I have had quite a rollercoaster journey with my health since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2013. And I feel that it is really important for me to share my story and experiences with you all and to explain why we decided to start our own health foods business.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog and if you have any questions or feel concerned about your own health, please get in contact with me and I am more than happy to chat whenever.
Throughout my life I was always fit and healthy, very rarely off school and never had any digestive problems. So my symptoms of coeliac disease honestly came out of nowhere!
I was studying for my A-Levels and I started to feel constantly run down and exhausted… getting through the whole day was a struggle and I would often fall asleep in class, which was not like me at all. The only way I could explain how I was feeling was by the flu… minus the blocked nose, cough or a temperature. And this is how I felt for months.
My Mum and I kept going back and fourth to the GP searching for answers as I had noticeably started to loose weight. They insisted I had some sort of virus (that wasn’t going anywhere!!) but agreed to send me for blood tests to check for Iron-Deficiency Anaemia to explain my tiredness and fatigue, which (not to my surprise) came back positive.
I was taking iron tablets for a few months and didn’t really feel any different or put any weight on – I maybe took less naps and that was it?! So back we went to the GP, to see whether I needed to be tested for anything else, as something was still not right. They then sent me back for blood tests to check for coeliac and thyroid. By now, I had started doing a lot of research online and had convinced myself that I was Coeliac before I even had the tests back (I would NEVER encourage Googling your symptoms for anything, as it majorly fuels anxiety, so please refrain from doing this).
And there we go. Aged 16, diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and expected to drastically change my life overnight and accept a gluten-free diet. This was extremely mentally and physically challenging; as it wasn’t just my life that had to change, it affected everyone around me.
Don’t worry – this blog isn’t all doom and gloom I promise, so keep reading!
Facts about Coeliac Disease and no it is not an intolerance!
The most important thing to note here is that coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance. It is an autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten.
Coeliac disease affects at least 1 in 100 people in the UK alone.
I feel this figure will soon increase, as more and more people seem to be struggling with their digestion and symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). 1 in 4 people with coeliac disease have actually been treated for IBS prior to being diagnosed, as the symptoms can be very similar. There have been a lot of cases where people have been told they probably have IBS and to exclude certain foods from their diet for years and years, until they’re eventually diagnosed with coeliac disease. Which supports the fact that only 24% of people with coeliac disease have actually been clinically diagnosed!
The average length of time it takes to diagnose someone with coeliac disease is 13 YEARS – which proves the lack of awareness and understanding of coeliac disease within society.
To read the up to date Coeliac UK Facts sheet, please click here.
Post Diagnosis – reliant on Vitamin C capsules and medication
Despite following a strict gluten-free diet, I noticed a massive difference in my overall health and wellbeing. I had never before worried about my health in the slightest, but since going through my diagnosis, I suffer with quite severe anxiety related to my health. There have been times where I have made myself physically ill from anxiety, as I worry myself that much when really there is absolutely nothing wrong. If you feel that you suffer with Health Related Anxiety, please get in contact with your local mental health service as please don’t fight this battle alone – there is AMAZING help and support out there for you.
It is common for people to experience nutrient deficiencies before and/or after diagnosis of coeliac disease, as the gut has been damaged due to the reaction and inflammation caused by gluten. This can affect the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs in order to be strong and be able to fight off foreign viruses and bugs. Common nutrient deficiencies that are associated with coeliac disease include; iron, folate, vitamin B12 and calcium.
Being a student made me realise how awful my immune system was! I was always tired, easily bloated (as I became much more sensitive to different types of food), would feel un-well most of the time and struggled to fight anything off for significant periods of time – which was VERY inconvenient!! I became reliant on taking extra vitamin and mineral supplements to help make me feel healthier and stronger, as physically I could feel my body was struggling.
When I met Sean, I was impressed with how much he was into his health and fitness. He really took care of his body and ate enough of the right things to provide his immune system with the best nutrients! He made me realise that I needed to seriously make some changes with my diet – stop with the processed gluten free food especially, as just because it is ‘gluten free’ it is not necessarily good for you.
Not long after we met, he went to America to study for the rest of our academic year. For one of his Business modules, he had to create a business plan to pitch to bank investors, where he chose to focus on healthy fast food and superfood smoothies! Who knew this would have inspired us to create our own company together...
Super U! How Superfoods have helped me with coeliac disease
During Sean’s time in the US, he researched all of the different superfoods out there available to us on the market and their potential health benefits such as; Spirulina, Moringa, Baobab Fruit, Acai Berry etc. He was amazed with the amount of research and information available to him about these exotic foods and the vast amount of medical history behind them. I mean NASA has approved Astronauts using Spirulina in space due to its amazing nutritional profile! The benefits of superfoods really are out of this world… ;)
When he came back to UK we practically spent every minute together during our final year of University (mainly in the library). He began to realise how much I would struggle with fatigue, bloating and my overall health and suggested I tried incorporating a few different nutrient rich superfoods into my diet such as Spirulina, Acai Berry and Baobab Fruit to name a few. Well, if anyone has tried Spirulina on its own, it does NOT taste the best (a garden pond comes to mind). But I did start to feel the nutritional benefits and felt much more energised and focused throughout the day. These nutrient rich superfoods are full of Vitamins and Minerals – that help support the immune system and benefit the digestive system, so exactly what I needed! However the main issue was that buying a number of different superfoods costs a hell of a lot! So we thought there must be a better and more conveinient way of doing this?
I guess this is when we had our ‘lightbulb’ moment.
We wanted to create our own unique superfood products that were not only amazing for nutrition but also tasted nice! If we could help other people that are like me, feel healthier and fitter – then we would have created a life changing and unique business. So we decided to go for it!
The feedback we’ve had so far has been amazing and we’re so happy that we are helping transform people’s lives for the better. Our products are not a meal replacement and should not be relied upon for your sole source of nutrients. With a healthy balanced diet, they give your body an extra nutritional boost, so you’re taking in enough vitamins and minerals a day to feel amazing!!
Treat your body how it deserves…