warfarin self testing uk
I gazed longingly at the table filled to the brim with delicious looking – and smelling – Iftar treats.
In my Somali household, after we break our fast each evening, there’s always malawax (a Somali crepe-style food), sambusa (samosas), and bur (a fried dough similar to beignets).
But I can’t have any of these because they contain gluten and I have coeliac disease – an autoimmune condition that means my immune system attacks my own tissues when I eat gluten.
Unfortunately, this diagnosis only came last year, glyburide 275 after I had been struggling with it for years.
This Ramadan is my first as a diagnosed coeliac and it’s been challenging to say the least.
The first time I realised something wasn’t right with my body was back when I was 20 and had recurring migraines.
No matter what I did, the migraines kept coming and interrupting my day-to-day activities. In an attempt to find out the cause, I kept a diary documenting what I did, ate, and how much I slept.
I came to the conclusion that high sugar foods were one of the triggers for my migraines. So I reduced my sugar intake.
Additionally, I had always thought I was lactose intolerant based on my body’s reaction to dairy. However, I never fully cut out dairy from my diet so I always had some form of uncomfortable stomach and bowel for the last four years.
I also knew I was anaemic and believed that some of the symptoms I was experiencing were due to my low iron levels.
I’ve had the feeling for years that there may be something different about my body – or perhaps that I wasn’t eating right.
More recently, I had stomach pains and bloating after every meal that disrupted my days, as well as being painful.
I wondered if exercise would help me feel better or if I was deficient in key vitamins, but I found physical activity difficult, which exacerbated the unexplained aches and pains I experienced daily.
I just assumed that this was how my body was – some people have crazy energy and I’m just a little fragile.
And so, I carried on this way until September last year when I noticed how much my bowel habits affected my day-to-day life.
I went from remote university classes to in-person lessons and that’s when I realised how important access to my own private toilet had become. I needed to use the bathroom at least twice a day, but especially after every meal, which made being out and about inconvenient.
Despite this, I didn’t speak to a doctor until a major stress caused my body to come to an almost standstill last November.
The constant pain in my abdomen – coupled with my unpredictable bowel habits – meant I struggled to go outside and I avoided eating in an attempt to stop triggering my gut.
I decided to go to the doctor and, after some tests, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease.
While I didn’t anticipate the diagnosis, it has been a source of both comfort and relief.
The current treatment for coeliac disease is following a gluten-free diet.
And although there was no immediate change in how I felt, my bowel habits became more regular. Slowly, as I adjusted to a gluten-free diet and started to avoid even cross-contaminated foods, the cramps and bloating in my stomach alleviated.
Pretty soon after my diagnosis, I realised the month of Ramadan was coming up, which initially filled me with dread. My first thought was about food and how much my diagnosis would change the way I could interact with others during the month.
I was stressed by the thought of starting my new diet during the month, which often means changing recipes and trying new ones out, on top of fasting.
Dealing with a body that is fighting the food you’ve eaten can be exhausting on a regular day, but it’s exacerbated when you’re fasting.
To my knowledge, there isn’t specific advice given to coeliacs observing Ramadan apart from the general advice of sticking to a gluten-free diet.
When food is such a big part of Ramadan, having coeliac disease means the month can feel like it revolves around eating.
My family, like many others, make an active effort to break fast together. After my diagnosis, my family – in an effort to support me – are transitioning to make these meals gluten-free.
My household has switched to having gluten-free main meals so we eat gluten-free pasta instead of ‘regular’ pasta. We are trying out using cornflour and riceflour in our recipes in an attempt to make more of our family meals accessible to me; recently we have made gluten-free fried chicken and gluten-free cookies.
I’m grateful for this, and I’m sure it will make it easier for me to adjust to my new dietary restrictions.
This month, so far, has offered me an opportunity to slow down and reflect on my diagnosis. I think it’s important for me to remember that going gluten-free is not easy and struggling with the adjustment is OK.
It is difficult to cut out gluten completely, especially when you’re avoiding cross-contamination and/or looking for gluten-free foods with 20 parts of gluten per million or less.
For anyone who is worried about how their gluten intolerance will impact future Ramadans, I have some advice.
I would recommend you take the time to understand the foods you can and can’t eat, I know it’s overwhelming at first!
It’s easy to socially isolate yourself if you’re anxious about food options so navigating having Iftar at other people’s houses can be tricky.
I recommend taking your own ‘packed Iftar’ so you’ll have something to eat in the event where you can’t find gluten-free options or you’re anxious about unknowingly consuming gluten.
I’ve realised that being gluten-free for me is less of a diet change and more of a lifestyle change.
My biggest challenge currently is eating out at cafes and restaurants and asking for coeliac-friendly options.
My goal is to become more confident eating out and slowly explore more dining options. I’m hopeful that my gut will continue to heal and I can go back to enjoying food as much as I did before my diagnosis.
I’m hopeful that I’ll have a long list of gluten-free Iftar recipes by next Ramadan that won’t make me feel like I’m missing out on the food I previously had.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Share your views in the comments below.
Source: Read Full Article