Just as each of us has something that sets us apart from everyone else (something that should be cherished and celebrated) we each have an innate need to belong, to be a part of the pack. And what does “the pack” usually do when it gets together?---eat, of course. When I was diagnosed, I was living a different life, so to speak: different home (with kids stilling living in it), different marriage, part of a neighborhood with a circle of friends. I remember really enjoying this time of my life, with kids not needing my constant supervision, me being able to enjoy time with grown-ups, at someone's house, a block party, or going out.
A little pizza making fun. Enjoy :)
(This post may contain affiliate links.)
If we only viewed food scientifically, seeing it just for its fundamental purpose, we wouldn’t need to talk about the emotional side of dietary differences, would we. And what is that fundamental purpose?—Nutrition. Of course, the amount and correct combination of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals required to support a body varies from person to person, and depends on stage of life, but food’s basic purpose is to support life.
If we ONLY viewed food in this manner, I have no doubt in my mind that we would be facing far less disease (mental and physical). Food, after all, has the power to both fight disease and contribute to disease.
But --- (BUT) --- most of us do not view food only as "how can it best serve my body."
Food is Joy
Just the other day I brought out my newly discovered Jif Whips when my grandson came over, giving him pieces of rice cake topped with this creamy chocolaty, peanut buttery yumminess. (Yes, for me, it was love at first bite when I tried this last week. SO good!) The happiness he expressed, with the remnants of this tasty treat sticking to each cheek on either side of his adorable little smile brought joy to this grandma’s heart. Did I give him this dessert merely for the fuel his body required? Of course not.
Food is Disgust
What parent hasn’t provided a dinner that the kids turned their noses up at? What parent hasn’t experienced a child’s tears, tantrums, and even gagging over a meal. “I don’t like potato soup!” (Sorry mom. Yup, that was me!---although I LOVE it now!)
Words are powerful! They can bring a lot of damage, and they can empower another in a way we often never find out about. As I sit here with my coffee and my ideas and efforts at writing a couple new blog posts, I'm reminded of four distinct memories like this for me. I've had a lot of support from wonderful friends and family through the years, but sometimes it's those particular words or the timing of those words that give us courage and power and that "something" we need at that moment; words that motivate us and that leave a forever memory. So here are four such moments that impacted me in a positive way (since the year 2000 when I found my life changing in oh-so-many ways.)
1) After I was diagnosed with celiac (2000) I felt such a need to DO something. Talk of "I don't know how, but I want to" start a support group had a friend (over margaritas) tell me to "Do it! You CAN do it Debbie, and you'd be great at it!" It was the shot I needed. And guess what?--I did it!
2)and 3) This one took two people. (2003) After my divorce and need to create a career for myself that offered current and retirement support, there are two memories I have that got me in gear. I already had an associates degree in early childhood education, but needed to finish classes to get my bachelors degree in order to teach, something I'd wanted to do since working as an aide in a classroom. I felt I was too old, at age 43, to go back to school. Another friend (again,over margaritas) gave me that assurance that I wasn't too old, and that I certainly could do it. --And then there was my dad, on the other end of the phone, listening to me cry again over my panic of 'what am I going to do,' and him basically telling me to "Stop your crying and just DO it." HA! I needed that! And guess what?--I did it!
4) After going back to school and teaching for three years, and then losing that job because the education budget in the state of Illinois meant MANY teachers lost their jobs that year (the end of 2010), I was in another 'what do I do' panic. I finally found time to see through the book idea I had years before (which didn't pay the bills, but was something I had a need to do). After finishing it but then being discouraged at failed efforts to find a (cheap) illustrator, my daughter offered those simple words I had not considered, "You can do it, mom." Wow. I'll never forget that. And you know what?--I did do it.
Like I said, words are powerful. There were certainly others who offered that "you can do it" support. This doesn't diminish them in any way, but I imagine most reading this have those memories of that correct combo of timing, words, and a particular person that ignited that fire--and that's what this is about.
So now I'm going to let three of those four know of the impact they had on me---because all too often, we don't get that chance.
I love you dad! I know you are still there, letting me know that each little (and big) change has a purpose. I'll keep trying to be patient and ride the waves.
(This post may contain affiliate links.)
My first attempt at making bread, several years ago, has remained my tried and true ever since. Yes, I've tried others, but I always returned to this---and made it A LOT. Notice I said "made." Now-a-days, it's a rare treat. I eat far less bread and cook and bake now for just two---and----since there are many more great options to purchase, I find myself baking wayyyy less.
My first cookbook purchase, and the one I used way more than any other (even if I only used a few recipes from it) was Bette Hagman's Gluten Free Gourmet. And just now, after seeking a link to this book, I got goosebumps. I don't know if I ever realized this: the published date is September 2000..... I was diagnosed in September 2000. Major goosebumps. My first attempt at making her French Bread recipe was in October or early November, 2000, as I was desperately seeking bread I could use for stuffing. It was a disaster, but once I bought my Kitchen Aide blender, it was WAYyyyy easier!
This recipe was a MAJOR staple in my house for my first dozen plus years gluten free. I posted this photo album several years ago to give you a visual of what my process looks like.
I've always used these French Bread rolls when I made Italian beef sandwiches, but I recently found these Against the Grain baguettes in my grocery store on sale for less than $5 for the two loaves. They've been in the freezer ever since. So we had these two options for dinner tonight--the French bread rolls I just made and the baguettes I just pulled out of the freezer, -and you know what?---the baguettes were GREAT! I sliced it in half, popped my portion in the microwave for 15 seconds with a slice of cheese on each 1/2, and voila! Microwaving made it nice and soft, but crusty and very sturdy. Wonderful!
This post may contain affiliate links.
I never liked coffee. Loved the smell, but didn't like it -- until three years ago. I was actually craving it before I started drinking it. So, I bought a mini coffee pot, a bag of coffee grounds, and have been a daily coffee drinker ever since.
I've seen where some say coffee isn't good for people with celiac. But, just like anything else, I do believe it's an individual thing. This post isn't about the pros and cons of coffee drinking. *(If the coffee has flavors that contain gluten, absolutely NOT good for ANYONE with celiac. I will never suggest that even the smallest amount of gluten is OK for those of us with celiac.)
It arrived yesterday. Couldn't wait to try it!
Morning is my favorite time to write -- with a pot of coffee. So here it is, my second attempt at a coffee alternative. (The first one I tried, a year or so ago, was something I couldn't even finish. Didn't look, smell, or taste anything like coffee. Simply---it was yuck.)
I made the Coffig like I would regular coffee, but with less grounds:
2 rounded teaspoons of grounds with 3 cups of cold water.
2 Positives -- Only 1 Negative
I'm a true believer in starting with the positive before bringing out the criticism, but the first impression with coffee is the smell. Let's face it, it's that smell of fresh brewed coffee that draws a person into the kitchen in the morning. And since smell is the first impression, I'll have to start with a negative--sort of. It does NOT have an offensive smell. Honestly, it doesn't have much of a smell at all. And for me, that's the negative. I looooove the smell of coffee in the morning. But no smell is better than an offensive one, wouldn't you agree?)
Looks just like coffee--and that certainly helps the brain if one is transitioning from the real thing to some sort of substitute.
And isn't this the most important part? I've never had a fig (I don't think) but I have had dates and prunes (neither being something I enjoy)--so I had my apprehensions. Nope, doesn't remind me of either of these, at all---thank goodness! Actually, it's pretty good. It's smooth. It's not strong. It's not bitter. It might even resemble coffee a bit. I read a review or two that said there was sediment at the bottom of the cup. None here; not one spec.
More to Come
I don't know if this will relieve and replace the "I NEED my caffeine" that so many have. Please share and comment on your experience. I'll update my experiences here as well.
Since I do like the smell of coffee and am not ready to give it up completely, I think I'll try making it half and half tomorrow morning. *(I'll update this post next week to let you know what I tried and what worked and/or didn't work.)
Will I buy it again? Absolutely. I'm just not sure how I'll use it: make the complete transition, just use it as a first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) coffee, or diminish my coffee consumption by blending the two. Time will only tell.
Update, 2/10/2018: The second pot--I needed my caffeine back. I substituted 1/3 of the coffee I normally use with caffig....and I liked it! So that's how I've been making my coffee the rest of the week. I get that wonderful smell of fresh coffee in the kitchen and am not giving up that coffee taste. If I needed to work on eliminating coffee, I can see how I could keep gradually increasing the coffee replacement and decreasing coffee. But for now, my current goal is decreasing coffee and caffeine (not totally eliminating it).
*When I first posted this, I was able to buy just one bag of Coffig on Amazon. Someone told me the link wasn't working. The single bag wasn't available any more, but it's available in 3 bags.
For more products I use to meet my gluten-free and fragrance-free needs, click here.
I scrolled through my phone, as I do in the morning, still under my warm covers, trying to talk myself into getting up and going.
BAM! Party City ad was everywhere. Have you seen it? (What ad?---info at bottom.)
As it should for anyone who cares about kids (food allergy, sensitivity, intolerance, disease aside) it pissed me off -- in a big way. Every adjective has been used in post after post, and rightfully so. We work hard to prevent bullying, to support those who may be different in some way (and to educate that we are ALL different in some way) and in comes this short ad and crushes our kids who need to be gluten free.
This amazing community and it's outspokeneness (no, I know that is not a word) has made an impact. The ad was removed. An apology was made along with a promise to make a donation to celiac research. (If we could only make such an impact on hospitals that poison their patients who require special diets with their inability to feed them safely. Why is this so difficult?! Sorry, I'll get back to the topic at hand....)
Honestly, I don't know how that ad got so far as to be aired to begin with, but it did. (and no, the apology and donation does not make it OK....not implying that here. But voices were heard.)
Me being me and trying to be optimistic, which is not always easy, and often follows a period of battle first, wants to see what good can follow. My experience shows it's possible: a lifetime of un-diagnosed celiac led to advocating for education and awareness. Health answers led to the end of a twenty year marriage but led me back to school to a career I love (first) and to a wonderful man, my husband, I would never have met otherwise (second). Hell, I even fought to focus on the smallest rays of light on the darkest days of my life, when my son was battling recovery from a severe TBI after a horrible car accident. So no, I don't speak lightly when I say, "Maybe something good can come from this."
*(My husband is FIRST before my job; I went back to school first and met him second. whew....needed to clear that up!)
I am not saying, "Oh, they apologized, so it's OK now." Far from it. But good CAN come from this. It does often take something big (and negative) to make positive change. Let's use it to propel us towards impacting GOOD ways to help boys and girls who require special diets.
(Wouldn't it be great for ads and scenes in programs to spring from this that would never have been before the energy that came from the community in response to this ad?---educational, supportive kinds of ads and scenes....? Maybe I'm wearing rose-colored glasses... but I'm always hopeful.)
I ask that any responses to my post include ways we can make a difference, those ways you've made a difference, ways we can all make a difference. Yes, we have a right (and reason) to get angry. But that anger does no good unless it propels positive change.
I created the presentation below and ask you to share, share, share (and highlight slide #8, approximately 2 minutes 45 seconds in.) THIS is what I'm about, and what we all need to focus on and fight for!
Free of Gluten, Not Free of Feelings:
The most information about the Party City ad is available on Gluten Dude's site.
Thank you to him for his advocacy!
This is what was said in the ad. Seriously!
(Scene: Two women talking over a table of food, addressing separate side table with plate of food. "What's that?" 'Gluten free...'
"Do we even know people that are like that?"
to help family and friends understand
The Emotional Side of Dietary Differences.
When I was diagnosed, finally, in September of 2000, smack-dab in the middle of my 40th year of life, I was ecstatic to get that answer. I was being seen by a specialist where an osteoporosis-celiac study just happened to be taking place. Celiac?-what's that? Like most others back then, I had never heard of it (or gluten, for that matter). My blood was drawn and I was told it would take a couple weeks for the lab work to be complete. Two (or was it three) days later, I got a call at work (no cell phone for me back then).
I remember standing in the office of the school where I worked, hearing those words from the nurse, “You have celiac.” I was SO happy—beyond happy. “I thought it would take a couple weeks for results,” I asked. “Your numbers were so high that the results were very clear,” she answered. “But you will still need a biopsy to complete the testing.”
I knew what this diagnosis meant (or thought I knew); I’d have to change my diet to gluten free. But that was OK; I had an ANSWER! “This is wonderful!” I said, nearly jumping up and down with joy. I’m sure my emotions were clear even through the phone line—but then I was confused. The nurse responded solemnly (like she was reporting that I had cancer or something similar), “No--you have celiac.”
Celiac is not a death sentence. This diagnosis meant another chance at life—at living! Gluten free? Pffffft… piece of cake! I had an answer---finally! But I was told not to change anything about my diet just yet, not until after the intestinal biopsy.
Gluten Free – Here I Come
I started my gluten-free journey on a high note---that “I have an answer” high that I didn’t think anything could bring me down from. Ooops, was I wrong.
A Video Presentation
No sense in wasting your time.
and my hope is that your family and friends
will see you more clearly through the message it sends.
Gluten Free Respect on Facebook
I like that part of the roller coaster where it just ---coasts.
First, there was the 40 years of undiagnosed celiac.
As we know, and as I've shared about myself, it takes a toll (and certainly took its toll on me!)
Then there was the healing that followed. And part of that healing has been a constant state of unsettledness (nope, not a word, but I'm using it anyway---because I like it.)
Health issues = stress
My life has been an up and down roller coaster between those last three major life stress causers since I was diagnosed with celiac in 2000. And through this, I have moved six times in the past twelve years. (well, more than this if you count work.)
*I've learned so much about myself through this....That I can keep chugging along and do what needs to be done. I've been able to maintain a positiveness about it. Have I stayed on track 100% of the time? NOPE! 90% of the time? Nope! There have been times when I've derailed, but I've worked through and worked on, trying to maintain focus on what's important.
Two years after my diagnosis (in 2000) and A-Mazing health improvements, my twenty year marriage ended. Three years later I moved out of the house I raised my kids in (because I didn't want all the work of that 135 year old house). I moved into a new house so I could focus on life (going back to school, starting a new career, etc).
But during those months, I met Steve (in 2005) and ended up living in that new house for only 2 years or so. We got engaged and my son and I eventually moved in with him. We got married, sold my house and made plans to build our "together home."
One year later, with our new house almost ready, his house sold, and .... we had to move into an apartment, putting most of our stuff into storage (because our new home was only "almost" ready.)
We lived in that apartment for the summer of 2009 and moved into our new home that September.
Time to Downsize
Finally sold that house this past spring..... back into an apartment and storage (because we wanted to take our time looking for that house that was just right.)
A Home for Thanksgiving (even if it won't be all put together)
We will have twenty (ish) in the house Thursday and I can't wait. I just have the turkey and stuffing, and mashed potatoes and gravy to make. I made the rolls and a variety of mini cupcakes a couple weeks ago. (they're in the freezer). Everyone is bringing a dish (or two), so the rest is covered. (and it will all be gluten free.)
It feels so good to be finally settled (even with the mess): marriage, job, and HOME!
(Moving is a true test of marriage! The fact that we're both still living after these past few days and all these moves is definitely a good sign! If we haven't killed each other by now I guess we'll stick it out together :)
Now I just need to get back to unpacking.... (after another cup of coffee maybe--and a few more games on my phone. My feet are enjoying being up for a while.)
Helping Others Understand
A Child's Life Changed
Before And After Pictures
Gf Wedding Recipes
Gluten Free A Life Changed
Gluten Free Recipes
The Emotional Side Of Dietary Differences
The Syrup Maze
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This does not affect your price, it only means that I am minimally compensated when you purchase through the links provided.