Changing our Habits: How and Why did we go Gluten and Dairy Free?

When I was given the 'possibility' that I had Multiple Sclerosis, in April 2014 I decided it was time I make a change. What that was, I had no idea. I would have never imagined it would have been this path but what a wonderful journey it has been!

At the beginning, all I was told and given advice about, was the concoction of medication and drugs that would manage my MS. It was all the doctors and neurologists knew, I can't blame them, that's what they are taught and that’s what they believe in. I thought this was going to be my life, putting drugs into my body to help this awful disease and prevent the progression.

I'm not going to lie, it was bloody scary.

At this stage, what I was sure of, was that I needed to do all the research and start thinking about what my life was going to look like with MS.

From the very start though, medication never sat well with me. It wasn't something that I wanted to do, given I was so well and I felt great within myself. Why was putting medication in my body, with all the side effects that you are made aware of, (nausea around the clock, flu like symptoms, headaches, brain fog, extreme fatigue etc) and yet, to me, it was only a band-aid approach. They could not be sure this was going to prevent any further progression.

This was when we decided to look into and find out a little bit more about MS and what it actually is. How does it affect our bodies and how could natural approaches help?

Inflammation! Inflammation! Inflammation!

Surprisingly, this was one thing I had never really had explained to me. Gosh, the first neurologist I saw gave me a Wikipedia print out on MS!?

This is when our lifestyle started to change. What were the side effects of this 'natural' approach I decided to pursue?? Well, feeling amazing, so much more energy, clear mind, weight loss, positive outlook.. the list goes on. This sounded far more appealing than the first, and only real option I was given at the start!

Changing our lifestyle, specifically changing our diet and nutrition, has been one of the best things I have ever done. I never thought I was that unhealthy. I never thought I was overweight. I never thought I was lacking in energy but these changes I decided to make, they were amazing and showed me just how much I was holding myself back, regardless of my MS diagnosis.

It has been a long process and I truly mean that, a long, slow, progressive process to first reduce then cut out completely, Gluten and Dairy from our diet. At the start, we found it extremely difficult however as we continued to educate ourselves and find out the real reason why I needed to do this for my body especially, it became more and more easier.

Reducing the inflammation in my body was the most important thing in my life at that point and still is. There is so much research out there now-a-days about Gluten and Dairy and how it can affect our bodies and how it causes havoc on our bodies systems.

What does Gluten and Dairy do to our bodies?

My central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerves) is compromised already so it is a no brain-er (pun intended) that my biggest goal in life is to support my body, especially my nervous system. From the extensive and on-going research I have done, the way our food is processed these days and not to mention the amount of preservatives and additives in our food products, it is no wonder our poor bodies are 'saying no'. We struggle to recognise these so called 'ingredients' and it is affecting our health, causing inflammation in our bodies which in turn causes many symptoms, individual to us all.

Gluten causes inflammation in many of our bodies and sometimes we are unaware of the effects it does have. I'll be honest, before I got into this and started exploring a gluten free diet, I wouldn't have said I had any symptoms either. Some are more noticeable than others, the classic bloating is a big one! I never experienced this but boy was there a change when I did decide to cut it out of my diet!

I had this new found feeling of energy, my mind was clearer, I was starting to lose some extra kg's I was carrying, I just felt fantastic!

You should try it, you won't regret it! I promise!

As for the Dairy free diet, this took a little bit longer for me. I grew up on a Dairy farm! I never enjoyed a glass of milk, however I LOVED cheese! I used to have cheese on everything! This change didn't come into play until I was actually diagnosed in 2015. This was the nudge I needed to fully take on this next step and once again, I noticed a huge difference.

Once I had committed to this decision, there was no looking back. The benefits I saw and most importantly, felt in my body was amazing! I used to get asked all the time 'Do you cheat every now and again?' 'When you go out, do you just have cheese, ice-cream, chocolate?' 'Here, want some of this? Don't worry, it's not much'. I just didn't and still don't see the point, I enjoy my lifestyle without Gluten and Dairy and don't miss anything. There are alternatives for everything and they are just as delicious, if not more delicious and nutritious!! (Let me know if you would like me to share those recipes in my pic!)

Yes, if it wasn't for my MS, maybe I wouldn't have changed a thing... But I'm here to tell you, don't wait for a health scare, don't go through life feeling mediocre, don't think feeling bloated and unhappy all the time is normal. It's not!

YOU deserve better, YOU deserve to live your best life. Full of health, love and happiness!

I encourage you to do your own research. Perhaps you are seeing and feeling symptoms I have mentioned above or just looking to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and start feeling amazing. Look into it, or ask questions, it could be the best decision you have ever made.

Because of the very real possibility that I had Multiple Sclerosis at age 25, I made the change to better my life, to give myself the best chance to beat this disease. I never thought this was going to be my life but boy, I wouldn't change it for the world.

I am so grateful for Dave, my husband, my rock, my best friend. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive person to be on this journey with me. He is amazing!

MS has certainly been the catalyst for change in our lives and I wouldn't change a thing. If it wasn't for my MS, we wouldn't be on this amazing journey of life.

Lots of love and happiness,

Jess xx

PS. We don't want you to go at this alone, we did it by ourselves and it wasn’t easy…or fun! That's why we created Thriving Lifestyles, to make sure no one else has to do it the hard way like we did! You don't need to navigate your way through your healthy lifestyle by yourself. We have all the tools and resources for you to find YOUR Healthy Lifestyle right here…we just need you to trust in us and join the movement.

You don't need to be Gluten and Dairy Free, you don't need to be vegan, vegetarian, paleo, LCHF, Keto, plant based or any other style of living that your next door neighbour recommends. Your life is all about doing what works for you and what fits into your vision of YOUR healthy lifestyle. That is our whole philosophy and what we have built Thriving Lifestyles around.

Contact us here, join our Facebook group here or check out what we have over on our website here!

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