Going Gluten-Free: A Patient Story (part 1)

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In celebration of Celiac Awareness Day on September 13th, this week we are featuring posts on the celiac and gluten-free lifestyle. Today we’d like to share an inspiring story from one of our founders, Kathleen Putnam. Kathleen is in private practice and wanted to share this inspiring patient story about going gluten-free. Hopefully it will inspire you to share your story with us! In my private practice NutritionWorks, I commonly see people who have digestive issues. They might have Crohn’s disease or acid reflux, or maybe simply lactose intolerant and need to find alternative foods. But sometimes I will see a patient whose symptoms have confused every doctor, and seeing a nutritionist is a last resort. Gabriel (name has been changed) came to me as a 24 year-old graduate student complaining of pain and bloating after eating, extremely low energy and a seeming inability to keep weight on his tall lanky frame. He was a handsome guy, but was frustrated that he couldn’t put on muscle with his weight lifting sessions in the gym. He loved working out and playing intramural sports, but he wasn’t seeing results. Lately, however, he hadn’t been able to stay awake in class much less have the energy to get in a workout at the end of the day. He had just returned to school for the Fall, and was very concerned about how he would be able to stay on top of his studies while being so chronically fatigued. He went to multiple doctors to try and diagnose what was wrong. The last doctor he went to told him he had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gabriel had heard that some people have symptom relief with doing a low-carb Atkins-style diet, so he tried that, but was hungry all the time and was continuing to lose weight. He was desperate to try anything. There he was, in my office, asking for help. We went through his symptoms – the bloated stomach, the sudden pain, the foggy head and extreme fatigue. I told him that some people experience relief with eliminating gluten and dairy, but it wasn’t a guarantee. I also encouraged him to follow up with other doctors in case there was something more serious and acute going on. He agreed, and decided to eliminate gluten first, and then dairy. Five days later, I got a telephone call from Gabriel. He was ecstatic. He had only been elminating gluten and his symptoms had completely resolved! He had more energy and his pain was gone. He was reading food labels like crazy, going to websites and researching which foods had hidden sources of gluten, and finding out about alternative grains. He was so motivated, and so excited that he found his answer. We kept in touch, and two months later Gabriel gained 5 pounds of muscle (and likely some much needed fat) on his lean frame. He was doing well and achieving his goals. This patient’s story has stuck with me for many years, because I know that there are millions of Gabriels out there, countless people who feel tired and frustrated and who are unknowingly putting their health at risk. Helping people like him are what make me love my job, and make me love being part of a company like Zing! Tell us your Go Gluten-Free story in the comments below for a chance to win. Also, be sure to use this special Zing Coupon Code GFday913 for $5 off each box of 12 bars (no limit) with free shipping on 3 boxes or more in our online store. Code is good until September 24th, 2012.