Gluten-free Life: Tough but Rewarding

It’s possible to be GF and lead a happy life:)

I need to start with a disclaimer again:) Just to be on the safe side… I did not study medicine, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. If you have preexisting health conditions please listen to your doctor. In this article, I will talk about how going gluten-free helped me a great deal. If you are interested, please read on:)

I’ve been gluten free for quite a number of I’ve been gluten-free for several years now. I attempted to go gluten-free many times, and in the beginning, I failed a lot. Most of the time, I was not able to resist all the good stuff made out of wheat. I do not remember exactly when I went totally gluten-free. It must have been in 2013; a little after when I moved to Italy. I lived in Italy, the land of the most delicious pasta, pizza, and desserts, for the following five years and ironically I managed to keep away from gluten at all times. Italy is very advanced in terms of gluten-free products. You can easily buy gluten-free items within your budget from most of the supermarkets. There are pizzerias and bakeries specialized in gluten-free cakes, pasta, and so on. One of the best gluten-free bakeries you can find in Italy is in Verona.  It’s called Brio, it’s managed by two of the most amazing and creative people I’ve met in Italy. They also ship their products worldwide.

Back to my story…I will keep it rather short because I do not like rambling about diseases and stuff. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition in my twenties. I was happily taking the medicine prescribed by my doctor because I respect doctors and I feel fortunate to live in a modern age where medicine can really help us improve our lifestyle. Even though I was taking the medicine every day, I was still feeling tired, having difficulty concentrating at work due to brain fog, and consequently was feeling very unhappy for a twenty-four-year-old. I was asking myself how I would feel when I turned sixty if at twenty-four I was already feeling out of battery…At that point, I realized that medicine is essential but it can help up to one point. I had to continue my medication and make adjustments to my lifestyle to help medicine help my body. That’s how I got into research about diet and healthy lifestyle and so on.

I’ve read, and I am still reading, a lot of books on the subject. One of the books I’ve read was written by Gulia Enders, a young doctor in Germany. The name of the book is Gut. The author/doctor talks about three intolerances: gluten, dairy products, and fruits. If I remember correctly, all three intolerances cause discomfort such as bloating, belly pain, loose stools etc. However, gluten in particular has the ability to damage the lining of the small intestine in some people. Like every other organ in the body, the small intestine has vital functions for a fully functioning body. It’s where the useful stuff gets absorbed — including the medicines you take –, and distributed to the body. The not so useful stuff is passed on to the colon and is expelled from the body. In addition to that, some researchers even talk about a possible “second brain” function of the gut. So, the intestines are important, keeping them healthy is more important.

Long story short, I’ve decided to be more determined about going gluten-free after I read the above-mentioned book. I’d even done an intolerance test because my doctor suggested it and the test showed that I had a small numberof antibodies against gluten. That analysis also helped me listen to my body. In the end, I did not have anything to lose. Especially if it was going to help my intestines absorb the medicine I’ve been taking more efficiently…All I had to do was to avoid products containing gluten (Also, I also realized that I had to pay attention to the ingredients section of every gluten-free product. The fact that a product is gluten-free does not necessarily mean that the product is healthy. Some gluten-free products may still contain other harmful substances).

Fast forward to 2020. I feel definitely better, I have more energy to do things. I do not have foggy brain symptoms. I’m physically more fit compared to my twenties. I even managed to finish a full marathon in 2015! The dosage of the medicine I’m taking right now is 75 micrograms. It used to be 150 micrograms back in 2012. Overall I feel fantastic! Is this all because of going gluten free though?

I don’t think so. Yes, going gluten-free helped me follow a healthier diet because I had to cut out a lot of gluten-rich snacks I used to eat as well. But in addition to going gluten-free, I adopted other healthy attitudes as well. I started doing Yoga every morning. I started doing daily meditations. I started keeping a gratitude journal. I am doing strength training at least three times a week. It’s the combination of all these practices that are helping me feel better every single day.

Sometimes, I still wish that I could eat every delicious food out there, including gluten products. It is often tough to see other people eating anything they want and still keeping healthy. Well, everyone is different. They have their strengths and weaknesses and I have mine. I prefer feeling great compared to feeling tired and sick all the time. And now when I think about the future, I believe I will feel great when I reach my sixties if I continue eating what makes me feel healthy:)

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