Gluten-Free Simplicity

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Posts Tagged ‘Gluten Cravings’

Gluten Cravings When Maybe All I Really Need is Some Serotonin

Posted by nepeht on December 27, 2008

  XX Days now and no pizza. But then I ask, Why do I want that stuff so badly? It’s the cheese that I think of most. Then that sizzling pepperoni. I know… just like an addict. A Gluten Addict.

  Food cravings have lots of alleged causes.  According to one source, these can include shortages of various things from certain vitamins to even a shortage in friends or exercise.  This article is very interesting in that it discusses cravings on several levels (i.e., physical, social, psychological, sensory etc…).

 Perhaps it would be smart to try and better understand the connection between serotonin and Gluten-Sensitivity.  What is serotonin?  Serotonin is:

“Serotonin (pronounced [s to n n]) (5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) and enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract of animals including humans. Serotonin is also found in many mushrooms and plants, including fruits and vegetables.” From Dogpile Websource.

They go on to explain: “In the central nervous system, serotonin is believed to play an important role in the regulation of anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite. Low levels of serotonin may be associated with several disorders, namely increase in aggressive and angry behaviors, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders[citation needed] and intense religious experiences[1].”

The Unknown Zone (c.2008, WTB)

The Unknown Zone (c.2008, WTB)

  So perhaps I can hazard a guess here:  People with Celiac Disease and Gluten-Sensitivity may experience diet-induced inconsistencies in their levels of Serotonin thus possibly effecting and/or exaggerating various symptoms of CD or Gluten-Sensitivity and this might also include cravings.

  Wow!! That’s a head-full.  It might not make any sense.  But then again, perhaps it does.  I just need to read more and perhaps I will be able to either confirm or dismantle this guess / hypothesis.

  A WebMD author notes that there is particular sensitivity for those of us who are allergic to Gluten.   Serotonin deficiency is discussed and accompanied with a list of recommendations which some of us are all too familiar:

  • “Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeinated drinks, cigarettes, and amphetamines.
  • Increase your exposure to bright light or sunlight to 1-2 hours a day.
  • Get 60 minutes of moderate or moderately intense exercise every day.
  • Make sure you get enough deep, restful sleep every night” from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/snack-attack-coping-with-cravings.

  Naturally, some of these things are related to each other and problems with one might make another recommendation difficult.  I would be dishonest if I said all of these things were a breeze for me.

  If we look at cravings and snacking behaviors as being related as well as food addiction, then we can also possibly apply some of the information we find about food addiction and serotonin.  For example, it seems that certain foods, like those with high carbohydrates can act like serotonin boosters in the blood stream and thus possibly influence the mood of the muncher.  This blog goes on to state,

“The serotonin-boosting effects of carbohydrates may explain why addicts in recovery, as well as carbohydrate cravers and PMS sufferers, show a tendency to binge on sugar foods. Abstaining addicts apparently turned to the over consumption of carbohydrates as a means of attempting to redress the neurotransmitter imbalances at the heart of their disorder. Perhaps some addicts discover early in life that carbohydrate-rich foods are their drug of choice” http://addiction-dirkh.blogspot.com/2007/11/food-addiction.html.

According to GoAskAlice.Columbia.edu,

“Certain foods that increase serotonin levels aren’t the healthiest choices either. Believe it or not, candy and sweets, which are simple carbohydrates, have the greatest impact, but the effect will only last 1 – 2 hours. Complex carbohydrates (rice, potato, pasta) may increase serotonin levels, but not to the same extent because the protein content of these foods might actually inhibit serotonin production” http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0515.html.

   It is not necessarily so that we are addicted to Gluten, or that I am craving that pizza dough.  Moreso, I may be instead craving that mood altering feeling I get with a surge a sarotonin just after I binge-out on some heavy carbs after a good long while’s craving for it. 

  Perhaps this is why I recall hearing of some anti-depressents (aka Serotonin influencers) being prescribed for cravings of various types.

  Interesting.

Posted in G-F PsychoBabble, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Gluten Addiction and Holiday Relapse

Posted by nepeht on December 3, 2008

  Gluten Addiction and Holiday Relapse…  Just that one phrase alone says a lot.  Here, once again, GLUTEN ADDICTION AND HOLIDAY RELAPSE….  As if like echoing down a long dark and ominous hallway leading to who knows where. 

Like a Sitting duck (c.2008, WTB)

Like a Sitting duck (c.2008, WTB)

 Holidays can be hard enough for many many many other reasons.  And if one is sensitive enough to catch that kind of sideways stuff as it creeps and flies around the old family home, one can get distracted.  And this might leave one sitting like a duck.  Or like a sitting duck, as the expression goes.

  And then, as the story goes, out of nowhere and into my old living room where it can be most invisible, I begin to ignore that rather large boysenberry-colored elephant.  Thus like an old warrior, I launch my boats once again, onto that mighty river called denial.  Before I know it, I am allowing myself a few biscuits and mom’s pancakes at breakfast, a beer and sandwich in the afternoon, and Dad’s dressing, gravy, and pumpkin pie etc…. during dinner. 

  Eventually, the cravings that can haunt me day and night begin to fade into the various signs, symptoms, pains and negative emotions that come with Gluten-Poisoning.  And one says,

“Although there are people who will “Coach” a me when going through such cravings and will help me stay Gluten-Sober, I do not call on them.  I do not ask for help?  No… not always.”  That is something I had to learn to do.  it’s like, “oh no, I can feed my big multi-colored elephant myself.  And I’m so good at it that I can also ignore it at the same time.  After all, It won’t fit onto my little denial river canoe.”  

  Oh shazzzzzit!!!  Why can’t I just crave apples, mangos, bananas or something healthy like that?

Apples anyone? (c.2008, WTB)

Apples anyone? (c.2008, WTB)

  I crave pizza a lot.  I crave bread like on sandwiches.  I crave lots of things that I really should not be craving.  Some people say that being on a strict Gluten-Free diet actually helps one cut down on or eliminate food cravings such as for fattening foods etc.

  But after EVERY binge, comes the cliff as well as what lies beneath.

  It is like there really is something to the idea that gluten addiction is similar to an opiate addiction.  Seems far-fetched.  But maybe possible when you think of it. 

  Some authors write about a painful withdrawal process associated with gluten.  “Withdrawal after stopping wheat or milk products can be painful, exhausting, and depressing, with weakness, anger, and brain fog.”  There is certainly a lot of blog traffic concerning “Anger” and “Gluten Detox”.  And anyone can figure that if one is NOT exposed to something, then there is no detox and probably no detox-sized anger either.

  So then, how to quell the anger???  One blogger wrote about how he craves pastries and such.  I can identify with this…. regrettably.  I can be a champion of self-medication.  And so it again triumphs, the cycle of addiction just keeps on rolling through my life, kicking but and taking names.

  A sad picture…  Yes, and unfortunately, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that we each have our own related sagas.

  Hopefully, in a not-so-smooth nutshell, this can be a primer on Gluten Addiction and Holiday Relapse.  We gotta break it.  How?  A few suggestions to Self:

  • Increasing Knowledge about Gluten-Alternatives,
  • Develop More Self-Awareness,
  • Reach out for Social Support (support group),
  • Change Negative Behaviors, 
  • Reduce Exposure to Gluten-Containing Situations, and
  • Ask for help when appropriate. 

There are many good ideas.  Support is probably one of the most important resources one can make use of.  I have not listed them all.  What would you suggest?

  But it is ultimately up to one.  I mean One.  Isn’t it?

  Anyway, enjoy the Holidays and try to be safe as you treat your self and your body nicely… You deserve it.

Posted in G-F PsychoBabble, The Personal Side | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gluten Cravings

Posted by nepeht on October 23, 2008

  I get Cravings for foods that typically contain Gluten.  I used to always be the guy at the table that asked for at least one more serving of bread or crackers. 

  I have always loved pizza and pasta dishes.

  Yeah, I get cravings.  And sometimes — more often than I wish — they lead to Gluten Relapse.

  Some say that there is “Gluten Withdrawal” with unpleasant symptoms: http://dailystrength.org/c/Celiac_Disease/forum/2729114-gluten-withdrawal.

  I guess this could lead one to cravings and/or relapse.

  Then there are those who seem to indicate that the relapse itself sets off more cravings: http://community.livejournal.com/glutenfreevegan/19696.html.

  I think I have both of those things going on.  I crave then relapse.  And I relapse then crave.

 

 

References:

The Cravings Coach: http://thecravingscoach.com/blog/what-is-gluten-intolerance-show-8/

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