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Celiac Disease and going Gluten Free

Celiac Disease and going Gluten Free: 3ten.ca My journey navigating being GF and finding out how awesome it makes me feel. Seriously.

Well, where do I even start. I’m a celiac.

First, I’ll start by saying I think this is awesome and I’m so excited to change my life and feel great. It’s often said that we have no idea how good our bodies are meant to feel, and I can’t believe it’s about to get better. Seriously.

Back in 2008 when Bryce, my now husband, moved in with me he realized that I suffered from an above average amount of headaches/migraines. Really, it’s not normal to take down 2-4 tylenol every other day? I didn’t think too much of it since I was teaching high school at the time and the job was stressful. I didn’t sleep well, got anxious on Monday mornings (or even Sunday night) because I had to go to work. Work was full of the unknown. Not knowing what kind of mood the 95 students would be in, what curriculum changes may be unleashed, or if I was going to be evaluated during fifth period.

Please. No. Not fifth period.

Such stress caused my head to pound. Eventually Bryce told me to go see a neurologist. I say told, because that’s what he did – he told me. “You’re going,” he said. Such an amazing guy to look out for me.

Bryce booked me an appointment later that week. We were living in Dallas, Texas and we had great insurance, hence I got in quickly. I had an MRI and everything was normal. See, I’m normal! All good. The Dr. told me to change my diet (cut out caffeine, alcohol, and monitor other foods such as blue cheese, avocados, bananas, and peanut butter). It was a lifestyle adjustment, however the headaches and migraines seemed to be better. I was taking a preventative medication, which most likely helped.

Over the past 7 years the headaches and migraines have been okay. I still get about 3-4 a month and one is usually extreme. The pain is so bad that I’ll lay in bed crying counting the minutes. I’ll even go as far as promise myself that I’ll never eat chocolate again if my body will just relax and rid itself of the pain. That promise rarely worked. Going to emergency is never a good option, even though I feel like I can’t breathe or think because of the pain, yet all they will do is give me an IV so I don’t get dehydrated. My bed is more comfortable than and ER.

So, what does all of this have to do with being a celiac?

Celiac Disease and going Gluten Free

Well, in December I read a book called Joshi’s Alkaline Diet. Why now? Well, I don’t have an answer to that. All I know is I picked up the book and read it. The diet, or lifestyle rather, is gluten free. It’s a detox for 4 weeks and then you can begin to reintroduce other foods, yet still maintaining the lifestyle. Bryce and I did the detox and I had never felt better. It was awesome. So much energy.

My skin looked awesome and I felt like I hadn’t had a headache all month (I had 1 as compared to 3 or 4). When mid February hit we started to slowly cook with gluten and some other acidic foods (like cheese, fruit, and vinegar). Eventually, in March we were back to normal; not because we didn’t like how we felt in January, but rather as habit we had fallen back into our busy lives.

It’s at this point I started to feel a lot of pain in my stomach. I visited my Dr. and she ran the Urea breath test – nothing. She did some other tests – nothing. Eventually, in May, she did a full workup of blood – everything you could think of. Guess what? Positive for celiac. Now, the gold standard is that you undergo a biopsy of your stomach to see if you are indeed a celiac, yet my Dr., the specialist, and even my dietitian have all said that with my blood work it’s clear that I’m a celiac. Best news. Seriously.

I’ve been gluten free for 1 month – like really gluten free. All of my vitamins are gluten free, shampoo, face cream, soap – yup, they are all gluten free, too. And guess what? Not a headache in 4 weeks. Moreover, all the bloating, cramping, and discomfort I was experiencing back in March – it’s all gone. Seriously.

Flat out, I’m lucky. Lucky to live in a country where it’s possible to keep going, to keep testing, and to keep looking for answers. I’m lucky to have a husband who cares about my health and my well being (keeping in mind that I’m way more fun when I don’t have a headache! haha). Yet, as equally as important, I’m lucky to feel this good and to have a body that tells me what’s wrong and gives me the time to figure it out and then rebounds.

Now, with that news, please don’t worry. I still love to bake with wheat flour and I’ll still make food that’s not good for me, but I just won’t eat it. For now, I’m not wishing to turn my blog into a space that is dedicated completely gluten free or GF recipes. Granted, I’ll certainly be cooking for myself and my family, which will be gluten free items, so I will share them (new gluten free tab under recipes). Yet, I won’t forget to share the cookies, cake, or even the ‘real’ lasagna that I make.

Thanks so much for all of your support – it means so much to me that I get to share a bit of me with you through my blog. Baking, cooking, and sewing is a heck of a lot of fun – but it’s so much more fun to share.

Don’t hesitate to fill me in on some tips and tricks if you’re gluten free or a celiac, too; and I’ll keep you posted on all the things I learn as I navigate being a new celiac. I’m excited to be a good student!

-Ali

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