For many years, I had a wonderful career in education. Now I am a very busy mom who couldn’t begin to imagine how that would fit into my schedule with such a busy family life and hardworking husband. My three wonderful children and I all have food allergies and intolerances that we live with daily. But, after being diagnosed we basically stumbled upon our now healthy, gluten-free lifestyle through much research and determination.
As far back as I can remember, I have had reactions to the foods I was eating. Throughout my entire life I had terrible intestinal issues that no one could explain. Whenever I tried to tell my doctors that I felt it was the food I was eating, they said I stressed too much – “Eat and Enjoy!” Well, how could I do that when I was always getting sick after eating. I kept food journals. I read and researched – all for my doctors to tell me that it wasn’t the food I was eating. Yet, they had no idea what caused me so much pain and discomfort all these years. All testing that was done came back negative.
I was certain it was the food – and am I glad I kept listening to myself to figure out this situation. Through much research, mindfulness of listening to my body, and then finding a doctor that actually agreed that it had to be what I was eating – did I figure out my food allergies and intolerances. First, this doctor sent me directly to a dietitian. She in turn told me that I was certainly allergic or intolerant to gluten and dairy, told me to stop eating both and handed me a list of gluten-free breads I could find at Whole Foods! That was about it. I was overwhelmed, confused and, of course, in denial.
If you are anything like me, once I figured out what gluten is, then I stressed that I would have NO FOODS left to eat.
Gluten is everywhere! Breathe . . . . .
I eliminated gluten and dairy and began learning about the many foods I usually didn’t eat. Unfortunately at first, I became more sick than I had been previously. Now I know that at that time, my body was detoxing from all the harmful foods I had been eating over the years. On top of it all, I quickly discovered that I was also allergic to corn.
Boy did I stress! I screamed, “ NOW I REALLY HAVE NOTHING TO EAT!” Corn, dairy and gluten are in pretty much everything!
Of course, this was also the first thing most people said to me when I explained what I couldn’t eat. Breathe . . . .
Slowly, and unfortunately mainly on my own, I found new foods and retrained my cooking, baking and lifestyle to fit into this gluten-free, allergy friendly lifestyle. Luckily, as I did my own research, I realized that all the strange little things that were happening to my children were all caused by Celiac Disease. When I took my son off of gluten- he grew 4 inches in one year! (Gluten can disrupt your growth if you have Celiac Disease.) My daughter’s tummy aches, low energy and vitiligo all stopped. My children, who were always pretty healthy- were becoming super healthy right before my eyes. Our third child also has Celiac Disease. He has really known no life other than gluten-free living. He knows, even before at 3 years of age, whenever a new food is placed in front of him to ask, “Does this have gluten in it?”
It has not been an easy road, but I have learned so much and would love to turn around and show others how to EASILY incorporate this way of eating into their lifestyle. It didn’t have to be as hard as it was for me- and doesn’t have to be for you.
Luckily, with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, more discoveries and information are being shared daily, helping doctors to understand this very complicated field. There are multiple Celiac Centers around the country and so many organizations that are there to help. There are also more gluten -free foods available today in grocery stores and restaurants.
Having learned so much as we navigated our allergy free lives, I knew I needed to further my education in the field of nutrition. I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and realized this was going to be my way to teach and help others find health and happiness in their life. Now having graduated, I am a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I am actively helping others learn and follow a gluten-free lifestyle and make their own healthy, happy lifestyle a reality.
If you need to start living gluten-free or just feel overwhelmed with your gluten-free lifestyle, please reach out and send me a note. I would be happy to help you find your road to healthy living.
Jennifer Marcks – Integrative Nutrition Health Coach