In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, I asked our tour guide, Christie Coykendall to share with you how she discovered that she needed to be gluten free. Here is her story.
I thought I was suffering from menopause for TEN YEARS! I just couldn’t get my old energy back. It seemed like the month I turned 50 I had gained 20 pounds and couldn’t get it off. My immune system was so low I’d catch every cold that blew into the neighborhood. I remember crying one day because I felt so awful, thinking there must be something really wrong with me because I was eating all those high powered vitamins and buying all those super energy tonics and I still felt sooo tired all the time.
I’m naturally an outgoing, friendly person but as soon as the door closed behind the outside world I’d collapse on the couch and sink into despair. Deep inside what I really feared was the inability to focus my thoughts. I’d be talking to my son and point to the refrigerator but say, “Put it in the stove,” or something else equally disjointed. I had to stop reading books because I just couldn’t remember what one page had said by the time I turned it over. I remember thinking frequently how nice it would be to die and be able to just rest. Then one day a sympathetic clerk in a health food store suggested trying a wheat free diet. I read up on the gluten-free lifestyle and thought about it for a few weeks. I didn’t have the typical digestive symptoms but as she said, “Why not just try it.” I faithfully read every label and didn’t cheat at all. I remember so clearly that first week-end, I woke-up feeling alive. It was amazing!
I’ve been on a fairly strict gluten-free diet for two and half years now. I learned I’m a second-day processor so if I eat something with wheat I get a “gluten hangover’ the next day, feeling tired, groggy and depressed all over again. I lost 25 pounds the first year without even thinking about it. Four months after I went GF I got a part-time job at Bob’s Red Mill giving the daily factory tours. It’s a high energy job that I love and I’m proud to say I haven’t had one sick day since I started. Now I get to share my story every day and encourage others to ‘just try it.’
My favorite BRM product? I love the versatility of the new GF Vanilla Cake Mix. Strawberry shortcake season is coming up and I’m tasting it already!