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Parental Obligation

Who didn't grow up on these bad boys?  At the end of the blog - check out the lovely ingredient list.  *face palm*

Who didn’t grow up on these bad boys? At the end of the blog – check out the lovely ingredient list. *face palm*

Watch out parents, this one is going to hurt.

But don’t worry, just know I’ve made countless mistakes myself, and continue to learn also.  Like the Flintstone vitamins I thought were SO good for my kids? (ack!)  Now we do Juice Plus and Animal Parade brands.

Before our family made some big changes 7 years ago, we were on a fast track with the Standard American Diet.  We ate out often, called “treats” things that were filled with artificial colors, flavors and LOTS of processed white sugar….  and our kids ate gummy fruit snacks, by the pound.  (How much fruit is in a fruit snack?  Exactly.)

Over the course of this transition and these changes, that started just with me…  I’ve observed something keenly interesting.

Often times, we, as parents, will work hard to get into shape, or lose weight or maintain health.  WE start paying closer attention to what they’re putting our body because we know it’s affecting us.

Is it nourishing for me?  Is it building my immune system, or feeding disease?  Is this FAT the right kind to feed my brain?

Meanwhile, who is being left behind?

You guessed it, often times…  The kids!

Our children are only products of what we place before them to eat.  If we buy them junk – they’ll eat it. 

They NEED trained to know what and why food is good or bad for you so in the future they can make educated decisions too.  They are forming habits that will stick with them into adulthood, and when they will also be parents.

So why is it, that we think things that aren’t good for “us” …   are “ok” for them to consume?

Is it because they’re young?  Do we think their tiny guts who are already (most likely) damaged from vaccinations and other increased toxins, can tolerate more??

Maybe you haven’t given it much thought at all.

Is it that the change seems like too much for the whole family to endure?  I’m certain that it’s not because your kids aren’t worth it…

For me, when my husband suggested we should change things like adding in a full breakfast, or switching to gluten-free, then grain free…  it all seemed over whelming.  How would I “make time” to do that?  I knew I didn’t have the time…

Each change has brought about its own set of challenges, that’s for sure.  But I look back and see how God was preparing our lives for this point.  Baby stepping us towards what the world would view as “drastic” changes for our health.

No one wants their child to feel left out, or to feel like they’re living in a bubble.  But the reality is, if you don’t have your health – it makes it difficult to function in life!  We couldn’t go anywhere when we were sick all of time, and the long-term effects were adding up.

My prayer is – is that soon this country will wake up to what is going on with our food supply and they will gradually demand something different – for the sake of our future generations.

I know we are educating our kids, so they can be the voice of truth and share with other.  We’ve made it part of our school learning – but there are so many ways to go about it.  Allowing your kids to get hands on experience growing a garden, assist in grocery shopping, or meal planning and cooking in the kitchen are all great ways.  We share documentaries and snippets on health with the kids too, so they get in on the learning as well.

Reprioritizing your life might just be what God is ordering.   It certainly has taught us what is important in life – and encouraged us to SLOW DOWN, and let go of stress in a big way.  Life on earth is short, take care of what God has given you.  Including teaching your kids to be healthy for Him.  No need to worry – God told us not to.  Just obey and He provides what we need.

Yikes huh?  Sugar, sugar, and more sugar.  Artificial colors galore, corn and soy.  At the very end is the vitamins...  I guess when they say "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!"  They weren't lying!

Yikes huh? Sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Artificial colors galore, corn and soy. At the very end is the vitamins… I guess when they say “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” They weren’t lying!

 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.

And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?

Luke 12:22-25

It’s All In Your Head

My husband’s results came back today… POSITIVE for HLA-DQ8. His typing showed both of his parents have gluten-sensitivity. Now we know our kids have 2 sets of the genes, one from each of us.

What do you feel when someone says to you… “Maybe it’s all in your head.”?

Well if you’ve had any neuropathy issues from gluten sensitivity, or ataxia symptoms…

It might just be (literally) in your head.

You might be feeling like you’re losing your mind, or just really tired, dizzy or confused… maybe stressed?

Who knew that gluten sensitivity and celiac disease could be more than multiple trips to the bathroom? 

Some people never have GI symptoms at all!

Sometimes it literally affects your brain instead.  It can affect all systems of your body.  Hormonal and endocrine, digestive, muscular, and neurological…

That’s not me you say?

Perhaps not….  and perhaps not YET.

Maybe it’s your spouse?  Your aunt or sibling?  Your parent, or child…   If someone in your family has celiac, or signs of effects from gluten intolerance (thyroid issues, asthma/allergies, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, chronic pain,  cancer…)  maybe you need to look at things a little closer.  It’s a dominant gene that is passed on, and it can be highly likely you or someone you know – has it.

I was a “wait and see” type of girl myself.  No hurry … I don’t need to change until I must change.

For me it was celiac, but what about for all of those people affected – with a failed celiac panel, and no “golden standard” test or gene test to prove what they need to know?  Where is the golden standard test for losing your mind?

Can I just say how thankful I am each day?  Each. Day. Is a gift.

Do all you can everyday to be healthy for Him!!

Does your Dr. not think gluten sensitivity exists?  Here is another great interview of a U.S. leading celiac specialist.  Written in March of 2011.  For those who gluten affects – please educate yourself about what can happen.  The summary of the interview states:

“One last thing on the gluten sensitivity study: Dr. Fasano and the other authors noted that even if a person doesn’t have celiac, they still can be damaged by gluten.

“In itself, the absence of autoantibodies [the autoimmune antibodies produced in celiac disease but not in gluten sensitivity] and intestinal lesions does not rule out the intrinsic toxicity of gluten, whose intake, even in non-CD individuals, has been associated with damage to other tissues, organs and systems besides the intestine,” the study concluded.

It’s great to hear a leading expert in celiac disease acknowledging what many of us have realized all along: that gluten sensitivity/intolerance potentially can wreck your health even if you’re not officially celiac.”

“Do not be slothful in zeal,  be fervent in spirit,serve the Lord.”

Romans 12:11

 

In Search of the Perfect…. LOAF!

Is smaller bread really a problem? It’s more in line with what we should be consuming calorie-wise anyway!

When my gastrologist told me that having my family go gluten-free would be like having 8 kids and homeschooling – he was so right on.

Be prepared for “un-asked-for” commentary and lack of understanding.

Similarly to how people have all of the un-asked for answers on when you should stop having kids (ignore God’s calling), or how you should raise your family the “right way” (ignore God’s calling), people love to question how you’re feeding your bodies as well.

(Although I’m not sure why this bothers people if they’re not the ones responsible…  eternal value in that?  Life’s greatest mysteries…)

“How on earth will you get the grains you need?”

Hmmm….

I wonder… how did Adam and Eve manage to make it without loaves of bread each week, when they didn’t have a Wal-Mart?

What’s that you say?

Did God have an over-sight?

Of course not.  He doesn’t make mistakes.

Maybe bread wasn’t needed to survive?  Shocking, I know.

Did I mention that we have asthma, allergies, cancer, celiac, schizophrenia, ADHD, migraines, irregular periods, infertility, fibroids, allergies, joint swelling, GI issues (IBS),  anxiety, fatigue, vision issues, depression, neuropathy, ataxia, and thyroid issues in our family… {yes, that and more – it goes on and on} – that can all be tied to gluten sensitivity genes – triggered by the consumption of gluten, which breaks down your system?

If you don’t – and you don’t see a need to change, then don’t change your life. 

Simple. As. That.

But if you do… then one might see why we’d make the change after finding out what our DNA shows and living with the destructive effects of it.

One of the things I knew would be a transition for our family was the bread.  Our kids ate sandwiches almost daily… and where was the bread going to come from?  Did we need bread?  I wanted bread.  I mean, I wanted THEM to still have bread…(I don’t even eat it!)

Now, making bread isn’t anything new.  LOTS of people made their own bread, by hand, for years… {before bread makers existed}.  Some even STILL grind their own grain today… but the difference in today’s world – is often time. Making the time for what is important to you.

Life is at warp speed – and anything that might slow us down is viewed as an inconvenience, vs. the blessing God truly intends it to be.

So while making bread isn’t the easiest of choices, for us – I prefer to bake my own when possible.

Let’s be honest, gluten-free bread IS different.

If you’re trying to make gluten-free bread, just like white/wheat bread from the store – forget it.  It’s different.

It’s not different bad – it’s just different.  If it doesn’t make you sick, then that is different GOOD.  Right?

The loaves are shorter, the bread is denser…. it’s definitely best fresh – {but not too fresh (or warm) or it won’t slice right.}  It’s difficult to save and it dries out more quickly because it’s fresh bread…  After refrigerated, it hardens quickly.

Any parent who is feeding lots of children, can understand the difficulty that might come in that.

Impossible?  No way.  Would I have it any other way?  Heavens, NO.  But a bit challenging none-the-less.  Definitely different from the quicker, “self-seeking convenience” the world sells us.

I had a few criteria as I’ve been baking bread:

#1 – TASTE.  It must taste good.

#2 – It must rise well.

#3 – It must be a good texture – not crumbly!  (Cut thick or thin and able to spread peanut butter on yo!)

I also am a little bent towards it “looking” darker because in my mind – “darker” is a whole grain goodness.  {Am I brainwashed or what?}

Whole grains.  Whole grains.  Whole grains…  that doesn’t have to mean whole WHEAT.

Since I don’t eat the bread, I must go off of my husband and children’s opinions.  According to them – here is my “PERFECT” gluten-free loaf – so far.

THE PERFECT GLUTEN-FREE BREAD (a work in progress)

– 1 Tablespoon xanthan gum

– 1/3 cup millet flour

– 1/2 cup potato starch

– 1/2 cup teff flour

– 1 cup brown rice flour

– 1 cup sorghum flour

– 1 package active dry yeast

– 3 eggs (I put these in a bowl of warm water while I get ingredients out)

– 1 Tablespoon RAW apple cider vinegar

– 1/4 cup cold pressed (organic) olive oil

– 1/4 cup raw honey

– 1 & 1/2 cups almond milk (room temp)

Place wet ingredients in bowl and whisk until frothy.  Pour into bread maker.

Whisk dry ingredients together with yeast and spoon over wet ingredients evenly.

Use gluten-free setting or 2 rises, and 2:25 minutes baking, medium crust.

When bread is finished – drop out of pan and allow to cool on cooling rack for 20-30 minutes before cutting.

** I like to mix bulk flours together in a big tub for the week (often mixing 4-6 times the amount) – so they’re ready to go, and the process is easier.  Then I can just scoop out 3 & 1/3 cups of total flour mix, add yeast and xanthan gum and I’m ready to go!  I try to make my bread the night before I need it – so I’m not stressed in the morning if I need it by lunch time!

“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.”

Psalm 105:4

Meeting Myself Face-to-Face [PART FOUR]

The bookstore was a disappointment.  While I found some great cookbooks on gluten-free/vegan, I found nothing on celiac disease.

Up and down the aisles I went.  I really started to feel discouraged.  Maybe celiac disease was SO rare, that there was NO WAY I had it.

I bought a few cookbooks, and a book on food allergies, and off I went to the library.

The library proved to be much more helpful.  I got plenty of great books and I returned home to bury myself in reading during any free moment I had.

Hands down, this book was the most helpful in realizing this described everything I was feeling.

The more I read, the more I KNEW this is what I had.  But I also realized, I probably wasn’t going to be testing positive… because I was simply not eating enough gluten.

After a follow-up appointment to my Dr for one of my children, he inquired about my health and I told him what was going on.  I asked again about the celiac panel, and he then agreed we could try that.

If only I would have known to start here BEFORE making any changes.

It was negative.

Although I wasn’t surprised, as only 15% of people diagnosed, get a positive with a blood test.  It was still a few weeks to my GI appointment at this point.  I figured I could keep a bit of gluten in my diet until my test and perhaps they could do a biopsy and it would show up.

The Dr. then ordered a CT scan.   After previously denying that test out of frustration of “tests” with no answers…  I consented to the test.  Another fairly simple test.  Fast, drink some citrus/glue-tasting stuff, [actually a whole LOT of that disgusting stuff] and with some contrast dye from an IV, they took pictures to see what was going on.  Fifteen minutes and done.  Easy.

After that test, I was reading about something called a “gluten challenge” – where a patient who has gone off of gluten must eat 4-6 pieces of bread a day for 6 weeks, to ensure there is enough to cause a reaction.  That night, I took 2 bites of a multigrain bread for dinner, and the reactions almost took me to the ER.  I bloated within 15 minutes, the pain, cramping, head issues went on for about 5 hours.  The next day I felt like I had been run over by a semi.

It was VERY difficult to eat gluten after going gluten-free.  After that day, I knew I couldn’t do the gluten challenge.  I started realizing all of the hidden places gluten liked to hang out, and WHY it wasn’t obvious to me sooner as to what was making me sick.  Not only that,  apparently, after you continue cutting more gluten out, your body reacts stronger when you try to add it back in.  I ate some salsa a day later, and on day 2 realized it was the salsa making me sick – yes, after I had ingested it TWICE.  Diarrhea plagued me after that, all Easter weekend.

That Monday, the Dr’s office told me that the CT scan was normal.  Apparently I just needed to take some laxative.  I let the nurse know my body already took care of that.  I’m pretty sure they thought I was a hypochondriac.  Ironic, since I did feel so irritable on gluten I thought I might be going crazy!

The more I read however, everything said …. the BIGGEST MISTAKE people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can do, is to go OFF gluten before being tested.  Personally, I don’t see how that’s possible (to stay on gluten while awaiting months of testing) – if you were like me, and realized what was going on.  The first thing you want to do – is to feel well so you STOP eating those things that make you sick, or stop eating period.  The LAST THING you want to do is to continue poisoning your body… and withering away.  I know in my heart that God blessed me with enough information to protect me from things reaching that level.  I don’t know WHY, but it’s part of the reason I feel led to share my story.

I tried to keep some gluten in my system the week before my GI test, but I knew in my heart it probably wouldn’t help.  I just wanted to try – anything to get some solid answers.

I went into the GI appointment [yes, I skipped the prep part of the story to spare you – it’s horrid, but it’s essential] relieved {literally}, to be at the end of my journey, and I awaited the answers with hope.

This is me, right before we left for my test. I actually felt really good this day. Amazing – all toxic gluten – GONE from my system!

Following my appointment, and feeling well, I tried again to tolerate some comfort foods – but after two days of severe gluten reactions, God gave me the peace I needed, to know in my heart the answer – before I had the results to the test.  I knew it would be a long shot for the results to show enough damage.  I was basically eating gluten light before February with cheese being my number one source of gluten.  Then I ate gluten-free to gluten lite after the Dr. directed me to get rid of lactose…  and I couldn’t eat the amount needed to show the test otherwise.  Not only I couldn’t, I wouldn’t.  I was sick of being sick – and looking forward to feeling healthy.

So Thursday, April 19th, I went back to gluten-free – for GOOD.  I will be meeting with my family Dr. to seek genetic testing – for the sake of our children, and I meet with the GI Dr also at the end of next month.  I have no regrets, or doubts of my diagnosis.  The past years, as I’ve been trying my hardest to eat well, exercise and feel good – my body has been slowly trying to tell me that it’s not getting the vitamins it needs, because it hasn’t been able to absorb them!  Mostly I’m thankful to know now, vs. when I have intestinal cancer.  Sadly, 27% of people who have symptoms and test negative, continue searching for what is making them sick – never retest, and they wind up being positive for celiacs disease when it’s too late.

I always had indented “spoon-like” nails when not pregnant. I just thought I had bad nails. Another sign of a vitamin deficiency that celiacs have.

I’m on day 3, and feeling great.  My swelling has gone down,  no belly aches, bloating or cramping and NO REGRETS. 🙂  I’m more clear-headed than I’ve felt in months – no more forgetting how to speak, as if I were having a stroke.  It’s only going to get better from here!

Here’s to being healthier for HIM!  (and for His peace in times of confusion!)  It’s a strange feeling, but I truly feel like God is allowing me to understanding just how He created me and I’m so thankful.  When I look in the mirror, I finally understand just how this body works!  Thank you God for helping me meet myself face-to-face and for allowing my body to be healthy enough to carry 8 healthy children. [Amazing how we are designed in such a way that would be possible – yes?]

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1 Cor. 10:31

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