I was diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago this month, and since then I have had to make a lot of changes in my life to limit my exposure to gluten and heal my body. Once I got my diagnosis, I immediately started researching what products and foods contain gluten, and side effects of celiac disease. I have learned a lot over the past three years, and some of it,I don’t see other people talk about, so I thought I would share some of the surprising things I’ve learned. Here are 9 surprising things I’ve learned since my celiac diagnosis.
Makeup. I didn’t know that makeup had gluten in it when I first got my diagnosis. Once I discovered that, I looked at all of my products, and realized that almost every single product I had contained gluten. I don’t wear much makeup, but I do enjoy experimenting with it, and it was hard to discover that I couldn’t wear almost all of the makeup that I had saved up to buy. I have since switched to completely gluten-free products, ELF, Bare Minerals, Tarte, and Pacifica are some of my favorite brands. I believe that Bare Minerals and Pacifica sell products that have gluten in them, so I always check the ingredients before buying them.
Hygiene products. Just like makeup, I was surprised to discover that my hygiene products had gluten in them. Especially my hair products, a lot of the ones that I used had hydrolyzed wheat protein. I spend more on hair care products than I used too, but a lot of the products I use last me a long time.
Skincare. A lot of skincare products contain gluten. Using products with gluten causes me to get rashes, so I immediately switched out my skincare products. The Ordinary and Pacifica are my favorite skincare brands. Pacifica does use a lot of fragrance in their skincare products, and because I have acne prone skin, the only skincare product I use from them is a moisturizer.
Household products. This was the weirdest change I had to make, I never would have thought that I would have to find gluten-free cleaning solutions, dish soap, laundry soap, and anything else that I use for cleaning. I’m also very sensitive to chemicals, partially because I have bad allergies. So, I had to find household products that were budget friendly, gluten-free and not completely full of bad chemicals. My favorite brand to use is Seventh Generation. I love their lavender laundry soap, and dish soap. I’m not the biggest fan of their multi-purpose cleaners, because the scents tend to be very strong, but they do clean things really well.
Diet. This is an obvious thing that I had to change, but I didn’t expect to have to change so much about my diet. Along with going completely gluten-free, I went almost entirely dairy-free.I discovered that there were a lot of foods that I had a hard time eating because my digestion was so bad. I couldn’t really eat eggs, meat, starches, or hard to digest vegetables. Now that I’ve been gluten-free for three years, my digestion has gotten a lot better and I’ve been able to reintroduce all of those things, but even now I can’t eat much of them.
Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Something that I never see anyone talk about is how hard it is for your body to heal from celiac disease. When I first got my diagnosis, I had a calcium, iron,magnesium, and vitamin d deficiency. I took a lot of vitamins and probiotics, and ate all of the right foods to fix those deficiencies and help my body heal. It was a tough process because a lot of those supplements made me feel sick when taking them, but they helped a lot .
Eating before you hang out with other people. This one is so important for anyone with celiac disease. I always make sure I eat before I go to hang out with people just in case I can’t eat where they want to. I always feel like a burden when I have to insist that we find a place with gluten-free options, so it’s just easier to go where everyone else wants to go and just get a drink.
Bringing snacks with you. If I plan on being away from home for more than a couple hours, I always bring something to eat. A lot of times I just bring a couple of granola bars, or if I’m working, I’ll pack a full lunch. That way I never end up hungry anywhere.
You can feel isolated. I would’ve never thought that having dietary issues could be so isolating. Food brings people together, and it’s hard when you’re sitting at a table with other people, surrounded by food and being unable to eat anything. It makes you feel like you’re missing out. It’s also hard when you want to go out to a restaurant with people, and you have to try and find something that suits your needs, but also sounds good to the people that you’re with.
At the end of the day, all of these changes were very hard to make, but they are so worth it because I feel so much better. I’m not in pain all of the time, or too tired to do anything. I am still not able to do as much as I want to, but I am so grateful that I am able to do even half the things that I do now. Celiac disease has kept me from truly living for most of my life, but now I get to enjoy my 20’s, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do without my diagnosis.I don’t know if I’ll ever be the healthiest, most energetic person, but I finally feel like I am not being held back by an illness all of the time.