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YES! It Tastes Great Too!

My son said these are awesome, you could probably order them by the case – like we can through our health food store. Just ask! They come in GF/dairy-free too.

Since I have a marketing background, I’m big into first impressions, how things look… how they’re packaged – and sold.

I’m definitely drawn to things that appear simple, clean, easy to read… marketed well.

Many of things I admire about a great marketing campaign – whether it’s politics, or food – is how it’s being sold.

It’s amazing what great marketing can do to the perception of the product or idea being placed in front of you. It can bring to mind images that give the “buyer” confidence in what they’re purchasing.

When we went gluten-free, it was a major GAME-CHANGER. I didn’t know any of the brands… nothing looked familiar. They aren’t “big” names that I’d see in ads, or on television (if I watched it anyway…)

So, it left me wondering… how does the food TASTE? It looks….

Different.

When you’re already not good at different… you wonder…

Different bad?

Different good?

Oh please be different good….

Well, it’s comical to me now… my kids actually say, THIS food tastes BETTER! (and they’re RIGHT!)

It can’t be “just good marketing” to my kids, because they don’t buy the products I pick out. ¬†They just eat what we put in front of them.

I wonder… is it that there aren’t so many preservatives, obviously no gluten? Food shouldn’t have a shelf-life longer than a cat’s-life.

Maybe it’s the other ingredients…. vs. high fructose corn syrup in almost every product….

Maybe it’s the lack of GMOs?

Whatever it is…. my kids are right. A majority of the food is really great, it’s just different.

Definitely – different GOOD.

Someone gave me some advice… of brands they liked – and it was super helpful for me, as I searched for everything unfamiliar. Currently some of our favorite brands include:

Amy’s, Udi’s (which is said YOU-DEEs, not YOU-DIE like my nephew coined, that would be the other bread), Pamela’s, Enjoy Life, KIND, EnviroKids, Gluten Free Mama, Justin’s, Larabar, Nastasme, Applegate, Van’s, Food for Life, Annie’s (GF bunnies and Mac and Cheese)… although truthfully – we mainly eat fruits, veggies and organic meats. I make our own bread – and I’m still in the process of perfecting that. Stay tuned for some updates on bread and the garden this week!

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits–

Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

Psalm 103:3

;

WHY?? The Gluten-Sensitivity Explosion

I open up my mailbox this week, and what do I pull out? My new “Bottom Line Health” magazine. It includes wellness strategies from the world’s leading medical experts.

The front page article was …. “The Silent Cause of Stomach Trouble…” (As many as 20 million Americans are suffering unnecessarily) by Alessio Fasano, MD.

The article went on to explain that an international panel of experts are talking about non-celiac gluten sensitivity issues. Praise God! They shared how doctors, for years, have insisted that symptoms were imaginary… and how they pushed patients to get psychiatric help.

SERIOUSLY?

Yes. Seriously.

But, I can see how things go down that path after experiencing a similar response first hand.

Even this “most recent” article seemed to be months/years behind in not having answers how people can get tested for gluten sensitivity issues.

How about GENE testing to ENSURE you don’t have a gluten sensitivity gene, or a celiac gene – to rule out the permanent damage and chronic inflammation factor?

The book, “Healthier Without Wheat”, shares the importance of being gluten-free for even non-celiac gluten intolerance. Stories are shared from parents who weren’t told that even if a test comes back negative to celiac initially, and yet the genes are THERE – continued exposure will increase the changes to triggering celiac and other major diseases, like cancer. Doesn’t it make sense to do gene testing right off the bat so a person can know if their geno-type?

The bottom line is, if the genetics are there – then you shouldn’t be eating gluten… otherwise, you’re just increasing your chances of activating the autoimmune disease, or allowing gluten to destroy your body in a whole host of other major ways. It’s not a matter of IF it will cause problems… it’s a matter of WHEN.

So, you might be wondering WHY is this all coming to a head for so many people right now? Why is a disease I’ve never heard about (Celiac) and things like gluten sensitivity – everywhere all of a sudden, and why are diets like Paleo and Vegetarian talked about SO much. Is it because everyone is on a health kick? Is it a fad, like some suggest, to just lose weight? Or are we putting the pieces together of the REASONS of rising health care nightmare in our country and we’re making lifestyle choices to avoid what a majority of people are experiencing?

Excess of chemically engineered food for convenience pushed through the FDA + lack of study on nutrition in the medical field + poor diet = a HUGE role in this health mess for all of us.

Many people interested in nutrition have seen the typical documentaries on our food sources… Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Fresh, Forks Over Knives, The Engine 2 Rescue, Supersize Me… the list goes on an on. (If you don’t have a Netflix subscription – you could be educated for hours on what is going on in our food industry, and it can be pretty shocking if you’re in the dark.) More importantly – you can begin to evaluate what those options are doing to our society as a whole, or within your own family… and decide what changes need to be made for the future of your health.

*A recent research study by Joseph Murray, M.D. professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues shows a shift of more celiac disease in Europe and the US than just a few generations ago. In fact, it’s 4x more likely than a half a century ago. Here is how he explained what is going on, “Of course human genetics will change in response to the environment, but that change is extremely slow. It’s far more probable that the increase is due to an environmental change, and the most likely factor is a change involving the grain in our diets,” Murray said. “Consumption of wheat has increased steadily over the past 50 years, but is still less than it was a century ago, so the issue is not simple consumption.”; Murray noted. “It more likely involves the wheat itself, which has undergone extensive hybridization as a crop and undergoes dramatic changes during processing that involves oxidizers, new methods of yeasting, and other chemical processes. We have no idea what effect these changes may have on the immune system.”

Fantastic. “No idea what effect….” Have you ever felt like a test rat?

The other environmental change has to do with hygiene changes. Murray’s theory on that talks about our immune systems being exposed to the right bacteria to develop properly, but because of such “clean” environments, children are more susceptible to immune disorders and allergic disease. “There are no doubt multiple environmental factors that interact to trigger the onset in people who are genetically predisposed,” Murray said. “The increasing prevalence makes it more important that health care providers and patients are alert to the possibility of celiac disease.”

** and gluten intolerance.

Fabulous. I’m a neat-nick… and a germo-phobe. One more strike against my kids for the environmental factor trigger! *sigh* But the issues regardng our chemically engineered food being such an issue makes COMPLETE sense for an increase in cases!

What could medical doctors glean from this? Genetic testing needs to be an option when the “simple” antibody blood test doesn’t show anything and the sometimes irrelevant upper GI biopsy doesn’t show anything either and the symptoms are all there. As a patient, please don’t give up if you are struggling for answers. If you’re suffering digestively in any way, OR with neuropathy symptoms, thyroid issues, asthma or unexplained rashes and ailments… keep on your doctor or do the tests needed OR if that doesn’t work – get an at home test from Enterolab.com. You shouldn’t believe everything thing you see/hear on the internet… but I’m a HUGE believer in self-educating. Keep reading, and putting the pieces together so you and YOUR family can be HEALTHY FOR HIM.

** Quoted information from Murray’s studies were found in the downloadable book “21st Century Medical Sourcebook, Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance – Clinical Data and Practical Information.” that was updated in March of 2012.

Here it is! My 20th loaf of bread, and perhaps my tallest one yet! ūüôā It needed a bit more Xanthum Gum – but the kids loved the taste!

“You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

James 5:8

That Girl

I saw this, and of course cried.¬† I was always “THAT GIRL” before for being so selective with certain foods that I knew made me sick…¬† and now, even more so as I’m more sensitive and have realized the reason.

Celiac Disease.

Food is such a social thing.¬† Feeling excluded or being “a pain” is my least favorite thing when it comes to people having to make “special adjustments” for me.¬† Truly, I¬†dislike it.¬† But, on the otherhand – as a family, we’re used to be excluded.¬† Often times there’s just too many of us, or people don’t like the togetherness of our family…¬†¬† It’s not a new battle for us.¬† Being different…¬† but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt sometimes.

We had a couple over the other night, and they brought cookies they had made for us.¬† SUPER¬†sweet.¬† It was a genuinely awesome thought, but I felt sick at having to tell them we couldn’t have them… I didn’t want them to think we didn’t appreciate the gesture.

Just to review.¬† Celiac disease isn’t something people choose to have.¬† They don’t eat gluten-free as a form of trying to lose weight, nor is it a trend¬†for us.¬† We know it’s more caloric – so we have to monitor our intake¬†all the more.¬† We do it to be healthy, because it’s best for¬†OUR bodies.¬† We all have to do what is best for us.

Also…

* I didn’t choose Celiac disease for my family.¬† God did.¬† I’m glad He doesn’t make mistakes and I can trust in His plan for us.

¬†“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother‚Äôs womb.¬†

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

 your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, 

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  

 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

¬†all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:16-19

Summer Salad

Saw this and had to share! ¬†It seems perfect for summer, and easy too! ¬†It’s from page 62 of “Gluten Free Made Simple”… but it’s great for anyone. ¬†Refreshing!

EASY CABBAGE SALAD

1 – 14 ounce package shredded cabbage with carrots

1 – 10 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1/4 cup whole almonds or almond slivers

1/2 cup gluten-free Italian or Oil and Vinegar dressing

* In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, oranges and almonds.  Add dressing and toss to mix thoroughly.  Serve immediately OR chill for up to 2 hours.  Serves 8.

** always double-check labels to check for hidden gluten in the ingredients.

120 calories per serving

8 g. fat, 1g. sat. fat

10 mg cholesterol

20 mg. sodium

9 g. carbs

2 g. fiber

3 g. protein

“Praise the¬†Lord,my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and forget not¬†all his benefits‚ÄĒ
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
¬†¬†¬†¬†so that your youth is renewed¬†like the eagle‚Äôs.”

Psalm 103:1-5

YES! I Can Have That!

One of the principles Danna Demetre always talked about was making sure you didn’t tell yourself you “couldn’t” have something.¬† Once you did, you were bound to desire that something MORE.

Oh my, is that ever true for me. {I’ve admitted, until forced to change by God, I’m impossible!}

However, when you take that thought process and turn it around Рso that you are making a choice to NOT have something Рto honor God and your body, it reverses the hold food can have on you.

Instead of saying, “I can’t have that muffin, cookie, soda…”¬† Remind yourself why you don’t need that thing, and¬†how you’re better off without it.¬† Make it YOUR choice not to want it, vs. believing a lie that you “need it” to survive.

One thing several of my celiac books talk about, is having a positive attitude.¬† When we get down, that adds to the bogging down of our immune system, which in turn – makes it more likely for you to get sick.¬† That’s definitely not good when you have an auto-immune disease, but it’s plain NOT GOOD for anyone!

I’ve been on a mission to show the kids what we CAN have – so we can focus on our blessings, vs. counting ourselves as cursed. God uses all things for His good! Gluten Free Pancakes with Dairy/Soy/Gluten free chocolate chips!¬† They were a big hit!

That idea transfers to anyone’s life.

It’s ok to cry now and then.¬† Women especially appreciate that emotional release.¬† BUT, when the focus is on what you can’t have – instead of realizing what we DO have, and CAN have in life… it’s bringing us down.

So, for a short while I was angry about what I wouldn’t be able to have… ever again.¬† Then I struggled through what my kids couldn’t have or wouldn’t be able to try… and feeling like that some how *I* caused this.¬† (Who¬†created us again?)¬† God brought me to a place of peace.

{Thank you God.  Your peace does transcend all understanding.}  His purpose, His ways.

There are LOTS of things I can have, and other options to replace old ones… and more than anything – we have so much in this country…¬† NO EXCUSES.¬† NO COMPLAINING!!¬†

These are a big hit. We stocked up when Target had them on sale at $2.50 a box! They’re dairy free too – so I can have them – yum!

So when people say to me, “Oh I’m so sorry…”¬† about the celiac disease…. I really don’t feel sad.¬† Not in the least.¬† I’m SO grateful and thankful.¬† I know what I can do to feel well now… and keep my kids healthy – and THAT is a blessing.

This is a tasty treat the kids enjoy! Kettle Corn certified GLUTEN FREE from Target!

Won’t you realize what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy too?¬† Make a change in the right direction… and do what you can to eliminate those empty calories, that mindless snacking.¬† Truly eat to live, NOT life to eat.¬† There is so much more in life than food!¬† Let Him show you how to be healthy for HIM!!

ME sporting my new G-FREE shirt. I got them for my daughter and I to “celebrate” our family’s new journey to health!

I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the LORD. “For you are called an outcast–‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.'”

  Jeremiah 30:17

What Is In That Cloud?

Several of the products that went out the door.

My hair is pretty important to me. Not that it’s some wonderful thing, but perhaps because I always struggled with making it tame when I was younger. When it came “in style” to wear it straight, I knew I was in for some serious challenges.

My hair is fine, dry, and curly… and there is LOTS of it – so it’s THICK. My brother’s used to call me Medusa on any given morning, at the breakfast table.

Yes. It can get ca-razy.

I was blessed after college, with a great hair dresser in the city. It was 2 hours to visit her, but before kids – this was my every-other-month shopping trip and girl time. I loved how my hair felt and how my stylist understood my needs… and my hair.

Then came the children… and going to the city, was… no longer a practical option. Thankfully I was blessed again with a wonderfully talented friend, named Melissa. Melissa understood my hair too, and again my hair was happy. I got the right products, the right cut, 12 years later – I’m still very happy!

Melissa’s great. But the last time I saw her, I didn’t think to mention celiac disease and what I was going through. I didn’t really want to talk about it on my “hour to relax”… I was tired of thinking about it frankly. That didn’t seem like a big deal…

Until this past week.

When I realized my favorite hair products probably worked so well, because they had WHEAT PROTEIN in them.

And I was right.

Unfortunately – they were making me ill and not helping my cause. I was very, very sad. Many people said that because you’re not ingesting hair products, it shouldn’t be a problem… But I read enough other information which made a good case that explained how *I* had been feeling. I wondered why I always got bad headaches while getting ready to go somewhere, and rashes from different deodorants and soaps I tried. Yes, the gluten-filled products had to leave.

My GIANT bottle of Kenra… which I dearly love – was recently kicked to the curb… along with a lot of other products.

“Now WHAT?” I thought. This is insane! What CAN I use that will work and not make me sick?

It didn’t help that this week’s weather has my hair on HIGH FRIZZ alert.

Suddenly my hair felt dry, out of control and just YUCKY.

We began looking at all of our cosmetics… the body wash, shampoos, our nail polishes and deodorants… and slowly weeding everything out that could potentially irritate rashes, or be ingested.

A little sad – but knowing, “Ok, this isn’t making me sick”, is very comforting. We’re still on the search for the perfect products to tame this beast, but we’ll get there! Today is better than yesterday, and that’s all I can ask for.

We really DO need to be checking out all of these products these major companies are selling us. It’s CRAZY what is in some of them… and obviously we’re abosorbing it into our systems.

Not. Good.

I ordered some Zoya nail polish, which is gluten-free and comes dermatologist recommended… and I’m excited to try that! Toxins – BE GONE!

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Psalm 62:6

My New Home

The grocery store.¬† It’s a necessary evil isn’t it?

I naturally spent quite a bit of time at the store.  With 10 mouths to feed, I was there at least three times a week.

I kept supplies on hand to make our usual menu, and stocked up on fruits, veggies, bread, milk, cheese and eggs.

Beautiful fruit!

Lately it seems, I¬†go to the store almost daily… and usually I go to three different stores on any given trip!¬† Mostly for produce and label reading.

I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time, but I still have LOTS to learn.

Soon it won’t be like this – but the past two weeks have been a bit of a blur.

Watching for gluten-free labels and having to read ingredients on every product I pick up¬†is pretty time-consuming, and then trying to¬†remember *I* still can’t have lactose or milk protein (casein) in anything either is quite confusing in my brain fog state.¬† It’s almost impossible to go WITH multiple children.

I really wish that people could just put (in english) what is in the product… so I didn’t feel like I needed a chemistry degree to figure it out.

I think the word¬†“gluten” on my Google app should be a button I push, as I’m often searching, “contains gluten?”¬† Why can’t my smart phone just KNOW I’m going to ask about gluten content?

You see quickly why it’s much easier to just eat whole foods.¬† For me, that’s simple… most products make me sick.¬†¬†¬†For the kids?¬†¬† I hope their food intolerance stops here… but for the most part, they’ve been fantastic about the changes.

We got signed up with our local food co-op and got some great foods.¬†¬†¬†We are now “members” in our local¬†co-op grocery store.¬† We bought somethings online at iherb.com and vitacost.com as well.¬† We bought some bulk things from amazon.com – and hopefully soon – we’ll be restocked, and I can exhale a bit.

When I realized I needed to start planning food for our vacation as well, I went into overdrive!  The no brainer items suddenly became a bit more complex.

My husband suggested maybe we just cancel the vacation, the task of feeding everyone Рand finding some safe restaurants seemed too daunting, and he could tell I was wearing low from being sick, and struggling to eat much lately.

BUT –¬†cancel vacation???

I can’t do that.¬† I knew I had to figure out a plan to make it work.¬† I prayed God would fill me up and allow me to see what we needed to do to keep us healthy while traveling.

Things won’t wander too far from how we already do things, the main thing is making sure we have the right snacks available!¬† We’ve had floor picnics in our hotel for a few years now.¬† We spread out a¬†tablecloth, and the kids think it’s a blast!¬† I can go to the grocery store and get fruits, veggies and some supplies to make sandwiches easily, and it’s often WAY cheaper than eating out!

One of my favorite snacks! Carrots and gluten free peanut butter!

{Personally, it’s a lot less stressful than going to a restaurant at the end of a long, nap-less day.}¬† Now that we’d be going in as a¬†large¬†“picky” group, wanting specifics – I doubt we’ll eat out very much at all, and that’s just fine with us!

We do have some options for when we’re tired of sandwiches, and I’m so thankful for the restaurants who offer gluten-free menu options – especially for the kids!¬† Back to baking – I have a lot of food to make!

Oh, and if you’re wondering if I’m still working out.¬† YES.¬† I am…¬† and I’m thankful that part of my life has been consistent!¬† Also, thank you for putting up with my typos and grammar errors, it’s been quite humbling to me.¬† It’s always easy to being an editor to other people’s writing.¬† I stink at editing my own and the brain fog only made that worse.

‚ÄúThese things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.‚Ä̬†

John 16:33

Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow!

Banana Almond Muffins with Pamela’s Baking Mix

Happy May Day!¬† We had a nice surprise today when our friends dropped by with a may day basket full of gluten-free treats for the kids!¬† They’re good about asking… “is THIS gluten-free” before just assuming they can have it.¬† They were DELIGHTED that someone took the time to choose something they could have!

Confession: I’ve been a bit more lenient on the treats lately.¬† Suckers usually don’t come after apples and peanut butter for snack, with an M & M chaser.

We’ll call it mother’s guilt.

For myself, I think I’ve had a life time of treats, and goodies… {granted, the pain, and health issues to go with it.}¬†¬†But the¬†more I read, the more I realize…¬† wow, this really¬†IS all related.

I think of the future and the hope I have for my kids…

Maybe they won’t have the teeth issues I had, with cavities and receding gum surgery… Maybe their odd rashes and discomfort won’t come back…¬† Maybe my daughter’s cycles will be normal, and maybe they all won’t struggle with the breathing issues, headaches,¬†body cramps, stomach pain¬†and lack of vitamin and fat¬†absorption proven in their nail beds.¬† MAYBE – they will be healthy.

It sure makes it easier for me to realize what a blessing this for us – to know NOW.

I can’t thank God enough.

So amidst the detoxify of our house from all wheat, barley, rye and their friends… I really do smile and praise God.

Good bye to my favorite hairspray and nail polish and to our wooden spoons, and toaster!  Wheat crumbs be gone!

Here are some muffins I made for the kids with Pamela’s baking mix.¬† I would eat them myself but they’re not lactose free.¬† I made this one up, but it has tons of ideas on the back.¬† This made 2 doz. muffins.

GLUTEN FREE BANANA MUFFINS

Р2  1/2 cups mix

– 1/2 c. water

– 2/3 c. honey or agave

– 2 tsp. pure vanilla

– 1 c. smashed bananas

– top with almond slivers

** Bake at 350 for 16 minutes.

¬† “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I Thessalonians 5:18

Mommy, My Tummy Hurts.

My daughter shared her drawing with me this week. She told me that gluten makes her feel sick – so these are her enemies.

It’s never a good thing, when a child tells you their stomach hurts. Most moms might think, great – a stomach bug is coming on – bring on the barf pails and Lysol.

At our house, it’s been a regularly occurring saying for quite some time. Years actually.

I’ve just assumed most of it was in their heads… After all, my stomach hurt most of the time – that’s pretty normal in my mind. Just relax, pray, think of something else.

All the while – I realize, it’s not like pushing the “easy” button when something is going on inside your body that you can’t control.

Last year I thought my daughter had really started stressing out more, having more anxiety, and I was just SURE she had inherited my digestive system… I figured it was hormones. When my 5-year-old son started in with the “my tummy” hurts (and he’s had GI issues, since age 1), and refusing some snacks recently… I really started thinking something could be going on.

But what?

Little did I know in a few short months, we’d be connecting the dots for our family…

That rash my oldest 4 children get, that seems to never go away… is more than just eczema. The tummy aches, head aches, asthma and behavioral issues REALLY could be all connected.

My 12-year-old son’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbow.

My daughter’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbows, knees, hands. Yes, it itches something terrible.

When I inquired about it being a celiac rash (dermatitis herpetiformis) last month at the Dr’s office, I was about 100% positive that’s what it was. Even when my daughter’s blood test for celiac disease came back negative, I<already knew differently.

Apparently, again, the blood test doesn’t allow for what a skin test would show. Her body was saying, “Stop feeding me gluten!”

I’m happy to report, after only one week off of gluten – there has been much improvement at our house. My children with the rashes have almost NO burning, itching rash … which is the first time in YEARS.

Yes, that confirms what I suspected…celiac disease. But I’m happy to have an answer, and way to help them. As my friend said – our food IS our medicine.

All of the children have been so happy to feel well, and have been great about all of the changes. Personally I just want to cry with joy, I’m so thankful to have all of the puzzle pieces fit and KNOW how to help my kids, and myself.

Yes, they may be living without some things, according to the world of indulgence. However, the gift of health will be worth SO much more.

Praise God.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

What Gluten Intolerance Looks & Feels Like

After reading on celiac disease, I honestly wish I would have known a sliver of the information before my first question to my doctor about how I was feeling. ¬†I wish I hadn’t discounted much of how I was feeling, and symptoms I had… especially as they worsened. ¬†I think if I would have, he would have tied them together much sooner.

Would have, could have, should have…

It doesn’t change the now factor. ¬†It happened the way God wanted it to, in His time.

When you’re a busy, tired parent, it’s easy to excuse some of your symptoms as normal… ¬†you may assume you’re just stressed, or tired, perhaps you have a little bug. ¬†My allergies were really bad this spring, and I had just stopped nursing the baby. ¬†It was hard to know what was going on with my hormones, I’ve been pregnant or nursing for the past 12 years.

I can totally see why people end up treating every other ailment, completely missing the very cause of what is continuing to make them sick – day after day, meal after meal.

NOW that I look back – it’s much easier to see the path of destruction – but in the middle of it, it’s very difficult.

I thought celiac disease meant people couldn’t have breads. ¬†I knew it was deeper than that, but that was the main thing I thought. ¬†I grew up on wheat bread. ¬†The IBS I had was sporadic, so I knew it couldn’t be that… ¬†and although several times my mom said, “it must be some preservative that is making you sick,” when I was in high school… ¬†I knew it would be a needle in haystack, so I thought I’d just deal with that symptom for the rest of my life.

Again, I always thought my fingernails were just weak.  I never thought that it was a lack of vitamin absorption.

The bloating… as it worsened, I knew something was wrong. ¬†I just didn’t know what. ¬†It wasn’t a normal, “wow, I’m full” feeling. ¬†It was more of someone taking an air pump and blowing up my stomach until it was just plain painful, and hard to the touch. ¬†Sitting hurt – and my left side and rib always felt bruised afterwards.

On the left, normal me - on the right, 15 minutes after ingesting 2 bites of wheat bread.  My stomach would get hard - like I was pregnant and it hurt.

About that same time, I got a rash on my back. ¬†I never had back acne or issues like that – so I couldn’t figure out what it was. ¬†It was like little blisters, and it itched like crazy. ¬†After reading more, I realized it was probably a celiac rash – I’ve finally connected that it would have been worth it to mention it to the Dr! ¬†Write weird symptoms down.

Since there are over 300 symptoms, and they vary for everyone – it can be really hard to tell, ¬†especially if you’re just used to some of the symptoms. ¬†You accept them as “normal for you.”

Now I can totally attach the toe cramping/charlie horses I would get Рto when I would ingest the most gluten (1 piece of bread, and 1/2 cookie).  The day after that I would feel hung over from a major brain fog and mouth sores.

With symptoms coming and going, waxing and waning … and not realizing what all GLUTEN was in, it’s not a wonder most people can’t figure out what is going on. ¬†Not to mention the brain fog makes you so confused! ¬†I would forget how to type, or talk – and thinking straight with focus was a challenge.

I read so many stories of people who went for YEARS with symptoms, and no answers… ¬†testing negative, only to test positive 2-5 years later. ¬†I would read those stories of people who had similar symptoms to mine and cry.

I DO NOT WANT THAT TO BE ME and I can’t stand feeling like this. ¬†Please God, let us find out what is wrong.

I wanted to share my pictures, because when I found pictures like this, it solidified my suspicious feelings on just what was occurring within my digestive system. ¬†Hoping someone else can be helped like I was! ¬†Remember, not everyone has GI issues or symptoms at all, so even if you don’t have the symptoms I do – that doesn’t mean you can rule out celiac disease.

The bottom line is – you know your body, you know what is normal for you – and when you feel sick, or you know something is wrong – it’s important to take note. ¬†You may not think different symptoms are related – but you never know, they could be! ¬†I’ve never wanted to be the patient that came in for everything – so I had a really hard time calling and pestering my Dr’s office for test results, even at my sickest point. ¬†I just kept updating the nurses when they would report to me that yet another test came back that, “everything looks normal”… ¬†However, I did myself an injustice by not being more bold. ¬†I think I had become too weak to fight…

While everyone was comforting me that it was as blessing nothing major was wrong – and I half-heartedly agreed, I knew in my heart there was INDEED something majorly wrong, we just hadn’t found it yet. ¬†Something FOR SURE¬†wasn’t right.

Praise be to God that I’m on the road to better health. ¬†It was a long 3 months – (especially for anyone who had to listen to me rack my scrambled brain for what was making me sick!), but I’m so very thankful for all of you who have helped me, and who continue to be encouraging on this new path we’re traveling. ¬†I thank God for you!

“The LORD is good,¬†a refuge in times of trouble.¬†
He cares for those who trust in Him,”

Nahum 1:7

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