Gluten Free For Good


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*Warning: this post took on a life of its own. If you’re looking for a quick recipe, bail out now. If you’re remotely interested in my take on the wonderful world of food, genetics, evolution and Celiac disease, brace yourself and read on.

Was this Paleo guy after the mastodon or the armadillo?

Or, maybe he was out doing some wild cereal hunting. That field of Triticum would be a lot easier to tackle than the mastodon. I’m pretty sure I evolved from a less aggressive, nomadic, grass-eating tribe. My ancestors hunted with pruning shears, not six foot long daggers with jagged tips. We ate grasses, berries, nuts, seeds, dates, olives, leafy green things and even rich, savory mushrooms once we figured out which ones didn’t kill us. We also ate a lot of fish depending on our travels.

Unfortunately, that’s where things went awry. When we stopped wandering and built condos on the Mediterranean Sea. I had HLA DQ2 ancestors and around 8500 B.C. they decided cultivating Triticum dicoccum (emmer wheat) was less dangerous than chasing 6 ton mastodons with sharp pointy tusks.

And so, the Celiac story begins – with the domestication of wheat and the interaction of HLA (human leukocyte antigen) genes and deamidated gluten peptides. To make it even more fun, let’s throw in sexual selection, mating preferences and pathogen resistance. We actually have some biological factors (those HLA genes again) influencing who we’re attracted to and mate with.

HLA genes are involved in immune function. They guard against nasty invaders and do a good job keeping us healthy. They also magically prompt us to compliment our disease fighting ability with genetic dissimilarities. We subconsciously strive for varied biological attributes in our offspring. Bottom line? These genes play a role in who we get the hots for.

Seriously. I’m not making this up. Check here for details.

It’s called olfactory curb appeal. Okay, I made that up.

Without even knowing it, you might be attracted to someone because of smell? You don’t know why they smell good, it’s not perfume or cologne or anything. It’s just them. That’s deep, dark and delicious biology working to keep the species healthy. Subconsciously we’re seeking to keep our DNA loaded with a genetic mixture of diverse immunity, so we sniff out complimentary HLA genes. Unfortunately, the introduction of wheat, barley and rye played havoc on our genetic blueprint. These normally brilliant little HLA DQ2 genes also code for autoimmunity (check here for details), as is the case with Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes.


Okay, that was a rather convoluted introduction to why I don’t favor the Paleo diet, but I had to set the biogeographical stage. You see, my ancestors go back 10,000 years ago to the Fertile Crescent. They were sunbathing on the Syrian coast and eating a Mediterranean diet way back when. Before it was cool and trendy to eat like that. I’m pretty sure they weren’t loading up on pounds of mastadon meat. Maybe on rare occasions like someone’s wedding or the toppling of a rival empire, but not often.

I’m also thinking my female ancestors frequently had to settle for HLA DQ2 suitors rather than shaking things up with an anti-Celiac DQ4 guy. Life was different then. It’s not like you could jet off to the Andes in hopes of diluting the DQ2 gene pool. You got stuck with whoever was in your merry band of hunters and gatherers and that probably meant similarly encoded DQ antigen regions.

I’m just curious about all this because I think it’s in my genetic makeup to favor plants. I’m not much of a meat eater. Paleo eating is popular right now and supporters suggest we evolved to eat a high animal protein diet, but that doesn’t work for me. At all. Ethics aside, I’m not fond of animal products and I don’t digest meat or dairy well. I’m much better off eating a big bowl of leafy greens, some brown rice and a mix of roasted veggies than I am a slab of prime rib or a chunk of cheese. I’m sure I’d do better if my meat sources were from wild, organic, healthy animals and my dairy sources were raw and from 100% grass fed, happy goats, but in general, and for a lot of reasons, I’m more suited to a plant-based diet. Considering the toxic chemicals in our food supply, the overuse of antibiotics and hormones in CAFO (confined animal feeding operations) and the increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria, I don’t think a diet heavy with animal protein is healthy. And that’s not factoring in the impact on the environment.

By the way, this post isn’t an endorsement of any specific eating plan. I’m just thinking out loud. So, don’t hit me over the head with a club if you’re a Paleo fan. For the record, I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but if I do eat animal products, I’m grateful that I can be picky about the sources.

Okay? Are we all friends? Omnivores and herbivores? Vegans and meat eaters? Berry pickers and spear throwers? What works for one person doesn’t always work for another. We’re biochemically unique. I’m also convinced that genetic influences (as wildly explained above), environmental determinants, ethical leanings, lifestyle factors and nutrient feng shui make a difference.

I made up that nutrient feng shui thing. That’s my phrase for food combining, which I’m not into either. Life is hard enough, lets make eating easier, not more difficult. A nutrient-dense, whole foods, plant-based diet is easy and healthy. At least for my DNA.

Points to Ponder

• Recent research suggests that red meat consumption increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011

• Study reveals direct evidence for a variety of plant foods in the Neanderthal diet, including legumes, date palms and grass seeds (Triticeae). PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010

• Don’t assume we were all heavy meat eaters. Molar macrowear in Neanderthals and early Homo Sapiens suggests high dietary variability. My ancestors were Paleo Plant People from Mediterranean habitats. Check here for the research details. I made up Paleo Plant People, but who knows, that might emerge as a classification system. I’ll contact the Paleolithic genome project and suggest it.

• Maintaining a healthy pH balance is important to health. Beef, pork, poultry, milk, butter, cheese, cream are acid-forming foods. Plants are alkalizing. An acidic internal environment is disease-promoting. Low acid diets may protect against several diseases, including osteoporosis (yes, osteoporosis). Check here for details.

• According to my weight and age, I’m supposed to consume about 45 to 50 grams of protein per day. The average American adult consumes at least twice that much per day (100 to 120 grams per day). When that much protein (along with the often higher percentage of fat in animal products) is consumed, other important nutrients are often excluded from the diet. Fiber percentages and beneficial plant nutrients are often lacking in high protein (animal source) diets. I prefer less protein than the USDA’s RDA and more fiber than they recommend. That can easily be accomplished on a high-grade, plant-based diet. Even if you’re exercising a lot. Even if you’re a serious athlete.

• Strong and consistent correlations are reported between death rates from cancer and per capita consumption of animal products. Check here for epidemiological correlations between diet and cancer frequency.

• It’s my opinion that a whole foods, predominantly plant-based diet filled with lots of fiber and organic, nutrient-dense vegetables is the best way to heal and thrive if you have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. I have DQ2 genes and Celiac disease. People like me often have difficulty digesting animal products (meat and dairy). Maybe we didn’t evolve to do so. Maybe our genes are telling us something. Maybe Paleo isn’t for us. Maybe we’re Paleo Plant People.

Peace, love and green veggies.


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39 Responses to “confessions of an HLA DQ2 cavewoman”

  1. Natasha Kay says:

    I completely agree with everything you’ve said. The amount of meat most Americans consume is absurd and it’s no wonder we’re suffering from a myriad of ‘new’ diseases and ones like cancer are getting more and more fierce as time goes on.

    As for osteoporosis, it’s amazing that North America has the highest consumption of milk per capita and yet at the same time, we have the HIGHEST rate of osteoporosis! What gives?! I wish everyone would see how manipulated they’ve been by the dairy and meat industries into thinking that things are “normal” when in fact, our ancestors never ate this way and it’s not normal at all!

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for the endorsement and your comments (good ones)! We’re on the same wavelength with this. You’re so right about osteoporosis and all the dairy we eat. I think I may do a post on that specific topic one of these days. And you’re also right about how the public is manipulated by the food industry. It’s sad.

      • In all fairness, Vitamin D in adequate levels is necessary to properly utilize all the calcium in dairy for bone health and formation. Vitamin D is sorely inadequate for many of us, so the issue is not just the dairy, but rather a lack of complementary nutrition to utilize the cofactors to their fullest potential.

      • Melissa says:


        I totally agree and actually did a whole post on vitamin D quite some time ago. I had trouble keeping this post from becoming a novel as it was, I know I left out bits and pieces of good information. Thanks for adding your girlie geekness to the conversation. I really appreciate it!


  2. You have a lot of food for thought here! Really — funny, and also very interesting. Thanks!

  3. Alta says:

    So if I’m a double DQ1, where do I come from? 🙂 I know most of my ancestors are Northern European – I have lots of Scandanavian blood. I have a feeling that way back in the hunter-gatherer times, there weren’t many people in that part of the world. But I’m not a scientist – I don’t know for sure! 🙂 But my more-recent ancestors were probably more likely eating copious amounts of fatty fish, leafy greens and winter-hardy veggies, and berries. Oh, and maybe a mastadon or two – who knows? And wheat couldn’t have grown very much around those parts – again, too cold! Maybe that’s why I’m gluten sensitive… While I am a fan of the paleo diet, I don’t think what is written as “the diet” is perfect. After all, the vegetables we have now are not the same as what grew wild hundreds of years ago – not even heirloom varieties. But you’re right – everyone is a bit unique. I, for one, can’t digest a diet high in grains, beans, and legumes – as much as I love them, they don’t love me back! It’s all about listening to your body – which so many of us are so out of touch with. I’m just starting to learn myself. Great post, Melissa!

    • Melissa says:


      Great comment. I love your honest input! I think there are so many things that play into our unique nutritional needs that we can’t all be expected to eat the same type of foods. I like having a small piece of meat (picky about the source) once in awhile, but I just can’t eat more than a small amount on occasion (like the size of a silver dollar). I can’t deal with the fat and even lean meats have a lot more fat than you realize. Now, beans? I LOVE beans and could eat them daily. No problem with beans or legumes. It’s interesting, isn’t it? I love this kind of thing. As for Scandinavian blood, I did find that DQ4 was found in that area. DQ4 is one that is less impacted by gluten.

      You’re right, it’s about listening to your body and it takes commitment and ongoing focus to learn how to do that. We’ve been disconnected from our inner space! Not good.


  4. Shelly R says:

    Melissa, I love this post! I am definitely a Paleo Plant People too! My body loves veggies, some little fruits, olives, seeds. And it is so happy when I eat little amounts all day long. This makes for a very happy tummy. And there are times, my body wants a little meat (and that us very rare), and i am lucky to be able to choose the quality of the meats i eat. I don’t know my gene pool yet, getting ready to do the testing for that, especially now that my daughter is gluten intolerant. So here it to the Paleo Plant People!!

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for the support! So glad you “love this post.” I wasn’t sure how it would go over. We must have evolved from a similar bunch of plant people because what you describe sounds just like me. Of course, I do like a glass of good red wine on occasion and I don’t think there were any wineries around during caveman days. =)

      I find the genetic piece to all this fascinating. And there are so many more gene regions that are involved that we don’t even know about yet, so it’s murky territory! It’s interesting stuff, that’s for sure.

  5. Ok…I love this! This is the stuff that makes me tick. 🙂 Where do you find out about your DQ genes? My problem as a gf’er is that I can’t do rice without feeling awful. Buckwheat doesn’t work well either and I’m not sure about a few other grains yet. I don’t seem to have a problem with meat though. It gives me more energy and I feel like I have to eat it (conscious of the source)in order to get enough calories in. Otherwise my diet would be nothing but raw vegetables and nuts/seeds. Right now I just try to balance my acid and alkaline foods and eat for what keeps the digestion working.

    • Melissa says:


      If you’ve already been diagnosed with Celiac disease, there’s really no point in spending the money on genetic testing. It does help if you’re trying to put together the puzzle. It’s a good tool to add to other testing methods, especially if you have either DQ2 or DQ8. Those are the “Celiac” genes according to the experts. Having said that, there are a host of other genes that play a role in gluten sensitivity, so you can’t go on that piece alone. Like I said, it’s a puzzle and everyone’s puzzle looks different.

      I’ve had some trouble with buckwheat off and on as well, but I don’t know if it was the buckwheat itself or whether it may have been contaminated through the growing or processing of it. I can eat almost any vegetable on the planet EXCEPT eggplant. OMG, I even look at an eggplant and my GI tract starts revolting.

      Yes, we’re all different, that’s for sure. But Casey, if your photo is any indication, you’re doing something right! =)


  6. Cathi says:

    I am a Low-Carb healthy eater along with being Gluten Free, because of Celiac Disease. I also have Hasimotos Thyroid Disease, so I do not eat SOY either, unless it’s fermented. I am also sensitive to Casein, which means no dairy and I have problems with Corn. A book that really helped me in understanding science behind food was Good Calories/Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. I have been eating Low-Carb for about 8 years now. I eat lots of Vegetables that are mainly green because they are low carb naturally, and I DO eat meat, beef, lamb, pork and fish. I prefer grass fed meats that have had a natural life, and have NOT been fed hormones of any kind. I also eat berries, which are naturally low-carb. Blue berries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blackberries. I DO NOT use Splenda, but I do us Erythitol and Luo Han Gou or Oligofrutose sweeteners for baking, and when I have a sweet tooth. But most the time I am not. I personally am a meat eater, and have always been since I was a little girl. My mother use to get mad at me, because I would sneak into the refrigerator and eat the raw hamburger meat. I am now 53 years old and I feel horrible, if I do not eat meat at least twice a day. I usually start out with a piece of meat in the morning, because it really wakes me up. My Doctor says, I must have an amino acid deficiency and that’s why I need meat. So, I am glad that you mentioned that everyone is different, because we are. AND I think it’s important for one to know how it’s body works best and to eat that way. Doctors should be trained and geared in nutrition to fashion it to each person’s individual needs. I’m tired of the government telling us how we should eat, because they have not gotten it right for the past 60 years with the Low Fat diet. Ancel Keys theories were a failure and I believe it’s made Americans more sick than in previous generations before. So, I’m for all the different styles of eating, but don’t force veganism on a meat eaters and visa versa, it’s wrong! AND don’t’ force Low Fat on a Low Carb eater that’s just wrong. In our society, you would think it would be possible to respect each person’s way of eating. There has got to be a way to do this. That is what I’m hoping for, because it obvious that were are different from each other and we all have different needs depending on those DNA Genes that have been distributed in our Body. So lets all eat accordingly and be blessed with health and long life.

    • Melissa says:

      Yeah, Cathi! Great commentary. I appreciate you taking the time to add your thoughts to this conversation. I find it so fascinating how different we all are and I respect that and understand that what works for one person, doesn’t always work for another. There are a few “givens” that I think we might all agree on such as not wanting to eat food sprayed with chemicals that studies have shown cause cancer. Or eat meat that has been drenched in ammonia to kill pathogens. Ammonia doesn’t have to be listed as an ingredient because according to the USDA, ammonia is part of the process, it’s not an actual ingredient. That kind of stuff bugs me. But we’re all so different! If I ate meat twice a day, I’d be sick, sick, sick. I just don’t process it well and I do so much better with more carbs (good carbs) mixed with a little protein and some high-grade fat. You mentioned erythritol, I can’t deal with sugar alcohols at all. My stomach turns into a bubbling cauldron. And as for your comment about being tired of “the government telling us how we should eat” — that is pretty much laughable to me. But I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to the pyramid/plate/food industry.

      Thanks again! I appreciate your input.

    • Randy says:

      Hmmmm. Not sure about this, but it’s interesting. My husband was diagnosed with celiac at age 37. His birthday is in March. His father, who also has celiac, was born in December. Our children never went through the biopsies but were found to be reacting to gluten (we say gluten sensitive) and birthdays are in January and July. My birthday is in September, and I’m also gluten sensitive/intolerant but didn’t go through biopsy to get an official celiac diagnosis. (A test showing I was reacting was enough for me!)

  7. Darn, I lost my novel of a reply!

    OK, here goes again:

    Awesome commentary Melissa.

    There is no one “paleo” diet, dependent upon location, lifestyle, and various other factors, the diet was variable across the globe. And still should be, but what we are seeing is more and more processed overly palatable food, all the time.

    A couple of comments on points to ponder (which I obviously did 😉

    Re: red meat and Type 2 diabetes and the following regarding animal products and cancer: Correlation does not equal causation. Like so much, this doesn’t tell us what caused what. There could and likely are many other factors involved. Also regarding animal protein intake, the “China Study” has been quite thoroughly debunked. (If anyone is interested,

    Re: Protein intake. Even given similar genetic ancestry, different activities are going to have different OPTIMAL protein intakes. Minimal protein intake is one thing, but as a hard training, resistance trained athlete (or recovering from an injury, natch) I don’t just want minimal. I want optimal. Optimal protein intake is closer to 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight for nitrogen balance and turnover. And it is entirely possible (although possible not to, as well) to get in 120 plus grams of protein daily and still have plenty of plant matter and an overall alkaline diet.

    Like Alta, I have Scandinavian ancestry, along with Italian and mostly Irish. My people liked their meat and tubers, and I do just fine on them as well. I also do not do well with large amounts of grains or legumes, although I do fine in small amounts. For me, a diet with lots of vegetable matter, some animal protein, some fruit, and some nuts or coconut. I also do better eating smaller amounts more frequently. Maybe that is an enzyme/celiac thing?

    And lastly, I am quite sure that there must have been a winery somewhere. Mead is quite an old beverage, right?

    Thanks so much for the thought provoking post, Melissa.

    Peace, love, and genetic code FTW!!

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for making the effort to re-capture your “lost in cyberspace” post. This is awesome information and I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing your “geeky girl” knowledge! I really appreciate you weighing in on this. You’re a great resource.

      In your response to “Points to Ponder” — As you mention, there are so many variables that play into why some of these diseases are on the rise (and why they impact some people and not others), but “in general” the food that causes problems is the highly processed, chemical and additive loaded, crap food. Not high-grade animal products. I did try to express that in the post. There’s a monumental difference between eating at MacDonald’s or Sonic Burger and eating 100% grass fed organic bison, beef or venison. I’m thinking the SAD when I suggest a correlation between the over consumption of animal protein and disease. But then again, you can do everything right and end up with some random wild card gene. Or, you can be exposed to a carcinogen or neurotoxin without knowing it.

      I ran across this study some time ago and it shows how many factors play into this (some we have absolutely no control over and some we’re unaware of). I volunteer in a yoga class for people with Parkinson’s. The woman who started the class is amazing and a month or so ago she asked how many of the participants (there are about 25 people in the class) have relatives with Parkinson’s. One person! Only one! There are a lot of environmental things going on in our world right now that are playing havoc on our health. Here’s the study if you’re interested. It’s scary.

      Okay, how did I spiral from Paleo eating to Parkinson’s disease? I guess the point is (which you made so eloquently), there are a host of factors that play into health and disease. Genetics, environment, lifestyle, wild cards. So, let’s do the best we can with what we have. Eat well, sleep well, mitigate stress, eat high-quality, nourishing foods (whatever that is for you), exercise, play, move, explore, make new friends, cherish old friends, appreciate family, be grateful and share the love.

      Thank you, Erin! xoxo

  8. Okay, love this post Melissa and I will be back to reply with more later but first, I’m dying to know how I can find out about my own genes (in regards to ancestral eating), all I know for sure is I’m DQ8 positive and do not carry HLA DQ2. As you know, I’ve been on quite a ride with my own diet and right now I’m grain-free (but eats TONS of fruits and veggies)…can you point me in the direction of any good resources that I can explore? 😀


    • Melissa says:


      Thanks! I’ll be back as well. No time to respond right now, but you brought up some good points! More later.


  9. Kelly says:

    You are so funny 🙂 This is great, and right up our alley. Love how you referenced everything, like we try to do. Did you see my honey’s quinoa post on Spunky? He’s the citation man 😉 Personally, I digest chicken well, but not so much red meat. Only when I was in my 5th month pregnant with Ginger did I crave red meat. So I ate it as much as I wanted till the desire disappeared. I wonder if and when I will crave it again.

    Love, Kelly

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks! I think it’s important to have a sense of humor. Sometimes we take ourselves way too serious. Yes, I did read that post on quinoa and I think I even commented that I appreciated all the research and the fact that he sited his sources. Science geeks think alike. =)

      Being pregnant is a totally different situation. Your needs are different and you must acknowledge that for the baby’s sake. I didn’t have cravings as much as smells that total repelled me, even things like the smell of coffee.

      PS Ginger is beautiful!

  10. Kristine says:

    what a timely post! my best friend from high school just found out that she has celiac so i sent her the link to your blog. another devout follower!

    • Melissa says:


      Send your friend my way. I’ll answer her (probably numerous right now) questions. And tell her it is a blessing in disguise. =) She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s a lucky girl.

      Thanks for stopping by. I already miss you at NN.

  11. Maggie says:

    Melissa I think we’re meant to be 🙂 First of all, this made me laugh! “don’t hit me over the head with a club”. Nice pun! And I really love your line of thinking. Have you read any of Joel Fuhrman’s books? He sees meat as a condiment. I wish we could get the rest of North America to see meat this way. I’m a very happy vegetarian who would also love to eat beans every darn day.

    • Melissa says:


      I just wanted to make a point that we can all have totally different eating preferences and that’s okay. We’re all so different as you see from these comments. No, I don’t have any of Joel’s books, but I’ve read lots of his stuff. That “condiment” sized reference is common among nutrition people and it works perfectly for me. I seriously can’t tolerate much meat. It’s not that I react to it in an allergic way, I just don’t break it down well. Part of that is the fat in animal products. I’m much better off with plants. But, I do eat some meat on occasion. I like a little in a soup or stew. That way I only end up eating a bite or two. It’s perfect. I’m practically a vegetarian and have been a very committed one off and on in my life. As for beans, I’m with you on that one. Love them! All kinds.

  12. Maggie says:

    PS I’m glad I stuck with this post! I always know I’ll learn something from you.

    • Melissa says:

      You know, I don’t want to write long blog posts and sometimes I just have no control over it. This one took on a life of its own. Thanks for hanging in there to the end.


  13. Lexie says:

    Always, ALWAYS eat up every morsel of what you write. You are thought provoking and educational. Thanks for putting all the time and work you do into your posts!!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Lexie! I really do appreciate your comments. Like I said to Maggie, I didn’t mean this to turn into a novella, but I couldn’t quit writing. Love your play on words “eat up every morsel.” =)

  14. I just love the way you really delve into subjects that interest you. This was fascinating and of course humorous as well. xo, c

    • Melissa says:

      And I love it that such a dolled up gluten-free cupcake such as yourself even reads my rambling, geeky posts! Thank you!

  15. Cid says:


    I feel almost guilty to say that my ancient ancestors were probably responsible for the sad demise of the pterodactyl (or as we called it, the flying chicken 🙂 ). Now, being of short leg and likely very low down in the pecking order when it came to who eats first….. my lot developed the art of the stock pot (or gourd?) with all the old roasted bones, vegetables and herbs.

    I like the taste of meat on the whole but I don’t digest it well so meaty/veggie stocks are where I’m at most of the time. And might I say how much I have enjoyed this post…. how often are we wondering why we are inclined to some foods and not others. At some point Melissa we must have been gathering berries and herbs in the same tribe… our lot were good at pre historic art too and fashioned the first hand woven winter pajamas 🙂

    Fabulous post Melissa, I may have to read it all over again.


    p.s. if you get time, pop over to Miles’ site where we’ve been discussing herb apple jelly and other preserves.

    • Melissa says:


      Once again, I am laughing out loud at 5:15 AM because of you! You are such a good writer. Oh, we must have come from the same clan as we have the same sense of humor. I’m sure there is a genetic link between us somewhere along the line. I agree with you on the meaty/veggie stocks. That’s where I get my “meat” taste as well. I just don’t do well with meat other than in very small (and occasional) doses.

      I’m guessing you were the one creating the prehistoric tribal fashions for us as I have very little fashion/color sense. I can just picture you dyeing grass woven gowns with berry juice and making jewelry out of pterodactyl bones and mastodon teeth. We must have been the talk of the tribe. Either that, or we were banished and that’s where our eventual gypsy genes came into play.

      I’m absolutely sure we were friends in our past lives.

      Thanks for putting me in such a good mood right off (the sun isn’t even up yet).

      P.S. Off to visit Miles (I’ll sneak over there since I’ve been so bad about visiting lately).

  16. OK so DQ is not Dairy Queen. Now I’m curious if I was ever tested and was given and DQ numbers. So if I’ve been living gf for years now the results would be different or the same?

    When do you recommend people to get this test?

    I love all the information you shared. It’s funny I found if I cut down a lot on my protein, I didn’t feel as well. I don’t eat much beef, mostly chicken, pork and seafood, lots of seafood. I wondered if I was detoxing something or if my body just needed more animals.

    My son is a vegetarian who thankfully does not eat soy and he is thriving. You are so right, we are all unique.

    • Melissa says:


      You crack me up. No, DQ doesn’t stand for Dairy Queen. =) It might stand for Development Quotient, but I don’t remember off the top of my head. Those genes are on chromosome #6 and mark for celiac disease. DQ2 in a couple of ways, DQ8 is more straight-forward. I love the genetic piece to this and often do a funny little drawing demo to show how it plays out in families (while teaching this stuff to others). Having the gene test is a good piece to add to the puzzle if diagnosis is difficult or confusing. Genes don’t change, so it doesn’t matter if you’re GF or not. A genetic test gives you additional information, but does not confirm anything other than you may have the predisposition for Celiac. About 30-some percent of the population has one of the genes (about 95% of the time, it’s DQ2), so there are a lot of people walking around with the genetic predisposition, but never get Celiac. There are SO many factors. Like I said, it’s a puzzle and we all have different puzzle pieces. I had everyone in my family gene tested and we all have a genetic connection to Celiac. Three out of 5 of us have 2 copies of celiac genes. I have 2 DQ2 versions, but 2 of my kids have both DQ2 and DQ8. Two (husband and one son) have just one copy and it’s DQ8. Genetics is fascinating stuff! BTW, no point in being genetically tested if you’ve already been diagnosed with Celiac via antibody testing and/or biopsy.

      Hope that cleared it up.

      As for your vegetarian son, I’m with him. =) A predominantly plant-based diet works best for me. I could easily be a 100% vegetarian.

      Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it and think this is a good conversation topic!


  17. […] a good article about why she doesn’t favor the Paleo/Primal way of eating in her article, Confessions of an HLA DQ2 Cavewoman over at Gluten Free For Good and I recommend you check it […]

  18. […] If you’re remotely interested in my take on the human genetics of food preferences, check here. To me, the whole “eat like a caveman” thing is up for debate. At least as far as the […]

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