You Are What You Eat
“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” (Ann Wigmore). I ate like everyone for thirty years, and suddenly my doctor announced that I have to change my entire way of cooking and eating. What surprising news! Coeliac disease, which has developed for many reasons, may have a profound influence on our lifestyle. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by the intolerance to gluten, which is a protein found mainly in wheat. The body does not keep the vitamins it ingests and this creates a nutritional deficiency. The only way to manage the disease is a strict gluten-free diet for life. Coeliac disease considerably affected my life, causing me to start a restrictive diet, and therefore to change all my food habits and to introduce the disease to my relatives.
The first effect of the disease on my health was severe anemia. My body was not able to store the vitamins of my food. It caused fatigue and difficulty in concentrating on what I was doing at work, especially after having lunch. Daily, it was really difficult to deal with. I slept more and more, and nothing changed. I often wondered what was wrong with me. In addition, I also had weight problems, mainly due to water retention. When my doctor told me the test results, I felt relieved that finally someone had found what was happening. However, the diet of course, scared me a little. This diet seemed to be unfair to me at the beginning. On the other hand, it was definitely the time to get back to a better state of health not to have more serious consequences on my body.
Full of motivation, I started to read books and information on the Internet to know everything about my new restrictive diet. Initially, that was very challenging. I learned fast that gluten was present in all the food I was used to eating. Nevertheless, I was not surprised that all the products made of wheat flour like bread, baked goods, pasta, pizza and cereals were on my black list, but I never realized that we can find wheat flour in almost all processed food, in chocolate, sauces, bouillon cubes, soy or even ice-cream. Therefore, I started losing time at the grocery store because I had to read meticulously every label behind each and single wrapping. What a tedious task! Nevertheless, I always stayed positive thinking about everything I could eat, instead of thinking about what I could not. In addition, nowadays fortunately, there are substitutes to the basic foodstuffs. Furthermore, more and more restaurants offer a gluten free menu that is really pleasant.
The reaction of my relatives was also a stage. People usually banalize this controversial disease. First denying the real effects of the disease, they thought if I were tired, I should sleep more. After their initial skepticism, they showed some interest, especially when they had to think about what they could cook when I was invited to eat. Afterwards, they showed a real interest, asking me questions about the improvements I felt after having started the diet. They asked me advice regarding what to buy and cook in a healthier way. It finally brought changes in their lives too because now they pay more intention to what they buy and proceed occasionally to some of the same restrictions as me.
Coeliac disease is a controversial disease with serious consequences. It demands a strict diet which gives immediate results. Satisfied with the result of this radical change in my lifestyle, I have now less fatigue and more energy. I have realized that eating in an appropriate way to repair my body is rewarding. Furthermore, as this disease is increasing worldwide and gluten can become poisonous for some, it is crucial that people become aware of what they eat and take care of their nutrition. I hope the food companies will go on to provide more and more gluten free food to offer more choices to those living with this disease.