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  • Understanding Celiac Disease: Diagnosis, Symptoms & Solutions




    Understanding Celiac Disease: Diagnosis, Symptoms & Solutions

    Understanding Celiac Disease: Diagnosis, Symptoms & Solutions

    - by Christy Mills

    You never really know how rotten you feel until you are healthy.

    This was my experience in the fall of 2007, when I started to become very ill. There were so many changes happening in my life at that time. Our family had decided to move from the city to an acreage. It was a huge step as neither my husband or I had ever been “country” people. My grandfather died. My oldest had just started his second year of playschool. It was a time of transition, which creates stress on the body.

    It all started with a cold that never really went away…

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    Tami Groth’s Transition to Better Health




    healing with green smoothiesWhen I started the 3 day challenge centered around International Green Smoothie Day, I did it as a fun way to celebrate something that has already made a big difference in my health AND my attitude toward food. As I read, replied to the emails, and talked to my friends and family about the challenge I began to realize it was so much more than just a celebration. Instead, it was an ideally timed beginning to the next step on my healing journey.

    Earlier this week my husband was looking at me smiling (he seems to do that a lot lately), and when I questioned him he said, “it’s just so good to see you actually excited about food.”
    See, ever since my pregnancy with my now 3-year-old I have not had a good relationship with food. Everything made me ill while pregnant (homeopathy finally brought me some relief). I had an emergency appendectomy when I was 24 weeks pregnant, and then just when I was hoping things would truly be better I had my gall bladder removed 3 months after my daughter was born (the birth itself was wonderful). Then normal post-partum fatigue and new mom brain fog morphed into true PPD, and then that led a fuzzy line to what later was referred to as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
    I kept trying to exercise my way out of the depression and fog like I had years earlier when my 2nd daughter died. (I completed a marathon the year after Emily died. It took me over 6 hours, but I completed it.) This time I could barely function for days after spending a day shopping with my eldest daughter. Alternative therapies helped me out of the PPD, but now I was just depressed about my health while still putting all of my energy into my wonderful family.
    Removing possible allergens from my diet also helped a great deal and I was given enough hope to return to my work as a technical writer and web editor. However a swing of feeling a bit better and then facing more physical fibromyalgia symptoms caused me to spend both time and money on additional Integrative Therapy appointments, including weekly acupuncture for months.
    eating rightAt one point my doctor had me in tears as she told me I would just need to learn to live with my new reality. When I didn’t want to accept this, my doctor’s answer was to send me to a therapist. All of this clarified that I needed to take control of my own health. I read and very carefully tried things (supplements had sent me into a downward spiral too many times), and with every thing I tried I believed more and more that the answer, or at least a big part of it, was in food.

    I had been limiting my food based on various allergy tests or elimination diets for over two years, and yet it wasn’t until I had to make my way through my daughter’s health challenges, resulting in a Celiac diagnosis, did things begin to clarify. By the time I met with a GI specialist for myself I knew more about the Celiac research than she did and yet I couldn’t get the appropriate tests ordered because my initial blood tests, known by researchers to be flawed, were negative. That appointment left me confident in making my own decision about avoiding gluten. I didn’t need a prescription to change my diet!

    Since going completely gluten free my physical symptoms, particularly the digestive ones, have abated enough that I’m confident in diagnosing myself with gluten intolerance that was affecting multiple body organs (Celiac or not). But again my diet was all about what I was avoiding rather than enjoying what I was eating. Eating anywhere but home, was torture, and eating at home was either a continued chore or a challenge to see what I could indulge in and yet remain gluten free. And I continued to be frustrated as our diet became more and more whole foods, and yet I seemed to be gaining weight.

    In the midst of the journey to my daughter’s Celiac diagnosis was when I discovered Green Smoothies. Between long days at the Mayo Clinic and reading all of that research I began to discover the joy of something that feeds both the body and the soul.

    I fell in love with a kelly green and icy cool concoction of frozen pineapple, mango and spinach. I made it once or twice a week and rarely varied it. Then I read a few more Green Smoothie testimonials online and went ahead and ordered Victoria Boutenko’s book, Green for Life. It inspired me to experiment and primed me to fall in love with the greens that would come in our CSA box in June. And fall in love I did as my husband watched me dance around the kitchen exclaiming how gorgeous the chard is!

    I should pause here to let you know that prior to this summer I had tried (cooked) chard once or twice, but would have been very nervous identifying it if put on the spot at the store. I ate lots of lettuce and spinach, but that’s it.

    green smoothieIt’s no wonder my body feels so nourished with all the greens I have have eaten in my smoothies this summer — dandelion greens, several chard varieties, kale, beet greens, and a new favorite — carrot tops. Next week our CSA farm promised me some edible weeds too.

    As good as I felt I always felt a bit like being on the verge of so much more. I know some transitions are slow, but transitioning to raw food over two years as some books talk about simply won’t work for my body that has been so damaged from both physical and emotional illnesses. I needed and need radical changes. I’ve started to do this as I’ve moved toward a primarily raw food diet over the last six weeks. I’ve been doing it alone, or rather with my books, until I participated in the International Green Smoothie Day Challenge! [And then went on to participate in the Raw Diva forums, the Green Smoothie blog, and soon the Body Enlightenment System that I won as part of the challenge.]
    Thank you Raw Divas — and thank you to anyone that has promoted Green Smoothies and health through raw food –
    You can contact me, and please do, at
    **Celery hugs and parsley smooches **


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