Becoming gluten-free was not a choice by any means. If anything, I was in denial for about two years until my suffering became so severe that I finally gave in. I have spent much time trying to figure out why at the age of 38 I would suddenly become intolerant to a certain food protein. I found it quite bizarre. At first, I was kind of angry, extremely disappointed and I felt kind of lost. I truly did not know what to do with this ugly truth.
I had been diagnosed by my Naturopathic doctor two years prior to my caving in. At the time I was going through so much stress in my personal life that I pretty much told him to come up with a different solution to my discomforts, as I did not have the mental capacity to try and figure out a gluten-free lifestyle. At this time, I didn’t care what it was, “just give me a pill that will make me feel better if you could”, is what I told him. He, of course, did not listen to me (thank God) because I truly don’t like taking medicine if I don’t have to. We did try other things such as certain supplements to help with my blood sugar regulations, as I am hypoglycemic as well. With my gluten-sensitivity, my blood sugar was totally out of control along with many weekly panic attacks, anxiety attacks, nausea, headaches, brain fog, stomach aches, diarrhea and slight depression. I was a true mess! We did some blood testing as well and decided that I had a Vitamin D deficiency on top of everything else. Vitamin D was added to my daily intake of supplements. It helped a bit, but it definitely did not take care of any of my major symptoms.
Looking back today I cannot believe I continued to suffer for an additional two years. In my defense though, as I mentioned earlier, I was not in the mental state to change another thing in my life. I was not lying. Two years later things weren’t great but not as bad as they were two years prior. Needless to say, my health did not get any better. It amazes me how long a person can suffer until they decide enough is enough. I would say I’m a perfect example.
My breaking point was a trip back to Germany for three weeks with my two daughters, visiting my family and friends. During this trip I thought I was not going to make it back home. I had never felt sicker. I was unable to enjoy my time with my family. I felt so sick that I literally could not eat. My heartrate would not come down for days. My stomach was worse than ever. I could not sleep. It was so awful that I called my doctor at home to ask if I had to be worried about having a heart attack. My health Insurance at the time back home would not cover any kind of medical expenses outside of the country, so going to see a doctor was out of the question. I was scared, not just for myself but for my girls as well. I know they were worried even though they were being strong for me. I was trying to fake a good mood as much as I possibly could to make everyone else around me feel better and not worry about me. I could not wait to get back home and attack this incredible nonsense as I liked to call it. I knew I had to get serious with this and truly get to the bottom of things.
After arriving back home, I went straight to work. I promised myself that I would never put my children or myself through anything like this ever again. I cut everything out of my diet. Anything I thought had gluten in it went in the garbage. After throwing out bread, cereals and different kinds of pasta I faced another issue. “What do I replace them with”? Good question! My blood sugar went crazy because I took a lot of bad carbohydrates out of my diet and truly did not know how to replace them at the time. My bad carbs had helped with my blood sugar even if it was only temporary. I did not know how to eat right and keep my blood sugar at an even level without it dropping quickly. It was tough figuring out how to cut gluten out from my diet and replacing it with nutritionally high valuable foods to get good results. What I am trying to say is that foods with gluten in it are naturally not the healthiest of foods, to begin with, so replacing regular bread, gravy mixes, granola bars, pretzels… with gluten-free kinds, did not do me any favors. I needed to figure out how to replace these foods with nutritional foods that never had gluten in them, to begin with. This was when the hard work started. I ended up doing so much research, talked to others, talked to my doctors, pretty much changed most everything I used to do into my life today. On top of all of this, one of my doctors recommended to me to be GMO-free and try to eat as much organic as possible. I had no idea how much this would actually and truly change my life at the time, or how long it would take me to get to where I am today.
As you can see this has been a long journey for me, but my work over the past eight years has really paid off. I have never felt better in my life. I have said goodbye to many things, welcomed new things, tried different things, trained my body to do things I never thought I would be able to do. With persistence, continued education, the drive to feel amazing every day and the goal to live a very long life, has given me so much to look forward to. The opportunities to do the things I want to do are finally within my reach. To know that I will be around to see my children grow into amazing people, be a part of my grand children’s lives and just live life to the fullest is my daily inspiration that has kept me motivated to give my body exactly what it needs. This to me has been the most satisfying feeling I’ve ever felt.
Even though there are many gluten-free foods available today and it may seem easy to change things around, I personally don’t believe that that is good enough. There was a reason why I became gluten sensitive and I don’t believe gluten-sensitivity just happens overnight. Other things in my life brought me there, such as the food choices I made, the stress I dealt with and not taking care of me first were the three main ingredients to my disaster of a lifestyle that I used to live. It was not until I got scared for my life that I acknowledged the fact that the power to feel better is truly only in my hands, not anyone else’s. I needed to make the decision in taking the necessary steps towards feeling better. I needed to take action, walk my talk and in fact do the work.