Gluten & Yeast: The Triggers For My Cystic Acne, Headaches & Painful Bloating

Last week I spent the week chatting about gluten and it affects my body over on instagram. I emphasized time and time again how valid everyone’s symptoms are no matter how unimportant you think they could be considered. I was blown away by how many of you messaged to say thank you for making you feel as if it wasn’t just “in your head” If you have any kind of negative reaction to food, either physically or psychologically, you can do something about it. Please don’t feel you have to suffer in silence or that you’ll just have to deal with it as it’s a part of you. If you’re worried about a possible allergy, intolerance or sensitivity, speak to a health advisor, doctor or nutritionist.

Negative reactions from gluten tend to fall under the following three categories: Wheat Allergy, Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity - for more information on these please visit gluten.org as they have some incredible resources and explain the information in a very easy to understand way.

Symptoms to look out for: itchiness, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, a general feeling of unwellness, swelling of the tongue, lips or throat, tummy aches or pains, or feeling low or angry in mood. If you do experience ANY kind of negative reaction, speak to a doctor.

I discovered my symptoms through keeping a food diary of everything that I ate, my doctors didn’t agree with me at first until I showed them my food diary. They didn't agree to begin with because I have a chronic illness called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which in itself has many symptoms that cross over with food allergies and intolerances. My symptoms to gluten manifest in the form of painful, sore acne all over my face, headaches, painful bloating and feeling lethargic. I have a gluten sensitivity and try my very best not to consume any gluten at all. For me, it’s just not worth it. The bloating is so painful that I can barely walk, the headaches just puts me in a bad mood, especially if i’m feeling lethargic. The acne? Well that’s a whole other thing in itself.

 My skin a year ago, this is with make up on. I don't have a make up free photo of my acne.

My skin a year ago, this is with make up on. I don't have a make up free photo of my acne.

 My skin after cutting gluten and yeast out of my diet, 8 months on, make-up free.

My skin after cutting gluten and yeast out of my diet, 8 months on, make-up free.

What I hadn't realised was that yeast has the same effect on my body as gluten. It also causes acne, bloating and headaches as well as a feeling of general unwellness. I hadn't clocked on until January of this year whilst researching food allergies and intolerances. (It's my thing, even though I've known about my own for five years, I like to keep up to date with research to help others.)

Anyway, back in January I was reading how yeast is also in dried fruit and wines something suddenly clicked. Oh...OHHHHHH. I knew that gluten made me feel awful and had steered away from breads, crackers, pasta and beer for quite a while. I hadn't realised yeast did too. A year ago my face was throbbing with acne, it had done so for a very long time. It was incredibly painful and I tried any skincare product I could get my hands on. I had tried medication, the contraceptive pill, the coil, each time the doctor promising this would work. If I brushed my face against my top whilst getting dressed I'd well up with tears in my eyes from the pain. It had nothing to do with "beauty" and everything to do with how it made me feel, which was absolutely awful.

For the past 8 months I have purposefully not eaten anything with yeast in as well as gluten. My skin is now the healthiest it has ever been, slowly but surely the acne scars are clearing (with the help of a few skincare products) and goodness me I am over the mood to not have to take painkillers and anti-inflammatories because my poor sore face that wouldn’t stop throbbing.

I choose to eat the food that makes me feel good.

If you think you may have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, the good news is that we don’t NEED gluten in our lives, the word gluten comes from the latin word to glue or to bind. We can easily remove gluten from our diet without having to replace it however there are going to be certain foods and meals we miss if we’re not used to a gluten free diet. I’ve written a whole post on the free from alternatives I use and you’ll also find many gluten free recipes on this website - one of my favourites is this gluten free pizza and these gluten free chocolate cookies.

Finding the foods that make you feel good can be tricky at first, but when you do know what you enjoy eating and what makes your body feel all kinds of wonderful, your life really can change in such a positive way. If you’re new to following a free from lifestyle, you may find my ebook New To Free From Eating useful, it’s available to download for free here.

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