Before being diagnosed with coeliac disease, Rhianne S lost two stone, couldn't keep food down, and became disoriented and withdrawn - now she's using her food diary to better understand other triggers that are having a negative impact on her health...
"I first began to notice something was wrong when everyday I would get extremely bloated, either after eating or randomly throughout the day. This was followed by extreme fatigue and the more stressed I got with university work the worse it got. I began to become very withdrawn and down which I put down to demanding university life. After a while I could not keep any food down, I lost about 2 stone, became very disorganised and got brain fog.
After a couple of months of really struggling and nobody knowing what was wrong I finally showed positive on a coeliac disease blood test. This was followed by multiple other tests and finally an endoscopy that confirmed the diagnoses. This was a very scary time for me, as food was my life. My world revolved around it and I had never heard of coeliac disease before. After endless nights of googling and researching the disease it began to become a lot clearer and a lot of other problems I have had in the past showed up in the symptoms lists!
After a fair few months I started to feel slightly better and was able to keep my food down although the bloating, fatigue and low mood did not pass. After about a year I was sick of not feeling 100% better, I began to take antidepressants for both my mood and to attempt to calm down my tummy in order to settle the bloating. I also took Mebeverine which really helped with the bloating and pain. I decided I needed to take control of my diagnoses and get a food diary. I had seen a few other free from bloggers get one and use it as a way to record food intake and any symptoms that showed up, in hope to narrow down what it was that caused it.
I don’t think I have been doing it long enough to really understand my food triggers yet, as at the moment the symptoms still seem to be pretty random but this diary has helped note down possible triggers and the symptoms they caused at the time. The longer you do it the more specific information you can discover and narrow down what foods/drinks you don’t agree with. I really enjoy filling in the diary not only in the hope of finding out what causes my symptoms but it also creates a calm moment at the end of the day to reflect on your intake.
It is a great way to really see how you eat, what your patterns are and it helped me stop my random snacking when I didn’t really need to eat (mostly just out of boredom). It also helped me realise that I wasn’t eating a great variety of foods, I tended to eat a lot of similar things so this was a great way to branch out! My diary isn’t as personalised as some as I am quite a neat/organised person so I like how easy and simple it is to read and fill in. I do a breakfast, lunch and tea section then follow with any pudding and snacks I have had. I generally use a purple pen as I am dyslexic and it is easier to read than black!
I also love how the pages are cream coloured, not only from my dyslexic point of view but it
makes it a lot prettier than just white. I then go through and highlight any bits that I want to stand out, ie reoccurring foods that cause symptoms. My favourite thing about the diary is how it looks and how it is set out. The diary is really subtle so if you are out and about you don’t feel uncomfortable filling it in if you don’t want people to know you are having food issues. It is really good quality for the price and each section of the diary is really well thought out. I love how the sections are already there for you, so you don’t forget to write anything and each bit is so relevant! There is enough room per page and it is really helpful to have a catch up page at the end of each month.
The main thing I would say to someone who is thinking of getting one is, get one!! It is a step in the right direction of taking control of your health. It is super easy to fill in and it’s quite therapeutic to complete rather than feeling like it is a chore."
- Rhianne S, UK (@glutenfreerhii)
Does any of Rhianne's story sound familiar to you? Weight loss, nausea, bloating, brain fog? If so, these symptoms could be coeliac disease. Keep a food diary of your symptoms and take them to your GP appointments, so they can better help you get a firm diagnosis.