Monthly Archives: December 2012

Can THAT Really Be Making Me Sick?

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One of the things I’ve researched, was how foods (other than gluten) can cause people with leaky gut to get really sick…  I had read that as your gut is healing, the foods that make you ill can even change.

How could this be?

Well, essentially when gluten isn’t processed well in your system, it causes leaky gut, and through that your body attacks the food, or the food attacks your body.

Sometimes people notice this, through diarrhea, or it’s less obvious as it slowly breaks down your digestive tract and immune system, other times people are constipated.  Regardless, it’s not normal to have to take anti-diarrheal medicines for life, any more than it is to have to take laxatives regularly either…  and your energy level shouldn’t be repeatedly down.

Your body is trying to tell you something…. and that’s the only way it can speak.

We need to listen.

So part of my appointment at my naturopath was a Cytotoxic blood test.  It’s where they take your blood, separate blood from plasma and mix the blood with a food – to see what type of reaction it causes.

If you have a leaky gut, then some foods can actually cause an inflammation process in your system… foods that one might normal think are GOOD for them, will attack the body.  More importantly, your white blood cells.  Your immune fighters.  This is actually a suspect for why many people have auto immune diseases triggered, and poor immune systems.  Your body is fighting something all the time… and you can be low on those white blood cells, to conquer colds and viruses – by the very food you’re trying to eat to be well.

So, being the skeptic I am…  I’ve read a lot on what is the best way to determine food allergies – including quackery reports on who thinks this isn’t a valid test.  While I had gone to an immunologist…. and done the skin testing, a lot of what I read said this isn’t really a good test.  {Since you don’t put food on your skin – it obviously reacts different in your gut.}  While what you put on your skin IS absorbed…. this just wasn’t effective for me (at all!) Considering my tests from the immunologist shows I had “zero” food allergies – I would agree.  This didn’t work for me, and I knew it was wrong.  CLEARLY I was having problems with other grains, peanut butter, coffee… and lots of other things.

My body was starting to think a flare was normal.

So, with that said… I had also read that Cytotoxic testing can be done incorrectly… or (and this was from medical doctors) that it wasn’t “proven” to be helpful.  Thankfully Kansas is a state where my N.D. has to be licensed to practice, and the facility checks out with the BBB. This isn’t some fly-by-night operation, and their goal is to help you be well by finding the source of the problems, so your whole body can be well vs. just masking issues with prescriptions.

Well, I can simply tell you my experience so far…

I think it’s right on the money.

I got a list of foods that measured on a reaction result of mild reaction (1), moderate reaction (2), moderately severe reaction (3) and severe reaction (4).  I didn’t have any foods that were 4s, but I did have several 3s, and 2s as well as some 1s… and the results were very interesting.  Some of the foods I don’t eat…  but several of them I do.

Keep in mind they have no idea what I eat.  I just went in there fasting for 12 hours… and they took my blood.  The foods that were causing problems are attacking my white blood cells – destroying them… and that would explain a lot of my continued problems, with auto immune disease and digestive issues.

My top problem starters?  Cantaloupe, Avocado, Cabbage, Squash (including zucchini), coffee (no surprise there!), and BHA/BHT (an additive, watch those plastics and products with these!)

Next in line were some more fruits that I eat often… Pineapple, Watermelon, Apple (I ate these daily!), Garlic, Tomato, Turkey (yep,I know…), salmon, tea, almond (and almond milk and flour), chocolate, oats, rice (since MOST products and GF grains are made with rice flour…you see my problem processing any grains?), navy beans…

Lastly were the 1s…. Grapes,Strawberries, Carrots, Hops, Honey, Pinto Beans, Fluorine, Pecan, and Yeast.

You might wonder why wheat, and gluten are not on the list.  It’s because celiac is not an allergy.  Remember that these are MY inflammatories currently…  we are all created unique, so there is no reason to believe they would cause YOU any problems… other than gluten and dairy, which gum up most people’s system.  Any good nutritionist will tell someone with chronic illness, cancer or auto immune disease that gluten and dairy should be the first things to go.

Back to allergies, – they often make us think of sneezing, watery eyes…  but I hadn’t considered it breaking down my body as well.  Some of them weren’t causing GI issues… but the inflammatory process is systemic.  So each was causing different affects.

So… what to do?  Take those foods out forever?  Not necessarily.

They recommend removing the 3s for 12+ weeks, the 2s for 8 weeks and the 1s for 4 weeks… and then rotating one new food in every 3 days to see how my body responds, noting any changes.  They also suggested (to maximize my health) that these foods might be good to leave out of my diet… OR minimizing them greatly.  1-2 times a week tops after the 3 months removal.

For me, things like coffee – are a no brainer.  I don’t desire to make myself sick.  I know I took it out for 5 months – tried it again, and still got sick.  Hence the uveitis.  There is no doubt in my mind that causes systemic inflammation in my body because I feel like that was measurable to me.  I’m assuming the combination of the other foods – in any given meal… or multiple meals… hasn’t been my friend.  I can’t tell you how often I make fruit “salads” with pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe and the like…

I’ve been enjoying pears… and oranges… and bananas… and guava juice.  Huh?  Yeah.  I know… but it’s actually very good.

So, there you have it – that’s one test result back that – so far – seems to be helping!!  My pain in one week is improved a lot.  Not 100% but definitely improved.

As far as leaky gut, and your body not being able to absorb vitamins, as well as causing OTHER major problems – you can envision why this is VERY bad for your body.  You might also be able to imagine how this can snowball in a bad direction.

For instance, if you see a rash on your body – you often treat the rash with a topical ointment.

Does the source of the rash just “go away” if you slather it in ointment and you can’t see the rash?  NO.  It’s more likely the inflammation is just going on somewhere else you can’t see.

A better thing to do is also seek out what is the cause for the rash, instead of just treating the symptom.  The same thing goes for cysts, and cancer… not that you shouldn’t treat the outward symptoms – but you need to try to determine the SOURCE, and make the necessary changes for health.

If you think this is some good stuff, just wait for what I have on tap next.  My head is getting clearer…  Watch out!

 “For I say, through the grace given to me,

to everyone who is among you,

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,

but to think soberly,

as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

 For as we have many members in one body,

but all the members do not have the same function, 

so we, being many, are one body in Christ,

and individually members of one another.”

Romans 12:3-5

Thank You, May I Have Another?

Even though I don't eat the cookies, it doesn't stop me from making them for my kids!  These are chocolate chip with a bit of cinnamon... Mmm!

Even though I don’t eat the cookies, it doesn’t stop me from making them for my kids! These are chocolate chip with a bit of cinnamon… Mmm!

After my hopeful trip to the naturopath Dr. K last Monday, I had a follow-up appt with the eye specialist in another city 2 days later.

I honestly didn’t want to go… clearly I hadn’t flared up with uveitis again.  But, I did need to keep the contact, in the event it came back – or went chronic.  {I don’t think that will happen since I cut out coffee and haven’t been cross contaminated… but…}

Ironically, that day was highly over cast, and while I looked forward to a day “alone” with my husband…  the day started off and continued with a major migraine and fatigue. I did get a nice rest to our appointment and back, but it was very difficult to enjoy our day together when I felt so rotten.

I was grateful my husband could actually come to the appointment. In the past, he’s usually dropping me off – and listens (second-hand) about what my appointments entail.  It’s good to have a second set of eyes and ears at appointments.  Especially for me on a bad day…

With a migraine, comes major light sensitivity for me.

Exactly what you want in your eyes…  a bunch of bright lights and prodding.

The doctor arrives in about 30 minutes late to my appointment and then proceeds to sit down at the computer for about 20 minutes without even saying 2 words to my husband or I…   {at least this time he wasn’t grinding his teeth off from his computer data stress that he mentioned last time!}

He looks over my records, asks me a few questions and then basically looks at me as if to say, “Why are you here?”  It was clear he had no further ideas on where to go.  He seemed relieved that Dr. E was also sending me on to an immunologist…

“Oh, she’s a ‘good one’… maybe she can help you,” he said.

When I inquired about a Sjogren’s test for eye moisture, he commented… “Your eyes ARE really dry.”

Thank you.  I know this.

No.  He didn’t have a way to measure that… and again, no suggestions on how to manage it either.

{Thankfully my mom clued me in on some OTC “Systane” drops that I could get at Target or Walmart, they work wonders.}

Again he commented on my notes from Dr. E. and noted my “significantly elevated ANA.”  He assured me that he didn’t think I had Lupus…  He thought I had issues of a connective tissue disorder… and the inflammation that follows with that.  Something like Sjogrens was highly likely.  He noted my blood vessels were larger than normal – but didn’t want be to go back to the steroid if I could avoid it.

We agreed, at least.

Then he said something I found hysterical.  “Well, I’m sorry you have to wait another month for help… it feels like socialized medicine.”  I appreciated him recognizing this has been very trying… all of the waiting and fruitless appointments… but I already knew his stance on what is going on the direction the medical world is going.  {He didn’t need to preach to the choir.}

My husband felt the same way I did when we left…  wasted time, and no closer to answers on this front.  He also had a better idea of why I felt so frustrated.  When I handed the Dr. a study on uveitis, and celiac disease {that he had requested from our first conversation} …. he read through it, tossed it aside, then flippantly asked if I was Swedish!!!  Apparently studies outside of the U.S. aren’t valid.  I kindly let him know that the University of Chicago was holding a symposium on celiac disease next fall – with doctors from all over the world, including a large chunk from Sweden.  I digress…

In the meantime, I’m still working on my “home work” for Dr. K… and I received my blood tests back regarding my foods that cause inflammation.  I can’t wait to tell you about that next!

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you

to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

1 Peter 3:15

Holiday Toffee Bars

A few of the ingredients I used in the toffee bars

A few of the ingredients I used in the toffee bars  ** Note these specific nuts ARE gluten-free, some Fisher brand nuts are NOT.  Read labels, and be informed on any item not labeled GF specifically.

I’m blessed to host a Bible study in my home weekly…

We’re a group of moms who have connected to study what God’s Word says about being the wife He wants us to be, the Mom he desires in us, and the friend and servant He wants us to be.  We study, learn, share, cry and always share laughter together.  The other thing we share… is food.

When we started out years ago, we always had cookies, brownies or some type of chocolate.  The unspoken rule was… it HAD to be chocolate.  {maybe that was my rule!}  Well, then you might recall, I shared the Danna Demetre study “Scale Down” a few years back…  and we really started to take a long hard look at our calories in/calories out…  and the quality of those calories.

We decided we’d still have treats, but we ate less, our portions were smaller and we were much more in tune with what we were consuming… That was going great until… I became so sensitive to every food under the sun, and gluten was off the table.  Then another member also realized she too, had issues with gluten that have subsided being gluten-free.

So… what to do?

Well… first a few tried to lovingly make treats… but a few ingredients were off… then the ingredients were right, but it became a concern that the kitchen wasn’t gluten free with my sensitivities being so crazy.  Then I couldn’t eat any grains (which I now realize is a rice sensitivity due to leaky gut issues)

So, needless to say, it became less of a “fun” time of treats, and more of a hassle and stress…  on them, and on me.  We weren’t sure what to do…  I felt like a burden, and they didn’t want me to have to make a treat each week.  Honestly, I was fine with them eating whatever…  I just knew I couldn’t – and that was fine with me… but they didn’t want to leave me out.  We knew our study wasn’t about food… but at the same time, it was a nice part of our fellowship time that we wanted to make work.

Now we just mix things up – and everything seems to work out ok.  Sometimes we have fruit… sometimes I make a treat… some times someone else brings a treat – {and usually I pass}.  No hard feelings, no stress… all is well.  It certainly makes you realize that life IS more than food, and our relationships are thicker than a chocolate-fudge brownie!  We were even able to have our Christmas celebration gluten-free… and there was plenty of food for all.

Recently, I shared with them a Holiday Toffee Bar from glutenfreely.com.  I changed up a few things, by using vegan butter, and coconut sugar – but you get the idea.  You could also use any other baking mix, like King Arthur or Pamela’s Baking mix instead of Bisquick.

Ingredients

HOLIDAY TOFFEE BARS

1 cup butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla

1 egg yolk

2 cups GF Bisquick

1 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.  In large bowl mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk.  Stir in baking mix.  Press into pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until very light brown (crust will be soft).  Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on hot crust, and let stand 3-5 minutes – then spread chocolate evenly.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Cool 30 minutes.

Cut 8 rows by 4 rows – 140 calories each/16 carbs/10 sugars

Mmmmm yummy, melting, chocolate on top!

Mmmmm yummy, melting, chocolate on top!

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”

Luke 12:23

Waiting. Christmas Eve.

I bought myself some Christmas flowers... they are a nice centerpiece to our table.

I bought myself some Christmas flowers… they are a nice centerpiece to our table.

I haven’t written much this month.

I know what I have written isn’t my normal either.  Thank you for reading anyway.

I haven’t lost hope and have continued working out, and living Healthy for Him… despite the struggles I’m facing.  {I look forward to sharing that and more recipes soon}

I am not sad at God, bitter or angry.

I’m actually encouraged daily… some how, He fills me up.  Either through another piece that He puts together in my own health puzzle, or through struggles of others – who have it much worse than me…  allowing me to be more grateful.

Regardless, I know character is built in this waiting…

and even while reading our Jesse Tree lesson tonight – a smile filled my face.

“Sometimes God has His people wait long so our gratitude becomes deeper and wider.”

We think of our “wait” and anticipation as a child…. for Christmas… for a birthday… a wedding day… graduation…

or at the end of our life – for that greeting from our heavenly Father.  That excitement, and that JOY as we await something… is indescribable sometimes.

“Good news has come out of silence.  Grace.”

The GIFT that God gives us … is certainly so.

Unwarranted GRACE…. infinite peace…. ever lasting life.

So silence… and waiting… neither are negatives.  The way I see it… God is speaking to me huge right now!!

May you too enjoy His love today, tonight, tomorrow… and eternally!!!  Merry Christmas!

The Winding Road… to Hope!

“You are entering a 90 acre nature preserve.  Health, hope and healing flourish here in harmony with nature.”

This sign and others greeted us on Monday morning, and I smiled… and took a deep breath.

“Is THIS it?” the kids shouted in the van.

As the road winded around slowly to the clinic… I imagined what this could finally mean for me.

HEALING.

photo_healing

When we approached the facility to meet my naturopath doctor, I honestly had NO idea what to expect…  But I hoped the kids were right.  I hoped this was IT.

Is this going to be…  REALLY strange?

Is it going to be “out there” ?

I didn’t have apprehension… as much as I did just plain ignorance on how things would be done.

It looked so peaceful… but definitely unlike most things I had experienced up until this point.

I entered “Dome 1.”

I was promptly greeted with a friendly, warm smile and a couple of helpful ladies got me checked in.  Serene music played while I looked around at the supplements, books and information offered….

Months ago, it might have appeared strange the book titles, snacks and scenery… but things like Larabars and KIND bars were not strangers to our family any more…. and a gluten-free diet promoted as the “best choice” was all we knew.

The facility was broken up into domes, which are numbered and each one had a purpose….

The second dome I was taken to – was the actual clinic for Dr. K.  While the nurse led me on our walk to do vitals, I passed several people in recliner chairs, hooked up to IVs.  They seemed in their happy place.  (later I learned they were getting vitamin IVs)  After this, she kindly escorted me to my recliner in front of a large canvas that said…”HOPE”…  exactly what I had come for a dose of.

God knew… and that brought me comfort that I was in the right place.

The calm Christmas themed music played, and I smiled and closed my eyes listening to the relaxing sounds around me as I took a little nap.  Soon it would be my turn to meet Dr. K.

It was actually the Dr. who came and escorted me to the room where we would talk for the next hour…

No computer, no distractions… just her, and a pen for my file – and lots of writing, and listening, questions… and more listening.  She said I had all of the classic signs of celiac, from stools, to malabsorption, the bloating, pain and then all of it going away until being glutenated again… and now the possibly yeast issues that have followed suit….  It was refreshing to have someone know and understand the signs of the issue at hand.  She noted my numerous metal fillings when she examined me.  Asked if I had been tested for Lyme… parasites, or various vitamin deficiencies as well…

“What about your thyroid levels….  were they fasting?” she asked.

No.  They weren’t.  She also inquired about why my T-3 hadn’t been checked, explaining that my Free T3 was low and my thyroid  was borderline…   Since they treat everyone on an individual basis, as in, “what is normal for you might not be normal for someone else.”

Wow.  You mean… we are all created differently and uniquely and might not fit the mold?  Very refreshing indeed.

She said immediately – lacking vitamin A is notorious for causing spooning on finger nails…  so added a huge dose of Vit. A, doubled my Vit. D and took my fish oil times four.  She looked for my probiotic, and explained that it was WAY too low of a dose to do much of anything…  which would explain why I would get so frustrated taking it – and give up.

So “holistic” medicine isn’t some freaky term for witch doctor…(like I might or might not have assumed).  It doesn’t mean “HOLY”…as in some type of voo-doo ritual.  It actually means treating the WHOLE body… vs. just one symptom, and searching for the source(s) of the issues.   So essentially, it’s as if these doctors look at your symptoms from your entire life… laying out your health history like a deck of cards and then trying to view you as the creation God made you – unique.   They don’t ignore all modern medicine, but rather work with your doctor…  the first line of defense is just a more natural based one, when possible.  As I’ve learned this past year – how much what we eat can have systemic affects.

After going over her suggestions for blood work, I also had some homework – but mainly we were looking at the following:

Food Sensitivities – what other foods are making my white blood cells react?  While I don’t have allergies to, it seems coffee, grains, sugar, and night shades are all issues for me right now.

Parasites – is there something else throwing off my immune system since my IgA is so low?

Metals – could my blood be filling with metals from mercury poisoning with all of my fillings?  Yes, I have a lot from my youth when my braces came off…  at least 8.

Thyroidcould an under lying issue be my thyroid not firing properly?

Yeast – could this be bogging down my immune system and poisoning my organs as well?

Cortisol Levels – could they be extremely low during the morning, and high at night?

Could Lyme disease be playing a role in my symptoms? (This part she left up to my immunologist for my Jan. appt – because it’s a high-grade of test they will do a KU med.)

photo_HOPE

Some of the results will start coming in at the end of this week, and 3 of the tests I have to do as “homework” within the next week and then mail in…  with the results taking about 3 weeks to return.  I scheduled my follow-up in 5 weeks… which I feel ok with – because I feel like something is going on, and in the mean time – I will be seeing the immunologist as well.

So there you have it.  I definitely felt like Dr. K was getting on it…. not just “one test” and wait… “another test…” and wait.  She listened, looked at my labs, looked at my history… and we talked about my stress levels.  She seemed to really have a great knowledge about celiac, and was able to know what we needed to be looking at for the years of damage I had endured.  It put my mind at ease.  I felt understood.

Total cost of the day, wasn’t cheap.  (Only $200 for the initial visit, the rest was tests I had to approve, or decline).  My husband and I had decided on a budget before the trip, and we had decided it was worth it to us.  It was submitted to insurance…. we’ll see how claiming goes.  Not all states require a naturopath to be licensed.  In Kansas, they do.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.”

2 Cor. 5:20

Season of HOPE…Hope Renewed!

This facility talked about knowing a lot just by looking at your nails.  I've waited for someone to notice my nails, as they had improved but now have horizontal ridges.  Looking forward to the possibilities today!

This facility talked about knowing a lot just by looking at your nails. I’ve waited for someone to notice my nails, as they had improved but now have horizontal ridges. Looking forward to the possibilities today!

It’s the season of HOPE.

What better HOPE is there, than Christ?

NONE.

No matter what we’re experiencing, He has been there…  and has conquered it for us.

It literally keeps me going everyday …

I told you when I ran my 5K in October…  I kept thinking about how badly I felt, and how my body was just screaming to stop – but my heart wanted to continue… so I did.  I reminded myself of Jesus – and all He suffered and endured, to save us.

Surely I could endure this silly race in pain, or these past years of undiagnosed celiac – with myself and my kids … or even this insane year of appointments where everything that could go wrong – has ….

It seems like NOTHING, comparatively… and it hushes me.

So, how do I mentally go about it?

I run everyday, the same way I ran that 5K…

One step at a time.

So… I don’t actually RUN…  but I remember:

Life isn’t about being the fastest in any aspect…   WHY are we in such a hurry?  The Truth is, sometimes God wants us to SLOW down.  So whether you’re losing weight, or staying fit – focus on the journey – not some “quick fix” for the sake of vanity.  God wants you body, mind and spirit – living for Him.

Life isn’t about comparing across… we compare up – and compete with ourselves above all… after all, God only made ONE you.  Be the best YOU that He created for His unique purposes.  Celebrate how He made you unique, embrace that.

Life isn’t about feeling defeated.  It’s about having and eternal HOPE  – greater than the circumstances you’re in.  Remind yourself daily that the devil is just waiting to devour you… remove anything in your life that makes you feel defeated… Whether it’s a food you feel like you can’t resist, or a person who is unhealthy to have in your life.

I’m SO thankful for that HOPE.

It’s been necessary to help me tie my shoes on when I didn’t feel like I could work out, but needed to try anyway.

It’s encouraged me to continue cooking healthy meals for my family, when I really wanted to cry that take out pizza wasn’t an option.

It’s been necessary to continuing to try to find that Dr. who will help me… and continuing on all of these follow-up visits and blood tests that yield no solid answers.

That HOPE helps me to repeat my story… one more time… and pray that “this time” is the time someone is going to know how best to help me.

Today I visit a NEW doctor.  A naturopath  doctor…  and once again – my eternal HOPE, fills me with a hope that this time… MIGHT be different.  That this year, would end on a note much brighter than it began…  and I could be the wife and mother my family needs.

I’d love it if you prayed along with me!!  God bless your week as you strive to be Healthy for Him!

“Delight yourself in the Lord,

and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Psalm 37:4

Learning From Our Kids

I tried my first Paleo cookie recipe this week and loved it.  See the recipe below.

It’s Christmas time…  

One of my favorite things about Christmas is food – but not as much as it is… the mail.

I love having mail everyday, don’t you?

Familiar faces and updates… it’s fun to share, and for others to share with you the joys and trials of the year.

I used to be one of those people most people didn’t care for.

My cards were early.  I can say that now because they’re never early now.

Maybe it’s because I have other things to focus on, but regardless… they still aren’t send out.

I was happy I got our pictures done…  early.  In October actually…  so REALLY early.

But, between work and health – by the time I got to download the pictures…  I felt like they were out of date before I even made our card!!

You know how life changes… SO quickly?  My two boys with braces, had both gotten them removed – and now had beautiful, smooth, white smiles.  My 7 year lost her two front teeth, which were now filling in… she looked completely different too with no snaggle baby teeth hanging on.

It seemed silly to make the card with these outdated pictures… but I did it anyway… knowing lots of people are like me, and enjoy getting mail.  I’ve fought my attitude about making a letter – because… what exactly should I say?  Shouldn’t I make one or do people even care?

I had the kids give their two cents about summaries of importance this year.  The number one thing on most of the children’s list…

was how much better they felt…

and how THANKFUL they were that we were now gluten-free (and half of them also dairy free).

They were thankful to have been healthier since May… and several of them also mentioned just how QUICKLY this year has gone for them.

It brought a smile to my face… just knowing THEY feel better, {despite my health going further down hill as the year wore on…} and have much to be thankful for.

THEIR health being improved, makes it worth it for me.

My oldest son’s highlight was how much he had grown this year…   and I know in my heart why.  I toss aside the guilt I feel knowing he’s been sick from gluten, since birth.

My oldest daughter bragging of how much better it is not to itch herself until she bleeds {and spend every night in bed, balled up from pain after dinner}, warms my heart… and I work through forgiving myself for the comments I made – telling her, a lot of it was in her head… for years.

All of the things that have happened this year… the places we have traveled and the activities we’ve done…

and YET – my kids’ most important thing THEY wanted to share with our friends in family was in regards to all of the GREAT changes God has made in our lives with their health.

WOW.

There’s always something I stand to learn from kids.

They’re resilient (despite my numerous appointments and having to make up school, often on weekends).

They’re forgiving (even when I have so much guilt for years past and their pain and suffering).  

They’re grateful (for their future, and for knowing what we know now).

They’re hopeful (of what this means for our future, and for me getting the help I need – God will provide).

And they’re SO right.  An attitude of forgiveness, gratitude and HOPE makes ALL of the difference!

I can’t thank God enough – for sparing my Mom, who help fit pieces of the family tree together…. For a client’s child, who spoke up on a whim regarding their favorite foods – allowing me to learn about celiac for the first time, For the information I was able to get at the library which God allowed to open my eyes… and the many studies and books published that I’ve been able to read and learn from since then.  For the friends and family who encourage and help us to keep searching and learning and support this less than easy change we’ve had to make – thank you.

I praise God for each of you too.

(Did I mention my letter still isn’t done?  Soon.  I promise.)

The Paleo Cookies were from Elana’s Pantry.  Love so much of her stuff!!  I did use coconut oil instead of palm oil. Enjoy!

“When tempted, no one should say,

‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil,

nor does he tempt anyone; 

but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

 Then, after desire has conceived,

it gives birth to sin;  and sin,

when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

James 1:13-15

Words. They CAN Break Bones.

“Sticks and stones will break my bones… but ______ will never hurt me.”

We’re studying WORDS in our most recent ladies Bible study.  It’s a study on words, and their power…

YES.  Indeed.  Our WORDS… have GREAT power.

We’ve learned about how God spoke our entire universe into existence – with words.

How He created every living being… with simply… WORDS.

We’re foolish to not realize how much impact our words can have…

For the GOOD.

And for destruction.

On our husbands, our children, and everyone around us…

Think if a time someone said something that was hurtful to you, and how those words have impacted your view of them, or your view of yourself…. for the rest of your life.

Although we are able to give God’s grace and mercy – through Him who does the same for us…. often times, it’s difficult to not have that impact your future.

Well, while watching a seminar by my new naturopath Dr. she mentioned a few things in importance to our health…  regarding your past hurts.  It was something I hadn’t thought about before, as we all know how stress impacts us, and is often something we can’t always control…

This particular thing I learned… has to do with burying pain inside of you, instead of dealing with it – confronting the issues, and how that affects your immune system in the long-term.

If a parent tells your how disappointed they are in you, you don’t forget that.   You might constantly strive to gain approval, and never feel like you measure up.  If family makes you feel unaccepted, or unloved… or is constantly judgemental of your choices – it’s very hard to get over too…  You might pull away from them, and not continue to be their verbal punching bag.  If you live states away, you might never visit home.

I began realizing how many things I’ve stuffed inside…  trying to be a “peace keeper”…  after some hurtful situations went down even years ago.

Cutting words that have changed the entire future of relationships, continual rolling eyes as if you can’t see them doing it, jabbing comments that bring your defenses up because you feel judged instead of loved, exclusion from the people who are supposed to love you the most, as if you are invisible or it doesn’t matter…

I can tend to take things VERY personally… and hold my feelings in, and it just all builds up…

While my closest of friends, and family know when I’m upset …  others might not.

WARNING:  I’m usually VERY quiet or very surface friendly…and I might avoid you like the plague.

But is that what GOD says to do?

No.  It isn’t… and I remember when I was first convicted of this years ago… the Holy Spirit gave me power to confront like I never had before.  Unfortunately for my situation, it didn’t magically make people understand God’s convictions for our family – and set a very unpleasant tone for years to come.

INTERNALIZING STRESS… is not healthy.

When I had babies – my doctor at the time warned me to avoid people, and situations that I knew triggered my stress level.  I did that as best as I was able because I thought the pure stress was making me physically ill.  I even stayed home with our babies – as in, IN OUR HOUSE and avoided most people that first month – in an effort to keep myself healthy for the sake of our new baby and family.

Financial issues, work load, family relationships, responsibility…  we all have triggers in our lives…

and a lot of times it’s that STRESS internalized – that can really mess up your gut… {no offense to THIS time of year…. added family time, rich foods and activities??}

and your gut health controls the rest of OUR health as well – whether you feel it in your gut or not.

See where this is going??

So when people say your health problems are “all in your head…”  Maybe they should actually consider it being “all in your GUT” instead…  Because that’s a bit closer to the truth.

I imagine this past year … and all of the unwanted but needed appointments and stress have taken it’s toll on me – in addition to the condition my body was in.  I’ve often felt lonely during this process – even though I one of the least “lonely” stay at home moms I know.

Do all you can to talk about your stress with God – because He cares for you, work through it, and share it with some good listeners.  (Good listeners are people who don’t belittle your problems, but actually validate your emotions – and THOSE are the best types of friends to have!)  Sometimes finding a good support group – in real life or online is also an encouragement for people who get what you’re dealing with.

FIRST and foremost – God is always listening, and ready to help you through any problem.  Physical or emotional.  After all, HIS goal is also for you to be “HEALTHY FOR HIM.”

The rest of those people, who are continually hurting you?  PRAY FOR THEM.   After all, you never know when their health might go downhill unexpectantly, and you know right where they’ll be running!

Experience is empathy’s best teacher… and God has changed many hearts.  Even mine.

“His mercies are new every morning.”

Lamentations 3:23-24

Dirty Fruit Scoop

Gorgeous apples... they may not look dirty - but they are!

Gorgeous apples… they may not look dirty – but they are!

It’s an interesting debate that many farmers and produce consumers chat about…

WHY organic?  Is it all HYPE?  Is there no reason to pay “more” for fruit?  Is it really any different??

A recent post on Facebook had me shaking my head.  “Studies show organic fruits are not more nutritious than GMO fruits,” it stated.

Can I get a show of hands of who thought they were paying for organic fruit because they thought it was producing MORE vitamins or minerals?

No?

How about a show of hands for people who were trying to avoid GMOs and pesticides, among other chemicals absorbed into their fruit?

I’m in the later group, personally.  I don’t need other chemicals bogging down my struggling immune system!  Recently a friend even posted that her daughter had a reaction from an apple she ate without washing well…  you wonder WHAT is on the fruit??

While I don’t always love the prices of organic produce, comparatively – we’ve come to realize that less expensive doesn’t usually equate into “good for you”… even if it’s produce…  and it’s an investment worth making for our health.

So, how do you decide what to buy organic, and what is ok normally?  Well, Bob Harper mentioned a few months ago that thicker skinned fruits and veggies were more protected, so organic wasn’t as necessary – Eg.  bananas, or oranges.  However things with thinner skins, that would absorb chemicals in readily – you should go organic.

Then I heard of the “Dirty Dozen”…  and that’s a basic list of foods you should or shouldn’t purchase organic (From the Environmental Working Group):

12 Most Contaminated

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

It’s recommended you wash your fruits and veggies with a 1:1 ratio or vinegar and water and rinse off the vinegar well before eating.  Cooking on the stove is best after RAW, as is steaming vs. microwave “cooking”.  The higher and hotter you cook your produce, the more vitamins you cook OUT of the food.

“Casting all your care upon Him; for he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

** Side note.  I got an email from Chicago, indicating they had my results from my pathology done.  I called and they said they were sorry for the confusion, but that their findings were also that the biopsy was normal.  She couldn’t explain what she said – last week, about it needing further review, etc.  I’m glad I at least know I tried.  I won’t be undergoing any more testing or going on gluten again to get a positive biopsy – on purpose.

Double Checks, and Chex

Chex

It’s the party mix time of year … and I’ve been testing out some of the great ideas on the back of our Chex boxes with a few minor changes for my family:

GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE – CHEX HONEY NUT CHERRY CRUNCH (or cranberry, or cran-orange)

4.5 cups of Honey Nut Chex

4.5 cups or Rice Chex

2 cups of Raw Cashews

1/4 cup Organic Brown sugar or Sucanat

1/4 cup butter or non-dairy organic substitute

1/4 cup pure honey

1 tsp. salt

1 cup dried fruit (I used Trader Joes dried Cranberries)

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

Set oven to 400 degrees.  In a large roaster I tossed the nuts and cereal.  In a pan on the stove, I combined sugar, butter, honey and salt.  After melted and smooth, I poured over cereal mixture and stirred until evenly coated.  I placed the open pan in the oven – stirring every 3-5 minutes for 12-15 minutes.

Spread on wax paper to cool and store in an air tight container.  I made this and the next day – it was gone.  My husband asked me not to make it again for a few days – as he over ate it.  The next one I’m going to try is Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch.  YUM!

Here are the brown "sugar" options we use at our house.  Both are great.

Here are the brown “sugar” options we use at our house. Both are great.

Also, a short update on my biopsy that is still in Chicago awaiting it’s second reading from my endoscopy in April… A call back yesterday informed me that they are awaiting another expert to double check “something” and is in a holding place until then.  The nurse said they see something that is conflicting with the original report. (Hmmmm)  Hopefully I will hear more next week.  Because really… what’s ANOTHER week – at this point?  😉

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Romans 8:25

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