Beth’s Gluten-Free Story

In the summer of 2002, just as I was preparing to begin my freshman year of college, I contracted a virus that never seemed to go away. After the high fever subsided, my energy levels and brain function seemed to worsen by the day.  The crushing fatigue and brain fog eventually became so debilitating I could no longer write an email or get out of bed without medication. I also developed severe muscle, joint, and nerve pain made worse by my lack of physical activity. I had no choice but to leave school, and over the next two years, I saw every specialist we could find to try to solve this puzzle. Unfortunately, without any conclusive test results, I was told multiple times that I was either not sick or more likely “just depressed.”

In early 2007, my younger sister was struggling with severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Her classic symptoms of Celiac Disease and her subsequent diagnosis eventually solved my health mystery, too. Due to my lack of GI symptoms, no one thought gluten could be the culprit. After nearly five years of misery and uncertainty, we had our answer.

Since going gluten-free in 2007, my life has been a whirlwind.

I graduated from college,

College

secured a full-time job as a social worker,

work

got married,

married

and had a baby.

baby

Through trial and error, I have learned lots of lessons about gluten-free college life, dating, workplace etiquette, wedding planning, and pregnancy. Now, as the mother of a three year-old with his own food intolerances, I am enmeshed in the world of preschool and play dates, and I am learning how to balance our food restrictions with letting my son enjoy his childhood.

Gluten-free living is not always easy and it is certainly not convenient. I am still learning its nuances. I still make mistakes and get glutened from time to time. I still have to put in the effort every day, but it is all worth it because going gluten-free saved my life.

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