I've been gluten-free (aside from two accidents, er.. "learning experiences") for 12 days now and am wondering if the stuff I've been experiencing is fairly typical.
Aside from GI symptoms lessening (YAY!) and my skin looking a little better, some things about going gluten-free have not been pleasant. SHEESH! For all the hard work of starting a gluten-free diet, I guess I was expecting rainbows to appear and birds to sing every morning, for crying out loud!
Today I had no appetite at all (I'm 27 and that's the 4th time in my life to have ever lost my appetite) and even less energy. I was in bed most of the day. Also, I used to be able to go to the gym for a couple of hours at a time, but since going gluten-free it's like my body's attention is somewhere else and I'm not able to work out but 30-45 min before I'm ready to pass out and/or throw up. My menstrual cycle's going crazy too (more than usual).
Sorry if any of that's TMI, but I'm feeling not a little lost in this new world and was hoping some of you could clear up some of this confusion I'm feeling. What did you experience after going gluten-free?
The first couple of weeks were great-minus the whole "oh my gosh, I have a disease" aspect. Then I started having accidents a lot. It was really frustrating the first 6 months to year. I was anemic, so I would get tired all the time-any strenuous activity for more than 15 minutes and I'd need a snack (and then another 15 minutes later). I didn't get my period for almost 4 years, and it started within a week of going gluten free. My lymph nodes stopped being swollen all the time. I became lactose intolerant. I got really depressed, then better.
Looking back, the first year of diagnosis really sucked, but I guess we all go through it. Stick in there---After a while your body will heal and being gluten free won't be the big deal it used to be.....
For my first week of gluten-free (i've only been gluten-free for 4 weeks now) I was exhausted but I wasn't eating any carbs then either.... now I've added back rice and potatoes and such and that seems to have upped my energy level some.
I think you have to remind yourself that this is a process, most of us ate gluten for years when we shouldn't have so I feel it will take a while for me to feel totally wonderful again. However for me, the intestional symptoms were so bad that just that alone being better is enough for me. For the past 8 years I swear I've spent half my life in the bathroom. I'm done with that now!!
When first going gluten-free, many people tend to just cut out all the gluten containing foods, not necessarily replacing them with anything. What you're describing, the energy loss, tiredness, etc., is very common for people who cut carbs from their diets. You're not giving your body the easy energy it's used to! Adding to that, with celiac disease, you probably aren't digesting foods very well in first place. You need to give yourself something to replace the breads and such that you are used to feeding your body (especially when exercising) to keep your energy levels up. If you're not interested in simply replacing gluten filled foods with non-gluten replacements (expensive, btw, and not always satisfying) try changing your diet somewhat. Eat more beans of all kinds (beans seem to fill the same nitch that grains do in filling and providing energy.) If you're not interested in low carbing it , you will need to find something your body can use to replace the carbs you are no longer eating.
Maybe there is a forum for people who exercise a great deal that also follow a gluten-free diet that may have menu suggestions or pre, during and post exercise food ideas?
I exercise quite a bit-started right around the time I was diagnosed-and the best thing I've found is white rice and a little olive oil an hour or two before activity, plus some kind of fruit or juice before and/or during. Just being diagnosed, you're probably still very anemic-have you gotten blood tests done at all? Anemia will sap your energy pretty quick. Rice might bug your tummy a bit in the beginning-that's why I always ate it with a little oil. Being freshly diagnosed, you also might not be able to digest fats and complex carbohydrates well either, or tolerate lots of high fiber foods. I know a lot of people who have had success with digestive enzymes (they help your body break down a lot of nutrients and will help with bloating). Hope this helps! Staying active will help you tons with your recovery!
I'm pretty sure I'm not digesting fats well (or much of anything else for that matter). The anemia thing might be something to look into as I've always tended toward that. Lately it seems a lot of things bother my stomach so I either drink water, eat rice or bland veggies.
I ate a metric ton of carbs before (almost always complex tho), so maybe what I'm feeling is, like you said Freya, coming down off of that.
I started taking raw sauerkraut to help put good bacteria back into the system. We'll see what happens...
The most noticeable side effect I experienced was my sugar cravings going through the roof! I have a sweet tooth to begin with. When I cut out all the gluten products (i.e. carbs, bread) my body started to crave sugar like I never have before!
It is most definitely a process. You body has to balance itself out and you have to balance out your diet. It took me almost 6 months before I started to really eat a balanced diet again. I had to force myself to find alternative foods and new favorites. I have to remember to eat a balanced diet.
The other thing that I have found to be the best help is exercise!! Working out helps to flush the system and regulate things. I feel SO differently when I am working out regularly versus when I am not.
I have been gluten-free for a little over a year and I am still learning what works for me. It seems that it is different for each individual. I reccommend cutting out as much as you can and working to re-introduce things one at a time. It's not fun to guess, but after a while you will balance out and be eating and feeling better.
It took me 9 months to actually start feeling better.
Because I was diagnosed in my early 60's, I had been
sick for a long time. Also I stubbornly refused to stop
dairy, I kept trying soy, rice, goat's milk. When I
finally gave up dairy I started to really feel better,
no more joint pain, sinus headaches, foggy head feeling.
Keep at it, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, not
exactly a rainbow but a light. You do feel worse instead
of better in the beginning.
The one resolution, which was in my mind long before it took the form of a resolution, is the key-note of my life. It is this,always to regard as mere impertinences of fate the handicaps which were placed on my life almost at the beginning. I resolved that they should not crush or dwarf my soul, but rather be made to blossom, like Aaron's rod, with flowers-Helen Keller