I hope you don't mind me posting this.
I am so pleased to have found this website. Reading this website has made me feel quite lucky compared to others. After a few weeks of symptoms in late autumn last year, following tests which were inconclusive, my GP advised me to avoid gluten in my diet and considered that I was likely to be gluten intolerant rather than coeliac. I am 60 years old and looking back I had symptoms from my early 20s. As I got older these symptoms became more regular and in November I felt awful and could not shake them off like I had in the past by not eating bread or anything with flour and over- the- counter remedies. Besides I had developed new symptoms since the spring like stomach cramps and other digestive problems which are probably familiar to most readers. Over the last few years I had virtually cut bread out of my diet but not flour. I still don’t know why I had non-stop symptoms last year – it is a mystery to me but it prompted me to look at what made me feel ill. I have read that stress can exacerbate this condition and I have had a lot of stress in the last 10 years.
So I have tried to be gluten free since the second week of December. I cannot tell you how much better I feel. Earlier last year after suffering from all sorts of aches and pains I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have always been physically active and despite this diagnosis I continued cycling and swimming every day. But guess what - those symptoms have disappeared since I stopped eating gluten. I have more energy and more agile and supple like I used to be. I was beginning to think that the aches and pains were all part of the ageing process so now these ailments have disappeared it is such a relief to me as it has improved my quality of life. I can now pick up things off the floor without groaning, walk without aching and run up the stairs again!
During the last few weeks I have been hungry for information about my condition so have pored over different sites to chase up articles and advice, particularly about what I can eat. Some of the USA sites provide very good general information about gluten intolerance but as the food advice is obviously related to USA standards I get confused. One of the things that really confuses me is what is gluten free. I never seem to get a straight answer. For example, five weeks into a gluten free diet I have suddenly found I cannot now eat bacon. Some sites say it is okay to eat bacon others say it is not. The same thing has happened to me with cheddar cheese. I think I am intolerant to this now. Information from some of the sites suggests once gluten is excluded from your diet you may discover other intolerances which may not be gluten related. It is difficult to know whether these products have gluten in or I am actually intolerant to something else.
In many ways being gluten free has not changed my diet too much as most of the stuff our family eat is made from fresh vegetables, fruit and meat from our local butcher (I don’t eat much fish). But we have found managing the hidden gluten a problem and a bit overwhelmed about searching for the offending ingredients, particularly as some products are not labelled eg the bacon and cheese we purchased came in unlabelled packets. Also none of us in our family like the gluten free pasta, flour or bread and other products. We have tried several brands. The bread is not a problem because the others eat ordinary stuff and I have got so used to not eating it anyway. We don’t eat biscuits and cakes except on special occasions but look forward to experimenting with new recipes. Thank you for the info on Gluten Free for Dummies book – will try and get that asap. It is exactly that sort of information that is so helpful on this site. Plus the different experiences and answers to questions have been reassuring, informative and put my little problems in perspective! I was finding it difficult to access information and the format of the website has to a greater extent solved this problem as most of the information I need is in one place, or I am re-directed to the right place. So many of my questions which I thought were trivial or silly have been answered. Thank you!