Sit tight because you’re in for a longer blog post today! I get very passionate about this topic and can get carried away so i apologize in advance for this more wordy post.
When i finally found out i had Celiac Disease i felt relief. I thought to myself “yes! I finally figured out that is wrong with me now the only thing left is to avoid gluten completely and i will be back to normal in no time!”. HAHA was i wrong about that! Celiac Disease is in fact a DISEASE. It is an autoimmunity and will take time, patience, and knowledge. However, there is light at the end of this tunnel and you can definitely feel better than you could ever imagine but it takes time and effort so don’t give up! Here are some of my tips for starting out or even just trying to figure out why you may not be feeling well yet.
1. KNOWLEDGE: Get informed about Celiac Disease. When i first was diagnosed i didn’t know that Celiacs was an Autoimmune Disease, i had no idea what gluten was, and i had no idea how serious it could be. A person with Celiac Disease will process, absorb, and react differently to everything and anything that goes into your body. Understanding your body and what makes you feel good and what doesn’t is pretty much key. You may need to avoid other foods besides just gluten. When people think of gluten they think of wheat when in fact gluten is just a protein found in wheat and many other things. It is also used as a preservative in many foods so always read the labels!! Gluten has several different names and labels can be tricky. Be on the lookout for any of these words because it is code word for gluten:
Atta, bad aha, bread flour, bulgar, cake flour, cereal extract, couscous, cracked wheat, durum flour, farina, gluten, graham flour, high-gluten flour, high-protein flour, gamut flour, laubina, leche slim, malted cereals – and that is only to name a few!
The list goes on and on. Another thing to be aware of is gluten free labels. Unless a product says Certified Gluten Free is doesn’t have to be gluten free! I was taking iron pills containing gluten for months since the label said gluten free but i read the ingredients one day and was shocked! The vitamins contained Gluten and Wheat. Unless a product is Certified – don’t trust it.
2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DOCTORS/NUTRITIONISTS: For many months after i discovered i had Celiac Disease i found myself resenting doctors. I was so frustrated at the fact of how ill i had been feeling and all the wasted blood tests i took when all the symptoms added up perfectly. This changed after i learned some more stuff about Celiacs. Doctors are trying to piece together the same puzzle you are. The difference between you and them is the first hand symptoms that only YOU know about. They don’t know how bad your stomach hurts, or how easily you bruise, or the fact that some days you didn’t eat at all because you feared becoming nauseas after anything you put into your body. You need to communicate these things to your doctor, be completely honest, and do your own research. 20,000 hours of reading later i found out all the things that are more common for people with Celiac Disease (such as hypothyroidism, vitamin D deficiency, and anemia) so what i did was ask my doctor to order these blood tests for me and TA-DA!! I came back positive for all 3 things, but since i put my health into my own hands and took action i was able to discover these things and work with my doctor to get them solved.
As for nutritionists – i have a love hate. I love all the information i learn from them every time i go in, i love the outlook that diet and exercise can fix a lot of health problems before giving up and getting on medication for the rest of your life. However, i hate the trial and error it takes to find a good nutritionist that clicks with you. This can be a tedious task and can sometimes make you feel even worse but once you find the right one for you it will all be worth it! Be prepared for all the crazy and extreme diets they’ll put you on. Keep an open mind and try them anyway! At this point there is no harm in trying anything new. This road to recovery is about figuring out your body and what works best for you – everyone is different.
3. DIET/EXERCISE/& VITMINS: The last people think about with Celiac Disease is confidence but really this is a huge thing when you don’t feel good. When you don’t feel good you don’t think you look good which gives you zero self confidence and self-worth. I remember just laying in bed feeling so bad and frustrated with myself. All the bruises from being anemic made me not want to wear shorts, my thyroid wasn’t working so i felt fat but didn’t have any energy to work out. I was surrounded by people telling me to just run for 15 minutes and you’ll have so much energy but in reality those 15 minutes took every last drop of energy i had and made me feel worse after. I still struggle with exercise even though i feel 100x better than i did before i started my journey. I still deal with the tiredness that comes afterwards and i still don’t feel amazing after i do it (i won’t lie). What i can say though is exercise is a huuuuge part in feeling better. The benefits that come from it will be amazing for your body and it does get easier i can promise you that. So even if you can only walk around the block or run for 10 minutes – start there!! Anything is better than nothing at this point.
Vitamins!! One of my favorite things (i know I’m weird, okay). This is where nutritionists and doctors can really help. Taking a few simple blood tests to see where your body is at vitamin wise is a good place to start. Then take those results to a nutritionist and have them help set up a vitamin routine and diet plan. Remember, with Celiac Disease your body absorbs things differently so even thought you’re taking all these vitamins your body won’t totally be able to absorb it all yet. Certain diets and foods help to aid intestine recovery and also aid in vitamins being able to absorb more. Investing in some good vitamins will go a long way and your body will thank you!
I am in no way an expert on anything, i am still learning myself. I am just trying to share my experiences and what i wish someone would have told me in the beginning before having to try and figure everything out myself. You will get better i promise!! Effort and time will be your greatest tools in this whole thing. You’re not alone in this battle to health.