Literally, one of the most upsetting symptoms of gluten intolerance for some people can be how it affects our moods. For me, personally, one of the biggest changes I saw about myself (and my friends and families can attest to this…) is that my mood completely evened out after I cut out the gluten. After doing a fair amount of poking around in the gluten-free discussion boards and research studies, I have found that I am not alone in noticing a personality change along with my changing dietary choices.
With gluten sensitivities comes the ability (or lack thereof) to process the foods that fuel our everyday lives. So while this means that gluten can’t be digested by our systems (leading to some painful digestive consequences), it also means that essential nutrients are not being absorbed. Without these essential nutrients, our mind and ability to use cognitive reasoning is often one of the first functions to suffer (it’s as if you haven’t been eating in a while – of course you’d get irritable!). Interestingly, many psychiatric disorders have been found to be prevalent in untreated Celiac Disease patients. One study found that 21% of patients in a psychiatric clinic were being treated for depression, when their true problem was suffering from Celiac Disease!
A lot of people think that dietary issues are solely related to the ability to digest foods, but that just isn’t true. Nutritional value of the food we consume plays a huge part in how our whole bodies are affected. Just as a diet solely consisting of ice cream and french fries would be detrimental to a person’s overall health, so too is trace amounts of gluten in a person who suffers from gluten sensitivity. Our bodies are simply unable to process certain foods, and that lack of ability can even block our body from absorbing other essential nutrients!
I recently saw my personality reverting back into my old ways, filled with anxiety and irritability, only to discover I’d been unknowingly eating trace amounts of gluten. Living a gluten-free life is no easy task. But by tossing the processed foods and ensuring no wheat enters our systems, we can keep our whole selves, mind and body, clear and efficient.