When I was told that I most likely had Celiac Disease and needed to cut out gluten from my diet (13 years ago), I did it COLD TURKEY. I never looked back and I didn't do any research on what else I could have done (testing, supplements etc.) to help me heal. This was a HUGE MISTAKE and if I could do it over again, I would do several thinks differently.
One thing that I didn't do that I regret is not getting an endoscopy and colonoscopy FIRST before I started cutting out the gluten . An endoscopy is when a tube is put down your throat and into the small intestine and tissue samples are taken. The samples can show loss of the villi and other characteristics of Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity. A colonoscopy would have shown any inflammation. It is so important that you get some sort of baseline testing so that you can, a.) see what, if any damage has been done and what steps you can take to heal the damage, b.) in the future see if all of the steps that you took made a difference.
Within weeks of going gluten free I did feel better. I was so sick before I cut gluten out that ANY improvement seemed to be a miracle. And even though I was feeling better, I still was having the same symptoms days, weeks, months and even years later. I was suffering from bloating and fullness after I ate. I was still burping and had major gas constantly. I would have bouts of crazy diarrhea and then full blown constipation. The stomach cramps would send me to the bathroom for hours and the migraines would debilitate me for days. Why was I still feeling this way? It's because I had my GLUTEN FREE BLINDERS on! I was so obsessed with eating gluten free that I failed to recognized that maybe I had other major food allergies or possibly another medical problem. I had already cut out SO MUCH from my diet. I really think I was in denial about how extreme my food allergies really were and that I might be suffering from something else all together. It was just such a major time suck already trying to find things that I could eat, the thought of cutting out anything else was just too overwhelming.
I have suffered many more years of needless agony and caused major damage to my gut because I didn't do an elimination diet of ALL the major allergens FIRST! So, the SECOND thing I would have done differently is make sure to take the food challenge where I would have eliminated the major food allergens (read here for list) out of my diet to find out what else I was allergic too.
As it turns out, I found out this past June that I cannot eat dairy or eggs. I finally took the gluten free blinders off and did the full food elimination diet after an abnormal test result (read about that here). I do have other medical complications (an autoimmune type condition) that hinders my overall health and digestion BUT some of the other symptoms have improved greatly (burping, gas, bloating and constipation). It took almost twenty years to get some answers and a diagnosis.
The THIRD mistake that I made was not doing further research into what medical tests were available as well as holistic options. I really thought that cutting out the gluten was enough. Even though I was able to function, my condition still prohibited me from living a normal life. It took thirteen years for me to finally have medical tests done to narrow down my health issues and start taking supplements to heal my body. Now granted, there was very little information available when I first started the gluten free diet but so much has changed since then. There is a plethora of great information out there. There are books, blogs, websites and support groups that deal with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, food allergies, testing for food allergies, supplements and SO MUCH MORE. I really have no excuse for why I didn't take the time to research my own health except that I let life get in the way. I tried to band-aid my issues with eating strictly gluten free and it was not enough.
Do not make the same mistakes I did. Make sure before you start a food elimination diet you have diagnostics tests done. Commit to cutting out all of the major food allergens during you elimination diet and be your own health advocate. Read everything you can get your hands on about your health condition (whatever it may be). Be open to alternative therapies such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage and supplements (just to name a few). Most importantly, if you don't feel good and haven't for a long time, do not stick your head in the sand (like I did). Take charge of your health and do the work towards feeling better.
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