Friday, 11 May 2018

Gluten free Update/ Celiacs Disease

So I promised to get back into regular posting again but I have to admit things have been just a tad crazy and I have failed in this regard miserably, aside from that #writersblock… seriously EVERYTIME I sit down to write a post I have no idea what to write and then I start to contemplate whether my life has just become that boring or if it’s become that chaotic that I just don’t want to share…

I think it’s a bit of both to be honest but today I’m going to tuck on down and give you a small update on how things have been going for me on the health front since cutting gluten (along with lactose) out from my diet.

Look I’m not going to lie there have been one or two cheats which have left me in near agony but come on guys; chocolate…. Wine… there are just certain painful sacrifices I am willing to regret later….

First off before jumping into gluten I have incorporated a few vitamins into my life that I was SEVERELY lacking in, I have been on and off iron pretty much since my mid-teens but I have now added magnesium, calcium and B12 to that list combined with my stomach and homeopathic pain med's I look like someone with a severe problem when I take my med's each morning and the pain med's taste absolutely gross, but that aside the magnesium has helped significantly for the leg cramps and muscle pain, and the calcium for the deep onset bone pain I experience, I still get pains but the frequency and severity has decreased really well and I was told it would take time so I am very happy with the progress thus far.

The B12 has helped with the fatigue and my energy levels so that’s a plus as well, yay me.

Ok so back round to gluten, so I’ve been off gluten for over a month now and I have to tell you the change I have seen and felt is so incredibly significant that if I wasn’t positive it was Celiac before I sure as hell am now (I just cannot afford the test right now), the pain, the bloating the stomach issues, headaches, brittle nails… ok my nails are still getting there but the headaches and migraines have lessened to such a point that I no longer freak out if I don’t have at least 3 migraine kits stashed away (on top of other med's) and the pain I was experiencing along with the stomach issues wow just wow guys to the point that the once or twice I have cheated and had gluten It is blatantly obvious to all those around me as I look 6 months pregnant for the next few hours to a day and the pain is just not worth it.

In short if you aren’t aware what Celiac disease is:
When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small finger like projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet.

The age of diagnosis is most high after the age of 20

The numbness I was experiencing in my hands and feet is all but gone and the hair loss is a lot less although I do still lose handfuls of hair on a daily basis, my skin is looking so much better as well, in general the eczema I would get on my hands especially is gone!

It has been difficult to cut both gluten and lactose out of my diet… fully but at the end of the day the change is worth it and I have actually found quite a number of products to help make the transition easier.

Many of the gluten free ranges are absolutely ridiculous in price but surprisingly I found a lot of fairly priced products at woollies, I have also found at food lovers and even the odd convenience or discounted store here and there, I have found that making this change has obviously led to better and healthier food choices lots more fish and fresh veg so I have actually lost a few kilos which is just an added bonus as I had picked up a few in the past few months due to med's, bad eating habits and depression.

Long-Term Health Conditions associated with Celiacs are:

  • Anemia
  • Early onset osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Infertility (unexplained) and miscarriage
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Central and peripheral nervous system disorders
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers (malignancies)
  • Gall bladder malfunction
  • Neurological manifestations, including ataxia, epileptic seizures, dementia, migraine, neuropathy, myopathy and multifocal leucoencephalopathy
Symptoms Associated with Celiac
  • Brain Fog
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Mood disorders
  • Deep tissue and muscle pain
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Heart Burn
  • Severe bloating
  • Diarrhoea/constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Bone/Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Numbness in the hands and feet 
  • Short Stature
  • Delayed Puberty 
  • Infertility 
  • Menstrual Irregularities or Missed Periods 
  • Unexplained miscarriage 
  • Discoloured Teeth or Enamel Loss 
  • Eczema 
  • Itchy Skin Rash (Dermatitis Herpetiformis) 
  • Loss of Hair from your Head or Body (Alopecia) 
  • IBS
Doesn’t that list sound absolutely lovely, I ticked almost every box when it comes to symptoms and many of the long term effects and associations which I’m not going to lie was a bit disheartening, one of the things about celiac disease is that it is one of the most misdiagnosed auto immune diseases; it is estimated to affect every 1 in 100 people but around 65% of people who have it will never be diagnosed.

I can say from personal experience that I have been to many doctors since Jesse was born, diagnosed with everything from the lactose intolerance to IBS to ulcers to stress… it goes on and on but not one doctor in all that time mentioned celiac, and I think it may be in part because when you go to a doctor most people don’t take a list with them of every single minor issue they are experiencing you go for the problem that is causing you the most discomfort or pain or something that is new, once you have learned to deal with certain things it sort of gets pushed to the side and you neglect to bring it to the attention of the doctor in question so many cases I suppose the symptoms aren’t often grouped together as a whole but on the other hand I don’t think many doctors are aware of or make the push ask the right questions etc to bring it to the surface… pain meds, anti-biotics…. All given freely but never getting to the actually root of the problem.

So I am happy to report that we are getting there... one baby step at a time but we are getting somewhere and I am seeing results which I have to tell you when you are used to living in pain all day every day makes a significant difference in both your own life and the lives of those around you, the moodiness and irritability was becoming increasingly apparent and was greatly affecting my home environment so that change on its own has already made a wonderful change for me and my family.

I cant say there will not be days where I wont eat something I'm not meant to, it is incredibly difficult to give up foods you have loved and enjoyed your entire life especially when you need to feed your family and not just yourself and health foods/ foods that meet specific dietary needs are so expensive so I am learning to work around it and for the most part just do without the substitutes, I do want to learn to work with, bake and cook with different gluten free products for the odd treatment but for the most part we are kicking butt... I would say 95% of the time.

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