Fourteen years ago mum came home one day and gutted our family kitchen telling us we were giving up gluten. I was 15 at the time and had no idea what was going on, what gluten was or why we were throwing out all of our food.
My brother had just been diagnosed with coeliac’s disease and it was a pivotal moment in my childhood, everything changed. Fast forward a few years and I was leaving the nest and moving out on my own. It was an exciting moment and the thought that I’d be able to have ‘real’ bread and ‘real’ pasta (what I considered to be real at the time); oh I could not wait. I continued to eat gluten free foods however I was not exclusively gluten free. I still indulged in some ‘real’ toast for breakfast and my favourite pasta at night.
During this time I was heavily involved in sports and didn’t notice the changes that were taking place within my body. After napping due to pure exhaustion one day (a very rare occurrence for me) I woke up to walk downstairs only to find myself having a gut cramping fit that lead me to fall down the flight of stairs.
What was going on?
My body was totally out of balance, I was exhausted and sluggish, I felt fatigued and believed myself to be ‘healthy’ – eating food I believed to be good for me and regularly exercising. After a few visits to the doctor there was no great advice given or a diagnosis as to what was happening or how I could rebalance myself other than, “you have IBS – here’s some antibiotics”.
That was the last straw. I made a conscious decision there and then that I had to take my health into my own hands. So I did what I knew worked, I went completely gluten free. I said goodbye to gluten for good, became educated on food and cleaned up my plate. What happened next was totally unexpected.
After giving up gluten completely, every day my gut healed, but it wasn’t just my gut that healed. I also lost 10kgs, cleaned and cleared my skin of any blemishes and acne, my hormones became more balanced, I had clear thinking and no more brain fog, and I become more nourished.
This precise journey over the last 14 years has lead to a passion for understanding gluten. What gluten is, where it is and what it can mean to our health both today and well into our future.
Teaching and educating others on gluten has become my lifelong dedication. There is so much more to gluten than it just being a trend or fad that we see on café menus. There is much that is misunderstood and not taught when it comes to gluten and it’s these things that have lead to the birth of www.wellsome.com and Goodbye Gluten – The Gluten Guide, 6 Week Program.
Jema’s Top Tips for Saying Goodbye to Gluten:
- Gain an understanding for yourself. Learn what it is and why you may want to give it up in the first place. Giving up gluten is not just for those with coeliac’s, sensitivities or intolerances.
- Learn where gluten is. What foods contain gluten, what don’t and what foods hide and/or mimic gluten in the body.
- What’s your WHY? Why are you giving up gluten? Is it to regain your own health, improve the health of your family or to support another loved one? Having a reason why will aid in keeping you accountable to yourself.
- Give it up 100%. Gluten, just like sugar, is addictive, when giving it up it’s important to give it up completely. This removes all gluten particles from your body and after the first two weeks your withdrawals and cravings will subside.
- Be supported. Do it with your family, a friend or join a gluten free community such as the Goodbye Gluten community.
Jema Lee is on a mission to educate people on embracing a healthier lifestyle and saying goodbye to gluten for good. Her website Wellsome, is a health and wellness hub dedicated to her own journey and gluten-free life. Jema has recently released an eBook, Goodbye Gluten to help others embark on their own gluten-free path.