A Helping Hand

Celiac Disease hasn’t been the most fun thing.  I mean, you eat something you shouldn’t or accidentally get cross contamination and end up in the bathroom for the rest of the day or curled up on your bed in pain.  Doesn’t sound like a great way to spend an afternoon.

Through my work with Gluten Free Grand Valley, writing for the newspaper and being vocal on social media, I have gained attention, hopefully as an advocate for those with Celiac Disease.  Because of this, I get lots of questions, lots of emails and phone calls and people who are friends or friends of friends stopping me at gatherings to ask questions because they have been diagnosed or because someone they know has been.

A couple of these things happened this week.  First, I found out that a friend’s sister was diagnosed a few months ago.  We happened to be at a birthday party and I was having a glass of wine and she started asking me questions about being gluten free.  She then proceeded to tell me that she had been diagnosed Celiac.  We, of course, spent the rest of the evening talking about food, restaurants and all that goes along with Celiac Disease…over a gluten free pizza, I might add.

The second was someone who is gluten free is moving to Grand Junction and contacted me about Gluten Free Grand Valley.  I directed her to the Facebook page but we started a dialog on how scary it is to move to a new city, to not know what grocery stores to go to or what restaurants are safe.  We plan on having coffee when she gets here so I can help her.

Sometimes being given the burden of a disease can be just that, a burden.  But I look at it like this:  God put me on this Earth for a reason and gave me Celiac Disease for a reason.  I believe it’s to help people.  That’s not being said with bravado or boasting, it’s a fact.  I hope that I can help as many people as possible whether it’s simply giving them a cookie recipe or if it’s guiding them through the first year of eating gluten free.  I hope that I can always lend a helping hand.

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Review: Feel Good Foods

I’ve been waiting for Feel Good Foods to release their line in Grand Junction for a while.  Last fall they brought their dumplings to town and then, more recently, I saw their freezer meals in stores as well.  While it’s the egg rolls I really want to try, I decided to jump in for a Chinese dinner.

I chose the vegetarian dumplings and General Tso’s Chicken. 

The dumplings came with a sauce which I chose not to use since I wasn’t going to eat all of them.  The directions seemed simple:  a cup of water in a saucepan and one tablespoon oil, add dumplings, cook until the bottoms brown.  The bottoms browned but the dumplings kind of broke open.  The flavor was good, a bit of a sweetness to them, and next time I will try the sauce as well.

The General Tso’s Chicken was easily popped into the microwave and was ready in less than five minutes.  The flavor was really good with broccoli and rice with the chicken.  Usually General Tso’s is spicy but this had just a tinge of spice so if you usually stay away from this dish, this is your opportunity to try it!  

I like the General Tso’s because it’s an easy meal for work or after a long day.  I will be trying other meals and the dumplings again.  But, Feel Good Foods, can we please get egg rolls?  


Make no bones about it

I have a friend who is constantly chastising me for not getting enough calcium. I’m not a milk drinker, I don’t eat yogurt, and, in general, don’t have a lot of dairy in my life.  I know there are other natural sources to get calcium from but I don’t think I get enough from those sources either.  So the other way is to take a supplement, which is not my favorite thing to do.

After many conversations with my friend, he brought up a good point about me having Celiac Disease and how the lack of calcium intake could hurt me.  I hadn’t thought about it past the “you should take calcium because you don’t drink milk” thing so I started doing some research on calcium deficiencies in those of us with Celiac Disease.

An article from celiacdisease.about.com stated that, once you have Celiac Disease, the chances of a dairy intolerance rises.  Unfortunately, I know that to be the truth as many of my friends who are Celiac are also lactose intolerant.  With lactose intolerance, you get less calcium and vitamin D so your chances of brittle bones and osteoporosis increases dramatically.

Another thing that plays into this is that the longer Celiac Disease goes undiagnosed or untreated by a gluten free diet, the less our bodies absorb minerals and vitamins.  This means that it will take longer for our bodies to play “catch up” on the necessary nutrients our bodies need.  It also means that our bodies have a chance of breaking down and they may not ever “catch up” to where they should be nutrient wise.  Damage sometimes cannot be undone.

Not surprisingly, women take in only 31% of the daily allowance they need.  This was according to an article from Gluten Free Living.  So, being a woman and being Celiac really raises my chances of having osteoporosis or brittle bones or clotting problems or a myriad of problems that go along with a calcium deficient Celiac.  Sigh…seems like it’s always something, right?  This picture lays it out pretty good:


So where do I get calcium naturally, especially if I’m not a dairy eating/drinking person or if I’m lactose intolerant.  What if I HATE taking vitamins?  Both articles mention sardines (ick), tofu (not a fan of soy products), some greens (collards, turnip greens, kale) or vitamin fortified orange juice (just make sure it is gluten free).  Almond and soy milks are now sometimes calcium fortified as well.

I’m honestly pretty good with my vitamins.  I take a spray vitamin B12 and D (yes, I said spray and it’s the best thing ever invented) and now I take calcium too.  I’m sure there are other vitamins that I should be taking like zinc, etc. but it’s all about baby steps.

Now my friend can rest easy because I take my calcium.  And I can rest easy that I’m trying to prevent a health catastrophe in my life.

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Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades

Close.  One of Dictionary.com’s definition of the word is “being in or having proximity in space or time“.  Dad has always said that “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” but sometimes a close call is just too close for comfort.

Tonight was one of those nights.  I was on my way home from a meeting and traffic was being diverted because of an accident.  I took the detour back to Patterson Road, the road I was originally on and set on my way home.  All of a sudden there was a flash behind and then beside me as a pick up truck flew past me going at least 75-80 mph in a 45 mph zone.  I watched as he ducked in and out of traffic, never putting his brakes on.  All I could think  was “there is about to be a serious accident”.  A mile down the road I saw a vehicle in the intersection and that truck, he had driven into a light pole after apparently side swiping the other vehicle.

I say it was close because if I hadn’t been diverted in traffic, that’s where I would have been.  I may have been IN the accident and not behind it.  It reminds me that we are only human and that in a flash we could be gone.  It reminds me how short our time on earth is and how God is always protecting me.  It reminds me to cherish each moment with my family, friends and each moment I have enjoying the world.

For some reason I am thrown for a loop tonight.  I have been in accidents but tonight’s close encounter has left me shaken.

I thank you for reading my thoughts and hope you will come back to read more.  I am working on a couple articles on Celiac disease and vitamins and it is taking a bit longer than I hoped to gather those thoughts and the information.  Have a good evening.