Approximately 5 years ago I developed what appeared to be sudden severe pain on the side of both thighs as well as my feet. It was horrible. It felt like red hot pokers piercing several areas up and down my thighs. Probably the worst time of day was at night when I was sleeping, or I should say ‘trying’ to sleep. I was reduced to taking a sleeping pill to get any rest at all.. It also was particularly bad if I was driving in a car or sitting for any period of time, as when I got up, the pain was searing. I recognized that my legs felt weak because of it and even stepping up on a curb was painful. My feet hurt so much so that I couldn’t stand comfortably for even a minute. I was very worried that this might be a genetic thing since my mother also had severe leg pain and my Dad also complained of his feet hurting.
Needless to say, this physical condition made me feel quite old although I was only in my 50’s. The medical doctore diagnosed it as bursitis and offered cortisone shots which helped for a period of time but I had my three for the year so PT was recommended. The physical therapist was dumbfounded as there was no improvement although I followed the exercises to a tee. Acupuncture helped slightly but only for a short period of time. I was very nervous that this was how I was going to be the rest of my life!
Then an extraordinary thing happened. I went to a weekend concert in Telluride that changed my life! We camped the whole weekend and only ate rice, vegetables and meat that we prepared before hand. After a couple days, I suddenly realized that my pain had subsided dramatically! I slept fantastically and was sleeping on the ground! I was jumping up in the morning to a standing position with no pain. I had no idea at this point why I was better but the fact of the matter was, I was almost back to my normal self!
Then disaster struck again. We finished the festival and camping, got an egg bagel and a donut for the road and made our way back home (about 4 hours). By the time we got home it had all come back! I couldn’t get out of the car without that horrible pain! OMG!!! What could it be? Then, I realized that I hadn’t had wheat gluten in four days. It had to be that. I bought the book, No Grain, No Pain. My body was filled with inflammation from top to bottom! For me it was an easy decision, change my diet or have pain. I was pretty rigid for a year and didn’t eat any grains and the improvement has been amazing. I had gotten my life back! I have since discovered that I can eat rice and corn (which also contain smaller amount of gluten) without adverse side effects but I still don’t go overboard. Wheat gluten has the highest amount of gluten so I pretty much stay away from that.
Is it hard but you get used to it and adapt. Luckily I like meat, vegetables and fruit so I find plenty of things to eat. Do I miss the chocolate cake? Duh, yes! But, in the long run no pain is worth it! My rule is never cheat two days in a row and don’t do it often! Also, cheat with something really good!! Do NOT eat junk food that is ‘gluten free’. It’s not that the ingredients are bad or that it tastes bad but why eat those extra carbs?!
In conclusion, I would try a no grain diet for a week. If inflammation is the problem, your pain will be reduced dramatically and if so, it’ll be well worth the experiment!
Lisa can guide you through it. She’s been a great support and being an advocate of a Paleo diet, she’s a resource for books, recipes and suggestions!
Leslie A. Whippen