I had to learn this the hard way. After 19 blissful years of being able to eat whatever food I wanted, my stomach decided to revolt against me. I have had stomach aches all of my life (the type that cause you to want to lay facedown and never get up) but I never thought twice about it. I would get a stomach ache every so often but it came in no specific pattern and because it had happened all my life, I thought it was just something normal that happened.
Wow was I wrong. The most important lesson I ever learned is that when something in your body is happening that is abnormal it is a sign that something in your body is not working properly.
When I was 19 I finally made the connection that dairy was causing my stomach aches. I believe that my condition worsened and it was easier to link the dairy to my stomach aches. So I bought some lactose enzyme pills and happily continued to eat dairy for about a year. Then one day I got so sick I wanted to curl up into a ball and die. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life and thinking about it still makes me upset. It felt as though my stomach was ripping out of my body. After that point I decided to give up dairy cold turkey. I never looked back.
A few months later during my junior year of college, I started to get horrible stomach aches again. This time they were a bit different. My stomach would get puffy and it felt as though I had acid in my stomach. It seemed like whatever I ate gave me a stomach ache. After weeks and weeks of research I came across a problem called Celiac Disease. I was convinced I had it. The symptoms matched all of the problems I was having. I decided to give up gluten and schedule an appointment to get tested.
Well it would be nice if the story stopped here with a happy ending. No this was just the start of my problems. I got tested and of course it showed up negative. My doctor was basically telling me she didn’t know what was wrong with me and I felt as though all of these symptoms were just in my head. So I started to eat gluten again.
Another year later I went to a chiropractor because I was having sciatica problems. He noticed some things about me and decided to do a homeopathic test for gluten intolerance. He has me chew a piece of bagel in my mouth then tested my muscle resistance. It was immediately apparent that my body was adversely reacting to gluten. I cried myself to sleep that night because I knew I was in for a long tedious journey.
I stopped eating gluten, and I was still not eating dairy. You can imagine how deprived I felt. It was hard adjusting but each day it got a little bit easier. I even traveled abroad for 3 months and managed to find food to eat. It wasn’t until I got home from my trip that my stomach problems, if you can even imagine, started to get worse. I had a stomach ache everyday. I woke up exhausted. I was extremely emotional and anxious. My stomach was always puffy, making me look like I has gained weight. I was having asthma-like breathing problems. Trouble balancing. Trouble motivating myself/ concentration on anything. Living became a chore.
I finally forced myself to go to a doctor to fix my breathing problem. Somehow the other symptoms did not seem problematic enough/ I didn’t think that they were related to anything in my stomach. I found a great doctor who was a immunologist/allergist who practiced a mix of eastern and western medicine. After 15 minutes of talking to her, she narrowed down my problem. I have Gluten Sensitivity which is similar to Celiac Disease in that gluten causes adverse reactions in your body. My Gluten Sensitivity was causing all of the problems I was having. She also did skin-prick allergy tests on me and discovered that I was allergic to about 10 different foods that were causing reactions in my body as well.
I have been in recovery for about 4 months now and I can’t tell you enough how different I feel. My skin has cleared up, my breathing problems are gone, I feel much more energized, more motivated, more happy, and more balanced.
I spend my days time reading every ingredient label throughly, explaining my condition to people, taking 16 supplements to keep my stomach in balance, and avoiding some of my favorite foods. But it is all worth it because I have gotten my life back. After years of suffering and frustration I finally feel healthy.