For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble with food. I never knew what I was eating that made me sick. Two entirely different meals could have the same result. I tried eliminating various foods without resolution. Learning about MSG and how to avoid it early in life helped with migraines, but did nothing for my stomach issues.
In 2004-05, after dealing with a lot of stress, it started getting worse. I ended up eliminating soft drinks from my diet, and, to my disappointment, garlic, onions, peppers, and other acidic foods. This helped a lot, but not completely.
In 2007, my doctor told me that I needed to go gluten free, and suggested I try some other things as well, such as cod liver oil for my skin issues. However, this information came right before a long trip with a friend, and I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t know what gluten was, and I was already trying to eliminate a variety of other foods. An entirely new, broad-ranging food issue was too much to handle. I took all the paperwork home, skimmed it without much understanding, and set it aside. I wouldn’t read it again until the following summer.
In July 2008, I learned that a relative probably had Celiac Disease, and when I researched the symptoms, and learned about what he could and couldn’t eat at a family party we were preparing, I thought it all sounded a lot like me. On August 1, 2008, after a torturous evening in a hotel, and in the middle of a 10-hour drive home, I officially gave up gluten.
I had a few setbacks, getting glutened by accident when I wasn’t able to prepare my own foods. The sickness and pain from those experiences completely eliminated any temptation I might have had for gluten-full treats.
Was I ever officially diagnosed? No. Why? Several reasons, with the primary reason being that I didn’t know you acquired a Celiac diagnosis by way of a bowel biopsy. By the time I learned this, I’d been gluten free long enough that I would most likely test negative for CD, and to test positive, I would have to go on a gluten challenge; i.e., consume gluten for several weeks or more and destroy all the progress I had made. I couldn’t bear to intentionally do such damage to my body, just to go through such an invasive (and likely costly) procedure. Eliminating gluten eliminated all the CD-like symptoms I was experiencing and I felt better than I ever had. That was enough of a test for me. The most important thing as far as I am concerned is giving up gluten changed my health for the better.
As of setting-up this blog, I have been gluten free for nearly a full year and feel so much better. I have learned a lot, and have set-up this blog so that I may share my knowledge with others.
As of today, 10/15/12, I have been gluten free for four years, two months, and two weeks. I am healthier, I have more energy, and my skin is generally clearer. I still feel that I can do more to ensure I’m as healthy as possible, but I’d never have gotten to this point without giving up gluten.
Originally posted 11 October 2009. Revised 15 October 2012.