When I was first diagnosed with endometriosis, the uncertainty of the disease had brought on possibilities of an even scarier diagnosis, the big C; and before anything had been confirmed I decided to do the best I could on my own to better myself, and the world around me, and for that it was switching to a Vegan lifestyle.
Within the first few months my body began responding horribly, I always had stomach issues, I couldn't put pressure on my stomach without feeling pain, and every single time I ate it felt like glass was inside of my stomach, slowly expanding like a balloon that would eventually even make breathing difficult, with this also came nausea and a lack of appetite for the next few days.
Every meal was a punishment, that is until I found out I was highly allergic to Soy and since most of my vegan diet consisted of tofu and other soy products no wonder I was slowly poisoning myself. (When you force your body to eat anything it cannot tolerate you slowly damage the walls of your intestine, creating inflammatory bowl disease issues, as well as extreme malabsorption). Slowly but surely I adapted to this more difficult lifestyle, trying to keep my ethics (which were at the time dominating every feeling I had for my lifestyle) at the highest while still nourishing my diet. In the end I found that I was actually eating healthier by not eating tofu, and just losing out on convenience.
While spending a month in Costa Rica for my 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2017, I ate a very restricted diet because of time, limited ingredients, and sticking to my plant-based lifestyle. Avocados, potatoes, lentils, and a variety of fruit was the majority of my meals. What I didn't realize was that for the first time in my life, I had basically done an elimination of "wheat/gluten" from my body, unintentionally.
This was the strongest I had felt in my entire life, my core felt solid (which is my area of weakness due to endometriosis, and multiple laparascopic surgeries creating scar-tissue on my abdomen) and I was doing things I had never been able to do before with my body.
Upon my return I immediately lost all of my new-found strength! it was frustrating to say the least, but absolutely confusing... yes I did understand that practicing 4-6 hours a day and then coming home and only practicing 1-2 hours a day IF I practiced every day would mean I wasn't working as hard as I was, but in no way was this enough to make my muscles atrophy almost IMMEDIATELY, I could literally no longer feel my muscles engaging during practice. My fiancé told me we should consider removing gluten from my diet since it has been such an inflammatory trigger for so many others.
During my first Nutrition course a few years back in my holistic health program I learned that food allergies actually trigger a muscle reaction (or lack-there-of) and that when a person has a food allergy or intolerance you can actually test it by checking their muscle reactions soon after consumption of the food in question.
A light bulb went off
That maybe for so long I've been eating something that my body could not tolerate, but because I FORCED this poison into my body every single day for over 26 years, my body did it's best to adapt to it.
It wasn't that when I accidentally ate gluten That the same symptoms from soy were reoccurring in my body.
It was that when I accidentally ate it, my entire body felt like it was made of brittle fragile bones, my joints, my muscles, every bone in my body on fire and the smallest movement felt like shockwaves throughout. EVERYTHING hurt, the kind of pain that makes you want to be put out of your misery.
In the end, it doesn't matter If I have Celiac, or if I am "gluten intolerant" because regardless of what the diagnosis is, I cannot eat gluten without sacrificing the precious small amount of health I have left and so it is not something I can integrate back into my diet or lifestyle no matter how much I would like to. To be tested for Celiac you must be on a gluten diet so that all the antibodies are working correctly for a proper diagnosis. There is nothing in the world, no amount of money or treasures that is worth that kind of pain.
So I'm adjusting to another new normal, one where all the things I loved are now different or gone, one where I can no longer go out to eat and enjoy the small things without suffering. It's been a slightly depressing few months, I won't pretend its been a breeze, not having my normal foods, having to read the backs of labels even more in depth, not being able to go out to eat, and when I do I'm forced to deal with days of side effects. For me becoming a vegan was finally finding a healthy relationship with food, one where I loved everything that went into my body and I felt free to eat as often as I wanted; It was finally a chance for recovery after a lifetime of over-analyzing my body and what I ate and how I looked.
Sorting through it,
I'm only human after all.