A New Year, A New Lifestyle: How Gluten-free has changed my life.

Happy New Year (1)Happy new year everyone!!!!!! I still can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I began Inches Miles Moments. I am humbled to receive messages from those of you who have been affected in some way by my weight loss journey. I am so excited for everything this upcoming year has to offer and can’t wait to get started on my new list of goals. I apologize for the lack of blog posts in the past few months. I have been personally dealing with an extreme diet change based on a diagnosis I received in October that has required me to go gluten-free. After a year of getting tested by a long list of different kinds of doctors, I finally have an answer. After three months of no gluten, I have started recognizing parts of my body, personality, attitude, and spirit that I haven’t seen in years. This is how going gluten-free has changed my life.

Two years ago, I began having random unrecognizable symptoms that affected my energy, mood, digestive system, menstrual cycle, and sinuses. Being 22, it was a very strange thing to experience not having any energy when I woke up in the morning. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling extremely bloated a few hours later and I gained about 10 lbs in a few months eating the same healthy meals I always ate. I had some blood work done because I immediately thought of my thyroid, but the tests all came back normal. I visited doctor after doctor explaining my symptoms and they all told me the same thing, “Well, your body is probably just getting acclimated to having a full-time job, stress, and responsibilities.” I finally came to realize that no one was going to be able to help me, so I decided to take the matter into my own hands.

PROBIOTICS:

I began doing research and went through so many different possible diagnosis’s. The first new habit I began was taking daily probiotics. This helped with my digestive issues and I became a different person. I used to go days without being able to go to the bathroom even though I was mainly eating vegetables, meat, fruit, and nuts. Probiotics add good bacteria to your digestive tract to help break down foods easier. They’re so important for anyone having any digestive issues.

VITAMIN D:

I began having major afternoon energy crashes and headaches in the spring of 2015 and they progressively became worse into the summer months. Luckily, my yearly blood work was able to tell me I was extremely low in vitamin D. Working in a dark photography studio does have a few downsides; the main one being you don’t see much of the sun. Low vitamin D can result in weakness, a low immune system, weight gain, or depression. The average person needs 15 minutes of sunlight a day in order to get the proper amount of vitamin D. If you’re suffering from any of those symptoms, try getting into your doctor for a blood test! This article is really helpful information about Vitamin D.

Even though I was able to solve my stomach and headache problems, I was still feeling extremely fatigued, moody, depressed, overweight, and hungry all the time. I could barely work up the energy to bring myself to the gym anymore and there were days I began to worry that this was my new normal. I had lost hope, until I read about autoimmune diseases.

HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS:

Celiac disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Anemia, and Psoriasis are all different kinds of autoimmune diseases where the body’s immune system decides to fight against healthy cells. There’s no known reason why this happens, but it’s typically related to genetics. Almost everyone in my family has thyroid issues, so I should have known to go to a specialist when my first doctor told me my thyroid came back normal. I visited an Endocrinologist in town who diagnosed me with the autoimmune disease: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had been unknowingly eating food on a daily basis which triggered my symptoms. Gluten is the root of all evil with any autoimmune disease. Our human bodies don’t naturally have the capability to digest the genetically modified gluten that exists in most bread products these days. This problem causes an outcome called ‘Leaky Gut’ syndrome where your intestines leak out the excess gluten it isn’t able to digest. Once in the blood stream, the immune system recognizes gluten as a foreign object and immediately attacks. This could be the main reason for anyone’s discomfort after gorging yourself with any gluten products, but because I have an autoimmune disease revolving around my thyroid, my white blood cells unknowingly attack the thyroid gland along with the gluten causing the negative symptoms I’ve been experiencing.

This is a small simple caption I found in an essential oils book about Hashimoto’s that lined up perfectly with what I was experiencing: “Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing it to swell up and become irritated. Hashimoto’s disease does not have a unique set of symptoms, but possible symptoms include abnormal fatigue, weight gain, muscle pain and stiffness, a hoarse voice, prolonged menstrual bleeding, constipation, a feeling of tightness in the throat, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, and depression.”

MY MIND WAS BLOWN. It’s that simple?! I decided to nip the problem in the bud entirely and take on the Paleo diet for a month to see if this really was the problem. Paleo is the classic caveman-like diet which consists of mainly meat, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. No gluten, sugar, diary, soy, or legumes. It’s the best diet for any inflammatory issues you may be experiencing. After three weeks of eating 100% Paleo, I began to recognize parts of myself I hadn’t seen in years.

I woke up and jumped out of bed with energy every morning and didn’t have the familiar afternoon crash that required me to drink cup after cup of coffee every day. I lost 6 lbs of water weight and saw an incredible difference in the size of my stomach. I was used to having a somewhat hard, upset, bloated stomach most days. The morning I woke up with a normal, flat, happy tummy I almost wanted to cry. I could think more clearly in general. I never noticed how I took on a general cloudiness that fogged my reaction time in conversations until now. The strangest difference was that my eyes looked more open and awake. I realized that my eyelids had been puffy for the past few years in photos giving me the appearance of constant exhaustion and older age. The difference in my entire body function was extremely noticeable.

I am 24 years-old and proud to say I will not let this diagnosis defeat me. There were so many times that I thought I might be going crazy and really was just tired of working a full-time job. I had days where I felt depressed and was worried I should see a therapist. After two years, I am so beyond excited that I have learned exactly what is going on in my body and how I can fix it. This is what I want to dedicate this blog to in the next year.

I plan to share my favorite gluten-free and paleo recipes, the best places to shop, the best places to eat, and general well-being for someone with this kind of disease. I am still planning to share tips and tricks for people trying to lose weight, but I would love for you to follow me along the path to our best health. Happy 2016 everyone, let’s make it the best year yet!

Until Next Time,

Melanie

This is a great resource for more information on having different kinds of gluten sensitivity: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-myers-md-/effects-of-gluten-on-the-body_b_3672275.html



2 Responses to A New Year, A New Lifestyle: How Gluten-free has changed my life.

  1. Mai Lyn says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this incredible story. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to know something is not right and have doctors say otherwise. I actually have Vitiligo Psoriasis and I’m anemic. My brother has psoriasis. I may look into the Vitamin D since I’ve noticed Ive been super low on energy recently. You can definitely beat this!!!

  2. Brandi says:

    I love your story. I’m also battling with thyroid disease and getting mixed answers about going gluten free. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when everyone tells you something different. Best of luck in your journey!

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