Friday, February 10, 2017

Gluten Free, and The Repeat Endoscopy

Why is an endoscopy necessary in celiac disease? That's simple. Diagnostically, an intestinal biopsy is the current and only standard for positive identification of CD. (Except for the rare dermatitis herpetiformis diagnoxis with a skin nioody).

So a better question is: why in the world repeat it?

And the answer to that is two-fold:

1] To confirm and guarantee the body has healed and responded to the "GFD".
2] If symptoms persist, to discover WHY.

Both options demonstrate why a follow up endoscopy is important self care for the celiac.

Celiac Disease is a medical condition. Nor only that, celiac is still a baby on the block in terms of treatment, research, and professional understanding. The "Gluten Free Diet",, despite grab-bag assumptions isn't a cure. The  gluten free diet is a treatment. For celiacs,  celiac disease persists whatever diet they follow. Symptoms and damage are controlled by going gluten free. But maintaining a gluten-free plate,  while necessary, is merely the current best treatment for keeping symptoms and damage to minimum.

Once gluten-free, you may not be symptomatic. Yet MANY CELIACS EXPERIENCE FEW TO NO SYMPTOMS PRE-DIAGNOSIS ANYWAY. (In other words, just because you're symptom-free doesn't mean you're damage-free.)

Diagnosis isn't  time to get complacent. It's the beginning of the time to be active,  vigilant, and conscientious about your health. You know you have it. It's like knowing you have nice in the house. Just knowing means maybe you store your rice in mice proof plastic bins. But if you don't sweep for droppings, and set out traps, your nice are more likely to increase right under your nose.

The gluten free diet is the first step.  The diet is a matter of tidying up. Just as you'd keep things neat, food stored, floors swept to discourage mice from invading your home, so you go gluten-free to make your insides unpalatable to disease. (In the case of celiac, you're actually removing the substance that sets off the autoimmune-mice from going AWOL on your insides.)

A repeat endoscopy is bringing in an expert to check the walls for holes and set traps.

Fact: I have mice -- and celiac.

I put off some follow up care...I also put off calling an exterminator when my flatmates and I saw a few mouse droppings. It was very bad thing to put-off.

When it comes to the two, mice are more easily seen. Celiac is an "invisible " disease. But it isn't intangible. I can feel the impact of going without treatment, Even if others can't see it. And I can't feel it, it is still taking a toll -- just as the mice took a toll on our dry goods stored in the pantry, even when we didn't see it -- since we weren't digging to the back of the shelves to find the quinoa and sunflower seed flour sacks full of holes..

I have both  reasons 1 and 2 as mentioned above to do the celiac-self-care-waltz (diagnosis, and follow up to confirm healing).

 But in light of recent research published in The Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition by the MGH on the persistent damage found in pediatric celiac cases, don't wait til you feel it or have symptoms. Get regular bloodwork. Get an endoscopy -- AGAIN.

It isn't fun. But who said diseases are fun? What is fun is having a life to take care of: and celiac , since I've treated it, has left me with the great joy of THAT -- living.



Always Tumbling Free,






CJ

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is It Breakfast Though? Crunchy-Fluffy French Toast Pancakes (Gluten-Free)



“Well you can’t have both chewy--fluffy, and crunchy, at the same time.”

Yes,” I said, “I can.”

"Is it breakfast though?"



My friend – not gluten-free and very dubious – just shook his head.

But I can tell you one thing: Life gives me tons of things I can’t have both ways, especially living with celiac disease. But crunchy-fluffy breakfast is not one of them. I’ve proved it.

I’ve been waking up in Boston to cold that’s bone-brittle; and bone-seeping. I turn the oven on to warm things. But somehow, the frost on the window isn’t just outside – it’s Winter, and a body knows Winter from the inside as much as out. Winter is dangerous, and Winter is old, and Winter means – to the deep-down old places in our minds and bodies – go deep, stay warm, nourish well.

Perhaps not so long ago, and even still, those messages help us survive. Better than that, I think those messages help me thrive -- if I listen.


I wake, and I’m hungry, and I wouldn’t touch a cold bowl of gluten-free cereal with a tentpole.

Being creative is also a need though. Pancakes may be body-food; but creativity and beauty and fun are soul-food. When they meet, now that's having it all. Gluten-free good eats and the head-and-heart nourishment of good creativity.
.
So it was dark as all get-out, but my kitchen is lit with pale Christmas strings of lights, and it was a time to take a break from routine; especially cold routine, both literally and figuratively, because I’ve been eating cold Cinnamon Squash Bowls for months.

And gluten-free French toast with a crisp sounded good. And a dozen pancakes sounded necessary to get me through 0-degree weather. And a ton of protein and something creamy.

“You can’t have both –“

“Yes,  I can.” And I told my friend exactly what I’d done.

Crunchy-Fluffy in a nutshell…or in a cake, if you will be literal.

Quick toasting of thin-sliced BFree multi-seed rolls, (or the new HUGE bread from Canyon Gluten Free) shredded delicata and zucchini squash in a bowl, eggs – pulling out, oh, no flour but ha! Protein, exactly what I was looking for after all – Garden of Life new smooth vanilla protein and I had Now Foods egg white powder in the back of the pantry, plus some cocoa powder…

Considering brainstorming time, 45 minutes later having breakfast seemed speedy as spindrift on the sea.

And French Toast Pancakes, voila.




A side of Chia-Chocolate Sunbutter Syrup was a lot more fortifying than a dash of maple syrup – tasted bloody brilliant too.*


RECIPE

[ gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free ]

*for the pancakes

:: ingredients::

1 large organic zucchini, shredded
2 heaping tbsps egg white protein (I use NOW Foods)
1 heaping tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp organic sunbutter
1 heaping tbsp vegan protein (Garden of Life = most excellent)
1/4 water
1 egg
1/2 tsp organic sunbutter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
1 tsp cinnamon, ground

*for the syrup

1 tbsp organic sunbutter

1 tsp chia seeds, dry (soak to gel)
2 tsps cocoa powder
2 tsps vanilla protein, vegan (Garden of Life RAW Vanilla
water or coconut milk (So Delicious Unsweetened vanilla really adds lovely subtle flavour) to adjust consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the toast

2 slices Canyon Bakehouse Heritage-style bread OR 1/2 BFree Foods Seeded Roll, sliced longwise into fourths

:: directions ::

1) For the pancakes: First, combine all pancake ingredients in a small mixing bowl (big enough for toast slices).  Second, toast that bread. After your bread is toasted, soak each slice in pancake mix until nicely wet, but not soggy.
2) Heat nonstick skillet, and drop about 1 tsp of coconut oil onto the heated surface, making sure it melts and spreads well. Fry up at that french toast til brown on both sides. Set aside. (I like to put into the toaster oven, to re-warm/crisp up for about 60-120 seconds).
3) Spoon pancake batter onto heated skillet in about 2-3" diameter round. Dice french toast into strips or cubes, and either add to the center of your cakes or press into the sides. This means you'll either have embedded crunch, or a nice fluffy cake orbited by crunch. Flip (careful if your toast is stuck to the perimeters!). Continue cooking another 1-2 minutes, and then plate.
4) For the syrup: Soak your chia seeds. (Twenty minutes will get them gelled, but I like to set them out overnight so there's no rush or worries of forgetting.) Add cocoa powder, protein, vanilla, and milk (if needed). Slowly add sunbutter, mixing by hand until you have a thick paste, then add more liquid until you have the syrup-consistency you prefer.


5) Drizzle your cakes withsyrup/spread, and spoon heaps of banana-nutmeg-compote over it all together. Serve with a warm cup of coconut-milk-cocoa or hot tea.

Note: Toasting the bread, and then frying it till well crispy is a must if you want to get fluff-and-crunch. I even took one batch and re-toasted it (after frying) in the toaster oven, before cubing and adding to my pancakes.

You can also make one or two huge cakes -- what I began calling a UFO-Griddle Cake, especially for the younger kids I work with. This one is heaps of fun– and more time-effective—just arrange the slices of Bfree-rolls-toast along the rim of yourfrying pan, and pour one huge pancake into the center. It spreads, and attains an orbit of satellite French toasts, half-baked into its circumference.


In the end, that first morning, my flat smelled of vanilla and coconut, and caramelized banana – and warmth.

It couldn’t smell crunchy or fluffy, I suppose; or maybe the mingling of nutmeg-cinnamon, the aroma of toast, and the baking breath that comes with frying cakes, really does smell like crunch – and fluff. In a way.

And oy, it’s utterly gluten-free. Nut-free. But neither cold, dull -- or lacking in novelty.





(*Experiment with spreads, textures, and syrups: Playing with all three makes variety easy on a gluten free diet, It's a wonder how simple things can make all the difference to getting novelty on your plate, and creativity!)

WANT TO WIN SOME SUN BUTTER?

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Tumbling creative and (gluten) free,

CJ

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

You've Got...Gluten-Free Mail? Or, How-To Travel, Live, Explore, Celiac


HOW TO TRAVEL AND EXPLORE
GLUTEN-FREE AND CELIAC

You've got mail! how much? What about brain mail? Is it overflowing the basket, out the box, trailing down the doorstep...do all the demands and communications DEMAND without STOP?

My brain feels this way having celiac sometimes.

How many new things do you need to keep track of with celiac?

Life takes maintenance. The root word for that in Old French means "protection" or "to keep in being
. In Latin, it means "to take hold of/take in hand".  In Spanish, mantenar means to drive or navigate.

Maintenance then, in sum means taking-a-hand-in your life

Life is wild enough as it is, isn't? Then Celiac adds a few...maybe a few dozen...additional weather patterns, routes, navigational tools to track and use. Additions themselves aren't negative. But any addition to life requires time, attention, and energy.

Some say we have infinite potential. But a few things we don't have in infinity are time, attention, and energy.

One of my acquaintances-- well-meaning but a bit brazen and impertinent, recently burst out: "You poor thing! You can't even travel or eat out anymore!"

Lady, you just made duel-worthy remarks! That's a challenge.

What she didn't know, is that I do and have -- gluten-free, I travel, work, eat, and take care that I don't risk my health.

Is it possible?

Well OBVIOUSLY.

But what did it take?

A lot of time, energy, and attention. [This spells tea. Tea is also helpful.]

But what I found is that -- if I don't do it all alone -- and inventory my tools -- it doesn't take quite so much of any of the three. And it becomes more than "just possible"; my life moves through survival into confidence and thriving.

So if you have celiac, know you're not alone. Look up tips. Talk to your dietitian (HAVE a dietitian and doctor) -- and ask questions. Ideally, from those sorts who don't blurt out YOU POOR THING.


CELIAC
or anyone with unique food needs



Don't fly by the seat of your pants. It can cause ruptures -- in the trousers, and in your guts. In the end, whinging it may take you more time.

Sketch out Needs, Assets, Plans, Doubts

... an 8 year old I work with likes to point out that spells napped. Sort of.

But perhaps that's appropriate. A toddler is much more functional once he's napped.

I pass this on to some of my celiac clients, and friends -- as a map to prove living, traveling, running marathons, going out and eating safely -- are possible. And getting a napd never hurt anyone who was recovering from, or treating, a disease.

You're worth the time, energy, and attention. I have to remind myself of that, since celiac is one of those invisible diseases, and we don't always get the reflections of our needs validity from outside. Prove it by doing it.

You don't need to keep track of quite so much in-the-brain if you put it on paper.

Tumbling Free,

CJ

Friday, January 20, 2017

Garden of Life: Raw, Green, Creamy, and Gluten-Free Protein



Garden of Life produces an array of protein supplements -- but their first and most basic product line has just been updated. Oh has it been updated! Vegan  and gluten-free -- raw, organic, sprouted -- and utterly free of fillers and preservatives, the RAW proteins have always had the best ingredients, and top of the line manufacturing  The first generation -- in flavours of Vanilla, Raw Cacao, Coffee, and Chai --  provided a unique variety to the supplement options for both dairy and gluten-free needs. But what about the consistency? The blendability? All that jazz?

The first gen formula was chalky. Popped in a smoothie, it was always wicked good. But if you needed to whip it into milk or water, it wasn't quite up to speed. Close. But no Cuban, as they say. But I loved them all the same, because my celiac gut could assimilate the extraordinary spectrum of plant-based nutrition in their sprouted, probiotic-packed powder.

But chalky no more! Garden of Life hits every note in perfect harmony Chalk and tackiness areover with the new formula: GOLRaw's spiffed up basic protein powders sport the same balance of probiotics and 22g of sprouted grain-and-legume-protein in a creamy powder that works however you use it.

I tend to do the smoothie road. But occasionally time sneaks up on me. I coconut-milked a scoop of the new RAW Vanilla before an afternoon jaunt down the river, and got the creamiest milk I've ever had, bar none.  Now, as I've worked with my GI doctor on some recurring celiac malapsorption, I've needed additional protein added to my plate -- or glass. So since then, in the morning, I scoop organic cocoa powder and GOL's Raw Vanilla protein into a coffee mug, and pour coconut milk over it. Over my cereal after that. Or on top of a nut-butter-pumpkin-parfait.

The texture makes a bowl of cereal into something more like a bowl of ice cream. The smooth vanilla sweet does the rest. I've been dumping it over my Erewhon flakes and chia pudding in the early AM. Not only is it creamy as creme brulee, the vanilla or chocolate perfectly sweetens my cereal.

And then, of course, that's 22g extra plant-based protein.

Garden of Life RAW has lead in the sustainable, allergen-free, vegan supplement business for ages. But a change in demand has thrown them quite a bit of competition. When I was first diagnosed with celiac -- a celiac competitive fencer, and well underweight -- the first protein supplement I picked up was the RAW Vanilla -- because it was good. But also because it was one of the very few out there that was certified gluten-free, filler-free, and vegan for my dairy allergy.

Now it's one of many protein options. It needed a bit of tweak. It got more than a tweak -- with the new formulation, the Raw Proteins are the ones I pick up specifically. I love GOLRaw's commitment to sustainability, organic and local farming, and highly assimilable nutrition. Their company ethos and customer service are stellar. I'm pleased punchy they put the update on their basic protein to match: because now this protein powder hits texture and functionality, nutrition and  taste, and knocks each category out of the park.
Prepping for Protein-Packed Gluten Free Cookie Making


GOLRaw is dairy and gluten-free, boasts probiotics to support any digestive track under the stress of hard training or  disease, and sources all of its ingredients from non-GMO and organic farmers. Since plant protein is less bioavailable than animal, Garden of Life not only adds probiotics, but sprouts its grains and seeds before sourcing the proteins. A better protein for the gluten-free gut -- or taste-buds -- you can't find.


PRODUCT SUM-UP:

Organic/non-GMO: Yes.

Celiac-Safe/Certified GF: Yes.

Taste/Texture: Creamy, easily blended into milk or water -- in fact, just as good in a glass of dairy-free milk as in a smoothie.

Shoestring-Budget-Friendly?: One of the most affordable high-end and certified GF proteins on the market. Even at Whole Foods, 29.99 average for a tub, as opposed to many competitors at 39.99 to 59.99 for comparable amounts.

Available?: At most health food or supplement shops in the U.S., as well as Whole Foods, Sprouts, and most organic or farmer's market style grocers.

Previous product summary:


Friday, January 6, 2017

[ Product Review ] 88 Acres of Gluten-Free Good


88 Acres is a unique resource for celiacs, who also live with severe allergies or other sensitivities. Because unlike most companies creating similar products, they are totally nut-free.

Boston-based, this tiny company covers the nutless and gluten-free in their seed-based snack bars and granola so thoroughly, you'd never know anything was missing. Which is saying a lot when it comes granola, especially. They up the ante though by not only covering free-from: they cover a business model which puts person and care first. Sustainable, small, personal. How does that show up in a snack? Simple: They single-source, from local suppliers; artisan-craft and small-batch make each line of bars and granolas, and produce everything in our backyard here in Beantown, in a tiny factory run by the tiny team personally invested 88 Acres staff. It took over a year to develop the relationships that make their ingredients not only the highest quality, but also completely safe in their sourcing, free from cross-contact.



Huge resource; tiny operation.

And somehow, that's the model for quality and care. Even companies like So Delicious -- large-scale and national -- who have the same dedication and integrity, run on that small-batch, painstaking attitude of personal care. They run small to run large.

All of that said though, you probably want to hear about the food: Bars? They come in three varieties, classically New England, but universally tasty. Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt has that wicked lovely contrast of light sweetness from maple syrup with the depth of the chocolate set off by salt. Ginger Apple is all-things-Fall-in-New-England -- on your tongue. Triple Berry is Independence Day Berry Pie in a bar.

I love the simplicity of the ingredients. It's the balance that makes each shine, sweet set off by a depth of flavor -- (they use real berries, and high qualitycrystallized ginge)r --a balance that 88 Acres obviously spent months if not years getting just right.

The granolas, likewise, come in those three flavours. 

I've been trucking a sack with me on all my work-travel. They're nutless, and nearly grainless, and rather than a crunch-muddle of dust or a block of sugared-together-crunch, they're diced into perfect little cubes that fill a bowl like chestnuts -- bite-sized.

Finally, if you can't do nuts, but are nuts for spreads, 88 Acres offers three seed butters:  (organic) Plain Pumpkin Seed,  (organic) Vanilla Sunflower Seed and (organic) Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed.

What really makes a bowl of a brilliant breakfast is mixing all three. Now that's a taste-texture-falvour fusion that wouldn't ever need to be labeled free-from if you that means less-than. See if you can eat better, or more joyfully, with nuts and gluten included.

I bet you five gluten-free flapjacks you can't.


Or maybe blend them into a smoothie:
Butternut Banana Shake with 88 Acres Chocolate Sea Salt Granola
and Vanilla and Chocolate Seed Butter blended in.


CELIAC NOTE: These bars do include oats. They are certified gluten-free. If you cannot tolerate oats at all, the granolas and bars are not safe for you. If you can tolerate small quantities, they are.

PRODUCT  REVIEW SUM-UP:

Availability: In Whole Foods across the Northeast now, and many small New England natural grocers.

Organic/Non-GMO?: Bars, granola, and seed butters all have local and sustainably-sourced ingredients. The seed butters are also certified organic; and every product is non-GMO.

Taste/Texture: Nice contrast of crunch and chew in both bars and granolas. The seed butters are a beautiful smooth blend.

Celiac-Safe?: Yes. Certified GF.

Whole Food: Close as anything short of an apple off a tree.

Shoestring Budget?: Whole Foods sells the bars for $2-2:50 US.  They are much more affordable than many other comparable in quality, if still a stretch if you're stretching pennies. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

How to Survive New Year's Eve, Gluten-Free


So you have celiac disease, and it's New Year's Eve. You have multiple options. But let's minimize the decision-making, and reduce it to three options.  Because 'tis a night to party and enjoy, but what if you have to figure out dinner, gluten-free, cocktails, gluten-free, or prepping a party for many
friends...and you have to eat gluten-free?

Also, potluck.

AND THIS IS A NIGHT TO ENJOY, BUT HOW?


1st Possibility:

Single, Celiac, Party.

Do you ask the host if they're serving gluten-free options? Do you research 
cocktails, ingredients? Do you show up, willing to risk it --
and possibly down a glass or bite a snack
that probably contains gluten, or has been cross-contacted?

DO ask your host. But also, bring food. If it's dinner,
eat first, and bring food. It isn't sexy, but it is self-care.

DON'T waste time researching cocktails. The only
way to know is by asking the mixer or maker, and that is an option.
Or, stick to naturally gluten-free: straight gin, rum, or much less
worrisome, wine and champagne.

DON'T risk eating gluten, or cheat.
This option literally and possibly irreparably
damages your internal organs. This is self-abuse.


2nd Possibility:

Single or no, Celiac, Potluck/Self-Hosted:

Do you plan an intricate gluten-free menu? Do you send out social media
invites? Do you require pot-luckers to bring only gluten-free
items? Do you trust that they will? Do you BUY EVERYTHING
OBSESSIVELY TO MAKE SURE THERE'S PLENTY
EVEN IF IT COSTS YOUR SAVINGS?

DON'T plan anything intricate (unless you just enjoy the planning). Keep it
simple.

DO plan one or two dishes or snacks you enjoy.

DO/DON'T:  Feel free to ask friends to bring gluten-free items,
if you're keeping your kitchen/home gluten-free. Perhaps don't trust anything homemade
is celiac-safe to chomp on.

DON'T blow your budget. Take care of yourself, and enjoy the company. 
Perhaps ask friends to provide champagne, while you provide
two main dishes/appetizers.

3rd Possibility:

Single, Celiac, or not-single, Celiac, Hiding Out at Home

Do you hide out at home, afraid to expose your gluten-free needs? Awkward about asking,
unwilling to pack a snack or eat first? Do you hide out at home,
because you love to watch movies, and spend the night
comfy and cosy in PJ's, with popcorn?
Do you go to bed early a) because you love to or b)
because you're afraid again?

DON'T hide out of fear. Your needs are valid. Figure out what you'd love to do (accept
a party invite, go out to a bar, go downtown, take a New Year's adventure to a local
destination), and take  the time to plan it so you can enjoy, and eat safely.

DO hide out happily if you love a quiet New Year's, and snack on
your well-prepped pantry.

OBVIOUSLY: last item -- sleep if you want, DON'T if it's out of fear


Finally, enjoy yourself.
It's easy to fall into self-pity or worry around social events involving food. It's easy to feel less-than.  Depending on your personality and history, it can be easy to be terrified to put yourself first, ask questions, seem different, take the additional time to plan so that you're included in the festivities.

But simply put: It's well worth it. Because you're worth it.


QUICK TIPS FOR PACKING OR POTLUCKING:

Pop a Bagel-Bauble in your purse (or pocketbook, or bookbag, or backpack):

This is a quick simple-snack/meal I'll take to holiday festivities. It's brilliant-festive, easily-wrapped-and-packed, and not only makes easy eating, but fits in at a party, a bar, or on a hike. It also packs a nutritional punch that will keep you satisfied and fueled for a full night.

1 -2 Tbsp Smooth Nuttzo
1 Tbsp Garden of Life Raw Vanilla Protein
dash of coconut milk
(optional) roasted beets, pomegranate seeds, candied ginger, candied carrots


Mix Nuttzo with protein and coconut milk until you get a nice smooth, white frosting. Split your bagel, and toast. Spread the bagel with the frosting, adding optional additions now, and smash that bagel together.
Tightly wrap in foil or plastic.
Pop in a bag.
Remove when the stomach growls.


Pop a Plate of  Bagel Baubles and Popcorn on a plate (or multiple plates):

This can be an easy appetizer to slice up and toss on the counter for a potluck or party, if you're hosting.
If your guests aren't gluten-free, provide the spread, and ask someone to bring less-expensive, gluten-containing alternatives, or -- as I did last year -- slice up a round of apples for the dip.


So they say drink responsibly. If you're celiac, plan and EAT responsibly! and enjoy

It helps to pop a Canyon Gluten Free Bagel Bauble in the pocket.

Have a blast in 2017! 


CJ


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Celiac on New Year's Eve, or Party It Up, Gluten-Free

...why not resolve to have a fuller, more gluten-free life.

  Free from gluten-free.




Say what? Doesn't celiac require that my life be gluten-free?

No, celiac disease requires that my diet be gluten-free.

Yes, Celiac Disease is a condition treated by one prescription: a gluten-free diet. Because food is so key to our survival, and sometimes even to our identities, gluten-free often becomes as much a name we answer as a prescription we follow. But would we think it healthy if a diabetic toddled around identifying with their insulin? "Oh yes, I'm insulin-pumped." Or what about an individual with lupus: "I live a steroid-high life."

The analogy isn't precise, but it is fair -- for whenever we label our days, our lives, or our time gluten-free we risk doing what an individual diagnosed with diabetes would risk if they labeled their days and times insulin-pumped. The label reduces us to a prescription -- something, instead of a someone -- and then the label gluten-free or insulin-pumped reduces us to a disease.
Hey. Yeah. I'M GLUTEN FREE.
Cheers -- wait, what? No, that's not my name, I'm just...

Treatment is hugely important. But do you know what's part of a full and complete treatment, and recovery from celiac disease? Recovery from celiac disease ultimately includes living a full life, unhindered by the agony of symptoms, or the intestinal damage and malnutrition, or the increased risk of cancer...

...and finally, recovering from celiac should mean we don't need to spend our hearts or our identities on being gluten-free. We get a life back.  And it's not one in which our minds and hands are always on "gluten-free"; but one where our stomachs are well-nourished and gluten-free so the our full potential and life are open to living.

I think my friend, Sema DiBooglu, has demonstrated this aspect of recovery beautifully. Part of her success stems from a wonderfully supportive family and a mother who has taught her to advocate for herself, and then get on with stretching, living, developing her talents and striving towards non-food related goals. (Of course, she's able to do this because she's had the treatment taken care of -- she has a university with safe eating options, a head full of concrete strategies for nourishing herself in any situation, and a well-healed gut since her childhood diagnosis.)

 There's nothing wrong with identifying the need to be gluten-free; in fact, I need to as a young adult with celiac disease -- in many situations, I need to inform someone else of my prescription , otherwise I'm risking triggering my disease through contamination, or going hungry through leaving key players such as hosts or catering staff ignorant.

But there is a cavernous difference between identifying the need to eat gluten-free and identifying as gluten-free.

(All, technically, if you ate me, I would be gluten-free. But that is a flippant aside.)

I know each and every one of my friends, readers, workshop graduates, fellow bloggers --celiacs and otherwise -- are tremendously more than a diagnosis, and more than a prescription.

I am.

This year, I shall continue to be involved with my community as a celiac advocate; I will continue to aid families and individuals with recipe research, and celiac-thriving strategies; I will eat entirely, unabashedly, painstakingly (at times) gluten-free.

I will look forward to new research, and treatment developments for celiac, and to more eateries and production facilities adopting practices that make cross-contact a risk of the past.

But I want gluten-free to be something on my plate; not on my brain*; and not in my name. It's possible, because with good habits, and the ability to cook for myself, my muscle-memory can take care of a lot of that feeding stuff.

Even after all of that, I don't need to identify with what I'm doing ether. Graduate student in philosophy, freelance writer, activist, human rights advocate, young adult, Bostonian...oy, they're all labels related to doings or location.

I am, after all, a human being.  O tumbling free.

I'll be posting my freelance and bookish endeavours, along with product reviews and tips, and a monthly interests and what I'm up to update as well.

w00t, mates! That's a party.

Happy New Year.

CJ



*Recent research from BIDMC in Boston has shown a disproportionately large cohort of diagnosed celiacs still feel burdened by the label "gluten-free", in that they need/do spend a crippling amount of time on figuring out food needs and plans. I'm not commenting on this aspect in the least. We do need to spend time to be safe. I'm addressing placing one's identity in that need, accepting the label instead of accepting the burden. Yes, it is a burden often, even when the work pays off and gives us better skills, and better health. So is eating well and keeping one's insulin balanced. But the fact we have a disease does not define our lives.