gluten free, health, wellbeing

One year on from diagnosis – what I’ve learnt about coeliac disease

It’s been about a year since I was formally diagnosed with coeliac disease and since then there have been a few adjustments and I’ve learnt a few things…

In no particular order here are some observations about coeliac disease and how it has affected me:

  • I know what it means to be glutened…and it is not nice!
  • I have put on weight. I used to be able to eat anything and it literally went straight through me, now, just like everyone else i have to be careful about the amount I eat…I’ve put on 2 stone since diagnosis
  • If you are in the UK and you haven’t already, join the coeliac society, it is a brilliant resource and has so much information, there is a great app for smart phones + they are constantly encouraging medical research into coeliac disease
  • Use social media to find out so much about the disease and gluten free options – there is a wealth of info out there
  • Hangovers aren’t as bad! Previously I was drinking beer once in a while and didn’t realise what it was doing to me. You get a double hang over – one from the alcohol and one from being glutened
  • If you go to a restaurant don’t be afraid to make it clear that you are coeliac and what the implications are – there are those that take coeliac disease seriously…and those that definitely don’t
  • You get drunk quicker, be careful
  • Whatever anyone tells me, gluten free bread is not as nice as a freshly baked poisonous loaf, still warm with melted butter
  • Ditto with pasta
  • Chocolate Brownies are better
  • Cider actually tastes OK
  • Get a bone density scan – I have a mild case of Osteoporosis and Oseopenia as a result of not absorbing any calcium for a long time
  • Be careful of all the extras that go into gluten free foods – there can be a lot of extra sugars, palm oil, butter etc which increase the calorie content
  • I get told that I look well, that I have stopped the ‘heroin chic’ look and that I actually have some colour in my face – I used to just have a pallid grey look that I had put down to living and working in London
  • I have loads more energy and enthusiasm.
  • Get a pedometer (I’ve got a fitbit) and it makes me walk my 10,000 steps a day – which helps keep that weight gain at bay and helps the osteoporosis. Alternatively get a dog (or as we have, do both).
  • If you can let restaurants know that you need a coeliac / gluten free menu in advance do so – a couple of times I’ve had my very own fryer so that I can have most things and they haven’t had any cross contamination with batter etc.
  • I miss calamari
  • There are some great gluten free beers out there – good starting point is http://www.gluten-freeshop.co.uk
  • I don’t think I have felt this good for 20 years – if you are unsure and in any doubt get yourself tested for coeliac disease with a blood test to begin with.

Hopefully you may relate to some of these thoughts, you may have lots of other observations…let me know what you find good and what proves difficult.

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