Monday, February 13, 2012

The struggle not to have a BORING blog!!

Recently, I received feedback on this blog... not positive.  But, not negative either... more constructive criticism: 
Hey, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boring. I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!
I realized that although it stinks to have negative feedback (and one of the only comments I've ever received, too!), it was needed.  I've been posting less frequently, and when I do, they're... well, fillers.

I'm assuming the blogs this person enjoyed more was those with information and content on the Paleo/Primal lifestyle.  (if I'm wrong, please let me know!! I want to attract readers, not bore them away!)  So, in effort to do that, I'd like to share what's happening here in Japan.  Being so far away from "home" means that people need more support over here, support that doesn't necessarily come from the books, but is accessible.  So, my friend, who has renamed himself (and his blog) as the Reluctant Primalist, and I started a support group.  In doing so, we are becoming the 'go to' people here at Yokota.   However, that places a LOT of responsibility on us to 'get it right' or find answers for these people in a timely (like FAST!!) manner.

So, recently, I've had some excellent questions regarding switching to Paleo/Primal lately and this, hopefully, will give me more interesting fodder for my blog.

1.  There is a gluten allergy test.  Did you have it?  If so, was it hard to get an order from the doctor and what was the result?  Yes, no, no, and no result... Just kidding!!  YES, there are laboratory tests that you can have to show whether you're allergic to wheat/gluten or celiac.  However, they're not all the time conclusive.  If you're interested, the antibody blood tests mainly used to diagnose celiac disease, but can also suggest just an immune response, are:
  1. Antigliadin antibodies:  This test screens by finding IgA antibody and IgG antigliadin antibody.  Unfortunately, this test is only accurate for 20 - 50% of all true celiac sufferers, and this is the most widely prescribed test!
  2. Transglutaminase antibody:  Transglutaminase is a muscle protein that can be uncovered by gluten damage to the intestinal lining.  By measuring this antibody in the bloodstream, you can gauge the autoimmune response happening in the intestinal tract.  This test is 86 to 89% accurate for identifying celiac disease.  
  3. Endomysium antibody:  The endomysium antibody also identifies an intestingal tissue protein that triggers an antibody and autoimmune response.  This test is the newest test and appears most accurate in identifying more than 90% of celiac cases.  
  4. HLA DQ2, HLA DQ8:  (This is NOT a blood test)  Though not antibodies, these are genetic markers for HLA (human leukocyte antigens) that over 90% of celiacs have in their intestinal biopsy.  A little controversial within the celiac versus gluten-sensitive world. 
  5. Rectal Challenge:  (NOT a bloodtest)  This involves placing a gluten sample into the rectum and seeing whether an inflammatory response is triggered.  VERY accurate, but is a 4-hour long test... so, not very fun.  
  6. Small Intestine Biopsy:  Through an endoscope (a tube they snake down from your mouth, to your stomach and the first part of your small intestine, the jejunum), they perform a biopsy (tissue sample is cut using small clippers) and look at the tissue under a microscope to see if there is damage, an inflammation, or presence of antibodies. 
So, there you have it... all the possible tests per Dr. William Davis in Wheat Belly paraphrased for your reading pleasure!  In answer to my friend's question, yes had the biopsy last year which showed horrible amounts of inflammation... however, the surgeon figured that was due to my poor health and his desire to take out my gallbladder... never even suggested a gluten response!  Blood tests?  Nope, didn't have any and can't now as I'm off gluten for 6 months and they'll be negative.  As far as "Is it hard to get the order from the doctor" part of the question... the way I feel about that is that it's only hard IF the physician is close-minded and you aren't they type to question their decision.  I'm the type who fights for myself (I've had to learn to be that type, though), and feel that if YOU think YOU might have sensitivity, then ask for the blood tests.  However, if you just want to 'try' being gluten free and you FEEL better off of it... then, there's your answer.  You may not have full-blown celiac disease, but there certainly is some type of gluten response happening.  For me?  I prefer gluten-free life as opposed to that sick state with IBS symptoms since teen years... 

2.  How much food to eat?  I'm trying to cut back on carbs and only eat meat and veggies.  But, how much?  I'm not feeling full!!    In both Paleo and Primal lifestyles, we don't cut calories or food portions.  We eat until we are not hungry anymore.  If you look at the "Paleo Plate" (instead of the "My Plate" from the USDA), you'll see 1/2 of the plate is animal-based protein/fat and the other 1/2 is non-starchy veggies.  If you're still hungry after filling your plate like the picture, perhaps you need more fat and protein to get your body releasing more leptin and causing you to 'feel' full.  Where you see the "water", sometimes I place a 1/2 avocado there and spice it up with balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper.  Also, take a GOOD look at how much veggies you're putting on that plate!  That's at least 2 servings, if not 3 servings of veggies, and MOST Americans have 1 veggie serving that doesn't even count as a serving.  So, PILE those veggies high!!  How about 4 good broccoli 'trees' and a heaping salad of spinach and weeds (what we call all those extra lettuce types in my family).  Try it, THEN tell me you're not feeling full... 

Questions?  More questions?  Feel free to ask... I'll answer them, might take me a while to do the research, but I'll answer them!!


  1. Nice post and yes, eat 'till you're full!!! Then if you get hungry, eat something. Listen to your body, it WILL tell you when it needs/doesn't need food.

    1. It truly is one of those questions that come from those who got very used to measuring all their food for portion control... I don't know about you, but I'm never hungry and I don't necessarily eat 3 square meals a day anymore!!