Why being gluten free sucks

Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

So I feel like it’s time to tell y’all about how much it sucks to have to stick to a gluten free diet. The first thing to note is that I’m not a snowflake millennial (well, at least not when it comes to my diet anyway), I have an illness called coeliac disease (pronounced see-lee-ack); if you don’t know what it is, go Google it. The only way to treat the illness is not to eat gluten.

Gluten: a brief fact file

If you don’t know, gluten is in pretty much everything. It just the more obvious things like cakes, bread & biscuits, but even in things like Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, some chocolates (I had a sad moment at Christmas when I discovered that my Lindor chocolates that had been gifted to me contained barley malt flavouring, meaning they contained gluten 🤦🏼‍♂️).

The only reason I discovered I had coeliac disease was that I gradually felt more and more and more tired over a period of about 2 and a half years. I can only say this with the benefit of hindsight, of course; at the time, I didn’t really know why I was feeling the way I was feeling, which (as I’m sure you can appreciate) was rather upsetting. Not upsetting like “Boo hoo, woe is me” upsetting, but rather a slightly nagging thought at the back of my mind that I dwelt on a lot in the quiet moments.

Thankfully (after a calling up my GP about an ear infection – another illness I’m rather familiar with, sadly), I was told that I had tested positive in some recent blood tests for having coeliac disease. That moment was the beginning of a sequence of events that began to snowball: testing positive for coeliac disease, realising my illness (and consequent lethargy & brain-fog) was hindering my performance at work, quitting my job, moving back in with my parents at home, lying around all day feeling naff, deciding I needed to do something with my time so buying old Amstrad CPC 464’s to repair/refurbish and sell for a profit (that’s still a work in progress), deciding to progress my career by applying to do the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law etc etc etc…

Where I am now

I’m now at a point where I am beginning to feel a great deal better, perhaps even the best I’ve felt in the past 3-4 years; I’m beginning to feel like I’m not just dragging around 11 stone of lifeless flesh anymore (it’s 13 stone these days, but who’s counting?), but rather that I’m feeling far more awake every day and more able to do what I’ve always enjoyed doing, including working & being productive!

There is still the issue of people not thinking about my dietary requirements, particularly when I’m at uni and the only gluten free food that’s available is baked potatoes *smh*.

The effects of being gluten free (or rather, the precursor to being so)

The main issue with not being gluten free – particularly with when you’re not being gluten free and ought to be – is that the consequent effects are that you feel overwhelming lethargy, brain fog, heightened levels of anxiousness, a sense of feeling lost & unsure of your life’s trajectory as well as a physical feeling of being a bit 💩.

However, most of that is now gone. Thankfully, I’m now feeling sufficiently well that I’m beginning to function more like a normal person would. That said, there are a few occasions when the old synapses that were formed under poorer health still take effect, particularly when it comes to anything that might prompt someone to be anxious, such as a high workload (which is a given when you’re doing a course as intense as the LPC).

Anyway, I think that’s enough for now.

N.

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