In pursuit of well being.

It started about four years ago I recall. The feeling of food stuck in my throat, the food coming back up and me feeling like I would throw up- but never doing so, the constant need to burp to reduce the pressure, the lethargy, the tightness, the awful discomfort.

I did not understand what was happening to my body. I tried explaining it to a doctor but I don’t think she understood what to diagnose from “my head feels tight”. Googling my symptoms narrowed it down to acid reflux, heartburn, coeliac disease and oesophagus cancer.

I tried to make changes in my eating habits to see if that would help alleviate the discomfort. I thought maybe the discomfort was from eating while lying down, eating spicy food, eating too fast, and not drinking enough water. I also stopped drinking coke, pepsi and co because I hated the way I felt after drinking them.

Making these adjustments alleviated the discomfort marginally but I still felt like dung.  My body was just strange. I also suffered severe bloating, though I have pretty much spent my whole life being bloated. Once after going through a jar of peanut butter (eaten with milk bread of course), I looked seven months pregnant. It may be normal to be slightly bloated after each meal, especially a heavy one, but it felt as if I was constantly bloated and that was quite uncomfortable. I had started drinking lemon water because of its health benefits and to help with the bloat but had to stop because I always felt it in my throat afterwards.

The first time I ever heard of a gluten intolerance was from a psychology professor who said she had Coeliac insensitivity and thus had to read the labels of everything she bought. I did not think much of it at the time, as this was even before my symptoms started. Later on, gluten would be the new carbs, to be abstained from. Everyone was going gluten free and I was tempted to do so as well. I almost hoped that I would find that I had the coeliac disease because at least I would finally have an explanation for how I felt and then start to work on managing it. Then I read on a forum that there is no such thing as mild coeliac/gluten intolerance; people who have it cannot eat gluten at all and would suffer greatly if they did. So I forgot about going gluten but would instead just talk and fantasise about one day going gluten free.

I was banging on about it again when my friend said get up we are going to the store to get you gluten free stuff. I love to to talk about doing things but when it comes to doing them I freeze. I went with her, got some stuff to eat the next day and quietly bemoaned the costs.

Yesterday was my first gluten free day. I had gluten, wheat and dairy free cereal for breakfast, a crunchy chicken salad for lunch and lamb steak with sweet potato mash for dinner. In between I had bananas, tangerines, gluten free chocolate, and some fizzy cola bottles that didn’t have gluten free written on it but didn’t have any wheat/oat/barley/rye in its ingredients so I guessed it was safe.

I felt good throughout the day. I didn’t feel the normal tightness that accompanied every meal. The real test of this diet was waking up this morning. Usually I wake up and just feel bleh. My chest would be tight and I would just feel meh. {Words cannot explain} I woke up normal.  As I write this I am having cereal and almond milk for breakfast and I feel great.

I am definitely sticking to this. I still feel the need to burp sometimes but it is not nowhere as severe as it was. It is still early days and I hope that as time goes on, I will be completely free  and light.

Going gluten free was definitely not as hard as I thought. I will miss bread and butter, croissants, scones and spaghetti the most, but nothing compares to feeling good. Food is nice, sacrificing health and wellbeing for a few minutes of pleasure is not worth it darling.

Another thing to note is that gluten free does not necessarily equal healthy. Sugar and salt are gluten free, and it is not healthy to consume copious amounts of either. I am still bloated and would like to be rid of that as well. If going gluten free alone does not help with that, then I might look into other dietary lifestyles. Before deciding to go gluten free I was looking into the whole 30 program and even considering going vegan. I was desperate. I have heard great things about the whole 30 and I might still end up doing it. I have gotten to the point where I don’t care about food; I don’t care if I don’t ever eat meat or cake or ever drink a liquid that is not water, I just want to feel good and to not be bloated.

I haven’t added sugar to my meals for over a year now, although I am not completely sugar free as I don’t check labels for sugar. I also switched from cow milk to soy milk and more recently almond milk. I backslid a little bit and started using semi-skimmed milk but I am back to drinking just plant milk. I have also fallen back on my water consumption and I have to dust off my water bottle. Being healthy is a lot of work.

The meals for day 2 of being gluten free are just the same as day one. I just remembered the ice cream bars in the freezer and I will spend the next hour trying to decide if it is worth it or not.

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