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Lee and I attended a meeting of the Celiac Disease Foundation last night. What a very supportive group this was, and quite informative too. It’s so nice to hear other people’s stories and discover that you are not alone. These groups are great in that they provide a fun way to share such things as new recipes, safe foods, the latest scoop on local GF dining, shopping and so on. There are usually guest speakers too who offer lots of knowledge, experience, new information, tips, etc. Again, like I always say…get involved with your health! Be active and be pro-active. When you’re on top of your game, you win!

Although Lee and I are ME-gans, and have more restrictions than celiacs alone, there were still two goodies last night that we could share in! One person made GF Vegan Oatmeal Cookies, and another girl made GF Vegan Peanut Butter Puff Cookies (that’s what I call them anyway). OMG – I asked them both to email me the recipe, I sure hope they do! Both cookies were crazy out-of-this-world good! I mean, honestly…I have to stay away from sweets, even if they are ME-gan friendly, because I cannot resist them. If they are in my house, I will eat them all. Hey…at least I know and admit to my weaknesses! I wanted to eat them all last night, but I had to be nice and share. I do, however, reserve the right to have them at least once a month! Ladies, you know what I mean, right? <Wink-Wink>

Being GF truly does not take the yummy factor out of food and eating. And we certainly know that it’s healthier no matter how you slice it. That may be my opinion, but I believe it to be true. Gluten is a protein we can all live without, and it’s mainly in crap we don’t need anyway. So if you are in the process of finding out whether you are celiac or gluten intolerant, do not fear. Removing gluten from your diet is something that takes very little training and some getting used to. Soon it becomes second nature and is no big deal at all. Plus you will feel 100% better, so you won’t even think about cheating or miss your old foods. It will allow you to become a partaker in your health. It will mean that from now on you will be reading labels and knowing what you are putting into your body. These are all positives, NOT negatives.

Sometimes I question why the outpour of celiacs and the thousands of new gluten intolerant cases there are these days, but then I realize that it’s probably been going on for ages, it’s just that now people are finally beginning to speak up, do their own research, question what they are told and not believe EVERY SINGLE thing their doctor tells them. It’s ok to have a second opinion – really. It’s also ok to allow your body to speak and follow your own intuition.

Learning what gluten is, should be the very first step in a celiac’s journey to better health. It’s a protein found in certain grains and is harmful to those with celiac disease. They are found in all forms of wheat, including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro. Related grains such as rye, barley, and triticale must be eliminated.  Don’t worry, there are many delicious GF grains to choose from – enjoy and reap the goodness of Mother Nature!

Another fact, actually one that most people may not know about Celiac Disease, is that it is not a food ‘allergy.’ That’s right. It is an autoimmune disease. Food allergies, such as wheat allergies, are conditions that can sometimes be out grown. However, this is not the situation with Celiac Disease.

Here are a few things that I learned last night at the meeting:

Associated Autoimmune Disorders are:

  • Insulin-dependent Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Liver diseases
  • Thyroid Disease-Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Chronic Active Hepatitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Turner Syndrome
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Scleroderma

Unfortunately this gene runs in my own family. Most members (even cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) have an extremely high ANA, and suffer from one or more of the above – even Crohn’s Disease. The good news is that we can manage it. Dietary changes and true commitment will increase our quality of life! Food heals, it truly does. It also kills. Knowledge is our best friend and a sure enemy to disease. Research, learn and do your part to achieve better health and happiness.

Other disorders linked with Celiac Disease are:

  • Down Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Williams Syndrome

Classic symptoms of Celiac Disease may include:

  • Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
  • Distention and bloating of the stomach
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (and/or both)
  • Steatorrhea – fatty stools
  • Anemia – unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency – sometimes all.
  • Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain

And yet…other symptoms that may exist are:

  • Dental enamel defects
  • Osteopenia, osteoporosis
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
  • Infertility – male and/or female both
  • Depression
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Delayed puberty
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Migraine headaches

Ahhh…if you know me, you know how I feel about symptoms! It seems that ALL diseases and disorders share the same symptoms. It’s enough to drive a person mad. I think it’s because ‘all these symptoms’ are just about the only way a body can SCREAM (without taking more drastic measures such as stroke, heart attack or death) – so it does! These are merely general ‘warning signs.’ The body is not trying to define your illness, so to speak, with these symptoms, no. Instead, it is simply shouting out that it needs HELP! It’s crying out for YOU to listen and to change your lifestyle!

Lee and I both found such great relief from numerous symptoms after eliminating gluten from our diets, that we recommend that everyone try it for at least 30 days. I believe that you will feel better in some way or another – perhaps many ways.

Oh..and back to GF goodies for a minute – look what we found at Gluten Free Creations Bakery! ME-gan YumYums! Mmm!

Gluten free living…LIVE IT; LOVE IT; BE IT; EAT IT!

It’s all part of the ME-gan Lifestyle. Living life to its fullest and being the healthiest, happiest person you can be. Embrace change, take control and get your body back to optimal condition! Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so LIVE and LOVE today!

ME-gan health and happiness to you! Love,