Monday, December 8, 2008


Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog. I decided to create this blog for everyone who’s avoiding gluten, or who knows someone who’s avoiding gluten.

Since this is my first post, I thought I'd give you a little background on me.

When I was 18, I had a serious case of mono. I figured I was tired because it was my year of university, and because I was out partying a lot (here in Manitoba, Canada, the legal drinking age is 18). But I wasn’t really getting any better when I stopped going out and started sleeping more. Eventually, I wound up in the hospital because my throat was so swollen that I couldn’t swallow, I was severely dehydrated, and I had a liver infection. After a few months recuperating, and about 9 months without drinking a drop of alcohol, I thought I was recovered. But I never quite seemed to be back to my pre-mono self.

I was always a little tired; felt a little bloated, and had “digestive issues”. They started out fairly mildly, and I was told that the “mild” lactose intolerance (where I really only got a headache and stomach ache after consuming vast quantities of milk) I had was now severe lactose intolerance (where just one glass of milk would be enough to cause pain, bloating, and headaches). No problem, I eliminated the diary. And that seemed to work-for a bit.

Then, I started throwing up after dinner. Only after dinner, and only about three or four times a week. I couldn’t figure it out, and neither could my doctor. She suggested it could be Celiac, since I have an aunt and a first cousin with the disease. The blood tests came back negative, but we did find out that I was iron and b12 deficient. So it was off to the allergist.

My allergist suggested that I probably had a mild wheat allergy, and to avoid eating more than 2 servings of wheat a day. Since cereal and bread were my favorite things, it was definitely a challenge. But I tried it and felt better – for a bit.

To make a long story short, I started having other digestive issues (lots of stomach cramping, bloating, diarrhea, etc.) after every meal, for about two years. Saw numerous specialists, went from doctor to doctor, pleading for answers (other than IBS which I was initially diagnosed with). Had tons of ultrasounds, a colonoscopy, various blood tests, and no diagnosis. Finally got an endoscopy, and there’s damage to my intestines. Voila, celiac disease.

I cut out all gluten, and feel so much better! I didn’t even know how badly I felt because I was so used to feeling it! My lactose-intolerance has now gone away (it turns out once the vili in my intestines started healing, I could have milk again!), my nickel allergy has cleared up (I developed a severe nickel allergy in the final 2 years before discovering I was celiac – I used to have to tape the inside of my jeans, or I would get a horrible rash), and a whole raft of other mysterious symptoms disappeared (knee pain I associated with years of playing sports went away, the headaches were pretty much gone, no more digestive problems). It was like someone suddenly waved a wand and said “poof” all your ailments are healed!

Since beginning my celiac journey 3 months ago, I’ve discovered a ton about the disease, and I discovered I wanted to learn as much as I can about the celiac. I discovered that gluten was hiding in a lot of foods I never suspected it was in – including bbq sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, my favorite yogurt, and more.

But learning to read labels seemed like such a small thing if it meant that I was going to get better.

I’ve started trying all sorts of gluten-free foods, and I thought I’d start this blog by reviewing some of them, because gluten free food is expensive, and I wish I’d known what was good and what I shouldn’t waste my money on.

I did get some recommendations from my aunt and cousin, but they’ve been off gluten for so many years that a lot of things they swore tasted “just like bread” …well… didn’t. They also live in the states, so they had access to foods and stores that I didn’t, and the labeling between Canada and the U.S. is different.

I’m also going to post some recipes, books, and anything else that I find that will help other people who are avoiding gluten. Because there are a lot of us out there!

So I hope you enjoy this blog!


H.Peter said...

If you ever come anywhere near Calgary, let us know. Or if you have a friend here who is going back for the holidays.

Victoria's bread actually tastes like bread....her bakery is in Cochrane.

jacobithegreat said...

wow, I like hearing everyone's "pre-diagnosis" stories because it's just amazing how differently people are affected by the same disease.

welcome to perma-gluten-free status!