My gluten-free journey

My journey started in 2015 around the time I sat my A-level exams. Every morning I woke up feeling sick which was usually accompanied by a headache. At first, I brushed it off as exam-related anxiety, coupled with the thought of starting university in September. However, the symptoms I was experiencing continued well after the exam period had ended. Just like I mentioned before, I was experiencing nausea and headaches only now accompanied by vomiting and unintentional weight loss. Something wasn’t right.

By the time I realised I had gone from healthy to underweight, almost every meal was followed up by a trip to the bathroom; let’s just say I couldn’t keep food down. I started worrying at this point, what exactly was wrong with me? Every possibility raced through my mind; especially the worse case scenarios. Looking back, I think my self-confidence took a big blow around this time. I felt insecure and upset from being unable to control what was happening with my own body. I needed help.

Eventually, I got an appointment to see my G.P. After a few questions I was sent away with a box of tablets while they waited for test results; turns out it wasn’t a stomach infection. So, it was back to the drawing board. I returned to the doctors, had some blood taken and again waited for more results. These were also negative. At this point, I think I had been ill for well over a month, as you can imagine I wasn’t at my best. It felt as if I had some mystery illness. I suppose the lack of results led to a referral to the gastroenterology department. Surprisingly everything was fine I returned home with pictures of my insides but no answers.

At this point, I decided to do what everyone advised against and google my symptoms. From my research, I found a condition called non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (gluten intolerance). As I had nothing to lose I cut gluten-containing products from my diet and observed the effects; this was the turning point. Over the next few days, I began to feel slightly more normal. Fast forward a few weeks, I was no longer being sick or feeling nauseous. I even put some weight back on; which felt amazing! I returned to the doctor who, after a few more tests agreed with what I found. Finally, I felt as if I was making progress towards being healthy again although there was a long road ahead of me it gave me motivation.

Since ditching gluten, almost three years ago now I have to say I feel a lot better. Slowly but surely I regained the weight I had lost, as well as making several positive lifestyle changes along the way. What’s great is I now have energy and food is my friend again; not something that made me sick. Sure, being gluten-free has its downsides, going out for a meal is one but with a little planning, you can get around it. Besides, plenty of supermarkets now offer a whole range of gluten-free options including all kinds of tasty snacks if you’ve got a sweet tooth.

From my journey, I’ve learned to accept that everything isn’t perfect, life often throws obstacles in your way, and it’s up to you how you deal with them. Yes, I wish I wasn’t gluten-intolerant and that it hadn’t affected how I felt in my own skin, but in the end, you become healthy again. You look back, proud of how far you’ve come, knowing you’re stronger than you were. I know I did.

Thank you for taking the time to read my personal experience regarding gluten-intolerance. Does this post resonate with you? Perhaps you are experiencing similar problems, or have just been diagnosed. I’d love to hear your thoughts, let me know in the comments.

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