Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice

Ah, the sun!!
Our spring/early summer has had rather chancy weather - rain, cloudy skies, low temperatures. A few weeks ago I played harp at our Farmer's Market & by the end of the day my fingers were quite chilly.

Today I had fun playing harp at a Summer Solstice Wedding (the second weekday wedding this year!) with a lovely 'cast of characters' - the bride & groom are actors in NY city, & had brought friends & family in from around the country! Several actors & a soprano with the Met. Opera blessed us with readings & music.

10 or so years ago, a friend's daughter got married on a riverbank, & they had received a wind chime as a present. The minister blessed the chime, & told the couple that if they were experiencing difficulties, to listen for the chime, & think of all the people who had gathered for the wedding, & were supporting their union. As he spoke, the wind 'riffled' the harp strings!

I later told the bride & groom about that, & make a point of sharing that story with other couples, when that happens at their wedding. Today was a wind harp day, & the bride, wearing a family heirloom wedding dress, put her hand to her heart as I shared the blessing of wind (her husband is part Chokta & Cherokee, & I'd played the Native American flute as they spoke a Cherokee prayer)

On the weekend our Sq. Dance club was in another parade, & I found it easier to dance on the float, & to know when I was with the 'wrong' partner (just keep dancing!!) . . . I wasn't dancing when we went down the hill (I'd heard about that! Hard enough to keep your footing on a moving float!)
The week before, we'd done a 'visitation & camp out' at the ocean. It was a LOVELY weekend - sunny & over 70* - which is great for the Oregon Coast. We danced Sat PM & Sunday afternoon at the Toledo 49rs BD (or anniversary) dance, GNO got up to call a tip, & we got lots of compliments, & a bunch of dancers on the floor.
At one point, our caller was up on stage with the Host caller - one of the gals from GNO was in my square, & warned me it was a 'Plus' tip, & I realized that when she met me, I'd just begun going to dances, & got lost a LOT! I assured her I'd 'graduated' from the plus lessons, though I hadn't danced it much. I didn't get all the calls - but at this point, I usually don't get lost unless the whole square is breaking down!

At the Parade, Leonard gave one of the teens a 'purple heart' for being in a square with 3 callers - I was in the square, too, so actually four callers! Though I'm only doing the group calls at present! AND both Jackie & I got up on the stage for the last call with all the callers present! It's hard to believe Girls Night Out only began rehearsing in April!

This weekend I have another trip to the beach, this time with my 'Mom's Group,' then GNO will be calling a 'tip' at a dance in Salem Sat evening (so I'm heading over Thur with the 'advance' group.)

I won a Gluten Free goodie bag from a Facebook Group: G Free Foodie - fun hat, & some 'gormet marshmallows' (without HF cornsyrup!) I like the concept of 'foodie' emphasis - we really DO enjoy eating & food!! Just not the gluten . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gluten Freedom

It's been close to a year now that our 'family' has been gluten free! Today my oldest granddaughter is in for her 'sleep deprived EEG' to see if she can go off her seizure meds!! Her 'mild seizure disorder' was one of the reasons we looked into the genetics, to see if we were prone to gluten sensitivity - yes; we had the genes!
One of our friends brought her 'gluten sensitive' family tree to the local GIG meeting Saturday, showing which members have which combo of genes, her husband's a geneticist, & predicted which combo some would have, from the others in their direct line.

It would be nice to do that for our family. I'm an only child, but have a number of cousins who display symptoms of gluten issues. My X husband (my son's dad) has a niece & nephew who've gone gluten free, two of his sisters have been diagnosed with celiac Disease. He, his third sister, a niece, nephew, & his two sons haven't gone gluten free or been tested (tho he finds he feels better eating fewer grains in general)

His younger son (15) has a genetic liver disorder, & received a transplant several years ago - was it the double whammy of TWO genetic disorders that made his liver condition so severe? Bread & cottage cheese were two favorite foods, & he often just doesn't feel good. He's MUCH better since the transplant, for which everyone is grateful!

Our 36 yr old son & his family have a number of health issues that seem to be gluten related. A few weeks ago, my youngest granddaughter stayed overnight with her Uncle & cousins, my daughter & I picked her up in the morning. Uncle Josh had given Kayleen a zip lock bag full of cereal for the trip home - which he had checked, & was wheat free - but each cereal was sweetened with Malt - barley malt - so not gluten free!!
Here's a list off gluten free & 'dangerous' grains it IS tricky to figure out!!

His 6 year old gets BAD 'poison oak' that their allergist was surprised at 'I've never heard of someone getting poison oak when they just visit a house where it is, but aren't out in it themselves . . . ' (duh!! I've known a number of folks who experience that!!) & doesn't sound like he has a clue there's a relationship between skin issues & gluten sensitivity . . .they've decided to try minimal gluten, esp with her, & see if it helps!! I sure hope it does . . . & so glad they're looking into it!

Anyone have chronic pain? This site has a wealth of info for pets & their humans!

A month ago, one of my co-workers challenged our new office manager to go gluten free for a week, & see if it made any difference in her energy levels, etc.
She took the challenge! & has been loosing weight (wasn't heavy, but wasn't her ideal weight), has fewer headaches, & is much clearer mentally after lunch.
She's had several 'oh ooh's - the blue cheese (not a gluten 'safe' one) dressing at our local natural foods deli; a 'green salad with no bread' that came compete with croutons! (she picked them off - as she was already back at the office before discovering them), a 'normal' brownie on the weekend.
Like us, each time she gets some gluten, she feels bloated, gets an instant headache, & says 'was that worth it?' . . . no! & is a gluten for information - she's doing great, looking great.
She had extremely low Vit D levels when she joined our office in Jan, & I recently read that's another symptom of gluten issues - fats aren't properly metabolized, so fat soluble vitamins aren't properly metabolized or absorbed . . . she's been on a high vit D supplement, so that's probably one of the reasons she's loosing weight! (this link was on my favorite FB group - Coeliac Disease - not just a food preference!')
This morning, CD. . . posted on correlations between Vitamin B-12 deficiency & celiac or gluten sensitivity. This is a great little form - you can fill in blanks on the questionnaire, & see if you are likely low in B-12.
~ 25 years ago, I had bursitis in one shoulder, triggered by overuse with a new massage stroke. In one of his books on nutritional therapy, Dr Jon Wright suggested both B-12 (usually shots!) & Vit C. Around that time, I discovered sublingual B-12 supplements & began taking them (the bursitis corrected in ~ 5 -6 months) .
Since B-12 is absorbed in the intestines rather than the stomach, levels don't increase with 'normal' supplements - hence 'under the tongue' (sublingual) or injections are most efficient ways to increase the levels . . . & since gluten issues involve the gut, & often signal poor nutrient absorption, it makes sense this is a vitamin we'd be low in.

Meanwhile, a group of my friends are planning our annual beach trip in a few weeks, & I've been torn . . . do I risk going along, & them trying, but not really understanding gluten free? One commented "we can live without that 'nasty gluten' for a weekend" - (& with their range of aches, pains, & health issues they might even feel better for it!)

But I think of the 'nice dinner' one of the 'most supportive' friends preped for her hubby & me last month. I'd played at a wedding in their area, & was invited to their house afterwards. She cut up veggies & put in a roast. Made a big green salad. Pulled out the tin of bake yourself (wheat) rolls, & realized the roast wasn't 'done' enough to take out of the oven before she needed to put them in. . . . she probably 'always' made rolls with roast, & thought her hubby wouldn't be happy if she didn't! Did she ASK him? (he wasn't home yet, but has a cell phone, & is well aware I'm avoiding gluten) . . .
No . . .
So she covered the roast with foil, & put the rolls in, serving them (on the other side of the table) with dinner.

Was I terribly sick? I think I took my digestive enzymes & experienced - the usual 'little bit of bloating & gas' . . . they ate the package of rolls between them. It was a lovely roast, but was making rolls necessary?? She carefully watches her own diet - is diabetic & has asthma - mmm, yes, both can be symptoms of gluten issues, & her hubby has digestive issues, they both are heavier than they want to be. . .

Meanwhile, Girls Night Out will do a 'tip' at a dance in Salem that Sat., so I have a great excuse NOT to go on the beach trip. I could go 'early' (Thur/Fri), as some of them are; & it sounds like they want to make an effort to accommodate my needs.

What would you do?