Published On: Thu, Oct 6th, 2016

My free-from life… Lucy Webb

From a life of fast food and excess, Lucy has turned a corner and now relishes the challenge of living gluten and dairy-free…

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For 21 years I lead a normal, but very unhealthy lifestyle. I was happy, but just after my 21st birthday I began to feel tired, bloated, nauseous and my stomach would make crazy noises. I thought I was falling apart! Enough was enough when I went out for a meal to Nandos for a work friend who was leaving. I love Nandos and I’d ordered a chicken pitta, corn on the cob and chips, which was standard for me. Before we got there my stomach had bloated so much I had to undo my trousers, and this was before I’d eaten anything! I managed two bites of my food before accepting defeat and admitting I needed to see a doctor about this problem.

Because I went out, drank alcohol and ate junk food, my doctor immediately diagnosed me with IBS, so I was given a packet of Buscopan and sent on my way. Of course, this didn’t help, so weeks later I returned and was told to try a gluten-free diet.

I’d only ever heard of ‘gluten-free’ in magazines through the diet sections to enable you to lose weight, but on my doctor’s orders I tried it and, to my amazement, after a few days I started to feel better.

I was very lazy at first and within a week of feeling better I thought I was cured, so made myself a bacon sandwich with thick, white, gluten bread. The taste was amazing, but my symptoms came back with a vengeance! I felt so bad that I simply could not pull myself out of bed and my hot water bottle became my best friend.

They say everyone has a turning point in their life, and that was mine. I knew I had to change my lifestyle.

After weeks of living off salads and jacket potatoes, I logged onto social media and started asking questions, reading blogs and researching how to make my beloved pasta bake into a version that I could eat. One of my first baking ventures was a flourless chocolate cake, purely because I was afraid to eat flour at this point! Although it was tasty, it was full of sugar, butter and chocolate – not exactly healthy. Since then, I have tried to make healthier gluten-free recipes such as cakes, biscuits and brownies. I have experimented with vegetables in cakes, such as sweet potato brownies, beetroot cakes and courgette sponge cake. If you had asked me two years ago I would have thought you were crazy, but it works so well.

Once I got used to baking and cooking gluten-free, I found out that I had a lactose intolerance. I felt like I had gone backwards again. No more chocolate, no more milky lattes, no more cheese on my pizza. And once again I proved myself wrong. Dairy-free is fast becoming highlighted in the media just as much as gluten-free is, and I am finding more and more dairy and gluten-free products available.

Twitter has become my saviour because it made me realise that I am not alone. There are thousands of people that have to live a gluten-free lifestyle and are happy to share tips. I honestly don’t think I could have coped without their support and advice.

My family and boyfriend have been my rock. Whether its patience while I am scouring the internet finding somewhere suitable for us to eat, trying new meals that have been adapted to suit my needs, or buying free-from products for me to enjoy, I don’t think I could have got this far without them.

That was the main reason I created my blog Love Lucy xoxo. I wanted to show people it’s not as scary as you think and, although it’s easy to get overwhelmed with it all, cutting gluten out of your diet is not the end of the world. This big change in my life has not only affected my eating habit, but has also changed my perspective on my career. Working as a qualified accountant, I soon became so interested in the impacts of food within the body, different food groups, FodMap’s etc, that I knew I couldn’t stay in an office punching numbers into a screen. So, I am about to start a degree in Food and Human Nutrition, and I am interested in expanding my knowledge of food and the implications that a healthy diet will have on mine and others’ health and well-being. I also want to focus on carrying out research focused on food intolerances and why some people can become intolerant to certain foods after being perfectly able to eat them throughout their lives.

Some people would do anything to be able to eat whatever they wanted again, but becoming gluten-free and addressing my lactose intolerance has changed my entire life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

For more information, visit www.lovelucyxoxo.blogspot.com

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