Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Our friends and family often assume that if they do not get stomach aches, they cannot possibly be allergic or intolerant to gluten. I guess, in the past, I have stressed the fact that I had stomach aches all my life, and I now live ‘stomach ache free.’ But stomach aches are not the only symptom that your system may not be tolerating gluten very well. I hope through my articles this year and in years past you have come to realize that there are many, many other symptoms associated with gluten intolerance; symptoms that range from osteoporosis, anemia, infertility, depression, migraines and even cancer. Today I would like to tell you about Dermatitis Herpetiformis, which is an autoimmune disorder often linked to gluten sensitive patients. The disease was discovered and named in 1884 by Dr. Louis Duhring at the University of Pennsylvania. Dermatitis herpetiformis is characterized by grouped excoriations; erythematous, urticarial plaques and papules with vesicles found on the exterior surface of the knees, elbows, buttocks and back.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a disease of the skin caused by the deposition of IgA in the papillary dermis, and is a result of an immunologic response to chronic stimulation of the gut mucosa to dietary gluten. Typical symptoms include burning, stinging, and intense itching. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a lifelong disease. Because gluten seems to be the underlying cause to this immunoreactivity, strict compliance to a gluten free diet results in normalization of the small bowel mucosal changes and control of the cutaneous manifestations of dermatitis herpetiformis in most patients.

The bottom line is to listen to your body. You know what is normal and what is abnormal. Dermatitis herpetiformis is not something that manifests itself at birth. It is triggered by environmental factors, particularly the ingestion of gluten. It can also be triggered by surgery, where gastric manipulation has occurred. Whenever your body is giving you the ‘something isn’t right’ signal, listen to it. I know it is easier to ignore the symptoms, ignore the aches and pains, or take a pill to take the edge off. But I am telling you that you should listen to your body. You are what you eat and if something is amiss, it could definitely be your diet that needs inspection. Don’t wait another day, do something today to make your body feel better. You will be more productive, enjoy life, have more energy and feel good!

In my effort to wean you off of sugar, I made these yummy almond butter cookies using a variation of my famous peanut butter carob cookies. I substituted applesauce for the brown sugar and added more flour. I also decided to add cranberries for color. I hope you enjoy them guilt-free. Each cookie only has grams of sugar!

Gluten Free Sugar Free Almond Butter Cookie
½ cup gluten free baking flour
½ cup almond butter
1 T carob powder
1 T honey
¼ cup applesauce
½ tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/8 cup cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combined eggs, applesauce and almond butter in a small bowl.
Stir in carob and baking soda.
Slowly add in flour.
Blend in cranberries.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drop 1 inch balls of dough onto sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Makes 24 cookies.
Each cookie contains 52 calories and 1.8 grams of sugar!

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