My two year gluten free journey


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I cannot believe that I have been writing this blog for two years.  How time flies.  It seems just yesterday that I began this gluten free, dairy free journey.   I have learned a lot about not only living a gluten free lifestyle but also a lot about blogging.  I would like to share my insights with all of you.

ON BLOGGING:

  • Find your own writing style.  You will grow into it as time goes on.  Don’t try to emulate anyone else.  Your true self will shine through in time.
  • It takes time to grow your audience.  Wordpress has a wonderful community of bloggers who will support your efforts.
  • Once you have established your blog, you can grow your audience with Adwords.  I believe it is worth the small investment it takes to reach a wider, worldwide audience.
  • Don’t clog your blog up with ads.  Most people find them annoying.  If I land on a blog that has a lot of flash ads, I tend to leave that site.
  • On that same note, don’t expect to get rich.  Blog because you love it, and want to get your message out there.
  • You can blog about anything you wish.  You can make it public or private.  You don’t need experience, and you can have a free blog.  Don’t let anything stop you from expressing yourself.
  • Take some free WordPress classes.  There are numerous topics, and taking them will help you to learn about how WordPress works, and how you can get more comfortable using it.
  • If you are thinking of moving your blog to wordpress.org, do your homework. Most widgets cost extra.  You might lose subscribers.  You have to do your own website maintenance.  These are just some of the pitfalls.  But you will also maintain complete control of your content and will be able to grow.  It’s an individual decision.
  • I do believe WordPress premium is worth the $99 per year cost, if for no other reason than to be able to chat with experts when you have a problem or question.

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Welcome new followers for April 2017


I want to welcome and thank all of your for subscribing to my blog this month.  You should check them out!

Thanks to those who followed me by email too!

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Take my advice…or don’t


 

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I often get emails from people all over the world asking for my advice.  This is one of the great things about writing a blog about gluten free living.  I feel confident that I have been gluten and dairy free long enough to help others overcome their struggle.  But there is one aspect of this give and take that puzzles me.

People often tell me they have signs of celiac disease.  Yet when I tell them is they need to get tested, they brush me off.  Celiac disease is an immune disease.  It’s not just gluten intolerance.  It can destroy your intestines if not treated.   I tell people not to do an elimination diet before getting tested, or it will skew the results.  Yet I go ignored.

I have been at this for a long time.  I do my research and my due diligence.  When I try to advise people to do the same, they want a quick fix.  Just give me the recipes.  Just tell me what to eat and what not to eat.  It just boggles my mind.

There is a local group that goes to “gluten-free” restaurants in Nashville.  I thought about joining them.  Wouldn’t it be great to go out to dinner with people in a similar situation? Then I thought about it.  How careful are they really?  Are they taking the restaurant’s word for it?  Do they know enough how to read menus and what to look for?  I highly doubt it.  Knowing it would just frustrate me, I gave up on the idea.

I was once a member of a couple of Facebook groups on being gluten free.  One lady kept posting that she was having shortness of breath and chest pain.  Everyone put their two cents in, saying that she had “gluten intolerance” or “gluten allergies”.  I said she might be having a heart attack.  Turns out I was right.  Luckily she survived.  People can’t see the forest for the trees.  I no longer belong to any of those groups.

Everyone is an expert.  Everyone thinks they know better.  But they often don’t.  And it can end badly.

Don’t get me wrong; I am happy to help in any way I can.  But why ask me if you are just going to do what you want anyway?

I have some tips for those who have gluten intolerance symptoms and need help:

  • Consider your source
  • Do your homework
  • learn how to read labels
  • Don’t rely on just one opinion
  • Work with a nutritionist or your doctor
  • get tested for celiac disease
  • No one is right all of the time
  • You don’t know better than the person you are asking for advice

I will continue to help those who ask me.  But I hope that they will go beyond asking for recipes and perhaps take the advice that is given to them into consideration.  It comes from the heart.

Sorry for the theme confusion!


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You might have noticed that I have been changing my theme quite a bit the last week or so.  I wanted to explain why and apologize for any confusion.

This all started with a notion to move my blog to the self-hosted wordpress.org site.  This is the second time I chickened out before the move was completed. Not only would it entail more work and more self-maintenance, it would cost a whole lot more.  I made the mistake of misreading an error message I received that my theme couldn’t be moved and I had to change it.  Unfortunately, I am unable to get my theme back to the way it was before I blundered, thus the theme confusion.

My apologies if my craziness is catching; I just can’t seem to settle on a theme at the moment.  The aborted move, along with a free email course on branding has led me down the path of self-doubt.  I suppose I should let the numbers speak for themselves.

In the future, if I want to move my blog, I will slap my own hand.  I will also try to leave well enough alone for a while by sticking to the current theme.

Thank you all for your loyalty and for sticking around through my growing pains!

 

 

#TBT: Revisiting older posts with new meaning


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I am starting a new feature for Throwback Thursday; I will be revisiting some of my older posts and adding an updated commentary.

Today’s retro post is from June 3rd, 2015:

Advice is everywhere.  So are opinions.  Everyone has one, and everyone is entitled to one.  That is where the story should end, but it doesn’t.  Facebook, twitter, TV, media….are all as good as the people on it.   You have to be able to weed through the crap to get to the good stuff.  And that often takes too much effort.  It’s just easier to take all of these messages we are bombarded with at face value than to think for oneself.

I recently joined a couple of Facebook groups on gluten free living.  While I think it’s a great idea to exchange ideas and have support, there are too many cooks in the kitchen with their finger in the pie.  If you are  just starting out with a diagnosis of celiac or gluten intolerance, the amount of advice on social media can just make you want to say “give me that doughnut!”

Everyone thinks their way is the best way.  Eat only fruit, veggies and meat!  Eat only pre-packaged foods!  Eat only recipes made from scratch!  Eat vegan!  Eat Paleo!   Now I myself give advice, but I always say-find what works best for you.  What works for one person may not work for you.  You have to find your own path in life, and you also have to find your own path eating gluten and allergy free.   You will quickly become overwhelmed if you listen to the talking heads and try to do what they tell you to do.

Now, I can tell you what I did.  I did an elimination diet for two weeks.  Then I slowly started to discover boxed mixes and gluten free items that helped with my carb cravings.  As a carb addict, I could not give up bread, cookies, pasta and cake.  And I didn’t have to.  Is it unhealthy?  Yes.  Did it work for me?  Yes.  Will it work for you? Maybe, maybe not.  Although I can tell you that if you go cold turkey off of carbs, it will be extremely difficult for you to stick with a gluten free diet.

That being said, the choice is completely yours.  You will have to make modifications and changes as you go along.  I have found confidence in cooking and baking that I never thought I could have.  But not everyone is Suzy Homemaker. Don’t be afraid to use boxed mixes and packaged goods if it makes your life easier.  If you want to go vegan, that’s ok too.

Be true to yourself.  Here are some tips that can help you.

  • Google is your friend.  I google everything and anything I am not sure of.
  • Take articles about gluten intolerance with a grain of, well, wheat.  Studies are inconclusive but no-one knows your body better than you.  If you feel better after eliminating gluten, chances are you are intolerant.
  • If you want to be tested for celiac, do so before eliminating gluten.  If you are losing weight I would definitely be tested.
  • Gluten and dairy intolerance often go hand in hand.  It may not just be lactose intolerance.  Try lactose free, then if that doesn’t work go dairy free.  I found that products containing whey bother me.  But it may be different for you.
  • Giving up both gluten and dairy is extremely difficult.  It is very hard to find both gluten and dairy free, especially when dining out.  But you may have to to feel better.  You can still eat well.
  • Give yourself time to acclimate.  You should start feeling better the first week.  If you need to, give the elimination diet a little more time.
  • Consult a nutritionist.
  • Consult your doctor but be aware they will more than likely want to treat you with drugs, which isn’t always the right way to go.
  • Read everything you can get your hands on, then form your own opinions.

I am not a physician.  I don’t play one on tv and I don’t claim to be one.  These are just suggestions to get you started.  it will take a lot of trial and error to get settled, but once you do, you should see a remarkable difference.

Please contact me if I can be of any help sorting things out, or just be an ear to listen.  Support is very important.  Educate your family and friends and tell them this is not just a “fad”.  And most of all, focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t.  That is the first step.

This holds true even more than it did almost two years ago.  Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. it can be very overwhelming.   Celebrities and so-called health gurus give advice, often with nothing to back it up.  Their way is the only way.  Health scares are everywhere.  So what can you do?

As I said in this post, do your homework.  This has been an undercurrent since I started this site.  Don’t believe everything you read or hear.  Be your own advocate.

It is becoming much easier to find gluten and dairy free alternatives, thanks to those who have turned gluten free eating into a fad.  It has forced large food conglomerates to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon by providing easier and familiar options.  It can be a double-edged sword, but it certainly makes it easier to maintain this lifestyle.

Please share this post and comment, comment, comment.  Get the word out.  Help others in your situation.  Most of all, be safe, and healthy!

Welcome new followers for February


As I reached a new milestone of over 15,000 views this month, I know it’s mostly due to those who have newly discovered and have chosen to follow my blog.

This blog would not exist without all of you.  Whether you chose to follow me through WordPress or by email, you have my undying gratitude.  I would like to acknowledge the seven new email followers that joined me this month.

Here are my new WordPress followers for February:

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Welcome new followers for January 2017


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I would like to welcome all of my new followers that joined me in January.  It is my pleasure to have you along on this journey.  I also want to welcome those of you who follow me via email.

I hope that you will find inspiration, camaraderie, and hope in these pages.

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