Monday, June 29, 2015

Six Years of Gluten Free Life

This is something I've been thinking about off and on for awhile now.

Back when we first found out I had celiac, I remember reading that some people can heal in 6 months, but others can take 1, 2, or even more years to fully heal. At the time, I felt so much better in such a short time that I was sure it wouldn't take long at all- I would be one of those who was healed in 6 months. I'm glad I didn't know back then just how long the healing process would be for me.

Last month I hit my 6 year anniversary of being gluten free, and as I look back I can see how much my health has improved, but at the same time, I can still see room for improvement.

The last 6 years have been like driving on hilly roads- up, down, up, down, up, down. I go through periods where I'm feeling good and making progress, but I also go through periods where it seems that everything I eat gives me problems and I don't feel good. And then I swing back to feeling better again.

A lot of this has to do with how I eat. Just gluten free isn't enough. GAPS made a huge difference, but it's not something I can do long term (nor is it meant to be), though I know I would benefit from doing it again. That'll have to wait till I'm no longer pregnant. Pregnancy and GAPS food do not agree with me.

The paleo diet mostly works for me, though I have to keep the nuts and coconuts to a minimum (a lot of paleo recipes call for nuts, nut flours, coconut milk, coconut flour, etc), and I'm tolerating dairy pretty well right now, so I do eat some dairy. I've also been eating small amounts of rice and potatoes for the carbs, but corn is problematic right now.

Even with the food issues I still deal with and the subsequent unresolved health issues, I really have come so far. I've been able to get pregnant (and stay pregnant) twice, and was able to breastfeed River with much more success than I did Sunshine in my pre-gluten free days. I have the energy to do hard things, like run half marathons and build patios and treehouses. I have the energy to keep up our kiddos during the day and work on projects after they're in bed. Maybe not so much right now, but I'm also 37 weeks pregnant, so my energy levels are suffering anyway :)

I still have to rest and take breaks, but I'm functioning on a much higher level than I used to. Pre-gluten free I was lucky to make it through the day and get dinner made. By the time dinner was done (or earlier), I was done.

Mentally I'm doing a lot better as well. The fuzzy brain is mostly gone and I remember things a lot better. I still forget a lot of things, but I cope with it a lot better (I write a lot of lists). My anxiety levels are only an issue when I'm eating things that don't agree with me (which is one of the sure signs that my food is off).

Sometimes it's easier to see how far I still need to go, but that just gets discouraging, so instead I try to focus on the progress I've made. I really have come a long way...

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