On Easter, this year, while everybody's eating their dark
chocolate Paleo-friendly bunnies (I like to bite the ears off
first), I'll be celebrating 15 years of being gluten-free. It's
hard to believe. "Back in the day", things were a whole lot
different than they are now. It seemed that few people had celiac
(or were gluten-free) or knew anything about it--including the
professionals. The testing was different--biopsy and IgG
anti-gliadin or anti-endomysial blood tests. The pre-made food was
a lot harder to find (and surprisingly less expensive) and the
education of the medical community was nearly non-existent. My how
things have changed! There are sensitive and specific blood tests
now (tissue trans-glutaminase), everything seems to have a
gluten-free label on it, and docs--especially those in our
profession, seem to know more and more about the benefits of going
My household has been gluten-free--exclusively--for the last 5
years. It's so important that the whole house be in support of the
diet. For me, it was a no-brainer. Both Grey and I are Celiac, and
Forest has never purposely had gluten. All the support groups
stress how important it is to avoid contamination (and NOT cheat!).
In order for a product to be considered gluten-free, it has to have
less than 200 ppm of gluten.
For Celiacs, even small/accidental exposures are dangerous.
People might not have an overt reaction to contamination amounts,
but they might still cause sub-clinical symptoms--flattened villi,
malabsorption, deficiencies, and constant damage to the
GALT--leading to lymphoma and GI cancers. Yikes, right?! These
small amounts can remain in cooking utensils, porous cooking pans,
and shared equipment. So, after a major move and shift within the
family, we started over with new utensils, new pots and pans, and a
completely clean house. Other than the occasional poison-carrying
visitor and the cats (whose food smell reminds me of wheat bread
toast), we don't even allow lickable envelopes (Did you know that
glue contains wheat?).
I can't begin to say how much of a difference going gluten-free
has made in my life. Besides feeling infinitely better, I've
experienced a number of benefits--from clearer thinking to better
skin and hair (and most importantly, a happier gut!). For Grey, the
benefits were a lot more dramatic. He was born at the
95th percentile, and before being diagnosed,
dropped to less than 5th percentile. Of course,
that was a long time ago--and now he's bigger than I am!
I've been asked if I'd endorse a gluten-free diet. I absolutely
would. I'm not so sure that I'd endorse all the pre-packaged foods
being sold on store shelves right now. Processing is pretty much
always bad. But, with all the research that's coming out about
lectins, gliadin, and grains, it's making more and more sense for
pretty much everyone to be gluten-free. So, I'll leave all of you
with this: Educate yourselves about what you CAN put into your
body--and what effects it might have. If you're not doing it for
yourselves, do so for your patients. Remember that not all cases
are textbook (in fact most cases of Celiac aren't). If you need
help, feel free to contact me. And for some other resources, check
And one last thing: I'll leave you with some "crack" containing,
non-Paleo, yet gluten-free yummies--just in case you're going
gluten-free and missing something sweet. (Don't hate me, Dr.
These are gluten-free, can be made egg-free and dairy-free, are
vegetarian (but not vegan) and are most definitely NOT
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
No baking adventure is complete without flour all over the
kitchen LOL. Please do your part to continue the tradition.
Next Food Adventure: Converting gluten-free to Paleo. I accept
Have a GREAT week everybody!
It's been unseasonably cold here for the last several days. I
know; I know. For those of you that live in the "Great White North"
(any place above Orlando, pretty much), you'd think this was a
picnic. But for those of us that have been down here long enough to
have "thin blood", it's freezing.
When I think back to when I was a kid--we'd go outside in 3+
feet of snow barefoot. I can't even imagine doing anything like
that now. Now it becomes parka weather when it's below 60. I take
solace in knowing what the weather will be like next weekend (at
least the predictions) and also that I've had to be inside studying
for midterms--so it's not like I've missed anything. Next weekend
will be a different story--a welcome break in between sets of
exams. Ahhh. Yes. Thank You.
I've admittedly been having a tough week. Trials and
tribulations with my own issues as well as issues "back home". We
all hope and work for the best, but sometimes it doesn't happen
that way. We do what we can and try to remind ourselves that it's
all going to be OK. I was writing that on the chalkboards in some
of the classrooms. It's not just midterms and finals that stress us
out. I don't know how many pep talks I've given over the last 2
weeks, but I'm extremely grateful for the ones I've received. A
special thanks to Super Vito. I'm gonna make you a cape, my
It's a rarity that any of us come through this unscathed.
Whether it's a health issue, a break up, a family member, a new
relationship, a child, or any number of other reasons--there are
more than enough things to distract us from what we're trying to
do. Sometimes it's hard to keep those priorities straight.
Sometimes all of those other things take priority over school.
Above all, it comes down to taking care of ourselves. It's a new
thing for me to stop and take a step back when I'm reaching my
breaking point. I'm still working on that.
The most important thing to remember, when I'm NOT coming
through unscathed, is to be a little gentle with myself. Forgive
myself. Take care of myself. It really does make all the
Our pictures today are of the St. Pete Pier--from either
direction. The pier building itself is set to be demolished
sometime soon. It's been an icon of the town for decades. I've seen
the designs for its replacement. It's interesting--somewhere
between the Jetsons, the Sydney Opera house and tinker toys--but
I'm going to reserve final judgment for when it's all done. We
shall see. If you're around town for the 4th of
July, they usually do an AMAZING fireworks show over the pier and
on either side of it. Of course, I know the best spots to watch
it--without being stuck in all the traffic. But those are pics and
stories for a different day.
Study hard, folks. But most importantly, remember what's
important. Only you can decide that.
There are pockets and spaces here in St. Petersburg that I'm
convinced no one knows about. In fact, there are quite a few of
them--essentially abandoned and breathtakingly beautiful. The
strangest thing about this, is not only are they off the beaten
path, but finding that path is virtually impossible. One road in;
one road out. They're tucked into areas where it looks like there
are just houses or the coastline and that the land just drops off
into oblivion. These are my favorite places.
Every once in a while I find myself in one of these
places--usually in awe and almost definitely alone. There might be
the occasional dog walker or runner, or a dolphin fin in the
water--but for the most part it's just the space, my thoughts and
Not all our paths lead to out-of-the-way places, but all of our
paths have led to here. Each of us came here--to National (and to
my blog) from somewhere else--whether it was from a different
school, from a different career, or from a different Life. There's
so much diversity, experience, and wisdom. Each of us brings
something (many things) very special to the table. Some have had
more struggles in their lives than others. We always carry this
with us and it comes out through our daily lives.
Plato said, "Be Kind, for Everyone you meet is fighting a hard
I was really reminded of this quote this week. I've been dealing
with a lot of people obviously going through a lot of trials. We
are all taking midterms--and that's taking its toll on many of us.
And outside of school, many are struggling with financial issues,
searching for work, and seeking solutions for their own health and
well-being. In some cases, it's truly easy to approach these people
with compassion, but in others, when people are angry, frustrated
and upset--and I don't know why--it's not so easy. The last thing
anyone wants to do with a person that's screaming, insistent, or
downright rude, is to listen with an open heart and mind.
Perspective is a beautiful thing. I have to remind myself not to
get caught up in frustration, and keep seeking solutions (and
helping them seek solutions as well).
When I'm out in practice, I'll be dealing with the same things.
People from all different paths will converge into one place--my
practice. I won't know what brings them here, how they got here, or
maybe even the true nature of their illness. All that I can do is
approach each and every person with that same compassion, listen to
everything they're telling me, and work towards and help them work
Study hard Everyone. Learn. Listen. There's far more to know,
than what's in our books. Remember.
What do you do when you haven't seen daylight for the last
several days and have to take lovely pictures for the blog? You
take them of your back "yard." If I look out my patio door, this is
what I see. Of course, I never look out my patio door. I never even
go out my patio door. But today, I did--so I could take some lovely
pictures for all of you.
It's time for midterms. It's REALLY time for midterms. Now is
the time, not only for studying, but also for making sure we take
care of ourselves. Different tris have different schedules. I know
I've mentioned some of our heinous exam schedules before. This
midterm schedule isn't too bad, but that doesn't mean it won't be
For the last, I don't know how many days, I've been studying and
working on E&M: Cervical notes. I'm already on my third pass of
them, and I still don't feel like I know anything. This is how it
goes when there's a HUGE amount of information on one exam. It's
easy to get discouraged. It's easy to get overwhelmed when it comes
to exam times. It's REALLY easy to neglect the Self and the
So, with that in mind, I offer this bit of advice for midterms
Another week gone by, where does the time go?!?!? Monday starts
Week 6. That's only 9 weeks left in the tri. This tri definitely is
going faster than every other tri thus far. I'm not complaining!
One of my illustrious classmates has a countdown to graduation
going. If I asked her, she'd probably tell me it was something like
2 years, 2 months, 1 week, 5 days, 6 hours, 32 minutes, and 52
seconds--or something like that. I think we're all happy to learn,
but will also be VERY glad when we're done. Last week we were all
asked what our goal is. Instead of "bring about world peace" or
"cure cancer," every single person said, "Finish the program!" That
may be telling.
The first exam of the tri is over. Everyone lived through it--no
matter how many of us thought we might die. We have one week "off"
and then 2 exams each week for the next 3 weeks. I MUCH prefer this
to what I've had in most of my previous tris--8+ exams in one week,
right on top of each other. I always felt like I was cramming
non-stop because I couldn't do the studying justice.
Hats off to my classmates in Diet and Nutrition. Every single
one of the presentations that I've heard, thus far, has been
absolutely amazing. I can't wait to hear the remaining talks.
There's been SO much information presented. I had the pleasure of
giving my talk on Thursday. I never could get my slides down to 30.
I think it was somewhere around 64. Oh well, I honestly could've
taught a seminar or an entire tri's worth of classes on this one
topic. There's still so much to learn. Special thanks to Dr. S for
answering some of my own questions (and not grilling me too
much--although I was ready).
In anticipation of the next three weeks, I took a little bit of
time out to tackle other responsibilities, projects, and decompress
this week (end). I can't (or won't) tell you where the pictures are
from. If I did, I'd lose my favorite "hidden" spot. Truth be told,
if you can see in the distance the Sunshine Skyway, you'll know
it's somewhere within sight of there. I've gone to this spot many
times to clear my head, watch the water and the rays swim below, or
the herons catch fish on the shore. It's a quiet and magical
I also found the time to run by the Wagon Wheel Flea Market on
Saturday (it's right down from school). They have a HUGE farmer's
market presence, and their produce is ridiculously cheap. They also
have infinite amounts of junk to look at - from knock-off Pokemon
cards to plants and flowers. I'm sure I laughed more than a few
times at some of the things I saw there this weekend. If ever you
want to have high trans-fat, breaded and fried candy bars, and
you're not near the fair (which just happens to be in town right
now), do check out the flea market. Or check out the
produce--you'll probably fare just a bit better there - your body
will thank you. The thing that surprised me was how unique some of
the produce was. They had these HUGE spiked fruits--I think they
were Durians. I should've taken a picture of those! They were about
the size of watermelons (and slightly scary!).
Last, but definitely not least, Happy Valentine's Day!!!!
Whether you support Hallmark, are on your own (by choice or not),
or are happily involved, please share your Love with others this
week. Happy Valentine's Day to my Beloved!!! Happy Valentine's Day
to my boys, AND Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! Thank you for
sharing your time, with me.
• After the DC Degree
• Botanical Medicine
• 1 Year at National
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