Monthly Archives: September 2012

Shorter Gluten Challenge

I can’t wait to share some things with you that l learned while in Chicago, at the University of Chicago Celiac Center.

This one little tidbit couldn’t wait!

One of the more exciting things (for me personally), was I have an opportunity to send my slides, from the ONE upper biopsy taken, to the U of Chicago for a second look for celiac, vs doing a gluten challenge and starting over.

When Dr. Guandalini saw my upper testing info and results, he was disappointed as well, that the test was performed all wrong. One biopsy was taken, instead of 8-12. Nothing was taken from my esophagus.

It felt good to be justified in my frustration of this journey…
But I know I’m not alone, and its not difficult to understand why the high numbers of people with celiac disease go undetected, improperly diagnosed and ignored. Many are not listening.

But then, he also shared with me the recent study done in Boston that a much shorter period (2 weeks), with a smaller quantity (1.5 slices of bread) would be all that was needed to get a positive endoscopy in 75% of patients.

Since most people decline the 8-12 week suggested gluten challenge with the equivalent of 4 pieces of bread a day, this is welcomed news for sure!

“Never pay back evil with more evil.
Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”
Romans 12:17

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Seasons Change, And Labels Do Too!

Be sure to read all labels on any food products you consume!

and NOT just once… here’s why:

Just because they were once safe, doesn’t mean the ingredients didn’t change!

You remember my infatuation with “Food Should Taste Good” sweet potato chips?

Then suddenly after being glutenated in August, all grains became an issue for me… especially things with corn, rice, most flours…

this included my chips.

I was fine with it, after all, what’s one more thing to give up at this point?  I just wanted my gut to heal….  It was also a good wake up call on why “risking” being glutenated was out of the question for me.

That said, my family still eats them… they are organic, no MSG, no gluten, no dairy, no GMOs….

OH yes… here it is… but wait!

Oh wait.

They WERE no GMOs….

Hmmm….. that’s strange.  We were sure it used to be non-GMOs.

Do you like how they did that? Just move a few things around… and maybe the consumer won’t notice.

So after studying the packing, and realizing they made some changes.  We went online to discover just WHAT on earth was going on…

You know where to go to get the latest scoop on a company?  Their Facebook page!

A customer, like ourselves who had been enjoying their products for a while now – was also outraged at the change, given (now) the popularity of the products they sell.

“No longer are they not GMO (!), the second most important factor to me. Yes, they’re still gluten-free, but now the corn they are made from is known to contain poison which will certainly cause a whole new batch of diseases! I have read that rats fed GMO corn became sterile by the second generation, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! More new diseases will follow, just as Monsanto’s GMO wheat has caused an epidemic of Celiac Disease in this country. FSTG also is no longer Certified vegan, kosher, cholesterol free, low sodium, or free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives! I no longer buy Food Should Taste Good products. Yes they taste good, but they have now joined the group of foods I consider poison, thanks to Monsanto and their manipulating of our food supply. I have totally eliminated corn from my diet because of the potential serious health consequences of GMO corn, which is nearly all of the corn now being grown. I suspect it is the lack of non-GMO corn suppliers that has changed your product. Too bad. Your popularity may kill you. I hope you will return to using non-GMO corn so I and others concerned with what they eat, can return to buying your (formerly) wonderful products.” – from a 69-year-old man with celiac disease.

To some, what he said might seem harsh… but he’s exactly spot on.  If you want to more about GMOs and the real issues they’re causing and have caused just watch Genetic Roulette, it will be worth your time.  (But I believe today might be the last day to view it online for free!)

Thankfully, Food Should Taste Good replied… and they reassured their customers:

“We remain  committed to using non-bioengineered ingredients in all of our products.  We are currently in the process of completing some packaging changes and plan to enroll in the non-GMO project.  So look for the new packaging, reflecting our continued commitment to non-GMO to start hitting shelves soon.” – Food Should Taste Good

They’re currently working with The Non-GMO Project, who is setting a standard of what can be considered Non-GMO.  Most would agree this would be essential, so it doesn’t turn into another blanket marketing term like “organic or natural” – that means absolutely nothing, and no one can trust what it means!

Remember, never assume – and if you have questions – always try to research to get to the bottom of things!  Enjoy this beautiful weekend!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

Anxiety – What Is It?

Colored by my daughter, to symbolize how thankful she is – that God helped us figure this out! 🙂 Praise be to Him!

You or someone you know many struggle with anxiety.  Often times it’s a genetic thing, which is why you may find you tend to worry or act like aunt Martha, or your (gasp) your father.  Many people are on medicines for their anxiety, because it can spiral them into a depression – if left to its own irrational devices.  I’m sure there are many more – but these are the top ones I hear about the most – and perhaps are the ones most people consider when they think of people with anxiety.

Well there are lots of things that incubus “ANXIETY”… but if it’s genetic, as far as how God designed someone to have more anxiety over someone else, then He also created a way through Him to have everlasting peace, and a calm soul.  Obviously environment helps to mold and encourage or diffuse that anxiety disorder.

If this isn’t a struggle of yours, read this anyway – while considering how frustrating to control it would be, for those who do.  Not all anxiety requires medication, but some of it has been fueled by very real things.

A general anxiety disorder – or GAD has the following “symptoms”

– Difficulty concentrating

– Fatigue

– Irritability

– Problems falling or staying asleep, and sleep that is often restless and unsatisfying

– Restlessness, and often becoming startled very easily

Some people have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Which is an anxiety disorder recognized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). With obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may realize that your obsessions aren’t reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.  {This is me.  I call it task master – but… it’s OCD. 🙂 }

Then there is a social anxiety disorder or social phobia (this is definitely NOT me, but I know people with this.)

– Blushing

– Difficulty talking

– Nausea

– Profuse sweating

– Trembling

I had some major OCD type of issues, more so – before having 8 children – and having to let a lot go….  so I’m going to guess I didn’t have that genuine condition, or God knocked the wind out of that for me.

Truthfully I think much of the anxiety I have had – is fueled by outside stress vs. unrealistic things.  {If only staying home was the option – but I do love getting out and about.}  My CD was always much worse when I was stressed by an outside trigger.  Being in a new place, and not knowing where the bathroom is, being around stressful people or situations that constantly question – anything I could internalize – would make me sick… and add in a few of the probabilities – new place, and stressful people…  *ugh*  Not. Good.

I remember having a lot of anxiety, was while carrying my first child.  It was a lot of pressure, and a new situation.  So many unknowns.

…and then .. there was the PUPPS rash I had with my first pregnancy… (Chicago University Celiac Center has confirmed this is tied to Dermatitis Herpetiformis, the skin type of celiac disease – get a skin biopsy – you have celiac disease, yes – for real.)

In about my 8th month, this horrid, crazy, itching rash that took over my stomach.

Nothing would touch these hives.  I mean nothing.  Thankfully they were only on my belly.  My Dr. explained it as a hormonally induced rash – from pregnancy, essentially stress on your system from the hormones.  I was told,  “you might get it once, but never again.”  (I had it multiple times BTW, but never THIS bad)…  Once the baby is born,  it’s supposed to go away.  She said.

After labor, mine BLEW UP.

I mean – it was EVERYWHERE.

ALL over my body.  Every fold, and crevice – and it itched something TERRIBLE.

The Dr. on call, visited the following day to check me out… When she pulled back the sheet – she gasped and said, “WHAT is that?”  I cried inside thinking… aren’t YOU supposed to know?  I chalked it up to my ‘one in a million girl” status.  Again.

So imagine that.  22 hours of labor.  First child, and grandchild…. and did I mention we came home Christmas Eve?

No pressure.

I was an itchy, hormonal mess – and anxiety was high. 😦

They gave me steroids to diffuse it, and eventually it worked, a month later.  But not before drying out my milk supply and causing hallucinations, anxiety and depression beyond belief.

However, NOW that I’ve read how PUPPS is also tied to celiac disease as well…  and I think – WOW.  How many times was this missed throughout my lifetime?

No.  Really?

Have a beautiful Friday!  Do all you can to ward off anxiety by keeping your stress level low in all ways you can, working out and eating right!! Do all you can to be healthy for Him!

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,

but a spirit of power,

of love and of self-discipline.”

2 Tim. 1:7

Things I’m Thankful For…

Delicious biscuits from 1,2,3 Gluten Free! We made them with a chicken pot pie recipe from inside their box… fabulous! Love fall foods!

Since we are now in the 4th and final quarter of the year… (Wowza!  I know, it’s crazy – Christmas is about 3.5 months away!)

I thought it would be a good time to count my blessings.

Everyday is a good day to count those blessings – but today… I just felt the need to express them out loud.  So here you go:

 1. I have a loving God who made me and takes care of me.

 2. I have a Savior who gave up everything so I could have forgiveness and eternal life.

 3. I have a loving, faithful, smart (yes, you may throw up now), and handsome husband who is a great leader, and loves the Lord.

 4. I have 8 beautiful (I might be biased) blessings who God entrusted us to raise and nurture.

 5. I live in a country where I am free to worship the one true God of the Bible.

 6. I have plenty of foods to eat, to live and thrive – and feed my family.

 7. I have a voice to sing with and to praise God with.

 8. I have a mobile body, and am able to move and serve the Lord. (that includes working out!)

 9. I am blessed with Christian friends and family who love the Lord, and me – unconditionally.

10. I am blessed with celiac disease.

We started a Bible study a couple of weeks ago, on the unseen evils in this world… the schemes, and guilt and doubt that we allow to tempt us and bring us down…  the study is called “The Invisible War”.

Take some time today to counter act what you don’t have … or what you’re disappointed in, frustrated with, and FILL your mind and heart with what you DO have… and what you have had… I would guess it’s more than most.  Thank God for those things.

God doesn’t promise us a happy, comfortable, stress-free life – and nor does He told us to strive for that, or measure that as a “success”.   That is called the “Happiness Cult” of the world…

and it’s a lie.

We are to strive for Him – not for ourselves… and comfort, wealthy and easy – have nothing to do with the sanctification process.

Count it all JOY!

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  

And let steadfastness have its full effect,

that you may be perfect and complete,

lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4

First Fruits!

I’m proud of our son, who worked so hard this summer watering out garden – even when it was SUPER hot (and the plants needed Him the most!).  IT was hard work, and HOT work, but he took care of things first in the morning – so he was able to do other things with his time.  (Good thinking!)

There is a reason why God wants us to give Him the first fruits.

It shows obedience, and priorities that are in line!

It’s the same for our income, our time, and our health.

Sacrificing doesn’t need to mean always helping others, at the expense of never taking care of ourselves…

and yet… that’s exactly what I used to do.

As a mom, it’s easy to not make time for your appointments – with God, with your workout video, with your doctor…

but I was super quick with excuses.  “This is a season, the kids really need me… I just can’t.”

Regardless, it’s not Truth.  God doesn’t want me to never take care of me…  and eventually, it does catch up to you!

I don’t know how many moms say the forget to eat, or go to the bathroom… or drink enough water.  (you know, that goes together right?)

Don’t forget that taking of your body IS so important to God.  He created us for His purpose, and our bodies house His Spirit.

“Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.”

Exodus 34:26a

 

A Quickie!

Sometimes you just don’t want to think about what you’re going to make for a meal.

Eating gluten-free is no different…

What staples do you need on hand?

Here are a few I keep around that go easily with some tamari sauce, Amy’s pasta sauce or veggies:

Roland brand quinoa – Ready in 15 minutes
Tasty Bite – Brown Rice – Microwave for 90 seconds or make in a pan in a few short minutes.

Quinoa (Roland brand is great – it offers other flavors too, and we get this at HyVee)

Brown Rice (Tasty Bite brand has lots of other quickie ideas – we get ours at HyVee or our local health food co-op store)

Brown Rice Pasta (Tinkyada is our favorite brand because they don’t just fall apart)

If I keep those things in my cabinet – then I will have something for the days I “forgot” to make dinner.  I have a timer on my phone that asks me each day at noon… “What’s for dinner?” – and I often leave notes out for myself the night before… Eg. “Put chicken in crock pot.”

Tomorrow evening I’m going to make a chicken pot pie dish with 1,2,3 Gluten Free biscuits, and I’ll be making those beforehand – so when it’s dinner time, I just have to make my veggies and my chicken in the crock pot will be perfect!

Plan, plan, plan – but if you’re in a pinch, and needing a quickie meal idea – keep those staples on hand with your produce, and you’re good to go!

Carry on!

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 15:22

Happy Celiac Awareness Day!

What are YOU doing to celebrate committing your life to being healthy for Him – whatever your REASON for being gluten-free?

I will tell you what I’m doing.

I’m having ice cream.

Because I’ve waited over 2 weeks for Hy-Vee to get my ice cream back in stock.

This ice cream represents all of the “I can’t haves…”  into a:

YES, I CAN!

No Dairy

No Gluten

No Coffee

In walks my dairy free, gluten-free, cappuccino COCONUT BLISS ice cream! 

Yes, I did snag TWO containers.  I saved some for my fellow GF/DF friends.

While at Hy-Vee, I got to meet a gluten-free “newbie” who was with a friend and they were hovering over by the bars… candy bars, meal replacements, fruit bars…

The friend said, “You should just get one and try it.”

Then the girl picks up a choco-BOOM Enjoy Life bar and says, “I wonder if THIS Is any good?”  I nod to her friend.

“Those are great!” I said.

They both turned to me wide eye with questions… you could tell they were lost and desperate for food that she would enjoy.

“I’m new to gluten-free, but I have a friend who is – and she said she HATES it,” the girl announced.

“Oh no,” I said.  “That’s too bad – there are lots of great things to eat.”

“What’s your FAVORITE thing to eat in these aisles?” she inquired.

“Oh my…” I said.  “Favorite?  I suppose the Enjoy Life Brand and (I held up my replenishment of ice cream) this!”

“Mmmmmmmm,” she said.

“Indeed, this is awesome,” I informed her.

They tracked me down later for another question – but it felt good to be able to share my knowledge of a few things that worked for our family.  It’s always a good laugh when I say I have 8 kids, and we all eat gluten-free in our family, so I understand the struggle.

{ I hope that’s an encouragement – that if *I* can make it work with the strength and power from God – SURELY, you can too!}

Grab ahold of God – He’s all the encouragement we need.

I think I’ll put on my G-FREE shirt today – because more people need to realize that being gluten-free isn’t a BAD thing – it’s awesome and a blessing!

Peace!

“but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good:

first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Romans 2:10

A Good Day!

All in all, I’m going to count today a good day… because tomorrow… I get blood work done that needs to be done.

And hopefully, within that blood work – we’ll have some hints into why it feels like my thyroid is off, and if the growing lump in my throat is anything to be concerned about.

They will be testing my:

FSH and LH (hormone levels)
CBC (basic blood work)

Cortisol and ACTH – which will tell me how my adrenal and pituitary glands are functioning.

Another reason it’s a good day?

Our recent Vitacost order came…

Which means…

Our stock of gluten-free/dairy-free “itsy-bitsy bears” is back in stock.

Happy Kids = Happy Mom

Not to mention – My bread is made for tomorrow and I’m ahead a 1/2 loaf for the week.  This is always a good position to be in.

My GF/DF organic blueberry/lemon poppy seed breakfast muffins are made for breakfast…

AND… I just finished homemade apple sauce.

Did I also forget to mention I got most of my workout in before 10pm and the weather was beautiful today?

Yes… I’d say I’m feeling quite accomplished through God’s strength today and very blessed!

Praise be to Him who gives us much peace!

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”

Psalm 29:11

 

 

You’re Either IN, Or You’re Not.

Tamari is a great gluten free soy sauce. We add this into our veggie and rice dishes a lot. Tasty!

I’ve heard this now and then… “I cut back on my gluten.”  or “I just cut some out of the gluten, and I still eat it some times.”

For those of you who do this…  I want to explain something.

Going gluten free truly isn’t something you can do half-way and notice a difference – if you’re that’s what you’re trying to do.

Obviously for a celiac it’s a lifetime commitment, but if you have other gluten intolerances that are affecting multiple systems if your body… it’s similar for you, in that – you can’t eat “some”or it’s defeating the purpose.

It would be like having a huge glass of cystal clear water… with “just two little drops of poison.”  Would you drink it?  Of course not.

While researching for an endocrinologist this week – I can across this statement from the KU Med center which better relates what many of the information I believe is trying to say:

Why Gluten (Wheat) May be Bad for You

Today’s modern dwarf wheat has been genetically engineered and is no longer the same wheat that ancient civilizations used to eat, and is implicated as a major contributor to obesity.

Wheat, even whole wheat products, contains starches that spike blood sugar rapidly, and can thus promote diabetes as well as causing people to age faster.

Our modern strains of wheat have more proteins that cause celiac-associated problems for people, even for those who do not have celiac disease. Up to 40 percent of the population has genes that pre-dispose them to gluten sensitivity. These people are not celiac, but can still improve their health (and lose weight) by avoiding wheat. (This means that 40% of the population is better off being gluten free).

In addition, wheat breaks down into polypeptides that can cross the blood brain barrier and act like opiates in the brain, causing some people to have a wheat addiction. And even in normal people, wheat promotes an increase in gut permeability. (This is bad).

There is also possible cross reactivity between gluten and proteins in milk. This means that many gluten sensitive people are also better off avoiding milk as well.

If you are overweight, have bowel problems or joint pain, or any other health problem, including skin rash, fatigue, depression, endometriosis, reflux, it may be worth it going gluten free for 3 months and seeing if it makes a difference for you. Because we often also see dairy intolerance, it may not hurt to also go dairy-free.

This is not to be undertaken lightly.

Going Gluten Free:

Going gluten free is a serious commitment. There is no ‘having a little’. You either are gluten free or you are not.

To go gluten free, you will need to avoid wheat and anything made from wheat, including hidden sources of wheat. No pasta, no pizza, no bread, no pastries, no barley, no rye, no spelt, no oats (unless gluten free), no hydrolyzed vegetable protein, no MSG, no maltodextrin, no beer (wine and sake are generally ok). Be careful of wrapped chewing gum and other products that may have been dusted with wheat flour to keep them from sticking. Be careful of prescription drugs and supplements that may have wheat as a filler.

What Not to Do:

Do not make the mistake of substituting with these ‘gluten free’ breads or pastas if you are looking to lose weight, as these gluten substitute products are often made with corn, tapioca, rice, and potato, and so also spike blood sugars and contribute to obesity and faster aging.

To go gluten free, aim to eat a low carbohydrate diet, and use sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, quinoa, beans and brown rice (sparingly) as carbohydrate sources. You can also have millet, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, and sorghum. Make your plate a rainbow of vegetables, and only eat organic or grassland fed meats. If you must eat seafood, only eat low mercury fish that is wild caught, not farmed.

Not everyone can make full dietary changes all at once. There is a process called ‘transitioning’ where you slowly make changes. This is ok, and full transitioning can sometimes take a year or two. However, if your health condition is serious, you may not have the luxury of doing things that slowly. Remember also that once your gut has been damaged by gluten, it can take 6 months (to two years) to heal.

(For me, I think doing a 3 month test – full out would be essential (that means, NO cheating or your back to square ONE), and knowing how cross contamination works – this is a big commitment, I do realize – but one that is worth it for your future health!)  Remember, life isn’t all about food!

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God,

the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him

and keep his commandments,

to a thousand generations,”

Deut. 7:9

Gluten Free Party-Time!

One of my children showing off her trike riding skills at our GLUTEN-FREE Olympics party this weekend.

Every year we try to host some type of party for our children’s home schooling friends.

We don’t do really big parties for our children’s birthdays…. instead – this is it.

In recent years we had a pizza party.  People brought sides and dessert.  EASY!

Uh oh.

I knew I couldn’t make pizza and have it hot and ready for 70 people…. and I wasn’t going to glutenate my kitchen, or my family in the process.

SO…  plan B.

I procrastinated…

and procrastinated.

This year, with it being the Olympics, we knew we needed to try and have our Olympic themed party.  There were lots of great ideas out there…

Cute treats, decor, games and fun…

But as the time kept passing,  and my body (that has been so tired) – wasn’t responding to call of getting things done.  (I knew that wasn’t normal)

I love parties.  I love parties for my kids… and I LOVE making things fun.  Themes and gift bags are a must!

I’ve had absolutely no energy to get up and get going.

I waited and waited before emailing out the date and information that we planned months ago before school started.

Then I drug my feet all week about doing things for the party.  We didn’t even get our big Olympics sign made, that we planned on doing all week…  and half of the balloons didn’t make it outside the day of the party because I ran out of gas the day of the party.  {All minor things in the grand scheme… but a feeling of “failure” swept over me.  Why do we do that to ourselves, as parents?}

Thankfully only my kids knew I hadn’t done a few things… but in my mind there was a whole huge list of things that weren’t done the way I wanted them done.

It drove me crazy.

So, we did it… we HAD the party – but I felt like the planning was about a C effort from me, at best.

Once we decided on what we could do for food – I did feel better…. but I didn’t move faster with my plans.  I ended up having to pay for extra shipping to get our prizes and things here before the party.  I don’t like it when I make costly mistakes.  (Who does, really?)

We had everyone bring their own sandwiches, and we provided the gluten-free food – fruit, veggies, salads, desserts!

Everything went great and God was awesome – it was a perfect night (weather-wise!) and no one was majorly hurt… Just ONE minor detail.

I forgot to educate all of our friends how important it is to keep THEIR food and crumb filled hands –  away from the food table.  Mainly – their BREAD.

I gasped, and held my breath as I watched people either waiting in line and eating their sandwiches, or holding their plate over the food as they touched the serving dishes to their plates.

*passing out*

While most people, who don’t understand celiac disease – might think this is over board… {crumbs touching or falling off into the food}… cross contamination is a very serious issue to us, and will make someone highly sensitive very sick.

Just their crumb filled hands grabbing into the gluten-free chip bags… or the serving spoon brushing up against their sandwich.

I did have other food (not yet served), and my kids had already been through the line… but I took a mental note to better educate everyone next year before dinner is served.

Don’t assume everyone understands, or will understand the seriousness and complications of your condition.  I realize it’s hard to speak up – that’s one reason why I didn’t say anything, I don’t want people to either A) feel attacked or B) feel guilty … It’s such a hard place to be in!   As you have opportunity, take the time to educate people to protect yourself.  Your friends and loved ones will be glad you did.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1

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