Charlotte's Journey With Coeliac Disease & Superfoods
8 minute read
I have had quite a rollercoaster journey with my health since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2013. And I feel that it is really important for me to share my story and experiences with you all and to explain why we decided to create Rheal!
I hope you enjoy reading this blog and if you have any questions or feel concerned about your own health, please get in contact with me and I am more than happy to chat whenever.
My Coeliac Disease Diagnosis
Throughout my life I was always fit and healthy, very rarely off school and never had any digestive problems. So my symptoms of coeliac disease did come as a surprise.
I was studying at college and I started to experience fatigue and getting through the whole day was a struggle. The only way I could explain how I was feeling was by the flu… minus the blocked nose, cough or a temperature. And this is how I felt for months.
My Mum and I kept going back and fourth to the GP searching for answers as I had noticeably started to loose weight. They insisted I had some sort of virus (that wasn’t going anywhere) but agreed to send me for blood tests to check for Iron-Deficiency Anaemia to explain my tiredness and fatigue, which (not to my surprise) came back positive.
I was taking iron tablets for a few months and didn’t really feel any different or put any weight on. So back we went to the GP, to see whether I needed to be tested for anything else, as something was still not right. They then sent me back for blood tests to check for coeliac and thyroid. By now, I had started doing a lot of research online and had convinced myself that I was Coeliac before I even had the tests back (I would NEVER encourage Googling your symptoms for anything, as it majorly fuels anxiety, so please refrain from doing this).
And there we go. Aged 16, diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and expected to drastically change my life overnight and accept a gluten-free diet. This was definitely mentally and physically challenging; as it wasn’t just my life that had to change, it affected everyone around me.
Real Facts About Coeliac Disease
The most important thing to note here is that coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance. It is an autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten.
Coeliac disease affects at least 1 in 100 people in the UK alone.
I feel this figure will soon increase, as more and more people seem to be struggling with their digestion and symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). 1 in 4 people with coeliac disease have actually been treated for IBS prior to being diagnosed, as the symptoms can be very similar. There have been a lot of cases where people have been told they probably have IBS and to exclude certain foods from their diet for years and years, until they’re eventually diagnosed with coeliac disease. Which supports the fact that only 24% of people with coeliac disease have actually been clinically diagnosed!
The average length of time it takes to diagnose someone with coeliac disease is 13 YEARS – which proves the lack of awareness and understanding of coeliac disease within society.
To read the up to date Coeliac UK Facts sheet, please click here.
Despite following a strict gluten-free diet, I didn't notice a massive difference in my overall health and wellbeing. I had never before worried about my health, but since going through my diagnosis, I suffer with quite severe anxiety related to my health. If you feel that you suffer with Health Related Anxiety, please get in contact with your local mental health service – there is AMAZING help and support out there for you.
It is common for people to experience nutrient deficiencies before and/or after diagnosis of coeliac disease, as the gut has been damaged due to the reaction and inflammation caused by gluten. This can affect the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs in order to be strong and be able to fight off foreign viruses and bugs. Common nutrient deficiencies that are associated with coeliac disease include; iron, folate, vitamin B12 and calcium.
Being a student made me realise how awful my immune system was! I was always tired, easily bloated (as I became much more sensitive to different types of food), would feel un-well most of the time and struggled to fight anything off for significant periods of time. I became reliant on taking extra vitamin and mineral supplements to help make me feel healthier and stronger, as physically I could feel my body was struggling.
When I met Sean, I was impressed with how much he was into his health and fitness. He really took care of his body and ate enough of the right things to provide his immune system with the best nutrients! He made me realise that I needed to seriously make some changes with my diet – stop with the processed gluten free food especially, as just because it is ‘gluten free’ it is not necessarily good for you.
The Creation of Rheal
Sean began to realise how much I would struggle with fatigue, bloating and my overall health and suggested we looked for more natural ways to help. Which is when we discovered, Superfoods!
We both began incorporating a range of different superfoods into our diet. Whether it was just simply mixing with water, adding to smoothies or oats - we tried it all. And we both felt the benefit and the difference in our energy levels, focus and digestion. So this when we had the idea to create our own superfood brand, to help more people easily consume superfoods every-day!
Superfoods For Coeliacs!
These are my favourite superfood blends, that have helped me personally, manage my digestion, fatigue and skin flare ups.
This blend is rich in natural antioxidants including; Vitamin C, Zinc and Copper. All of which, help skin health by encouraging collagen production and fighting off free-radicals, to reduce cell damage.
It includes; Chia Seeds, Acerola, Acai, Blueberry, Cranberry, Maqui, Strawberry & Maca.
Acerola contains the highest amount of Vitamin C than any berry!
This is the greens blend for immune support and battling fatigue. We wanted to create a greens powder that was 100% natural, without any sweeteners or fillers to hide over the flavour. Instead, we included freeze-dried Pineapple, Baobab Fruit & Camu Camu Berry; nutritious superfoods which also help balance the alkaline flavour of the super-greens.
Add a teaspoon into water with a fresh squeeze of lemon for a revitalising start to the day!
It includes; Baobab, Barley Grass, Chlorella, Moringa, Pineapple, Wheatgrass, Spiulina & Camu Camu Berry.
Since my diagnosis, I struggled with regular coffee. It aggravated my digestion but also made me feel jittery and anxious. Not forgetting the serious drop in energy after about an hour, coffee made me feel utterly rubbish. So when we discovered how medicinal mushrooms can help regulate your energy and reduce that caffeine crash, I couldn't wait to try them in coffee.
So when we created our Shroom Coffee blend, I was blown away by how it made me feel. So different to regular coffee, I felt more focused, much calmer and energised. A serious game changer! So if you're a coffee lover but struggle with its side effects, mushroom coffee is your new best friend.
It includes; Spray-dried Arabica Coffee, Chaga Mushroom Extract, Cordyceps Mushroom Extract, Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract & Maca.
If you have any questions please do reach out to me! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your enquiry will get passed to me personally.
Sending lots of health & positivity your way!