Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My New Reality: Permanent Gluten-Free Living

I think that the last time I talked much about my sickness and our plan to overcome it was in my I'm Still Broken post from December. I talked about how we were going to a clinic in Ottawa and how I was starting a gluten-free diet for a trial period of four months.

Well the four months are over. I am now permanently gluten-free.

I knew that something was working when I started feeling better and was able to gain some weight. And I had a sneaky suspicion that it had a lot to do with going gluten-free and not as much to do with the supplements and protein powder I was taking. But a very small part of me secretly hoped that maybe it wasn't gluten that was the problem and it was just a coincidence. Nope. No coincidence there.

Back at the beginning of March I got tested for the four main food sensitivities: gluten, dairy, eggs and soy. Last Thursday I got my test results back and had a phone appointment with my doctor in Ottawa. I don't fully understand how it all works and how they decide your level of intolerance but what I do know is that they want to see numbers under 10 in order for you to be fine with a food.

These were my results:
Gluten - 23
Dairy - 13
Eggs - 8
Soy - 10

So what that basically means is that I am intolerant to gluten, dairy and soy. But after having my appointment with my doctor, I have a plan in place. He wants me to continue eating gluten-free and that is for sure a permanent thing. No wiggle room there. As for the dairy, he wants me to do a trial elimination diet. I'm to cut dairy out of my diet 100% for a month and then add it back in and see how I feel. Once I do that, we'll have a better idea of how I respond to it.

He's really not concerned with the soy right now though. Since it's borderline normal, he told me to just focus on the gluten-free and dairy-free and we'll deal with the soy later if need be. That being said, I will try and minimize my soy intake, just not go crazy reading all ingredient labels for it. I like almond milk better than soy milk anyways.

So there you have it, the newest update on my health/sickness.

I am so relieved to finally have an answer, something to go with, that I know will work if I work at it. It's been almost two years of being sick and having no idea why, with no end in sight. And now I have an answer. Now I can actually tell people what is wrong with me instead of just saying that I've been "sick". It wasn't all in my head, my body was rejecting what I was putting into it.

And now begins a whole new journey. A journey of gluten-free dairy-free living. Not just a four month trial period but a true permanent adjustment. A whole lifestyle change. I bounce back and forth between being excited and being absolutely terrified and overwhelmed.


  1. Good for you! My friend is also GF (for over 2 years now) due to diagnosed sensitivities and she feels amazing compared to back then. Unfortunately now she cant even sneak a tiny bit of gluten.

    Luckily GF is so "big" right now so there are lots of yummy wheat-alternatives available.

    Good luck!

  2. Casey - I am excited to finally be feeling better and have an answer to my health problems from the past year. I also feel lucky that there is so much GF awareness, it does make it much easier. It's just such a huge adjustment.

    Thanks for sharing about your friend, I hope that in 2 years I'm feeling amazing too!

  3. Although it's a shame you will have to eliminate a lot of yummy things from your diet, I know that you can handle this new challenge and that you will make the best of it. And like Casey said, at least there are more and more products that are being carried in stores that are gluten free, for when you don't feel like cooking!

  4. I'm so pleased that you have some answers at last. x

  5. Erin - Thank you for the faith you have in me. :) I appreciate all the support you have given me and continue to give me.

    Heidi - Thank you. It feels so good to know why. It's been a long time coming.

  6. This really exciting that you have a direction and a goal to work towards! I know being in the dark about you illness is always difficult. I continue to pray for you as you learn to adapt to the changes to your diet and enjoy reading about your cooking experiments!

  7. P.S. A good friend of mine is also GF and writes this blog: http://glutenfreeness.wordpress.com

  8. Jess - It is exciting and I knew you would understand. Hopefully you can start to get some answers and feel relief soon too!

    Heidi - Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. :)

  9. I can only imagine the relief at finding a solution as simple as diet-change! Love that its already had a positive effect on you! (You look GREAT in your after pic from last post!)

  10. Kate - It is a relief to know what's wrong and to know that it's a relatively easy fix. And thanks, I thought I looked pretty good in my after pic too!

  11. Love this! I'm so so happy that you've got some answers! Praying that nothing but good news continues to plague you for a really, really long time! :)

  12. Katharine - Thanks for being excited for me! And I'll totally take a whole bunch of good from here on out. :)

  13. do you have a Kindle by any chance? There are so many free books with recipes for gluten free living? Yes, I know that there are lots of websites to help as well ... but IF you have one, why not get them collected in individual books?? Just a suggestion ..... check out dailyfreebooks.com

  14. I hope by having some answers Jenn you are able to adjust and get back to feeling 100% very soon. :)

  15. Finally a clear-cut answer! I know this whole ordeal has been such a struggle for you. I'm so happy you've got a plan and you're seeing results from what you've been doing. Your situation is an excellent example of how we as patients of the medical world need to be persistent advocates. Some medical professionals just give up too easily and dismiss symptoms.

  16. Bunny - I don't have a Kindle. Can I still download the free books to my laptop? I'm really not sure how it all works.

    LaTi - Thanks love. Feeling 100% would be awesome.

    artistmouse - It is nice to finally have an answer and like you said, advocating for yourself as the patient is the most important thing you can do.

  17. Hi Jenn! This is "katigox" from TB. I finally had a chance to kind of circle around to all the blogs I like to follow - but this is my first time commenting! I just wanted to say that I am relieved you finally have some answers - and though it obviously isn't "great" - I'm just thankful it's something treatable!

    I'm sure the journey will be hard - but hoping that you'll be feeling tip top soon :)

    Thinking of you ~ and sending cheering-on-vibes, for you to successfully reach you 13 goals <3

  18. Katigox - Thanks for commenting on my blog, it makes me feel all special. :)

    Thanks for your encouragement. This new journey does seem daunting some days and then exciting other days. I'm looking forward to trying lots of new recipes though!

    Thanks for the cheering-on-vibes, they're always appreciated. :)