Gluten Free Guru

 

Personal Experience with Celiac Disease

My battle with digestive issues surfaced early in my life. I seemed to always have an upset stomach every time I ate a meal. I remember being in complete misery every Sunday evening after dinner. Sunday evenings were a special time to fellowship with family and eat traditional “southern comfort” foods, such as fresh baked rolls and homemade pies.
 
As a child I went through multiple tests to see if I possibly had an ulcer, but the tests revealed nothing. At that point in my life I was labeled as a "nervous" child. Living with pain that has no medical explanation takes a toll on a person’s emotional as well as their physical health. I began to worry about how sick I felt and wondered if other people even believed me. Several years later I was put on anti-depressants but found no relief from my anxiety and mood swings.

About 10 years ago, I went for a free bone density scan at my local hospital. The bone scan revealed that at 19 years of age, I had osteoporosis. I was sent to a specialist who advised me to take calcium supplements. Over the years, I found myself taking medicine for acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome. After the birth of my child I started having severe anaphylactic reactions for no apparent reason. My immune system was attacking itself and my allergies were worse than ever. I was also battling chronic re-occurring candida.

My daughter was also diagnosed with reflux as a baby, but she only partially responded to medicine and treatments. As a toddler she suffered from severe rashes, mood swings and digestive issues. After meeting with several specialists, we discovered that she had Celiac Disease. In my mind I wondered, "could this be the reason for all my years of pain?" I tested positive as well. We have since learned of five family members living with Celiac Disease.
 
I recall waiting on our test results, which seemed like an eternity, but after receiving the much anticipated phone call, I felt relieved but also completely overwhelmed. We were instructed not to eat wheat, rye, barley or even oats! My doctor could only offer us limited assistance and suggested we go online to get more information. We didn't have a local support group and I was at a loss as to where to turn for help. We love to dine out with friends and participate in church functions. I just wondered how hard it would be for my daughter and me to adjust to our new lifestyle. Our bodies began to heal and we had such an improvement in our quality of life that it seemed like a miracle. We no longer had to run to the bathroom after dinner and we no longer suffered from mood swings and depression.

I love to cook and have always been proud of my work, but baking gluten free (as well as casein, egg, soy and nut free) took many long months of trial and error. After a few years of research and practice I became confident as a cook again. With some modifications, we are now able to entertain and enjoy the things we love. I feel that I have been truly blessed and now seek to help others on their journey into the gluten free world.

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