Re: Wheat & dairy
Danni & Sinead,
With wheat intolerance the problem is often broader than wheat alone. It's smarter to do a gluten elimination, since the offensive protein in wheat is gluten, and that same gluten is also found in barley & rye, and also in the ancient forms of wheat like spelt, kamut & triticale. If people are gluten sensitive but remove only wheat, leaving barley & rye in the diet, they may falsely conclude that 'taking out wheat didn't make a difference."
A gluten intolerant person who substitutes spelt, barley, etc for wheat will still have problems. Many of the "wheat free" products available contain barley or spelt. This is confusing to many folks. Barley malt & barley enzymes are in a huge range of conventional products, and are not as of yet required to be labelled.
A totally gluten free diet or elimination trial spans home repair products, art supplies, health & beauty products ... the list goes on. An excellent resource for getting up the steep learning curve of the GF diet is the recent book, Living Gluten Free for Dummies, by Danna Korn.
How long it takes to make a difference ... depends on the type of intolerance. In IgE wheat or gluten allergy, people often feel better in a few weeks, less bloating & gas, unless they get a dose of gluten. In IgG allergy, the antibodies stay active for at least 6 mos., and this can derail the immune system from dealing with other stuff. In celiac disease, which is an autoimmune reaction to gluten that destroys the lining of the small intestine, healing can take months to years, depending on how severe the destruction is. A celiac diet must remove gluten down to the molecular level -- you can't even have a shared butter stick or toaster due to cross contamination issues.