When should you make the decision to go gluten-free?
-By Cheryl Magyar http://handcraftedtravellers.com/
As I laid on the cold kitchen floor in pain, I wondered what was going on in my body that was seemingly beyond my control. I hurt all over, it was difficult to carry our then-two-year-old daughter and I couldn’t walk more than a few minutes without wanting to turn back home. My ankles were swollen, my knees were aching with every step and there was a pain in my back that never seemed to go away, no matter how much I stretched or how much I tried to relax my muscles.
What was I doing wrong? I was in my early thirties, I ate all natural unprocessed foods that were even organic when we could grow it, we avoided food colorings and preservatives, took zero medication, had lots of time to be outside, experienced little stress – I was supposed to be healthy, but I felt old and confused.
My nights were spent curled up in bed in a fetal position, trying to control my abdominal pain and my twitching intestines. My lower legs were full of painful cramps that made me get out of bed multiple times a night, disrupting my already disrupted sleep from breastfeeding.
After meals I was bloated, my belly expanding as if I got repeatedly pregnant every single day, not to mention the multiple miscarriages (medically diagnosed as unexplained infertility) before our little one was finally conceived and born. I cried every time I went to the toilet, after all, burning diarrhea is something that no one should have to experience every day for over a year.
My body was highly acidic and it was telling me so, but it took a long time for me to listen to and try to understand what it was desperately trying to say.
After a three-week long migraine combined with a major toothache, at last I had had enough. I went to a dentist who was perplexed and suggested I have an MRI instead, as he couldn’t see any problem, no connection between same side toothache and migraine, whatsoever(?!). Luckily, intuition took over and I refused such measures. What would happen in following weeks, was much more drastic than being subjected to strong electromagnetic fields and radio waves.
As I returned home with zero answers as to why my head, tooth, hips, knees, ankles and stomach hurt, I turned to anecdotal evidence on the internet, surely someone else somewhere in the world was experiencing similar pains?
I wanted to tackle the tooth pain first and what I read about was oil pulling with coconut oil for toothaches. I tried it and was hooked. It cleaned my teeth so well, that a hairline fracture was soon visible on the molar that hurt.
I read and read and read. The stories were scrolling by and an elimination diet seemed the next logical step. Gluten was the last thing to cut out of our diet as I was an avid baker, flour and pasta were the cheapest foods that we could buy in Hungary and we thought that we could not live without it.
But we weren’t experiencing the good health that we thought we should have based on our simple lifestyle, so any change was welcomed, so long as it helped, not hurt our wellbeing.
4 years on, we have stuck with a strict gluten-free diet and have been entirely pleased with our choice. Even though it took five months to really start feeling better, and a challenge it was, every step forward is towards a healthier and more fulfilling future. When food becomes nourishing, not harming, it becomes enjoyable to cook and be creative in the kitchen.
As the brain fog gradually lifted, we noticed that our teeth got stronger, we were able to work for longer hours and we were able to sleep better at night.
The benefits of being gluten-free, day in and day out, greatly outweigh the perceived rewards of good-tasting food, which slowly, but surely leads to long-term damage that gluten does, not only to your gut, but to your entire body.
So, if you suffer from joint pain, fatigue, iron-deficiency, depression, anxiety, brain fog, chronic headaches or migraines, unexplained infertility, chronic diarrhea, constipation, rashes or even tooth enamel problems, know that you have two choices.
You can continue eating gluten while you see a specialist and have testing done so that you can receive a proper diagnosis, or you can go with your gut feeling and eliminate it for two weeks and see how you feel.
If you cannot add it back into your diet without experiencing discomfort, it is not the end of the world, it is merely the beginning of an unclouded, healthier way of life.