Headaches, fatigue, stomach aches — Lizzie Selders had a tough time getting through her teenage years.
As a student at Columbia Falls High School, she was sick constantly. Doctors told her it was something she would grow out of.
Finally, bedridden, she dropped out school. That’s when her mother found something interesting while researching medical books — Selders suffered from extreme gluten sensitivity as a result of celiac disease.
“Doctors don’t do diet,” Selders said. “They treat symptoms. Have some pain? Here are pain pills. We are all different with different body types, different blood types, and we should be treated differently.”
Selders now visits a naturopath and uses other alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care.
“I was sick all the time. Now I get colds maybe once a year,” she said. “I believe in more natural healing and working with natural medicine.”
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder that prevents the small intestine from absorbing nutrients when food contains a protein found in wheat or similar proteins. About one in 100 people in the U.S. get celiac, but Selders believes gluten sensitivity could be far more common.
“Everybody is different. Some people can deal with cross-contamination and some can’t,” she said. “I wear a face mask out in public. Even airborne gluten bothers me.”
Selders, 21, said she hopes to go to school to become a doctor, but the presence of so much food on college campuses can be a problem.
“It really limits where I can go,” Selders said. “It’s challenging.”
Selders experienced a dramatic weight loss after switching to her new diet. Celiac disease made her retain water weight, and she became bloated and uncomfortable. She has lost 30 pounds since then and is trying to get her body back to a healthy level.
To help others avoid the misery she endured, Selders wrote “The Girl in the Bubble’s Gluten Free Guide.” It’s available for $8 plus $2 shipping and handling by mailing Lizzie Selders, P.O. Box 2114 Columbia Falls MT 59912.