ADD & Gluten free.. how I accidentally found out that my body doesn’t like gluten

ADD & Gluten free.. how I accidentally found out that my body doesn’t like gluten

Is there a correlation between ADD and gluten? This question came to my mind a couple of weeks ago, while couchsurfing and living the vanlife in New Zealand. So why not write my first blog post about this. Because that’s what ADD’ers do. They start somewhere in the middle of a story.. and the story never ends.

Welcome to my world 🙂


Medication and vitamins

In the beginning of 2016, after a year of using medication (Ritalin and more), I started using vitamins instead. According to New Zealand research, vitamins can help reduce the symptoms of ad(h)d. I started taking 7 different types of vitamins and minerals, among which Magnesium, Zinc, Omega 3 and Calcium. After a week, I already felt the difference. I’ll write about this discovery in another post. Almost six months later, I found something different that helps me a lot, to reduce the ADD symptoms.

My first ADD gluten free experience

During my first months on the South Island in New Zealand, I spend a lot of time at Johns place in Christchurch. John does Couchsurfing. He welcomes many amazing people into his lovely little relaxing home. We shared a nice time, did a lot of painting, played games, and we shared meals.

John is mostly vegan and doesn’t eat gluten, and so didn’t we. We were having a lot of rice, potatoes, soups, salads, vegetables, nuts and seeds, instead of bread, noodles, pasta, etc. This was different from what I was used to. I used to eat a lot of pasta and bread. But I absolutely loved the food we made at his place. He/we made the most delicious dressings, deserts, and other meals with rice or potatoes.

My energy was increasing, but I didn’t immediately think it was because of the gluten. Johns’ place is so calming, and because he’s such a lovely person and I felt so relaxed and welcome, I thought that must be it.

The gluten road trip, HELL (called ADD) 😉

After some time at Johns place and other places, I went for a road trip on the South Island with Tanja, one of my best friends in Holland. The first week, I stayed on my new ‘diet’, trying to be gluten-free as much as possible. I felt good and I wanted to keep it that way.


Tanja and I both love healthy food and we were cooking each night. Cooking was a (mostly) enjoyable part of our #vanlife. But one day, we were driving many miles and we’re very tired. We decided to have pancakes for dinner. Soon after dinner, we went to bed. The day after, I had bread in the morning, with Pics Peanutbutter (yummie, the absolute best peanutbutter brand in the world) and in the afternoon we ate wraps (made from wheat).

My head exploded

We were heading to Abel Tasman. I was driving, and I was absolutely a horrible person at that moment (Sorry Tanja!!). We needed to get Diesel and drinking water, and I was almost screaming at Tanja, who had no clue of what was happening. I was totally raised, almost angry, not at Tanja but at the whole world. I wanted to scream, or hit someone, or do both at the same time. At some point, I almost wanted to drive my car into a tree. It felt like my head exploded. It felt like ADD+.

I couldn’t focus on driving, which annoyed me. I didn’t want to check where the petrol station was and where we could get some water. It was all just too much. I felt like screaming and crying at the same time. It wasn’t a new experience, I had that feeling before… but it was a while ago.

Tanja said ‘calm down.. you don’t need to act like this’. She knows about my ADD-stuff, but she wasn’t used to that behaviour (anymore). When we arrived in Tasman, we had a good conversation and I started thinking about why I was acting like this. Then it dawned on me.. that it might be the gluten.

‘Is there a correlation between ADD and gluten?’, I thought.

Gluten and refined sugar

It started to become clear to me that gluten have a similar effect on my body and brain as refined sugar. A year earlier, I already noticed that I can’t handle refined sugar, especially at night. I get hyperactive, not necessarily physically but in my head, but also hypersensitive and annoyed. In Dutch we would say ‘I get long toes’ (so people can easily step on them.. and you don’t want to know what happens next).

After a few weeks of trying to eat gluten every now and then, it became more and more clear to me. For me (!), eating gluten worsens the side effects of ADD. So I’ll stick to my gluten free diet (with tini tiny exceptions.. for cake, or deserts, when there’s a special occasion).

A gluten free diet, easy peasy!

Is it hard to be gluten free? Absolutely not. You just eat different things. I eat rice crackers, rice pasta, rice noodles, gluten free bread. My diet consists of a lot of vegetables, nuts, seeds, salads. You can have cheese, meat, eggs. Anything but cereals, especially wheat.

It can be hard when you are Wwoofing or Couchsurfing at a place where they have a lot of gluten. And I’m sure that, when I’m going back to Holland and have dinner with friends, they don’t want to cook gluten free all the time. And I just don’t want to be a difficult person. But my current experience is that most people are more than happy to provide gluten free meals.

Vitamins or gluten free?

The less gluten I have, the less I ‘need’  the vitamins. I take the supplements maybe every 4/5 days now, instead of every day. It saves me money (although eating gluten free can be expensive as well), and I don’t want to be ‘dependent’ on vitamins (though it’s better to be dependent to vitamins than to Ritalin or Concerta, is my opinion).

Dealing with the symptoms of ADD on a natural way

I’m so happy, because when I found out that I ‘have’ ADD (whether it is a disease, a hormonal imbalance or anything else), I didn’t want to deal with it the same way my doctor did. She wanted me to take Ritalin, Concerta, Dexamfetamine or Dexmethylfenidaat Retard on a daily basis. When the side effects were too bad, she wanted me to try other medication. She wanted me to try anti-depressants because these have shown good results in ADD research as well. Anti-depressants, seriously?

Now I’m encountering almost the same result that I had while using this crap, in a natural way.

I couldn’t be more happy:)

DAMN..this blog post turned out way too long.. and all over the place. Welcome to my world again 🙂

And please share your experience below! 

ADHD/ADD Gluten free Healthy body Travel


  1. Spoor says:

    Mag ik ook in het Nederlands reageren? I speak English very well but write it not so well…. super leuk jongedame! Zet deze even bij mijn favorietjes.

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