Saturday, January 18, 2014


I am so glad to be back writing again! I think that I am finally getting back to normal. I have thought about putting my thoughts on paper but have not been able to concentrate long enough to get the words down in black and white.

Life has been a challenge since Labor Day weekend. There have been many days of waking up, cooking breakfast and going back to bed. My off days have consisted of alternating housework for 30 minutes and napping for an hour.  I have cancelled lunches with girlfriends and workouts at the gym in place of lying in bed and resting, all due to eating gluten over Labor Day Weekend.

For 6 weeks I spent my time praying that something or someone would help me. I had a burning in my stomach that felt like a cigarette lighter and I could barely move for the pain and swelling in my joints.  Also, the Celiac Disease was affecting my Hashimoto’s Disease. My labs were haywire. Normal Thyroid Peroxidase is 0-34. Mine is 1176. Also, my weight went up 25
lbs in 2 weeks! I was for lack of a better phrase a hot mess!

Then one day in October, I saw something on the local news that has changed my life! I saw Mee Tracy McCormick and her book ‘My Kitchen Cure”! She was talking about better alternatives for Thanksgiving and curing chronic Autoimmune Disease through diet!  As I watched and cried, I knew that my prayers were answered. I ordered the book on Nook and couldn’t put it down! Then I bought the book in hard copy and got to work.

I am now able to go to the gym and ride the stationary bike for 45 minutes, I am back into yoga, and I have lost 15 of the 25 pounds that I have put on! I have gotten rid of the processed and canned food in my house with the exception of a few cans of beans and coconut milk, canned tuna and organic chicken broth. I also have a shelf of gluten free chips and crackers that I keep in case we get invited out and need to take an appetizer or snack to a friends house!

I am so thankful to Mee and I want to recommend that you all go out and buy her book! Her story is an inspiration and has been a blessing to me! I am leaving you with a picture of my new non-processed pantry!!!! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recovering From a Backslide

Have you ever wondered why life turns out the way it does?  Me too! However, I’ve decided to move on and quit wondering and start living!

I am now almost 3 weeks past my Celiac breakout and 7 days past steroids, still feeling bad, still itching but thankful that I am slowly healing. The last 3 weeks have given me a new perspective on life! I am so thankful that I am able to enjoy my life and so blessed that I have been given a chance to move on and learn a new way of thinking!  Although, I have been gluten free for almost a year, it was by choice (I could deal with a little joint pain or swelling if I really had to eat that special something!). Now it is a matter of my life and well-being.  I cannot repeat another outbreak just because I want that piece of cake or those fried shrimp. After 3 weeks, my body is still not back to normal. I still find myself taking naps and having to struggle to finish tasks. I also know that if my skin is this bad after 3 weeks, my stomach and intestines must be horrible!

I spent yesterday going through my pantry. Although I have been eating relatively gluten free for almost a year, I needed to verify that EVERYTHING in my house is gluten free.  I ended up with only one thing of barbeque sauce that I was not sure about. I read the ingredients and noticed that at one point it said “spices”. I got it out of the pantry! I remembered Vanessa’s teaching: If the manufacturer won’t tell you what “spices”, it is not safe to eat!

Another thing that I am working on is a list of restaurants where I can safely eat. For those of you in the Nashville area, Darfon’s and the Backstage Grill have REALLY nice gluten free menus! I have also had success at Blue Coast Burrito. I get the Cabo Bowl and Red Robin; they have gluten free hamburger buns! Forget eating at fast food restaurants! The only exceptions that I have found are Hardees; I get the low carb thick burger and Subway, where I get a 6-inch made as a salad!

Dominoes and New York Pizza have gluten free crust pizza, but be very careful because they make and bake the pizza in the same area with the traditional wheat pizza! A month ago, I would have taken that chance, but not now!

The thing that I am happiest and most excited about though is that I can cook ANYTHING that I want and make it gluten –free!  I am rethinking my recipes and am thinking about a cookbook. What do you think?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

“Lessons Learned or Why I Should Quit Being a Doubting Thomas”!

Throughout my life, there have been times when I tried to push the envelope or do what “Everyone Else” was doing. It has never worked.  I always get caught! That being said, I will move on to my latest lesson learned.

As you know, Shank and I were in Europe for 2 weeks. While on the ship, I was able to follow my gluten free lifestyle. However during shore excursions and in Barcelona, it was more difficult. If the excursion included a lunch, it was usually pasta. So, needless to say, I cheated. I did pretty well in Europe, just some joint pain and swelling, but nothing that I couldn’t live with. I think the reason is because there is less gluten in European wheat.

Flash forward: We come back from Europe and Labor Day is upon us. The last weekend of August, we spend a wonderful day with our friend Judith on Group Therapy. Everyone brought food to share. One of the foods available was chicken strips. I decided to have 2.  After all, I had just spent 3 weeks eating pasta and bread once a day, what was going to happen with the breading on 2 chicken strips?  The next day, I woke up with what I thought were mosquito bites.  The next week went by and everything seemed to be fine. On Thursday, I woke up late and missed breakfast. So I stopped and got a sausage biscuit. Now usually, I throw away the biscuit and just eat the sausage, but again, what could it hurt. 2 hours later, I am aching and having chills. In my denial, I thought, “ I must still be tired from the trip”.  Saturday, I cooked Gumbo and Shrimp and Grits for 20 people! We had so much fun! I have adapted both recipes so that they are gluten free. The only thing that I made that wasn’t gluten free was homemade Banana Pudding. I had a serving. I woke up in the middle of the night itching and I was so sore the next day I had trouble walking. Again, I realized that the aches were from the pudding but thought I had a mosquito in the house. On Sunday, I went to my friend Lorie’s for a cook out! I thought that I had not had any gluten but after about 30 minutes, I had chills again and had what looked like chicken pox appear on my arms.

Now here is where I should have listened to reason. But I just had to push that envelope. I just had to know for sure. I told Shank, this is probably not the thing to do, but I have to know for sure if this rash is caused by wheat/gluten. I decided that if I was going to do it I was going to go out with a bang! I had a chocolate chip cookie and a turtle brownie!

By midnight, I was covered in whelps and oozing sores, having chills, headache, and aching all over!  I tried to self medicate (being a nurse and all) but after 5 days of no relief and being unable to sleep with out clawing myself and drawing blood, I ended up at the doctor’s office.  Now 3 days into steroids, I can wear clothes with out pain!

The doctor told me that if I wanted to be tested for Celiac, she would order the testing, but that her recommendation was to consider myself Celiac and NEVER eat wheat or gluten again. I am considering whether to have the test or not. Either way, I am off of gluten.

Now why am I telling you this? First gluten is gluten. I should have not eaten it in Europe. It is interesting to know that I am not as bothered there.  Secondly, 95% of people with Celiac Disease do not know that they have it. I am including a Celiac Symptoms website that you may find interesting. I hope that this may help someone who is having issues and does not know why.

Until next time!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Enjoying Life!

I recently spent 2 weeks in Europe where I had a wonderful time with my husband. During our trip, I had long periods of time where I sat and looked out at the ocean and thought about many different things. I thought about my past, present and future. I thought about everything that I have done in the past and what I would like to accomplish in my life in the future.

For several weeks, I have been unable to think of anything else but this topic. There are so many things that I am thankful that I have done, so many things yet accomplished, so many things that I wish I had taken a chance on, and of course, many things that I regret and wish that I had done differently.

Today, I found a column by a woman who is a reporter for a newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.  I had to include it in this post because in some ways it sums up what I have been thinking about, but it also gives me inspiration to make changes in the way I have looked at my life. I hope that you enjoy it!

Written by Regina Brett, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family   will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry, God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19.. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

I intend to start working on taking her advice! How about you? Until next time!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Celebrating Independence Day

Today, I am preparing to go to south Alabama to see my parents for the July 4th holiday. I am very excited about the visit because I don’t see my family but 3-4 times a year since moving out of state. As I was thinking about the visit, I began to reminisce about how the Independence Day holiday has changed from when I was a child.

From my childhood perspective, July the 4th was a HUGE holiday.  Although fun, the summer seemed to stretch on forever. We lived in the country and although there were several boys that were my brothers ages, there were no girls my age except in town. At that time, we did not go to town on a whim like people do today. We went on Mondays to deposit the church money (my mother was the church treasurer) and we went on Fridays to buy groceries. Occasionally we would go to the park to swim, but usually we spent the summer at home. So the holiday was very exciting.

Daddy, my Granddaddy, and all of my uncles were off from work.  I had several aunts who worked outside the home and they were also off for the day. Everyone would go to my grandparent’s house beginning in the early afternoon. The grill would already be heating up and the fryer would be set up and ready to light. Grandmother would be in the kitchen with the aunts cooking and all of the men would be outside in lawn chairs talking and watching my Granddaddy cook the meat du jour. There was not a square inch of the house or yard that did not smell of wonderful food.

The yard was full of cousins of all ages, adult and teenage cousins with their new wives or girlfriends and the cousins who were still children and toddlers. Everybody running around and playing games such as hide and seek, tag and mother may I? Everyone was happy and relaxed.

Around two in the afternoon, we would all sit down and eat! There was food for days and tables of desserts.  After everyone was finished eating, it was time to make ice cream. There were electric ice cream makers but there were also the hand crank mixers.  The hand crank mixers were easy to turn at the beginning, but as the ice cream would start to freeze, it would get more difficult to turn. As the crank became more difficult, I along with the younger children would be enlisted to sit on top of the freezer to hold it steady as the crank was turned. I always felt very important getting to sit on the freezer! For the cousins who were too small to sit on the freezer, the uncles and older cousins would give them the “important” job of making sure the hole on the side that allowed the water to drain was not stopped up by ice and salt.

While the ice cream was being churned, there would often be a game of baseball being played in the yard or some other activity going on.  Nighttime however, was the most exciting part of the day. The area that I lived in did not have a fireworks display, but we bought firecrackers, sparklers, roman candles, and cherry bombs from the little store down the street from my grandparents house. A dollar would by a brown paper sack full. Everyone got to shoot fireworks. Not only did we shoot fireworks into the air, we had fights and played war with them, throwing them at each other as if they were hand grenades. Looking back, it is a miracle that none of us died. We had ringing ears, scorched fingers and occasionally had very angry mothers because of holes burned into clothing, but no major injuries.

After the fireworks, we would pile up into our cars and head home exhausted. Looking back, I would give anything to be able to relive just one holiday. Just once more to have my grandparents, all of my aunts and uncles, and the 2 cousins that are deceased back together and in one place. The last time we were all together, there were 50 of us. Now almost 20 years later, there are just too many to count. I regret that my children did not get to experience family holidays as I did as a child.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Living Healthy, Weight Loss and the Fight for Healthy Food!

As I strive to “recreate” myself and become a healthier and happier individual, I have discovered a fact that many of you already know but some of you may not.  What I eat affects who I am. The old saying “You are what you eat” has never been more evident to me. Since I began this endeavor in earnest 6 months ago, I feel like a different person.

I am losing weight, it is a slow process, but I do not have to starve. In fact, the weight has just begun to come off on it’s own and I seem to eat less and less. Also, I don’t crave food the way that I once did.

Many of you may be asking why???? I have been thinking about this question also, and I have decided it is because of what I eat. As you know, if you have been following my blog, I was diagnosed with gluten and casein intolerance. Also, I have an aversion to soy. American grown soy was never meant for human consumption. At first, I thought that my world had ended.  How was I going to survive without bread and milk? Thanks to Vanessa and “Q”, I was introduced to the wonderful world of gluten free living and the amazing world of sheep and goat dairy and coconut milk. How, you ask can a person lose weight doing that? Well partially by getting rid of the foods that I have intolerance to. You see, when I eat these foods, my body starts an attack against these foreign substances. My joints become inflamed and I ache and swell. But also, my body in response to the inflammation puts out cortisol, which promotes and helps retain body fat. So, when I quit eating the foods that I was intolerant to, I began to lose weight.

However, I think that a major cause of my weight loss and my overall general better health is the fact that when I started reading labels looking for these foods, and began to realize what was hidden in the processed foods in the stores today, I stopped eating processed food.  A friend of mine tried this method and lost 70 lbs in a year. What? You ask? Stop eating processed food? How? Why?

The answer is easy. Processed food will KILL you! My journey began with oh, that has gluten, milk, or soy in it. Then I started saying, “ What are the other 30 things in here that I don’t recognize”?  "What will I do"? My mother or I used to make this food from scratch maybe I can do that again. Once I made the homemade version, I wondered why I had ever bought the processed version. People say, “but it is more time consuming”. Yes, but it is very satisfying to know what you are eating and what your children are eating. If you sit back and think about it, can you truly say, I would rather feed my children non-nutritious, potentially carcinogenic, dangerous food, or would I rather spend 20 extra minutes a day cooking REAL food?

The thing about processed food in the US today that scares me the most are the genetically modified organisms or GMOs. These are food products that have been genetically changed in a laboratory at a cellular level and then grown and sold as “food” in the United States. The big corporations in the U.S. are in bed with the FDA. The American people are being kept in the dark!!!! GMO foods are not labeled in processed foods or in the produce section of the grocery store! Do you want to eat corn or other vegetables and fruit that has been injected with viruses or animal DNA to keep insects from eating it? That is what most of the corn in the U.S. is today. It is not the corn that we had as children. In order to get a bigger yield, it has been injected with things that kill the insects that normally would eat it. Ask yourself, if something at the bottom of the food chain cannot eat a vegetable without dying, what is it doing to my children and me? Also, it is killing the bees!!!!! Without the bees, we cannot survive! The picture in this link shows why we need to protect our bee population!

I am repeatedly amazed at what the general public is aware of and what the government keeps hidden.  I am very proud to be an American, but I am not na├»ve enough to believe that our government has our best interest at heart.  Have you ever wondered why Organic cost so much? Are you aware that the government uses our tax money to fund GMO testing but charges small farmers to be able to tell us that they are organic farmers????

I am also surprised that the general public has issues with things such as embryonic stem cell testing but does nothing about scientists changing the vegetables and plants that God put on this earth. Either they are unaware, or they choose which Dr. Frankenstein to condemn and which to ignore.

One thing about living in the United States is that we are all free to believe what we choose. I for one, choose to fight government interference with nature and what I think is God’s plan. Luckily, in the United States, I am not alone! Much of the worlds including Europe, China and India have already banned GMO foods. Hopefully, this will happen soon in the United States.

I am including the links below if you would like more information. Have a wonderful week! And please let me hear your thoughts!

Friday, May 31, 2013

A Thank You to My "LIFERS"

A lot has happened since I last sat down to write.  I spent the week of Memorial Day weekend traveling.  During this time, I went to my oldest granddaughter’s 6th grade graduation and my youngest granddaughter’s 4K graduation.  Nothing in the world is as sweet as grandchildren! I also spent time with old friends and with a very dear and special friend who is losing the war against Alzheimer’s.

As I was driving the eight hours back home, I had a lot of time to think about my life. There are so many people that are so near and dear to me. Some I see often, some once a year, some every five of ten years and some are gone and I would give ANYTHING for just one more day.

Everyone has family and most everyone has friends, but there are some of us who have been blessed with people who transcend these categories and blend into something totally different. They become part of who you are. I realized as I was driving that these people, living and dead are part of what makes me the person that I am today. My friend Lee has a term for these people. She calls them “Lifers”.

I was able to spend time with my oldest friend Lee this weekend. By oldest friend I mean that we have known each other since birth. Our parents knew each other even before we were born. We started kindergarten together, dealt with children, marriages and divorces together, cancer, job changes and moves. We have been together so long that we instinctively pick up the phone, sometimes after not talking for a year and say  “what’s wrong and what can I do?” Countless times, we sensed that the other was in need.

There are other “lifers” that I love.  And after spending time with my dear friend who is fading away, I think it is time that I let all of you know that I love each and every one of you. Even if we don’t talk often, you are in my thoughts and prayers and you are part of my very being!

I have been looking at old pictures recently and there are quite a few that I want to share! Unfortunately, there are some of my oldest and dearest friends that I have no pictures of.  The only excuse that I have is that when you have been friends for LIFE, you take for granted that you will always have that person. So, my “lifer” friends if you don’t see a picture, that is probably the case, and the next time I see you, expect to see the camera!

Until next time!