My Celiac Story

So being gluten free I often get asked lots of questions like “How did you know you had a problem with it and what were my symptoms?” So I figured I would just write about it in hopes it might help someone struggling as well.

Living GF has its challenges but over the years I’d says it’s gotten a lot easier. I actually found out right before Christmas about 9-10 yrs ago, what an awful time to find out such tragic news one might think, LOL! I cried!

I’d say probably in my late teens I started noticing like Mac & Cheese, spaghetti, lasagna, and breads seemed to bother me but of course I didn’t know what it was so I just stopped eating it. I didn’t know anything about food allergies and such.

Not only is food nourishing and needed to sustain us but if you think about it there’s also the social aspect side of it as well I will discuss that as well. When I was single it didn’t matter much because I could order and do as I please but I remember after my husband and I got married it became more of an issue. For family/friend get togethers people would make big pots of spaghetti or lasagna and bread because it’s easy for large groups, I totally get it. It started putting me in uncomfortable positions because it made me feel sick and didn’t like it or want to eat it. Sometimes I think it was perceived negatively like “You’re being a diva” and difficult but in reality I didn’t understand it myself, I just knew it made me sick but how do you explain something to someone you don’t understand yourself?

So fast forward after my 3rd pregnancy, I had lots of weird issues begin. Chronic fatigue was awful, I mean I know having 3 small children is draining but it was more than that. I remember one of my friends saying “3 kids is the same as 2!” Hogwash I tell ya!!!!😂

At the time we lived in Virginia and I can just remember trying to get out of bed every day to be Mommy and wife was such a struggle. The daily chores of life felt impossible, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. Plus my muscles were achy, tender and stiff. I had trouble getting off the “baby weight” and my hair was extremely dry, so was my skin. I was depressed and I couldn’t figure out why other than not feeling well.

I had a friend come visit me one day and I answered the door and she said “Nicole! Oh my goodness, you don’t look good!” Thinking thank you dear friend for encouraging me LOL. We talked for a bit and she said I think you have thyroid disease, you need to go to the doctor.

So I took her advice and went to doctor and come to find out my TSH was 134! The doctor says “I don’t know how on earth you are sitting there!! This is awful. I’ve never had a patient this bad before.” So she put me on meds right away and told me it would take some time to feel “normal” again. She kept having to raise the dose ever so often. All the while I’m having more intestinal issues but still avoiding Mac & cheese, spaghetti, lasagna and bread.

I guess it was probably another couple of years went by we had moved someplace different and by this time I was on 300 mcg of synthyroid and literally the doctor argued with me that I couldn’t be taking my medicine properly because my dose was so high. He says “I’m doing more test on and I’ll found out if you aren’t.” Thinking seriously dude, you’re a jerk! So after more testing turns out I had Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, which is an autoimmune disease.

This is where I begin doing my own research and things start piecing together for me. So in my searching I discovered Celiacs disease and how there is a strong link between Hashimoto’s and Celiacs and that since I had Hashimoto’s I should have been tested for Celiacs especially given all my symptoms. After I read the symptoms of Celiacs, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that’s what I had. I mean every single time I went to Chick-fil-A with girls I’d get a sandwich or nuggets and not long after I’d be in the potty and it had become increasingly more with other foods as well.

So I finally went to the Gastro dr, he did a barium enema…..Why I don’t know??? I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy LOL. I told him all my symptoms and asked if he would check me for Celiacs and he said “No I didn’t have that, it was very rare and that I just had IBS.” What an idiot!

Several more years went by, we ended up in Birmingham. We had been here about 3 years and my symptoms had gotten much worse. I became very anemic, other vitamin deficiencies, diarrhea, intestinal pain, developed Litchens, and the chronic fatigue got much worse and eating in general was just no longer pleasant at all.

Somehow I found out my half sister had Celiacs and that’s was it, I knew! I went to my doctor and told him AGAIN all my symptoms and about my half sister also having it and begged him to test me for Celiacs. He reluctantly agreed to saying “It’s your money, I KNOW you don’t have it. It’s so rare but I’ll do it.” In the meantime I also went to an allergist to test for food allergies. She felt it wise to test for Celiacs as well.

So the allergist does all this food testing the nurse comes back in to tell me and literally had tears in her eyes and said “I don’t know what you’re going to eat.” She starts listing off everything I was allergic too. I did have Celiacs first and foremost. Then I was allergic to diary, eggs, chicken, nuts, gluten (wheat, barely, rye, and oats), potatoes, and 2-3 other things I can’t remember. Remember at the beginning I said I found out at Christmas time, it was the next week. I just cried! But I was also relieved to finally know and to know it WASN’T in my head and it wasn’t IBS. So then the doctor comes in and says “All I want you to do is stop eating gluten, don’t worry about all the other allergy tests. I think because you’ve gone so long being undiagnosed you are just hypersensitive to all foods right now.” And that began my life long journey of living gluten free.

My primary called the next day and told me to come in for my results which I already knew. He says to me with his head hung low “You had all the symptoms I just really didn’t think you had it. It’s so rare.” Bet he wasn’t sorry enough to refund all my monies from every trip I went to see him and he was wrong?!?! Of course not.

Almost immediately going GF I could tell a difference, now every time I ate I wasn’t running to the bathroom. BLESSED! Doctor said it would probably take a year or more to heal my intestines and she had me take L-glutamine 2-3 times a day. I also did digestive enzymes with every meal and probiotics twice daily. Life was good!

Interesting tidbit, the longer I was gluten free my endocrinologist was able to lower my synthyroid more and more to the the point that it was cut in half. Why??? Because I wasn’t having malabsorption issues like I was before, and not that I wasn’t taking my medicine as I was accused of years before. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

The social side of Celiacs

I recently went on trip with my husband. Some of his employees from certain areas like 90 of them won a trip so we got to go as well.

With Celiacs not only can you not have gluten but there’s a whole cross contamination thing. So if you made fried chicken and then made me gluten free chicken but used the fried utensils I would still get sick. So you have to be extra careful. I can’t stand being made a fuss over but eating out sometimes that’s just what it feels like. Everyone begins ordering and then the waitress gets to YOU….now I have to explain I have a gluten allergy. Celiacs is NOT AN ALLERGY, but I find people understand better when I use that term when ordering. Then I have to explain how my food has to be prepared and cross contamination issues etc, it just sometimes feels like your being front and center and I hate that but I didn’t choose to have this.

Back to my story, they make arrangements for my meals ahead of time and they are brought out separate from everyone else’s because it’s a buffet and I can’t do buffets for cross contamination reasons. One lady at the table says “Oh, the bosses wife gets special treatment, I see?” Uggghhh I could’ve lost it!🙄 I mean really?!?! You’re eating from an amazing buffet and I have like 1/3 of what’s on your plate because I can’t eat gluten but I have “special treatment”. Are you kidding right now?

I politely said “No, I have Celiacs and can’t have gluten.” and she says “Ohhhh!”

That’s just rude if you ask me. But I run into that kind of stuff a lot. I still have a certain family member who will offer me gluten filled foods and then act completely shocked I can’t eat them. I’m like “No I still can’t eat a Dunkin Doughnut.”🙄😭 as much as I’d like too. It’s been how many years now? Then another older generation that just gets very sassy and mad that I can’t eat what they offer me.

Just gets me how people are about this kinda thing, in our family we have people with gluten, soy, wheat and potatoes allergies so it can be interesting. I guess that is part of my anxiety about going to other people’s houses for parties, holidays and staying is because of our food issues. When we travel I do take GF snacks on most trips but not meals.

I know people don’t mean to act bothered or maybe they do LOL, I’m choosing to believe they don’t but when they ask “Can you have this or this or this or this?” and it’s all no then you start feeling like your being a burden and their aggravated. We shouldn’t feel that way because we have a disease or allergy that makes you eat differently from someone else.

Same thing with eating out, it can be challenging especially with Mexican or Chinese, both of which I love. But often there’s a language barrier. I can’t always eat at every restaurant and sometimes people get bothered by that. But if the shoe were on the other foot, they would want people to be kind and thoughtful of them and remember they had a “allergy” and it’s not always a simple life but it’s my life.

But then there are special friends who will make an entire gluten free meal and makes you feel special and not like your “different “. Those are the best😇

So what’s the take away-

Through my journey I have learned to listen to my body, I know myself better than anyone and not all doctors know everything. Despite what they think, they can actually be wrong. So don’t give up if you think something is wrong keep looking and searching till you figure it out.

God has been with me every step of the way and He will be with you. But I will say even when I thought the doctor was wrong there were times when I should have been more proactive and assertive but I doubted myself because I “thought” doctors are smarter and know more than me. I should’ve listened to God first, He puts that still small voice on the inside of you for a reason, LISTEN TO IT! If I had been more confident and bold, things might not have gone on as long as they did. No one knows your body better than you. Even after I suspected I had Celiacs it was still prolly another 15 years that went by before I was finally diagnosed. Don’t let that be you! You MUST BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!

Food for thought-

I am thankful for this journey I have been on because God has used it in many ways and because of it I have been able to help others along the way and isn’t that what it’s all about? God will take your mess and give you a message. Your problems and pain won’t be wasted my friend, He will use it if you let Him. To God be the glory! Many blessings on your journey to wellness and I pray God leads and directs each and every step.

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

Advertisements

He Makes All Things New

Don’t you just love butterflies? To me it’s a daily reminder that He makes all things new! God has been speaking this to my heart for quite some time. I see butterflies everywhere! In places they shouldn’t be and every time I see them it’s mostly 2’s. I just can’t help but smile. It reminds me of how much He loves us and how he is changing and transforming us every day more into his image and being set free from the things that have held us captive.

The butterfly is such a beautiful creature, but she doesn’t start out that way. She is transformed over time, like you and I. She starts as an egg, a larva (caterpillar), a cocoon and then into a magnificent beautiful butterfly.

That’s kind of how we are on our journey with God. We are being transformed more and more into his image every day. We go from glory to glory. Transformation can be very painful but it’s also worth it! God will never bring anything into your life if He can’t use it for your benefit and His glory! What the enemy meant for harm, God will use for your good.

God loves us too much to let us stay the same. So no matter where you are today or what you’re going through, he’s got you right in the palm of his hand. If you have a wayward child or a loved one, God sees and knows your heart and has heard your prayers. He sees each tear and says “I will restore to you what the enemy has taken. I will give you double for your trouble!”

If you’re sick in your body, HE MAKES ALLLLLL THINGS NEW! Every cell, every organ, every joint, muscle, ligaments, everything must come into the alignment with His word. You are the healed of the Lord! He makes all things new, you claim that for yourself. When you see and feel the symptoms of disease remember by His stripes you are healed and speak His word over your body.

If you are struggling in your marriage, God knows, He sees and he is transforming your spouse, your marriage every day. It may not look like it because transformation is hard, and it’s not easy and it takes time. Sometimes a really really long time! Hang in there precious one.

Letting go and letting God take care of it isn’t easy but He knows what it takes to bring the other person around.

HE BRINGS RESTORATION MY FRIEND!

He turns your morning into dancing. He takes your weeping and turns it into laughing. He takes your sadness and turns it into joy.

So keep your eyes focused on him instead of your problems or situations, I know it’s difficult I’ve been there myself but keep your faith strong.

We have to stir ourselves up sometimes. We walk by faith and not by sight. So be expectant! Get up everyday expecting today is the day!! My breakthrough is coming today! I’m expecting God to do something great today! He makes all things new precious one!

God had you in mind when He created you. He knew what you would do before you did and yet He still created you and loves you with an everlasting love. You are perfect in His sight, you are His Trophy of Grace!

Love and hugs,
Nicole💗

Easy Chicken Stir-fry (GF, LC, DF, Clean) Plus thoughts on learning to love and nurture my body.

On my journey to wellness I’m learning to love and nurture my body, which looks differently these days. It doesn’t mean logging into My Fitness Pal and logging my meal, or counting calories or carbs which honestly is a very scary thought and one I’m still working through. Maybe you can relate?

But when I focus on only eating this or that or excluding food groups or measuring/weighing foods, it keeps me in that endless food DIS-order.

Since I have Celiacs being Gluten Free is a MUST but that is all.

So for now I’m just focusing on eating to nurture and heal my body and not exclude foods, trying to eat more often/planned, allow for mistakes because it doesn’t mean I’m a failure it just means “Get back up and start again precious one“.

Excluding foods for me only makes me want it more, keeps that desire high and goal unattainable. Mainly because I know I will fail at some point, and then I spiral and keep spiraling. Maybe you understand that too? I think that’s true for any addiction or problem you are trying to overcome.

For example, fruits, potatoes or rice. Ohhhhh let’s throw in Dr. Pepper and chocolate too😍😋😜 all of which I love but have WAAAAY to many carbs in my DIS-torted eyes. Yea yea I know the Dr.Pepper and chocolate aren’t that great but it’s still the principle of deprival. It feeds the desire and keeps the cycle going, at least for me.

So when I eat from one of those foods I have listed in my mind as bad, I heap all the shame and guilt because of my DIS-torted thought patterns. It really is a whole renewing the mind process which for me I know will take some time.

So for now I choose to love, nurture, and be gentle with myself while on this road to recovery and restoration. I pray you will do the same my friend!

Hope you enjoy this simple, nutritious meal.

1-2 Bags Simply Balanced Organic Stir fry veggies from Target (or whatever brand you like)

Cook some seasoned boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs. Or even easier a rotisserie chicken and debone. Doesn’t get any easier.

Directions:

-Pop bag(s) of vegetables in microwave cook 4 mins.

-Cut chicken in small chunks or debone chicken.

-1-2 Tablespoonfuls butter or olive oil

-Garlic and Pepper to taste

-Trader Joes Coconut Aminos sprinkle to taste (optional)

-I also will also toss in any extra veggies I have on hand. I love extra mushrooms.

Toss it all together and Voilà you have a easy GF, LC tasty lunch or dinner.

Other options: You can add rice or pasta to be more filling.

Love and hugs,

Nicole💗

Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!

If I’m being real some days this is where I find myself “I do believe but help my unbelief.” Does that make me a bad person? No, it makes me human. You might find yourself here today.

When those situations we pray for haven’t changed, sometimes we grow tired and weary but it doesn’t mean God isn’t listening or that He isn’t working. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us either. It simply means He knows more than we do and He knows what’s best for us.

He sees the beginning from the end and NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD!

But what if it never changes?

Does that mean God isn’t good? Of course not, He’s a good good Father regardless of whether our problems or circumstances change.

Sometimes the things we are praying for are also dependent on other people which brings in free will. Which I know can also be hard because sometimes we know what’s best for someone but they have to want it, we can’t force it on then. We have to trust God with them or our situation.

We live in a fallen world BUT my friend if we keep pressing into God, going to Him with our requests, trusting Him, He can change those things and change us. He will perfect that which concerns you and He WILL make all things turn around for our good.

HOPE believes God isn’t done yet!

HOPE believes God can do anything!

Hope is the anchor for our soul.

HOPE and…..FAITH as small as a mustard seed! Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD!

So today I recognize that my faith is not always where it should be, we all find ourselves there at some point my friend and that’s ok. Just tell God, He knows already and He loves you anyways.

As I come to You today and say “I believe Lord. Help my unbelief” I recognize that often I look at my circumstances instead of looking at You. Help me keep my eyes focused on You instead of what’s going on all around me. Thank You for all that you’ve done for me and my family. Thank you for loving this hotmess of a woman. Where would I be without You? Thank you for Your goodness, kindness and your graciousness. You have blessed me far beyond what I deserve. I love You and praise You Lord! In Jesus name, Amen!

My heart cries out, “I do believe, help my unbelief.”

Love,

Nicole💗

Bacon and Brussel Sprout Au Gratin, recipe mixups (reminiscing of old cooking disaster) What’s yours?

So funny story, I made this last night and it was actually delish despite my minor snafu. Instead of using heavy whipping cream I accidentally used my Vanilla Almond milk creamer🙈 But actually it was pretty good. I thought it was a nice change to a gluten free, low carb fall dish🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ With brussel sprouts being a little bitter the sweetness was a nice change. I would make it again but use less of the Vanilla Almond milk.

My little “mix up” reminded me of a time right after Sean and I got married almost 28 years ago. I thought I’d be super domestic and make homemade chili. You know the kind with dry beans. Didn’t know you were supposed to soak the beans overnight lol.

Morning comes, taking are of our first born, cleaning the house and started throwing everything in a crockpot for dinner. I even made yummy homemade bread in my iron skillet. Yep I was pretty darn proud of myself.

My step dad gets there and we sit down to eat, pouring chili in every bodies bowl and then it happens….the first bite of a really hard bean lol 😂

Oh my goodness I was so horrified! I had worked so hard and my chili was a complete disaster. Of course everyone was sweet about it but I felt awful and it quickly turned into a pizza night.

That was my first experience making sure you read the recipe throughly and check your ingredients.

Recipe:

2 small bags of brussel sprouts-halved or whole

8 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (Or butter)

1 egg

1/2 cup of blue cheese dressing

2 additional set aside Tbsp butter

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper, to tast

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Stir brussel sprouts in olive oil/butter and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine egg, heavy cream, blue cheese dressing, 2 Tbsp butter, garlic powder, onion powder and then add in cheese.

Remove brussel sprouts from oven and add 1/2 bacon to the dish. Pour cheese mixture over the top and stir everything together, then top with a little shredded cheese and remaining bacon.

Reduce oven temperature to 350º, bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is set. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

I’d love to hear some of your cooking mixups, good or bad. Let the sharing begin….Have a rocking day!

Big hugs,

Nicole💗

What Godly Women Find Attractive in Godly Men

Love love love! She nailed it! Those words could not be truer. “If a man cannot be a leader when he is single, then what makes him think he will be a leader when he is married?” Check it out!

Justified And Redeemed

I got asked once when I was 17 “What the heck are you looking for in a guy,” and I think this opens the discussion to standards, seeking God, and just letting Him take the pen and you being still and having faith, but today, I thought I would go in depth on this question, for it is a good one. “What does one seek in a potential future spouse,” and though this question varies from person to person, I can only speak for myself, so this what a fellow godly woman finds attractive when it comes to standards, dating, and marriage.

Maturity in Christ

The one thing I do not like is immaturity, for I like to have very sincere conversations about Christ, and I want someone who can talk about tough topics and understand them on a deeper level. I want to be able to communicate and hold…

View original post 1,626 more words

#ThankfulGratefulBlessed

Hello to all you lovelies out there. Earlier I posted a blog on a healthy version of Pumpkin Spice Latte, you should check it out……its delish!

Sounds silly but for some reason the “all things pumpkin” makes me happy and I guess this morning my pumpkin spice latte reminded me of being thankful and grateful. Maybe it’s just becoming that time of season where we are more aware of it. But I think it should be a part of our daily lives, don’t you?

Interestingly, when I woke up God had also put on my heart to just BE GRATEFUL today. Grateful in the moment, not that everything is perfect in my life but that there is always something to be thankful, grateful and blessed for if we will just look it.

Which got me thinking, how can we live in a attitude of gratefulness when everything around us isn’t great? Do you feel that way sometimes too?

The definition of grateful is :

⁃ Expressing gratitude

⁃ Contentment

And this is the one that got me: Appreciative of the benefits we received.

Just think about that a minute….if you are a son or daughter of the King then WOW you already have so much to be grateful, thankful and blessed for because you have “received ALL of His benefits”.

You might ask, “Well what are my benefits?”

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

Psalm 103:2-5. I love this verse.

1.First and foremost you are NOT going to hell! God has a beautiful place prepared for you.

2.You are forgiven.

3.He heals all of your diseases.

4.He redeems you from the pit.

5.He crowns you with love and compassion.

6.He satisfies your desires with good things.

7.He restores your youth.

8.We no longer are bound by sin and death. You are set free.

9.You are free to be YOU.

10.No more condemnation or living in shame and guilt.

11.We can live a life full of peace and joy instead of death and sorrow.

12.God is on your side. He is for you not against you.

13.Walking in victory.

14.You are being transformed into His image more and more every day.

15.You have been made new, the old has passed away.

16.He is changing you from glory to glory

17.God has you right in the palm of His hand.

18.No weapon formed against you will prosper.

19.You have been redeemed.

20.You are a co-heir of Jesus.

Obviously, this isn’t a full list of all of our benefits but this should get you started. Take some time and dig in on your own find more of His benefits and please feel free to come back and share them on here. I’d love to read your comments.

So how do I apply this #ThankfulGratefulBlessed attitude to my everyday living?

I know it can be challenging when things are crazy around you and things aren’t going the way you planned but that’s when it’s especially important to do this. Psalms 121:12 helps point me in the right direction.

If I just look the Heavens, look to Jesus….that’s where my help comes from, instead of focusing on the circumstances around me.

Sometimes in my life when I’ve gone through something for a long time and I feel weary and worn down, no doubt you have had these times as well, I have prayed Lord please take this away or change whatever it is but more often than not what I have found is sometimes God is more interested in changing me than my circumstances.

But one thing I do know is, that He that began a good in you will bring it to completion. Philippians 1:6

Often a big part of us not being thankful, grateful and blessed is how we think about our situation in our mind. If we dwell on it and ponder it over and over it just makes us sink more into a place of despair and depression.

We think of the “what ifs” we become hopeless and we believe that things will never change. I know I’ve been there myself and I have to remind myself “this to shall pass” even if it doesn’t feel like it. You gotta talk to yourself and get out of all that stinking thinking.

“Where the mind goes man follows”. Joyce Meyer

Put on some praise and worship music and begin refocusing your heart and mind.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8

This is not something passive, this is something WE MUST DO ON PURPOSE. By choosing on purpose to renew our minds, believe the best, talk to your mountains, looking for the good in things instead of dwelling on the past or the negative things going on around you. I’ve discovered that something changes in your heart and in that, your circumstances look differently and life doesn’t seem some unbearable. Even though all your circumstances may not have changed something on the inside of you did and now you can become more #ThankfulGratefulBlessed.

Your circumstances don’t dictate your happiness or lack of happiness…..the way you look at them does.

Instead of looking at what you don’t have, begin thanking God for what you do have. You can always find something every day to be thankful for. If you have to start slow that’s fine but just start. Pick one thing!

– I’m thankful for my family and friends who love me and encourage me.

-I’m thankful for my 2 doggos and my grand doggos, they bring me love and joy.

-I’m thankful for my God who loves me and never gives up on this hotmess of woman.

-I’m thankful for my body, although it is not as healthy and strong as I desire it to be it still carries me wherever I need to go, it lets me wrap my arms around loved ones, I can speak words of encouragement to those around me, and I can hear what God is speaking to my heart.

-I’m thankful God is bringing healing and restoration to my body.

Hope you have a wonderful day my friends! Remember God loves you just the way you are, no need to get all fixed up to come to Him….Just come as you are!

Love and hugs,

Nicole💗

#ThankfulGrateulBlessed