Celiac Discovery: Regaining My Health and Well-Being
chronic condition | food tracking
At 25 years old, Katrina was overweight and at risk for Type 2 diabetes. She has dietary restrictions for a long time and even started running and did yoga, but she was still very sick. In the talk, she discusses about how she regained her health, as well, as her well-being.
About seven years ago I lived in San Francisco. I was a grad student. I hung out with my dog. I did yoga. I supported local business. I was a general hippy. I was a grad student, which also meant I was poor and in order to get friends and gain friends I had to feed them. so my friends were vegan, vegetarian, Pescatarian, celiac. Some of them hated peppers, some of them loved them. There was a whole bunch of people that came to my house and I wasn’t going to just dump raw vegetables in front of them so I had to figure it out.
I wasn’t too intolerance of any sort, I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, so I had been kind of dealing with dietary restrictions for a long time and I still managed to keep friends, so that’s a good thing.
I also started running. This was kind of an effort to bring my energetic dog down in excitement, but also to hang out with my friends and I started running my first marathon. Regardless of all this I was actually still very sick. At one point I had respiratory infection on and off for six months, regardless of what I did. I was eating majorly vegan. I would take over 2 to 4 weeks of something that my partner took two days to get over. Then chop it forward about four years and I’m still relatively sick.
I’ve hit a plateau in my training and I can’t go faster, I can’t go further no matter what I do. I don’t have a respiratory infection, but there is still something wrong.
I had a relatively unromantic conversation with my partner about digestive health, and I come to realize that mine is not normal. Not only is it not normal, but I have symptoms of something, gluten intolerance and I had no idea of what this was. I thought it was just lactose intolerance.
So I started looking into this to understand the differences between what is a lactose intolerance and a gluten intolerance, and how do you figure it out specifically, through something like an elimination diet, and how do you go about figuring this out, what’s involved, what do you have to do, and what’s gluten.
And then we got into my idea of what is gluten. It’s more than pasta, and it’s more than bread, like I could not eat like a premade hamburger because they use flour as a binding agent. Sauces have flour in them. It’s everywhere.
So I put my Monday face on which was great. I love bread but I was like fine, I’m going to start this and I’m going to do this elimination diet, and I’m going to see if this gets me any better.
And this is generally how I did it, and basically that’s how excited I was. I was not very excited.
So the first thing was that I have to do research, and there was a lot of research to do because if you have searched for an elimination diet there’s so many fads out there. Gwyneth Paltrow really really likes to say what an elimination diet is, but that’s code for cut out everything. You like strawberries? Get rid of them. Tomatoes get rid of them, wheat. Anything anyone can ever be allergic to, get rid of it.
But, I am also a researcher, so I wanted to figure out the method behind it. So I figured out what was right and what was wrong and it started, in which case I was just eliminating wheat and all forms of it.
I started by measuring my weight, my bloating, and my mood and two of those are subjective, but they were a big part of that experience for me. I would eat and feel like I just ate Thanksgiving dinner.
So what you see here is my bloating, and which is really sexy I know and I saw an immediate drop. I could eat something and I didn’t feel like I ate Thanksgiving dinner, which I had thought for 25 years is what everyone felt.
I had this weird blip in the middle, and I went back because I felt horrible. I went back and I was like, arghh, there was wheat in something I ate and I it was immediate effect and it was eye opening, but I still persevered until I stopped eating wheat.
And then I started looking at my mood as well, and realized I was generally a happy person. I mean who does yoga that is not happy. But I persevered more and it was a lot harder to on my nerves and I don’t yell that much but I would raise my voice less, and this also coincided with that blip. The day that I was bloated I woke up and felt like crap, I hate this and I yelled more at my yoga people.
The other thing I used was weight and while this wasn’t an immediate drop like a lot of people who go through an elimination diet are going for, I did see a change. I am five-four, which you can tell I’m very tall, and I went from 160 pounds to 157. And regardless of all this in an elimination diet you have got to introduce wheat. I was excited and I got Signore's pizza and the sunset , it was pesto pineapple, sat down and about 10 minutes in. I was really upset. I felt horrible. I immediately bloated to the highest point I ever felt. I looked like I gained 10 pounds in a matter of 10 minutes. I felt like crap, and the next day I gained 2 pounds in two days. In one day I gained two whole pounds and I was just pissed. But still in true elimination diet form, I had to eliminate it, and I had to bring it back. Because researchers you have got to repeat your results, so I did, two more times and I got the same results. So much so that I would lose weight and I would gain a lot of it back, and you can see that jump up that I started doing.
So what did I learn from this, was the obvious. I had a gluten intolerance and I later learned I didn’t just have a gluten intolerance, I had coeliac. You could fry potatoes in oil that has like some other flour in it, and I would do the same thing. I love nachos and it sucks. But the other thing I got from it was my weight. I was so used to fluctuations, I would gain 4 pounds in a day and lose some of it the next day. And all of a sudden I got consistency as you could see. That last little blip you can ask me what I learned, but I kept seeing it.
The other thing was that I was looking in my research and I found with the help of a friend of mine, blood sugar relating to people with the wheat intolerance and I started measuring my and it was registering in the hundreds in the morning. And I talked to a doctor, and he basically told me Katy, if you hadn’t have figured this out we would have diagnosed you as type II diabetes in your 30s.
I was a vegan runner, and like that was insane to me. But I figured it out and right now I registered in the low 90s every morning, but it’s still a battle. I am also not sick every 20 seconds, which is awesome. Especially when you are a runner, a respiratory infection is a little difficult. But the last time I had a cold was about a year ago and I had it like for four days and it was fine. It wasn’t very exciting.
I’ve also seen changes in my endurance. I run and I play roller derby and I actually see progress in what I do. I have more endurance, I can go further, I’m gaining time. It’s amazing. And my knees don’t act like they belong to an 80-year-old man, which is great.
The other thing is my mood again, I was generally a happy person, but it was a lot harder and I had a lot of patients with annoying clients, and just generally a happier mood in the morning when I woke up because I felt better.
So that’s Vasley, and he’s adorable and that’s how I regained not only my current health but my future health and my general well-being back with a simple elimination diet. But I’m still continuing and still learning a lot.