About TGFL

My coeliac journey - Kristine Ofstad The Gluten Free Lifesaver

I’m so glad you stopped by!

A large and rapidly increasing number of people need or choose to live a gluten-free lifestyle, and there is a great shortage of information and resources. In addition to diagnosed coeliac disease, there are gluten sensitivities, allergies, or even those who have no diagnosis but whose bodies just do not accept gluten. We are millions strong, reaching out for anything that will give us back our “normality”.

A totally new life!

My “first” day as a coeliac was also the last day of my life as I had come to know it. I went from worldly and wise, to lost and lonely within minutes of getting the diagnosis. Happy, of course, to finally have a diagnosis and fit into a box, My coeliac journey - Kristine Ofstad The Gluten Free Lifesaverbut quickly realising how many holes were in that box.

I had known myself to be a capable individual with a decent enough accumulation of experience to get me by. Suddenly I was much like a baby, learning about the world all over again; rediscovering my body and its antics, my likes and dislikes, and all the while facing  people around me with getting to know a new version of me. At least that’s how it felt. I knew next to nothing of the road ahead, and the more I learnt the more I realised I didn’t know – if that makes any sense.

It shouldn’t be like that. Just because coeliac disease isn’t a cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry (yet), doesn’t mean that hundreds of thousands of people should be left to fend for themselves in the midst of half-truths and general incompetence. I found that if I scrape this issue to the very bone, I am left with three steadily reoccurring frustrations that kept throwing me off my path:

  • I didn’t know who to trust
  • The people I should be able to trust didn’t have all the information
  • The necessary information wasn’t readily available to either of us

Coeliac disease doesn’t come with a manual

Recovery was the blind leading the blind. All trial and error, and in coeliac disease every error is painful and disappointing. Thank heavens for all the individuals out there on the world-wide-web who fight for every inch of information, test it (often to their own detriment), then share their valuable knowledge with the newbies. I have a lot of time for them.

Coeliac disease should come with a user guide. The diagnosis came delivered to my doorstep much like an Ikea flatpack. My life was all bits and pieces, all screws loose and lots of little packets to be opened. No tools, no manual, no handyman to show me the works. Just me, and an empty room waiting for a new piece of furniture.

My coeliac journey - Kristine Ofstad The Gluten Free LifesaverThe Gluten Free Lifesaver is my gift to everyone who’s been in that situation. My aim is to create a unique resource across the world of gluten-free, jam-packed with everything you might want and need to get you moving along. Information, reviews, resources, recipes, research, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, a bit of fun, and more than anything; someone you can relate to.

Naturally I can’t give you a manual, but I can be your handyman, because I have learnt where most of the screws go. I want to show you that you can go ahead and build your flat-pack – I’ll be right beside you handing you the tools and serving you lemonade!

I am better now. Everything is a lot better. And I am very grateful to everyone who contributed to the recovery of my body and my life. I hope I can contribute too.

Lots of love from Kristine

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13 Comments on “About TGFL

  1. Wow, how inspiring. I’m sure now you know how to cope with it you will be able to help many people along the way …as I know one thing that scares us most is not knowing.

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  2. It is interesting to hear your point of view and explain exactly how my son and I felt when he was first diagnosed with Coeliac Disease 5 years ago when he was only just 5 years old. Then my daughter around 2 years ago was diagnosed with Coeliac and thankfully since then has been ‘down graded’ to Gluten Intolreance.

    Thank you for putting it plainly and in words that hopefully people can understand and relate to. It is a hard life, when you see all your ‘mates’ eating EVERYTHING they like and you are soo restricted on what you can and can not eat. 🙂 And most of these people see it as a life style choose, in our case it’s definately not one of those. It’s to keep them healthy and at the worst case senario, alive!

    Good luck with your travel down this road, it is always nice to know another person going down the same road as ours.

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  3. Thank you for your comment Jules, just like you I appreciate hearing other peoples stories. There is much work to be done in paving the way for coeliacs (and intolerants), and more than anything it is important that we share our experiences.

    I admire mums (like yourself) who cope with the challenges of making a coeliac childs everyday as “normal” as possible!

    I hope Thank Heaven’s can help make life a tad bit easier for at least a few. If you have any questions, comments or requests, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    All the best,
    Kristine

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  4. I think your website is wonderful and I will keep coming back! Thank you for making such a lovely and helpful blog!

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  5. Thankyou for all of your wonderful recipes and sharing your story. I have only recently been diagnosed with coeliac after almost 10years of constant nausea, skin rashes, depression and 4 separate hospitalisations. Since going gluten free for the last 2 months and while I still find it difficult to go out for a meal, I’m finally feeling happy and normal again and ready to get back into what I love most- baking. Your blog has been amazing in helping me convert my trusted recipes and creating some new ones. I’m looking forward to the next instalment. 🙂

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    • Hi Lolly,

      Than k you for your lovely feedback! 🙂

      I’m so glad you have finally found what works for you. I’m sorry you had to go through those challenges for so long, and trust me, I know how it feels. Hope this blog can continue to offer you some inspiration, hope to “see” you here again!

      -Kristine

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  6. I was diagnosed with severe Eczema three years ago, I went to dermatologists and was put on steroid pills and ointments… These only fixed the problem temporarily and never totally. I tried every treatment you could imagine with bouts of relief that looking back had much to do with cutting back on foods like bread and pasta… After bleeding hands and feet that I could barely walk on I was so desperate when a friend asked if I had tried cutting gluten.. I thought about it for a few weeks and my daughter who is a nurse said it was worth a shot and that she knew several people who were gluten intolerant. My daughter too had the same symptoms that I have and my mother has other symptoms from the list, so a month ago I went gluten free or so I thought.. I started seeing results and jumped in full throttle and started reading the labels of all the food I bought. I have a long way to go because the damage to my arms and feet is so extensive but it is clear that they are so much better and it is visible daily. I no longer look like my arms are hamburger and my hands are crack free, I can walk without the pain of open wounds caused by the skin literally rotting away and flaking off and the only difference is the lack of gluten in my diet. I love the brown rice noodles and only miss the breads but am working on baking some myself. I want people to know that gluten can affect more than just your intestine and sometimes the symptoms raise their ugly head in different ways that are very misdiagnosed even by specialists.

    Have a LOVELY LIFE all!

    ~Laura~

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your story Laura! You are absolutely right; gluten can cause all kinds of symptoms! Have you asked your doctor to test you for DH or coeliac disease? Even though you’ve found the solution on your own it can be comforting to get a diagnosis.

      I wish you all the best, and keep on baking!

      Love from Kristine

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  7. Thank you for creating this blog! I was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago, and I can definitely relate to your feelings. You described my feelings perfectly, and I too felt like I was alone when I made the change to a gluten free lifestyle. The damage was extensive, and cutting gluten out alone has not been enough, unfortunately. My battle goes beyond gluten, and into the war zone of GMO’s, but every ally along the way is a welcome one indeed!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m so happy to hear that what I write is of use to others! All I ever wanted was to help the next person feel a bit less lost and confused than what I felt.

      I think it’s super important that we do share our experiences, as you too do wonderfully on your own blog, so that newbees see they’re not alone, and so that we create awareness and community.
      Thanks again, I really appreciate hearing from you!

      -Kristine

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  8. I was in my 60s when I was diagnosed with coeliac disease after years of being treated for IBS. I insisted my doctor sent me to be properly investigated and he sent me to a dietitian. Within 2 minutes she told me I should be tested for coeliac disease. I was, and did have it. She was a great help and guided me in the right direction. I must say, the only thing I truly miss is ‘real’ crusty bread and ‘real’ pasta. Although Heinz pasta is a good substitute. I eat a much healthier diet than I ever did, and my only ‘vice’ is Golden North ice cream.

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    • Hi Ellen, Thanks for sharing 🙂 Unfortunately, your story is far from unique. Even though there is more information available about coeliac disease than ever before in history, a large amount of people still get misdiagnosed. IBS is a very common misdiagnosis. I am so glad to hear that you got the right diagnosis in the end, and I although gluten’ed treats are a thing of the past, I hope that my blog can give you some new favourites 🙂 All the best, Kristine

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