I ate pizza, drank beer, indulged in many a wheat item for most of my life and felt just fine… Until one day I didn’t. That day turned into weeks and eventually into years, 7 years to be exact. I felt powerless to what was happening inside and outside of my body and I felt like I was losing control. I had so many symptoms coming and going, which thoroughly confused the doctors, and time and time again I was misdiagnosed.
Vertigo was the first and by far the worst symptom to hit me, and then came the incessant bad moods that plagued me from the moment I woke in the morning until I fell asleep at night. Add in migraines, brain fog, stomach aches, bloody stool, bloating, cold sores, general nausea, hand tremors, lack of balance, numbness in hands and feet, poor blood circulation, restless leg syndrome, serious depression, severe lethargy, malabsorption, thinning hair, anemia and diarrhea.I ate wheat for most of my life and felt just fine. Then I didn’t. @KirstenBermanGF's #blog. Click To Tweet
As time passed the symptoms progressed and I grew worse, I was accused of making it all up and told to see a psychiatrist for mental instability. I definitely felt mentally unstable and increasingly frustrated at the medical community for blowing me off because they could not pin point the problem.
Over time I retreated to the comforts of my home, withdrawing from family and friends and basically became a hermit. This way I didn’t have to try to explain the unexplainable to anyone or pretend to feel ok with a fake smile. My quality of life had seriously diminished, depression had completely taken over my brain, I was getting worse and I thought about suicide daily. Looking back on this now, I am so glad that I am a strong woman and that truly was not a real consideration.
Finally, in November of 2010, a friend of mine invited me to do a focus group for a diet called, 7 Days to Slimdown. This was a food-based diet where the company would cook and deliver healthy meals everyday for 7 days and I would participate in a spin class every morning. Within a few days, I was already starting to improve. By the end of seven days I felt like a new person and stronger than I had in years. It turned out the diet had been naturally gluten free.The first 6 months or year are the hardest. I made mistake after mistake. @KirstenBermanGF's#blog. Click To Tweet
After explaining my situation to their dietitian she had suggested getting tested for Celiac Disease and finally I had figured it out and now would be on the road to recovery. I immediately started to research the disease and find out all I could about living gluten free. The first 6 months to a year were by far the hardest. I made mistake after mistake, eating things I assumed were gluten-free but weren’t like: soy sauce, licorice, cheese sauce and Bloody Mary mix on football Sundays. I wasn’t tediously reading every label ALL the time or asking enough of the right questions like I should have been; but I didn’t know and the learning curve was huge.
I also had to be extremely conscientious about the dangerous effects vitamin and mineral malabsorption can cause, which can sometimes manifest and make you feel as if you have been glutened. It is very important to take an allergy and deficiency test to find out if more issues are involved. Going gluten free isn’t easy, especially if it is not a choice but a necessity. 9 out of 10 celiacs are asymptomatic and still eat gluten because they aren’t seeing or feeling the true damage being done inside.
Healing and living a gluten-free lifestyle takes research, constant awareness, and patience. Just because you switch it up to a gluten-free diet, it does not mean that all of a sudden you are cured, I think this is a huge mistake easily made.
Always Read Labels. If you can’t read labels than ask questions, if you do not get answers you are comfortable with then don’t eat it. You can’t be afraid or embarrassed about your disease, you have to ask the right questions because it is your health at stake. Also, never assume that the people preparing and serving your food know more about your disease than you do. Being diagnosed with celiac disease was a blessing in disguise. I eat healthier than I ever have and it set me on a new career path to helping those that need and want help.
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Bio: After 7 long years of feeling like complete crap, I finally was diagnosed in Dec 2010 w/Celiac Disease and my life changed forever. There is ‘hidden wheat’ in more products than we realize and the battle can feel like an uphill one; reading every label, asking wait staff a million questions, eating out at social occasions, and sometimes just feeling safe in your own shared kitchen. My purpose is to get you healthy through knowledge, education and pure amusement. Sometimes laughing is the only medicine to relieving daily eating frustrations. No matter what people say about gluten free, for those who need to be, it is not a fad; I’d bet my life on it. Connect with me on my blog, Facebook, or Instagram!