I have always been slightly sensitive to gluten. For as long as I can remember I would feel bloated and nauseous having eaten too much pizza or overindulged in other gluten filled foods. But in my early twenties I was hit with a nasty case of food poisoning from a business trip to Paris – I suspect from the dodgy Croque Monsieur I had in Gard du Nord station while rushing back to get the Eurostar to London, but who knows. The obvious side effects continued for about a week and a half, including a mortifying experience at Southwark tube station whilst going home sick from work the following day where I collapsed on the platform. I would never have suspected the following nightmare 12 months and the semi-permanent damage to my digestive system.
2 months later I was still being ill after every meal (symptoms included bad skin, bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, drowsiness and brain fog) and I was also suffering from anxiety following the tube station incident which made it difficult to travel on any public transport, let alone commute to work. Enough was enough, I took myself to the doctors numerous times, undergoing many blood tests, urine tests, ultrasounds, poking and prodding. I was prescribed four different medicines and remedies, diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and severe gluten intolerance and referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and nutritional help to do the FODMAP elimination diet. In other words I was a total mess!
Almost 3 years later and I was finally feeling human again. A large part of this is down to self-help for my anxiety, quitting my job in London and going travelling and doing the FODMAP diet. At first I worked out a full A4 page of foods that were causing problems, but now I’m down to just 3; gluten, onions and garlic.
Travelling was one of the experiences that I feel had the most positive impact on my life and recovery, but it also worsened my anxiety at first as I constantly worried about being ill while travelling and catering for my dietary requirements in different countries. I researched every place I went but often found it difficult to find reliable gluten free recommendations, so I decided to record my gluten free travels here to help others with gluten intolerance and coeliac disease.
As I continue to share my gluten free finds with you here on my gluten-free friendly blog, I hope it makes your gluten-free lives and travels easier and worry-free!