Friday, January 30, 2009

I DID IT!

I finally made an appointment with a new gastroenterologist that specializes in IBD and Celiac. Woohoo!! My appointment is not until May 14th, but I'm also on the cancellation list in case something earlier opens up. I do have another appointment with my current GI on April 7th. I'm hoping that he doesn't notice that I have the other appointment but if he does, oh well. I'll tell him what's up. I feel relieved that I've got it scheduled, even better if it gets bumped up.

In other good news, I got the results back from the colposcopy and they are "perfectly normal" and that's a huge relief. Aside from the Crohn's I'm apparently in excellent health!

AND, my fed taxes arrived today, hell yes Punta Cana here I come!!! Lauren is on the hunt for the best deal. Thanks everyone for your comments about that. I can't wait to get away. Oh that reminds me, I HAVE to get my passport!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting Bikini Read

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originally uploaded by Wisse

I've decided to use some of my savings this year to take a vacation. A REAL vacation. Far away. I grew up camping in the New England area. I flew on a plane for the first time last April when I went to Missouri. This year I'm determined to get out of the country, and what better place than a tropical destination?? I'm thinking the Dominican Republic. It's affordable and beautiful. One of those all-inclusive deals. If you have any experience with this type of vaca, suggestions are welcome! I'm thinking probably May. I can't wait!!!!! I'm going with my cousin Lauren and possibly the Dianas (sister and friend) and who knows if anyone else will jump on the bandwagon, but it's girls only!! As Lauren put it, palm trees, blue cocktails and cabana boys... woohoo!!

This of course means that I'll be embarking on my annual quest to get that totally hot body that I've always wanted. You know, every January those thoughts of "this year I'm going to get into the best shape ever!" enter my brain and usually are long gone by February 1st. Maybe, just maybe this will be the year. I was thinking about this on the train this morning, I'm kinda tired of telling myself the same thing every year and then not following through...

I love muscles. I started working out senior year of high school. I've had a membership to at least 7 different gyms. SEVEN. I've been working as a fitness instructor for the past 3 and a half years. I'm considering finally getting my personal trainer certification, just in case I need a backup plan this year. But that's beside the point. Muscles. When I started lifting weights regularly and felt the difference in my muscles it was awesome. I feel my biceps more than Arnold probably ever did. Well maybe not, but I love them that much. By 2007 I was looking awesome. I was at a weight I felt great about. Unfortunately I was getting sicker by the day, which was why I had lost so much weight, and I know I was losing my muscle mass as well. Then comes 2008 when I get put on steroids and pack on a quick 20 or 25 pounds... awesome. Well I'm at the point where the workouts are feeling really good and I'm starting to feel those muscles building back up. I just have to stop eating so much that there's a thick layer of fat covering up those beauties! I also need to eat the right foods that will feul these workouts and keep my body running clean. How many times have I said this before?? Too many to count. But now that my health is getting under control, I feel that I'm in a better place than ever before to actually achieve my goals. One of the ladies I work with has lost a lot of weight and every Wednesday when I see her it inspires me to get to work on myself. I know exactly what I need to do, I just have to do it...
I think that exact sentence is in a recent post... oh boy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 is looking good so far.

I just set up an automatic monthly transfer to my ING savings account. I haven't used that account in so long, I totally forgot that I had $22 in it! I haven't been able to put money into savings for a very long time so this is a huge step for me. I also filed my taxes last Friday and am getting a good chunk of change. My driver's side window in my car has been taped shut for probably over a year now because I haven't had the money to fix it, I plan on having it fixed sometime over the next few months. Probably when it gets a little warmer outside. I also haven't had a working air conditioner for about 4 years so that's gonna get fixed too. Maybe by summer I'll have a normal car again! I can't buy a new one for a while and really don't need to since I only drive it on the weekends.

This is the first year ever that I've not spent my tax return on bills before it even hits my bank account. I'm excited to be able to actually use some of the money to buy myself some things. I never shop for myself, so I'm really looking forward to that. New shoes!!!!! Is it sad that the only thing I can really think of that I want is new clothes for the gym? Actually, one thing I really want is a big fluffy warm bathrobe. The one I have now, I bought over 5 years ago and it's a short one, and it doesn't do much in the way of keeping me warm on these 10 degree mornings. I'd also like to buy a new bathing suit... a bikini... that I'll actually look good in, which means more time at the gym, less fattening foods. I've been eating horribly lately. Just as I start to feel really good, I have that "well I feel great, so a little of this won't hurt, right?" and then BAM, I've eaten like there's no tomorrow for 7 days straight. And then I'm miserable all over again.

I have been going to kickboxing though and that's felt great, I even bought new gloves last night. The ones I've been wearing for the past year and a half are ripped on the insides, and I wanted ones that were more flexible and thin enough to really feel the impact of my punches. Yes I'm that tough. I'm excited to try them out on Wednesday. Well actually, I found out yesterday that my brother's girlfriend's grandmother passed away on Saturday and so the services might get in the way of class on Wednesday, if so, I'll try the gloves out next Saturday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's a slow week in blogland.

I don't have much to report this week, fortunately no news is good news. I'm looking for a cookbook that has a lot of recipes that are grain free. Most cookbooks I come across have a ton of baking recipes and pasta recipes but not a lot of meat and veggies kinds of meals. Anyone have any good suggestions? I looked at the Eat Well, Feel Well cookbook when I initially thought about trying the SCD but I wasn't overly impressed with it. I might have to take another look. You know how much I love to hang out at Borders! I do not have fundage this week for a new cookbook, but I will next week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gluten Free Chicken Rice Casserole

Gluten Free Chicken Rice "Casserole"

So the picture isn't very beautiful, but it tasted great! Sunday night I wanted comfort food after being stuck in the house all day watching the snow fall, I've missed chicken rice casserole since going gluten free because I hadn't made the effort to find an alternative to Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. I thought I might try using Carrie's recipe for this and it worked out perfectly. I did it a little differently though. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Rice "Casserole"
Not really a casserole, but delicious just the same.

Ingredients
1 lb chicken breast
1 T Olive Oil

1 T Butter
1 T GF Flour (I used GF Pantry)
1 C Milk (of your choice, I used skim lactaid)
1 sm can of mushrooms packed in water, or 8oz package of fresh, sauteed.

1 C Rice
2 C Water
1 T Butter

Broccoli if you desire

First I put the chicken in a skillet with a little olive oil.
Then I got the rice boiling, I used 10 minute brown rice.
Once those two things were on their way, I started into the sauce.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over med-low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk whisk whisk. Making a cream sauce is a bit of a task, if you let it sit in the pan it will scorch so you have to keep whisking. It will take about 5 minutes to thicken up. Don't worry if it seems to be going slowly, it will thicken, just keep whisking! Once the sauce has thickened, dump in the mushrooms.
At this point, I threw some broccoli in the microwave for a few minutes, this is optional but I love it.
Once the chicken, rice and sauce are all done, combine into one pan, stir in the broccoli, and serve! Yum, just like I remember, but without all the additives and preservatives of Campbell's. Eventually I'll figure out how to make this a one dish casserole, but this was easy enough too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Uno's Gluten Free Pizza

Uno's Gluten Free Pizza

I finally tried the gluten free pizza at Uno's tonight. I forgot to bring my camera with me to the restaurant, so I snapped a pic of the leftovers. I don't know what to say, other than it tasted kinda like one of the frozen pizzas I've had from the health food store. Let me just say that I've never been the type to order pizza at a sit down restaurant, I've always been a takeout girl. Greasy, crunchy crust, pepper and onion pizza once in a while, but other than that I guess I'm not a huge pizza fan. Honestly, I've avoided it altogether for a very long time because it makes me so sick. This pizza didn't make me sick, but it also wasn't worth ordering either. The steak I had the last time I was at Uno's was a much better choice. I will not order the pizza again.

The cool thing was that the manager brought my pizza out to me and told me how carefully they make the pizza to ensure it's gluten free. That was really cool, but I wasn't paying any attention to what she was saying because I noticed that she happened to be my neighbor from the old neighborhood. She didn't remember me so much. We didn't live next door to each other for very long, and I have a freakishly photographic memory... anyway, I continue to be impressed by the gluten free service at Uno's. But next time, I'll order the steak.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free

Ok, I know, I know, I've been talking all about cleaning up the diet and eating healthier. I've especially been trying to cut down on sugar, diary, etc. But today I had a colposcopy. If you know what that means, or have had one yourself, perhaps you understand why all I wanted this afternoon was some comfort. I haven't baked anything in quite a while and I had some extra time this afternoon when I got home from the hospital so I set to work. My all-time favorite cookies are chocolate chocolate chip. I've never, ever made them myself, but I've had a bag of chocolate chips in the pantry for weeks and I knew that it must be as easy as just adding some cocoa to the regular chocolate chip cookie recipe. Sure enough, it was just that easy. I used Gluten Free Pantry all purpose flour and adapted the recipe on the back of the Toll House chocolate chips package and came up with these beauties:

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from the Original Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe

This is the recipe for a 6oz bag of chocolate chips,
the regular size bag is 12oz or more,
adjust the recipe accordingly.


1 C + 2Tbs GF Flour (GF Pantry All Purpose Flour)
1/3 C Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Butter (1 stick) softened
1/2 C White Sugar
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Lg Egg
6 oz package chocolate chips (white chocolate chips are great in these too!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In one bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. If you're using unsalted butter, add a little extra salt.

In a separate bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter, sugars and vanilla until fluffy and then mix in the egg.
Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. When it's all combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop teaspoon sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes.
For cookie bars, spread the dough into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cool on the cookie sheet for two minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Or eat them warm, they're the best that way!! (with milk if you can tolerate it... yummmm)

Let's talk about yeast...

Today is GF day #11. Yesterday I had a very unpleasant afternoon. I've been keeping up with my food journal and mostly feeling pretty good despite the not nice reaction from the alcohol over the weekend. I was curious as to what caused my reaction yesterday. There were a few factors yesterday that could've caused my issues. First I had cheese in my eggs in the morning. Then I had a Reese's PB cup after lunch, but those two things don't usually cause such a violent reaction. I had also bought a different bag of chips to have with my lunch, the same brand as the other day but this time they were the Hickory Honey BBQ flavor. They are definitely gluten free, but I didn't really look at the other ingredients on the label, and when I did I was surprised to see yeast. Yeast extract and Torula yeast. Hmmm, I thought to myself, I wonder if that could be a contributing factor?

When I was looking into Enterolab for intolerance testing, I read on their website that they test for yeast issues because it is linked to Crohn's disease. So last night I did a little more research on yeast and a lot of little puzzle pieces started to fit together. I've mentioned here many times that I think I'm sensitive to sugar and dairy in addition to gluten, well guess what? Sugar and diary (lactose is a sugar!) are the two major contributing factors in a yeast problem. It's been said that a yeast infection in the digestive system could be the cause or at least one of the major contributing factors to Crohn's disease. I went on to read about the Candida (yeast) detox diet and I noticed that it is very similar to the Specific Carb Diet which I've also mentioned before, as it's the diet that so many Crohn's patients have used to heal themselves. I've avoided the SCD because it's a lot stricter than just going gluten-free but even during my best gluten-free times I'm still having issues and now that I've been keeping a good food journal I can see the patterns. I'm glad to see that I'm on the right path and with a few small adjustments, hopefully I'll be feeling even better very soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kicking Gluten Free Butt.

Well, this was a tough weekend. I went out Friday night with friends and had a few too many cocktails. Ok, well I had three cocktails, but they were pretty much all alcohol with a splash of cranberry juice for coloring. Since I rarely drink anymore, those three little devils really knocked me on my ass. I might have also been taking sips of other people's drinks at the table as well...

So I spent my entire Saturday laying on the couch recovering. I really hate being hung over. I don't just get hungover either, my stomach totally rebels from my alcohol abuse. I know I'm better off without it, but this particular night, I needed a little liquid courage. Yeah, so Saturday was a total bust. And then it started snowing, so Sunday was another day spent lounging around the house. At least I got up and took a shower. That was nice. The way I lay on the couch is not very friendly to my spine, or legs, or any part of my body, so needless to say, today I'm kinda sore. And cranky for not doing anything all weekend.

The upside to all of this, is that I have still not cheated. I've been totally gluten-free for eight days plus today. For me, that's a big accomplishment. I'm pretty excited. The other bonus is that I've lost about 5 pounds in those 8 days. I know that seems like a lot, but it's kinda like the first week at weight watchers, you always put up a big number but that levels off right quick. I'm a little concerned about my energy levels and stomach issues. I'm really having a hard time with Crohn's paranoia. I'm terrified that no matter what I do, it's just going to keep getting worse and I'll eventually end up having surgery or something. It scares the crap out of me (ha!) and I'm not sure how to get control of that. I feel like I'm always always always sick. I'm trying to stay positive and just keep pushing through and know that it takes a long time for the body to adjust and start to feel better. I just wish the process would speed up a little bit! But I actually am feeling better at least a little bit. I'm just gonna keep at it. The thing is, it's not getting worse, I'm just a lot more aware of it now. I just have to try to relax! I need to take up Sally's suggestion and get into some meditation. I had this grand yoga plan but I made it too complicated for myself. Just take it easy...

Friday, January 9, 2009

It's all good.

Well here it is Friday and I have not had even a spec of gluten since last Saturday. 6 days straight. I think it's finally sinking in and clicking. Every day that goes by it gets easier, the cravings aren't there anymore. This week I've also been avoiding gluten free alternatives, so I haven't had much of any grains at all. The first few days were a little rough, I wasn't eating enough to compensate for the lack of carbs and by Wednesday I was way out of it. But I made up for that yesterday and by last night I was feeling great. I had a lot of energy, my body felt awesome, it was very encouraging. But I didn't have a lot of food left in the house and I didn't make it out to the grocery store so today was a little rough. Yesterday I bought a box of Pamela's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, I was craving a sweet treat after all the healthy stuff I'd been eating and I love those. Yesterday I only had two and it didn't bother me. Today I had 5 and it did. My stomach did not love that so much after a week full of clean and healthy foods. I'm feeling fine though and really enthusiastic about sticking to my gf/cf clean eating lifestyle. It definitely works for me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Snack Time!

Kettle Chips

I needed some salty goodness today so when I went to Whole Foods to pick up my lunch I grabbed a bag of these Kettle brand baked and lightly salted potato chips. You know how Baked Lays don't even remotely resemble potatoes? Well these chips are the real deal. They are obviously real potato slices, baked with oil and salt. That's it. They are even the lightly salted version but you'd never know it. They are crunchy and salty and delicious and clearly marked gluten free right on the bag. And on top of that, they are a K positive food, meaning that there's more potassium than sodium and I need all that, 440mg of potassium to 135mg of sodium! I love them!

Lucky Number Seven

My girl Liz over at The Good Eatah tagged me to play the Random Sevens game where I tell you seven totally random things about me. This ought to be interesting...

1. I have two scars on my face, one on my chin from when I slammed my chin into the hard wood gym floor in 4th grade and the other cuts vertically through the center of my lower lip from when I smashed my face into a wooden sled while trying to push it back up a snowy hill. I had stiches on the chin, not the lip. "Scars are souvenirs you never lose, the past is never far"

2. I have extremely sensitive hearing and often hear things that people don't want me to hear. It's a blessing and a curse. This also means that the sounds that normal hearing people cringe to are amplified in my ears. You think nails on a chalkboard is bad.. it rocks me to the core. The up side to this is that when I forget my iPod I can just listen to someone else's. This morning I enjoyed a little Rihanna and Beyonce from the girl standing about 4 people away from me.

3. I have three tattoos, all on my back, and I have dreams of covering my entire back from just below my shoulder blades, all the way to my hip bones with tattoos. I love that with clothes on people would never guess that I have tattoos. That way they are all my own and not for just for show. They each have significant meaning. I would never put permanent ink on my body unless it was something important to me.

4. I love change. I don't fear it. I love moving, even though it's a lot of work, there's nothing like starting fresh in a new place. A lot of people think that people that move across the country are "running away from their problems" but I totally disagree, I think a fresh start can make all the difference. It can either remind you of how good you had it at home and help you find your way back, or it can show you that there's more out there for you, either way I think it's a positive experience. Sometimes I wish I had the guts to do it myself.

5. I am never early. I'm either exactly on time or late. I know that it's rude to be late so I try very hard not to be, but it seems that no matter how much extra time I give myself, I always arrive either right on time or late.

6. I tend to walk with my eyes towards the ground, not because I'm shy, but because I'm afraid of tripping and falling! But I've recently discovered that if you walk with your head up and take a good look at the world around you, you'll quickly realize how much you've been missing out on. It's ok to fall down once in a while, you just have to be quick to pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and move on.

7. I'm determined to make 2009 the best year of my life so far. I have no idea how, or what that means yet, but I have faith that it's going to be great.

*ETA: Ooops, I forgot I'm supposed to tag other people to do this. I'm lame, so everyone that reads this and wants to jump on it, go for it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Making Progress

My visit with The Doc went as I had hoped it would. I don't have to go back to see him again until April and now I'm on a monthly blood draw so that's great too. I have not made the appointment to see the other doc yet. She's in the same office as The Doc and I'm afraid I'm going to run into him. But like my Mom said, don't worry about it, just do what you have to do. I will make the appointment.

Other than that, I don't have much to report. I'm avoiding doing any more research. I know all that I need to know for now about Crohn's disease, gluten intolerance, autoimmune disease, and whatnot. At this point I'm just turning myself into a nervous nelly and that's bad!! I'm going to start just listening to my own body and doing what it tells me to do and not worry about what everyone else is going through. So far this week has been great. I've been completely gluten free since Sunday and I feel awesome. Let me say that again, I feel awesome! Ok, good. Glad we got that cleared up. Tonight is kickboxing and although I'm not all that enthused about going, simply because I'm lazy, I know that there's no other health excuse hanging over my head and that's a good thing. So I'll suck it up and go, because I certainly need the exercise. And because I skipped it on Saturday. Yeah... I'm gonna get shit for that. Oh well.

Hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday. We're half way there...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monthly Follow-up Day

Ohhhh folks, I am a little depressed today. You know that big silence that happens after the holidays are over and the coming months of clouds and snow are staring you in the face? (well if you're from New England anyway...) I'm so there. There are lots of things happening in my life right now that are weighing heavily on my shoulders, fortunately my diet is not part of that pile. I'm feeling good, eating very well and sticking to the plan. Today is my next monthly followup with The Doc. I'm going to go in, say everything's fine, I feel good, and hopefully he'll say great, come back in three months and you can switch to monthly bloodwork. And then tomorrow I will call and make an appointment with one of the other docs I've been wanting to switch to. All I want is a doctor that understands gluten intolerance and supports me in my efforts to heal myself as naturally as possible. Simple, right? Unfortunately there aren't that many of those kinds of docs out there. But I'm determined to find one! I think I have a few good ones in mind.

I've been reading some Crohn's blogs lately and I have to tell you that I find it very difficult. Even though my doctor says my Crohn's is in the moderate to severe category, I don't feel like my symptoms are anywhere near as bad as a lot of other people out there. I don't go to the bathroom 15 times a day. I don't experience pain so bad that I can't move or wake up from it at night. I don't need surgery, I'm off steroids, I generally feel very well compared to others I've read about. I am very fortunate yes, but then I read these other peoples' stories and then all of a sudden that sharp pain that I get just to the side of my belly button is now an indication of a stricture and what if I might need surgery? And my gas is surely a sign of a blockage... you can die from those! You wouldn't believe some of the thoughts that pop into my head. I'm all about supporting others but I have to admit that I can't read these other blogs. It scares me. It causese me to feel worse than I actually am. And I also find myself wondering what on earth these people are eating?? I know I shouldn't be like that, but I also know that there are a lot of people out there with Crohn's that are following a "low residue diet" which essentially means, eat nothing but white toast and white rice. White toast. Also known as "plaster of paris for the intestines." I always want to ask them "have you ever tried a gluten free diet? I mean really tried it? It takes a while to feel better" but I can't because that would be rude and obnoxious of me and most of them will say that the doctor says it won't work. Of course the doctor says it won't work. But your meds aren't working either are they? So I say nothing and read on as they continue to suffer and maybe I'm wrong. Maybe gluten is not the root of all evil. Maybe Crohn's is really just one of those crazy diseases that doesn't care what you eat and will ruin your body no matter what you put into it... but I'm sorry, I just don't believe that. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people out there that are living proof that the right diet can control or even eliminate Crohn's. I intend to be one of those people.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Disgusting.

I'd love to hear your reactions to the article that I just read on Boston Magazine.com. It's about going gluten free simply for the sake of losing weight. I'm not kidding. Read it.

What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours...

Yesterday morning I woke up and logged into my daily food log blog and typed:

Today I will be gluten free and casein free (aside from the butter I had on my waffles this morning). I will be healthy again. Health comes first. Nothing tastes as good as gluten free feels.

And I stuck to it. By the afternoon I was feeling 200% better than I'd been feeling the day before. Phew! So happy. And today is the same. I feel so much better. Thanks everyone for the comments.

Here at the office (that consists of myself, my Dad and my Brother) we're trying to be generally healthier. My brother has a lot of the same issues that I do. I never push him to try to be gluten free but I think he knows he'd be better off. This morning he sat with me and we chatted about how he can clean up his diet. He's a pretty big guy and is very uncomfortable with his weight but has a hard time knowing what to do to fix it. We talked about cutting down portions, avoiding the takeout foods, what to eat for breakfast and lunch, and he did mention that he is trying to cut down on bread. I am glad to hear it. I know he'll feel much better. My Dad on the other hand, went to get takeout for lunch but I think he got a caesar salad wrap, so it could be worse. We're all trying to do better so none of us are going to "corrupt" the others. We all put on some weight last year. Keep in mind I did not mention the D word. We are not dieting. Just a few adjustments to the lifestyle. I'm focused more on being gluten and casein free, which automatically has me eating pretty healthy. I rarely weigh myself, just focus on how my clothes are fitting, so I'm not going to beat myself up over that. If I try to do too many things at once, I inevitably fail at all of them, so I'm just keeping my focus on what's most important and that is being gluten and casein free.

I learned an alarming little tidbit the other day while reading The Gluten Connection. Did you know the wheat that we consume nowadays is nothing like the wheat that grows in a field? It's scientifically altered to be more glutenous. I know, can you believe that? Humans (those that are not GF) consume 90% more gluten than ever before. No wonder so many of us are now intolerant. Even when you're baking at home, thinking you're doing the right thing, your flour is a chemically altered substance. But the other thing is, wheat in it's natural state is toxic. The only way it can be consumed is by being processed and cooked. Before the agricultural and industrial revolutions, gluten foods were rarely consumed and the wheat was not chemically altered, but there was still the beginnings of evidence that humans are not designed to consume it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gluten Intolerance is not just for Celiacs

If you are suffering from any sort of unexplained illness. If you have been diagnosed with any of the 80-some-odd autoimmune diseases. If you are overweight and can't get the extra pounds off no matter how hard you try. If you have chronic arthritis. If you have skin rashes that won't go away despite all the creams in the pharmacy. If you have ever even thought for a fraction of a second that you might feel better on a gluten free diet, then I urge you to read this book: The Gluten Connection: How Gluten Sensitivity May Be Sabotaging Your Health, and What You Can Do to Take Control NOW by Shari Lieberman

Yesterday I went into Borders with the intention of buying a book that I could read and enjoy. I mean a book with a storyline and characters and all that fun stuff. I walked out of the store with yet ANOTHER book about gluten intolerance. As if I haven't already figured out that I am in fact gluten intolerant, I keep reading more and more books just to confirm it. This book over all of the others is by far the most comprehensive book about the effects of gluten on our bodies. What really pushed me over the edge into buying it is that there's a whole section on autoimmune disease, IBD and talks about Crohn's. All I needed was a few success stories of people that had been diagnosed with Crohn's and when medication failed, gluten free worked, it made me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one out there.

The book also goes into great detail about how a positive Celiac diagnosis in this country only comes at the point where your small intestines are totally damaged. The reason people can be gluten intolerant but not get a positive Celiac diagnosis is because the anti-bodies only show up on the blood work when your intestines are already ruined. Gluten will ravage your body for years before the damage is so bad that a blood test and biopsy will come back positive for Celiac. How frustrating is that??

From the moment I learned about Celiac, I knew that this was the root of my problem, not even a positive Crohn's diagnosis could change my mind. I've known in my gut (pardon the pun) for two years that this was my problem. The damage may not be bad enough yet for a positive diagnosis but I've been getting sicker sicker year after year, and I know for sure that eventually it will show, as long as I keep poisoning myself with gluten that is. I've been eating gluten for the past couple of weeks ever since I decided to go forth with more testing and today I thought I might die. I've all of a sudden developed arthritis in my hands, and today for the first time ever in my life, I'm pretty sure I had a migraine. The problem is this, I'm on a pretty high dose of immune suppressants, which seem to be working, since my stomach has been relatively good. But the rest of my body is screaming in protest. My back is on fire, my fingers ache, my head throbs....

So I did what any sane person would do and went to Stop & Shop and loaded up on healthy, gluten free foods. Fruits, veggies and meats. No more poison for me. The funny thing is, it's not even worth it. The foods I loved before don't taste nearly as good as they used to now that I know how horrible they will make me feel. Nothing tastes as good as gluten free feels. I hope by the end of the day tomorrow I'll be feeling a lot better.

But seriously, if you are suffering and can't find the answers, please read that book. It's extremely helpful. I believe now more than ever that gluten is the source of all evil! Ok that might be an extreme statement... I don't think I'm kidding though.