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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Gluten Free: My Story

'Gluten Free' has been thrown around a lot lately, it's become increasingly common and many restaurants and supermarkets now have a huge range of gluten free food to cater for those of us with special diets. (thank god for that, plain salad without croutons or dressing never leaves me happy)

This is my personal story, I am by no means an expert or a doctor ;) These are my opinions and this is my story. 

It started in my first year of A Levels, I was 16 and like most 16 year olds eating alllll the white foodI could possibly get my hands on; white bread, pizza etc. If I'd been on holiday I would have eaten pepperoni pizza pretty much every night for two weeks, and white bread being the same for lunch. I'm a fussy eater at the best of times but having no food restrictions apart from my disgust of bananas, tomatoes and all things 'gross', I had a diet of a fussy child. Don't get me wrong, I got my 5 fruit and veg a day thanks to my parents but part of me thinks that the sheer volume of white foods led to me having an intolerance to wheat and gluten. I'd totally try to eat pizza every night now if I could but it wouldn't be pretty. 

Along came the mock exams and stress, during the holidays I remember specifically every time I ate pizza or pasta within 10 minutes or so I would have an extreme pain just under my ribs, it's called dyspepsia which is actually just extreme indigestion but to the point where I can't stand up. It's horrible and if you've ever experience it you really get how draining and intense the pain can be. The thought of pain started to put me off eating pizza (just imagine this very thought) and continuous upset stomach led me to the doctors. The doctors pushed it aside as a bug - who wouldn't? As someone who had never had any issues or family history before you wouldn't think much of it. A bit of persistence and help from my mother I got given a blood test. I distinctly remember asking the doctor whether I needed to carry on eating wheat for this blood test. The doctor told me I could cut it out completely and the blood test would still show up positive if I had coeliac's disease. This, my dear readers is untrue, the tests might still work but as numerous doctors and dieticians have told me since you MUST have wheat and gluten in your system to show the autoimmune reaction. 

My test results came back negative and that was it for a while from my doctors until I was eventually transferred to a dietician who told me about the blood test and informed me of gluten and wheat intolerances. I'm actually intolerant to both wheat and gluten whereas some people it's just the gluten that causes them havoc. Five years on and my body is still unable to process it, I can't even count how many times I have been advised to have an endoscopy to find out if I do have coeliac's disease for many reasons, one being that my immune system has improved since I cut it out (a symptom) and another so I can be diagnosed and have the prescriptions. It really is just for clarification and it is the exact same outcome whether my results would be negative or not, to remove it from my diet. I don't especially wish to put myself through the minimum of 6 weeks of food poison alike symptoms and the endoscopy. (Whatever you do, do not google pictures!)  

I don't know whether I just have a severe intolerance or infact I do have coeliac's disease but I'm in no hurry to find out. Years of not eating gluten means that any trace of gluten (depends on what it is,weirdly) means I can't tolerate it at all but whether this is because my body treats gluten as a poison so it reacts or whether it can't recognise it as it hasn't had it for years! 

What I'd do for a real pizza and a bag of twiglets though! 

I'd love to hear some of your stories, please feel free to email me or comment below :)

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