and other symptoms that I had never had before. I was constantly bloated and felt “full,” even if I had only had 3 or 4 bites of my meal. I found myself rushing to the bathroom several times a day and never really felt as though I had “finished” eliminating. And what’s worse, I was suffering from both constipation and diarrhea at the same time. I found myself struggling to stay awake after even the smallest meals and worried I might be borderline diabetic. I literally lost 40 pounds over the course of 3 months and had gone from a size 10 to a size 4. I was already at my heaviest, 158 pounds, but had dropped to 120 pounds and my pelvic bones were visible.
One night, while at Katz Deli with my old man, he watched me sip a half a bowl of broth and a tablespoon of a matzo ball. He watched as I pushed the bowl away, completely stuffed and began to worry. As we left the deli, he stopped in a pizza place nearby and ordered a cheese slice. He forced me to take a bite. I felt as if I were stuffing myself. Within a few days I found myself in the emergency room complaining once again of stomach pains. The doctor found blood in my urine and sent me for a pelvic and abdominal CT Scan, fearful I might have kidney stones. Instead, the student doctor believed she had found calcification of my blood vessels and wanted to treat me with an inane amount of antibiotics and a follow up appointment. Being relatively saavy about my health, (primarily due to my extensive medical history of Ovarian Cysts and Ovarian Cancer,) I knew better. At my age, (39,) I was not old enough, nor did I suffer from diabetes, atheriosclerosis or any other malady that would warrant calcification of my blood vessels. In fact, my blood sugar and all other tests results came back perfectly normal. The doctor wanted to treat me with 5 strong antibiotics because she simply didn’t know WHAT was wrong with me. My partner, rightfully angered, took me home after my 8 hour ordeal and put me to bed.
I woke the next morning determined to figure out why I was suffering from so much pain, weight loss and lack of appetite. The first thing I did was contact my dear, dear friend John Salley. While many people know John as a former NBA champion, sports show host, actor and entertainer – I know John first and foremost to be a devout Vegan and extremely knowledgable about all things health related. He made some recommendations that would certainly save my life. I went on a water fast for a few days and contacted an Iridologist in Soho. Iridology is a ancient medical art of peering into the eyes with a magnifying glass. Based on the position and shape of certain discolorations, the Iridologist can tell exactly what is going on in the body. My iridologist informed me I had lots of bacteria in my intestines amongst other IBS related issues. She gave me a few herbs to take and recommended I visit a Colon Hydrotherapist close by that she works with and sees personally. Now I have been getting colonics off and on since I was 17, and the $150 sticker price was a shock. However I trusted my gut and went with it. I soon found myself at Tracy Piper Wellness Center. After an extensive medical history, including my normal dietary consumption, the technician, a sweet women about my age, struggled to get much more than gas from my colon. This was extremely unusual and I immediately took note. She suggested I come back later in the week and see the owner.
Tracy Piper, or Auntie Tracy as the fashion models who frequent her establishment like to call her, saw me 3 days later when a cancelation opened up her schedule. An older West Indian woman from St Lucia, Auntie Tracy’s demeanor was lovely, casual and familiar. She yelled at me for my lower abdominal tattoo, (gotten to mask the scar from my last laparotomy 6 years ago to remove cancerous tumors, an ovary and a fallopian tube,) as she mentioned I was putting heavy leads directly into my reproductive organs. She then discussed my symptoms with me, as she filled my intestines with a mixture of chlorophyl and water. I was instructed to stop eating all soy products since soy is high in estrogen.
Tracy said to me, “All you are doing is creating a breeding ground for the cancer to come back again.”
I was stunned. Somewhere in the vast recesses of my mind, I knew that… its the same reason why I was only allowed to take progestrone birth control pills after my 3rd surgery revealed my cysts were in fact borderline malignant carcinomas.
Tracy put an essential oil called “Activate” in my palms and walked me through breathing exercises to aid elimination… moving gas and eventually black liquid stool. She informed me my body was extremely acidic and the constant diarrhea was my body’s attempt to rid itself of toxins before I became so toxic I died. She explained to me that all my symptoms over the 3-4 month period I had been sick, (the first month was primarily nausea, vomiting and exhaustion,) could easily be traced to a gluten intolerance. She suggested I go home and begin cutting out coffee, intaking alkaline water to neutralize my system, cutting out all soy and gluten and begin a course of pro-biotics for 7days. I did. Within 5 days, I began having normal bowel movements and started noticing my appetite coming back.
I started researching gluten and gluten allergies and while I wasn’t convinced I had full blown Celiacs disease, I definitely could relate many of my symptoms to difficulty with digesting gluten. Tracy explained that ever since GMOs were introduced into our food supply, they were seeing a huge increase in gluten allergies amongst patients. She further explained the first GMOs crops were wheat, grain and soy… all things I ate regularly.
Over the last 18 weeks, I have gradually cut gluten out of my diet. I’ve gained 10 pounds and my appetite is completely normal. I noticed in Washington D.C. last month that even the smallest amount of gluten, (from salad dressings, condiments such as ketchup or even stock,) causes a severe antihistamine reaction, (skin hives, itchy eyes & scratchy throat,) within minutes. Drowsiness kicks in within an hour or so and later that evening I tend to develop acid reflux. The following day I find myself having difficulty using the bathroom and extremely sluggish. It has been suggested that I may indeed have full blown Celiac Disease due to the immediate and severity of my reaction to gluten. After eating a tablespoon of a chickpea salad, (with vinegar,) and seeing my forearms break out in hives within minutes along with other anaphylactic reactions, I decided I could no longer risk indulging in even my favorite late night snacks.
The last 2 months I have faithfully been exploring gluten-free options for breads, pastas, grains and snack foods so as to insure my long term health and well-being. Turns out, Gluten-free diets are also highly recommended for people suffering from Autism to relieve their symptoms as well. With a teenaged son with Aspergers/ Autism, this may be just the push in the right direction for both of us. I feel so fortunate to have an amazing partner who is supportive in these dietary changes in our household. The most difficult part for me so far, is eating on the go and traveling. Airports often do not have many gluten-free options and while some restaurants have limited gluten-free options, cross contamination often occur on cooking surfaces. I’m slowly becoming an expert on GF foods and find myself asking more questions when ordering out about ingredients to insure I don’t have a reaction. I also now carry a Gluten Relief enzyme from AST Enzymes in California, another John Salley recommendation, to aid in breaking down gluten when I’m out and simply can’t avoid gluten hidden in something I may eat.
In short, why gluten-free? Because I was becoming so sickly, my body was shutting down. I have always been extremely health conscious and aware that what we put in our mouths directly affects our over-all health. And mine has been so much better since I have fully eliminated it from my life.