Glutened AGAIN with Celiac Disease

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Anyone who’s known chronic illness knows it’s nothing easy to deal with.  Life’s fine one day, maybe you even feel on top of the world, but then, “Bam!”  You’re knocked down again with gusto, and you’re either forced to drag your butt out of bed and go to work, or lay down for the next who-knows-how-long.

I have never been officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I was recently told by a doctor that I would need to begin eating gluten regularly for them to get an accurate result.  My thought:  he must have no clue how bad my life becomes or he would never suggest such a course of action.

This time I’ve been fortunate: I have a wonderful boyfriend who goes to the grocery store for me and cooks us allergen-free meals (thank you for being awesome, Kevin); I also have some time off over the holidays to sleep and lay on the couch. Thank goodness!

To fill in this picture, I must explain that gluten is not my only allergy or health issue.  Thanks to Leaky Gut Syndrome, I’ve also been diagnosed (by a blood test) with allergies to dairy, eggs, beans, ginger, coffee, quinoa, stevia, nitrates/nitrites, etc.

Anyone with intestinal issues is probably familiar with Leaky Gut, but if you’re not it’s helpful to know that it is characterized by tiny holes in your intestinal lining that allow small bits of food into your bloodstream which your body then attacks as foreign invaders – hence the additional food allergies that can come with Leaky Gut.

I’ve found that when I’m “glutened” (when I accidentally consume gluten), I not only have awful symptoms from eating gluten, such as severe fatigue, brain fog, abdominal pain, anxiety (yes, anxiety!), slurred speech, bloating, constipation, etc. On top of all that I often seem to develop Leaky Gut and Candida Overgrowth (an overabundance of yeast) at the same time.  So not only am I sick from the gluten, but my immune system is on high alert with any food intake and I have to avoid as much sugar – even natural sugar – as possible to not feed the yeast that so quickly populate my gut due to the imbalance in my intestinal health. Furthermore, sometimes it takes me MONTHS to feel healthy again.  Months!  Ugh.  I’m sure some of you know my pain.  And if so, I am so sorry!

To heal as quickly as possible in times like these I have to eat an anti-inflammatory, allergen-free, low-sugar diet that typically consists of bone broth, cooked (and sometimes raw) veggies, NO grains, occasional low sugar fruit, fish and tea.  OMG – this sucks!

HOWEVER, I am deeply grateful that after having been gluten free for 12 years that I am privileged to know what good health is and how to find it without prescription medication.  I am so grateful that I’ve found natural ways of taking care of and healing my body:  making good food choices, visiting affordable community acupuncture clinics, giving self massage and stretching, meditation, sleep, and being surrounded by positive people and things (my cat – LOL – is in fact a huge help).

That said, this is such a pain in the a**!!!  I can’t believe I’m sick AGAIN.  And I would love to feel better, like now.  I keep sending my body love and light, thanking it for taking such good care of me, and imagining that the illness is lifting from my body easily, gently and quickly.  I pray that it is so.

In the meantime, I’m posting this blog in case anyone out there deals with chronic disease and wants to chime in.  It’s always so nice to know that I’m not alone and we’re not alone.

So, do you struggle with illness or disability?  Perhaps it’s something that most people don’t even know you deal with… If so, I’d love to hear what you’re dealing with and how you keep your chin up when it can take so long to feel better.  Please add your comments below.

Thanks for reading and sharing!

With love, Kimberly

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Charm Con

Female power

As a teen I dream’d of things to come – a marvelous life for me.

A world so pretty, full of life, magic, art…

Many a man have I wooed discretely, indulgently… Wrongly?

Self-gratification was my quest and self-flagellation the reward.

I used to charm people… a bright star to dazzle them with. I could pull you in with the best.  Everyone liked me. It was easy. I was so afraid.

Now, I’m me. Quietly me. The best of me, I think.
I don’t make friends so easily, I’m not always on my mark in public;
But I don’t miss the game. And I don’t miss the fake charm.

Surprisingly I miss the excitement of seeming exiting – the high that comes from self-importance and others’ indulgence.

I still dream of big cities, little sky, high heels and big charm.
I also dream of mountains, a quiet mind, a silent heart,
a time and place when the burning, yearning excitement of things to come
rests.

Recently I have tried and succeeded and tried and succeeded only to relax my efforts.

There is a song inside me, a world I visit behind the noise, behind the words, behind the ever-cunning, ever-planning ego. Am I to live there? Is this my desire?

Can I be happy and confident without the empty buy-in of others who don’t really know me in the first place?

The Hidden Talents of Gluten

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I write this with the hope that if you or your child has any of the following symptoms, you seek medical advice about possible food allergies or gastrointestinal disorders:

depression, anxiety, brain fog, bloating, abdominal pain, digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation, a rash, neurological disorders, insomnia, restless legs, weight gain or loss, mood swings, crying episodes, etc. Visit celiac.org for more information.

I sometimes forget how absolutely crappy (and bitchy) I felt as a child who unknowingly was allergic  gluten products.  That is until I have an accidental exposure, and then it’s like the world turns upside down… I weep periodically throughout the day (today I found myself on the floor in the room next to a training at work – yikes!), I can’t think or focus my mind on anything, I’m so tired I could fall asleep sitting up, I’m bloated so bad I look pregnant (seriously, I once had a roommate who told me it looked like I’d made an alien baby), and the list goes on.

It can be hard to remain gluten free, even with the best of information. For example, this episode was from a box of Arco Cornstarch that said it was gluten free on the box. Ugh!  I’ve found I have to steer clear of anything that could remotely be contaminated, cornstarch included, as there seem to be conflicting food regulations of gluten.

About 10 years ago, before I had my I-have-food-allergies “aha” moment, traditional MD’s reviewed my symptoms (one with a kind of disdain for all of my questions) and told me that they didn’t know what was wrong with me.  It was only through naturopathic doctors and a chiropractor that my needs were met.

Dr. Tobi in Gardner, Kansas is now my go-to health guru. She not only believes my ailments, but has the best remedies to help me and my intestines heal after  “being glutened” (eating gluten on accident).

I hope to feel better asap.  Sigh…  Good luck to you as well on your dietary path!  Please leave a comment if you’ve also struggled with food allergies.  It’s always good to know other’s stories.

what my a** looks like is none of my business

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I once heard a comedian say, “What my ass looks like is none of my business.  There’s a reason God put it behind me.”

Like most youth around the world, I grew up in a culture where external beauty mattered and was clearly defined.  In my culture, beauty was determined by thinness, the symmetry of one’s face and nice teeth.  External beauty got you friends, boyfriends and an easy confidence.  It also spoke of sameness, a sense of belonging and importance.  If you were different, life could be a rough road.  And so… most of my days were spent trying to fit in, trying to be “normal”.

“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage! ” Practical Magic

It was on one of those rough roads when my differences turned to depression.  In a culture where self-worth is largely defined by external beauty I found myself asking an incessant series of questions about my body.  You know the questions:

  • Why is [insert body part] not the right size?
  • Why is my head so small and my face so big? (Seriously, this was one of my questions.)

This self-depreciating effort was combined with media and commerce bent on lowering my self esteem to increase profits.  Have you ever looked at your skin in a magnified mirror?  WTF?  It makes small dark pores look like international conflicts, thus making us want to buy clear pore strips.  Whose bright idea was the magnified mirror?  Someone who wanted us to buy it.

The good news about hard times is that with optimism and perseverance you can have breakthroughs.  With help from books like Love is Letting Go of Fear and Letting Go, one begins to see one’s own beauty as intrinsic and permanent.  The incessant worrying, tummy-sucking-in and posturing can be laid to rest.  It’s no longer necessary to be angry at advertisements with emaciated models or a system that emphasizes what you may lack to get you to buy things.  At some point in life, you start to see yourself from the inside out.  And you just know you are beautiful and worthy of love, and nothing external can ever change that.  And on PMS-y days when you feel ugly or unworthy, you laugh and remind yourself that we are not who we have been trained to think we are.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience – not the other way around.

A few years back I overhead a Christian radio show that asked its listeners:  What would you see if when you looked in the mirror you could see yourself as God sees you?

And? What do you see?

Here’s a nice little article to remind you you’re beautiful and that there is no right way to be beautiful:  Ideal Body Types in 9 Countries 

And lastly, my go-to mantra if a PMS pity party starts to form:  I am holy as we are all holy.  Everything’s just as it should be.  I’m already Home. 🙂