Is being intolerant to Gluten or even being coeliac all in your head?

I remember when my son had food intolerance, everyone thought it was in my head. That I was being overprotective and he is fine!

But he had severe physical symptoms. Headaches, stomach aches, and hives. Severe hives and I remember one time he nearly had an anaphylactic shock (it is when your throat closes from allergies). One of the scary moments in life. He was not gaining any weight either.

He was not intolerant to Gluten or Coeliac. His immune system took a turn when he had to take a huge amount of antibiotics. And he was intolerant to the histamine food group. The day the immunologist diagnosed him was the best day of my life. Finally, we had somewhere to go. It took a long time though, too long.

As with most people I have met with Gluten intolerant or Coeliac, it was always an exhausting journey. At some point in life, their immune system changes. I have met new parents whose babies have been diagnosed with coeliac at a very young age.

The phrase, how did we all eat gluten for so many hundred years and nothing happened to anyone? Exactly, what happened? How come the whole world was able to consume wheat and gluten with no problem?

Firstly, what is gluten? Gluten has existed since wheat existed. It is the protein in the grains. It is what makes bread doughy, and gives it elasticity.

There have been many theories.

Starting from we are too clean! The epidemic of absence. Overuse of anti-bacterial products especially with young babies. We are not allowing our children to be dirty anymore therefore not permitting their immune system to develop as it should be.

Genetically modified crops, GMO. Wheat is one of the top crops that are GMO. It is believed that as humans, the enzymes in our digestive system have not been unable to keep up with the hybrid wheat.

Thirdly, Coeliac has always existed. We are just better at diagnosing and as the world gets smaller with the internet and media, we seem to all hear about it.

Whatever the reason, the suffering is real. The diagnosis is always daunting and having to reevaluate your relationship with food. Transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle will come with challenges in and outside the home.

One of the most significant hurdles of living gluten-free is navigating social situations. Whether dining out with friends or attending family gatherings, the fear of inadvertently consuming gluten can cast a shadow over otherwise joyous occasions. I suggest always having open communication and proactive planning, which can alleviate much of the anxiety.

Educating friends and loved ones about your dietary restrictions and offering to bring gluten-free options to shared meals, will foster an understanding and support within your social circle. Rather than viewing your gluten intolerance as a limitation and being embarrassed about it, embrace it as an opportunity to connect with others and share the joy of good food – sans gluten.

My journey with food has been one of self-discovery, adaptation, and self-empowerment. So transform your diagnosis into a catalyst for growth and exploration, both in the kitchen and beyond. Embrace your gluten-free lifestyle with gratitude and grace.

I am reminded of the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of food. I am hoping that while gluten may have once been a source of discomfort for you, it will also be a spark for self-discovery and a reminder to savor each moment – one gluten-free bite at a time.

 

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