Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

Dairy free, gluten free, lactose free… oh my

So, my 2 year old daughter and I ate out for my birthday with the rest of the family (My parents, husband and 6 year old). We had one of the best waitresses I’ve had- to the point I thanked her.

She made sure the croutons were on the side so I could eat salad, didn’t include cheese and added the dressing on the side so she could eat. She walked us through the allergy menu and made sure the items for me were totally gluten free and the items for her were fully milk/dairy free. Neither of us had reactions after eating there (I made the mistake of trying to eat around croutons last time and spent the whole next morning hurting and in the bathroom)

I swear, though, trying to get the hang of reading labels to make sure something is truly dairy free (not just lactose free) is really adding extra time to grocery shopping and the number of times we slip and give her something we don’t realize has it is too much.

I know, just like I have learned most of the red flags for gluten, it will take time but right now, dairy and cows milk free is overwhelming.

We have her next appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we will have an answer- cows milk, casein, allergy, intolorance or virus (unlikely since its lasted since last month). I hate playing the waiting game.

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Day 2 of the Pop Fast

Day 2 on the pop/energy drink fast was even easier than I thought it would be.

Now, on day 3, I’m adding in junk food. I went grocery shopping today and conveniently left out buying any junk food I can eat. (no gluten free cookies, cakes or anything)

I did load up on fruit- that way I can get my sugar fix on either lightly sweetened tea (I bought iced tea bags) or fruit. I’m hoping doing this will help me both feel better and drop another size (at least)
When I was in high school, I cut pop and within a very short time, lost about 20lbs from that alone. Another time I dropped 15lbs.

Yes, I am doing this solely to try to lose weight (ok, and help my blood sugar a bit- but I believe losing weight can help with blood sugar regulation)

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

Well, we retested my daughter and she got diarrhea with the red rash after I made gf pancakes from a mix and used regular milk

It has to be milk. It’s been too long to be a 10 day virus. I’m just glad we already have good alternatives for the yogurt, butter and milk she will eat. We just need to find cheese.

I’m thinking about just no longer buying anything dairy so she won’t be tempted and won’t have to see anyone else with it in the house. It could be an allergy, could be casin and not lactose, could be lactose intolerance but I do know it’s not a virus.

 

Any good dairy free cheese or low dairy cheese? I know feta doesn’t give me issues but since we haven’t had her tested for allergy vs intolerance I’m not really wanting to chance it. I have tried the Daiya brand (several varieties) and I personally choose the bloating and gassiness that comes with real cheese (I don’t eat it too often). I am, personally, a fan of goat cheese (adding it to eggs with portabella mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes makes a great breakfast and it goes well on top of a salad)

 

What are some good dairy free cheeses? Low lactose types of cheese? I think I read harder cheeses don’t have as high a content. Daiya is out, no one in this house likes it. (and I have a much wider taste in alternative foods than the rest of my family)

 

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

We took my 2 year old to the ER a few weeks ago. 

We were told to keep her away from dairy and her diarrhea (reason we took her) was likely caused by a virus. Well, we took her off dairy and her diarrhea cleared up. We reintroduced it many times and the very last time my mom attempted to give her cows milk, she spit it out and didn’t want to drink it. Each time it has given her diarrhea. It’s lasted way more than 10 days (did test positive for a virus- this specific one lasts 10 days and it’s been well over that and she still gets diarrhea when she eats yogurt, most cheese, ice cream or milk. She’s also developing a taste for my gluten free snacks instead of normal. I have read picky eating can be a sign of a food intolerance. We are pretty sure lactose intolerance (I am) because the diarrhea has been a recurrent issue her whole life. We have an order to have her tested for Celiac due to my medical issues, her sisters gene and her symptoms. 

If she isn’t able to to back to cows milk, it’ll be all three of us women in the house who don’t drink it. Her older sister could easily live without dairy and I’m lactose intolerant myself. 

This is a whole lot of fun going through the tests, dealing with the diaper and trying to figure all this stuff out. Even with the medical help, it is still too long a process. 

Health · Uncategorized

I never thought I’d be the type to let myself go after a marriage and these past 2 years (last year and this year) I’m getting myself back.

I have been with my husband almost 8 years now. Before he and I met, when I was younger, it would take me over an hour just to leave my house. My hair, make up, clothes and everything had to be perfect. After we had our first baby, I had an extra 60lbs (went from 125 to 198 at the end of my first- complicated- pregnancy) and I started stress eating (before that, if I was stressed, I couldn’t eat). I managed to lose 10lbs down to 180 but stuck. I did workouts sporadically but the stress turned to fatigue and even laziness.

With my second pregnancy (the one we lost) my weight stayed the same after the baby was born and I was too depressed to really work on it.

By the time I had my third, I gained up to 220- higher than I ever weighed and was a size 18. This time, I was more active but my thyroid went into hyper due to the toxic cyst and I lost 30lbs in the first 6 weeks and another 20 recently. Now that I’m down to about 170 and a size 14/16 I’m gaining the motivation to continue.

After I had my first baby, I continued with my hair, make up and skin routine but over time, lost it.

In the past few months, I’m working on changing myself. I realized a while back I let myself go so now I’m working on undoing the damage before it becomes harder.

My daily skin routine now involves pre cleanse and cleansing, sometimes exfoliating (not every day- usually 3 times a week to every other day), spraying my face with either rose water or Dermalogica’s Multi-Active toner, moisturizer, then I’ll put on a mask 1-2 times a week. That’s my evening before bedtime routine. My morning routine is the same but after the moisturizer, I’ll put my make up on. That full routine can keep my eczema from acting up too bad. I have found that to keep it down, exfoliating and moisturizing is key.

I’ve studied skin care professionally (I’m a licensed skin therapist) so keeping my skin next to perfect is key. Luckily for me, when my eczema breaks out, it’s mostly still skin colored but the itching does me in. I still get compliments on my skin on a daily basis- I get rid of zits immediately, don’t have black heads and you would have to look at my skin under a magnifying glass to see my pores- my skin has been my pride and thanks to that, I still look as young as I did when I met my husband. I’m heavier now, but I’m also working on losing that (I did make it from 130 to 220, I’m back down to 170 and working on losing the last 40lbs if possible). I’m down 50lbs from 220 to 170 from two years ago (hit my peak weight at the very end of my last pregnancy- but there will be no more pregnancies so I can focus on losing the last bit)

I’m also looking at what types of workouts are best for people with Osteo arthritis and Ehler Danlos Syndrome to try to get my body toned back up.

I’ve been working on trying to get back to how I was in college. Back then, I was active and felt great. I also looked better. I’m not sure how to handle my thinning and really dry hair (the wrong shampoos grease my hair up and make it look wet, when it dries it dries like straw. It’s hard having greasy skin in that one area of my body but then having dry hair. The thyroid issues don’t help at all.)
The selected image is what I looked like in October. I’m hoping to get back to a slightly older version of what I looked like when I met my husband. I’m not trying to look like a teen again (or very young adult) since I’ll be 30 this week, I just want to be about the same size, weight and to feel good again.

The first picture was taken right before my husband and I met (same week)

The one with the hat was shortly after we got together, before I got pregnant and the third was our first Christmas with our new baby (she was 9 months old)

Health · Uncategorized

Day 2 gluten free

I cut gluten out of my diet again. This time, I’m better educated than the first time (I’ve done 3 elimination diets over the years- all three times for different amounts of time and all 3 times I had benefits that were noticeable). This time, I’m doing it after being suggested by multiple professionals and even told to act like I have Celiac and avoid it.

The problem with not being diagnosed by a blood test, but being professionally diagnosed as having Gluten Intolerance is what to say when I am at a restaurant. I cross contaminated myself once by picking salad around the croutons, getting crumbs and ending up running back and forth to the bathroom all morning the next morning. I have read more than one example of people being purposely contaminated by self righteous waiters who assumed they were following the trend and giving them regular food instead of gluten free food so what am I supposed to say when a waiter or cashier asks why I’m wanting the gluten free menu? Do I lie and say I have Celiac? From what my doctor told me, what I did (eliminate it and readd) that’s enough for him to prescribe a gluten free diet to his patients since he has dealt with so many false positive and false negative Celiac blood screens, he no longer uses the tests to confirm or deny the results.

I did find major benefits when I cut it in the past (over the summer from July to November) and reverted back in November and December. Because of the results I got when I cut it in the past (lost 20lbs in 3 months, got rid of my IBS morning diarrhea, was able to drink coffee again with no issues, had more energy, felt better, 0 arthritis flares- just to name a few differences) my doctor told me to ignore the negative Celiac panel and live like I have Celiac Disease since I do have autoimmune issues and gluten itself does play a role (I went on a processed gluten free diet- to avoid feeling better due to eating healthier foods- I ate a ton of gluten free pasta and didn’t cut dairy)

I guess when I get myself into the full swing again, I need to look at other things. I ate a lunch of baked fish (no breading), baked potato and mixed vegetables and my blood sugar dropped within an hour of eating. I have been told to eat sweet potatoes instead of white and to avoid white everything (flour, bread, sugar, etc) due to my reactive hypoglycemia. I’ve also been advised to stay on the low glycemic diet as well as cutting gluten (and not by medical professionals, but due to self testing and elimination diets- diary. I haven’t been tested, but I did find out I’m lactose intolerant as well)

I really wish I could gain the self control to go on the Autoimmune Paleo diet. It’s only 30-60 days and would probably help more than this random trial and error I’ve been doing.

On the other side, my healthy daughter (2 years old) has just had a stool sample taken in and has an order for a full GI panel as well as the Celiac panel. She’s had diarrhea and we have eliminated dairy for the past 2 weeks. We have tried giving her regular milk (got diarrhea again) then we tried giving her cheese and other dairy items- once again, got diarrhea again so it does appear dairy at least is an issue but since we’ve been dealing with more diarrhea from her than just the past 2 weeks (and a rash that comes with it) and our older daughter had a positive gene test for the Celiac gene, it takes around 2 years for an autoimmune disease to start showing, I guess it’s time to get her screened for the first time. Our older daughter has to have the screening on a regular basis and she probably will as well. Once I get the gluten free diet fully down for myself, I may start looking into talking to the pediatrician and testing both of my girls (closer monitored to make sure they don’t miss anything needed)

 

I truly don’t understand why people want to go on this as a diet just to “lose weight” or “fit in” with other people. It’s more expensive, more restrictive and a huge pain when everyone around you is having cake and you’re having to say “no.” I kept re introducing it as a way of trying to convince myself I had no actual symptoms from it so I could go back to eating normal foods- unfortunately, I couldn’t ignore the symptoms and felt sick 100% of the time (even a few times I didn’t realize I ate it). I’m no longer eliminating it as a trial and am now avoiding it and doing the research to “live like I have Celiac” since that’s what my doctor told me to do.

I do have to wonder if beauty and hair products also count- I have Eczema on my hands and face and Seborrheic Dermatitis on my scalp. I’ve started using sensitive skin cleanser (Dermalogica) and moisturizing facial masks for the past few weeks and I LOVE Hand Food from Ulta (hand lotion and scrub) for my dry hands (thanks to the cold weather, Hashimotos and Eczema- fun combo)

The Seborrheic Dermatitis has been an embarrassment for years. I’ve had it since I was a child and it looks like I have dandruff or worse- but it’s just dead skin cells. When people get close enough they can see it’s dead skin but I’ve had 2 managers tell me I needed to get rid of it. If it was that easy, it would have been gone years ago.

I use T-Gel daily and that keeps it from itching, unless I start sweating. I was told it was SD but I’m pretty sure it’s Eczema since I get Eczema outbreaks on my hands and face anyways.

 

My featured image is from when I was 24, a new mom and the toddler was my oldest- who’s now almost 7.

 

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (gluten and lactose free)

When I was gluten free years ago, I mixed tapioca, brown and white rice flours and made my own baking flour. I do not know if it would work for all cookie recipes, but these cookies look, feel and taste the exact same as they do with normal flour.

1/2 cup oil (I use EV olive- use whatever baking oil you normally use)
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (gf mix or all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder

Mix oil, chocolate and sugar and blend one egg at a time until well mixed
add vanilla
stir in salt, flour and baking powder
chill
drop tsp full of dough into confectioners sugar
shape into balls (roll in sugar)
Bake 2 inches apart on greased sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes

I will post other recipes I find are good or as good as normal that are dairy, gluten or other allergy free.

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Our cat has been through a lot in her short 3 years.

Her birthday is next month so we celebrate her birthday with mine. She’ll be 3 years old.

We adopted her at 6 months, she had been through 3 fosters and we were her 4th family. She is a sweet, loving and playful cat but has a painful autoimmune disorder called “feline oral stomatitis.” It’s where her gums swell up and can be caused by stress (like when we moved and she could see and smell new stray cats). We keep her inside 100% of the time.

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It all started when she turned a year old. She stopped eating so we took her to the vet. The vet checked her out and told us she had a condition called Stomatitis. They said she would need steroid injections. At that time, I was working and my husband had just lost his job. We switched her from dry food to wet and she continued eating wet food. Then we switched her to pate food then eventually to baby food meat. After she quit eating the meat, we were despatately looking for options. Since she had been through so many homes we didn’t want to give her up for what we knew would be a temporary situation. Someone told us about the Care credit card so I applied and was approved. The day I was approved, we were able to get her in and got her her first injection. It took effect after just a day and within 2 days we had her eating dry food again. A little over a month later, she quit eating so we took her again. There was one time we went five months without an injection but the minute we first heard her hiss at her food, we would be on the phone setting up a visit with the vet, unfortunately most of the times the injections wore off, it would be on the weekend (typically right after the vet closed on Friday) so we woyld have to go until Monday or Tuesday for the injections. We were able to get the injections monthly for close to two years, but eventually she started going less and less time between injections until they said we needed to have her teeth removed.  Last Summer, we didn’t have the money up front to have the surgery we needed and couldn’t find any charities that would help, so we went to a local financial institution and took out a small loan to pay for the surgery. She had the surgery last July and since then, we have had to take her back one time where they gave her a pain killer and injection just for precaution but overall, she is like a kitten again. They were able to keep her front teeth both on top and bottom but the rest were removed.

After the surgery, they told us that not only did she have stomatitis, she also had severe peridontal disease and TMJ and that cats who are prone to Peridontal disease tend to start around 1 year (which she did). Her quality of life is back up to high and she acts more like a kitten than she did when we first adopted her (not to mention how big she is)

We still don’t give her dry food- her diet is 100% wet food and her food budget is almost as much as our family of four per week but it is 100% worth it to see her play and eat like a healthy kitten.

 

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What is Stomatitis?

Stomatitis is a very painful (people think Autoimmune) disorder where the gums swell up over the teeth. It is said to be an attack on the teeth and the only way to rid a cat of the painful chronic condition is to remove all the teeth. If they leave teeth, or even bone, the condition can come back. Treatment tends to be antibiotics, steroids to reduce the inflammation and pain killers.

“What are signs or symptoms of stomatitis in cats?

Feline stomatitis is a common, painful and life threatening problem in many cats.  It occurs in cats of all breeds and of all ages.  Some breeds such as Himalayans, Persians, and Somalis more commonly develop stomatitis although we also see this condition in many domesticated short and long haired cats as well as in the oriental breeds.

Cats having stomatitis often have bad breath (halitosis).  They also have red and inflammed gums (gingiva).  In time the inflammation spreads from areas adjacent to teeth to areas more distant (back of the throat  or the oropharynx).  In some areas, the gums (gingiva) enlarge and block off areas of the oropharynx.  Eating and  swallowing become difficult and painful for many of these cats.

Many cats with stomatitis also have tooth resorption.  The inflammed gingiva may appear to be growing into a tooth or the tooth may appear to have a hole.  These are painful teeth.” (as per http://www.mypetsdentist.com/feline-stomatitis.pml)

The easiest way for me to type the symptoms, was to copy/paste from one of the many sources I went to to read about the condition when she was first diagnosed. There are tons of websites about Feline Stomatitis.

(http://www.vetstreet.com/care/feline-stomatitis
http://www.vetdentistry.com/feline.html

https://veterinarydentistry.net/feline-stomatitis-cats/

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_information/Gingivostomatitis.cfm)

Those are just a few sites that have information on the condition, a quick search will show many others if you know your cat has stomatitis or suspect them of having it. It is one of the most painful chronic conditions a cat can have and treatment is needed no matter the cost. With the right treatment, they will have a great quality of life but don’t forget, cats don’t show pain as easily as humans do so your cat could be in pain without showing.