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We are what we eat. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. For six long years, I struggled with severe digestive issues and chronic leg swellingaccumulating 20 to 30 pounds of water weight every afternoon. I was pursuing a career in corporate marketing and advertising in New York City at the time, hiding the fact that I felt gross, embarrassed, bloated, foggy-brained, confused and frustrated. At 26 years old, I was working hard and going out on dates with swollen legs and chronic pain, wrapped in spandex and gulping down water pills. Doctors gave me prescriptions for countless pills that didnt work.
Anyone living on a restricted diet has to compensate for the lack of specific nutrients. For people with celiac disease, the added challenge is that years of nutritional malabsorption can precede their diagnosis. It often takes at least three months of taking vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid supplements to build nutrient levels back up. Then the challenge is to maintain healthy vitamin levels. The right nutritional supplements are a vital part of recovering and living a healthy gluten-free life.
A recent study following doctors over 11 years found an 8 percent reduction in overall cancer rates in those who took a regular vitamin and mineral supplement. This makes multi-vitamins one of the cheapest, simplest ways to lower cancer risk.
Ive been living gluten-free and dairy/casein-free for the last five years and I feel a million times better. Im lucky to have supportive friends and family in my journey to optimum healthmostly, that is. Since Ive never been given an official diagnosis, people who first meet me (and if Im being honest, some people Ive known for years) tend to be skeptical that I really have something wrong with me. This is most frustrating at work when Im having lunch with colleagues or potential clients.
For much of her childhood and teen years, Hilary,* now 47, thought she was lazy. While other kids were out riding bikes, she was home napping. She was very bright but it wasnt apparent in her grades. Hilary felt a deep sense of guilt and self-contempt about her chronic underachievement. Im unworthy, shed often find herself subconsciously repeating. Sometimes: Why am I even alive?