Posts Tagged ‘celiac’

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 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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Gluten free Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Pie style

I have a confession.  I’ve never made cheesecake before.  Not once.  In fact, last week was the first time I had even ever made a Key Lime Pie (and that actually came out pretty tasty).  But when I found this recipe for lemon blueberry cheesecake bars on Only Taste Matters… I got excited.  I got excited but I’m also pregnant…

So as I started on her recipe, I went on autopilot.  I started building myself a pie crust using my Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crumbs.  In a pie pan.  Her recipe is for beautiful yummy bars.  Well, then it was too late and I had to adapt. 

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Quick, easy, and tasty! Gluten Free Raspberry Coconut Macaroons.

Here’s a quick, easy, light summer recipe with lots of flavor!  I was surprised how well this one turned out —  My husband doesn’t love coconut and certainly won’t normally take a macaroon and even he was sneaking them from the kitchen counter on me. These are also easy to get creative with – add some lemon, add chocolate, add/take away other flavors pretty safely.  These stayed soft for us for several days – but be sure to bag them or put them in a container!  Gluten free products don’t keep in the air quite the same way as their gluten filled counterparts.

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This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Gluten.

We don’t fully understand the immune system.  We recognize, realize, and know that it is a defensive system; it sees a threat and attacks.  It senses a virus and alarms sound, “Intruder! Intruder!”

It raises body temperature to make the environment unlivable for viruses and bacteria.  It releases histamine, fighter cells, white blood cells and so many others in effort to regulate the body system and maintain homeostasis.

What happens when the immune system stops seeing invaders and begins to see itself as the invader?  This is the simplified version of what happens in the celiac.  Gluten comes in, spurs a response, immune cells go crazy and attack the person with celiac rather than the gluten.  The average person consumes 10 to 50 grams of gluten per day.  The FDA label guidelines for gluten free products is a gluten allowance of less than 20 ppm.  A celiac reacts to less than 20 ppm – what is happening in the undiagnosed celiac?

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