In high school, ongoing cramps, skin break outs and head aches caused my parents to cut wheat and dairy out of my diet. My mom had been diagnosed with these allergies, so it seemed a good candidate. Towards the end of high school my doctor prescribed the Pill for my irregular periods and bad skin. I’d been on antibiotics many times in my life for colds, ‘flu, tummy bugs and more. I was also put on Prozac for depression. Once I cut out wheat and dairy, my cramps and headaches improved, and so did my moods (although at that time I didn’t connect the mood swings with my diet). For many years I lived only on salad and fruit, and I felt fantastic. My school marks improved, and I had energy.
I lost a lot of weight, which wasn’t really a good thing, but it was a natural side effect of my strict diet. And nothing cured my chocoholism!
When I met my future husband in 1995, things changed. He loved pizza, pies, pasta, coke and coffee. We shared red wine and Italian dinners and a lot of fun. I was young and in love, and felt as if things couldn’t be better.
Gradually, my brain grew foggier and foggier. My waist line expanded, and my face got puffy. I started feeling tired and lethargic. Slowly, I noticed that I was feeling less motivated and more “down in the dumps”. With a personal and family history of mild depression, I didn’t think much of it. I kept fuelling my lifestyle with coffee and chocolate and, having decided that I’d never been truly allergic since I’d never been properly diagnosed, I was merrily consuming every pastry, pasta, bread and cheese known to man.
By the end of 2000 I was regularly bedridden with killer migraines. My lower abdomen looked permanently 6 months pregnant. My husband and I tried to fall pregnant. Coming off the pill had only two effects: irregular periods and severe pain in my lower abdomen. Eventually it was so bad I could hardly walk.
A trip to the doctor led to minor surgery to deal with a lesion on my uterus, the result of either endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, or something else. We were told we’d never fall pregnant, so we stopped trying. Needless to say, a year later we had a gorgeous, completely healthy little girl.
I was exhausted. I could hardly get out of bed, and felt a constant need to sleep. My baby had been sleeping for up to 12 hours a night from a very early age, yet I felt as if I’d been hit by a truck. That’s when I went to a nutritional specialist. She “officially” diagnosed lactose and gluten allergies and advised that I avoid all sugar.
I heard and obeyed. Within two weeks, I had energy, I was upbeat, I could think, and things looked better than ever. Since then, we’ve had another child, and I’ve stayed pretty much gluten-free. However, I remain firmly addicted to chocolate, I battle with migraines, and my skin isn’t very good. So I’ve decided to do something about it, and this is where I’m keeping track of it.