Lately, there’s been a lot of controversial topics about the all new gluten free fad. The one I hear most often is the “it’s a fake disease” a fake disease? Not even in the slightest. I’ll tell you first hand how real being a victim of celiacs is.
My entire life, I have been a type 1 diabetic. And no, it’s not because of laziness or being obese or all of the things people automatically assume when they hear the word “diabetes.” I was diagnosed at 13 months old. I have lived with it, and been embarrassed of it my entire life. The looks people give you when you check your sugar or give yourself insulin becomes extremely tiring to explain. Now being 24 years old, I have become a lot more open with it. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means your body attacks it’s own cells, thinking that they’re bad cells. Well, I was also diagnosed with hypothyroid at age 7, which comes hand in hand with diabetes often. Hypothyroid is another autoimmune disease.
Now, here comes celiacs. My doctor sent me for an annual blood test back when I was around 21, and my gluten score came back 1 number above normal. I laughed and put it off. I didn’t want to believe that I had another autoimmune disease, especially one that prohibited me from eating bread, pasta, etc. But, low and behold, my body started breaking down from it. My face broke out into terrible (and I mean terrible) cystic acne. It continued to get worse no matter what I did. I even went to the dermatologist who put me on 6 months of antibiotics and prescription strength retin-a cream, which helped, but didn’t completely alleviate the problem. I started to get dark circles under my eyes. My hair was becoming so dry and brittle and breaking off, and my nails were breaking and peeling to the point where I had to put bandaids on them sometimes. I started becoming so physically and mentally exhausted. When I would take care of patients who talked and talked and talked I literally had to grab a chair and sit down in their room because my legs felt like they were going to give out. But, i never had stomach pains or any of the common symptoms associated with celiacs. I talked to my doctor, and I asked him, “If I’m asymptomatic, what’s the point of going gluten free?” And he said, “Because over time, your body will not be absorbing the necessary nutrients it needs to survive due to damage to the small intestine.” Well, this explained the hair, nails, and skin so far.
Again, I continued my daily regimen and continued eating gluten filled food. I was becoming increasingly more exhasuted, I had a brain fog more often than not, and it started getting really bad when I would get overly emotional and over react to situations that had no need for a reaction. I was becoming so angry, and mean, and could no longer control my anger. I couldnt control my emotions either. I even went to my primary doctor who suggested that I had depression. depression? Me? She put me on lexapro which did absolutely nothing, and now I figured out why – it’s because gluten was literally poisoning my system. I never had depression. Not even in the slightest.
This very past year, around christmas, my body finally had enough. I was becoming destructive and extremely thin and weak. This wasn’t me at all. This was the opposite of me. My body was getting skinnier no matter how much I ate, and my muscles i once had, were completely diminished. It’s like they were wasting away into just… skin. Something was seriously wrong. I reasearched the shit out of this disease for months and i couldnt believe how similar the symptoms were compared to mine. I decided to give the gluten free life a try, and needless to say, I am so so happy that I did.
For the past 4 months now, ive been completely gluten free. The past 2 months I’d say, my body has returned to normal after all of the damage celiacs has done. It took some time getting used to, but you learn to live with it. It has been a challenge, but after going gluten free ill never go back. My brain fog is completely gone. I can remember things now. I can study now without getting distracted. I have so much energy I usually only get 4 hours of sleep a night and can still function completely fine after working 12 hours, as to where before i would work only 8 hours, come home and nap, and still sleep 8+ hours at night and still be exhausted. My face has cleared up completely! And the dark circles under my eyes are no longer in existence. I’ve been so alive and healthy, and nothing gets me angry at all anymore. I’m never annoyed, and hardly ever upset of anything other than things the average person would normally get upset about. I was a very mean and cold hearted person the past few years, especially these past couple, and I swear it’s like I’m a new me just by avoiding gluten. Gluten was slowly killing me. It was poisoning me.
So no, celiacs is definitely not fake. It is a very real disease, not just some Hollywood bullshit diet trend. So before you post another “white person gluten free” meme, or laugh at someone drinking gluten free beer, think about it. And I hope more people realize that average people do have celiacs and how terrible some of the side effects are.
If anyone that has any questions or concerns about celiacs or may think they have celiacs, please reach out to me because I am more than happy to help with my dieting and my experience (: