Friday, May 29, 2009

Instant Relief for Allergy Eyes

Steve and I returned to the Delta on Thursday morning to what we thought was finish a job. On Wednesday afternoon I had talked to my Dad who said that he saw on radar where it had rained in Inverness, but he didn’t think it was much. We were in for a surprise. When we got to within 20 miles of Inverness we saw that it was really wet but thought maybe they had received more rain than us, not so. On our farm rain was running between the rows in the field, the crops look good but the fields are wet! In the last few weeks we have received 22+ inches of rain on our farm here. We are able to monitor it closely because our crop pilot’s airstrip is directly across the road from some of the land we farm. Macon is wet but Inverness is much wetter, the neat thing is the type soil we have here will dry up twice as fast as anywhere else. God has truly blessed us with a wonderful farm in Inverness!!!!

On Thursday night we ate at our local restaurant “Hometown” where I came really close to being glutened. I ordered a chef salad that I have ordered before, the girl that usually waits on us knows of my disease and wheat allergy and she automatically knows I don’t eat bread or fried foods. Also the chef is a friend who knows that when he has a order labeled NO BREAD it is usually for me. We have gone over spices etc. that he can use in preparing my food and I have become spoilt because they never mess up on my order. A different girl waited on us this time and it never occurred to me that she had never waited on me before and may not know about the gluten thing. When I ordered she asked, “is there anything you want left off your salad?” And my reply was, “no you’ve made it for me before and did a good job!” When I received the salad it looked great but instead of diving right in I started cutting the lettuce in smaller bites and noticed that under some of the toppings there were CROUTONS! I was bummed. Bless his heart Steve had ordered grilled fish and baked potato and we switched plates instead of my having to send my salad back. My meal was still great but I hated that Steve had to eat a salad instead of his wonderful fish.

After supper Steve and I decided to take a walk around the walking track. The track runs through the middle of town and is really neat. It has barbecue grills, picnic tables, benches and even a couple of drinking fountains. Our walk didn’t last long because I did not have on my walking shoes and before I made it half way around the track my foot started hurting, so much for getting old. Next time I'll make sure to wear the oppropriate shoes, the track is great and I'd love to use it.

Friday we had to chase parts and was out at lunch. Because it was early lunch we were able to go to Shoney's and get salad bar. I love good salad bars but am always afraid of cross contamination I figured that this was the best I would be able to do, many people were still eating breakfast and we were the first ones to dip into that wonderful salad bar!

All day Friday my eyes itched and burned but I did find one relief and it was great, “Visine-A” eye allergy relief. Steve had bought this but I had not thought to try it until I became desperate and starting looking for something. It numbed my eyes and gave me instant relief!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eating Myself into a Coma?

I’ve often heard are said, “I’m going to eat myself into a coma,” and this holiday weekend I thought I really was.

Saturday Ashia came in with me some Sunkist fruit gems, these little jewels are great. Ben and Ashia recently toured the Jelly Belly Factory in San Francisco, California and because Jelly Belly's are not gluten-free only Steve got some. But they found these little fruit slices that were gluten-free and treated me to a bag of them. I loved them but could never find them around here and just last week Ashia found the same thing but in different form at Barns & Noble book store. Thank you Ashia you made my rain day bright.

On Sunday we visited First United Methodist Church in Macon. They had a special speaker who is a long time friend of Steve’s and we have not seen him or his wife for a couple of years now. It was fun to visit with all of our old friends at the Methodist Church. After church we stayed and enjoyed a covered dish meal with everyone. I had made a “Chicken and Broccoli” casserole that everyone loves. I got this recipe from a friend in Guatemala and have transformed it to be Gluten-Free. (Recipe listed below)

Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Serves: 8


1-cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s is gluten-free)
2 eggs
1 onion; chopped into small pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use Glutano cream of mushroom soup mix)
1 ½ cups water
1 tsp. garlic salt
4 cups broccoli; partially cooked
1 chicken; cooked and chopped
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1-cup gluten-free breadcrumbs


Mix the first six ingredients together and set aside. Mix the chicken, broccoli, breadcrumbs and cheese together, add the mayonnaise mixture to it. Put in a 3x9x12 dish and bake in the oven for 1-hour at 350 degrees.

Sunday afternoon my Dad came for a visit and we cooked and ate the whole time we were together. Ben and Ashia joined us and supplied part of the food. We had a big variety including Rotel Dip, grilled deer sausage, pork chops, steak, hamburgers, fries, baked beans potato salad, grape salad, apple pie and Better Than Sex cake. Some of the food wasn’t gluten-free but believe me I had PLENTY!!!!

I am having another flair up with my stomach, I guess I’m going to have to break down and call my Gastroenterologist and get an appointment for him to decide which step to take. The last time he did the procedure to stretch the opening from my stomach to my intestines, he said if it keeps closing he’ll go in and put a shunt there to keep it opened. I hate any type of surgery no matter how small so I always put it off as long as I can. The last few days I have been extremely uncomfortable every time I eat anything and sometimes I can’t get the food to go down, this is a sure sign that something needs to be done.

I went to the grocery store today and my favorite butter, “Brummel & Brown“ vegetable oil spread, it is now labeled Gluten-Free! As you probably know I get so excited when I see this. It will be no time and everyone will know about or have heard about living life gluten-free. Thank you to all of those out there who have helped to make a difference.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Can a Migraine/Allergy Sufferer be a Farmer?

This is a question I’ve thought about from time to time. I help out on the farm by transporting workers and what we call chasing parts or making runs to pick up supplies but I have not done much else, until this trip to the delta. I have done my usual chasing supplies and helped Steve with several other things. Here are photos to tell what we had going on.

We have a crew putting up an equipment shed. After they left on Thursday I picked up some around the grounds and burned Steve’s seed bags.

We had someone come in and clean out a large ditch that runs through our farm and the farm of several others. We've had a lot of rain here so this was necessary. Steve and I checked out the work several times during the day. Pictured is Steve meditating on what is going on.

I helped clean and reassemble sprayer parts for the planter.

I watched to make sure none of the tubes were plugged, we had several that were but after applying water pressure they came clean fast.

At one point I looked close by and low and behold there was a birds nest that Steve had found in the planter laying on the ground.

If you look close in this photo Steve has the nest in his hand to return to where the mother was searching for it. He’s also returning a toolbox that I had taken to the field for him earlier. It may not have seemed heavy for him but it sure was to me.

I made several runs for supplies, after this one Steve had me come to the field so that he could get something out of the truck. When I pulled in he looked in the back of the pickup and asked did I go to town with the tailgate down. I told him, “if it’s down now I did”. He had place a gallon jug of chemical worth around $100 on the back of the truck and it was gone. Thank the good Lord we retraced my route and found it on side of the road where I had turned a curve.

It is bedtime and after a busy day we are ready for rest and relaxation.

Can a migraine/allergy sufferer be a framer, not this one Steve doesn't have to worry about me trying to run things! LOL

I woke up with a migraine this morning and have been sick all day. I guess it's from working outside so much yesterday it started off a bad sinus headache and turned into a migraine. I tried using my great little herb pack my daughter made me (thank you Sarah)! It helps my sinuses to start draining and relieves some of the pain when I heat it in the microwave and lay it across my eyes.

Now the rain has started and we have returned to Macon to attend church and celebrate Memorial Day. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Good Farms in the flat land.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

101 Questions & Hot Buttered Cornbread

On Wednesday morning Steve and I returned to the delta to nitrate the corn before the upcoming rain. We ran by the office to pay bills and check things out there, stopped by Sanders and bought chemical and then on to the farm. On the way we must have ran over a nail because when we got there we discovered that we had a tire leaking down fast. This comes under my job; I run for parts, repairs etc while Steve works in the field. So after helping to get everything in the camper I grabbed my wallet and took off to the tire repair store here in Inverness. This nice little old lady runs the store and I have never been in there before. She had 101 questions for me so my fix the flat experience took a while. It doesn’t matter though because in running my errand I made a new friend.

After returning to the farm I had to go out several other times to help Steve and pick up parts. The parts were local so it didn’t take much time and I was able to cook supper afterward. For supper tried something new Gluten-Free Cornbread from “Bob’s Red Mill” mix. I always make my own cornbread but found this at our local Kroger’s and it is so easy I had to try it. It is easier to bring mixes to the Delta than trying to stock a lot of ingredients in our small camper. The bread turned out ok I mean it could have been a lot worse. I guess I’m spoilt because my cornbread it sooo good. I need to buy another mix and try to prefect it. To go with the bread I made Red Beans and Rice. This time of year I try to get in all my cold weather foods and this is one thing that I will not make once it turns hot.

Like my blog yesterday, here is a recipe worth sharing!

Favorite Corn Bread

3/4 cup plain cornmeal (be careful, make sure it is plain not cornmeal mix)
1 cup GF rice flour (you can use white or brown)
2 Tbls. sugar
1 Tbls. baking powder (make sure it is all natural)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. Guar Gum or xantham gum (found on web and in health food stores)
2 lg dips Mayonnaise (you can also add a large dip of sour cream for added moisture and it just gives it that country taste)
ADD: 1 cup milk 1 beaten egg 2 Tbls. melted shortening or oil Pour into greased 9x9 pan (I use iron skillet). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. serves 6

Hot with butter it's great. My family and friends love it!!!!

Who's at Risk for Celiac Disease?

I will be blogging what is going on at Good Farms in Inverness tomorrow but right now I have some information that is worth sharing. I read this on another blog ( I think it may help to answer some of your questions if you have ever thought that you might have Celiac.

The following groups are at higher-than-average risk for celiac disease, according to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the American College of Gastroenterology.
Note: It is now possible to perform DNA tests to test for a genetic predisposition to celiac disease. If you do not have a genetic predisposition, it is almost impossible for you to develop celiac disease, even if you’re in one of the risk groups listed below.

Relatives of People with Celiac Disease

First-degree relatives (parents, children, and siblings) and second-degree relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and half-siblings) of patients with celiac disease are at higher risk for biopsy-confirmed celiac disease compared to the general population. The prevalence is particularly high among first-degree relatives of celiac individuals in families with more than one celiac patient.

People with Iron Deficiency Anemia

The prevalence of celiac disease is also high in people with iron-deficiency anemia that can’t be explained by any other diagnosis, regardless of whether the anemic person has any gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. For example, among people with iron deficiency and no GI symptoms of celiac disease, 2% to 5% will have positive celiac disease blood tests and 3% to 9% will have positive biopsies, according to the AGA. The prevalence of celiac disease in iron-deficiency anemia patients who do have GI symptoms is even higher: 10% to 15%. Therefore, the AGA recommends that any adult with unexplained iron-deficiency anemia, including menstruating women, be tested for celiac disease.

People with Premature Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

Researchers advise that all patients who develop osteoporosis at a young age get tested for celiac disease. In addition, elderly patients with osteoporosis that doesn't seem to respond to medication should also be tested for celiac disease.

People with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

According to the AGA, the prevalence of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus ranges from 3% to 8% in children and 2% to 5% in adults. The AGA advises doctors to be on the lookout for celiac disease symptoms in patients with type 1 diabetes and suggests that if a patient with type 1 diabetes is undergoing endoscopy for any reason, “duodenal biopsies should be considered.”

People with Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

In autoimmune thyroid conditions, the thyroid gland can be either overactive or underactive. The prevalence of celiac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease ranges from 1.5% to 6.7%. The AGA says that patients with autoimmune thyroid disease do not need to be tested for celiac disease unless they have symptoms.

Women with Reproductive Disorders

In women with unexplained infertility, the prevalence of celiac disease ranges from 2.1% to 4.1%, according to the AGA. Celiac disease has been linked with delayed onset of menstruation, fewer live births, and higher miscarriage rates. Following a gluten-free diet improves fertility in women with celiac disease.

People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

One British study found that the chance of having celiac disease was 7 times higher for patients with IBS than for the general public. In an Iranian study, nearly 10% of IBS patients also had celiac disease. In December 2008, the American College of Gastroenterology advised that any patient with IBS who has diarrhea or a mixture of diarrhea and constipation should be tested for celiac disease.

People with Liver Disease

The AGA advises that doctors should “have a low threshold for testing for celiac disease” in patients with any of the following liver disorders (in other words, don’t hesitate to test if the patient has any symptom that might be related to celiac disease):
  • Unexplained abnormal results on blood tests of liver enzymes (prevalence of celiac disease: 1.5% to 9.0%)
  • Autoimmune hepatitis (prevalence of celiac disease: 2.9% to 6.4%)
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis (prevalence of celiac disease: up to 6%)

People with Down Syndrome or Turner’s Syndrome

The AGA statement notes that the risk of celiac disease in people with Down syndrome"is at least 5 times that of the general population.” Specifically, the AGA says, the prevalence of celiac disease in patients with Down syndrome ranges from 3% to 12%.
The prevalence of celiac disease also seems to be higher than normal in girls with Turner’s syndrome and may also be increased in patients with Williams syndrome, according to the AGA.

People with Certain Other Diseases

The AGA also cautions that celiac disease has been associated with certain other conditions, including very short stature in childhood, Addison’s disease, Sj√∂gren’s syndrome, immunoglobulin (Ig) A nephropathy (a kidney disorder, with symptoms that include blood in the urine), idiopathic epilepsy (epilepsy with no known cause), brain calcifications, and ataxia.
AGA Institute Medical Position Statement on the Diagnosis and Management of Celiac Disease. Gastroenterology 2006;131:1977–1980
The American College of Gastroenterology: ACG Releases Evidence-Based Systematic Review on Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Much Beauty in the Midst of the Ugly

Last Saturday I woke up around 6am with another terrible headache. Ashia and I were supposed to go baby shopping but didn’t make it. After a late breakfast Steve was going to work mowing up around the farm so I asked that he take the ant killer with him and sprinkle it on all the massive ant beds in our yard. He suggested that I do it because I probably needed to get some sunshine; while the sun was shining we had a big chance for rain later on in the day. So off I go with my little shaker to try and kill the ants all of the rain had brought in. While I was out side I was looking at my flowers. I don’t have a lot of flowers anymore because with my allergies I can’t work in the yard like I use to but I still love the ones I do have. While is was outside my head started stopping up and I started sneezing and I thought to myself, “there is so much beauty in the midst of the ugly”. Not that anything outside is ugly but when I have an allergy attack while outside I think of my ugly allergies. I have posted a few photos of the beauty!

We are in the Delta and I have just finished cleaning my home away from home. It is very small and doesn’t take a lot of my time though it gets really dusty here on the farm. I cover the coach to try and keep the dust down. When I go home I always take the cover and wash it.

I have the better of two jobs though Steve is out mowing up in the yard around the camper to try and rid us of many snakes. I guess after having 12+ inches of rain we are abundantly blessed with snakes. I’m not talking about Rat or King snakes I’m talking about deadly poisonous Cottonmouths. Steve didn’t have to tell me but one time, “if you go outside be sure and walk in the gravel”!

This afternoon we are leaving Inverness and returning to Macon to pick up more supplies and clean clothes. We plan to return soon and should be able to work in the field by Wednesday afternoon. After cleaning the house yesterday I am either having an allergy attack or I have taken a head cold. Either one is no fun! I may go to the Doctor before returning and see if she will give me a shot.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I was recently glutened!

Be careful anytime you are eating away from home.

I recently had an ordeal where I was eating with family and though they had checked the package added to the roast they had over looked a very important thing, WHEAT. I had already eaten some before we discovered it but thank the Lord we looked before I ate seconds. After lunch I went home and starting popping Benadryl. Not for the gluten affect it would not help that though besides having Celiac I also have a wheat allergy, which is two separate things and I was hoping the Benadryl would help the allergy part.

Steve and I left that afternoon and drove to Memphis so we would be there early the next morning for a business appointment. On the way we prayed that I would not have a violent reaction. I believe in the power of prayer! At bedtime that night I took two more Benadryl and though I had a slight headache I felt pretty good. ☺

The next morning I woke up without a headache which was a miracle but I had a stomachache, extreme gas and so tired I could barely get out of bed which is some of the affects gluten can have. Besides that I was sneezing my head off, sore throat, itchy eyes and everything else that goes with allergies. Yes the wheat was attacking me and it was not fun! ☹ We left Memphis to drive to Arkansas, what was to be a long drive for me. I made the trip and when we returned home I was so drained that I didn’t feel I could go for days plus I felt awful.

Something different (new for me) has happened to me this time. I awoke in the middle of the night screaming with pain in my right leg. I was having spasms and it was hurting bad. Thank the Lord Steve was home and able to help by rubbing it until the cramping stopped. I guess with my intestines throwing off the gluten it was messing up my potassium as well. For this I started taking potassium tablets, eating bananas and drinking orange juice. Five days later my pain subsided.

I’ve found that every time I eat gluten my symptoms are worse just like my allergy to wheat. Years ago I asked my Doctor, “can’t I just eat wheat and then take an allergy pill?” He said NO, it may not hurt you bad for a while but sooner or later your heart and other vital organs will be affected. This can be serious!

The point of this is to remind you to never assume that everyone understands your way of eating. Always ask detailed questions about the meal before eating. They may mean well but just not understand what you can and cannot have. One of my past blogs (Going Gluten-Free?) has a list naming what does and does not contain gluten. Also on the right hand side of my blog you can find information for food and environmental allergies and Celiac.

If you have a friend or family member with food allergies or Celiac read up on it and surprise them with something special at a meal that is totally gluten-free. It doesn't have to be anything hard. Go to your local Kroger and buy a gluten-free cake mix and make a special cake. It will bless their socks off, I know!

Fresh Fruit & Dip (a summer treat)

Steve and I have been trying to watch what we eat but one of my favorite things at “The Front Door” restaurant in Columbus is their homemade chicken salad, fresh fruit and dip. I recently ordered some and shared it with Steve he loved it too. So I came home and made my own version with out adding extra sugar.

1 - 8 oz cream cheese & 1 – 8 oz. marshmallow cream with a little milk to make creamy

We like it and it is not as sweet as the original version where you add powdered sugar. I think in the future I’ll add a little more marshmallow cream though.

And in remembrance of a mayor who recently died, “And That My Friend is the Bottom Line!”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blessed Once Again!

We went to the doctor today and found out our youngest daughter (Ashia) is having a baby girl! I stood there with tears in my eyes looking at that little bundle of joy. It was so funny at one time she was laying with her legs crossed at the ankles and her arms behind her head. Just like her MOM! All of our granddaughters are such a blessing, I can't wait to add one more to the clan!

Now I can't wait to see what our oldest daughter (Mary) is going to have!!! Stay tuned to this page to find out a.s.a.p. If it's a boy (which I kind of hope it is) he'll have a rough time with so many girls in the family.

Last night Steve called late afternoon and said he was on his way home from the Mississippi Delta. My head went to spinning as I thought about what type of meal I could put together really fast because I had no meat thawing. We had grilled catfish, baked beans and salad and it could not have been better if I had, had all day to prepare! Here is my photo of my thrown together meal.

Tonight I am cooking and Ben and Ashia are coming over. She is tired after a day at the doctor and has to work this afternoon so I told her to plan to eat here. We are having another salad (I love salad), spaghetti and maybe garlic bread. Maybe I'll post a photo of that later!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Story

I don’t think we take Celia disease as half as serious as we should. Because of this I want to give my personal testimony.

My name is Grace and I was born in raised in a small town in the country in Mississippi. We had a happy family but we lived from day to day due to continual Doctor bills of both my mom and I. Growing up I can’t remember a day that my Mother wasn’t sick. She was sick so much that when she complained we always thought and sometimes said, “but you’re always sick” and no one took her serious!

In 1995 my family and I moved to Guatemala to work with a ministry called Adopt-A-Child. As a child I had migraines a lot and was hospitalized several times because they would lead to dehydration. During my time in Guate I observed that I was continually having sinusitis and bad headaches. I had a friend who had just found out that she was allergic to wheat so she suggested that I go to her allergy doctor there. I did and found that I also was allergic to wheat and after eliminating it from my diet I felt much better though I was far from perfect.

The last ten years of Mom’s life she continually went from one Doctor to the other in several different states but no one could ever find anything wrong with her. One said she had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and that she just needed to watch what she ate, he prescribed some medicine for her but it never seemed to help. She was sent to specialist in New Orleans who could not find anything and told her she just had IBS and needed to learn to live with it. Mom continued to be sick. She became unable to leave home because she could not make it to the bathroom in time and would mess up the floor. She threw up continually no matter what she ate. I suggested that maybe she too was allergic to wheat but eliminating it from her diet didn’t seem to help much. Her stomach hurt all the time and she thought it was ulcers because of being so sick. Her family doctor prescribed one medicine after the other but nothing seemed to help. She had been diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia and was taking B-12 shots and even giving them to herself at home. After a while she would have to be hospitalized and given drips to pump her back up. I had a cousin going through school to be a nurse practitioner who called me in Guate one day crying. She said, “Grace if something doesn’t change you Mom is going to starve to death”! This seemed crazy since my mom had always been some over weight and ate like a pig. This went on for a several years.

In 2001 God turned bad into good as I underwent a terrible divorce that led to my moving back to Mississippi. I was able to help with my Mom who by this time she had days that she could barely get out of bed. Mom was put in the hospital once more and her medical doctor decided to try one more thing he put her on a gluten free diet. Back then we had no clue what this was, mom was so sick that my Dad did all their cooking and he didn’t realize the importance of living gluten free. They weren’t sent to dietitians or anyone for help of any kind so though we tried and did our best gluten was not totally eliminated from her diet. After a while of taking gluten out of her diet as much as possible we did see a change though for one last time Mom passed out and went back in the hospital, the doctors then told us it was only a matter of time. They said that this time the drips and things they were doing was like putting air in a tire with a hole in it. The change came a little too late and my Mom died in October of 2004. It upsets me to realized that if Mom had been on a strict diet she could still be alive and able to see the birth of her first great grandchild.

I continued to have stomach problems but after going through a terrible divorce and the lost of my mom we all thought it was nerves. I too was treated for IBS and several other things but nothing seemed to do a lot of good. I noticed that when I ate some things I felt worse than others but still did not know enough about living gluten free to make a difference. This went on for a while and my aunt, mom’s sister-in-law who knew I also was having stomach problems, called and said her son Billy had been diagnosed with Celiac disease. I had remarried by this time and my husband said, “that does it you are going to a specialist and see what is wrong with you”! I had several doctors to choose from in our area and chose a gastroenterologist who has been a blessing. He has a son with autism and so he is very up to date on the gluten free lifestyle. He did not find damage to my intestines but said with my being allergic to wheat and eating with my mom so much chances are that was why. I did have ALL the symptoms of Celiac so he sent me for counseling on how to live totally gluten free. When I have friends or family tell me, “just eat a little it can’t hurt you that bad” I am able to refrain because I’ll never forget what my mom went through and I choose to live!

If you follow my blogs you know that I am sick most of the time. This is due to environmental allergies as well as being glutened. I have been seeing an allergy specialist who after much testing declared me allergic to all grasses, pets, molds, mildews, dust, most trees and the list goes on and on. So I am learning to live with these allergies as well as living gracefully gluten free.

Thanks for stopping by y'all and please come again soon!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Headaches in the storm!!!!

I hope you have or had a good Mother’s Day, I don’t think we always realize what a special day it is until we loose our mother. I always miss my Mom so much on Mother’s Day. For years I couldn’t stand to look at Mother’s Day cards but I am doing better in that area now, for those who have lost your Mom, healing of some things comes with time.

I feel as though I have not accomplished much this past week because I have been sick everyday with a headache. I've had to take my migraine medicine a couple of times (Relpax) and after that was useless. I thought at one time I had figured out something going on out of the ordinary that might be causing them I would even look forwarding to going to bed and getting some rest. But, I guess I was wrong because I corrected the problem but the headache is still with me. I have come to the point a couple of times this week of wanting to cry, I know I am just overly tired. This too shall pass, it always does. I just hating dealing with it day by day and not feeling like going anywhere are doing anything.

Sometimes I think my environmental allergies are worse than my problems with gluten. With celiac I can at least stay on my diet. With environmental if there is dust, pollen, grass, animals, mold, mildew and the list is enormous I get a headache. The different trees pollinating now could be triggering my headaches. Some of the main ones at this time are hickory, oak, pecan and ash. There are several of these around our house and farm so basically I live with headaches!

OK so here is my question. What do you cook and eat that is gluten-free when you don’t feel like cooking and have no leftovers? It's hard for me to eat anyway when I feel so bad and poor Steve he just about has to cook for himself.

I am keeping Sydney this weekend while Ben and Ashia are gone to Jackson to attend a baby shower for one of my cousins. When Sydney stays here we don't go outside and she misses that. She is puppy pad trained so I just keep fresh pads in her bathroom. Yes, she has her own bathroom at grandmas, if not every time someone goes in it she scratches on the door to get in. She is a little spoiled to say the least! This is a photo of her on her couch; she has her own blanket, toys and pillow! We call it hers because with my allergies I don't let her use my blanket etc.

Steve and I went riding around the farm to see how much the crops have grown in the last few days and Sydney (the dog) went with us. She enjoyed riding with her head out my window and letting her ears blow in the wind. Though she is not big enough to stand up to it by herself so she stood on my leg. She can be so funny, lazy too, she stood a while and then lay back with her head against me and her leg propped up on the window for a while. I guess she needed to rest. ☺

To make goulash.....

For supper last night I made one of our favorite dishes, goulash. I was in the grocery store and they had some fresh yellow squash that looked great so I bought some, I already had fresh sweet potatoes and carrots to add to the mix. To make goulash I use fresh vegetables, whatever you
have on hand. I clean and cut them up in chunks, add salt and pepper to taste and then mix in enough rice flour to coat. I fry them in a little EEOO (extra virgin olive oil) until brown and tender. My family absolutely loves this it is a dish my mom use to make every summer. You can use any combination of vegetables. My favorite is different types of squash, onions, potatoes, bell peppers and okra! UUMMM it is good, you need to try it.

Thanks for stopping by y'all and please come again soon!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Explains Her Gluten-Free Lifestyle

I am always astounded at how gluten-free living is becoming more common. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is co-host of “The View” and has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. Her new cookbook “The G-Free Diet” came out this week and this is an excerpt from it.

My G- Free Journey

I learned about gluten the hard way. I wrote this book so you don't have to. Most people with celiac disease, like me, have a story to tell. My hope is that in reading mine, and the pages that follow, you will be able to begin your journey to a better body and a better self—without all the heartache (and bellyache!) that I endured for far too long.

The trouble began in early 1997, during the spring of my sophomore year of college. I went on two big trips that spring. The first, over winter break, was a three-week-long immersion/teaching trip to the village of Red Bank and the city of Dangriga in Belize. The second, a spring training trip, was within the United States, with my Boston College softball team. I had been feeling a little under the weather since Belize, and shortly after I returned from the softball trip, I was diagnosed with a severe bacterial intestinal infection—residue, the doctor said, from my trip to Central America. I landed in the school infirmary for nearly a week, with an immensely distended belly and a 103- to 104-degree fever. My memories of that week are hazy at best: I can recall little more than opening my eyes to see my mom standing over the bed. And Tim, my college sweetheart and now husband, looking more than concerned.

Once the initial infection had subsided, I was incredibly relieved, thinking I was finally in the clear. As an athlete, I couldn't bear the thought of being "off my game" for more than a day or two. Little did I suspect that my game was going to be significantly "off" for quite some time...
After leaving the infirmary, I was eager to get my body back on track again, but my digestive system was seemingly shot. My efforts to regain some of the muscle mass I had lost during my convalescence went nowhere. And though I felt ravenously hungry all the time, the only dining hall option that looked even remotely appetizing to me was soft-serve vanilla frozen yogurt with Rice Krispies mixed in. Food just didn't appeal to me like it had before.

Regardless, I continued to eat, though nothing satisfied my hunger—and everything seemed to throw my stomach into a frenzy. Each meal left me bloated and gassy, with sharp, explosive pains in my abdomen. No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea—or all of the above simultaneously. I soon became all too familiar with the location of any and all bathrooms. Half an hour later, I would be too lethargic to move.
What on earth was happening to me? I had always been filled with energy before, and now I wanted to crawl back into bed five times a day. I was always in pain, always uncomfortable—especially around mealtimes.

An Open Letter from the Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation

Wednesday May 6, 2009
Elaine Monarch, Founder and Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation, tonight sent the following open letter to the celiac community:
Celiac Colleagues:
I am writing to call your attention to the current publicity surrounding the new book, The G-free Diet, A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, by Elisabeth Hassselbeck, co-host of The View. While it is important to call attention to celiac disease, the information must be accurate – the inaccuracies in this book are potentially dangerous and detrimental to celiacs and to those yet to be diagnosed if people self diagnose and start eating GF. Our mission is to assist in getting people accurately diagnosed and the message in this book could defeat this mission. It appears that this book is being marketed as a fitness diet – eat g-free and feel so much better. Celiac is incorrectly referred to as an allergy not an autoimmune disease.
The GF diet is the medically mediated prescription that controls the condition for a diagnosed celiac. Several items in the book are misleading and inaccurate and place further limitations on the GF diet. The gluten-free lifestyle is a lifelong commitment for the diagnosed celiac, not an option, not a fad diet – adhering to the GF lifestyle requires patience and persistence. This lifestyle can not be trivialized.
Elisabeth will be interviewed on Larry King Live this evening on CNN. PLEASE take the time to call in to the show or send an email to Larry King Live to help correct some of this misinformation.
Email Larry King Live at: The phone number for call-ins to the show is 1-800-676-2100.
Thank you.
Elaine Monarch

Sick But Thankful

It has been three days since I have known what it felt like not to have a headache. If I leave home I feel a lot better so therefore we believe it may be something in the house but we can’t figure out what. I am so thankful that we don’t own this house; it would be awful to own a home and find out that you were allergic to something it was made of and couldn’t live in it. Last summer I was sick a lot also and Steve thought that it was the allergy shots. This summer I asked for a break from the shots because I was getting sick after everyone and I didn’t want to deal with it all summer long. Now I wonder if I’ve made a mistake, maybe it wasn’t the shots after all, maybe it was something in this house.

Happy Mother's Dad to all you Mom's out there!!!!!
God Bless

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is It Allergy Heaven or Allergy Hell?

I spent the weekend with my Dad and I could not resist walking out in his flowers and taking a few photos. After a short while my nose and face was itching sooo bad that I made a quick run back inside. It’s a shame I have to stay in so much I love outside this time of year.

I want to Harrisville, which is south of Jackson, to celebrate my niece’s thirteenth birthday. On Saturday, her Mom and Dad had a cookout for her with a few family and friends. It was fun to get to visit with people who I never get to visit with anymore.

I didn’t have to worry about eating my Dad did the grilling and when I arrived he had set me a piece of chicken and hamburger to the side and made sure that it didn’t come in contact with anything else. I am always blessed when people go the extra mile to make sure I don’t get sick.

Prior to going to Dad’s I had four sleepless nights with bad sinus headaches, two of them turning to a migraine. I was really discouraged and had decided not to go on my trip but Steve and I decided that I needed to get away and see if I was sick away from home. I hated to call Steve when I got up Saturday morning because I had slept all night with NO headache, the same for Saturday night also. Now I am racking my brain trying to figure out why I am having such bad headaches here at home. I know I have been eating correctly I’ve gone to extra measures to make sure of that. We really think this is environmental because I have sooo many things I am allergic to. Maybe it’s a tree pollinating who knows it’s hard to tell when you live on a farm!

New Find

Today I ran by our local grocery store to pick up a few things and what I found excited me so much that I started to run up to a stranger just to tell her. Can’t you get the picture, “they are labeling more and more things that I like gluten-free”? She’d probably ask, “what is gluten”? One time I had someone in a seafood restaurant to tell me, “we don’t cook with gluten here.” I stared at her with my mouth open and a friend gently kicked me under the table. He was laughing when she walked away and said, “I could just see you calling her stupid”. I told him, “I did in my head”! Most people have no clue what we are talking about.

Bake to my story. They are now labeling “Hellman’s Mayonnaise” and “Smart Balance Peanut Butter” as gluten-free. In the past I have used mostly Hellman’s mayonnaise not because it was labeled gluten-free but because as far as I could tell it didn’t contain gluten and I like it. Now I can use it with assurance that it is gluten-free. I get so excited each time I go to the grocery store and see that more and more companies are beginning to label whether it does or does not contain gluten. I guess unless you have Celiac or someone in your family does you may not understand the importance of this. It makes our life simpler and we are able to live gracefully gluten-free.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Going Gluten-Free?

Photo of Sydney and my Dad, I can't wait until Ben and Ashia's real baby gets here so we'll have a human form to love on!

While you are reading this blog I'll be in Jackson visiting my Dad for the weekend. I have a niece who is turning 13 and Ashia and I are going to celebrate her birthday. I have been sick with BAD sinus headaches for three nights now but felt better on Thursday. Wouldn't you know Friday morning I woke up at 3am with a sinus turning migraine. I'm going to Dad's anyway and see if I feel better away from home. We live in an older farm house and sometimes there are things in this house that make me sick. If I get to Dad's and feel great we'll know it's the house and we'll start trying to search out the problem. (details and photos to come)

Below is some very good information that I got off of another blog about gluten free living. I hope that you gain something from reading it and you too are able to live or help someone else live Gracefully Gluten-Free.

A Cheat Sheet for Going Gluten-free

Gluten is the elastic protein in the grains: wheat, rye, barley, durum, einkorn, graham, semolina, bulgur wheat, spelt, farro, kamut, and triticale. Commercial oats also contain gluten due to cross contamination in processing.
Recipes that use flour (bleached white flour, whole wheat, cracked wheat, barley, semolina, spelt, farro, kamut, triticale) or vital wheat gluten are not gluten-free.
Semolina, spelt and whole wheat pasta, including cous cous, are not gluten-free.
Beer, ale and lager are not gluten-free. Brats, meats and sausage cooked in beer are not gluten-free.
Malt vinegar, malt flavorings and barley malt are not gluten-free.
Recipes calling for breadcrumbs, breaded coatings, flour dredging, bread and flat bread, croutons, bagels, croissants, flour tortillas, pizza crust, graham crackers, granola, cereal, wheat germ, wheat berries, cookie crumbs, pie crust, crackers, pretzels, toast, flour tortillas, wraps and lavash, or pita bread are not gluten-free. 

The vegan protein called seitan is not gluten-free; and some tempeh is not gluten-free (you must check). Flavored tofu may or may not be gluten-free. Naan bread (traditionally made from teff flour) and Asian rice wraps may be gluten-free, but are not necessarily gluten-free (check labels).

Barley enzymes used in malt, natural flavors, and to process some non-dairy beverages, chocolate chips, coffee and dessert syrups (and even some brown rice syrups), are not gluten-free. Always check.

Gluten is sneaky.

Hidden gluten can be found in gravy, broth, bouillon, soy sauce, tamari, marinades, sauces, salad dressings, cured meats, sausage, hot dogs, vegan hot dogs, sausages and burgers, self-basting poultry, flavored and herb cheeses, blue veined (bread mold based) cheeses, spice blends including curry powder, dry mustard, canned and prepared soups, tomato paste, sweeteners, confectioner's and brown sugar, beverages, flavored coffees, herbal teas (watch for barley), roasted, flavored or spiced nuts, jerky, flavored yogurts and puddings, some chocolate and chocolate chips, cocoa and instant coffee mixes, flavored vinegars, cooking wines, flavored liqueur and liquor, wine coolers, some ice cream and frozen desserts. Always read labels. Call the manufacturer.
What is gluten-free?

Grains, flours, starches and thickeners that are safe for celiac and wheat allergies include:

Corn, grits, polenta and cornmeal

Buckwheat, buckwheat cereal, kasha and buckwheat flour

Rice- white, brown, risotto, basmati, jasmine, sticky rice, rice cereal

Rice flour- white rice, sweet (glutinous) rice and brown rice flour

Quinoa, quinoa cereal flakes, and quinoa flour

Millet and millet flour

Sorghum flour

Amaranth and amaranth flour

Certified gluten-free oats and oatmeal

Coconut flour

Teff flour

Nut meals and flours- almond, chestnut, pecan, cashew

Chick pea, garbanzo, soy (soya) and bean flourTapioca and tapioca starch (manioc)

Potato flour and starch

Sweet potato and yam flour
Arrowroot starch


Pre-made ingredients that are safe for celiac include:

100% corn tortillas and taco shells, pre-made polenta rolls

Plain teff wraps made from 100% teff flour

Plain 100% brown rice tortilla wraps

Unflavored mochi

100% Corn pasta

Quinoa and corn pasta

Soy pasta (if it states gluten-free)

Brown and white rice pasta, rice noodles, rice glass noodles

100% buckwheat soba noodles

Rice paper, rice and tapioca rice paper wraps

100% nut butters- almond, peanut, cashew, pecan

100% seed butters- sesame tahini, sunflower and hemp seed butter

About baking recipes:When it comes to converting your favorite baking recipes to gluten-free, a simple one-to-one flour substitution will not yield the same results as your recipe based on wheat flour. Gluten is a giving, stretchy ingredient that supports rise, structure, texture and kneadablity. It takes more than a single gluten-free flour replacement to make a cake, bread, muffin or cookie recipe work. A combination of gluten-free flours and starches with some extra egg whites or leavening, and xanthan gum added to improve viscosity is necessary for optimum results.

Taken from