Monday, August 30, 2010

Comic Time

Some humor for all us Celiacs. All you need to know to get the entire punchline is that Mal (a character mentioned) is a very violent individual.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What We Can Eat

My 'what we can't eat list' was for my mom, and this new list goes out to my mom-in-law, who thought it might be more useful to get a 'what we CAN eat' list. She's probably right. :-)

So, here we go!

What We Can Eat List

(A gluten free list for our family that incorporates our other food issues, as well. It should be safe for most Celiacs, although as always, those who are more sensitive might have issues. Products' ingredients and processing can always change, so this list can become out of date at any time.)

Whole, fresh, organic veggies and herbs- Whole, because veggies cut up in the store tend to present cross-contamination issues. Fresh, because frozen, jarred, and canned veggies typically have citric acid or other ingredients on our 'no' list.

Pre-peeled baby carrots (if they are NOT by cal-organic) - seem to be okay.

Whole, fresh, organic fruits, in moderation - Whole and fresh for the same reasons as the veggies, although if the kids eat more than 2-3 fruits a day, it seems to be a problem. Kiwi and peaches are currently on the 'no' list, however.

Organic unprocessed meats (red meat, poultry, wild caught fish, wild caught shellfish) - If there is not organic meat, grass-fed will work too. No hormones/no antibiotics meat works in a pinch. No sausage, hot dogs, salami, or cured meats usually. Stores like Smith's and Fry's recommend that people not get anything made or sliced in their deli, including meats, if we are trying to avoid gluten. Applegate Farms has some luncheon meat that we can have, like their sliced roastbeef.

Whole Grains, flours, and Starches - Barry Farm Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Purcell Mountain Farms, and Bob's Red Mill brands seem to be okay, currently. These might change as we test them out more. Ancient Harvest is okay for Quinoa grain and flour. Grains and starches we can have:

Any Organic nuts, beans, and seeds - Whole or as a flour or meal, like Almond meal. Barry Farm Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Purcell Mountain Farms, and Bob's Red Mill brands again. Many nuts are processed in facilities that process wheat, but I think any brand that said its nuts/beans were GF and weren't processed in a shared facility would be okay.

Pre-made foods:
Bariani Olive oil
Whole Foods (365 brand) Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Sunflower and Safflower oils.
Whole Foods brand grapeseed oil.
Let's Do...Organic brand organic coconut - dehydrated flakes or shredded
Edward & Sons Rice Snaps (crackers) - flavors we can have: Toasted Onion, Unsalted Plain, or Onion Garlic
San-J Organic Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Coconut Secret's Coconut Aminos (soy sauce substitute)
Lundberg Family Farms brown rice cakes
Earth Balance organic peanutbutter, smooth or crunchy
Sunbutter Sunflower Seed Spread
Bragg's apple cider vinegar
McCormick Spices will do in a pinch, although we are going to be trying Penzeys and American & Organic Spices as our regular GF brand. (Last I heard, Penzeys has a GF facility, and A&O Spices gets their products certified GF).
RealSalt sea salt or kosher sea salt - we grind it up smaller ourselves.
Hain Featherweight baking powder with potato starch
Arm & Hammer baking soda
Organicville organic Ketchup (trying this out)
Madhava agave nectar
Tinkyada rice pasta
Crown Prince Brisling Sardines in Spring Water
Santa Cruz Organic lemon and lime juice
Amy's Family marinara sauce
Simply Orange orange juice, calcium added, pulp free

A few things are being used every once in a while that I'm not completely certain about. Haven't heard back from the company on their GF status, or the kids might have had a mild reaction, but we're not certain. We'll use them in a pinch:
Organic Red or white wine vinegars of different brands - haven't found one that we completely like, yet. Going to try Annie's brand next.

I think that's about all we have, currently. No desserts look 100% good so far, although Purely Decadent makes coconut milk based ice cream that tends to be the closest the kids can have to a safe desert. And honestly? Every once in a while I'll cheat. Get a meat or other food that isn't completely organic. Get a food that says it's gluten free but might have a teensy bit of really processed corn ingredient or something. But typically, we regret it as the kids go crazy-bird on us the next day, so we're trying to be as good as we can.

We do have more foods we eat, we just tend to make them ourselves. Home made vanilla extract from potato vodka, homemade chicken broth and veggie broths, home made mustard, that sort of thing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Something Weird This Way Comes

Life is weird. Really weird. I need a theme song to that effect, honestly. The weird life buffalo theme song. Of course, it's hopefully getting better, too, so my theme song would be having a happy crescendo right about now.

So what's going on in my world right now?

The Throat
I found a marvelous allergist who figured out WHY my throat was swelling up, and it's really odd. Odd enough that I'm very impressed he figured it out. Turns out, I have something called Paradoxical Vocal Cord Dysfunction. There are different triggers for this, but mine falls into the category of 'irritant induced.' When I come across certain smells, foods in my mouth, or food particles in the air, it makes my vocal cords all of a sudden try to shut when they should be open. Like when I need to breathe or talk. Not swelling at all, although it certainly hurts and you have trouble breathing, so you can imagine why it feels like it's swelling up.

Good news is that there are exercises that can help calm the vocal cords down after they trigger, so I can breathe a bit easier. I have to see a physical therapist for them, but even the very mild ones I've used to date have helped some. My voice will stay hoarse after I'm triggered, but I can breathe a little more, phew.

I've actually gone into a store twice now without a paper mask. I feel nearly naked, seriously. People can see my face for the first time in almost a year. It's weird. I don't think I'll be doing it again for a while, as it really does hurt when this triggers and I like to, oh, breathe normally, but to know that I CAN go without the mask? Wow. Simply wow.

And for anyone who has asthma - you should check this condition out. Depending on the study, between 40-56% of asthmatics ALSO have vocal cord dysfunction. It often gives symptoms that are very similar to asthma and so is overlooked. Also, about 10% of asthmatics who don't respond to treatment actually have vocal cord dysfunction instead, and NOT asthma. So, it's worth checking out!

The Reactions
So my allergist said he thought that the dysfunction should explain things on the 'scary' allergy front. None of my foods has given me hives, just the throat stuff, gut issues, and headaches and such. He's not sure why I'm getting other reactions from foods (we're going with celiac-related, at the moment), but if my vocal cords are the reason my throat has issues, then I should, theoretically, be able to chuck the epi-pen. My throat wasn't swelling up, just doing this and feeling like it swelled, so that should be good, right?

Unfortunately, looks like perhaps not. This week, after the diagnosis, I was, well....kind of insane. Like someone who is handed an unlimited credit card they never have to pay back and released into a mall.

I ate a bowl of ice cream. I ate a few handfuls of chips. I drank an entire glass of soda (all Gluten Free, of course). It was beyond awesome. And beyond stupid, but I kind of lost my head. Do you know how freaking LONG it's been since I had something different? And to find out that maybe some of these foods are okay to eat? There are no words. Winning a ferrari or the lottery or a whole month of babysitting are nothin' compared to this.

The ice cream made my insides about die, of course, but my throat didn't bite the dust, which is what I wanted to check when I ate it (Yeah, really. It was. And yes, I can lie to myself with the best of them.). I had the chips and the soda, and the same thing happened. And then, because one answer would be too simple, I got hives later in the day.

Son of a b!@$#.

Sigh. So much for completely chucking the epi-pen.

In some ways, I suppose this makes me think about my own body and trusting it. Yeah, my throat is doing this weirdo thing that I'd rather it didn't. But so far, out of the three things I've tried that I couldn't have, two of 'em did bad things to me. My throat feels a bit like it's my body's first line of defense. It's that asshole marine in the movies who curses and sneers but saves everyone's butt in the end by dying heroically as he holds off the horde of aliens so the other less irritating heroes can escape.

My throat is sacrificing itself so the rest of my body can dodge the bullet. Way to go throat. If only you could clue in that there are better ways to keep me away from the food. A letter would be a good start.
Dear body,
The following is a list of foods that will make you terribly ill. Don't eat them. You don't want the drama. I will text you when something good is sitting on the table and you can chow down.
Sincerely, your mouth and throat.

That would make it all so much simpler, wouldn't it?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Saving money - coupons for organic foods

Just found this lovely site, which had coupons for foods that we actually USE. Recommended by a nice article on finding coupons on organic foods.

Had Arrowheadmills coupons, as an example. Always good for us celiac folk!