So life has been a crazy whirlwind the past few months, and is honest completely different from what it was a few months ago. I got a lot of questions after I posted a picture on Instagram about testing out a gluten-free, lactose-free, and egg-free waffle recipe, and how I could not survive this “overwhelming change” without Pinterest’s help. The messages flooded in about why I was eating this way, and the changes that I have been going through. I discussed it a little bit on my Instagram story a while back, but thought I would formally write a blog post on it to answer your guys’ questions.
As many of you might know, I have had a peanut allergy for years now. I carry an EpiPen with me everywhere I go, and am always cautious about what I am eating and asking questions about what is in food. This past August/September time, I started feeling really sick after every time I ate. I remember Austin saying something about how it seemed like I felt sick after eating almost everything (he was so right about this, and will make more sense later in the story).
I realized that one of the things that was bothering me was eggs. It did not matter if these eggs were plain (such as scrambled) or cooked into items like cookies or brownies, I would always get sick. I remember as a kid I never felt great after having eggs, but thought it was just because they were not cooked fully…not because my body did not like them. But, now my reaction to eggs seemed much much worse… and strangely sudden. But, that was not the only thing bothering me. I decided to cutout eggs completely from my diet to see how I felt. But, I was still feeling sick after eating certain things. I was not feeling the same exact way that I did after having eggs, but still was feeling very sick. I narrowed it down to dairy products. Yup, that’s right. I cutout all dairy products from my diet. This meant no more skim milk lattes or ice cream dates with Austin.
I decided to cut these two things out of my diet because of how sick they were making me feel, and because it was such a long time until I could get into the doctor to see what the heck my body was doing. But, after cutting these two things out of my diet, I started feeling quite a bit better. But, I still noticed not feeling good even after having things that were dairy-free and egg-free. This whole process has forced me to learn to listen to my body and how it feels, and it was still not feeling well but, I did not know why.
Finally, in November there was an opening to see a doctor about what had been going on. I explained everything to her (I brought detailed notes lol), and she had an idea of what was going on. She said that the way my body was reacting to dairy products sounded like a lactose intolerance. She set up a lactose breath test for me a few weeks after that appointment. Next, she said that a few ways that my body was reacting after having eggs sounded a little more like an egg allergy than just an egg intolerance. So, she sent an appointment up for me with an allergist. Finally, she decided to order a blood test for me to get tested for Celiac Disease as well. At this time Celiac Disease was not even on my radar, and just thought that they like to test this when people seem to have food related allergies or intolerances.
So that day after that appointment I got my blood taken (which is probably my least favorite thing ever and makes me feel so anxious, so I am not ashamed to admit that I had my mom hold my hand… thanks mom you are the very best!). During the second week of December I was able to get in for my lactose breath test. This test was three hours long and consisted of me drinking a lactose solution and breathing into balloons, so they could test how well my lactase enzyme broke down the lactose protein. I waited about a week for those results, and it came back positive…confirming that I am in fact lactose intolerant. Next, I had an appointment with my allergist who performed a prick test on my back. I could share the picture of that test, but it is kind of gross and a weird thing to show here on my fashion blog (haha). But, it showed that I was not allergic to eggs, which meant my reaction to eggs is an intolerance. This is good news cause an egg allergy would be stressful to handle.
I did find out through that test that I am allergic to dogs (why couldn’t it be cats), a certain kind of dust mite, a certain kind of mold, and pretty much everything outside (including the kind of grass and tree in my lawn at home). My allergist encouraged me to think about doing allergy shots to help with all of those allergies, which I am currently considering.
So I am lactose intolerant and egg intolerant. That is enough change for one year isn’t it? Nope. The first week of December (before my egg and lactose tests) I got my blood test results back which showed my levels were extremely elevated indicating that I have Celiac Disease. What. I did not think that was possible and just thought that we were testing it to rule it out or that it was some kind of protocol. But, I got a quick phone call that day telling me that I most likely have a life changing disease that at that time I did not fully understand. Although the blood results showed that Celiac was pretty much a sure thing, they have to do a biopsy to prove it. We had set up that procedure for early January. At this point of the phone call and the days to follow, I was so overwhelmed with the news and honestly I was so down. I was so frustrated as to why this was happening to me, and all at once. It was hard for me to wrap my head around having a disease, but its symptoms made so much sense. It also made more sense as to why I was feeling so sick after eating most things (like my wise boyfriend pointed out).
In the first week of January I had my biopsy. After the procedure, my doctor said that it looked like Celiac Disease (but they would have to wait for results to confirm it), and that my stomach was rather inflamed. Of course this made me and my family nervous because of my sister’s history. If you are not familiar with my sister’s story, she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which lead her to get extremely sick having to be in the hospital for months. I know she was nervous to hear the results of my test because she does not want anyone to have to go through what she went through. But, the results came back okay with my stomach, but confirmed that I do in fact have Celiac Disease.
If you do not understand Celiac Disease, it is an autoimmune disease where the small intestine is damaged from the protein gluten. Overtime it can cause many problems throughout the body including not allowing your body to absorb the nutrients it needs. To help ease symptoms and the healing of the small intestine, a strict gluten-free diet is necessary. This means no contamination of any kind. Other, more uncommon symptoms, of Celiac Disease that I have include Asthma, chills, migraines, trouble sleeping, skin conditions, and even brittle nails. It makes more sense as to why some of those things are happening because they are connected to being Celiac.
Wow, that was a long story, but I wanted to tell you all this in detail. This is mostly because I am not not eating lactose/dairy or eggs for fun but because I have intolerances to them and they make me so sick. I am not not eating gluten because of the current fad and trends around being gluten-free. I am not eating gluten because I have a disease, it is damaging my body in more ways than one, and it makes me feel very sick as well. People get confused when I say “I can’t have” something, but I promise if I could eat that Hawaiian pizza or that long-john donut I would. Trust me I would eat all of that pizza and four of those donuts.
This change has been very hard for me, and makes my life a lot more complicated. Although I cannot spontaneously grab tacos with Austin anymore or have that piece of pumpkin bread with my iced caramel macchiato, I feel so much better eating this new way. I do miss being able to have those delicious foods, but my body does not miss them one bit. I have also learned so much about my body, health, and food through this process that I am so thankful for. Although I am no expert at all this change yet, and that I am still rather overwhelmed, I feel much more comfortable and at peace with it all.
I hope this answers all of your guys’ questions that you sent me, and that you understand why I am eating the way I am. If you guys want me to do any posts about what I eat now, or some of my favorite meals definitely let me know in the comments or leave me a message through email or Instagram! I would love to share my new-found love for finding good foods to eat.
Thanks for stopping by, Lovely!!
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Thank you to my mom for taking these pictures, and being the best and mot helpful guide through all these changes! I could not be handling this without you!