It's got to be coeliac
You are tired. All the time. Your stomach hurts. All the time.
I must have a gluten intolerance
You go to your GP. Even though you don't want to, because everyone knows the GPs know nothing about nutrition. Far less than the average person, even. And You know far more than all average people put together.
Which let's face it, is a big part of the problem.
So maybe your GP sends you to a consultant. Because the constant bloating and pain and inability to eat are really affecting you now. Physically and mentally.
But the test results are weird.
There is definite damage to your intestines. Inflamation is obvious. Reasons for the pain and discomfort are more than apparent.
Well actually, yes. The blood test for ceoalic disease was negative. Which confused my consultant.
But people simply don't display symptoms like this out of nowhere. The blood test could be inaccurate. So you are advised to follow a special diet for a few months. To come back again for retesting.
Which of course you can't do. We both know that. Because if you don't follow your strict beliefs about food then you will definitely die, right? This doctor is wrong. Your diet is perfect. It could never have hurt you.
If this rings true, then far be it from me to persuade you otherwise . But let me suggest some things for you to also bear in mind:
I receive hundreds of emails from women who tell me they have these symptoms. I had them myself for many years. Who, like me, haven't and couldn't be entirely honest with their doctors...
Doctors are very clever people. They train for years. Sadly none of their specialist training includes mind reading. Which is generally why they cannot understand how a persons insides would be in this state. Or why stomach pains and bloating would be an issue.
Because they don't know to look out for Orthorexia Nervosa. They don't know that an Orthorexic person eats such small amounts of food that their digestion becomes chronically weak from sheer underuse.
They don't know that you have less than 10 foods you deem safe to eat. Not meals. Actual pieces of food. Half of these will be raw vegetables. The rest will be humus, glued free tortilla chips, peanut butter and bananas. That you use these 10 foods in any form you can for all your daily meals. That you have done for years. And that because you've eaten these 10 things almost exclusively for this long? Your body is now intolerant to them. Which contributes massively to your digestive discomfort.
You know that your doctor will tell you to stop eating raw vegetables because they are so hard to digest. You can't tell this person, this medical professional, this stranger, that it's impossible for you to do that because you fear you may actually die if you don't eat salad at least twice a day.
Your doctor doesn't understand that you are so phobic, so physically afraid of food that you will routinely experience an actual stress response during eating, full-on anxiety attacks after eating, producing huge amounts of adrenalin. All things that makes us feel incredibly unwell around food.
So much so that your body believes it is in extreme danger every time you consume anything. If that doesn't f*ck with digestion? Then I don't know what does.
Like I said. I can't tell you what to do.
I'm also saying that this could well be the reason you are still feeling completely physically sh*t, even after cutting out gluten. Because you should be fine now, right?
And you aren't, are you?
I'm going to guess that salad is painful to eat. Along with the juices and smoothies you still insist on having
I'm going to guess that exhaustion is a constant, but sleep is incredibly light and not satisfying.
That anxiety is something you deal with daily.
That you cannot ever be spontaneous, because you can never do anything without eating first, otherwise you will have no energy to do whatever it is you may need to do.
That when it is time to eat you experience such an overwhelming feeling of total despair that you wish you could live without eating at all.
I think it may be worth you asking yourself if all of this deception is really worth it. Aren't you tired? Tired of constantly feeling crap. Of being the only authority when it comes to food and health?
Wouldn't it be nice just to confess it all? Let it out? Allow the people who are trained to heal us actually do their job? Equipped with all salient facts we can give them?
Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of this fight. Release control. Stop living in the prison you have made out of food.
If you aren't? Then that's okay. At least now you know you aren't alone.
If you are? Then now is as good a time to start being truthful about the real cause of that stomach ache as any.
(Next time I'll be talking about alcohol and food abuse, if you are a woman and you live in the U.K. & your digestion is f*cked even though you don't have food phobias then I would definitely recommend you give it a few moments of your time...)