Category Archives: Health

Living with Celiac Disease

w20130909GFCupcakes
Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream. *see end of post
Four years ago I had figured out I was gluten intolerant and had tried to avoid gluten. A recent routine endoscopy showed damaged celia and the biopsies confirmed I am a Celiac.  The doctors were perplexed, the tissue samples confirmed Celiac, but my blood work was perfect. Four years of Gluten Free eating resulted in perfect blood work.
I had an appointment with a dietician. It was there I learned the dangers of being Celiac. She gave me a full folder of facts, details and information.
Celiac Disease is life-long. The celia never grow back but they do heal to the point they begin to processes nutrients. My tolerance is zero, so even cross contamination such as double dipping a knife in the peanut butter or jam to spread onto regular bread does cause me to react if I use a clean knife in the same peanut butter or jam jar to spread on a slice of GF bread. Each exposure takes a several days or weeks for the injures to the celia to heal enough to begin processing nutrients. During those days, I am freezing cold and exhausted.
w20130620BerrriesAndCream
Fresh Berries from the garden with real freshly whipped cream.*
One of the things in the folder of stuff is a list of all the names of foods that contain gluten. Many are simply different styles and types of wheat and different processes that end up  gluten of a different name.
NOT ALLOWED IN ANY FORMWheat (einkorn, durum or duram, faro, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt, freekeh, bulgur), Barley, Rye, Triticale, Malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar (are made from barley). Barley contains the highest percentage of gluten of all the grains.
Beer is out, wine and distilled spirits even wheat based whiskeys are fine. The gluten molecules are too big to make it through the distillation process.
Wheat Free is not safe, Certified Gluten Free is. If in doubt do NOT eat it.
w20130830BrightGFBananaCake
Butter Cream Frosted GF Banana Cake*
It goes on to say labels must be read every time foods are purchased. Manufacturers can change ingredients at any time. There is a huge list of additives that may or may not be GF. That list includes: modified food starch, starch, dextrin. If it does not say certified Gluten Free do not eat without calling the manufacturer to inquire about the root source of the starch. ie: Tapioca Starch and Corn Starch are safe, of course.
Eating Gluten Free as a way of losing weight, may be trendy. It won’t hurt you but it is not a disease and you can eat it anytime it is inconvenient to go hungry.
These two websites have tons of information. www.gluten.net which is a Gluten Intolerance organization in Auburn WA. Also www.celiac.org. Be wary of simple internet searches without verifying the source. The mayo clinic has info. Canada has a really good web site with lots of really good information.
w20130616MerangueStack
Chocolate Studded Merengue Stacked with Whipped Cream*
Celiacs are supposed to carry a card in their wallet and even a health bracelet identifying Celiac. An emergency hospital stay, from a car accident for instance, complete with typical hospital fare of crackers and pudding could be the last nail in the coffin… fun, huh?
Gluten Free is healthy because it focuses on fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, fish and some lean meat. It is no more healthy than any other diet that includes sweets, cakes, pastas, sodas and other rich foods. I focus on healthy with great taste, but sometimes a special occasion calls for a special treat. Four of those are shown above.
* Learning to cook GF has been an adventure. Instead of trying to mimic the taste of  “normal” food, we have learned to appreciate a new world of food we had not known. The bottom line is it has to taste great. It needs to be something guests will enjoy as well. Slowly I am developing special occasion recipes. Sometimes a great desert can be as simple as fresh berries topped with freshly whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Sometimes the occasion calls for something spectacular, even a multi layer cake. The deserts in the photos are my GF recipes and were served for special occasions. The merengue is naturally GF and without the chocolate and the whipped cream it is not too unhealthy.
Cheers to healthy eating,
Shez

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Filed under Celiac Disease, Food, Gluten Free, Health, Photography, Random, Words to Ponder

Test Result: Negative for Pertussis

Many of you commented on my previous post, some good, some bad. The good news is the test returned a negative result. The bad news the test is only 50% accurate.

The good news, by the third day on the antibiotics I was feeling better. The bad news is I still have a cough. This is a picture of how I feel. Kind of squinty-eyed from being so tired from not sleeping well with a non-stop cough.

Bear-ly Me. I'm sick and feel like a bear.

Bear-ly Me.

The best news is the number of people who have thanked me for sharing my story. They have already gotten their boosters and are spreading the word about how important it is. The vaccinations we received and completed at age six are no longer protecting us. Be proactive and get vaccinated. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Hey, be a good sport and protect the passengers on your next plane flight, or on the train, or at the restaurant, the grocery store, or where you pick up your dry cleaning.

As of Monday I am no longer contagious, if I ever was. I do wish I would bounce back to great health quickly. In the mean-time I want to share with you a happy photo. Pardon me, but I have punned a great artist and call this piece Starry Light.

Bright, colorful star lights, Starry Lights is the name of this piece.

Starry Night

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.

Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.

I’m wishing all of you good dreams and good health.

Cheers,

Shez

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Filed under Health, Photography, Random

Whooping Cough: Not a Thing of the Past

…or why I’ll miss my deadline for the book illustrations.

We all grew up knowing the dangers of whooping cough. People broke their ribs coughing so hard, infants turned blue and died from it, small children often didn’t survive and the same was true with the elderly and frail among us.

Once there was a reliable vaccine available, everyone was inoculated. After a decade or two it was completely eradicated from the United States, as were Polio, measles, mumps and chicken pox. Our only job now is to love and protect the children.

A grandfather and his granddaughter sit on the bench and watch for ducks.

Love between this grandfather and his granddaughter is evident as she hugs his knee while they sit on a bench and watch for ducks.

Then this winter pertussis, which is the actual name that scientists and doctors use for this disease, broke out in Washington USA. A beautiful green state that sits on the west coast by the Pacific Ocean and boarders British Columbia, Canada on the north.  Suddenly hundreds of children were desperately ill and hospitalized, older children exhausted from the coughing and adults spending nights sitting up coughing because the coughing gets even worse when they lay down.

Like a virus, this bacteria can live on hard surfaces for several hours.  Because it is a bacteria there are three antibiotics that can be given within the first five days that will help the sick with it recover quickly. But it is a sneaky illness. Tracing it’s roots is very difficult. It has a ten-day incubation period from the time of exposure. And then it comes on like a minor cold.

On the second day I was in Colorado Springs I had a couple of small issues. A little shortness of breath surprised me, because in previous visits the high altitude did not bother me. A slight sore throat and a little dry hackie cough were chalked up to both the high altitude and the extreme dry air. Any other tiredness was of course due to being on the go so much and too busy with family, work, photos, blogs and squeezing in time to cook, clean and work on my book illustrations.

By about day seven, I became suspicious  that even though this seemed like a garden variety cold, something else was making life miserable. Most coughs I can be stifled and as we learned as kids when we wanted to stay home one more day, could be brought on with little effort. This cough was racking my body in sieges of all muscles from hips to armpits involuntarily squeezing my mid section with force strong enough to cause the intense coughing that causes light-headedness and dizziness. The contractions are not controllable and come with enough force to also squeeze out vomit. At the same time, you are gasping for air when the next one strikes, the next gasp for air brings with it a dreadful, un-humanly sound that scared the heck out of me. I wondered where that came from. My next cough and I realized it came from me. It was the third day of a three-day holiday.

I called the doctor the following morning. An internet search told me that if it is pertussis I would be contagious until the illness was gone. The anti-biotic should still be taken even though it might be too late to help me, after five days I would no longer be a carrier. I started antibiotics yesterday. Four more days.

A father hugs his little girl and his son.

Like fathers everywhere, protecting children is his primary concern. This man would walk through burning coals to save his children. His children have received all immunizations. 

How can something that no longer exists make a return? Many statistics would point to the fact that young parents do not realize the dangers of many of the horrible children’s disease that many of us lost family and friends to. They have never seen it, their children are super-human, healthy and besides the parents don’t want their children exposed to some possible toxins in the vaccine. Don’t forget to factor in parents will fight off dragons to keep their infant from even a tiny discomfort and a few fussy days following the shot.

My last vaccination was ten years ago. The particular dose I was given did not contain the pertussis vaccine, though everyone had it assumed it had. My next vaccination is scheduled for as soon as I am well. At that point I will probably already be immune.

I am posting this, not to gain sympathy, although a few “poor baby,”s would be acceptable. I am posting this as a reminder to every one of every age, check on your immunizations. Make sure you are covered. A few days of possible little fever and a sore arm are a small price to pay not just to stay healthy but to not be an unwilling accomplice to a nasty little bacterium.

An innocent little girl needs adults to protect them from harm.

This innocent little girl is protected from many severe illnesses by immunizations. It is the job of the parents around her to love and protect her from harm, especially scary monsters, even the ones under the bed.

Hugs (virtual only of course),

Shez

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Filed under Children, Family, Health, Random