Hey guys!! I hope that you are all having a good week so far! Today, for ‘Thankful Thursday’ I wanted to focus on something that is pretty important to me. As of today, I’ve been ‘gluten-free’ for 8 months. The way the media makes out ‘gluten-free’ eating is that it is some sort of diet, some way to lose weight. But for me, cutting out gluten was so much more than that. I had a whole host of health problems that were all seemingly unrelated…
For example, I had horrible nutrient levels. I had to get blood taken regularly and they told me that my nutrition levels looked like those of an anorexic person. First of all, I was a bit upset about that. Not only did I eat a balanced diet with regular meals and snacks, but I also ate incredibly healthy, nourishing foods that were packed with nutrition. One sign of this nutrition deficiency was that my nails had horizontal ridges, which are different and much less common than vertical ridges, they are almost always a sure sign of nutrient deficiencies.
Another symptom I had was horrible eczema in and around my ears. They were so dry and uncomfortable all the time. Also, I was always cold… like unbearably cold. I would wear leggings under my jeans and 3 pairs of socks (no lie) a tank top, long sleeve shirt and my North Face jacket all day long at school. Meanwhile, the other girls were wearing cute little sweaters, tops, and even skirts with no tights! (shocking right?)
I also developed Amenorrhea, which is basically when you stop getting your period on your own for more than 3 months. I didn’t get my period for a year and a half and had to take Estrogen every few months.
Also, I had horrible ‘brain fog’ which is a symptom that means it’s hard to think straight. When I was in the middle of a sentence, sometimes I would literally stop short and have no idea what I was just saying. I’d have to explain how it was too hard to finish my thoughts. Not only was this embarrassing, but it made me feel like a complete idiot. 🙁
But I have to say that I think the worst symptom was being tired, like beyond tired. I felt exhausted and fatigued ALL of the time, especially after meals, even if it was a ‘healthy meal’ such as whole wheat crackers, cheese and a salad. My mom assumed it was just because I was a teenager and I assumed it was just life, but seriously I cannot tell you how tired I felt. I never exercised and after school all I wanted to do was lie down and rest.
And these were only a few of the symptoms I experienced… believe me, there were more. But if you are reading this chances are you don’t see any relation between these things. They are seemingly all unrelated… and that’s the problem. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong. But, since I love studying health and I believe firmly in holistic nutrition, I decided to do some of my own outside research.
We looked at many different things and I went to an endocrinologist who was baffled. I finally came across the idea that it could be a gluten intolerance or even Celiac disease. So I got tested for Celiac, but the results were negative. Weird, right? Actually, no. I’ve heard that some 80-90% of those tests come back as false negative. And if I had an intolerance, which is different than Celiac disease (even though the symptoms are similar) I would test negative. Regardless, I tried the 2-week test, where you cut gluten out and see how your body responds… Well, 2 weeks turned into 8 months… (and still going!)
I felt so much better… I FEEL so much better. Within 2 months my eczema cleared up, my energy soared, I stopped getting so cold all the time, I started thinking much clearer, my blood tests proved that my nutrition levels were (slowly) improving and the ridges in my nails went away! Within 4 months I got my period back. I cannot explain how much better I feel since I have cut gluten out of my diet. So believe me when I say, it’s not some fad thing for me. I cannot eat ‘regular’ bread, cookies, brownies or anything with gluten in it. But that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy the gluten free versions every once in a while.
While I prefer to fill up on whole, natural foods like; fruits, veggies, lean meats, eggs, etc. It’s okay to eat gluten free alternatives on occasion. I find many delicious things to enjoy! Like gluten free cereals, granolas, nutrition bars and even treats like cookies and brownies! Sure they taste a little different, but for me… it’s so worth it!!
How about you? Do you have any food intolerances or sensitivities? Do you have any seemingly unrelated symptoms? Have you tried/ considered eating gluten free?