This past January I was diagnosed with celiac disease after 17 years of stomach aches and mystery ailments. I understood many of the things the doctor told me about the disease and my test results but after I left his office, I panicked a little thinking “now what?” The doctor was quick to diagnose me but I knew this was going to be an uphill battle with trying to figure everything out.
Celiac Disease: The Journey
Over the last 11 months, I’ve experimented with products, foods, vitamins and more. I probably spent thousands of dollars on stuff just to try it so I could share my experience with others. So now I am going to tell you the 5 things I wish I knew that day I walked out of my doctor’s office.
It’s going to take time.
Nothing is quick and you have to rely on your body to tell you what is working and what isn’t. I also developed a lactose problem and had to give up my beloved Greek yogurt. Some people find out that they can’t tolerate corn so they have to cut that out as well. There is nothing quick about a celiac disease diagnosis or it’s healing process. I’m still learning and even people I speak with after 5+ years of living gluten free have struggles.
You are not alone.
There are welcoming communites online, such as the gluten free community in Nommunity, and in social media dedicated to those of us with gluten allergies and celiac disease. I wish I had found them back in January. If I had, my struggles could probably have been minimized. I’ve met thousands of people online yearning for information and somewhere to feel at home. We all understand what you are going through and are willing to provide an open ear and arms when you need it.
You can’t cheat on gluten free living.
All your cards have to be in the deck and you mentally need to get rid of the things you loved first. I thought I could have a soft pretzel twice a year at the football game and guess who was sick for over a week? Smart idea? I thought so at the time but learned my lesson quickly. Grieve the loss of gluten and all the foods you want to eat so you can heal your body effectively and quickly.
Don’t forget your beauty products and medications.
I switched shampoo and conditioner after 6 months and stopped getting dandruff and zits on my scalp almost immediately. After changing face wash to a gluten free brand, I stopped getting zits and as a result my skin is gorgeous. There are hundreds if not thousands of places for gluten to hide.
Prepare your kitchen.
I have an entire blog post on this but I never took the process seriously and kept getting sick. We don’t have any gluten foods in our kitchen anymore and we have a new toaster just for me. New cutting boards, separate containers and things you wouldn’t even think about until someone told you!
If you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease or struggling with figuring things out, please know you are not alone. We’ve all been there and learned through trial and error and want to help you live gluten free as easy as possible!
Rebecca Black is one of the leading health and fitness experts in the Midwest. Rebecca has an amazing story of self-transformation, where she went from 30 pounds overweight to placing in fitness competitions. In January 2012, Rebecca was diagnosed with celiac disease and it completely changed her life. With her blog “Pretty Little Celiac.”, Rebecca is sharing her life story of struggles associated with 17 years of undiagnosed celiac disease.