Strong Dark Chocolate: Check for Gluten! – Day 32

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Hello,

At school two days ago, I needed a little bit of what I call Chocolate Magic, so I bought from the vending machine. I don’t prefer doing it that way, but the walnuts I packed for lunch wanted something more – and so did my taste buds!

Well, that didn’t work out so well…

When you select from a vending machine, you don’t know what you are getting. This is why I want to share with you what this particular product says, “May contain traces of milk, wheat, peanuts, or other nuts.” I’ve been doing my *very* best to stay on task with my gluten-free diet. After all, even though I’m not going to bring out the band, I have noticed that this recent set-back or disc re-herniation was a lot shorter-lasting. I’m getting stronger. I stand now for my 3-hour long classes – the *whole* time!

I believe that together, we can do it! I believe that educating each other is the way. Too many people suffer period – from celiac disease, from gluten-intolerance, and from painful inflammation. My experiment has been going well so far – and I’m going to keep with this diet.

The wheat crop is not the same as our ancestors ate. It’s different. It was rendered ‘different’ because we needed to yield more crop to feed more people – that’s what I hear, anyways. (When I have more time, I will return and cite a reference. If you already have one feel free to leave the reference in the comment section. The truth is out there!) There’s more to it than just GMO, too. There’s a genetic relationship that we have to the land. We grow with everything, and not separately.

Please realize that the “sensitivities” of “some people” might be a part of the healing for everyone. For some people, they may get so ill from gluten that it’s seriously important to point out these things to people – and help them. 

Finally, I’ll leave you with the love poem that sold me the chocolate that I didn’t really want,

“I love thee–I love thee!

Thy bright and hazel glance,

Whose tender tones entrance;

But most, dear heart of hearts, thy proofs

That still these words enhance.

I love thee–I love thee!

Whatever be thy chance.”

–Thomas Hood

Xoxo

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Day 29 – Gluten Free at the Grocery Store

 

Hello!

We have a gluten-free festival at our neighborhood grocery store this weekend. I can’t believe it! I’m on day 29, and I am not kidding, there is this deep bodily knowing that I’ve made a good choice for me in going Gluten-Free. I don’t see any reason to go back to eating things with gluten in them!  

I am aware however that for some people this is like a serious addiction. I’ve seen some things that indicate that there are opioid receptors involved with gliadin, a component of the gluten complex. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6099562 The link shows an abstract for a study that demonstrates some opioid-like activity on the receptors from wheat gluten complex. 

This is no fad. This is serious. I can just say from experience that I feel much better without the gluten. It’s also just one PART of my healing process. Inflammation builds up over time, and it has its affects on what nutrition your body is even capable of absorbing.

Another good source for information on food/diet/health is Body Ecology, a book by Donna Gates. I was fortunate to be introduced to this book back in 2008, and I’m still learning from it! See the website at https://bodyecology.com/.  You can also subscribe to the Body Ecology newsletter, and learn more from the free conference at http://www.longevitywebcast.com/ during which author of “Wheat Belly,” Dr. William Davis, will be speaking. 

Green-Lipped Mussel & The Second Brain- Day 25

Hello!

I made it to class this week! I’ve nearly returned to my former base-line health; that is, before the re-jury last week. I was told by one doctor that my overall situation is chronic ‘at this point,’ and I’m referring to my disc herniation; it is chronic.  What does “chronic” mean, other than “it reoccurs.”  Well, here’s the truth: I won’t accept that. TO ME, that only describes the past, and logically, it does describe the present. But, it does not necessitate the future!

Here’s to a Return to Health

I’ll get there. Come with me. Be with me. Heal with me.

Here’s what I discovered this week from my gluten-free diet & my mission to reduce inflammation – since after all, these things *are connected.*

There are two different pathways to inflammation: LOX and COX

The LOX are the Leukotrienes, and the COX are the Prostaglandins and the Thromboxanes. Leukotrienes, Prostaglandins, and Thromboxanes are all chemicals which are known to cause inflammation in the body. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medicines function only by inhibiting the COX pathway. They don’t address the LOX. There’s a particular fatty acid (a unique type of Omega-3) in the green-lipped mussel, called Omega-3 tetraenoic. Luckily, this special fatty acid can be found in the green-lipped Mussel.

Good Read:

The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine, by Michael D. Gershon M.D.

I’m still reading it; but I wanted to mention it because it’s really helpful in contributing to my scientific understanding of the enteric nervous system. It’s even an entertaining read. 🙂

“Dr. Gershon has the gift of explaining complex concepts in simple terms without sacrificing scientific precision, and he conveys the suspense and creative rivalry that characterize contemporary neuroscience.” -David L. Wingate, D.M., FRCP, Professor of Gastointestinal Science, Department of Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal Science Research Unit, The Royal London Hospital.

 

 

Back Home Again – Day 22 – Challenges and the GOOD STUFF

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I recently returned from my trip back East. I’m glad to be home. 

A couple of days before I left, I read the label on one of my favorite Yogi Teas. I had not anticipated having a gluten problem with my tea; I already started drinking it! Sure enough, it read, “barley malt extract.” Alas, the tea is not gluten free. So, suffice it to say, it’s not my favorite tea for a long while, if ever again. The tea will be a gift to someone else who can *fully* appreciate it. It’s called, “Healthy Fasting,” and it’s designed to help with detoxification. See the link above. I may want to write them a letter.

Some of my GI problems are clearing up. I’m able to “let go” more. I may have had reduced inflammation in my body because I had started to jog without an issue (2 weeks ago). But, sadly on my trip back East, and while still at the airport, it seemed like I had re-herniated my intervertebral disc. I moved in a way that caused some nerve pain – like I got kicked in the back. Basically, I had just walked off the plane and was saying to my husband “I feel so grateful that I can walk like this again.” We had a long stretch to walk from our first connecting flight to our next gate. 

So, I don’t know if I’m benefiting from decreased inflammation yet.

I have an amazing friend and chiropractor. She practices NSA (Network Spinal Analysis). She was able to help me stabilize the pain, and start the healing process again. This was during the days immediately following my return from the airport and the traumatic experience of that. I had re-injured my disc at the very beginning of my 5-hour layover in Detroit, and before my final 4-5 hour flight home. Needless to say, that it was so uncomfortable, that it even took an emotional toll on both myself and my husband.

Feeling incredibly grateful for my friend and chiropractor, as well as my school (Pacific College of Oriental Medicine), and my husband… I feel like I am in good hands. I *know* that no matter how traumatic or whatever painful experiences I have, I will become a much better practitioner, and my compassion, self-discipline, patience, all that GOOD STUFF… is growing. 

I was going to write about this on “My Healing Journey” blog, but I want to use that blog to communicate longer term trends. This blog, my blog about my diet and yummy stuff, will be updated more frequently.

Typing challenges:

Sitting can be very uncomfortable for me. Laying on my stomach and typing can be hard on my wrists and elbows as well as my neck, but is good for my back, because it’s sort of like cobra pose. That’s the other way I get by; I do cobra poses and backbends. I will reserve most of my writing and my need to type for school work. Please, if I do not reply quickly to comments, please understand how much I appreciate them. Hopefully I can learn to balance commenting with writing like the rest of y’all out there – you amazing blogging folks & inspiring friends.

Now for the good stuff:  

I found a great website on Gluten-Free eating. When I’m feeling well enough to cook, I’d like to try some of the recipes. If you are interested in trying any of them, let me know what you think! I was in a special mood for Oreo’s and that’s how I found this treasure: “PLAYING WITH OUR FOOD: Gluten-Free-Girl & the Chef”

http://glutenfreegirl.com/2010/10/gluten-free-oreos/

Enjoy this website with me. I think she took the photo there up top. I read her ‘about’ section, and see how valuable she is as a resource to others – I want to showcase that! Hopefully someone can benefit. 

Day 9- Gluten-free

Wow. How did that happen? Somehow, I jumped to day 9. I guess I have been preoccupied with other projects. I DO remember, however, as I took some mental notes about any snags along the way. Nevertheless, I stayed gluten-free to my own standards.  What does that mean?

Well, a couple of days ago I noticed that the blue corn chips that I was eating with some awesome spinach, artichoke, and cheese dip, were made in a non-gluten-free factory. I think I’m not going to do that again. I didn’t experience any consequences that I was aware of, but, I’m feeling pretty motivated to stay on task in my gluten-free diet.

Other mention-ables

I live near an Italian restaurant. The smells of dough emanates through my driveway and through my doorway. What do you think? Smelling gluten, is that okay? I’m gonna let that one slide. I can appreciate vicariously the Italian delights going on “over there” through my nose – thank you very much! Still, the gluten-y garlic breads, pastas, and pizza doughs are *not* inside of my GI tract. Issue is closed.

Finally, it’s not just the Italian cuisine that hosts some of my previously favorite gluten-filled dishes. I have occasional cravings for Naan bread from an Indian restaurant. Best description:

If there’s anything that will make you fall in love with Indian food, it’s naan. This flatbread from the North of India is juxtaposition at its most beautiful: pillowy and elastic, with dark charred bubbles and a crispy bottom. It’s usually made in a tandoor oven, a clay oven that can reach up to 900 degrees F! That’s hard to replicate at home, but this stovetop version comes pretty darned close…”
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/naan-indian-oven-baked-flat-bread-recipe.html?oc=linkback

 

About Indian food:

I’ll put it this way: I love it when my food makes me sweat.

Yesterday, my husband and I got to experience Indian food (tikka masala) with white rice. No bread, no naan – I was too busy LOVING the flavor of my entree to notice. Luckily, he and I are both gluten-free. Wow, that’s rare!

Good advice: Make sure you tell your server that you are gluten-free. Lots of things have gluten hidden in them. You already are putting yourself “at risk” by eating in a restaurant where you can’t check your labels. You have greater assurance based on the way the server responds.  After all, it’s always your choice to get up and leave – so look over the menu first, and discuss it with your server. All in all, I was pretty happy with San Diego’s “World Curry” restaurant. Good prices, good food, and an informed wait-staff. Top that off with its location in Pacific Beach (a fun neighborhood), and management who brings you dessert (coconut ice cream – two spoons) and loves to see your happy face; It’s just obvious they know what they are doing!

Feel free to check out “My Healing Journey” blog (I’ll hopefully create a link when I come back and edit this). At “My Healing Journey” you will learn more about what’s going on with “My Healing Journey.” I’ll be writing it. If you get there first and it’s not there yet… stay tuned. I have updates!

 

Day 4-

Today is day 4 of my gluten free diet. I love it! Mostly, I love it because I’ve realized how easy it is to be gluten free. If I want cookies, I can have them. I just tried the best gluten free cookies, ever.  Yesterday, courtesy of an awesome employee who could give me his opinion on all the gluten free cookies in the store, I chose.

Trader Joe’s:  Gluten free Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies (very, very tasty. It was on the thin-side for cookies, but the flavor is so amazing; it barely matters that these cookies are flat and a tad bit brittle, because they are heaven in my mouth). They still taste homemade; at least like one’s I’ve made before.

Not that I am all that interested in cookies (I mean they taste good) but, they aren’t high in nutrition-density.

So far, I haven’t noticed any differences in the way I am feeling in terms of my digestive system. As far as my pain levels go – that’s difficult to gauge because I am healing from a spinal disc rupture/herniation. Therefore, I’ve experienced my healing gains as being week to week, regardless of whether or not I have been eating a gluten free diet. I anticipate continued improvements in pain and flexibility, while building muscle strength and core support.

I don’t expect quick results nor immediate feedback from my body about my new gluten-free diet. In fact, there’s the possibility that even after having stopped eating gluten for a certain period of time, some of my digestive problems might even worsen for a time, before they get better. 

I’m going for the long-view here. I want to see how important gluten really is for my nutrition. Do I even need it? And, Can I find increasingly more efficient ways to spend my money while going gluten free. That is, can I get by without the high-priced alternatives?

I think the answer is yes. I will also say that I’m grateful for gluten-free alternatives. When I sample some of those alternatives, I’ll offer my opinion of them here. Otherwise, I may not really crave alternatives all that much. We shall see. I ‘do’ know that when the body wants something (like gluten) it’ll find a way to make you crave something that you’ve forgotten has gluten in it.  I will continue to be watchful, and stick to my plan.

 

 

Day 2 –

Today is Day 2 of my gluten-free diet. The first day didn’t seem so difficult, as in the past, I had been slowly weaning myself off of gluten/wheat dependence before I finally realized that my mind would come up with tons of excuses to crave something specifically breaded. Once I realized how embedded these cravings were, that there was some kind of body-directive being executed from my “second brain,” it strengthened my resolve for a full-on experiment–no gluten for 1-2 months. Right now it’s looking more like 2 or 3 months, just so that I can be sure about it.

I spent some time in the early morning hours lamenting “no more perogies” until I realized that if I really wanted them all that bad, I could find a gluten free recipe online. Also, if I really wanted to have pasta, there are alternative options for me.  I could substitute with either the gluten free varieties easily purchasable at the grocery store, or I could eat rice vermicelli rice noodles instead. The rice vermicelli noodles wouldn’t come with the price markup as the gluten free variety, and are highly appealing.

In the meantime, I’ve picked up a wonderful book that educates me on the processes that are taking place in my body’s digestion. It’s called, The Second Brain, by Michael D. Gershon, M.D.. If nothing else, this book gives me tremendous appreciation for my body and the intricacies of natural processes in the human body.