My husband, Peter, was undiagnosed for gluten & lactose intolerance for the first 42 years of his life. Peter suffered as a child and suffered as an adult and just thought that was the way he was made. All I knew was that my husband seemed to be withering before my eyes.
I met Peter when he was 25: he was tall, handsome, fun, and seemingly fit. We enjoyed cooking together, drinking beer, and an active life. What I didn’t know at the time, was that after all the fun, Peter was taking Tagamet or other stomach aides to help with his indigestion. We married and lived in New York City for a few years where Peter
became increasing ill. He was often fatigued & listless, had a foggy brain, a bloated stomach, flatulence, cankers, sinus infections, and prostate infections. He was tested for Lymes disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and had a bone marrow test. It being the 1980s in New York, they even tested for HIV. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong.
We moved to Connecticut and had two sons, then moved to Colorado, and thought life was great. But, Peter’s symptoms worsened. For a 6’4” man, he only weighed 168 lbs. He was always hungry so he ate a lot of carbohydrates; breads, crackers, cheese, etc. We were very conscious of eating healthy foods and only ate fresh food and vegetables and cooked every meal from scratch, but Peter was not thriving. He would fall asleep in the middle of the day, forget appointments, forget to pick up the boys, and seemed to be sick with sinus or prostate infections all the time. We slept with the head of our bed tilted up because he had acid reflux syndrome. One bright spot was the excellent homebrew beer that Peter made, but we didn’t know at the time that it was making him ill.
I became increasingly concerned because I knew that Peter wasn’t well for a man in his early ‘40s. In July 1997, we spent $3,500 have tests done for Peter: intestinal sonograms, gall bladder tests, scopes, etc. The doctors told him they couldn’t find anything wrong and “it was in his head”. As more responsibility and concern fell onto my shoulders, I came to the end of my rope and I didn’t know where else to turn. A friend told me about a wellness chiropractor, Dr. Brian Martin, who worked with athletes in achieving peak performance. We had an appointment with Dr. Martin who asked Peter to bring him small plastic bags with everything he ate over the course of a week. Then, he put the bags individually on Peter’s sternum and muscle-tested him for allergies. Dr. Martin told Peter that he was gluten & lactose intolerant, to give up the great beer, breads, crackers, cheese, etc., and to read and live by Eat Right For Your Blood Type by Dr. Peter D’Amato. Peter changed his diet and within three months he had gained 20 lbs. and was on the path to health. Being gluten-free in 1997 was tough as there were not readily-available foods, but Peter learned to use GF flours like a pro. We learned that the gluten protein from wheat, barley, and rye had been flattening the cilia in Peter’s intestine, leading to mal-absorption. His body was not getting the nutrition in the food he ate and the gluten compromised his immune system, leading to the cankers and infections.
(I enjoyed a life-changing side benefit from reading the book, too. I had suffered from bad allergies since I was 17, but I read that as a type-B blood person, I needed to avoid chicken meat. I don’t eat chicken and eat the type-B diet and have been allergy free since 1997.)
Flash forward 16 years, and Peter is the healthiest 58 year-old guy I know. He climbs 14,000 foot mountain peaks, skis and road bikes hard, and has not been sick in years. In doing my early research on gluten intolerance and celiac disease, I learned that lighter skinned people are more prone to this issue, especially people of Irish or Swedish descent; Peter is both. Research shows that one in three Irish people may be gluten intolerant (I am 100% Irish, do not have this issue, but choose to be to be gluten & lactose tolerant.)
A few years ago, we suspected that our oldest son might be gluten & lactose intolerant, and sure enough, he was. Besides suffering from some of Peter’s symptoms, he also had acne, which can be related to celiac disease. He is also Type AB blood like Peter.
We keep a gluten & lactose-free house (to the dismay of our younger son), enjoy GF beer, and we’re all healthy, physically active, thriving, and rarely even get a cold.