By Nicole Paddock
Lauren Eggert started experiencing frequent headaches, stomach pains, and flare-ups on her face at the age of 16 and knew something wasn’t right with her body. Her mother took matters into hand and pushed their local doctor into finally diagnosing her with a disorder.
Turns out that Lauren is gluten intolerant. Gluten allergies are increasing as more people realize they can’t eat bread. Gluten is the overall name for one of the proteins found in wheats, oats, barley, and rye. When these proteins exist in the diet of someone who has celiac disease, they form toxins, which will damage the intestine, leading to iron deficiency, the most common nutrition deficiency in the world. “No mother wants to hear that his or her child has any kind of medical concerns. However, I am grateful to finally have the answer to my daughter’s prior health issues,” Lauren’s mother Barbara stated.
Celiac disease is a curable disorder, damage done to the intestines is reversible, and the treatment does not involve shots, pills, or surgeries. Ingredients in foods can change at anytime; Lauren knows to avoid foods that do not state they’re gluten-free. Lauren obtained a gluten-free plan that helps her with her weekly grocery shopping. Some of the items she gets are fresh produce, chicken, fish, corn tortillas, and rice crackers. “Grocery shopping is quite funny, I have to be so careful on what I’m buying, but in reality all I want is a huge box of cookies,” Lauren said.
For Lauren, this disease has improved her life. She began a healthy diet as well as still being alive today. Vitamin supplements are an important part of Lauren’s everyday routine because the damage done to her intestinal lining can lead to decreased absorption of iron, calcium, and other B-vitamins. Lauren’s struggle with this disorder has transformed her in many ways. She has lost weight, became healthier, and has achieved an overall better outlook on life. “Being gluten-free hasn’t killed me, It has in fact made me stronger,” Lauren stated.
Lauren’s parents have also achieved a healthier lifestyle. Not only does Lauren have to obtain a gluten-free diet, her parents contribute to this as well. Her parents store non gluten-free items away from her to avoid cross contamination. Only gluten-free foods are kept easily available for her access. When Lauren’s family first found out about her disorder, the first thought to mind was where do we start? With the guidance and patience, Lauren and her family knew it all came down to what is put into her body. Obtaining the right gluten-free diet was key to Lauren’s success.
“I may be the one with this disorder, but it amazes me that someone without it follows my footsteps,” Lauren noted.