Monthly Archives: August 2012

Be Practical! Feel Well!

A few months ago, I joined an online group called the SCD Lifestyle, to learn a little more about what that was about. I thought maybe they could help me.

S.C.D stood for “Simple Carbohydrate Diet” – lifestyle. (No, it’s not really a diet). It’s a way for people with digestive issues, like crohns, colitis, or Celiac, or other issues – to get nutritional help and actually HEAL and more forward.

Statistically, a high percentage of celiac patients DON’T feel better just going gluten-free. They still have digestive issues… and they struggle a large percentage of the time.

WHAT ARE THEY TO DO?

For some of those people, they have what is called “refractory sprue”, where their body just can’t calm down the inflammation within their guts. Sadly, those people usually only live about 3 years past diagnosis, due to that chronic inflammation… But it sounds like there is more hope… if people are willing to try something like the SCD or Paleo living.

Lots of those people, and others who have a “leaky gut”, have found success in healing that issue with a specific diet.

What is a leaky gut?

It’s when your digestive system isn’t working right – allowing large, partially digested proteins to pass through into your blood stream… which, as you might imagine, can cause whole host of issues inside your body and in your brain. Many people who have undiagnosed celiac – end up with this. Their allergy bucket over-flows, and they can eat fewer, and fewer things that don’t make them ill.

So the basic idea is to more anything that upsets your body – processed and refined foods – which includes any grains, alcohol, beans, dairy, refined seed oils, and sugar. Some people also need to remove nuts, seeds, coffee and eggs.

As a celiac, you never go back to eating gluten grains – but after the cycle suggested – and your body is “reset”, you can reintroduce foods – one at a time.

Through the SCD Facebook page, I learned more about why the Paleo diet was being embraced more and more. I knew they were connected with gluten-free eating, but I wasn’t sure how/why. After reading more books and articles on how this worked for celiac, I had to buy myself a copy of Diane Sanfilippo’s new book called “Practical Paleo” – which is a customized approach to health and whole foods lifestyle.

One of my favorite parts of the book – are the great graphics and detailed explanations. Here is one on digestive health and it even rates your stools, so you know what each means! Good to know, in a light and educational way!

This book is awesome, and I have nothing but great things to say about how it’s laid out, the information provided and the whole marketing aspect of the book. It’s easy to read – and their graphs and information are visually stimulating and helpful. It even includes lots of great recipes and 30 day meal plans.

The book discusses how eating Paleo can benefit those with a whole gamut of autoimmune conditions (RA, Fibromyalgia, Celiac, MS), blood-sugar regulation, thyroid issues, cancer recovery, heart health, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fat loss, athletic performance, general health and more. It has TONS of great information. I can’t say enough great things about it. A terrific resource and cookbook!

I think of it as taking the “gluten-free” life – to the next level of health, and allowing my body to heal. If gluten-free sounds tough to most – this sounds OFF THE WALL to many people. Especially if you’re not sick.

When people give me “that look” (of, what ARE you doing??) or they make very ignorant comments regarding digestive health, or the range of health issues that occur from gluten sensitivity or undiagnosed celiac disease… I know they must not be sick enough to want to make changes, or they just don’t want to have empathy for what you’re dealing with. I try to give those people extra grace… because I know they’ll be the first ones coming right to you – if and when they have issues. Bless them with mercy and grace.

This section discusses leaky gut, and gluten. It love that it explains in great detail all of the hidden places gluten likes to hang out – so you can be extra careful with each food choice you make.

It’s sad in this country, when people get MORE concerned about taking out aspects of a food group that is making them chronically ill… than they do just ripping out organs left and right…

Gall bladder here…

Appendix there…

Parts of a colon over here…

Your spleen over there…

No big deal right? They were just inflamed… they were causing problems…

WHY again were they inflamed?

What is causing all of this inflamation??

Do we really need to ask?

“Bless those who persecute you. Do not curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

Romans 12:14

NOW Do You Feel Better?

Need some great ideas for gluten-free snacks while traveling? Here are a few of our family’s favorites with the usual fruits and veggies!

My husband came home from work last week and said he ran into someone who was inquiring about my health.  It’s always awkward for either my husband or I to discuss all of this with someone who a) has no understanding of celiac disease or b) really doesn’t want to listen to what it all entails, but has every answer for you.

“All those changes you’ve made to her diet, and she still isn’t well?” he asked.

I shook my head when he told me this… and I’m sure my husband couldn’t help finding himself a bit defensive.

Auto. Immune. Disease.

Eating gluten-free for someone with years of undetected celiac disease doesn’t suddenly = health.

Don’t we wish!

It has gotten rid of the neuropathy, and the chronic left side pain – several things have improved.  Other foods however, have caused gut inflammation – because my body confuses it as gluten.  I know my body is absorbing vitamins better – my finger nails are growing – but my hair still falls out in droves.  I also know every time I’m glutenated again – it’s another assault on the gut and a step in the wrong direction.

This isn’t some quick-fix trick.  Especially when your body has been battling something for so long.  It might be tolerating things for a long while, and once it’s trying to heal a leaky gut – things you never realized were a problem, are a real issue.  The fact that I was having the neuropathy I was, is a sign things were going right into my bloodstream.

Frustrating?

Majorly.

Even more difficult to explain to someone else?

YES.

Sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it.

Sometimes I’m hurt that other people don’t get it, or even try to.

I know most people just want to help and they want to say something encouraging.  They just don’t know what to say.

“Hey, such and such restaurant has a gluten-free menu.” they say.

I smile and nod while thinking.. “Awesome.  Well… I can’t EAT there, because ‘gluten-free menu’ doesn’t equate into the level of sensitivity I have with cross contamination and they’re TERRIBLE about preparation. A dusting or one crumb makes me sick for a long time.  REALLY sick.”

If I actually SAID THAT, I would get the look of 5 horns growing out of my head.

Do I want to go from feeling perfectly great – to terrible for days/weeks for one meal out?

NO.

Do I never want to be invited out again?  Definitely no.

So much for feeling normal.

No wonder people can become depressed for avoiding social situations.  It’s draining trying to explain things to people who don’t understand, and aren’t willing to listen – and then trying to figure out how to appear normal.

What person in their RIGHT MIND would like that, or do that on purpose?

Thank you.  No one would.

But I also know, that being healthy right now, is way more important than testing the waters “just because” or what have you, when I can simply plan ahead.

This is when I really grab ahold of God – and His Word and promises.

We live to glorify Him.

He understands us, because He made us.  He understands our hurts, our frustrations, and battles.  BIG or small.

When we went to Iowa a few weeks ago, I actually did really well – not eating grains, and being extra careful to not order any food that might be cross contaminated. With the exception of our last eat out, on the way home.  I gave in and had pizza.  I now get it – gluten-free pizza (outside of the home) is a TERRIBLE choice for me.  Just too many chances for cross contamination.  Even my husband and kids got sick on that one.

If in doubt, it’s best for me to go without.  I go without a lot.  I’m not saying that to complain – it’s just what works best right now, so I’d rather go without.

It’s an adjustment.

Maybe my gut will heal sooner than later.  Our bodies are amazing creations.

I definitely have more good days, than bad – and it’s nothing like it was.  That’s progress.

Right now I just try to focus on keeping my family eating healthy – in hopes that they won’t ever get to where I am.  It drives me, and keeps me extra thankful to God.

What generations of family would have appreciated to know.  Thankfully, we do!

Praise be to God.

** If you struggle with celiac, gluten issues or leaky gut – stay tuned I have a great book to share with you soon that you won’t want to miss!

“Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
And sing praises to Your name.”

2 Samuel 22:50

Fibroids and Celiac Disease

Glucosamine Sulfate works great for inflammation, especially if I’ve been glutenated. It’s not instant, but it does help with my joint pain – specifically. Gluten Free and Dairy Free – from local healthfood store.

“The cause of fibrocystic breasts has not been conclusively identified, however there is no doubt among the medical community that the development and continuation of the condition is linked to key female hormones, genetic
predisposition, and certain dietary elements.”

Hmmm…. dietary elements, and genetic predisposition?

Sounds familiar.

When I was almost 14, I found my first breast lump.

Scared to death I had cancer – the Dr. reassured me it was nothing to be overly concerned about.  There were no recorded cases of a woman with breast cancer below the age of 16.  (that is no longer the case).

Put your thumb and forefinger together – and that was that was the size of this mass.  It was not drainable, as some people have.

At age 15, I had the insanely quick-growing, rubberball-type mass surgically removed – and within 2 years, I had 3 more appear.

This time, I had one on one side, and 2 on another side.  I was questioned about caffeine… ironically I didn’t drink soda, coffee or tea at that point in my life, as my mother was a big advocate of us drinking beverages (she believed at the time) benefited our bodies.

Water, and milk.  I did drink a lot of milk… and we ate A LOT of grains.  Whole wheat breads, pastas…. meats, fruits and raw veggies.  Rarely sweets.

It didn’t make sense.

By the time I was 18 – more and more lumps were appearing – I was told I had “dense” breast tissue… and we opted to go to a learning hospital at the University of Iowa, hoping for some answers on WHY this was happening.

I remember laying on the table, as the radiologists did their thing… and then they quietly slipped out of the room – to get a second, and then third opinion.  Soon my mother was back at my side… to our dismay, they announced they had found over 15 lumps within both sides…

It was more than they had ever seen before.  They were befuddled.

and I was crushed.

As we talked further with the surgeon we would be working with, he simply couldn’t come up with an answer for why this was happening… but he did tell me that if we continued taking out the masses at this rate, I would not be able to breast feed in my future, as several of the lumps were embedded into the milk ducts of my tissue.

At the time, young, arrogant, LOST and planning on NOT having children… the consequences of options on the table, didn’t register.  All I knew is… I was going to be cut in my breasts… AGAIN.

I wondered how someone would love my imperfect body… enough to marry me.   I struggled instead with the irrational idea of my worth of being that “one in a million” girl with all of the weird “unexplainable” health ailments (that no one is supposed to talk about.)  My mother assured me any man who truly loved me, would love all of me. 

She was right.

Thankfully at this time… I had already met my future husband… and God knew – that someone would love me – unconditionally, and faithfully.

I had all lumps over a certain size removed, and the surgeon avoided cutting into too many milk ducts throughout this process.  They caused problems throughout my nursing and child-bearing years, making me more prone to chronic infections and mastitis more times than I can count.

When I say mastitis, I’m not talking about a few hot lumps in your tissue – that you massage and work through.  Anyone who has had it, can attest to the painfulness, and flu-like symptoms that come on like a freight train.  Mine would come on within hours, out of no-where, especially if I were newly pregnant, and still nursing.  It was often a sign I WAS pregnant before the test had come back positive.  At one point my Dr. said we might have to have my breasts surgically removed, the infection was so severe.

Think: multiple chicken breasts stuffed under my skin, and into my arm pits.  I was newly pregnant with our 6th child, and the idea of losing that child was unimaginable.

Thankfully, about 4 weeks of antibiotics that tore up my stomach, and ending my nursing with child #5 seemed to fix things – that time.

One thing DID occur while having children and nursing over the course of 12 years.

My breast tissue changed.

It was no longer dense with rubber balls, and the cysts had sort of combined into two larger masses…

I looked into having those two removed, earlier this year, in the midst of all of this “mess”… but after realizing I was struggling with an auto-immune disease, and needed to try to heal my body first – we tabled that – indefinately.

Over all, I would say the size of the fibroids has decreased since cutting out gluten….  and I was VERY interested when I read that many time uterine fibroids, endometriotisis, and PCOS are all tied to gluten sensitivity, and or celiac disease.

THAT SURE WOULD MAKE SENSE.

My mom had fibroids, so did her sister… and suddenly my niece (who also has gluten sensitivity issues) found a lump this year… and I thought, Lord please – no.  That was one of the reasons I thought I never wanted daughters, years ago… I hated the thought of passing something “like that” onto a daughter...

But alas, God gave us 4 girls…   His ways are best.

I hope by cutting out the gluten NOW, while they’re young, it will just be one more thing we can avoid for them later on!

Studies show, taking evening primrose oil can help with PMS, endrometriosis, PCOS and things like auto-immune inflammatory responses – like fibroids (in your breasts, uterus, or elsewhere).  I did start taking that over a year ago, and I believe it does help with cycle pains.

For those of you who have genetic predisposition to gluten intolerance – but perhaps don’t have celiac disease… REMEMBER: continuing to eat gluten just increases your chances for any number of auto-immune diseases/responses, among other major health issues in various systems of the body.  Many of which, you’ll never feel – until it’s too late.

Please consider if any food is TRULY worth it.

“I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise You.”

Psalm 63:5

Super Foods – Raw Cacao Powder

You’ve heard the term Super Foods… what does that mean exactly?

It has to do with how your body processes these foods and they enhance or benefit your body’s performance.

Raw Cacao is specifically known for his antioxidant flavonoids.

What’s that mean to you?

Think what some want from drinking something, like green tea – then take that times about four!

It really IS super.

Personally I like to put it into smoothies or other recipes that might like a little chocolate.  My kids love it when I turn our chocolate chip muffins into Chocolate-Chocolate chip muffins!  YUM.

How do you use raw cacao?

 

“You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people.

Praise be to God!”

Psalm 68:35

Eye On You

Gluten-free make up?

Is that really necessary?

I mean seriously… you’re not going to EAT your make-up – right?

But hold on a minute.  Your SKIN is your largest organ… 

and it absorbs what you put onto it… into your skin and then into your blood stream…

So it may not be ingested to cause damage to your intestine specifically… but what if it’s causing problems in another system of your body?

That’s why there is so much commotion about parabens being in hair products, and face products… that you put into your skin and on your mouth, because those parabens are showing up in cancer cells.

So yes.  Gluten-free make-up, to me, IS necessary.  Paraben-free is also increasingly important.

Not just for people who have the dermatitis herpetiformis (the itchy rash-type of celiac disease)…

If you’re gluten sensitive – then it’s probably not worth the risk of what it’s doing that you can’t see.

Personally I always had problems with soap, deodorant, and make-up.  My mom said I had, “special skin”…

If by “special” she meant super FAIR, and prone to reactions…. then yes.  I am pretty special.

It’s with FULL confidence that I tell you how much I love the new shadows from Red Apple Lipstick brand.  Known for their gluten-free line of lip products, they’ve now produced a fantastic line of eye shadows.  They work well wet or dry, and are a great quality shadow that stayed on BEYOND all day for me.  I was quite impressed!!  Love the colors I got too!

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:22

Have Board, Will Travel

After our trip to Iowa, we’re realizing how renting a home, vs adjoining rooms in a hotel, is SOON on our horizon.

It’s very difficult to eat have most of our food in two smallish rooms with one tiny fridge.

Sure, we have a couple of coolers, and spend time repacking our ice and such… but the facts are – washing fruit shouldn’t be done in a bathroom sink.

I’m OCD, so bringing cleaning supplies is part of my packing list.  I clean and sanitize the room before the little are even let loose near the premises.  Just making sure all faucets, handles, remotes, light switches and bathroom areas are wiped down is part of my duty as hyper-cleaning parent.

(Of course NOW I learn that not letting my kids get into all of those germs adds to auto immune diseases…) SO which IS it?  Let them get sick, when they have compromised immune systems – or try to avoid it and make them sicker?  I’m so confused…

At any rate… There are a few things I’ve learned to pack to make our traveling and planning a bit easier:

Cutting Board

Dish Soap

Paring Knife

Ziploc baggies/Containers

Paper Towels (LOTS!)

Clorox Wipes

Clorox Everyday Bleach Cleaner

This makes it easier to prepare things, like apples for snack, or strawberries for lunch while on the road.

No excuses!  We have ways of eating healthy – we just have to plan ahead… Every time we don’t plan ahead, it’s TOO EASY to make poor choices.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and He will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3

It’s The BIG – Little Things

My BIG-Little find at the Iowa State Fair was this awesome Tupperware bowl I’ve had my eye on for a while. This houses up to 42 cups of my mixed flours for the gluten-free bread I make! Make in bulk and ready to go!

You know how something little can make or break your day?

Someone says the right… or wrong thing.

Someone gives you the right… or wrong look.

Someone shows up… or doesn’t.

It’s crazy how some days the “tone” of our entire day can be either enhanced or destroyed in a matter of minutes, glances, or few words.

You wake up on time, well rested… and your children greet you, happily with smiles…

OR

You’re running late, forgot to plan breakfast, and everyone is taking out their tiredness on you…

Which day would you choose?

IF you could indeed, choose the day?

I don’t really need to ask – do I?

Since a lot of our day and how we handle those “things” that can come up – is our perspective…

Let’s consider how we view our day, in light of how God views us.

With constant grace, mercy, and love!

I’m making an effort to go to bed earlier, to drink more water, and to count my blessings TWICE each day.  After all, everyone hears enough about the negative everywhere else in our world.  All of these things contribute to me being Healthy for Him each day.

Try shining His light wherever you go today!

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:14

Close To Home

In the August 12th edition of the Topeka Capital Journal, a Kansas State University professor, and group of graduate students were acknowledged for work on creating some “science projects” that would benefit those with celiac disease / gluten intolerance.

The focus started well… using sorghum flour in replacement of wheat.  It sounds like cooking… experimenting.  They were using those with celiac disease to taste test and approve what they were “creating”…

But something hit me in the process of reading this article – about most products we buy in boxes, and packages – and it was confirmed in the words of professor…

“This is not cooking.  This is science,”  professor Aramouni said.

He was proud of this – obviously, it was their objective to use science to create these new ‘products’ (which, by the way, sounded very yummy – including waffle cones – yum!)

Eating too much of a “science experiment” though, seems to be what got me where I am.

How much more of a “science experiment” do I want to consume?

Granted, I’m not completely away from all manufactured products at this point – but, as a family – we’re much closer.

Those gluten-free products are more expensive – yes.  Now you know why…  because the science behind the product isn’t cheap to produce.  They’re often much more caloric too.

Consider what YOU can cook and make in YOUR own kitchen… from scratch.  Consider the REAL ingredients God gave you to “experiment” with…

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,

And marked off the heavens by the span,

And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,

And weighed the mountains in a balance

And the hills in a pair of scales?”

Isaiah 40:12

Happy Pancake Mornin’

One of my favorite places to grab some gluten-free groceries from is Trader Joes.  If you don’t know about Trader Joes – check it out, their prices are awesome.  I left the store with a whole cart full of meats, produce and some gluten-free things for $120 (including tax!)  Love that!

One of our favorite things from there are their pancakes.  they sell 4 packages of 3 pancakes, 12 in each box.  They are gluten and dairy free, and deliciousness!  The kids love them for a treat – when we want pancakes, but are in a hurry.  In our area, they’re only $2 a box – even better!

It’s been a tough week, trying to get caught up and back on track after vacation – too many late nights.  I’m trying so hard to get to bed earlier, but so far, it just isn’t happening!  I always think of “one more thing” to do … and the next thing you know – it’s 1 am when I’m showering and starting my bedtime routine.

Last night after my son’s breathing treatment, I literally cashed out on the floor.  While the floor didn’t feel good – sleeping did …  I feel MUCH more rested and ready to conquer today our weekend of work.

If having a cleaning person didn’t rise my anxiety levels beyond belief – I’d be all over that this week!  Fortunately, I’ve gotten some great workouts in – and that has helped my spirit and my body a ton!  Praise be to God for a body that moves!  I need to be ready – today might be the day of Christ’s return!  Wouldn’t THAT be nice?

“Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous. Be strong.   And do everything with love. “

1 Corinthians 16:13

** an update on Mike’s surgery – it went well, and he is in ICU until Tuesday.  Please pray for his comfort, and healing – and for the strength and peace of his wife and family as they await all of the information from the surgery reports.

Cinna-Berry Applesauce

I got some new cookbooks on vacation, and am having a lot of fun trying out some new things for the family.  Today I made one of the kid’s favorites, homemade applesauce… just in time for lunch!

But this was slightly different with some yummy strawberries and it smelled like a nice fall morning, cookin’ on the stove, all through school!

Cinna-Berry Applesauce

– 5 cups cored and chopped Granny Smith or other organic apple

– 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 T. lemon juice

In a large pot, bring apples, berries and water to a boil.  Stir in maple syrup, reduce heat, and cook over very low heat until fruit is soft.  About 30-45 minutes.

Add spices, vanilla and lemon juice.  Leave it chunky or pureed in a food processor until smooth.

You may store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.  (It didn’t last past today at our house.)

** Today I ask you to join me in prayer for a man named Mike – having surgery today from 1:30pm CST to 6:30 CST – to remove part of his colon, and tumors – after being diagnosed with colon cancer just a few weeks ago.  Pray things go smoothly during the surgery, the tumors are removed, and for healing of his body after the chemo-bath they are treating the area with.  Also, please pray for his wife, 5 small children, and family and friends who need your comfort throughout this trial.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

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