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I’ve Moved – New Blog!

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Hello to anyone still out there! 🙂

I know that it’s been over a year since I’ve posted here, but I still have a lot to share about living gluten-free and a lot more! If you’re still interested in what I have to say, head on over to http://www.thethingsthatbringmejoy.wordpress.com.

I will eventually have the recipes and informational posts over on the new site. See you there! 🙂

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Adventures in Gluten

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Last week was crazy. Actually, all month seems like a blur. I can hardly believe it’s already the 25th of October. Where has the month gone?

I have spent a good part of this month feeling rather crummy, which prompted the visit to my GI doctor last Monday. I have had some high notes to my month, one in particular was zip-lining at a ladies retreat weekend. Have you done this before? WOW! Now, some of you who are nodding your head yes have probably cruised down the side of a mountain, or through a jungle, dangling hundreds of feet above the ground – or water?!?! YIKES! This wasn’t quite as adventurous, but thrilling just the same. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and I am so glad I did. What a blast. I think I had as much fun watching the faces of my fellow thrill seekers as I did actually going down. You really should do a zip line someday!

So anyways, last week. Oh last week. It was much like another thrill-seeking ride that we’re all familiar with – a roller coaster. Up and down, this way and that…I enjoyed roller coasters in my teens, not so much now and not so much when it comes to my health.

As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn’t experiencing the side-effects I expected to after eating gluten again after 11 months. I made a quick mention of some off feelings in my arms and some weakness, but that point, I felt it was a fluke. A fluke it was not. That warm, numb, tingling feeling and weakness in my hands got worse. A couple of hours after writing that post I was in some significant pain. My joints ached and my body hurt, with the strongest discomfort being in my neck, across the back of my shoulders and down my arms into my hands. Still no stomach issues, but a very noticeable discomfort like I just explained. I didn’t eat anymore gluten after the sandwich.

It turns out I was experiencing neuropathy side effects from the gluten. Sound weird? Yup, I thought so too. But, it’s not that weird. Dr. Peter Green, a leading expert in Celiac Disease in the U.S. dedicates an entire chapter in his book, Celiac Disease – A Hidden Epidemic, to the topic of neurological manifestations. I’ve read this book before and had it tucked away on my bookshelf (note to self: return book to Beth – hi Beth!). After getting some input from some celiac friends, I decided to take my symptoms a bit more seriously. It wasn’t until the next day (Wednesday) that I picked up the book to see if Dr Green had anything to say about what I was experiencing. Honestly, I was very surprised to see so much discussion about it! I was really hurting by this point and pretty discouraged. What was I supposed to do now? Keep eating gluten? Was I causing damage to my body? There are some pretty serious side effects listed in Dr Green’s book and were my symptoms going to escalade to a more serious condition?

It wasn’t until Thursday that I had multiple conversations with my DRs office to toss around a few options.  I couldn’t find any research that says the side-effects I had would grow into anything damaging or threatening and my DR didn’t think they would either. So, we planned for me to keep eating gluten and to have the endoscopy sooner. But, that still wasn’t sitting right with me. Now, let me remind us all of the golden rule of celiac/gluten intolerance testing…you have to be eating gluten and the standard for testing is having gluten in your system from a minimum of 1 month up to 3 months. Wow. Ok, not 5 days like I was planning. The test is going to be expensive for us, and it didn’t seem very smart to go ahead with the test with only 5 days of gluten under my belt (no pun intended) since damage probably wouldn’t show up within so few days. If we are going to shell out the bucks for the test, I need to be set up for success to have the most accurate test possible.

As it stands today, I don’t have the endoscopy scheduled. I am hoping to gather more information and possibly get a second opinion on my side effects to see how I might manage them while in the gluten-eating stage for the test. Until I can commit to a full 3-4 weeks of eating gluten, I am calling my testing “on hold”.

Have any of you experiences side effects like I did? What did you learn about them?

Also – how many of you are going to find a zip line to cruise down?!?! 🙂

Warning

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You might get a little hungry next week….recipes are coming!!

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(Lemon Coconut and Banana muffins)

Happy 4th of July!

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Hey everyone! I haven’t forgotten about you! This week has been really busy at our house, enjoying time with friends and summer! Our youngest is turning 4 tomorrow and we have a fun weekend ahead of us with birthday fun and enjoying the holiday weekend.

What’s everyone eating this weekend? Any yummy gluten free treats? I’ll be baking a gluten free birthday cake and plan to share pictures next week. I’m also working on a few posts I hope you’ll find helpful.

In the meantime, I am drooling over this grilled pineapple…might have to pick up a pineapple today!

Everyone have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Pay Close Attention

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Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you were able to try something from my snack list and find a new favorite! I took two cherry pie Lara bars with me while I was out of town and gobbled them up for snacks. A couple pumpkin muffins (they were small :)) and a banana were breakfast at the hotel, so all that was left was dinner one night and lunch the next day. After a little searching, we picked restaurants and I was very happy and had great success eating out gluten free.

Before heading out to eat, I did a little research on my phone about restaurants in the area. I was happy to find restaurants that offered gluten free menus in addition to their regular menu. I realize that it’s one thing to create a list of gluten free foods from  your menu and quite another to prepare it properly and actually serve something safe. Please be sure to use caution when making choices like this and be very diligent when you order to be sure your food will in fact be gluten free. I have an example of this with my dinner choice.

My friend and I ate at Claim Jumper. I had been there once before and it was delicious, and it was just as delicious this time around dining gluten free. Feast your eyes on this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
That, my friends, is a potato, and a massive one at that. I snapped this picture with my phone, but not before digging in. YUM! This massive potato happens to be the Giant Stuffed Baker on the gluten free menu. Now for any of you that clicked the link for the Giant Stuffed Baker, you got a look at the actual gluten free menu at the restaurant. Does anyone see a BIG red flag in the description for this potato? Something that is NOT gluten free? Go ahead, click on it now….I’ll wait. See it?

“Drizzled with creamy alfredo sauce” made me stop in my tracks. I’ve never seen an alfredo sauce made without flour and it seemed a bit suspicious. So, I asked our server – always ask your server! If they don’t seem like they know, ask for a manager – they aren’t interested in making anyone sick. She originally told me that if it was on the gluten free menu it was safe and that the alfredo sauce wasn’t made with flour. Honestly, I was glad she told me that because I wanted some alfredo! But, she ended up back at our table explaining that the computer prompted her when she ordered the Giant Stuffed Baker as gluten free to leave off the alfredo. So, way to go computer for keeping my tummy happy! So, the lesson here is – go with your gut (no pun intended). If something seems questionable, go without it. When the yummy alfredo sauce wasn’t going to be on my tater, I asked for a side of salsa and some avocado. It was delicious! I’ll remember next time that if something doesn’t seem quite right as an ingredient, assume on the side of caution. My craving for a sauce – when I was familiar with how it’s made – almost cost me feeling well for possibly days. Think Katie! By the way, I am planning to email Claim Jumper and tell them about the alfredo sauce on the menu…it’s really just a tease. 🙂

We found a cute little local place local for lunch the next day. I LOVE breakfast for any meal of the day and jumped at the chance to have breakfast for lunch. This restaurant also had a separate gluten free menu. Do most restaurants have this now and I just didn’t know?

This is what I ate for lunch:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, forgot to take a picture before digging in.  A garden omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes, a side of potatoes and fruit. LOVED it. And, just to share with you something I WILL be recreating in the gluten free variety, here is what my friend ate for lunch:

 

 

 

 

 

 

That would be RED VELVET French Toast. Oh, and with a side of eggs and bacon so it’s “breakfast”. I tease only out of jealousy. 🙂  Those slices of french toast were made from a red velvet cake, rolled up with cream cheese frosting inside, grilled on one side and sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with strawberries. Whoa. Red velvet cake happens to be a favorite in this house and I can think of a certain someone who would love this as a treat sometime. Note to self.

I didn’t have any red flags at the lunch spot. Thankfully, breakfast is pretty straight forward if you stick to eggs, potatoes, and fruit. And obviously, stray away from red velvet french toast. 🙂

Hello Out There!

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Can I just say that starting a blog is daunting? Will I actually have things to say? Will people actually read it? Will they like it? Will they like ME? AH! But, on the flip side, getting started on this blog has been more fun and exciting than I even imagined. Thank you so much to everyone who has said hi and been so encouraging! It has been wonderful. I really do long to make a difference with this site and not just have my own piece of the Internet. You know that saying, “Many hands make light work”? Well, let’s work together through our gluten free journeys and make our loads a little lighter, shall we?

I want to know who you are! I know a handful of you out there – “Hi, Susan!” “Hi, Shea!” “Hi, MOM!”! But for all my new friends reading this, let me know you’re out there! Leave me comments! Drop me a note! I am so glad you’re here!

Also, you may have noticed the “Your Stories” tab at the top. That tab is about YOU! If we’re going to learn from each other, we need to know each other. So new friend, here’s what you do. Get a cup of coffe, or tea, or whatever makes you happy, and a yummy gluten free treat and sit across the table from me – except you’ll be at your computer, typing, not talking to me, but you get the idea. And type up Your Story as if you were telling me. Except, maybe it’s not your story. Maybe your spouse or your child has to be gluten free and you had to learn the ins and outs of it all to support them – or cook for them. Maybe you’re just getting started and have lots of questions or maybe your a seasoned pro with lots of wisdom and advice. What do you love to tell others about being gluten free? If you haven’t, you can read My Story here.

I believe that The Lord has us go through things so we can learn more about Him, but also so we can help each other. And because of that belief, I think that Your Stories could be the most important part of this site.

So, think about it. If you would like to share Your Story, leave me a comment and I’ll be in touch. In the meantime, keep stopping by and tell your friends and family about my site. I also started a Facebook page for Embracing Gluten Free. Stop by and “Like” the page!

Have a wonderful day!

Katie 🙂