Today I have a guest post to share with you by Martha Morgan. Martha struggled with health issues all of her life, but her doctors told her that it was all her own fault, because she was overweight. It was only when her children were born and diagnosed with severe food allergies and coeliac disease that she realised the truth, and her own health started to improve...
You’re Just Fat!
“Nothing is wrong with you that losing some weight won’t fix.” - should be my catchphrase for almost all of my life. My weight and health have always been a struggle. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was four years old, which started the whole overweight issue, and had my gallbladder removed at fourteen. I had five miscarriages in three years. At my heaviest, I weighed in at over 400 lbs. Which is a sentence I never thought I would type for the entire world to read. I want to share with everyone how my children, severe food allergies, and Coeliac Disease saved my life.
In 2002, after I gave birth to my daughter, my health really started to decline fast. I could not lose any weight, and my stomach issues became worse. I went to the gastrologist and had scopes done. He told me to take acid reflux medication and lose weight. Under Doctor's orders, I was on 1400, 1600, and 1800 calorie diabetic rotation diet to lose weight. I returned to the doctor's office for a check-up after six months, and 50lbs. heavier. To paraphrase the doctor I was obviously not following the diet, I didn’t want to lose weight, and I had no self-control. I left that office in tears and believed I was just meant to be fat.
Hidden Food Allergies
My daughter had her first severe allergic reaction as she was starting on solid foods. It was a shock since no one had really talked about any food allergies, but there was a history of “stomach issues” in the family. I am suddenly part of the allergy mom club, which no one wants to be part of. I neglect my self-care even more in search of safe foods for my daughter. To say it was, or is still stressful is an understatement. My stomach issues kept getting worse, my hair was falling out, I started having migraines, and it had to be because of all the stress I was under, right?
I then find myself in an allergist office and testing for my baby girl. She is clueless as to what is going on, and then the testing is over. I am overwhelmed by all of this and have a meltdown on the doctor after we receive her results. This doctor listened to me and encouraged me to have a basic food scratch testing done. Which I decided might be a good idea. Long story as short as I can make it: Surprise, you have food allergies!
The hardest allergy for me to accept at the time was chocolate. I thought they were wrong, I had eaten chocolate all my life. At this time, I had not eaten chocolate for around three months. I felt better, but not symptom-free. One day, I am separating chocolate candies for my boys. I think to myself, “A little bit can’t hurt me.” Famous last words to myself, yes I ate one chocolate candy. Which led to a migraine within 15 minutes, and itchy skin all over.
Read more Real Life Stories of living with allergies.
In 2009 my health and my relationship with all of these food allergies had improved some. I had lost around 100lbs at this point, still had migraines occasionally, my hair still fell out, stomach issues, and what exactly was a normal bowel movement? At this point in my life, I really could not remember. I was still fat, still sick, and tired of being sick, and tired. My mother mentions that she had seen on TV that the gluten-free diet helped kids on the autism spectrum, and ADD. My oldest son who is 12 years old at this time has both of these.
We as moms never give up on our kids, and that is what I did: I went and learned what I could about this diet that could possibly help my son. I am reading a book, and before I can even finish it, I am calling my oldest sister and I am telling her I think I found out what was wrong with us. My sister was having massive issues as well at this time. I go to my gastrologist and demand to have this test done. He refuses to do the test: since I am overweight, there is no point, I am told. I then find a gastrologist that does perform the test. My son gets tested as well. Our results are positive and we eliminate gluten from our diet.
I am calling my sister on an almost daily basis and we are sharing our new found health with each other. My stomach issues improve, I am able to quit taking the acid reflux medication. My migraines start to go away, I am eating less because I am actually feeling full, and I start to lose weight. After just six months I am feeling better and my kids are too.
I made two appointments with those doctors that had told me I was crazy for thinking I was sick. I took my test results in and told them each how they had made me feel. Of course, I understand they are human, and no one is perfect. I fully support doctors, nurses, and everyone in the health care industry. However, I also believe that as a patient we have to educate the doctors to think in a different light sometimes. I want them and everyone else to know that not every coeliac patient is underweight, some of us are fat!
I am still fat! Just not as much as I used to be. Over the past ten years, my health has improved a great deal. My oldest son, my daughter, and I all maintain a gluten-free lifestyle because we have to. My daughter has 33 severe food allergies that we know of and I am constantly reminding myself it could be worse. I truly believe that it was my children that saved my life. Nowadays, I spend countless hours in the kitchen not only because I work as a chef and it is what I love to do. I believe everyone deserves to eat safe, healthy, and delicious food regardless of your diet restrictions.
Chef Martha Morgan AKA Allergy Dragon
I am a Professional Chef with Celiac disease and multiple food allergies. Mother to three amazing children. The oldest of which has Celiac disease, while the youngest has Celiac disease as well, as thirty-three known severe food allergies. I created my YouTube Channel Allergy Dragon to share my passion for cooking delicious, gluten free, and allergy friendly food. I believe everyone deserves to have fun in the kitchen and to eat delicious food no matter your diet limitations.
Have you had a similar experience? Did you realise you had issues with food yourself after having children with food allergies or coeliac disease? Leave a comment below!