Becky was diagnosed with coeliac disease in January 2021, on her 22nd birthday, so she...
Read about Abbie's experience with being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and EoE and how the changes she made to her diet have helped her to feel happier and healthier.
When did you get diagnosed with coeliac disease?
I got diagnosed with coeliac disease in October of 2018 at 20 years old.
How did you feel about the diagnosis?
At first, I was a bit confused. I had none of the symptoms that I thought were 'typical' at the time, for example, bloating and stomach cramps. However, once I had a conversation with my GP and a nutritionist, it really helped and I realised some of my health issues that were being investigated - excessive fatigue and dysphagia (a tendency to choke on food) were related to coeliac disease, it started to make sense. I also got diagnosed with EoE - an allergic inflammatory disease of the oesophagus, which along with coeliac disease, was the cause of my extreme tiredness and choking.
What was your relationship with food like before you were diagnosed with coeliac disease?
My relationship with food pre-diagnosis was pretty good however, towards the later years, I did get anxious whilst eating out in case I would choke on food.
Have you ever felt like you have missed out because of coeliac disease?
Unfortunately yes! You can often feel a burden or that you are dictating where your family or friends eat, which can mean you end up missing out or going without. However, it does get easier, sometimes it takes a bit of extra research and time, but it's worth it to make sure you are comfortable and not missing out.
Did you notice a difference in mood and health after sticking to your gluten-free diet?
I noticed a big difference pretty quickly after implementing a gluten-free diet, especially in my fatigue levels. Pre diagnosis, I used to have to take a nap most days or rely on caffeine just to manage through the whole day. Now I feel as though I have lots of energy.
What does eating "well" mean to you?
Eating well to me is eating things that make you feel good and food that you enjoy. It's about getting a wide variety of colours, flavours and food groups into your diet and experimenting and trying new things.
What's your favourite Juvela product and what do you make with it?
My favourite product is the Juvela pure oats, I love to make baked oats with these - usually with chocolate in the centre!
What advice would you give to your younger self or to a newly diagnosed coeliac about what you now know about coeliac disease and gluten-free foods?
I would tell myself to always read the labels on food packaging - gluten can turn up in the strangest of places! I would tell myself not to hold back when questioning gluten-free procedures in establishments and remind myself coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition - not just someone being fussy!!
And finally, what's your top tip for staying positive?
Focus on the food you can eat and not what you can't, there are so many things that are naturally gluten-free!