Thursday, December 30, 2010

Defining the problem

That's what I've been trying to do for 3.5 years now- define the problem and fix it. I feel like I'm getting closer, but nowhere near hope of being healthy. Here are the things I can't tolerate right now and theories as to why.

Just to clarify- I don't have GI issues anymore. Any residual issues have cleared up since starting SCD. In fact, some days I try to have a little more fiber to help things along now, if you're picking up what I'm laying down... never really bothered me too much GI-wise, but it is still nice to not have the occasional issues!

On with the list:

1. Nuts

Have tried these a few times since they are such a staple on the SCD. No dice. Tried soaking and dehydrating. Same story. Like I alluded to in my previous post, almonds in super small amounts make me so tired I can barely stand it. I read this page on the Celiac Sprue Association website. It seems pretty well-established that Celiacs have problems with yeast and mold.

No flippin' kidding. It was good to see this in print from a relatively reliable source. Now the big question is how to fix the problem.

2. Eggs

This one hurts. Another SCD staple. Had been without them for a few weeks and I guess was feeling brave one day. I get pastured chicken from a local producer, and I also got my eggs from them. Didn't seem to go too bad at first. Soon after, they experienced a shortage of their regular eggs and the only ones I could get were soy-free.

So basically what that means, and what was confirmed with the chicken people last week, is that the soy-free feed contains more oats and maybe even wheat. Super fail. I had thought of this, but tried to ignore it. I don't know why I do that, my intentional ignorance only ends up hurting me in the end!!

Anyway, maybe sometime I will see if I can find eggs with GF feed. Seems crazy, but would be interesting since soooo many of us have issues with eggs. Would also be more careful with starting with small amounts of yolk and moving up from there.

3. Cheese, vinegar, and alcohol

Basically, same idea as the whole mold/yeast thing. I have known for quite awhile that these products caused severe reactions. I was always trying to figure out if it was actually gluten, or just a reaction to the food itself.

When I came across this article, I found it very interesting!! To oversimplify, there are amino acid sequences in the cell wall of candida albicans that correlate to sequences in gliadin protein. Hence, the authors postulate that there could be a relationship between candida and Celiac. They, of course, suggest further exploration of this topic, but I can't find anything more recent than the article published in 2003.

I feel like I could have a lot more to say on this topic, but I don't want to go on and on about something I have very little evidence to prove. It sounds like I have classic candida-type symptoms. Severe fatigue, flushing, worse brain fog, skin rash, intense hunger, headaches, memory issues, etc. All are worse with yeasty or moldy foods. Fail.

4. Nightshades

Not all nightshades are SCD legal. But even the legal ones I'm not doing. I would feel horrible after eating potatoes (heart pounding, dizzy, esophageal spasm, other various weird stuff), I also was repulsed by the thought of tomatoes (esp. raw) when I used to like them. Trusting the body on this one. Never ate eggplant anyway.

I do still use spices derived from peppers. I FINALLY found some spices I at least seem to tolerate. Great place, not bad prices if you order enough to get free shipping. Not the most convenient, but I love their spice blends. Try some poultry seasoning blend rubbed under the skin of a chicken in the Crock Pot, stuff it with some onions and an orange. I also use a lot of the fish grill and broil on some cheap-o tilapia. Yum!!

Ok, now the big questions are: how long can I maintain my diet without these SCD-legal options? And possibly having to cut out tea and coffee in the middle of the butt-freezing winter?! I don't know. I've only recently started craving "normal" food again, and it's getting more depressing to fight every day. It's not an issue of willpower, more of attitude. I'm going to be a very chilly grouch without my morning decaf. Maybe we'll start that part next week... Might have to try to cope with some hot water in the AM.

I've read that caffeine and certain substances in tea and coffee kill off good bacteria and promotes candida. Extra Fail.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Long overdue update

SCD since November 1st, have tried a few things on and off. Here is my current list:

  • nightshades (except in spices)
  • eggs (even free-range, organic feed, not GF feed though... has some oats, possibly wheat)
  • nuts (had a bite of soaked, dehydrated almonds on Thursday, promptly took a 2-hour nap)
  • vinegar
  • cheese
  • alcohol
  • tea (as of this week, from the girl who roasts my coffee)
  • coffee (mostly decaf now, but I'm afraid she may have accidentally given me full caff this week... crazy hungry and felt weird for past 3 days!)
Sooo... the big question is.... am I getting anywhere?

Yes and no. Modest ups, somewhat less dramatic downs. Some days I have hope. Some days, I feel like I've been hanging out so much at Square One that I should consider redecorating.

I've identified issues beyond the simple flora imbalance. Well, it all obviously relates, but I have a serious mold/yeast issues that I only recently identified more clearly. Getting my bacterial flora back in balance will only help get that back in balance.

Still working on figuring out exactly how to "break the vicious cycle" since almost 2 months trying to do SCD and slowly introduce SCD-legal stuff hasn't really done a whole stinkin' lot. (and I realize it will take time, thank you very much for the reminder)

So many things to talk about... things I want to cover here over the next few weeks:
  • Foods/things I can't tolerate, and theories/info as to why
  • Probiotics (product choice is confusing as heck, even from a pharmacist's perspective)
  • Things I actually can eat!
  • Coping with having NO TIME to do anything but work and cook (hence, poor blogging follow-up skills)
  • Any new or interesting connections/information/articles I happen to find
Apology for the multiple uses of parentheses. (I seem to like adding comments as afterthoughts)

Here's to moving forward! Maybe I'll even get funky and try adding some pictures to liven things up a bit :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A New Approach

I thought that I had read just about everything about Celiac Disease. What I didn't know was that my health problems went beyond our Western medicine knowledge of CD. Well, I guess you could say that I did know that deep down, but I didn't know where to even start with that dilemma.

I finally decided to start looking into more "alternative" answers to my symptoms, since the gluten-free thing just wasn't cutting it. The more research I did, the more different aspects of my symptoms seemed to make sense.

The first issue I looked into was Candida. I only knew of it in the context of severe infections, sepsis, etc., or the ever-popular vaginal infection. I know how to treat that. Makes sense to my drug-oriented mind. The remedies, though, seemed pretty far out. No one would tell you exactly what was in the "Super Duper Awesome Candida Remedy" for 3 easy payments of $49.95... not only am I a cheapskate, but also a cheapskate pharmacist who will never take anything she doesn't know what it is and how it works. So that option was out, but I also know there had to be something more.

Enter the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I started looking into this after being on a probiotic that seemed to help but certainly wasn't the entire answer (saccharomyces boulardii). Pretty extensively researched and published, I might add, especially for an OTC supplement. Sweet.

Anyway, the SCD. Much of this made sense. I was, however, quite concerned that the most recent study cited in Elaine Gottschall's book Breaking the Vicious Cycle (the "revised" version) was from 1992. I know I'm in a vicious cycle, that much is obvious!! But I kept thinking... there has got to be more we have learned in that timeframe... in fact, some of the most robust and widely accepted data on the benefits of probiotics have been published since then. Not sure what to think at this point, but open to trying just about anything. How much more restrictive can it be beyond what I'm already doing?!

During this time is when I also figured out the nightshade problem. Ugh, don't get me started on how I tried to avoid this conclusion for a looooong time. The thought of trying SCD AND no nightshades?? Crazy.

I happened upon a website that discussed the GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome). It is basically SCD on steroids. (Or not on steroids, since it may help with IBD... heh heh heh...)

It was developed by an actual MD, Natasha Campbell McBride to help with her son's autism. makes sense similar to SCD. Actually, it is almost hard to distinguish it from SCD. It is somewhat more modern of a program. So basically it is what I was looking for, someone took the SCD and continued running with it.

The issue with GAPS are some of the things it wants you to do on the intro diet, like raw egg yolks. I'm sorry, but I just can't do that. Not to mention that I wasn't able to tolerate eggs a few weeks ago. Maybe someday, I will try eggs again...

SO: what am I not eating now?? Gluten free, grain free, soy free, legume free, nightshade free, dairy free (except for homemade SCD yogurt), sugar free, egg free, nut free.

SO: what am I actually eating?? Today, I had yogurt and pomegranate, coffee with honey, chicken and cabbage soup, beef roast with carrots, tilapia with zucchini noodle pesto (and parm... still waiting on the verdict for that one...), and apple cider.

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? It has been. This is only my second week doing my version of SCD/GAPS. But honestly, it is not much harder than the great lengths I was going to before. Now, I'm just hoping I have something to show for it and start healing!!

I'm committed for a month. Probably not enough time to evaluate, but that's all I can manage at the moment. I'll keep you posted. Pun intended.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Factual Update

update for the food list:

No more yogurt, no more chocolate chips. Too many variables, and the yogurt seemed to be hit or miss. Sad, because it was an easy source of protein.

No more paper towels from work. Made a pretty distinct connection. Didn't know there could be gluten in paper towels. Now I know.

Tried eggs for awhile. Seemed ok. Got another batch of them from a different store. Now I'm not sure. Back off of them.

Tried almonds, pecans, and raw sunflower seeds from Nuts Online. Seemed ok, but again, still having some problems. Back off them til I figure it out.

My dishwasher (4 months old) is making funny noises. More loud and grinding than funny, I guess, especially considering my dependence on it. I've been advised not to use it until the repair guy comes Friday. Sigh.

Good news, I started getting boxes of organic produce again. I also keep hoping that there is a chicken in my future.... if we can ever get a time coordinated to pick one up from our friend who raises chickens. Been trying for almost two months now.

Also tried the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. Very interesting that there is a lot of literature supporting its use in various diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (mostly UC). Nothing with Celiac specifically, but it is worth a shot, especially since I've been semi buying into the whole candida theory of late. I'm looking for another GF product for this, as buying Florastor is kicking my wallet in the gut. It seems to be helping, but I'm never sure due to the many variables I'm dealing with. Funny how I just happened across this stuff, I had never heard of it.

That's pretty much the update. I hope, someday, when I'm not spending every waking moment cooking boring, bland food, that I will post some fun things. Like ideas or recipes. But right now, I'm just working on getting better.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm trying...

I'm down to a pretty sparse list of foods at the moment. Funny how my husband is eating lots of fast food and losing weight. Anywho, here is my list for posterity.

  • coffee- just Great Value brand from Walmart, French roast and decaf mixed. Always promise myself to slowly increase the ratio of decaf to caff...
  • sugar- 1 tsp., I forget the brand, something about Florida and it is the "natural" sugar stuff, whatever that really means...
  • yogurt- Stonyfield Farm organic blueberry yogurt, GFCO certified. (Note: tried the vanilla flavor last weekend and started to feel symptoms within about 30 minutes... emailed the company but they didn't give me any useful info about their flavoring. Except that it does contain alcohol (didn't give source). No way!! Still recovering...)
  • sometimes fruit
List of other foods from last few weeks:
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • cheese- Sargento sharp cheddar shredded or mozzarella string cheese. Tried shredded mozz last week on some pasta. Either the cheese or the ceramic dish I baked it in was a problem. Not fun.
  • plain yogurt- Stonyfield
  • butter- usually Meijer brand
  • fresh or frozen salmon- Depends on where it is on sale...
  • frozen tilapia- Meijer
  • olive oil
  • sea salt- Morton's and McCormick's
  • garlic
  • shallot
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • green beans
  • cucumbers
  • avocado
  • carrots
  • fresh fruit
  • salad mix of some sort, usually mixed greens or spinach, organic if on sale
  • Tinkyada pasta- usually eaten as mac and cheese with sauce: butter, touch of milk, touch of pasta water, and Sargento cheese OR have recently been making pasta sauce from fresh tomatoes, garlic, shallots, EVOO, fresh basil, and sea salt
  • Rice- lately seem to do better with white instead of brown (??), usually get Riceland brand
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips- straight out of the bag, can't seem to risk baking anymore
  • All I ever drink is water besides my AM coffee.
Only other thing of which I partake are vitamins. I take vitamin D3 1000-2000 IUs daily and had been taking a multi on and off, both Freeda's. (Now going to be off due to what I think was a niacin-induced migraine yesterday... no other good explanation, was soon after normal food and decided to be "healthy" and take vitamin... Was horrible!!! Took a "nap" on the bathroom floor next to the waiting toilet, and thankfully went away after about 2 hours. Was supposed to be at lake in sun with friends. Epic fail.)

I find it very weird that my main source of protein is dairy. I would not have expected to be doing somewhat better with that as a large part of my diet. Would love to try nuts, but too scared. (Thought PB was ok, was wrong. Never did ask company if shared lines, etc. Should do.) Also beans. Have been burned too many times in the past. (To clarify, not the beans that burned, but me...)

What other sources of protein are possible?? With no chicken, beef, pork, eggs, legumes, nuts, or soy?

Might try ordering some nuts and beans online from places suggested on the forums. Too cheap at present, but might get up the nerve to shell out the cash once I've had enough with current hunger.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Chicken Debacle

I'm a little bit of a wimp.

After weeks of being pescetarian, I decided to go to the farmer's market and get me some free-range, corn-fed yard bird to try. I had tried some a couple weeks back, but the results were basically inconclusive. I suspected there was another gluten culprit at the time.

I was planning my first foray into homemade chicken stock this weekend. Conventional grocery store chicken has been identified as problematic of late, so I had to go out of my way (after lots of internet research) to get some chicken that could possibly be ok.

So I go ask to buy a chicken, and (stupidly) say "Yes, I would like it cut up. Thank you." So the dude whips the chicken out of the cooler with his bare hand and slaps it up on the scale. No paper, no nothing. Tells, me what it weighs, I think ok, it is toward the end of the day, maybe he had already cleaned off the scale...

He proceeds to cut the chicken into pieces, again with bare hands, using a cutting board and knife that had just been sitting out on the counter. Not sure how long they had been there or what they were used on before (at this point, while writing this, I'm so ashamed of myself for keeping my mouth shut)

He dumps it into a plastic bag, then retrieves the outer bag for it, again, without washing his hands. I can only imagine the salmonella slime on that bag.

And I paid this man and said thank you. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

I spent $7.00 on a chicken. That I can't eat. Heck, that people without cross-contamination issues shouldn't eat.


A word to the wise. The meek shall inherit expensive, possibly dirty chicken.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blog Fail (and other assorted thoughts)

It's been awhile, I know.

If I want to give this blog thing a fair go, I need a little more commitment.

But all I do is cook. And clean up the kitchen. Then cook. Then clean. Then work. Then cook. Then clean. Then work...... you get the idea...

I've spent the last week or so being pescetarian. Funny enough, pretty much all meat is a problem. I'm looking into finding some more "natural" stuff, but it is taking awhile (ironic choice of the word natural, given my distaste for the myriad definitions of the word and ubiquitous use on food labels).

Have been doing better in general, but I had a sucky week on vacation. Not sure why exactly, but something about eating Larabars every day totally created a problem. Felt better after I stopped eating them! Scary though, they were one of my safe products! I'm still investigating why they are problematic. I need to get some for real GF nuts and make sure nuts are ok. But I don't trust nuts, been sick from them too many times. PB today was ok. Might order some from, but it is so expensive with shipping! Maybe once Publisher's Clearing House comes with my check. Hey, a girl can dream.

I tried eating beans for some protein. Felt awful, not like you usually do with beans (if you catch my drift), but just felt sick and repulsed by the thought of eating more of them. And I love beans...

I've mentioned it before, but I really need to learn to trust my body a little more. If it tells me not to eat leftovers of something, or if something sounds disgusting, I need to NOT eat it.

Some days, I feel like I might be making progress. Other days, I lose the ability to hope that I will ever feel normal (using that term loosely). I'm still tired, still with DH, although the other stuff seems to wax and wane somewhat unpredictably. Drank some wine the other night, was sick for 3 days. Weird. Usually if I have sulfite issues, the sx are gone within hours, so I'm not sure what to think.

I've been living on potatoes, which seem to be the only thing I want to eat and settle my stomach. Until tonight, when they upset it. Ugh.

Peace out. I'm done trying to figure it out for now. Says the girl whose every waking thought (almost) is about figuring out what to eat...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crazy Bread.

Remember eating crazy bread from Little Caesar's?? It's crazy all right. Random thought of the day...

Recently moved, don't have reliable internet at the new digs, so forgive me if I become even more AWOL.

So, what else have I learned in the meantime?

1. Don't eat M&Ms. Sorry.

Differential: M&Ms, McCormick garlic powder- NOT the gourmet line (everyone swears up and down it's ok, but they do for M&Ms too), or Sutter Home chenin blanc, which I've had without consequence before.

That's what I get for going mainstream for a day, I guess... Chocolate itself seems to be fine, as my coconut chocolate Larabars and Enjoy Life chocolate chips both fared just fine!

2. Sadly, on another chocolate note: No Betty Crocker brownies. Insert sad face here.

Differential: the brownies (which contain chocolate chips of uncertain origin, though the mix is produced in a dedicated facility), another McCormick product- chili powder- and this WAS the gourmet line, which I hear is possibly produced in a dedicated facility??

I can find basically NO info on anyone else with a BC mix reaction. The timing was pretty obvious. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my husband was willing to eat the rest of them. Which is great that they won't go to waste, but also means they are good enough for gluten-eaters!!

I spent Sunday in the worst fog I've had in quite awhile, and I haven't been well for over a week in the last few years. I couldn't think, couldn't talk, could barely function. It was awful. I am definitely starting to feel better today, though I'm sure it will be slow progress as usual!

In other news, tTG was still high, but not super high. Only 23, I'm told! So that is an improvement, but still reflects the horrible Rice Chips saga of late. Anti-endomysial was negative. I'm still waiting on an actual copy of my labs so I can evaluate them myself as well.

Over and out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dumb, Da-dumb-dumb

Please note that the following statements only apply to me and may not apply to your specific situation or some other CYA statement as such. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before reading, because your doctor knows the ins and outs of cross-contamination at every company and whether the products are appropriate for you, yada, yada.

Things I've learned in the past week:

1. Don't eat Lundberg Rice Chips unless you aren't very sensitive. (Now I'm going to get scathing emails from their marketing people... but I'll refer them to the forums at for more info.) I finally figured this out after I had nothing to eat for an entire afternoon and evening but these and an apple.

I know I might be intolerant of fructose, but seriously, chips=death. I actually made the connection over the past few weeks, it was only too obvious looking back, only to be confirmed by numerous people on the forums. Sigh. Goodbye, salsa.

2. Don't restock your spice cabinet until you know the spices are absolutely safe. For example, I could have sworn that I had seen a GF claim for Simply Organic spices on their website awhile back when I first discovered their cake mix (Pumpkin cake... Mmmm...). I made a mental note to buy some if I ever came across them. I bought three different spices the other day- chili powder, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.

I made beef stew in my Crock Pot last night and it needed some flavor, so I threw in a handful of each. I also threw in some questionable bay leaves (I thought- it's a leaf. How much can you really process it?).

You know where I'm going with this, right? I was SO tired immediately after eating it for lunch today. Part of that may have been from the 5 gallons of blood I had drawn today (taking bets on my tTG antibody, I'm guessing high!), but that doesn't cause fatigue AND DH... Crap-ola.

So I emailed them today and got your typical email back, which I will post here for your reference. Who knows whether it was actually their stuff or the dumb bay leaves. Either way, I have a huge container of beef stew sitting in my fridge, awaiting rot, and nothing to eat for lunch tomorrow. What a crock. (heh, heh)

Thank you for your inquiry. Frontier is not an allergen free facility, thus
we do not state that any of our products are allergen free. We follow
strict GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) to minimize the potential for
cross-contamination, but do not test for the presence of allergens in our
final products.
Gluten is present in our facility, so we are not able to state positively
that our products are gluten-free. We do have full ingredient disclosure on
our products.

However, we have just added a few products (baking mixes) to our line that
are now gluten free. Our baking mixes are in an area that is enclosed.
The area is scrubbed down before blending and no other products are blended
at the time the baking mixes are being packaged. They test before and
after blending for the presence of gluten. The list of mixes are below.

Item # 18933 – Organic Banana Bread Mix
Item # 18934 – Organic Carrot Cake Mix
Item # 18935 – Organic Chai Spice Scone Mix
Item # 18936 – Organic Cocoa Biscotti Mix
Item # 18938 - Organic Cocoa Cayenne Cupcakes
Item # 18940 - Organic Fudge Brownie Mix
Item # 18941- Organic Pancake/Waffle Mix

Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. If there is anything else we
can assist you with, please let us know. Have a great day !!

Thank You,

Deb Strong
Customer Care
3. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, it probably has something useful to tell you! I always thought that people who said stuff like this were quacks. Honestly.

Something I have learned the hard way- if I don't feel like eating it, DON'T. I have had this happen countless times (ONE glutening, ha ha ha, TWO glutenings, ha ha ha... crash of thunder... maybe I'll enlist The Count's help on this one).

Anyway, I make food and possibly suspect gluten after eating it. I eat the leftovers later and WHAM, I'm instantly re-glutened. Sudden fatigue, even the DH flares in the blink of an eye. It's like my body knows what it just got itself into. I promise it isn't all in my head, either. Sometimes, I do force myself to eat leftovers.

Internal dialogue:

But it can't have gluten in it, I checked all the ingredients!

Sure it can. Have you not heard, all things are possible with Gluten.

But, I made it from scratch!

Did you really? I didn't see you make the chicken broth from scratch.

But, it says GF right on it!

Really? How long have you been doing this? Shouldn't you know better?

But I can't just throw out perfectly good food!

When you feel nauseous just thinking about eating the leftovers, even if they tasted fine, perhaps you should just leave it alone, you cheapskate. Wouldn't you pay $10 and deal with being wasteful to avoid a glutening? Yes? That's what I thought.

[End scene]

Ok, I see you yawning. Need to wrap this up. I am learning. It is just an awkwardly slow, surprisingly painful process. I was starting to feel better as of this AM, but I'm now back to where I was. Ugh. Must stop being dumb. Amen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fructose.... Hmm...

Went to a new doctor this week. Wasn't sure how it would go. Told her most of my story, she wants to do some labwork, it was exactly what I expected, big surprise. The part I didn't expect was that she didn't offer that any of my continued symptoms might be from other food intolerance. I asked whether they may be, and she mentioned (of course) lactose intolerance. Yeah, pretty much figured that one out after ice cream consistently made me quite balloon-like.

The one I wasn't expecting was fructose intolerance. There isn't a whole lot of information to be found, and she certainly didn't offer more info, but it is an interesting prospect. I'm pretty much convinced that I do have issues on and off with lactose, and all the time with soy and high amounts of sulfites, but fructose? How would that possibly manifest?

Looking back, maybe that is why my apple was left in the bottom of my lunch bag every day last week. Or why I have a perfectly good organic pineapple rotting away in my fridge. Or why the thought of a banana makes my stomach churn...

Or something else that I probably shouldn't make public, although I will anyway (pardon the graphic-ness). Why when I run to the bathroom with ED (clearly not erectile dysfunction, but my abbrev. for explosive D) does it often smell like rotten fruit? Seriously, I know that is gross, but I always wondered why?!

Fructose- are we not friends anymore? Do I have to cross yet another perfectly acceptable GF option off my list?

I had a waffle this morning (Thanks, Pamela!) with blueberry "syrup". Seems ok so far... tasted spectacular. I'll post my recipe probably around the time I post my secret easy mac and cheese recipe!

I'll post any good EBM (evidence-based medicine) articles on fructose intolerance as I find them. There must be some if I found out about it at a large teaching hospital.

Hmmm... I say...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cheater cheater, pumpkin eater

In case you didn't see my comment on the last post, I have already cheated. Cravings got the best of me, and I had a piece of cake while waiting for my rice and beans to cook. I can't wait til I get back on track so the cravings can take a hike!!

Just putting that out there. Guilty conscience, what??

Felt awful this morning, was a little better by the end of the day. Now I'm just pooped. Might need some coffee to get me through my meeting tonight. Good thing I made a dietary exception for coffee! For now at least, I don't plan on using it when I don't "need" it. I can stop anytime I want. Really, it's not like I'm addicted or anything...

(How many times have I heard that from my patients? and I just smile and know better?)

And yes, I am a pumpkin eater. Usually in cake form. With cream cheese frosting. See previous post on the glories of pumpkin cake.

Did you know that pumpkin is hard to get this year? There was flooding and apparently the pumpkin crop was destroyed. At least that's what they guy at the store told me when I asked where it was (in March. Yeah, I'm cool like that.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Gluten Cycle (Record Length Post)

In riding the gluten rollercoaster and failing at life, I often think that I should "detox" for a while. Absolutely nothing else to eat except fruit, vegetables, rice, and some plain meat. I once did it for about two days (with coffee thrown in there, as I wasn't that committed), and I felt pretty good. Except for the whole hunger thing.

I think I was glutened again today. Just as I should have been at the very start of the upswing after Sunday, I felt it this afternoon. The overwhelming need to close my eyes. Spending two minutes mentally rehearsing how I'm going to get up out of my chair before I find the motivation to do it. The rumbly, grumbly gut feeling. I've noticed that if I get glutened in quick succession (within a couple days), the symptoms are almost instant.

I thought I was being good. I got my produce box last night and promptly roasted some vegetables and grilled some plain chicken. I was ready to go!

So: with that in mind, I've narrowed it down to three possibilities.

1. Nature Made calcium plus vitamin D.

I try to take this often, but I'm your typical non-adherent patient. I took one this morning. Since it is sporadically used, it may have caused many glutenings in the past which I could not pin down.

2. Pacific almond milk.

I know they say "gluten free" and that they have all these allergen-removing cleaning procedures that they do every day. But they still run GF products on the same lines as gluten. Big FAIL. (but I still take the chance of drinking it. So who is really to blame?? ------> arrow pointing at me)

And... the one I most highly suspect...

3. Green tea. I think the brand might be Organic Pure??

I made this at work today. I was tired before it, but I was really tired after it. To the point where I could barely think, move, and function. Then I ran (slowly? and with poor coordination?) to the bathroom.

Would anyone like a half box of green tea bags? I think I'm gonna just bump up the caff in my coffee for the next few days and avoid tea.

The other part of the gluten cycle isn't just trying to pinpoint a culprit. It's also dealing with the symptoms. I haven't yet found a good way to solve the problem (obviously, since this happens multiple times weekly...)

I know that I should go on instant detox. The irony is that when I'm glutened, I'm in no state of mind (or body) to deprive myself further.

The carb cravings are crazy. Caffeine is guaranteed to be the only way I'm getting my sorry butt to work tomorrow. I'm so tired, I'm ready to drop, but when I drop, I can't actually sleep well. A glass of wine is the only remedy I've found.

Sometimes, I almost hear my adrenal glands complaining. Hey, crazy lady! What do you think you're doing?? We're already working overtime trying to make up for your massive amounts of inflammation, and now you throw this at us? Chocolate cake? Mac and cheese?? Alcohol??? Caffeine????

You really expect us to calm down and ever get your body back to normal?

The really sad part is when I start arguing back :)

I digress... but the point is- I think I can't detox for a few days because I'm afraid of two things.

1. That it won't work (have had this happen before), and I'll just be glutened again after having put forth that much effort


2. That it will work, and that I will have to eat (or not eat, as it may be) that way for the rest of my life.

It is hard enough to deal with what I'm already dealing with. I can't give up everything. At least not for more than a few days.

So I guess my plan is this. I'll indulge the cravings for a short time. Maybe 1 day. I did bake a chocolate cake (Namaste... mmmm....), can't let it go to waste! Guess I should put it in the freezer. I already had two pieces for supper. Welcome to Glutened Land.

Then, I'm going to plan, plan, plan for a 3-day period of nothing remotely problematic. Except coffee, but I'll sacrifice and drink it black. I will use PB from a jar to eat with my apple for breakfast. But that's about it. Oh, and Larabars.

See how this quickly gets out of hand?? Too many exceptions.

Why did I go into all this detail and post it online? It's accountability, friends. No one wants to hear me moan about my symptoms and plan out my diet in real life, and I certainly don't blame them! So here it is, in black and white. Or gray, or purple, or whatever color my basic blog is now.

Here goes nothing. I'm going to go finish off the almond milk so I'm not tempted to put it in my coffee tomorrow! And put (what's left of) the cake in the freezer... And pack my lunch... And get ready to feel hungry but better starting tomorrow! Here's hoping!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stinky cheese!!

So, friends, I have been yet again caught up in the vicious glutening cycle. As such, the crazy carb cravings have been cycling just as viciously. I guess at least I know what to expect, right? (sigh)

The weird thing is- it isn't only carbs, but also cheese. Especially the two together... and not your average mozzarella or co-jack, but the sharp, slightly stinky kind! Sharp cheddar, parm, I could eat entire blocks of it at a time. I'm guessing this could mean a few things: my blood sugar is just wacky and I have a psychological dependence on cheese, that I crave things that are bad for me and full of histamine/tyramine/something common to all my cravings, there is a yeast issue, lots of theories but nothing definitive.

All I care about at this point is satisfying the food cravings and going to sleep. Seriously.

It is impossible for me to stick to a super restrictive diet right after a glutening, partially because of the apathetic funk it puts me in, and partially because my valiant efforts at eating nothing have been for naught. (definition of eating nothing: no gluten, dairy, soy, sulfites, refined sugar, anything out of a box or bottle not produced in a dedicated facility, etc.)

I might as well have had that Biggby caramel marvel that I resisted over the weekend while I had the chance!!

Last night, I had a glass of wine. After work today, I made my infamous mac and cheese. I then ate a Schaer hazelnut chocolate bar. Very nutritious.

So frustrating that every few days when I DO get back on track, I fall off the wagon as soon as I start braving the bumpy climb back up onto it.

If I find anything that works, save complete hibernation, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So many things to say!

So little time to blog!

News Highlights:

Mac and cheese. Even if I was committed to going casein-free, I couldn't do it. Solely because of mac and cheese. It gets me every time. Sigh.

I've had to branch out lately with where I get my food. (Usual store was incredibly rude, so I haven't been back, long story). Found a pretty cool organic produce place that makes up boxes every week to pick up at various locations. Also found a local grocery chain that stocks a pretty decent selection of GF stuff.

I think I'm intolerant to bananas and avocados, two things that are always in the produce box. What to do? I used to love them both, but now can hardly look at them without being nauseous. I thought it was unrelated, but then I found out that there can be cross-sensitivity between the two! Never would have called that one.

I ordered some "bulk" items from Amazon. The prices weren't all that much better than in-store, but it is way more convenient for things I buy often. Plus, if I can use my FSA, it makes the record-keeping much easier.

I have written a rant post in my head about GF labeling probably 40 times in the last month. Short version: labeling an item "gluten free" is NOT helping me at this point, but actually making it harder for me to find safe food.

It helps me a lot to check out the forums on Many times, someone else has reacted to whatever ingredient I might have my evil gluten-eye trained on. If not, then I move on to other suspects.

Also, hearing about other people's gluten-related symptoms is oddly comforting. It's funny when I see in writing those oddball symptoms that I've only recently begun admitting to my husband or my mom. (And they think I'm crazy, which is symptom #211: Going Crazy).

That's about it for the GF News. Now on to chocolate cake...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


With everything I've been dealing with health-wise in the past few years, I've basically thrown my training in evidence-based medicine out the window. Almost.

I'm looking into anything and everything that could contribute to my symptoms. One that I've known for awhile (but haven't done much about) would be sulfites. I wasn't taking it very seriously, but I had no idea that it can cause various delayed symptoms up to 48 hours after ingestion. I made the connection when my chest tightens up and I get very flushed after a sip of wine, but I never thought it might be causing other issues.

Is this the reason for my constant fatigue, frequent breakouts (when I've never had acne), total brain fog, etc.?


I had a bad feeling I was doing that. Sorry, Gluten.

Actually, no, Gluten. You are certainly guilty of your share of problems. I don't apologize for thinking you are evil.

So what does that mean? No dried fruit, no preserved meats, no wine, and a few other random things to avoid.

On a frugal note: I hate to waste the half bottle of white wine in my fridge. (Repeat after me- my health is worth half a bottle of cheap health is worth half a bottle of cheap wine...)

I'll keep you posted. Pun intended.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Top 10 Go-to Foods

So many top 10 lists, must be the in-thing to do at the beginning of a new year!

So- my Top 10 Go-to Foods for being gluten free. Maybe I'll do another Top 10 list later this week... or maybe the top 10 reasons I don't have time to blog??

10. Soup. Have to be careful with the ingredients, as I've had some questionable experiences lately, but you can really make soup out of anything. I guarantee there is a yummy soup waiting for you in your pantry or freezer! Throw a bunch of stuff in a slow cooker and see what happens.

9. Larabars. I've never had a reaction to these. Fruit and nuts. Great to throw in your purse and forget about until you find yourself needing a decent snack. (Not great on a budget, but worth the price)

8. Biggby Coffee. I've been up and down and around with whether to drink it or not because it sometimes makes me feel crazy from the caffeine. Sometimes, I make it half caff. Coffeemate peppermint mocha creamer is pretty awesome, even if it is a little too processed for my typical taste.

7. Smoothies. Frozen fruit is good. I'm weird and like to add some peanut butter, too.

6. Stir-fry. I make a mean beef and broccoli. If I use chicken or shrimp, it usually doesn't taste like much, so I've been sticking to the red meat.

5. Eggs. Easy to boil. Even easier to stick in my lunchbag for a snack.

4. Canned chicken. Works great on a salad with some EVOO/balsamic as dressing.

3. Apples with peanut butter. This is often my breakfast.

2. Pumpkin Cake. Mmmmm. So easy.

1. Mac and cheese. I have a problem. I crave it all the time. So, I whip up a quick batch at least twice a week after work. Not very good warmed up, so I only make as much as I can eat right now. Maybe I'll post my "recipe" sometime. (more like an approximation than a recipe)