It’s okay to be in a funk!

Funk.

I. Am. In. A. Funk.

I’ve  been traveling a lot lately and I think it is starting to take a toll on my body. There is this funky feeling I haven’t had for quite some time now and I don’t know exactly how to put my finger on it.

I just feel off. Not on my A game.

Am I worried something might be going on with my body? Absolutely.

Do I think it’s probably a combination of stress, anxiety, traveling, how busy I’ve been and just generally trying to keep my head above water? Yes.

If you are reading my blog, you know all about feeling “off.” That feeling you get when something isn’t right and you aren’t quite sure if it was the food you ate, how you are sleeping or something internal. Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac disease and endometriosis, I think I am much more in tune to my body than every before. I pick up on patterns now and realize things much faster than before. But even now, I still get stumped by things.

My weight keeps on increasing despite attempts to get back on the fitness program. I know I’ve been snacking more lately and drinking alcohol more than normal but not to the point of where my weight is now. I recommitted to myself 4 days ago and am on the right track. I’m motivated and ready to go. So, then why have I had a migraine for 3 days? It’s like there is always something to get in the way lately and I haven’t been in the mood to push through it.

Sometimes I am hard on myself. I’m in the fitness industry, I own a gym and I write fitness articles so I assume I should look the part. But, on the flip side, I have a few chronic diseases that people can’t see which control my body in more ways than one. It’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. Actually, my therapist last year said that “frustrated” is just a nicer word for anger. Which is true, I am mad at myself and my body today.

I think it’s important to share my feelings on good days and bad days for all of you to know I’m not perfect (as much as I’d like to think I am though lol). I go through those periods where it just seems like everything goes wrong and you just want to watch TV all day. I’m trying now to pull myself out of it and it’s tough but I can do it. Last night the last thing I wanted to do with a headache was do a workout, so instead I took the dog for a walk. He enjoyed it and his happy tail wagging helped me with my mood. Aaron even came out with us last night and did a tour of the neighborhood. It was nice.

I’ll get through this! I know I will. I want you to know you will too. If you feel like you’re in a funk and just can’t get out of it, that’s okay.

Sometimes, we just need to hit the restart button.

I have a ton of stuff going on in my personal life that I can’t talk about publicly yet (all good stuff!) but they are major life changes (no I’m not pregnant) and have consumed a lot of my time and life the last few months. I need to pay attention to everything wonderful in my life and just keep treading water until things get better!

Getting Started with Celiac Disease: Podcast

started-with-Celiac

On The Air with Pretty Little Celiac Getting Started with Celiac Disease

My newest podcast from this week is up and ready to go! I cover the basics of getting started with celiac disease. Basically all the things you need to know after you leave the doctor’s office.

Were you recently diagnosed with celiac disease? Are you struggling with what to do after you left the doctor’s office?

This podcast is for you.

I cover what to expect after your diagnosis including:

1. Emotions you will feel

2. Tips to get through everything

3. A get started guide on living gluten-free

4. Major changes in your life that need to happen for you to be successful

Please leave feedback! I’d love to hear it. 

Coping with Celiac Disease: A Therapist’s Perspective (Podcast)

Coping with Celiac Disease: A Therapist’s Perspective

When I was first diagnosed with this disease, I didn’t understand it and struggled to figure it out. Some of you are there now and are looking for help or some of you think you have it figured out but maybe just need to hear something new. I invited Jummy Olawale on my show to talk about the most common struggles associated with celiac disease ( besides the food!).

I’m so glad I decided to do this. Her insight is poignant and dynamic. She really gives inspiration and hope along with tips and suggestions for dealing with this disease. She’s doesn’t have celiac and isn’t a specialist in the disease but really can provide some help for those of us needing help. If you feel out of control or like you lost your footing, this is the perfect place to start.

Here’s a little snippet of what we discuss on the show:

1. What are some coping skills to use when someone goes through a major life change like celiac disease? When everything in your life as you know it, changes in an instant? How do you handle the sense of feeling alone and like a hypochondriac because no one else understands the complexity or the seriousness of the disease?
2. What are some coping skills for handling all these emotions? Sometimes we can have other life issues going on and this is just a huge burden on top of the lemons life throws at us. Especially when you have a bad day and just want to go home, order a pizza and lay around all night.
3. What’s the best way to explain a disease like this to husbands, family, kids and friends? How do you get them on board with helping you instead of constantly minimizing the disease and asking you to just “try a bite because it won’t kill you.”
4. How do you handle the disappointment when family and friends (or your spouse) doesn’t sympathize and isn’t as supportive as you think they should?
5. Marital problems – Handling a non-supportive spouse – what do you do? When your spouse is the only one that understands, how do you find other outlets to cope instead of stressing them all the time.
6. Changing you mindset of food being pleasurable and instead of thinking about it as fuel. People get so upset that they have to eliminate all the things they love that are poisoning them. When they get poisoned, they beat themselves up and get mad at their bodies for betraying them.

On The Air with Pretty Little Celiac is also on iTunes! You can just search “Pretty Little Celiac” and subscribe to it and all the episodes will feed right into your player!

Want to know more about Jummy Olawale?

Jummy Olawale is a dynamic speaker, life coach, Licensed Professional Counselor, Pastoral Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor with extensive international and multicultural life experience and education.
Biography

Jummy was born in Nigeria, Western Africa where she lived and attended elementary and secondary school. She migrated to London, England where she completed her High school and college education. She earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA.) degree in Psychology and Natural Science from Canterbury Christ Church University College, Kent. After getting married, she migrated to the U.S. where she now lives with her husband and their two children. Jummy earned her Masters of Arts (MA.) degree in Counseling Ministries from Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Jummy utilizes narrative therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and motivational interviewing approaches. She specializes in individual, couples, and marriage therapy, multicultural counseling, parenting support, career coaching and life coaching.

 

The Connection between Green and Celiac Awareness

IMG_0777

Our Body: Is it just one big garden?

It’s funny how time flies and things can change in just a year. Last year around this time, I found myself really starting to struggle with celiac disease. I opened my new business a week after my diagnosis and didn’t really have time to process it or deal with the emotions that come along with a life changing event. I ate the same things over and over because they didn’t upset my stomach and I didn’t have time to find new things to try. The the business started to slow and I didn’t have to spend as much time up there. I’ll admit the slowing of the business probably contributed to my summer depression, just as much as celiac disease.

When I moved into my boyfriend (now husband’s) home 7 years ago, I couldn’t wait to start planting flowers. Ever year I wanted to try a new plant, dig up a new section of our yard and have a beautiful place to call our home. It started with roses. I built this huge rose garden in our yard. At one point, I think I had 17 rose bushes throughout our yard. They were gorgeous… until the beetles came. I did everything I could to try to contain them from eating my flowers but there were too many of them. I found myself outside each night trying to save my precious flowers from these creatures. I tried everything but eventually the beetles won.

I kept only a few roses that I thought I could save but ended up moving on to different plants with better tolerance.

Turns out I made the right decision. I have gorgeous hydrangeas in my backyard that keep growing bigger and better with each year. They love where they are and despite my neglect last summer, they are coming back this year!

My grandmother loved her roses and she had a few in our backyard growing up. I loved them. The very first plant I bought for our backyard was a peace rose and the last rose in my garden is the same rose-bush. Last year was the first year I didn’t tend to it and I’m not sure if it’s going to come back this year. Which makes me sad but also makes me think about our bodies and the cycles of life.

While I was outside pulling weeds, trimming my lavender and cleaning up our flower beds. I looked down at my hand for some reason when I pulled some grass growing under my flowers and noticed my celiac awareness bracelet is also green just like the foliage around me. Spring brings out all the new growth on flowers and trees and of course it got me thinking!

Green is the perfect color for celiac awareness. I’m not sure who thought of it, but it actually is the perfect and symbolic color for our bodies. Isn’t our body just one big perennial garden? Think about it….

Each year our bodies change depending on how well we are nurtured. Gluten are those little beetles that kept coming back to destroy a little bit of my body year after year. It wasn’t until I realized what was causing my perennial garden harm, made adjustments that all the other flowers started to blossom. Once I removed gluten, my mental health improved, my hair and nails are stronger and thicker, my stomach is healing and a million other improvements have been made.

Last year I struggled tremendously with depression throughout the summer. I remember laying on the couch and looking at the beautiful sun shining wondering why I just couldn’t get up and tend to my garden. Looking back, I realize I was actually talking about myself.

I’m excited to finally feel better and breathe the fresh spring air again. I’m thrilled to feel the joy of tending to my flowers and taking care of my home. It’s taken me a long time to get here. A celiac diagnosis or even having to go gluten-free is a major life change. I can’t emphasize this enough that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You won’t figure it out right away but that’s okay. Sometimes trial and error makes the learning more painful but quicker. I can tell you after a gluten poisoning attack, I’m quick to learn that lesson for the future!

Think of your body as a perennial garden. It needs watered, pruned, fertilized, fed and sun to make the perfect condition for beautiful growth. The same is true for the human body. The more time you spend now taking care of your body, the easier it will be as we get older.

 

Do you suffer from Celiac Sadness?

celiac-joke1-300x210

If you have celiac disease or think you have celiac disease, you can’t help but go through denial at some point in this journey. For me, it was both before I was diagnosed when I had a million different health issues and then about 6 months post diagnosis when it really hit me what this meant.

In a quick internet search on denial, of course Wikipedia was the top search result but it also was the thing that hit home the most – specifically the term abnegation:

Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true.[1] The same word, and also abnegation, is used for a psychologicaldefense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

Turns out, it wasn’t denial after all. It was abnegation.

I’ve never heard of this term before but man does it hit the nail on the head. Let me explain…

You see there was always a suspicion in the back of my mind that I might have celiac after a coworker was diagnosed who was having the exact same symptoms as me. I didn’t want to have celiac and I didn’t believe that was the case. I said things to myself like “it’s such a rare disease” or “but I don’t get sick when I eat bread.” She repeatedly would tell me I should go and get tested but I never did.  I didn’t want to.

There I was going from doctor to doctor trying to find an answer. Trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Continuing to hear from my friends and family that I was a “hypochondriac” or “always had something wrong with me.” The answer was right in front of me for years, yet I didn’t want to believe it.

The first few months after diagnosis were a struggle. I ate the same foods every day because I knew they were safe but I was so busy opening my business that it worked out well that way for a few months. But after the shock of diagnosis ended and my business calmed down a little, the denial and abnegation reared its ugly head again.

It really hit home for me that I would never eat the foods I loved ever again.

That I could never eat a delicious piece of sourdough bread at my favorite restaurant.

That I wouldn’t be able to grab a bite to eat just anywhere anymore.

That I couldn’t enjoy foods with friends the way it used to be.

That eating fruit and cheese at weddings was my new reality.

That celiac was my new reality.

I was sad, angry, anxious, depressed and in denial.

Maybe I didn’t have this life long disease. It was a wrong diagnosis. I should find another doctor and get a second opinion. maybe I could have gluten a little bit, every once in a while. Maybe I could just do what I’ve always been doing and hope for the best in the long run.

Yup, all of these thoughts ran through my mind. I was sad for about 2 months. I’m lying – I was depressed. July and August of 2012 were just awful for me. I started blogging September 1st and after starting to find all of you online, that’s when I realized I wasn’t alone and my life wasn’t over. I could turn this into something positive and wonderful.

I want you to know it is totally ok to go through these emotions and have these feelings. A few weeks or months is ok, if you are finding it lasting longer than this, it is ok to seek professional help to get over the celiac sadness. <– This is a real thing. It never really goes away.

Celiac Sadness: The temporary feeling of sadness when you encounter any of these scenarios:

  1. You get glutened.
  2. You realize at a social event there is nothing for you to eat.
  3. You make an awesome recipe only to find out it’s disgusting and you spent $75 on ingredients.
  4. You get upset when you see someone make fun or mock gluten-free anything.
  5. You go to dinner with a friend and they constantly make comments about how you order, what you are eating or how delicious their own meal tastes.
  6. You hit your third grocery store to get all the brands of gluten-free foods you enjoy.
  7. You are on a road trip looking for a Wendy’s or Outback Steakhouse but settle for almonds and a bag of kettle chips at the gas station.
  8. You get angry when another dumb ass celebrity says they are going “gluten-free to be more healthy.”
  9. You realize how many years you spent sick because our medical doctors aren’t properly educated on celiac disease.
  10. You finally come to terms with yourself that this is your life now, you can never go back and you will be okay.

Do you ever have Celiac Sadness? Post below!!

Rebecca

gluten-free-300x210

 

This celiac mask is really getting on my nerves.

cartoon2

Disclaimer: Men this post is for the ladies :)

Celiac disease is quite the emotional roller coaster. Whenever it seems as though you’ve got it figured out, something new creeps in just to keep you on your toes. Hence the title of this post about celiac being a “mask.”

Wednesday I’m having a laparoscopic procedure done to check for anything going on in my reproductive organs like endometriosis. I keep having these stabbing like cramping pains throughout the month and my ovulation time is excruciating. And even after cutting gluten, latex fruits/veggies, lactose, corn and poultry – I continue to gain weight right in my belly region. No, I am not pregnant.  

I’ve gained 10 pounds since Christmas and almost 20 since last summer. Today I woke up and weighed 5 pounds more than I did yesterday along with feeling a tightness and fullness in my stomach that I never usually have. Something is going on. I feel completely uncomfortable and out of control. I don’t eat gluten-free processed junk foods so I know that isn’t the case and even if I did do that, the weight doesn’t come on that quickly from over eating.

It really is true that once you resolve the main problem, you start finding things that were masked by the undiagnosed issue. Once you cut one thing, another comes along making you wonder if you are ever going to be able to eat anything ever again.

For me – I was diagnosed with celiac disease, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and arthritis last January. At that time, I cut gluten, poultry and latex laden fruits/vegetables. Then in the spring I cut lactose too as Greek yogurt continued to irritate my stomach. Finally in December, I cut corn. I’m not sure there is anything else to cut.

I’ve been able to manage the Hashimoto’s strictly with food. My thyroid levels are perfect with no extra medication. It took a full year to get there but I’m happy I chose not to take medicine.

Then I started feeling sick again last fall, which didn’t make sense because I’ve been very diligent about gluten removal only to find out that I should have cut corn too. The over compensation of corn products sent my body into overdrive again.

As a fluke, my old obgyn didn’t fill my Nuva Ring prescription and I have been off that for almost 2 months now. It’s amazing that my migraine headaches went away during my last 2 periods and I’m sleeping perfectly. Could it be that was causing all my sleep problems for the last 10 years?

Bottom line: I feel amazing. My head is clear. I’m productive again. I feel like I’m on top of my game. I’m not having any stomach pains (the old kind) and all of my blood work levels are perfect. So why am I having these other issues?? It is so cruel to think that I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and there continues to be one missing link each time I think things are great.

Hopefully, Wednesday is the last missing link and I can get that all figured out. I will post again at the end of this week and let you know how it goes. I get really nervous about these types of procedures simply because I don’t have them often and I am terrified of anesthesia.

What other things did you find out you had along with celiac disease? 

 

How to find a doctor for gluten intolerance and celiac disease

cartoon2

It’s hard for me to imagine 1 year ago this week I was sitting at Dr. Aukerman’s seminar thinking to myself, “maybe I do have a problem with gluten.”

After 20+ years of having issues, could this finally be the answer I was looking for that would solve all my bowel problems? Would this doctor really be able to finally solve the mystery? As a matter of fact, he did but only because I persisted in looking for answers.

I started Pretty Little Celiac a little over 4 months ago and I couldn’t honestly believe how fast it picked up in the gluten-free/celiac community. I’ve met hundreds of people struggling with the same exact symptoms but are unable to find their “Dr. Aukerman.” I get question after question from readers wanting to know how I finally was able to figure it all out and who helped me get there.

Let me give you my suggestions on how to go about this journey based on my own experience.

1. Don’t ever let someone tell you nothing is wrong if you believe otherwise. One of the most frustrating appointments I’ve had to date was with an allergist trying to find something wrong. There had to be something making me sick in my food so I went to get allergy tested. 100 back pricks later with NO results. Nothing! Not one thing came up as a problem during my test results. That doctor recommended I go to see a GI doctor but also told me that they really wouldn’t be able to figure out intolerances unless I went on a complete food restriction diet and then added foods in slowly. Well, I’d already been to several gastrointestinal doctors and just figured it was a wash.

2. Referrals – And when I say referrals I mean from friends and family that have had simliar problems and went to a doctor who they trust and finally helped them out. Doctors can refer to other doctors but do those doctors listen to their patients? Do those doctors actually take the time to spend with you so you know what is wrong? Do those doctors know about the bedside manner of their colleagues? All of these things are important. I knew my friend went to Dr. Aukerman and trusted him with her care. She also felt incredible since her diagnosis so of course I was going to check him out.

3. Google Searches – Make sure you look for several different terms when you are searching and you include a 50 mile radius for your search. Gluten intolerance doctor, celiac specialist, celiac gastrointestinal are some terms I would start with when researching online. Often these doctors have been reviewed online as well by other patients so that even cuts down on some stress of finding a new doctor.

4. Check with local gluten free or celiac support groups as to what doctors they like seeing and have helped them. Other people suffering from the same problems is the perfect way to start!

5. See if your local University has a celiac center or doctor specializing in the disease at the school. Specialists are often found at large medical centers like Universities because they can get money for research so they stick with places that will pay for those types of things.

**Do NOT take gluten out of your diet if you are going to be tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance**

You need to keep everything the same prior to seeing any doctor so the tests can be done. If you start changing things prior to testing, it can seriously affect the ability to find out what is actually wrong.

How did you find your doctor? Leave a comment with a tip so others can get the help they need!

 

Food Addiction? What is wrong with us? Changing the way we think about food.

foodaddiction

I posted on Facebook yesterday what foods people missed most from their gluten free lifestyle. The purpose of this post was to see what types of food I could play around with or find as a great substitution for what everyone was missing.

54 People commented on my post and the comments as I read through them disturbed me. I completely understand that we miss bread, pretzels, beer etc but some of the things that people wanted to have so desperately are part of the problem in society.

I recently spoke to an Ohio State University group called CHAARG -Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls – They came to Bexa Body Fitness for a group fitness sampler and a little seminar on healthy eating in college. I spoke to them a lot about food options and ways to make better choices when eating on campus.

I can’t emphasize to people enough at my fitness studio:

  • If the ingredients look like they should be on a shampoo bottle you probably shouldn’t be consuming them.
  • There is nothing FRESH about Subway – Their lettuce is out of a bag and their meat is as processed as you can get. The sandwich is entirely bread and why do you always smell when you leave there?
  • I’ve never met anyone in my life that told me they were addicted to carrots, sweet potatoes or steak. I do however on a daily basis meet people that can’t give up artificial sweetener, diet coke, candy, sugary coffee drinks etc. What does that tell you about those foods and how they are reacting in your body? Your brain is addicted to these substances and no one seems to think this is a problem.

The list of foods people missed goes something like this:  Pizza, biscuits, donuts, pie crust, pizza, flour tortillas, bread, pizza, twizzlers, crackers, hot dogs, Subway, Arby’s, pizza, McDonald’s, funnel cake, Ciabatta bread and so on….

ON TOP OF THIS – I see an incredible amount of children and teenagers also addicted to these foods.

I believe that when people think of food addictions, they think of the television shows on TLC about people being cut out of houses or Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition. But, we are all addicted to food in some capacity. Some people are able to handle it better than others but very few people recognize the problem/trend in our society.

Our society pushes low fat, low sugar, no fat, no sugar, low cholesterol and anything else with “low” or “no” in the front of it.

Do you know how those things get to be that way? They pump the foods filled with chemicals and fillers so they taste great and food us into believing they are healthy or good for us. They aren’t. Our brains are so fooled and duped into thinking all food should taste this way that eating a nice whole meal of protein, potatoes and veggies is like eating cardboard.

All of us that can’t eat these other foods and desperately long for them are proving my point. We are just replacing these junky gluten filled foods with junky gluten free foods. While it is fine once in a while, it is not ok all the time. Moderation is key but when options are so limited, I’m finding it much easier to go overboard on gluten free foods.

I’m absolutely not saying that I don’t fall into this trap. There are certain things I know I miss desperately and would love to have again. There are foods filled with gluten and gluten free that I know I can’t keep in our house because I won’t be able to keep my hands off them.

But I understand now how all this affects my brain chemistry. I realize how screwed up our society is to see that eating “I can’t believe it’s not butter” is better than eating regular butter. Do the research. Butter won’t kill you but I’m pretty sure whatever the hell is in that fake butter will.

We are the fortunate ones. We can’t eat that crap or we get sick. We are the ones that have the opportunity to heal our bodies and wean ourselves from the stuff we once knew.

If you get anything from this post, it might just be the 3 bullet  points I posted above and you might just think of a shampoo bottle next time you check out ingredients!

But I challenge you to think about these things the next time you are longing for a brownie or piece of pizza.

 

Speaking Engagement: Cleveland Celiac Awareness Tour 11/17/12

Come see me on November 17th, 2012 at the Celiac Awareness Tour!!

You can get your ticket online here!

Tons of vendors and speakers, lots of foods to try and of course come meet me!!

I’m going to have an awesome raffle gift at the event so be there to try and win it.

I’ll be sharing my story and answering questions.

January’s stop will be in Pittsburgh… I will confirm the date for you shortly!

What cities would you like to see me visit?

PLC 30 Day Gluten Free Challenge – Important FAQ’s

30 Day Gluten Free Challenge
30 Day Gluten Free Challenge

I am completely over whelmed, honored and excited at the response for this challenge!! A couple of quick things based on emails and question’s I’ve received since the initial post….

  1. You do not have to eat the protein or dairy items. You can make some substitutions and I’ve also included a list of vegetarian protein sources on the Facebook Group Page.
  2. You do not need to actually complete the competition part of the program – you can do it on your own, with us or enter the competition. It is completely up to you!
  3. You do not have to have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance to do the program! If you want to give a try – that is awesome!!!
  4. We are starting the challenge on 10/22/12 but you can do it whenever you want! Just the part with the competition is officially starting. You can get the plan without competing.
  5. The workouts can be done at home or at the gym. They are quick, intense and get the job done.
  6. I am not a nutritionist, doctor or RD. This is a basic gluten free plan based on my own personal knowledge and experience in the fitness industry. I am a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, business owner, lifestyle coach, fitness competitor and personal weight loss story person.
  7. You can find the 30-day plan and other materials on the FACEBOOK group page – once I figure out how to get it as an easy download thing on my blog – I will add that too. Just waiting to get my new fancy schmantsy blog up and running!!
  8. Let’s have some fun.

I started a Facebook Group page for us to hold each other accountable, post our goals, interact with each other and become our own little community!!! Join here