Grumpy celiac feeling better

The other day I drafted a post titled Grumpy Celiac. I’m glad I didn’t publish as it was pretty wretched! To be fair, I was miserable. But this week, while acknowledging that it’s not all roses, I’m back to being positive and in action mode.

Last week I was feeling like, well, like I did before I was diagnosed Celiac. I was so disheartened as I had been doing SO WELL … until that point it seems. I was, and still am, back to aching hands and feet, sore tummy that often sends me running to the bathroom, migraine and exhaustion. It has all got to making me grumpy.

I’m a real ‘if you’re going to do it, do it 100% and get it right‘ kind of a girl. With pretty much everything in life. So failing upsets me. Especially when I’ve been working so hard to get this all right. I’m most grumpy because I just don’t know what’s going on. I am so careful about what I eat, how I prepare my food and I am confident that (except for the contaminated GF Dominos pizza last month, gggrrrrrr) there hasn’t been any gluten sent into my poor body, to set off this storm.

But I’m obviously getting something wrong.

On the bright side (there is always a bright side!), I realise how far I had come, now that I seem to have gone back to the beginning again. Can’t believe how long I accepted feeling like this as ‘normal’ 🙂

This week I’m pushing forward, sticking to the right foods and even investigating going paleo. It makes sense to eat only fresh, whole foods. Hard to get that wrong.

#Paleo#freshisbest

I am holding back though. I’m a big fan of dairy food. I’d rather give up coffee and wine, than cheese and milk. So I’m reading up on the paleo way – I did buy a new cookbook and honestly, the recipes look amazing. Even if I don’t go all the way, and I don’t expect my family to (although I wish they would cut back on sugar and grains as I have), I can easily adopt a number of the paleo ways for myself.

Watch this space I guess, here’s to taking control of my health and my body once and for all!

If you blog about celiac or paleo can you please drop me a comment or ‘like’ this post so I can follow you. This is a journey to be sure.

Abbie x

Celiac journey – six weeks in

Brain filing cabinet
Image by Laura Lee found at This Illustrated Life

It is only six weeks since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Wow. Seriously, wow! It quite honestly feels like months. I can not believe how much information has been crammed into the part of my brain filing cabinet section labelled ‘food and nutrition’. Obviously, I have also had to start a whole new draw in that filing cabinet called ‘gluten free’.

On the emotional side of things, acceptance is still all good. I’m still happy that it was this diagnosis and not something worse. I do have days where I think how lovely it would be to just grab a sandwich for lunch, or pizza for tea, but I’m learning that these are no longer options in my reality. I have no doubt that the more I do this, the easier it will become.

There have been a few changes that are obvious to me since I became gluten free:

  • I spend a LOT more time thinking about food. Mostly what’s coming up, not like, obsessing over what I can’t have or anything (most of the time!).
  • I no longer wake up with my hands, feet, knees and everything in between aching everyday. This started easing within days of giving up gluten. I’m very happy about this.
  • The kids check ingredients on things for me, like salad dressings to make sure I’m ‘safe’. In reality I’ve checked EVERYTHING at the supermarket but it’s sweet that they’re looking out for me and I love them for it.
  • I take photos of my yummy meals and post them on Instagram now – it’s like I have something to prove. Gluten free can be yummy and beautiful too!
  • We go through up to four dish cloths a day in my kitchen now. I’m getting pretty finicky about cleanliness in there and it’s not like my standards were low to start with. My husband and kids are totally following suit and and mostly being so so so careful.
  • I’m a lot more motivated to get myself out walking and keep myself generally healthy. This is very good.
  • I can now go 2-3 days without a nap. Sometimes. This is huge progress from sleeping every day, up to 2-3 hours a day when I could fit it in.

So as you see, this doesn’t just affect me, my family have to be on board as well. I’m lucky they’re with me in this and willing to do what it takes to keep me healthy.  I read about others in shared accommodation trying to maintain gluten-free-ness – I can imagine that would be more challenging.

One of the biggest upsides, aside from the fact that I’m starting to feel better, is that I’ve really connected with a friend who has recently started on a full auto immune protocol diet, also for health reasons. You think gluten free is brutal? Her road is a lot tougher to walk. Realising we’re both on a similar path we share recipes and ideas and can be very honest with each other about how we’re feeling (physically and mentally) and what’s really going on. This has, and no doubt will continue to be, an incredible sanity saver for me. God is good, He knows what/who we need and has everything/everyone perfectly placed ahead of us.

If you’re a newbie on this journey like me, hang in there and look on the bright side, there will always be a bright side. And find someone else on the same journey to share with (I’m here). We can do this!

Abbie x

Why I’m exercising regularly

I found a quote from the always radiant Kate Hudson in Mindfood magazine last year which sums up beautifully for me, why I’m back exercising.

Fitness is not about vanity

With my recent diagnosis of Celiac Disease I’ve been prompted to not take my body for granted. So three mornings a week I’m back to pounding the pavement (walking). Which I love. I head down the river path, the parks, or the streets. Sometimes just me, me and God, me and my headphones, me and the dog, or I head out with friends. Variety is good isn’t it?!

I’m totally in this to be physically and mentally strong. I’ve spent so long being sick that I’d started to accept an inferior quality of life. It’s past time for a mental shift, and now that there’s a way forward, and there’s hope for my constantly flagging energy levels (among other things), I’m keen to get the old me back. My gluten free diet seems to be on track, I’m sleeping well and a bit of good fast walking is for my energy levels, overall health, and my soul.

Oh and did I mention, in the crazy busy of life, it feels amazing to take an hour in daylight hours to do something that totally benefits me!

Abbie x

A lifelong diagnosis … I can do this.

Recently I was diagnosed with an illness that will be with me the rest of my life. To be honest, I think my overwhelming emotion so far has been relief. I don’t know if that’s a ‘normal’ reaction’ but hey, we’re each of us different, and this is the way I’m rolling with it 🙂

This is not terminal, this is just a new way of life – one that doesn’t require medication and the side effects you sometimes have to deal with from that. Rather than a life sentence, it’s a new lifestyle. I know which of those two I would prefer.

This has been coming for a while, and in that time I watched my mum battle cancer. That probably made me a little paranoid too and I would be lying if I didn’t say that at some points, the weird stuff going on in my body didn’t freak me out a little, and make me jump to some really dumb scary conclusions (which is why I don’t have the letters MD after my name!). And hence the relief at this diagnosis.

So what are we talking about here?

Last month I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Long story short, Celiac is an autoimmune disorder. My body can’t handle gluten – so when gluten gets in, my body attacks itself (stupid aye?!) creating antibodies which damage the lining of my small bowel. Oh I never said it was glamorous! That damage means I can’t absorb minerals, vitamins and other nutrients from food. As well as some other ugly side effects but we won’t go into those.

By Ongjulian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ongjulian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The great news is, that the existing damage  can be reversed. By removing gluten from my diet completely my body can heal and will then act as it should. Yay! So that means no gluten for Abbie for the rest … of … my … life (long may it be!). The obvious stuff is easy to avoid: wheat, barley, oats, rye. Flour. Pasta. Bread. When I say easy to avoid I mean that it’s obvious it’s there. It’s taking a little longer to get used to the hidden gluten – like in (some brands of) tomato sauce, potato chips, stocks and seasoning. Given that it’s a life journey though, I’m taking it one day at a time.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I really need to look after myself. This is with me for the long haul so I can’t get lazy or complacent. As a mama of four I am also learning to put my needs first. My family and I are all having to learn about this. Because let’s face it, food is pretty essential to living.

As much as I want to down-play it, because I don’t want ‘celiac’ to define me, I’ll write more about my Celiac journey. It is a big deal in this learning stage. Please also be clear, I know there are people who are MUCH worse off than I with all sorts of health issues – and I do think I’ve got a pretty good sense of perspective on this. But I’m not them and I blog about my life. I don’t doubt there are plenty others also blogging about this and I’m about to jump into the tag search and find you – save me some time and comment below!

Abbie x