Having an allergy can be very difficult, especially if it’s one which can have such big side effects. I went years suffering with chronic stomach cramps, always feeling ill after eating, and not knowing what was causing it was so frustrating. When you are allergic to something food orientated, cutting it out of your life can be a slow, long progress, but here’s my story, and a few tips on how I dealt with my gluten intolerance.
I found out I was gluten intolerant in summer of 2013, when I experienced the worst stomach cramps. I could barely stand, and the pain was making me physically sick. My mom took me to the doctors, and they said it was possible appendicitis, however they didn’t want to refer me until my symptoms were worse. I thought, ‘how can it get worse?! I’m in the most pain I’ve ever experienced, and you want me to get worse?!’
That evening, I couldn’t bare it anymore. My parents took me to the local A&E, where they immediately put me on a drip, and we spoke to a doctor about the possibility of having my appendix out. It took hours for them to come back, but when they did – they told me it wasn’t my appendix at all, but needed to do further tests. It was so worrying! An hour later, they returned saying it was my intestines were inflamed (a vicious side effect of a gluten allergic reaction!)
If you believe you have a gluten intolerance, do not let your doctor just brush you aside, or allow you to think it’s something completely different. Your doctor should do a blood test, as they can now determine an allergy through a blood test. Coeliac disease and gluten intolerance is becoming more frequent now, and doctors have to become aware of this. There is no cure for coeliac disease, apart from a completely gluten-free diet, but if you ignore the allergy, there are serious health implications that can happen later in life.
I will be the first to admit, being completely gluten-free is hard, I miss fresh bread, cakes, being able to have a pizza.. Sometimes I slip up because I wanted that doughnut, or a biscuit and I do suffer from it, but there is a lot of alternatives, and a lot of brands are improving their gluten free range to ensure the taste is just as good.
Eating out can be a little more difficult though, depending where in the world you are from. Here in England, there is a lot of restaurants out there which cater for gluten free.
- Pizza Express
- Las Iguanas
- Gourmet Burger Kitchen
- Frankie & Benny’s
That’s just a few, but if you ask your waiter they can provide a special menu, or talk you through the ones which are gluten-free. You must tell your waiter also whether you have an allergy!
Several supermarkets now stock gluten-free foods, and a lot of foods are naturally gluten-free, but please be careful with certain alcoholic beverages and soft drinks! Mistakes can happen though, we are only human after all, and if you accidentally eat gluten – don’t panic! It won’t have a lasting effect on your body, it will only last up to a few hours, it varies on how much gluten you’ve eaten, and how sensitive your body reacts. Taking the suitable medication such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, even buscopan for cramps helps me, but please consult with your doctor before you take any of these.
To read more on a gluten free lifestyle, check out the official Coeliac UK support.