This is something that I haven’t shared with many people yet. Perhaps because I haven’t been quite ready to accept it myself. It has taken time to process this change and respect the ripple effect it has had on how I see myself. Once I put this ‘out there’ it will be inextricably linked with my identity out in the world and with you, my wonderful readers. It will be real. And that’s scary.
In the months following my daughters birth last fall, something just wasn’t quite right. Had she been my first baby, I might not have picked up on it, but luckily she wasn’t and I did.
As an exclusively breastfed baby, she was having an unusual level of gas, discomfort and elimination issues and so I started to look at my diet for triggers – as many breastfeeding moms have had to do. Dairy and highly acidic foods like orange juice were pretty easy to figure out, but there was something I was still missing.
Then my pediatrician said something that grabbed my attention. “Your baby won’t have issues from foods through your milk unless you have issues with the food.”
In the sleep-deprived haze of baby-mamahood, I had been so focused on the baby’s well being and comfort that I had completely disregarded or dismissed what had been going on with my body during that time. About 2 months post partum, I tuned into the fact that I was having some major GI issues and that, perhaps, there was a message from my body in this. (Hello? This is what I’m ALWAYS telling my clients!)
I started reading about Gluten and the wide-ranging symptoms that an intolerance to it could present. Even though my daughter and I were experiencing very different symptoms, they both fit the profile. And, I read that if I wasn’t breaking down the gluten protein properly in my body, the whole protein could show up in my milk for her.
Without any other information to substantiate this theory, I decided to just try it out and see. Within 2 days of giving up gluten, there was a noticeable change in both my symptoms and my daughter’s. I kept this up for over a week, all the time feeling better and better.
Then, I started to second guess it. My doctor didn’t seem to believe we had an issue other than my daughter being young and having an immature digestive system. And I wanted to believe the same – that she could grow out of it and so could I. So, I reintroduced wheat and gluten for one day. It took less than 12 hours for my symptoms to return and 24 hours for hers. The evidence was hard to ignore. And yet I tested it again at least 1 or 2 more times before being totally convinced.
The thing is – I have tested myself for gluten intolerance many times over the years – each time I do a Spring or Fall Detox, which includes an elimination diet, and had never noticed a difference in how I felt. But that’s the thing about dietary intolerance – it can change over the course of a lifetime, many times. In the case of gluten intolerance, it can often be triggered by a stressful ‘life event’ like, say, a car accident or childbirth.
And so, here I am, a Holistic Health Coach who has been working with clients for 6 years on food relationship and body intuition, now saying for the first time, “I’m Gluten Intolerant.”
This title changes how I see myself both as a woman and in my profession. And I found myself resisting it. Not because I’ve found eating gluten-free to be all that difficult (I’m really LOVING all the delicious new foods I’m inspired to make) but because of how wearing this label made me feel. It was different. And now, I was different. And different can be scary.
(to be continued)
Curious about whether changing your diet could have a significant impact on your health? Doing the elimination diet as part of the Spring Detox is a great way to find out!