Updated: Jun 24
Hey! 👋 I'm Stephanie. LadyOn12 on Insta and the CeliacYogi! I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and finally followed my dream to become a yoga teacher in 2020. I was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the end of 2014. It was a rough time before my diagnosis and looking back on things yoga really helped me in those times I was really feeling sick and unable to fully be myself and live my best life.
I spend roughly 20 years trying to figure out why I felt sick all the time. At first I though everyone had a stomachache after they ate. I thought I wasn't that smart or that maybe I couldn't focus because I might have ADD or ADHD. And as I talked more openly with friends and family I realized not everyone was experiencing what I was everyday. So, doctor after doctor, I heard similar responses, "Everything is working just as it should." I was offered bandaids for symptoms but I had this pull that something deeper was going on. I wanted to find the root cause. After a long trip to the ER and lots of follow up tests in September 2014 I found a first year primary care physician who was ready to save the world, so to speak. With her help I was finally diagnosed with Celiac.
During what seemed like a dead end search for health answers, I discovered yoga. It was 2009 and I needed a way to move my body in a way that felt like dance. I loved dancing as a kid, it was literally my life! At a suggestion from a friend I found myself in my first Hot Power Vinyasa class. I had no clue what I was doing. I was sweating buckets. The instructors voice boomed over the loud system as (what felt like) 50 bodies were flowing in sync to her cues. It felt like everyone was smiling and so happy to sweat and challenge themselves. I. Was. Hooked. I walked out of that class and said I was going to be a Yoga Instructor one day.
Looking back to the early days of my yoga practice I have realized that it helped me through some of the most difficult times when it came to my health. I spent a lot of time doubled over with stomach pains, bowl issues, fatigue and depression. I couldn't understand why I was in my 20's and feeling so miserable all the time. As I took workshops, and tried every type of yoga class I could find I found that I my spirits were lifted, I was more calm in my day to day and I had poses and breathing techniques to help when I didn't feel good. Yoga changed my life.
While yoga changed my life, so did my diagnosis. I was absolutely overwhelmed by it. Which I found weird because after a lot of research I was pretty convinced I had Celiac. As someone who loved to be in the kitchen creating food for those I love, finding out I couldn't use flour and a million other ingredients was devastating. How was I ever going to cook or eat again? I had my pity party and moved on. I challenged myself to recreate my favorite recipes so I could still enjoy them. It took some time and lots of mistakes. Eventually I felt some normalcy again. And I still am working out the kinks on some recipes. Now this lifestyle I thought I never wanted has becoming one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Quite frankly, I ate like shit prior to my diagnosis. Chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, and cheeseburgers, oh and let's not forget pizza, were at the top of my priority list. I never touched vegetables and if it didn't have cheese, no thank you! Now I have discovered I love a good salad, and Brussel Sprouts are my favorite side dish (I still love cheese, forever).
Having to give up gluten was so much more than changing what I ate. It changed how I interacted with the world and everyone and everything I love in it. No beers with coworkers on Friday, Family dinner would forever be changed, and date night had a whole new list of guidelines. I've sobbed over nutrition labels, and had tantrums over restaurant options (I hate admitting the last one). But looking back over the last 7-ish years, I realized that yoga really helped through all of this bullshit. It helped me find peace and let go. Taught me to breathe through it. It taught me that the challenges I take on while on the mat give me confidence to face challenges off of it. I want to help others in a similar situation to mine. I want to hold your hand through this transition and let you know, you are not alone. It does get better. I have been in the trenches and hopefully what I have learned can help you along the way.
If you're curious about this journey I invite you to join me. Click below for content designed for a gluten free lifestyle and learning yoga along the way. Namaste.