Something to Talk About…

I haven’t been as active on this blog as I would like to have been in recent weeks.
Here are some reasons/excuses why:
I’ve been working way too much.
I’ve been way too tired.
I’ve been staying healthy and enjoyed being able to work hard.

Now for reasons why I am writing today:
The gluten-free community has saved my life, and all I want to do is give back!
My Hashimoto’s friends have helped me realize I’m not alone in this struggle to find what works for me.

I am amazed when I learn someone is diagnosed celiac and still uses their same old makeup, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, and still eats GLUTEN! Do these people not realize what they are doing to themselves? You may as well just inject yourself with the worst from of cancer and never seek attention, because that is what will eventually happen to you, if you don’t make the change to a clean, GF life.
I am happily not being poisoned anymore… Yup, even my dogs eat GF now! 🙂 It I truly amazing to me that getting rid of my known allergens/intolerances and staying away from them over a two week period has enabled me (without exercising) to fit back in my pants I wore in college! Plus, I feel better, my face looks better, and I really do have energy from the foods I’m eating.
My mom and I used to watch that show, “What Not to Wear,” and every time there was someone dressed really frumpy, she would point to me and say, “Pay attention to this episode.”
Now it is my turn to help you! Take my advice people: find what not to eat/wear/bathe in, and getting the safe foods and products will be so much easier! For me it is: gluten, corn, sesame, legumes, oranges, grapefruit, banana, meat, cantaloupe, and so much more!

Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge

A fellow Californian-Turned-Texan suggested I take part in the WEGO Health initiated 30 days of blogging challenge. So here it is! I hope you enjoy, but also, I hope you learn something.

Day 1: Why I Write:
I write because I know that I am not the only person dealing with food allergies. Five years ago I was in search for someone like me, but the only blog I found about gluten-free living was The Celiac Diva. She was inspirational, and influential in my sanity during that initial “OMG” moment when I learned I could no longer eat the foods I grew up with. Her blogs have helped me with everything from buying makeup to choosing the right foods over the last five years.
I want to help the next group of adults living with and learning about their new food intolerances and allergies too.

Day 2: 5 Things I Want Others to Know About My Illnesses and My Activism
1. A Lot of people have food allergies and some are linked to weird things like a latex allergy. Food allergies are generally not linked to seasonal allergies. Sometimes food allergies are linked to a particular enzyme deficiency.
2. People with food allergies are a lot nicer than super-vegans or super-vegetarians when ordering at a restaurant because we expect to be accidentally poisoned.
3. Having Hashimoto’s has made me learn to take one day at a time and try really hard to control my anxiety/OCD and depression.
4. Celiac Disease affects so many people in so many different ways. For me, gluten gives me: migraines, belly pains, belly bloat (leaky gut), and “crazy brain” (depression, anxiety, stress, etc.) that can all last anywhere from a few hours to a few months!
5. I have struggled with food intolerances for 15 years now, so I have a good understanding of healthy options available for people like me in the global marketplace. I am not afraid to share my cool new finds, nor my old reliable staples. I want to empower people in similar situations to what I have had to struggle through.

Day 3: A Picture to Describe My Condition or Experience

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Day 4: Create a “Care Page” with Resources for the Newly Diagnosed
I need to add a page of my favorite blogs, but for now, I’m just going to mention my favorite people living a life similar, but also very different, to mine:
Celiac and the Beast
Franny Cakes
Glam Without Gluten
Gluten Dude
The Celiac Diva
Red Apple Lipstick (blog)
Jennifer’s Way
Better Batter

And there’s always:
F.A.R.E.
Celiac Disease Foundation

I’ll have more info links on my Facebook page, and on here, someday.

Day 5: If I Could Do Anything as a Health Activist…
If I could do anything as a Health Activist, I would do so much!
-Get healthy, safe food in all schools, all grade levels
-Help fund research to ease anaphylaxis and other severe allergies (alternate to the epi-pen)
-Educate the world of the dangers of consuming GMO-type foods and using products with harmful chemicals.
-Become more involved in the Food Allergy, Thyroid Disease, and Celiac communities

Day 6: Write a Letter to Your Condition – What Do You Want to Get Off Your Chest?
Dear Food Allergies, Celiac, and Hashimoto’s,
I really dislike you, but I also am thankful for you. I have learned to appreciate you, because now I am eating the best, healthiest food possible. Yes, I am actually eating food again!
You have taught me that life is always changing. My food allergies and hormones seem to change every week, always keeping me on my toes. You hurt me inside and most other people do not understand my pains. It is difficult for people to understand that food in the air hurts my head and guts at the same time. I wish that would change because I do not like pain. I wish you would be nice to me and not let me get bruised so easily too.
Anyway, my Hashimoto’s is catching up with me now and I need to either eat or sleep. I can’t figure out what my body needs these days; and I do not like that feeling either.
Please be nice to me this week.
Thank you,
Celiac Hashi Girl

Day 7: What is the Mist Ridiculous Thing You Have Heard About Your Condition?
This one is so easy for me to write because of my recent “real-life” predicament.
Food allergies affect me in so many ways. I love food, I love the smell of food, taste, and the way it feels covering my tastebuds. However, I do not just have food allergies, but also have seasonal allergies, outdoor allergies, indoor allergies, animal allergies, chemical allergies, and these things called auto-immune diseases that are easily affected by how my body decides to react to all food and all these other allergens. I also think I’m highly allergic to ignorant people.
So, my one-liner of what is the most ridiculous thing I have heard about my food allergies is:
“You’re grown, just don’t eat what you’re allergic to.”
If life was this magical place where food was always a solid mass, and people did not spit when they talk, I would be totally safe from food I am allergic or sensitive to. However, I live in a world of bakeries, and peanuts, and bananas, and cantaloupe, and real life! I also live in a place (Texas) where mesquite is always on the grill and always in the air, just like cigarette smoke and stray dogs (and if I lived outside the city there would be horses). I cannot run from my allergies; they are everywhere. I live every day as a new day and pray to God that I can just survive this one more day. That is how I have learned to live and manage my diseases.

Day 8: If My Condition Was an Animal, What Would it Be?
If my food allergies/Celiac/Hashimoto’s was one animal, it would be a rhinoceros.
Rhinoceros is an “odd-toed” species. They are unique with no front teeth, a large horn and latticed collagen to give them a hard protective shell.
I still find my food allergies to be odd. My Hashimoto’s makes me unique. My Celiac has given me a weak body but also a very protective outlook on life in regard to food.

Day 9: What Advice Do I Have for Caregivers – Medical or Otherwise?
The only real advice I have is to try to understand the physical and emotional pain and help with an action plan.
I was lucky to have an understanding boyfriend for a whole year of my undiagnosed life. I have also been lucky to have a great doctor who understands my “diet” and gives advice on other things like exercises, juicing and protein mixes.
For over ten years I had doctors and family who said my physical pain (migraines) were all in my head. True: the migraines were in my head. False: the pain was related more to food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions than emotional stress. If my doctors had known that my migraines may be related to gluten and Hashimoto’s, I could have saved myself from over ten years of taking 8 naproxen virtually every other day just to manage pain.

Day 10: My Favorite Picture of Myself

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Day 11: What is My Favorite Social Networking App?
My favorite social application these days is a toss up between Facebook and Instagram. I’m still new to the Page part of Facebook and my Instagram has been having issues lately, but I love the ease of access on my iPhone and iPad. I love that it is easy to post pictures and give brief updates of this gluten-free and allergen-filled, crazy, food-loving life!

Day 12: If I Could Go Back to the Day of Diagnosis, What Would I Tell Myself?
If I could go fifteen years back in time, I would have told all my doctors to test me for every ailment, including autoimmune. I would tell myself that it is in God’s hands and I will not be a “Medical Mystery” some day.
When I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I thanked my doctor. I praised her and I began to tell everyone about it. I would not have taken a Mulligan on that. I also told myself I wasn’t crazy. I told myself I finally knew the name of my “cross to bear,” and I was thankful. I am thankful to be diagnosed and I am thankful to be free of taking drugs (other than thyroid replacement) every day, just to help me cope with the pain.

Day 13: Write an Acrostic for My Username
Caring
Energized
Loving
Intuitive
Awesome
Colorful
Hard-working
Amazing
Super
Helpful
Interesting
Grateful
Informative
Realistic
Learned

Day 14: Thank a Few Fellow Bloggers
I need to thank my fellow blogger, Mary Fran, for keeping me motivated to finish this challenge (yeah, it’s the 30th and I’m on day 14 trying to finish before the month is over).
I also need to thank my fellow blogger and friend, Erica, for really helping me through the month of March and all my trials since then, even while she was going through her own.
My other favorites are everyone I follow on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook. I am lucky to have met so many of them in real life, and even more blessed to be a part of this gluten free family.

Day 15: Write a Comment to Someone Else’s Blog Post
My comment goes to Gluten Dude’s post today (April 30, 2013)… The one about the $1 a bun Trader Joe’s hamburger bun falling to crumbles after the first bite…
This post was like the story of my life. Just when everything feels like and looks like it’s getting to be perfect, and under control, there it goes.
Living with chronic illnesses, especially the thyroid one for me, makes life so much more complicated. I am a planner by nature, and hate, really hate, it when I cannot foresee what will happen. I really don’t know what gives me more anxiety: knowing, or not knowing. I like a little whimsy in life, but I always plan for that moment of whimsy.
On a side note: If you want non crumbly GF bread: microwave it with about a table spoon of coconut oil before you turn that bread into a sandwich. 🙂

Day 16: Three Things That are True About Me, and One Lie. Can You Spot the Lie?
1. I love my dogs.
2. I have always had food allergies.
3. I have lived in Japan.
4. I never get that “full” feeling.

Day 17: Go to wordle.net and Create a Word Cloud
This one isn’t working for me yet. I will try later.

Day 18: Write About a Time I Lashed Out at Someone Because of My Health Condition
I have lashed out at my parents so many times. Since having my twelve week long migraine, my parents don’t understand my brain and how food affects my mood. Since learning about Celiac and Hashimoto’s, my parents are trying to learn about how food affects everything about me, including my attitude, my feeling sick, and looking like I just got run over by a semi, or looking so bloated that I look like I’m about to give birth.
The holidays always seem like the perfect time to lash out at the ones we love. My lashing out has never been out of hate, it has always been about trying to get them to understand that I am chronically sick, and there is no cure, just allowances and avoidances.

Day 19: Post a Vintage Photo of Myself

20130430-195336.jpg My health was at its all time best. I won a four day stay at a very posh resort in Destin, Florida. This is one of the only pictures I have from that trip. I was by myself and totally free from all my food I tolerances. I worked out about three hours six or seven days a week, and I ate and drank whatever I wanted to at company potlucks and picnics.

Day 20: Burnout: What Gets Me Out?
I am blessed with Hashimoto’s and adrenal fatigue. I am also blessed with a huge appetite and a small budget. So, what gets me burnt out? Not enough money in the bank, not enough food in the pantry or fridge, and too much work!
I’ve been overcoming burn out, lately, by making sure to take triphala after every meal or snack, as well as taking taurine during the day. Taurine has been helping with adrenal fatigue, and triphala helps me to not be in pain from eating or during most of the digestion process of food. I also have to take at least one day out of the month to do nothing but sleep. I try to do this more when I know I am not getting enough sleep at night during the work-week.

Day 21: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” -Mulan
I totally love this Disney movie, mostly because it premiered the summer I was in Japan, but I also totally agree with this statement. I believe I am special and I know I am unique. I have never met anyone exactly like me, although I know I have a few look-alikes out there. Nobody has my same story. Nobody else knows the joy I feel from a good country song, nor the hurt I feel from a sad love song. I am proud I have overcome so much, and still live to one day tell the tale of Angela, your Celiac Hashi Girl!

Day 22: Write About the Things You Couldn’t Live Without
I honestly could live without a lot of the stuff I have moved and traveled with since leaving Tennessee. However, I could not live happily without my dogs, Cookie and Scout. I could also not live happily without almond butter and/or sunbutter. To that, I must add pineapple and, since I had to give up cantaloupe melon (and I also react to honeydew), watermelon as my favorite fruits. Last, I cannot live without the amazing coconut! Coconut oil, milk, sugar, rum (oops, … not really), I love coconut water, and the fruit on the inside is great too!

Day 23: Write About How My Life Would Change if There Was No Social Media
If there was no social media: not blogs, not Facebook, not Instagram, not twitter, I would not be alive. I would be sad, depressed, not know about cross-contamination, so I would probably have serious cancer by now, and I would be forever lonely, even with my dogs near me. Life would be tragic and the end of mine would surely be near.
I am so thankful I know all there is to know about food allergies, Celiac Disease, and life with a thyroid condition, because of all these amazing websites and blogs, and fellow people dealing with the card they were dealt, just like me.

Day 24: Create a Pinterest and share it
Seriously, I do not know how to use that. I cannot figure it out!

Day 25: Share Something You Learned From Another Health Activist
I learned from Miss FrannyCakes that even though we are in constant pain of varying degrees, we sometimes have to rely on others for simple tasks, or we cannot eat a lot of different kinds of foods we used to, anymore, we can still enjoy cooking, eating, creating, and sharing new recipes. It really is more blessed to give than to receive.

Day 26: What’s a Day You Could Have Used a Pain-Free Pass?
I wish I could have used a pain-free pass when I was in Japan, the first time I had something wrong with my intestines. My host mom and sister and I were supposed to go to Tokyo Disneyland and then my life would have come full circle. My mom was pregnant with me while she was a costumer creating, sewing by hand, and drawing patterns for the costumes for Snow White, It’s a Small World ride, and many more. I don’t regret not going, but it would have been amazing to see.

Day 27: Working Title to My Biography
From California to Gluten Free: That’s My Life!
Small-town to Food-allergy-ville
This is Serious, and Kind of Funny Too!
Does Stuff Like This Actually Happen to Real People?
Yeah, I’m a Foodie Who Fights With Every Bite.

Day 28: Top Five Must-Follow List
Celiac And The Beast
Gluten Dude
Franny Cakes
Glam Without Gluten
Red Apple Lipstick

Day 29: Sharing Some Things
I am supposed to share about how awesome I am! Seriously, I’m awesome because I’m ME!
I love to finish things. I always have a goal to accomplish, and I get easily frustrated when that goal is taken away from me. I like to win, winning at trying is still a win to me. I dislike change most of the time, but get really hurt when I had set a goal and change happens midway through my master plan to achieve that goal. I guess that’s why break-ups are so hard on me! I’m generally happiest when I’m working, again, probably the goal thing… Paying bills is always a goal I have to do before the end of the month!

Day 30: Recap
I learned, I am happy talking about myself, even when it’s boring and depressing at times.
I enjoyed writing about how other bloggers have changed my outlook on life.
I did not like that I stopped this at day 13 and had to finish on day 30, at night, when I should be sleeping because of my adrenal fatigue.
I don’t think I’ll ever do a 30 day challenge again!
Back to one post a week average, please. That’s a goal I can actually accomplish!