I was diagnosed with celiac disease in December. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder which makes my body attack itself in the presence of gluten. So if I eat gluten my body cannot digest it. The antibodies in my body see the gluten the same way they see a virus and attack. My digestive organs get caught in the crossfire and become damaged.
There are no cures for autoimmune disorders. The only thing I can do is go on a strict no gluten diet. If I don't follow the diet my symptoms will continue and worsen. The damage from my bodies reaction can eventually turn into cancer.
So I don't really have an option. It's gluten-free or death basically. As hard a gluten-free diet can be it is so nice to have a diagnosis of what is wrong with me. My symptoms started when I was 15. After almost 5 years I finally know what is wrong and I'm finally starting to feel better!
So what is gluten you may ask? It is a protein found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, Graham, KAMUT® Khorasan wheat, and einkorn), barley, and rye. It is also found in triticale, a cross between wheat and rye.
Gluten is not just in anything with flour. Over the more recent years, it has become a direct additive in many things as a thickening agent. From soups and broths to gravy and sauces. So as a celiac I must read every label. It is required for companies to list any possible contaminants of wheat just like they have to for peanuts.
One of the biggest problems of being a celiac isn't finding gluten-free products or making gluten-free at home. The problem is cross-contamination. Both when out to eat and at home. All the appliances and utensils you used before the diagnosis are contaminated with gluten.
I learned about cross-contamination when out to eat pretty early on when looking into celiac disease but I honestly hadn't thought about cross-contamination at home until I was diagnosed. I was reading more about celiac and came across a question on celiac.com about if you could use a toaster for gluten-free bread that was used for regular bread.
If you look inside your toaster you will see a ton of crumbs in there. That thing is full of cross-contamination. A lot of the people on the thread recommended a new toaster, as well as other gluten-free dedicated kitchen utensils. You can read the thread here if you'd like.
So on top of getting new things for the kitchen, they also recommended your own condiments labelled GF so people in your family that aren't gluten-free would not contaminate your peanut butter or butter with double-dipping the knife.
This has all definitely been a learning curve. But it is so amazing to know what is wrong and how to fix it. Cutting out gluten and using gluten alternatives has been amazing! I feel so much better! I wanted to write this post to tell you about celiac disease and about how I have gone gluten-free because it was online where I first heard about it.
I wanted to tell you about celiac disease because it wasn't my doctors who told me about it. They didn't even diagnose me really. I've had stomach problems since I was 15 and my doctor did one test to check my filtering organs and that was it. She didn't find anything so she didn't go any farther.
So I continued to suffer through the years never knowing what was wrong. I had figured out that pasta was the biggest problem but when I tried a gluten-free version it was better. I still had no idea what was really wrong. Until the summer of 2017 when I started watching all of the episodes of the Jenna & Julien podcast. In one of them, Julien talked about his celiac disease.
He talked about how gluten made him sick and mentioned some of the symptoms. I was feeling a lot of what he mentioned. So I googled and I checked every box. Stomach pain after eating, nausea, migraines, sudden weight loss, pain in my joints, heartburn and burning in the chest, slow growth (I'm a grand 5'0 to 5'1 depending on how I stand), bowel irregularity, cramping, itching, lactose intolerance, vitamin deficiency.
The more I looked into it the more I was convinced I was a celiac. I did the gluten-free test. Now while I wasn't perfectly gluten-free with the contaminations and all I was still mainly gluten-free. I was gluten-free for over a month and felt amazing! It was the best I felt in years! I made an appointment as soon as I could and asked for the tTG blood panel and a GI doctor recommendation.
I went to the GI doctor and after talking for 5 minutes she scheduled the scope. I got the scope and I had some damage. I was diagnosed and they took biopsies. So now I've been living 100% gluten-free since Mid-November and I feel so much better! I used to get migraines at least once every 2 days. Now I only get one or two during my period. My stomach doesn't hurt after I eat anymore and my heartburn is so much better too. My body used to itch all the time. I would scratch so hard I'd actually scrap myself. It's gotten so much better since then! My back doesn't hurt nearly as much as it used it and hands, knees and elbows don't hurt as much either! It's such a relief to know what the cause of so many of my problems was! I've been working on a gluten-free diet plan and I'm really excited about it. There are some many naturally gluten-free food that I love! I've found an amazing gluten-free pasta brand and I can't wait to start some gluten-free baking! I'm going to be testing out a bunch of GF recipes and making some of my own too! I want to start sharing them with you all here so get ready for lots of delicious food posts! I wanted to share with you today to maybe help someone the way Julien helped me! And I want to keep talking about it! Expect some more GF and Celiac related posts in the future! I'm very new at all of this and I am by no means a doctor but if you have any questions for me about the symptoms I felt or my new diet or anything like that please feel free to DM me on Twitter or email me! Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a like if you did, it's much appreciated!
Photo Credit: Photo taken by me with a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with an 18-55mm lens and edited by me in Photoshop. **This post was not sponsored**