I struggled for years with digestive issues before my doctor and I finally realised what was causing the issue…gluten.

Gluten intolerance is often confused with IBS, but getting an accurate diagnosis can work wonders for your body because you will finally know what to eliminate from your diet.

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There are 5 stages most coeliac or gluten intolerant people I know (including myself) went through at the beginning of this journey. For those of you who are still undiagnosed, or perhaps newly diagnosed, I want to share those stages with you. It’ll prepare you for what is yet to come…or if you’re already experiencing it, this will reassure you that you’re not alone.

1. Frustration

Before getting diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance it’s totally normal to feel incredibly frustrated. You think you’ve found a link between eating pasta and your stomach bloating, but you’re not certain it’s actually connected. This undoubtedly causes a huge amount of frustration because you need to wait for a doctor to confirm what’s causing the issue…or pay out for a DIY intolerance test (which usually costs a small fortune).

2. Excitement

This may sound crazy, but once your doctor accepts you might have a food intolerance and starts testing you for it, you’ll actually feel a sense of excitement! The thought of finally finding out exactly what you’ve been reacting to (at long last) feels incredible. It means you’ll finally know what to cut out of your diet!

3. Relief

If your test results come back positive for either coeliac disease or gluten intolerance you feel an overwhelming sense of relief. I waited from the age of 14 to finally be diagnosed as gluten intolerant at 26! Doctors kept telling me it was either nothing, IBS or just a coincidence. I gave up asking for a few years, but when I finally demanded a test and the results came back as gluten intolerant (non coeliac) I felt ridiculously happy.

For anyone who doesn’t have a food intolerance you’re probably thinking I sound absurd getting happiness and relief from being told I have to cut something out of my diet. But for those of you who have struggled with any allergies/intolerances you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!

4. Confusion

Once you’ve been told to avoid gluten, you’ll probably feel a little lost every time you go food shopping. This is totally normal – I had no idea what I was able to eat at first and I hated having to read the ingredients list on every single thing I bought.

It can be quite scary walking through a supermarket looking at things and wondering if you can eat them or not. I felt completely alone when I first went gluten-free because I had no idea what to do; what ingredients to look for, whether any free from foods would actually taste nice (and let’s be honest…some of them don’t). But after a few weeks you’ll settle in to the lifestyle and figure out your regular items for your shopping basket.

If you’re freaking out, take a look at my list of 10 things you need to do when you go gluten-free.

5. Contentment

Once you’re at the stage where you know what foods are safe and you have a bit of a food shop routine going, you’ll actually feel content. It’s lovely knowing that you have it all under control…and what’s even better is the way your gut will feel! It’s so good to get rid of that awful groggy sensation of digestive discomfort…well, at least until you accidentally get glutened!

Don’t stress…you will get glutened at some point – probably multiple times, but just make a note of the food that you reacted to and learn to avoid it in future. Enjoy your feeling of contentment knowing that you no longer have to be within running distance of the nearest toilet every time you eat!

Read more posts about going gluten-free:

How Do I Know if I’m Gluten Intolerant?

10 Things You Need to Do When You Go Gluten-Free

11 Foods That Surprisingly Contain Gluten

Learning to Live Gluten-Free

6 ways to make being gluten-free easier

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