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Living Life with Celiac Disease

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Recently, I have had some increased food sensitivities and find myself symptomatic more than usual. The worst part of food allergies is the lack of social enjoyment. Being married for 30 years is hard to celebrate when you are limited to where you can dine out.

Sushi has been our night out meal for at the last two years. We go to the same two restaurants and life was good! Past tense. The last three to five visits have been discouraging. In spite of the fact that the owners, sushi chefs and wait staff know us and our allergy to gluten, we have been getting sick. The last two times I even asked them to use a fresh preparation surface and a fresh knife, but still got sick. Normally, we will not give a restaurant so many chances, but this was a safe haven for two years!

Because of our corn allergy, it could be they are using a new thickener or vinegar that contains corn syrup, dextrose, citric acid, or one of the other hundred names for corn.

Starbucks has recently let me down further as well. Their coconut milk contains corn dextrin and xanthan Gum. Their almond milk contains xanthan gum and their soy milk contains sodium citrate (corn derivative). With no corn free, non-dairy choices, I have begun to cary coconut milk powder in my purse to add to their house coffee.

Cold Stone, Baskin Robbins, and every ice cream parlor I have contacted locally use corn syrup in their recipes. Even new places that boast “homemade ice cream!” contain corn syrup. Date nights are not the same without the repertoire of “where do you want to eat?”

Early this month I spent time at what I like to think of as the original Google, Barnes and Noble. I roamed the cookbook aisles looking for insight. Gluten free cook books contain recipes using corn and dairy. Vegetarian cookbooks contain a lot of cheese. I found what I was looking for in The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and Action Plan. I highly recommend this book to anyone with more than one digestive disorder (but no nut allergies). So far each recipe that we have tried has been a winner. If you want to try out some recipes without the benefit of the educational pages, search Pinterest for “Autoimmune Paleo Recipes.” I am filling up a notebook with some winners from there too. A pause to say thank you Lord for allowing me to eat coconut and almond flours.

The diet allows for zero sugar with maple syrup or honey very rarely. But…. there are times when I just need one bite of chocolatey goodness. I found Coco-Roons last month and in spite of the fact that there are only 8 cookie balls in a bag, they are so satisfying that I only need to eat one or three a week.

I am on the road often for appointments and meetings each week. Food portability is a must! I try to pack something pre-cooked or fresh to take with me when I travel, but sometimes weather or time prevents me from packing ahead. I keep a couple RX Bars,  Mighty Bars, and Ningxia berry juice packets in my bag at all times. This way if I find myself away from home longer than expected, I am safe from the hangries and the glutening. If you are not cutting out grain, check out The GFB they have amazing gluten free bars and a new portable warm cereal that converts from bag to bowl for easy eating on the go. Just add hot water! Their customer service is amazing and they offer discount coupons for online shopping all the time.

Lastly, ice cream. We may not be able to spend date nights at the ice cream parlor like we did in the 80’s and 90’s, but I found an ice cream that even my hubby likes to eat. NadaMoo! organic and non dairy ice cream. Most of the flavors are corn free, all are gluten and dairy free. If you have not had chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in years, let me tell you, you will shed tears of joy after one bite of Cookies and Cream (well at least I did). The Pistachio Nut flavor reminds me of spumoni ice cream without the chunks of fruit in it and the Mint Chocolate Chip is just plain yummy.

Do you have a special “emergency travel food” in your bag? Comment below, we would love to hear new ideas. None of the items recommended above were given to us by the supplier, or even suggested to us by the supplier/manufacturer. We do all the research through trial and error, so you know it is unbiased.

Don’t forget, we are not doctors and do not pretend to know everything about celiac disease. We know what is working for us. We offer tips and tools to help you deal with the discomfort of being gluten intolerant, but are not specialists. Consult your doctor or specialist if you are suffering with any kind of pain or discomfort that is not normal. Trust your instincts when it comes to your body and be your own advocate for better health and wellness.

Blessings,

Kate

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Gluten Medication Sickness

The website Gluten Free Drugs is a valuable tool to know if you are able to take brand name, generic, or over the counter and medications. It’s important to know what you can or cannot take before you need it, if possible.

Because the three of us girls have additional problems with the consumption of corn, we are often forced to harm our digestive system to heal our immune system. Since our digestive system controls our immune system, we end up compromising our health and throwing our system into imbalance. Most all prescriptions and over the counter medications contain corn syrup, corn starch, or other corn derived ingredient(s). During the last 7 months, an upper respiratory infection has put me on three different antibiotics, several cough medicines, codeine, and prednisone to get rid of it for good.

Of course this has left my belly so bloated that my new fashion staple has been pajama pants and leggings since attempting to wear my jeans has been uncomfortably unsuccessful.

Tomorrow begins the important job of healing my gut and restoring the gut-flora to all it’s bacteria goodness. Not doing so can cause a Candida overgrowth (Candida Albicans) yeast to attach to and eat through the intestinal walls. This causes a condition called “leaky gut syndrome.” Facto-fermented dairy, yogurt, kefir, and some fermented vegetables, meats from pasture raised animals and bone broths (if you are not vegetarian), ghee, avocados, animal based fats and non-hydrogenated coconut oil are helpful in speeding the healing. Diet, along with a daily regimen of probiotics for the next several weeks or months, until you feel “normal” again.

When healing your gut be sure to limit grains, avoid caffeine, coffee, fermented soy products, sugars, alcohol, and eating out,  unless you trust your health to a stranger.

What are your go-to foods when you need to heal a damaged gut? Share your favorites in the comments below.

~ Kate ~

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Love Bread Again

Even when we could eat corn, we found Udi’s and Rudi’s breads to be just “okay.” Before we found out about the corn allergy, we discovered Canyon Bakehouse Bread at Sprouts Market. The Mountain White bread rivals any soft white bread made with wheat ingredients. Like any gluten free bread, the fresher the better. Our nearest Sprouts Market is over an hour away. We live in a rural community consisting of a Target, Walmart Food 4 Less, and Savemart for major food stores.

We use to spend 3-4 hours round-trip a week to purchase bread items. One particular month our Sprouts market had a freezer failure issue and lost all their Canyon Bakehouse breads, among others. After three weeks without bread I went directly to Canyon Bakehouse and found that we could order directly. The extra benefit to this is that the bread comes freshly baked, soft, and amazing. For our family of 4 we order a dozen loafs of white bread, 3 loafs of cinnamon raisin, 6 bags of everything bagels, and three bags of plain bagels. Once in a while we throw in the brownie bites because they are sinfully delicious. The hamburger buns and hotdog buns are equally amazing and softer than anything you will find from Udi’s or Rudi’s (The center is so soft you could literally make a dough ball out of it like you may have done with Wonder Bread as a kid. For Italian dinner nights, the Focaccia is amazingly soft and good. We ate one loaf warmed out of the package because we couldn’t wait to try it. It was perfect.

 

For us, the shipping is worth it. For everything I mentioned above, delivered via FedEx in three days after ordering was just under $26.00. That is cheaper than four trips out of town for us, and maybe for you too. If not, find a store that sells it and try it, you won’t be disappointed.

For genuine San Francisco Sourdough we found Bread Srsly. They have mini loaves, large loaves and dinner rolls. The dinner rolls were excellent at the holidays and the mini loaves are great sliced and microwaved or toasted. I would love to try to make bread bowl soup out of the mini loaves. My last order from Bread Srsly was for three mini loaves of the plain sourdough and my shipping was $5.00. The bread is a little more costly than others, but the shipping offsets the price. Plus, if you miss genuine San Francisco Sourdough, this is definitely worth every penny.

If you have a favorite gluten free or gluten free/corn free bread that is your favorite, please share it in the comments. Good food should always be shared.

~ Kate ~

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Blood Screening

In a recent email from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, they are offering  Free Blood Screening for Celiac Disease “To be screened, you must consume gluten daily for 12 weeks prior to the test.”

Is it any wonder there are so many false negative tests? I do not have 12 weeks (and more for recovery) of my life to intentionally make myself sick. Many people learn about Celiac Disease from other people by listening to symptoms, cures, and struggles. If you think you might have Celiac Disease and have or have not had blood tests, your body will tell you if you should cut foods out of your diet (all changes in your nutrition should be discussed with a doctor).

The symptoms can be found on our blog at Symptoms of Celiac Disease. We also discuss Foods to Avoid in another post. Only you know what is best for your body, don’t let the results of a negative blood test decide if you are able to eat gluten or not. If you want to put 12 weeks to the test, remove all sources of wheat, rye, barley and corn (some celiacs are sensitive to corn) from your diet. I would rather have 12 healthy weeks to find out if I am gluten sensitive than 12-16 unhealthy and sick weeks (4 for recovery) to take a blood test.

We are not doctors, but we do know the difference of being bedridden and being physically active, you will too.

 

Namaste

~Kate~

 

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Fig Newtons

It has been 3 years since I ate my last Fig Newton and finding a gluten free alternative has been unsuccessful. I picked up this bag of all natural, organic, unsulfered, sun dried figs. My first bite into one made me gasp out loud and run to Robyn to take a bite. It tastes EXACTLY like a fig newton (to me). If you ate your last fig newton last week, I am sure you will beg to differ, but three years is a long time to hold onto a taste memory. Even if you found a great GF alternative, give these a try, unprocessed food is so much better for us. I bought mine at Costco but also found several online retailers when I googled “Made in Nature Figs”

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Namaste

~Kate~

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Shopping Shenanigans

Challenges for someone with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease don’t stop at the grocery store. It’s true that shopping for everyday groceries is a time consuming chore, unless you stick to the produce section. Labels for ingredients, labels for gluten free certification, labels processed on equipment and/or in a facility that produces products containing wheat. It is enough to make your head spin and requires a good hour set aside for weekly grocery shopping.

This week I took the dive into gluten free hair care, skin care, body care, and make up. No, I do not plan on eating my make-up, but I do plan on sweating this summer (you know you are too). With those beads of perspiration will come everything it passes through, my hair product, my eye shadow, foundation, and lip balm. Undoubtedly some of the perspiration will make its way into my eyes, nose or throat and with that, the gluten it passed through.

Our skin is also our largest organ. Science says that what we put on our skin can make its way into our bloodstream. The more you rid your diet of gluten, the more sensitive you will become to it. When your gut is already damaged and bleeding from gluten, eating more gluten prolongs the healing and amplifies the symptoms. That same gluten put into a healing or healed gut acts like a foreign body and creates an autoimmune response which in turn makes you feel horribly ill inside and out.

A wonderful resource has been the Gluten Free Makeup Gal http://www.glutenfreemakeupgal.com I urge you to sign up for her gluten free make up list. It has everything from soaps, body lotions, deodorants, facial care, bath care, to baby and pet care. You will most likely find yourself browsing through websites for hours. What else is new for a Celiac, right?

Hope you have a healthy and blessed day!

~Kate~

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Easy GF Rice Pudding

I am a big fan of rice. It’s so versatile and if brown rice is used (or half brown rice), it’s even good for you. Since I have a mini 6 cup rice cooker at work, I always have something to eat to get me through a 12 hour shift. A co-worker suggested the following recipe and I felt another life changing moment come upon me (I suffer from an extreme case of sweet tooth itis). I hope this easy GF recipe makes you as happy as it did me 🙂

5-6 cups cooked rice
½ can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Cinnamon to taste
¼ cup raisins (optional)

Combine all ingredients sans cinnamon. Serve warm or cold with cinnamon sprinkled on top. All measurements are a approximate and can be increased or decreased to personal taste. Enjoy and let me know if you have a personal twist to this recipe that we might like too 🙂

~Kate~

Foods to avoid

The link below is an invaluable tool for the newly diagnosed. It will help you prepare your kitchen and mindset to your new lifestyle. It can be scary and daunting to look at a list of “No’s,” but trust me it gets easier over time. If you get in a food frenzy and think you just might fail; Try Jif peanut butter on a banana, Nestle semi sweet chocolate chips in Chobani or Oikos vanilla yogurt, or fresh fruit on Breyers Natural vanilla ice cream. I don’t feel so bad after eating something so good and reasonably healthy. If you are dairy sensitive, don’t forget the Lactaid 😉

~Kate~

Livelifeceliac has no affiliation with the above mentioned products.

Foods to Avoid

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