I’ve received a few emails asking about my journey to becoming Gluten Free. I will admit, I was going to not address it because it’s been a long and hard journey and I feel like there are some things that I don’t want to say. I changed my mind because one of the main reasons I started this blog was to share this whole new gluten free lifestyle.
My situation is a little unique and if there are other people out there who are in the same situation as me, I would love to hear how you are coping with all the changes. I have been a vegetarian for a long time and my reasons for being vegetarian stem from the mass livestock production in this country and the mistreatment of the animals while they are farmed.
About 4 years ago I started to have a lot of acid reflux like symptoms. Stomach problems run in the family. I started taking a daily prescription after seeing the doctor. Everything seemed to be going fine until about two years after I had been taking the medication, my symptoms worsened. This is where things got a little out of hand. I was in my senior year of college and working a 40 hour a week job, my doctor contributed a lot of these problems to stress and told me to start taking my medication 2 times a day.
This seemed to work for a couple months. Until I met my friend for dinner and had one beer with dinner and the next day I had what seemed like hangover like symptoms. I was sick the whole day. I am from a German family and beer has always been a HUGE part of the family. I don’t mean we are all alcoholics or anything, but we all like to try different beers and sit around the table after dinner and have long conversations that end in laughter. I assumed I had food poisoning because I had never had a reaction like this to beer. Then a few weeks later after work my co-workers and I went for drinks. Based on the experience I had a few weeks prior, I stuck to one beer fearing the wrath of the next day, but it happened again. I was sick. I was totally baffled by this. Now I know that there might be some other opinions of what exactly was happening, but I will get to what was going on towards the end.
I stopped drinking alcohol after that. I couldn’t risk my job because of some weird reactions. Then a while after that my doctor suggested that I stop drinking coffee because I had once again (without any alcohol) had horrible symptoms to which I thought I had the flu. It happened twice in a 3 week period and I was calling out sick to work, which was totally unlike me. So I gave up coffee and he also prescribed me more medication. At this point I was becoming really upset. I spoke to my doctor again about the side affects that I was getting from my medications and he told me to take another medication to counteract the side affects.
I had had enough. I started seeking out a different doctor at this point. I looked into a homeopathic doctor that was close to my house and made an appointment. At my first appointment she suggested I take some foods out of my diet to try and see where my reactions are coming from. In years this was the first time that something made a little sense! After a few weeks I was gluten and dairy free. I decided to stick to it and see what would happen. Everything about my stomach has changed.
After having many conversations with my new doctor we came to the conclusion that much of this may have been caused by the fact that I was being over medicated and being medicated symptomatically. The medicine I was taking reduced the acid content in my stomach, which made it harder for my stomach to digest things (wheat being one of the hardest things to process), which caused so many more problems.
The message with this story is that you really have to push your doctor sometimes to really see what is going on with your body. I should have gotten more testing done when I first began having health problems because I believe much of what I have experienced could have been prevented. Your stomach and intestines are where your nutrients are first broken down and made into fuel for your body, and if there are disruptions in that part of your body it can cause long term deficiencies in other parts of the body.
It has been 77 days since I cut gluten and diary out and I have seen great improvements in my body as a whole and it will continue to change. Taking something out of your diet like this is a huge change but it will make you feel so much better in the long run.
Taking gluten out of your diet in the beginning wasn’t easy for me, I experienced headaches, intense sugar cravings and grouchiness for the first month. After about week 5 it tapered off and it has been smooth sailing ever since.
I encourage everyone to take hold of their health and make your body a first priority.