Hello! I am so excited to be a part of Health Central's IBD site and to be able to share my knowledge and personal experiences about living a gluten-free lifestyle!
For some, adopting a gluten-free diet is a choice, but for others, it is a necessity. According to current data from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, nearly 3 million Americans suffer from Celiac Disease (CD), and there are countless others with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), not to mention those yet to be diagnosed with one of these conditions.
One reason for non- or mis-diagnosis of CD and NCGS is that these conditions share symptoms with many other disorders. Although there are a plethora of non-GI symptoms surrounding CD and NCGS, most associate these conditions with the classic GI profile of bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and weight loss (or the inability to gain weight) - symptoms shared with those with IBD. And that is why I am writing here - it is not uncommom for patients with CD or NCGS to be misdiagnosed as having IBD.
Here, I will be discussing the GI aspects of CD and NCGS, but I also hope to focus on those physical manifestations not typically associated with these conditions. I spent over a decade living in chronic pain, tagged with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and when my health took a downward turn just over 3 years ago, I removed all gluten from my diet. In just a few days, I was a new person, and after just 1 week, my pain was completely gone. I had not felt so healthy in years, and could not imagine ever going back.
I accepted my new gluten-free life with a positive attitude and was eager to learn all I could about it. With a background in behavioral neuroscience research, I used my science research skills to discover all that I could about CD, NCGS, and living gluten-free successfully. After several years of my healthy gluten-free lifestyle, I wanted to share what I had learned, so that perhaps others would not suffer unnecessarily as a result of misdiagnosis. To that end, in July of 2010, I started Gluten Free Gigi (www.glutenfreegigi.com), where I post gluten-free, allergy-aware recipes and tips on gluten-free living, as well as product reviews of gluten-free, allergy-aware foods.
In addition to writing for Health Central, I write about gluten-free living for a metro-Atlanta lifestyle magazine and am a gluten free lifestyle consultant.