Ever since I was a child, I have had digestive and intestinal issues resulting in difficulties going to the bathroom. As an adult, I struggled more with going to the bathroom than when I was a kid, and my health problems increased.
After I met my husband, he encouraged me to add “healthy fats” to my diet. Which was really hard, since I had the mindset that fat equals fat. I added them in minimally, just enough to get by. I would literally eat every three hours, or I would get dizzy, almost pass out, not to mention being seriously cranky. However, my digestion and intestinal issues continued. The bloating and cramping would be so bad that I could not stand up!! The intense pain would come out of nowhere and without warning.
After a colonoscopy in 2001, a doctor diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS). (Click here to learn more about it and its symptoms.) He prescribed a short-term medication for long-term use. I had every side effect possible, so I went off the medication cold turkey!
It seemed like everything I tried was short-lived. It would work for maybe three weeks, and then I would be back to square one. Shortly after the colonoscopy I had abdominal surgery. Over 800 stitches to repair three layers of torn stomach muscles. I was so hopeful that surgery would “fix my problem,” yet it was an epic and very expensive fail.
Finally in 2009, I met a naturopath who recognized my digestive and intestinal problems and suggested a soft, mushy diet that was free from gluten. That day in his office changed my life forever!!!!
I eliminated gluten from my diet, I started feeling so much better, and the results were nearly immediate. Those times I ate gluten by accident or ignorance, I experienced severe cramps and bloating. I would either become constipated, or I had very intense diarrhea. The effects were so severe, it would take several days to recover.
A gluten-free diet has been the key in managing my health issues. Today, I eat soft, mushy foods that are all natural, grain-free and gluten-free. I also eat healthy fats such as avocado oil, butter and coconut oil. I rarely eat out. I read lots and lots of food labels. If it does not contain real food, I don’t eat it. It has been a tough journey. At times it seems like for every step forward I would take five backward. Can you relate?
When I began this journey, we would go out to eat with friends. There I would be sitting with my baggie of nuts and peeled apple, and they would be eating thick slices of ooey, gooey pizza. Oh my gosh! Was that ever hard. It was hard not to be cranky.
There was even a time when I took my dinner to a friend’s home. They were so gracious about it, but another guest was not. He was actually pretty mean and suggested that the already prepared food “was not good enough for me to eat.” Not only was I embarrassed but I felt like I was selfish for not eating the prepared meal.
I am the only one in our family that must eat gluten-free. Thank goodness my husband and son have been supportive, or the change would have been so much more difficult than it already was.
I believe with all my heart that we are what we eat. The dietary changes I have made have been tough. Downright discouraging at times. And it has taken a lot of willpower. Changing my diet has been the best thing I have ever done for my health. Because my intestinal tract became healthy and started storing necessary nutrients, I actually gained weight. When people learn I am 53, they usually comment and say I look like I am in my 40s. I have an abundance of energy, look healthy, and I feel great! Yes, going to a gluten-free diet was the hardest thing I have ever done. However, I am worth it!!!
If you know someone who struggles with IBS, please share my story with them.
Disclaimer: This information is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your condition.