Why I stay the hell away from gluten…

Those of you that follow me on facebook or at my other blog will know that I have been gluten free for a long time.

Two and a half years ago, I started a “paleo challenge” because I was fed up of feeling constantly ill – drained, lethargic, bloated, IBS, mouth ulcers, migraines, painful joints, spot prone skin; the list could go on and on.

There have been occasions over the past couple of years where I’ve indulged in gluten containing foods and have consequently suffered because of it, but the symptoms were never enough to stop me from having the occasional cheat.

Earlier in the year, I finally got my bloods checked for coeliac disease and though they were taken at a time where I was not eating gluten, the result indicated a high possibility that I was suffering with coeliac disease.  I spoke to a gastroenterologist at work and showed him my results and he tried to convince me to go back to my GP and request a refererral for an endoscopy. This is the gold standard for testing for coeliac disease and is the only way I could get the diagnosis.

However, when I informed him that I eat gluten free by choice, he agreed that there was no point putting my body through an invasive procedure if the result was not going to change anything. So I left things as they were.

I do feel though, that had I got the diagnosis in black and white, it would have stopped me from cheating, eating gluten and making myself suffer un-necessarily.

Because this is exactly what happened the past weekend…

We had my family coming to stay and rather than stress about gluten containing foods being brought into our flat and the risk of possible contamination, I decided to forget being gluten free for the weekend and just go with the flow. Prior to this I had meticulously gluten free for 7 and a half months and the annoying, itchy, burning, bright red rash that appears at each side of my nose had finally cleared…

Gluten rash (aka dermatitis herpetiformis)

Gluten rash (aka dermatitis herpetiformis)

As you can see, the rash has come back with a vengeance after just three days of eating gluten.

I’ve also noticed a significant dip in my mood and have been tearful, suffered with lethargy, aching joints, sores in my mouth, severe nausea, unpleasant lower GI symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding and mucus.

Apart from feeling like utter shit, I’m disappointed in myself that I’ve put myself through this after finally starting to feel well in myself again.

You see, it’s not just a matter of eating a bit of gluten here and there. The damage that gluten does to the gut (and the rest of the body) takes months and months of abstinence to heal, it’s not as simple as allowing myself the odd treat now and again. The only way for me to remain symptom free and feeling well & healthy is complete abstinence.

So I’m making a promise to myself, from today, that I will do everything in my power to remain gluten free. It’s really not worth the pain!


One thought on “Why I stay the hell away from gluten…

  1. Sorry to hear you are struggling- you are right as it’s an auto immune disease it can take a long time for your body to heal. Although the procedure is invasive, it might be worth it- I have a friend with coeliacs (it took her about 3 years to get diagnosed and she was so ill for so much of that time)- she can get some foods on prescription, and also help from the coeliacs UK charity , plus she has her bone density levels checked more often (as she was ill for so long she was not absorbing nutrients for all that time). Hope you feel better soon and manage to avoid it from now on.

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