Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My Story


Growing up, I was the BIGGEST lover of pasta and bread.  I was always athletic toned but somedays I'd look thin and other days I looked very bloated.  My stomach never looked "normal", even when the rest of me was thin/normal.  Taking pictures with my friends in high school and in college, sometimes I looked my "normal", other times I looked like I gained 30 pounds.  I had no clue why and didn't eat much differently day by day.  I loved eating out at Italian restaurants but found I could only eat a few bites of my meal before I felt full (that was after 2-3 pieces of Italian bread of course).  My one friend in college had Celiac Disease, but that was the only time I ever heard of it.  I never really thought I had a gluten problem because to me, I just thought having Celiac Disease was just having bowel movements after you eat it, which I didn't have.  I thought wow, that'd be terrible... I could never not eat pasta.   It wasn't until after college that I got the news that would change my life forever.

Back in August | September '12 I noticed that my stomach would grow [to the point that I'd look pregnant] when I'd eat pasta, bread, & pizza.  I'm a rather normal size - 5'5" 123 pounds, but when I'd eat gluten, I'd gain as much weight as 130+ without eating "bad".  Some days I'd look normal, others I'd look bloated.  I even ate almost all organically, and only eat organic meat.  I went to my doctor's and got a blood test in Sept. to see what was wrong with my stomach.  It turns out, my gliadin anti-bodies were up so I decided to start my gluten-free diet that day.  I had my last meal, a huge pizza from a local place I love, and regretted it so much that night.  That hurt and pain I felt inside marked my vow to myself to be all gluten and hurt-free.  Like many of you, I thought that the hurt in my stomach meant that I was full.  This is not the case.  The hurt was actually the pain in my stomach/intestines from eating gluten, something my body either over time or genetically can not handle.  The first few days and weeks I lost weight as my body adjusted to my new diet.  I absolutely LOVE pasta and bread and giving this up was the hardest for me, but it has helped my body so much.  The first week was weird, my body was in detox mode and I felt very drained, weak, & tired.  But slowly I grew out of that stage.  Eating out became a challenge, asking for gluten-free menus as my friends/family ordered gluten-filled items.  But I adjusted well to my new "diet".  Cross-contamination while eating out was the worst when I first began going gluten-free; I'd feel like I had to [pardon my words] throw up and would be so sick even if I had a little gluten contamination.  Nowadays, my stomach will grow and begin to hurt within a few minuets of cross-contamination and I feel the old familiar hurt but it takes about 3 days to go down now.  My face and stomach continue to look bloated if I get any sort, even the tiniest bit, of cross-contamination.  I continued eating gluten-free and never had an endoscopy until recently in July 2014.  I went almost 2 years eating totally gluten-free until I had a Gastroenterologist examine my esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.  I was totally scared for the procedure but it really wasn't that bad at all.  It took two weeks to get my results and it is official, even though my bloodwork came back boarderline in 2012, and I was free of gliadin antibodies 2 years after being gluten-free, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

I knew I had to help others going through similar symptoms.  So, I started my blog to help others like me, who are just becoming gluten-free or who have been for years who are looking for a support system & information.  I searched and searched online for tips but never found a great website to help me in the process so I decided to start my own!  I blog about what I use to help me be gluten-free: products, recipes, what to buy at the grocery, vitamins I take, and more.  And remember, when you are staring at those gluten-filled cookies and treats especially during the holidays and work parties, there are many out there that can't have them either, so stay strong and hurt-free :) [And my note from being GF for years now - you don't even miss those gluten-filled cookies]

Above in blue is me living my gluten-filled life: When I looked bloated.

Oh the selfie.. Then this is me, still living gluten-filled... looking "normal".



Above in white is me in October 2012 - just 1-1.5 months after going totally gluten free.  The gluten belly went away and I started feeling better within a few weeks.  :) 


with love,
melissa
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