What does the scale mean to YOU?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some of us, particularly those who suffer from "disordered eating" - which can be anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive eaters, etc - are chained to it, slaves to it. We weigh ourselves daily, sometimes more than once a day. But what does that little number MEAN anyway?

First, watch this video.

See? See what that number means? As Shan says, it means "JACK!" Nothing. Stop being a slave to the number. Now it's time for some "detoxifying"...
:) *evil grin*

Whaddya say? Are YOU up for it? Ready to say goodbye to your scale FOREVER? Instead, ask yourself THESE questions:
  • Do I have ENERGY?
  • Do I fit in my clothes comfortably?
  • Do I have a zest for life?
  • Do I sleep well?
  • Do I just feel great?

The answer to these questions cannot be found on the dial of your scale. No matter how hard you look, how long to stare at the number, or how many times you ask the scale, it will never tell you the answers. Stop asking it. Start respecting your body by feeding it fresh healthy food, then trust it to give you those answers instead.


Not a great choice: Mentos...made with wheat?!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's not very often that I would buy honest-to-goodness candy for myself. In fact, I can honestly say that I haven't bought myself candy in over a year. But that tube of Mentos at the cash CALLED me...in a way I cannot describe. It called for a vestige of my old life. So I bought them. I had a few...they were okay. That was a while ago. I can't say I remember anything crazy, to be honest, so that's a very good thing: the violent reaction that some people with celiac describe when they've been "glutened" does not apply to me (if indeed I have Celiac- jury's still out on that one). I popped one in my mouth again today at work, then took a look at the ingredient list. D'oh. Wheat. What the heck??? Why would there be wheat flour in a mint? Where is the justice in this world?? Sigh. Anyways, I doubt it was that, because aside from the usual ebb and flow of my guts (which are prone to...not working well) I hadn't noticed anything peculiar the last time, but I am currently suffering with a feeling of hot discomfort right in my stomach and a terrible wave of nausea. Yuck. Whatever it was, I wish I hadn't eaten it...


Surprise! An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and biopsy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Got a call two days ago to take the spot of a cancellation at the gastroenterologist for a small bowel biopsy via an Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy. I've mentioned this before, but let's recap: this is where the doc sticks a long tube down your throat that has a camera, a tissue clipper thing, and an air hose all in it (I think). He or she goes down the esophagus, through the stomach and then into the duodenum which is the beginning of the small intestine to retrieve 3 or 4 biopsy samples. Now, while the idea of the giant tube down my throat did not thrill me, having the final "say" on the matter would be awesome.
So hubby drove me there this morning for my appointment time of 9am. Turns out I was supposed to be there at 8:20. Who knew? Certainly not ME folks...I was never told. In any event, after dealing with the attitude, I got all stripped and gowned, which I'm told is only supposed to be the case when they getcha from the other end, but whatever. So I go without hubby (which was SO not the plan) into this other waiting room with other gown-ees.

A nurse comes in almost immediately to explain the procedure to me. She brings me to her station, and with this little plastic see through doo dad (like a sign with a cross-section of a person and a big hole where she can jam a chain down inside to show you how it happens) she explains the procedure. She tells me that they'll freeze my throat, which may cause me to panic because it feels swollen, but it's not. I'm fine. I just have to remember to breathe. Then when he gets the tube to a certain point, he's going to ask me to swallow it. That's the last time I'm allowed to swallow because if I try to swallow with the tube in there, I'll gag, everything will close up and he won't be able to see. So I'm supposed to just drool all over the place. It's okay. Don't worry about my pride.

Then she tells me that because the stomach (which he has to pass through) is full of ridges and stuff, they are going to inflate it with air so they can get through easily. This means I will probably burp lots. You can see that between the gown and hospital booties, the burping and drooling, I am one HOT mama. So as she's concluding I say "are you going to give me my drugs?" and she looks surprised. She says "well, I'd say 98% of those who have this done don't have sedation because it only takes two minutes." I just have to focus on breathing deeply and it'll be all over in two minutes. I look her square in the face and say "I had natural childbirth, but this thing freaks me out. So I want the drugs." So thankfully without any attitude, she puts a little port in my arm for the doc to put the meds in later.

Just as I'm about to bid her "adieu" I look to the left at the nurses' station where I see no other than my ex boyfriend from one summer between 1st and 2nd year university. That SAME ex boyfriend that my lawyer boss at the time sent a letter to on my behalf asking for him to stop acting crazy and leave me alone or we would file a restraining order on him. Yeah. It was NOT pretty, and just as I'm trying to find my happy place, that's what I see. I lean over and say to the nurse "There's a man over there- please don't turn your head- his name is X, and he and I have a history. I do NOT want him involved in any way." She says "No problem. He won't be."

Anyways, I go back to the waiting room where I am in perfect line of sight for him (stupid place to sit) and now I'm right freakin' out. I am trying to remind myself that I am no longer that scared 18 year old girl and that it's been a long time...chances are he's given his head a shake and no longer tries to restrain his girlfriend from leaving when he's not done arguing, or leaves psychotic messages on her phone. But I'm having a hard time. Finally another nurse comes and takes me to "the room" where I lie down on my left side and she gives me the spray in my throat- twice. I swallow it down and it begins to take effect. All the adrenaline from seeing X and the worry about the procedure has me choking back tears in seconds and the Doc (who's kinda like my dad, with silly jokes and a big warm hand on yours when you're wigging out) comes in and says "Gee, I haven't even done anything to you yet and you're already crying! You REALLY don't like me do you???" then the nurse says "I left her ten seconds ago and she was fine, you walk into the room and look what you did!!" Anyways, about a millisecond later I requested a lot of drugs and he happily obliged. From that point forward, I remember vaguely gagging once, and I remember him pulling the tube out and me being full of spit at that point. That's about it.  Get the drugs- don't be a hero. No one wants to remember any of that.

So I met with him after and he had no thoughts re: the outcome. He did mention AGAIN that because I was already on a gluten free diet, one never knows, but hey, it was worth a shot. All I can hope for is I either have THE best looking small intestine on the planet, or it's wrecked beyond recognition. That way, I can be sure one way or the other. If he says it's inconclusive...bah. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So that was my big excitement for the day. Hope everyone is well. Big weekend coming up around here so chances are not great I'll be around, but I'll try.

Ta ta for now.

Recipe and recipe book review: Smart School Time Recipes

Sunday, October 17, 2010

As I mentioned previously, I contributed to a free downloadable recipe book written and coordinated by Alisa Flemming of Go Dairy Free (http://www.godairyfree.org/). I've finally acquired the ingredients to make some of the recipes so I went on a little bit of a blitz and made three this week. Here are some details...

Breakfast Bars from Elena's Pantry (http://www.elanaspantry.com)/
Elana- these were AH-MA-ZING!! Crunchy and sweet, but POWER PACKED with protein, omega 3, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron, etc. The only amendment I made to the recipe was to sub walnuts for almond slivers (just didn't have them) and they were still awesome. My son thinks these are dessert...  I think next time I make them I might decrease the amount of Agave however; I don't actually find they need that much sweet.

Maple Cinnamon Glazed Almonds from Hanna at Bittersweet  (http://bittersweetblog.wordpress.com)
Okay, I doubled the recipe on this because I actually buy maple glazed almonds and they're expensive- I knew I'd like them. And I do. Lots. I do have some notes however from this experience: too much maple syrup and too much cinnamon. I used 1.5TB of cinnamon for a double batch and it was just too much. I'll stick to 1/2 TB per cup of almonds next time. Also, they were swimming in syrup when I poured them onto the parchment paper which meant they didn't crisp up easily. They didn't crisp up much at all, actually. They were kind of boiling... But the flavour is still AWESOME so next time, I'll add only enough to coat them.

Gluten-Free Morning Glory muffins from Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake (http://www.sheletthemeatcake.com/).

I am the first one to declare that muffins are "morning cake": a cleverly marketed CAKE that we have all accepted we should eat for breakfast. Dunno when that happened, but that was a bad idea. Eating something loaded with sugar and refined flours leads to a big blood sugar rush, a big insulin spike, (a spare tire!) and a 10am energy crash. However these are made of almond and quinoa flours, plus plus plus all kinds of goodness. They are LOVELY though putting giant raisins in them may have impacted on how well they stayed together. I think next time I might skip the raisins and stick to the core ingredients. :)

The best part of this "recipe book review" is that you can easily download a free copy for yourself. I would highly advise you to do that. Oh, I also made a banana/peanut butter smoothie that was to die for...check it out!!


Leftover turkey recipe: gluten free, dairy free enchiladas!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I SO wish I had a picture to share with you. To be honest, I thought this dinner would be a gigantic BOMB- especially with the kids- but it actually got "two thumbs up" from Mr. Pick-it-up, so I'd say that was a success! Anyways, I never took a picture because I didn't figure it'd work out, but you'll just have to use your imagination. I'm afraid I don't have a clear idea of the amount of ingredients I used either, so bare with me.

Leftover turkey makeover: GF, CF enchiladas!

chopped leftover turkey (I think I used about 2 cups)
1 TB oil (coconut, grapeseed, etc.)
1/2 large sweet onion
chopped green and red peppers (we didn't have any, but I feel like that's what was missing)
1/2 TB ground cumin
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 c frozen corn
1 package (6) gluten free rice tortilla shells
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salsa or drained canned tomatoes (I used salsa for the spice-lovers, but tomatoes for the kiddies)
1 cup Daiya "cheese" (or whatever dairy-free alternative you enjoy)

Chop the onions and peppers and sauté in a frying pan with a little oil and the cumin. When the onions are browning, add the chopped turkey and maybe another sprinkle of cumin. Add the lime juice. Stir it around, then add in the frozen corn. Stir again, then cover and remove from heat.

Next, prep your pan by putting a little salsa or drained canned tomatoes in the bottom of a glass baking dish (mine was "lasagna sized"). You just want enough to cover the glass so it won't all stick.

Dump the kidney beans in a food processor and grind until smooth. Lay out the tortillas and smear a big blob of the beans on each tortilla.

Now portion out the chicken and veggie mix into each tortilla. Tuck the sides in on the tortillas, then roll them up and place them in the glass dish in a row. Put more salsa and the Daiya on top, then cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes covered, then remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese is bubbly and melted (mine was another 20 minutes- then the tortillas were a bit crunchy on the edges too- YUM).

And voila. Delicious. :)
Anyone have any other "leftover turkey" recipes they'd like to share?

Eating disorder freedom

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Once upon a time, I was not very kind to my body. I starved it, binged and purged, created strange binding rituals around when, where and how often I could eat, and totally beat myself up if I failed to adhere to them. I was lifeless, controlled by food, and could think of nothing else but how I was literally starving and desperate for real nutrition.

When I finally vocalized my silent cry for help, I began weekly "counselling sessions" in which my doctor (supposedly a specialist in the field) weighed me, listen to me talk about my obsession and the unattainable weight I wanted to reach (I still remember, I wanted to be 142 pounds- so random- and I am 5'11"), then she tried to help me find places to cut from so that I could reduce my weight further. I'm not kidding. You know how you have those pivotal moments in your life that you will never forget? Here was mine:

Dr "crazy": So what did you eat for breakfast?
Starving me: I had toast with peanut butter.
Dr "crazy": Well, how much peanut butter did you use?
Starving me: Um, I don't know. [lie]
Dr "crazy": Well, if you could reduce that from say, 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon, you could cut some of your fat intake.

Nope. Not kidding. I was literally starving myself and this woman, that my family had trusted to help me, was trying to find ways for me to cut calories and fat. She seemed completely oblivious to the private turmoil in my soul and instead seemed to really think this whole thing was actually about the food. What a maroon...

I decided that I had to make a choice: either I stay stuck in the cycle of starve, binge, purge, guilt and self-hatred, or I choose to break free. Now, I write that in a sentence, but that was a multi-year endeavour without any help. It was grueling, soul sapping and I was alone in that aspect of my life.  I am sharing this because for any of you who are going through this same battle or know someone who is, they don't have to go it alone.

My sister Shan has launched a mentoring program, as she felt the calling to help other women; she is now free from the hell of her own eating disorder. She has developed a clear, supported method to help women pull themselves out of the grasp of their eating disorders. Whether one of "her girls" has anorexia, bulimia or compulsive, disordered eating, she has the tools, the plans and real-life advice as to how to overcome it all. Best of all: you don't have to tread that path alone. Let her be your guide.

Shan has just launched her YouTube page which I've linked to below. If you are in the grips of this terrible illness, watch her video, sign up for updates and contact her. You'll be very glad you did.


The next phase

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So I had my follow up with the gastroenterologist (after a positively miserable weekend) and he would like to do a small-intestine biopsy. Truth be told, the chances of it coming back showing damage are slim to none, but hey, I'm up for giving it a whirl. Apparently I get some good drugs and the day off work while I recover from a very quick, but kind of yucky test, and for what it may answer, I say rave on.

But with our "free" healthcare, that test won't be until next year...

Until then, I'll just keep rocking as I am. Chin up, moving on.

Thanks for listening!

"Poor me" day

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I had a big, fat, ugly "poor me" day yesterday. I was again feeling ill—gut cramps, nausea and "other symptoms"; truth is, I haven't felt quite "right" since my ambulance ride on Tuesday (my last post has some more info about that). Here are the thoughts I've been having:

1) I'm so tired of being and feeling sick.

2) I'm so tired of not knowing what made me sick, and of spending hours trying to figure it out. This all goes back to Celiac symptoms being so varied and occurring in very different time frames for different people. One person could react in 20 minutes, someone else could react in 3 days, and both could continue to react for only hours or weeks.

3) I am tired of the feeling of dread that comes when my poor husband just wants to go out to dinner. The man loves eating out, and when he mentions going somewhere, I immediately want to get a staple gun and staple my mouth closed. Or maybe just call rent-a-wife so that someone "normal" could go out for a cheeseburger with him.

4) I'm tired of being hungry.  I don't deny myself food, but I get tired of eating the same thing all the time so in the end, I just get tired of eating- period. Although I may be hungry, I often walk into the kitchen, check on all my choices, and high-tail it out of there.

5) I'm tired of waiting for the "bomb" to drop. Whenever I eat anywhere but home, I know the chances of becoming sick are high. So, it's like walking around with a bomb in your guts, and you know the chances of it exploding are significant. Then when it does, I play the "well, that was really stupid of you", "why did you take that chance" game (the answer being of course "because for five minutes I wanted to feel like a normal person who can go and eat at a restaurant").

For the last year, I feel like I've been doing the gluten-free thing on a hunch, and therefore it felt like my choice. But since I found out about the DQ2 marker a week ago (see last post) I now know that this is it. This is how my life is going to be until I die. All I can do is hope that someone in this stinking city opens a gluten free restaurant (there is virtually nothing- maybe a few pizza places but I don't eat dairy so they don't do me much good) so that one day, I can just say "hey, I really feel like going out for dinner tonight!" and I can eat anything other than salad. Some days, I really hate salad.

I guess in a way, I'm mourning. I'll get over it...eventually.

I have the genetic marker for Celiac Disease

Friday, October 1, 2010

I received a call a few days ago, and my gastroenterologist shared some information with me that I was both expecting and fearing: I have the DQ2 genetic marker that is associated with 95% of people with Celiac disease. I now know, with 99% certainty, that I have Celiac. You see, I have the genes that predispose me to having Celiac disease, but we don't know at this point if the genes are "on"- for lack of a better description. Kind of like how you might have the gene for breast cancer, but you may never develop it. Well, when you have the DQ2 marker, as I understand it, you have anywhere from a 36%-54% chance of eventually turning "on" those genes due to some stress (emotional or physical) that flips the switch. Then you start to have all the symptoms- like all the ones I've had since I was young, and continue to have when I accidentally ingest something I shouldn't have.

Now, it's really only my true gut feeling (pardon the pun) that leads me to believe that the genes were "on" when I stopped eating gluten. I have a follow up appointment with the gastroenterologist on this issue on Monday, but here's what I think is going to happen.

Doc: You know, we don't really know if you had any reaction to gluten before you stopped eating it.
Me: Yeah, I get that.
Doc: So in my mind, you should be trying to eat it so that we can establish whether or not you have the immune response to gluten. If you don't, you should just eat bread.
Me: Right. That sounds like a real hoot, the whole "eating it and potentially signing up for being ill for weeks on end". Let's do that.

Um, no. Mr. Pick it Up is begging me to give it a whirl so I can know, but it's more than just a blood test. I figure I would have to eat a piece of bread every day for a month, then get the blood test, then continue to eat it while it slowly damages my intestines (intestines, I might add that have had a full year now to repair themselves- I had my first almost-normal iron reading since as long as I've been measuring it!!!) so that I can ultimately have a biopsy where the damage will be visible. Then what? Then I'd go on a gluten free diet for the rest of my life. Oh yeah, I already did that.

I don't know. A very very small piece of me is curious about the 1% possibility, but a few things are holding me back from investigating:

1) I don't know many mommies who can sign up for a self-imposed sick leave.
2) Just this week on Tuesday, I had a gut cramp that was so bad, I thought I would pass out or throw up. I was at work shaking, sweating and in agony. We called the ambulance. It resolved itself but the pain was like going into labour - except from nothing to crowning in ten minutes. They couldn't say what happened, but could it have been gluten? Possibly. I've also been nauseous on and off since then. My house is a bit of a mine field of the kids' and husband's gluten-filled foods...you never know when a few crumbs can do you in. Anyways, it's something I'd rather not repeat, if you know what I'm saying!!!
3) If the chance is approx 30-50% that eventually I will get really sick and need to come off gluten anyway, why would I put myself through that???Again???

If anyone has a good argument one way or the other- please please please speak up. I'm listening.

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