As the year rolls to a close, I'm enjoying time with grandkids ('grammie, we always have sleep overs at your house - you need to stay here tonight!'), the square dance calling, de-thugging more of my clutter, Holiday Harp gigs ...
Tomorrow my Bodacious Babes Red Hat group travels to one of our favorite local tea rooms, & I'll again make GF scones, this time for myself & one of my gal friends, who's been GF about 2 months now! I intend to use the recipe I used for macaroons for a dessert buffet, reducing the sugar a bit more. I adapted a 'normal' (non-GF) recipe:
1/2 C basic GF mix, 1/4 C sorghum flour, 1/4 C coconut flour
1/2 C Spectrum OG Palm oil shortening (for butter)
1/2 C coconut sugar (only used 1/2 C sugar, prob cut to 1/3 C for the scones)
1 T ground flax/chia seed mixed w/ @ Tbsp coconut milk (for egg)
My daughter just got a box of Montina, so I'll add a couple of Tbps of that as well GF RN suggests using a small amount to boost the nutrition in recipes.
& I've been reflecting on the changes I've seen in myself & my family over the last 18 months of being gluten free. In the summer of 2009, my daughter sent DNA samples off to TX for the genetic testing, & both she & her girls had two genes for sensitivity (her husband had one sensitivity, one celiac gene) Since they lived next door, & I felt it would be easier on my grandkids if grammy was also GF, I stopped eating wheat, rye, barley & any products I knew or suspected contained them at the same time.
Having been interested in health all of my adult life, this is one of the best things I've ever done for myself! Cousins remember that I wouldn't let my kids eat 'refined sugar' at family outings, & my pie crust was always whole wheat pastry flour ... oops!!
Gluten Free RN comments "Celiac disease is associated with over 300 signs and symptoms. The reason the problems are so diverse, is that complications are a manifestation of four causes. This is what makes celiac disease and gluten intolerance extremely tricky to recognize."
1) the body recognizes gluten as a pathogen & responds with inflammation
2) chronic inflammation causes T cell dysfunction
3) chronic inflammation causes an auto-immune reaction
4) celiac or gluten sensitivity can cause malabsorption or malnutrition symptoms
So what have I noticed personally over the last 18 months of being Gluten Free?
* lost 20# & my post menopause 'tummy'/ feel more like my 30-something self than 60!
* my scalp no longer itches! My mom used think it was lice, as I ALWAYS scratched my head. (I'm careful to use GF skin products, vitamins, etc)
* very little gas
* rarely need a nap (though I still enjoy one occasionally)
I'd usually eat bread at Breitenbush when I lived there, often a second slice with a bit of honey & butter; & remember struggling to stay awake doing that first massage after lunch - warm room, sleepy sleepy ....
when filling-in these days, I always choose the 'special diet' (gluten, dairy & egg free) & same warm room, but no problem staying awake!
* slight numbness in my hands some morning - that was becoming common, is reversing. My X's older sisters who've been ID as having celiac had Raynaud's (extremely cold hands & feet) years ago - which is now seen to be a sign of gluten sensitivity or celiac.
* mental clarity
* looking for the right word - ambition is almost right - I'm more enthused to clear clutter & keep a neater house!
* my main seed is quinoa - love that!! (it's in the beet family, so a seed rather than grain) Cooks in ~ 20 minutes, I usually add 1 T teff & 1 T amaranth to 1/2 C, cook with ~ 1 1/2 C water/stock or coconut milk - mmm.
I tend to cook it plain, then can add spices when I reheat - often have ~ 1/3 C mixed in with cooked veggies (or stuffed in pumpkin - yum!), take it in my tiffin, etc.
I used to eat a lot more rice, but tend to limit that now, so I don't overuse it. Rice cakes & crackers are a good option for when I'm out & about, & I use a basic mix that has rice flour. A major difference I notice is I'm less hungry eating less grain! We think of grains as 'fillers' - but I actually ate more of everything - perhaps that malabsorption bit GF RN mentions; the body craves more because it's actually starved for nutrients! Where I could easily eat a couple of pieces of bread, or a bit of every desert, it's now fairly simple to fill my plate (medium, not huge) or eat half of a restaurant meal; & only a piece of GF desert. It's not because it's not good - far from it! I've had some of the best deserts I can imagine that are GF! I'm just not as hungry!
* I take a multi-vitamin/mineral, Vitamin D-3 (5000iu in winter), magnesium (important for >300 biochemical functions in the body; I take 700 mg - some is from my multi) fish oil or chia seed, lithium ('think young into your 90s with this anti-aging secret for your brain'), sub-lingual or liquid Vitamin B-12 (absorbs in the gut rather than stomach, & is often low if you're Gluten sensitive), digestive bitters (1/2 tsp before meals), & coconut milk kefir (probiotics)
* My 10 year old granddaughter did go off her anti-seizure meds over the summer. She is doing well (though we still need to watch her); she also raised from level 12 to level 22 in her Spanish reading this fall! (the family Dyslexia is probably gluten related)
This week my niece commented she'd mentioned my granddaughter's progress at a party, & later one of the men took her aside & told her his 19 year old son recently had a seizure while driving - he & mom were OK, but the car was totaled when he seized while driving! They had no idea he'd been having seizures, & the dad said the boy could 'eat a loaf of bread or half a cake' at a sitting, so after hearing about my granddaughter, they planned to ask the Doctor to check for gluten issues! I warned her that the Doc might not know much about gluten sensitivity, & they may need to look into it on their own!
* My 5 year old granddaughter is much calmer, happier, & more alert. While she may get feisty, she rarely has the flares she did while eating gluten. Her little hands are smooth & soft as long as she avoids wheat flour play dough & soaps with a lot of chemicals/ gluten. & did I mention happier?? Her playschool teacher commented several times what a difference it made for her 'she just WOKE UP!'
* My daughter is seeing a new doctor who is working on healing her 'leaky gut' & helping her safely reduce/discontinue her anti-depressant. Her last blood work showed sensitivities to more foods (whey, so no yogurt/milk; hard cheeses are OK) egg whites (mildly sensitive) as well as yolks; & cane sugar (another grass, like wheat, rye & barley) among others.
She's been anxiety free since the first week GF, but has been taking the anti-depressant for a number of years. He's recommended a good digestive enzyme, & an amino acid supplement. She's pregnant, so he & her midwife want to avoid postpartum depression, so are being very careful! For protein, she's adding ground pumpkin seed into smoothies. I recently got some hemp seeds which are great on salads, & always roast the seeds of the pumpkins & squash I'm baking this season.
Her European doctor (primary care) is a proponent of limiting animal proteins, fish being the only meat he recommends. He also recommends NONE of his clients eat gluten containing products in America, tho when his family visits Europe, they eat bread & pastas. Dr Radzik's concerned about the GMOs & other American farming practices, feeling we'd ALL be better off avoiding wheat.
So if you've wondered if YOU might be gluten sensitive, now's the time to check it out for yourself - have the Genetic testing, or simply go gluten free for a few weeks & see how you feal! (it takes much longer for the body to heal, but you will probably notice some changes over the first weeks) & if you've been GF, & slipped, don't beat yourself up, just go GF again!
Here's to a wonderful GLUTEN FREE holiday!