Surviving {Waiting to thrive}

Sometimes we can hear about another person’s diagnosis and think that because their symtpoms are not ours that you could not possible have the same disease.

I have multiple allergies to different foods and chemicals.  If I eat them I experience stroke symptoms, numbness, tingling, agitation, foggy brain, inability to speak properly….plus many more.  In the past year and a half that I have been off of gluten there have been a few times that I have accidentally had it.  My only outward symptom was a tummy ache.  It is not the outside of me that produces symptoms from gluten.  I have autoimmune disease because of gluten that has shut down my thyroid and effected how my body functions.  If I had not been diagnosed correctly this could directly have affected the number of years I am alive on this earth.

My daughter blacked out , had headaches and chest pains because of her allergies.  It is not only gluten that affects her.  Her symptoms and reactions are totally different from mine. Our allergies are very similar though.

My sister has a story all her own.  Her story, symptoms and road to health will be different that ours too.  She is on the beginning road to health.  I wanted to share her story because I want to show that three people with gluten allergies have three different stories….all with different symptoms.

Here is my sister’s story……

I have always been pretty lean. I remember about 5th grade getting headaches quite regularly in school. I’d go to the office and was given aspirin. Looking back I have always attributed those headaches to needing more snacks in my day and having a high metabolism. My childhood was filled with playing hard outdoors from morning until bedtime, if I could help it. I was always on the go and active. This physical activity didn’t slow down after high school, but stress was added to it, physical and emotional stress for sure. I had transferred to a new college in a new town with poor public transportation. I was depending on my feet and my bike to get to campus and work. I was working so hard. Pride and stubbornness kept me independently striving full-time school and work for a long time. My body showed it; I was 115 lbs on a 5’9″ frame, the lowest weight my adult body has experienced. Finally I decided to ask for financial help so I could just finish school. Then much of the physical and emotional burden was lifted. After college, my first job was working as a live-in “house mom” for high schoolers. This form of social work and the hours required for the job beat the exhaustion I experienced in college by a long shot. I believe these stressful times are worth noting because I believe stress can trigger surprising results in our bodies.

During my adult work career, I couldn’t get higher than about 125 lbs. I didn’t worry, but it was annoying. After the birth of our first child, I “bounced” back immediately in weight. Yet, I was hoping the pregnancy would help me hold onto weight like many woman experience. Around this time, my co-worker shared that she too has a hard time gaining weight. She is a short, lean, petite woman. We were both 4th grade teachers and quite a funny, skinny pair. She soon after took her concern to a nutritionist and began adjusting and increasing her diet. I have always been a “good eater,” good portions and plenty of snacks, but I began too being more thoughtful about eating more and more healthy fats at this point. This was the first time I had ever known someone who shared this frustration, and to this day, she is still the only one I know personally.

Throughout the growing years of our first and second children, I stayed energetic and active taking care of the daily needs, but after our third child, I felt like I hit a wall for the first time. I was really tired. I also was having nauseating headaches weekly, if not more often. I figured the babies were just wearing me out. Sleep is rocky during these times. It can be trying on the body.

A couple months after our youngest turned one, my sister called me with a revelation that my inability to gain and maintain weight could be based upon a gluten allergy.  She had heard that some people with gluten sensitivity lose all their extra fat and nutrients through their waste.

Trusting that the testing would confirm that “this is just the body I’ve been given” or lead me to an important change, the appointment was made. One surprising result during this first visit with the doctor was having my metabolism checked and finding out I do not have a high metabolism…in fact, I am below average! Really!? That got me really interested in starting the testing process. Several weeks later, my test came back positive for gluten intolerance. As my doctor put it based on this first test, as long as I’m eating gluten, I am wasting money on food because my body is NOT able to absorb the nutrients. FATS, vitamins, minerals are not being retained but are pretty much flushed straight through. Sadly, my body has been in a state of malnutrition.

I don’t understand all of this. Has this been affecting my body since I was a child? Did the stress on my body during my early 20s trigger this reaction. I am understanding that gluten issues are hereditary. My sister has issues. My mom hasn’t been tested but has osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is tied to gluten. Although my children haven’t been tested yet, I understand that they should be treated as if they are gluten intolerant, too.

For nearly five months now, I have been off gluten. My energy has greatly improved. I have only had a couple headaches, but I can usually tie it right back to what I had eaten that included a form of gluten or was likely contaminated. It has actually been a lot easier to do than I thought. I just remember how I used to feel and remember what I want for my health, and I’m not interested. I will proceed with testing so I can determine what my body still lacks in nutrition and how I can use food and supplements to recover my insides to a thriving state. I am hopeful that my body will start to plump up. What means more to me than anything is having a body that is healthy, strong, and able to enjoy this life with my loved ones.

 

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Crazy Road To Health {Repost}

{original post May 19, 2010}

It was eight years ago.

I was three months pregnant with our second child.

My mom was visiting and giving me a head rub…which she always does when she visits me (don’t you just love mamas).

I was extremely tired and talking to both Kelly and my mom.

I started to not talk correctly.  What I was thinking in my head was coming out as something else when I spoke.

My left hand then went numb.

This was followed by a pressure that started in my left hand and then went up my arm.

I was so scared at this point and so was my family.

Kelly immediately took me to the hospital.

By the time we had arrived most of my symptoms had dissipated but I felt exhausted.

The rest of the evening was the doctors talking to me about my symptoms being a stroke or even a tumor.

Here I was three months pregnant and I had a little 1 1/2 year old boy at home and I was trying to stay calm when the doctors talked of tumors.

I then had a CAT scan.

There was no tumor.

This started months of tests to conclude what had happened.

The answer was inconclusive.  They finally guessed that it was a TIA….mini stroke.

For the next three years I had a few times of experiencing auras…for me that looks like rippling water over my vision.

Three years after my first trip to the hospital it happened again.

This time is was worse.  Same tests and same lack of answers.

Over the years the symptoms continued and also new ones began.

Sometimes these stroke symptoms could happen four times a day and then I wouldn’t have anything for a few weeks.

I started to have symmetrical numbness on my face, scalp and even my eyes, nose and tongue.

I have also had a weird sensitivity to too much sound.

My head would feel cloudy and almost as if I were in a dream.

I have had MRIs and almost every test the doctors could think of.

I have been offered medications all along the way and always declined because they didn’t really know the reason why all of this was happening.

About three years ago I kind of gave up with the traditional doctors.

I have been to an acupuncturist, chiropractor and naturopath.

I had seen some improvement over the year and then could never find a pattern for why the A typical migraines were happening…that is what the doctors finally said was happening to me.

They told me that because they truly didn’t have an answer…and I so desperately needed one.

This has effected so much of my life and how I feel everyday.

About six weeks ago one of my friends (who is also a chiropractor and specializes in nutrition) asked me to give her integrated medicine clinic a try.

I did.

I had the most comprehensive physical of my life.  During that exam is when they found the lumps in my breast (which ending up being nothing).

They also did a round of blood tests.

They also ordered another MRI to rule out tumors, lesions or MS……everything was fine with my brain.

Most all of my tests came back fine…in fact wonderful…except a few small things.

My thyroid was barely working and my vitamin D levels were really off.   This could have stopped right there with most doctor’s offices but it didn’t.

My friend (the chiropractor) looked at the results and said, “this makes so much sense”.

I had no clue what she was talking about.

She said that hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance go hand in hand.  I told her that I don’t eat gluten…I don’t eat bread, pasta etc because I don’t like them and I feel sick (isn’t that funny now?).  She told me gluten is in everything and let me tell you (now that I am looking) it is.

It was in my gum, spices etc.

She then proceeded to tell me that if I cut out gluten my thyroid would start working again within 3-6 months instead of being on thyroid medicine for the rest of my life.

She also began some in depth blood work regarding allergies.

That first day (four weeks ago) that she told me I could have a gluten allergy I have cut out all gluten in my life.

If I had a chance to feel good…REALLY GOOD…I was starting that day.

I have also gotten back the first round of tests and it has come back that I am allergic mildly to coffee, dairy, flax seed, chocolate and wheat.  I am also very allergic to rice.

I have more tests coming and more details will follow.

Eight years and I had never been tested for allergies that could be causing me to have stroke symptoms.

I know more answers are coming but I have not lost my vision or speech since I cut out gluten and dairy.

After the last test came back I have also cut out coffee and I have not had any numbness on my hands or face since that day.

My doctor was amazed that I didn’t feel lethargic all of the time because of my thyroid. I know that the only reason I have felt as good as I have all these years is because we eat really well.

I don’t eat breads and pastas.

We eat only organic fruits and vegetables.  We only buy grass fed meats.

We use coconut flour, almond flour and coconut oil to cook.

Most of the things that I needed to do I was already doing…now I am taking it to a new level.

I feel hope for the first time that my head will feel clear and these “A typical migraines” will no longer effect my life.

I know there has to be someone reading that is going through the same thing and is so frustrated because they don’t have answers.

I haven’t written about this before because I didn’t have answers…now I hope I do.

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This post was originally posted on May 19, 2010.

Since then I have learned more about my allergies and what symptoms they cause.

At the time of the original post I was not aware the I am very allergic to Red 40 dye.

I will lose my vision, speech etc. within 30 minutes of having an artificial dye.

Do you realize how many things have artificial dyes?

Did you know that these same dyes are banned in Europe but we have them in so many things here and the worst part is much of it is aimed at children??!!

Red 40 is one of the biggest triggers for migraines and it is one of the main coatings in many headache medicines!

I do drink coffee now but can’t drink much.

I would probably feel even better if I could completely cut it out of my life.

I have been gluten free for over a year now and can almost tell immediately if I accidentally eat gluten.

My stomach is very sensitive to dairy and I really try to limit how much I eat.

We make almost all of our foods from scratch and my whole family has embraced this eating (my husband likes to cheat sometimes:-)).

I have met so many people over the past year that have been able to find answers to their illnesses because I had been given answers to mine.

How amazing is that?

My friends that know my health story have been able to give THEIR friends advice and help.

I can not even count the number of people that have gone to my doctor and have received LIFE CHANGING diagnosis.

The most exciting thing for me is that because of my health experiences I was able to know what to do when my own daughter had some horrible symtpoms before Christmas this past year.

I have never written about her journey and I will tell her story on Friday.

I wanted to re-post my story because my doctor (and good friend) is FINALLY offering an ecourse!

I am so excited for all the people that will have the opportunity to CHANGE THEIR LIVES!

I have spent many office visits and over a year learning what you can learn in four weeks for a tiny fraction of what I have paid.

I sound like an infomercial 🙂 but it is so true!!

I love Shamanie for making it affordable.

You can find more information about the ecourse and sign up HERE.

I will be back on Friday writing about my daughter’s health journey and the amazing answers we were able to find because of Dr. Haneca.

Here is a little information about the ecourse…

 

 

 

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Chocolate Chip Scones (yummy)

I do not bake a lot.

I do not bake a lot because I don’t want to weigh 400 pounds.

I do bake about once a week.  I really love making fresh gluten free breads and the occasional sweet treat.

One of the regular treats baked around here are chocolate chip scones made from almond flour.

My children gobble them up like crazy…also keep in mind that I don’t bake a lot:-)

I truly believe my children’s palate has changed as we have had to change the diet of our whole house to remove wheat.

I think they are amazing sports and I have loved seeing them make choices to healthier foods.

Don’t misunderstand me….we still love a little junk food…but I hope our healthier baking balances it all out.

I really love baking in the kitchen with my daughter.

She will have to eat a specific way for the rest of her life and I love that we are learning this new way of eating together.

This recipe is from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

(I am not a fancy cook and I just mix everything below together in the mixer)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (I use almond meal b/c I was able to get a ton from the health food store cheaper than the blanched.  She doesn’t recommend it but I have never not have something turn out)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup grapeseed oil (I have also replaced it with olive oil when I have run out)

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 large eggs

1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I use one bar of sugar free chocolate bar from the health food store that is sweetened by xylitol..no one knows the difference)

Mix.

My friend Shamanie also makes these and she adds dried cranberries to hers.  Since I had those I can’t make these scones without them.  I add 1 cup of apple juice sweetened dried cranberries.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and drop the batter in 1/4  cup sizes, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-17 minutes (I usually take the whole 17 minutes).

Let cool and serve.

I hope you love them as much as we do.

Perfect afternoon snack and really good for you too!

Gluten free can be just as unhealthy as eating with wheat….and it doesn’t have to be:-)

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Made From Scratch {Gluten Free Carrot Cake}

Like many Americans we have gone gluten free {at least two out of five}.

The rest of the family has easily adjusted to our diet.

I have been gluten free for the past 11 months.  Hard to believe how quickly that time has gone.

You can eat gluten free and still eat very unhealthy.

My health journey has led me to find gluten alternatives that have the most health benefit as possible.

I am a huge fan of cooking with almond and coconut flour.

The truth is I baked with both of these even before we went gluten free….now I have to.

Many of the gluten free flours use rice flour as the substitute and I am even more allergic to rice than wheat.

I wanted to share one of my favorite almond flour recipes…..carrot cake.

I make these often as muffins without any frosting.

It makes a perfect late afternoon, protein filled snack.

For a special treat I make the cake with cream cheese frosting.

If you are struggling with what to eat on a gluten free diet I want to encourage you to begin cooking from scratch.

You will be blessing your family so greatly with having food that you know exactly what is in it.

I will try to share some of my favorite foods and gluten free recipes more often.

One of my favorite almond flour cookbook can be found HERE.

{Classic Carrot Cake}

3 cups blanched almond flour (I use almond meal..I buy it in bulk at my natural grocers)

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup agave nectar ( or Stevia..check the measurement b/c Stevia can be strong)

5 large eggs

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease two 9 inch cake pans with grapeseed oil and dust with almond flour.

{I regularly make muffins or use a 9×13 pan}

In a large bowl, combine the almond four, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave nectar and eggs.

Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined,

Fold in the carrots, raisins and walnuts.

Pour the mixture into baking dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan.

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I hope you love it as much as we do.

Let me know if you try it.

I know it is an adjustment to get used to the taste of a flour like almond flour compared to white flour.

Just think of how good it is for you and you body will begin to feel better too!

 

 

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