As we kick off Celiac Awareness Month, I’m excited to share the first issue of my monthly newsletter to promote gut health and holistic wellness. While celiac disease is a personal issue for me, one thing is for certain -- gut health affects everyone.
For years I struggled with stomach pain and bloating, but I didn’t talk to my doctor. Back then, gut health wasn’t something people thought about, much less spoke about. As a teenage girl, I figured I was eating too much and should focus on eating healthier foods and slowing down. While I was on the right track (ish), it took more than 15 years before I finally got to the bottom of my digestive issues.
My diagnosis with celiac disease in September 2010 was the start to healing my gut. I immediately started on a gluten-free diet and felt better some of the time. However, I still struggled with following my diet outside of the home, not from lack of motivation, but because 2010 was the very beginning of the gluten-free ‘fad’ – so there were extremely limited options for people with gluten sensitivities.
Interestingly, my diagnosis with celiac disease coincided with starting my doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia, in beautiful Vancouver. As a budding researcher passionate about health behaviour change, I became fascinated not only by my own personal experience in changing my diet for medical reasons, but also as I watched others undergoing the same experience. I noticed some people were able to change their diet relatively easily, whereas others struggled quite a bit, or even chose to live with a range of harmful side effects from consuming culprit foods.
These experiences fuelled my passion to help others optimize their health and led to two publications during my doctoral studies on motives for adherence to a gluten-free diet and predictors of adherence to a gluten-free diet.
While these studies formed the foundation of my mission to help others, they only marked the beginning of my journey. Over the years, I’ve experienced a number of ups and downs with my health that I will share with you in future issues of Justine's Journal. It is my hope that you will find something of benefit in each month’s newsletter to help you achieve a healthier, happier quality of life!