Posts Written By gloria

Celiac Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disorders (crohns, colitis)

Talk about a hiatus.

it’s been awhile, gluten free friends.  Even in the last two years, so much has changed in the gluten free community and here.

last year, after the birth of my now toddler, I found myself sicker than ever.  Muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue – to the point that it was difficult to keep my eyes open, I could barely manage grocery trips and needed frequent tests between activities.  My stomach pain was worsening.  I had constant nausea. (Did I mention there was a baby running around now?)

Like with celiac disease, doctors see GI symptoms and like to just throw things at it.  We live in a health care world of symptom management and not prevention.  “It’s probably post partum reflux,” my PCP said.  “Take some omeprazole.”  Of course, that did nothing.

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The & A Baby – How it Changes Your World

Well, it’s been awhile.  A long while — and not because I wanted it to be but because I was still busy trying to get a grip on this new all encompassing mom-ness.  I was not at all prepared.

Amelie was born late; 41 weeks and made her grand entrance.  The initial shock of coming off the pregnancy hormones and sudden lack of sleep was overwhelming.  The hormones and the over the top emotions slowly dwindled but never completely went away.  I’ve worked with children as a preschool teacher, nanny, and even as a pediatric nurse.  I thought I got kids.  I wasn’t expecting a spirited, always on the go, her way or the highway kind of child.  Sleep when the baby sleeps, they said.  She doesn’t sleep.  10-30 minute cat naps.  Moms talked about putting their baby down.  Up until her new found interest in toys, she didn’t even want to be put down.  Never mind that we had breastfeeding issues and I found myself with a baby that had a lip tie, tongue tie, torticollis and a dwindling milk supply.

I was not ready then.  I’m still not ready now in many ways.  It’s been challenging and beautifully sweet all at once.  And so much has changed…

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So Long Cheerios… it was fun while it lasted.

So you may have been following our gluten free Cheerios saga.  I couldn’t do it — I lasted two days before I got bubble guts and was pretty convinced that it was low enough to cause problems in a cumulative fashion.

My husband, on the other hand?  He was convinced Cheerios were the next best thing to sliced gluten free bread.  It brought back childhood memories, childhood flavors and he started eating it every day.  Every day.

In the course of the time that he was eating them so regularly, he got sick twice.  Two pretty aggressive colds — one possibly being a flu.  He complained of more stomach pain during this time than he usually did and complained of diarrhea.  He kept telling me it was because he ate something at work or maybe he has other food allergies.  I’d been suspicious.

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When diagnosis becomes personality…

Food is inseparable from us.  We need it.  We could do without it for some time but our bodies know better; they stop functioning, they slow down processes, they limit their activity so they can survive minimally.  Our bodies do that without us.  It requires no cognition, no forethought, planning.  It just does.

With an over-abundance of accessible food in this country (poverty and homelessness excluded), we have grown to associate living with eating.  What’s thanksgiving without turkey and pie?  What’s a potluck at work without food?  What’s dinner without dessert?  We bond over meals.  We sit down at the dinner table and regroup about each others lives.  My husband and I chat about our days over dinner every night; we connect over food.  We’re having friends over for dinner tonight.

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Why Are We Celebrating Gluten Free Cheerios? – A response to Gluten Dude’s Post

First and foremost, I love Gluten Dude.  His blog and representation in the celiac community is huge and invaluable.  He’s an asset in the blogger community and is a great support for those navigating their disease.  This isn’t about disagreeing with him.  It’s simply my perspective.

Three days ago, Gluten Dude posted a exhort to the blogging community in relation to why people are celebrating Gluten Free Cheerios.  Many of the gluten free bloggers received free samples and some may even have gotten paid for their articles. See Gluten Dude’s original post here: Why Are We Celebrating Gluten Free Cheerios?

He continues his exhort by mentioning that we should not stand for subpar processing and an organization’s unwillingness to take a full step in the direction of gluten free.  We should matter more.  And while I agree with him, my MBA education kicks in and I can see the General Mills side of things.  The celiac percentage of the gluten free market is likely small in comparison with the market of gluten free fad dieters that care nothing for FDA guidelines, care nothing for ppm requirements, and care nothing for how things are processed – just that the title of “gluten free” is there.  For General Mills, celiacs were already not buying Cheerios and adding us into the market may simply not have been economically worth the extra effort when they could more easily get a “piece of the pie” so to speak.  The value of the Gluten Free Market is only expected to grow… in some ways, we knew that hurt us already.  It’s made our market more convoluted. In some ways, it’s helped us in it’s addition of a plethora of products we never would have been able to find in the grocery store even 5-10 years ago.

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Gluten Free Cheerios Saga – Part Two

I have been writing this post in my head for the last week.  In fact, I wanted to write this post last week after about a week of Cheerios eating.  Unfortunately for me, some gluten slipped into the house and into my system and I’ve been struggling to repair.  Having gotten a little lax with my diet since being pregnant, I think I’ve also been sneaking in some of my other food allergies… only compounding the inflammation.

Needless to say, I’m afraid of the Cheerios in light of the stomach issues.  I managed two days of Cheerios pre-exposure and by day two, I had what my husband and I call bubble guts.  Hyperactive bowel sounds and bubbles all over.  Gas.  It was tolerable though mildly uncomfortable.  This could be from two things: mild response to the low ppm of gluten still in the Cheerios or from my guts simply not being sure what to do with all that fiber running through my system.  I would really have to try them for longer to have a clearer picture for myself of what is going on.  Unfortunately, I worry that it’s part of what made my gluten reaction so severe.  At some point, I may balls up again… but fortunately, there were two of us in this experiment.

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It’s Pumpkin Season! Gluten free Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

It’s almost officially fall!  The weather here in Seattle is now becoming overcast, cloudy and rainy.  I’ve only been here in Seattle for a year and a half but am already in love with having a real fall season.  We came from Arizona.  If you’ve ever lived there, visited there, or done anything there… it stays pretty much the same color all year round.

I love fall.  I love rainy, cloudy, orange weather.  I love leaves falling.  More importantly, I love hot chocolate and fall flavors… like pumpkin.  So using my pregnancy as an excuse to feed my craving ideas, I decided we needed a Pumpkin Cheesecake in the house.  I adapted from a gluten filled Betty Crocker recipe to make this pretty gal.  Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t share the same love for pumpkin… oh well.  More for me!

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Recovery Bread – Pamela’s Sweet Honey Bread

As a nurse, recovery from a gluten exposure is not naturally intuitive.  Proper care of any stomach bug, stomach issue, et cetera, includes these steps: Bowel rest –> clear liquids –> full liquids –> BRAT diet.  If you’ve heard of the BRAT diet, for the celiac… it’s an expensive one — if you focus on the T in Brat. The T is often the easiest for non-celiacs.  BRAT breaks down to: Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast.  These are high starchy foods that are more readily digestible in an angry environment.  “If you’re nauseated, try saltines!”  Where the heck do you get saltines without hitting every single grocery store looking for them?  Gluten free saltines?  Medically, we don’t think about our recovering celiacs when we think BRAT diet.

During this pregnancy, I’ve craved starches.  Bread, pizza (basically bread with toppings on it), potatoes, and rice.  So it seems even more natural that, after being exposed to gluten on Monday, that I would just crave starches.  Unfortunately, the last few the mornings – I’m not tolerating food.  Bread, however? As a nurse, I know that’s a go to… so when I started craving bread last night I decided I was going to do something about it — and not run to the store to do so.

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The Celiac Kryptonite: Unexpected Exposures

You could say things were going so well.  I don’t remember the last time I was really glutened.  By “really” glutened, I mean with symptoms more than just the little head rush from something small.  I’m 25 weeks pregnant and hadn’t thrown up once this pregnancy.

My biggest gluten worry at this point had been the gluten free Cheerios we were trialing in the house (more on that in another post to come!).

This past Saturday, we found out about Han’s German Deli and went to check it out.  My husband, being in the states for the last 5 years now, squealed like a kid finding out about Christmas for the first time.  Apfelschole, Mettwurst, Butter kase, pommes sauce, Apfel Wein, imported Haribo flavors… german chocolates…

It’s amazing that we didn’t spend more.  We spent a little time in Germany since being gluten free and are quite familiar with the German words for wheat.  Germans seem to hide wheat into their chocolates.  He said he was reading all the ingredients… and I trusted him.

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The Gluten Free Cheerios Saga – Part One

The first dance has started.  Gluten free Cheerios are staring at me from across the counter.  ‘Eat me,’ I hear the quiet calling…

My husband is the more risk taking celiac in our household.  Work events, questionable items… he’s more inclined to take a gamble.  I can always tell when he’s come home glutened.  He turns white and loses his color.  He spends extra time near the bathroom.  It can be pretty significant.

So when it came to gambling… I thought, well, why not?  He’s been asking about the gluten free Cheerios for some time and I don’t think he’s been privy to all the community drama surrounding them.  Let’s experiment.  He knows this is happening.  He’s okay with it.  He was more bummed that I didn’t find the Lucky Charms ones for him to try.

In case you aren’t familiar with the drama, General Mills is using a proprietary way of “cleaning” the oats.  Oats are naturally gluten free but typically cross contaminated with wheat and barley in the harvesting process.  General Mills is not using certified gluten free oats but rather sorting and cleaning up the cross contamination.  This can definitely be intimidating for those of us with gluten problems.

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