Hi! I am Sian
Welcome to my adventure travel
Hello and welcome to my blog! This blog is about gluten free living, interesting products and a bit of travel.
I’m a 30-something London girl attempting to make the most of a life without gluten. I have a busy full time job so whilst I’d love to create recipes and cook everything from scratch, I just don’t have the time. This means I’m always on the look out for tasty and healthy gluten free foods to try. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel all over the world (my itchy feet have taken me to over 50 countries now!) and I absolutely love checking out the local shops and markets for interesting fruit, vegetables and gluten free products.
Here’s my story….
I have suffered my whole life with ‘digestive’ issues. When I was younger, this was put down to having a nervy tummy and getting affected by stress and worry. Perhaps this was the case but now I’m not so sure.
About 20 years ago while at University I was diagnosed with IBS due to my alternating upset tummy and constipation with constant bloating. Over the years I chopped and changed my diet in an attempt to identify the trigger foods causing the problem. I regularly visited the GP with additional symptoms including migraines, mouth ulcers, numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, constant fatigue. I had repeated bouts of anaemia and a feeling of mental fogginess which I also visited the GP about. At no point was I ever tested for Coeliac disease. About 10 years ago, frustrated with my health and lack of help from the GP, I made an appointment with a private nutritionist. After only a few days of a 2 week food diary, it was clear my health and wellbeing were seriously impacted by eating food containing gluten.
Life carried on and in the main I avoided the usual sources of gluten like regular bread and pizza. But I didn’t check the labels of every food I ate (gravy, sauces, sausages, I’m looking at you!) and occasionally if I went out and pizza was on offer I’d order one, knowing I’d be ill afterwards but unable to stop myself because I really craved it. Nuts, I know. Now.
In 2009 as I planned my wedding to the lovely Mr D, increasing often grabbing a wrap for lunch on busy days, unable to take more time at lunch to find something more suitable. My heath deteriorated and 6 weeks before my wedding I found myself in hospital undergoing tests for amongst other things, bowel cancer. It was, thankfully clear but nonetheless it was a scary time. At the same time I was experiencing a daily headache in exactly the same place on the right side of my head. This continued for an entire year. Every day I popped Ibuprofen to manage the pain. I visited Doctors, Dentists, opticians and the only diagnosis I could get was from a Dentist who said I grind my teeth. I don’t believe this is the case, although I still paid £400 for a dental shield to stop the problem. I think I’ve used it once.
Not too long after the wedding I rebelled against my mostly gluten free life and during a weekend staying with friends (who I had not told about my dietary issues) ate a large quantity of sandwiches and cakes, all containing gluten. I was incredibly ill and spent nearly 2 weeks off work recovering. But it finally gave me a wake up call. I went back to the GP again who diagnosed Coeliac disease based on this incident and my medical history. However, I cannot get a clinical diagnosis since I do not eat gluten in order to have the blood tests and biopsy. The GP advised I would need to eat gluten for 6-12 weeks for a minimum of 1 meal per day before they could do the necessary tests. She expressly advised me not to do this as it would certainly make me very ill.
Since then I now avoid all traces of gluten. I read every food label thoroughly. When I go out for dinner, I check in advance what’s on the menu and often email restaurants to confirm they will be able to cater safely for me.
So what affect has removing all traces of gluten had on me? Well, within days the annoying year long headache disappeared and has never returned. In fact I have gone from having daily headaches to having a one headache in over a year, and that was caused by too much Prosecco! Simply amazing, excluding gluten was the only change I made and the headache was gone. The annoying bumpy, blistery rash I’ve had for years on my arms disappeared to be replaced with smooth skin. I no longer spend weekends in bed, totally exhausted. Neither do I have any mental fogginess, a feeling of watching someone else’s life, as if it were a movie. I’ve recently discovered the leg cramps which used to wake me at night at least once a week in tortured agony were likely to have been caused by a lack of calcium. In short, changing my diet changed my life.
If you are reading this blog and suspect you have a gluten intolerance but have not been tested for Coeliac disease, please go to your GP and get the blood test (and, if required, subsequent biopsy) done while you are still eating gluten. Your test results may come back negative and you may still wish to exclude gluten to make you feel better, but at least you will know. Undiagnosed Coeliac disease can cause all sorts of other complications such as increased risk of osteoporosis, subfertility and recurrent miscarriage. There are thought to be approximately 200 symptoms linked to Coeliac disease and it’s possible to have Coeliac disease but have no outward symptoms whatsover. For further information, please read Coeliac UK’s very helpful website.
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