My Celiac Story – Part I: What IS Celiac Disease?

Celiac’s Disease is a hereditary digestive disorder involving intolerance to gluten. (It is basically a severe allergy to wheat gluten.) It is a member of the autoimmune disorder family (which means that when your body realizes that something – such as a cold or a tummy bug – is attacking, your body attacks itself instead of attacking the bad germs). 

General symptoms of Celiac’s Disease include diarrhea, bloating, gas, swollen ankles, anemia, fatigue, Vitamin K deficiency and excessive bruising and bleeding. Sounds lovely, eh? And there are SO many more things that can be related to the disease – each person can react differently. And since Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder, persons with the disease are very susceptible to developing additional autoimmune disorders.

For me?

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This is my story. It’s a story that most people don’t know, and that has always been very difficult to recount, until just recently. There is so much pain (physical and emotional) associated with this story for me, but I see it like this: if I can help just one person by telling this story…then I’ve been able to take a step in the right direction. Hopefully, I’ll just keep on taking those steps!

I was 18 years old, and had just finished my first semester away at college. Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, to be exact. I was flat out exhausted from the exams I had just gone through, not to mention the tour I had been on with the Ladies of Lee Choir. I hadn’t been home since I left in August, and I was thrilled to be back for Christmas break!

But about halfway through my break, I realized that I should have felt at least a LITTLE more rested. And I didn’t. And I couldn’t chalk up the constant sick-to-my-stomach feeling to the cafeteria food anymore. I was home, eating mom’s cooking  and sleeping in my own bed – I should have been fine.

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New Product Review: Cedar Lane!

**PLEASE NOTE: While CedarLane DID provide me with these products to review at no cost, I was not in any way paid for my review. The following opinion is hereby my own.**

If you’ve been around the blog, you know I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac disease and I live life gluten-free! When I was first diagnosed, the process took about 6 months, and there was hardly ANYONE making any frozen or ready-made gluten-free items. I ate some weird stuff and made some horrible recipes, can I just say that?! Whew! It was a LOT of trial and error, and sometimes it still is, but now, I’m so thankful for companies who are making life just a bit easier for those of us who live gluten-free. Companies like CedarLane!

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I wasn’t at all familiar with Cedar Lane when they contacted me, but all I needed to hear was “gluten-free”, and I was good. Within no time, a lovely cooler arrived filled with their selection of gluten-free tamales! Can we say YUM?!

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I found four flavor selections as I unpacked the cooler:

  • Chile and Cheese Tamales
  • Spinach and Feta Cheese Tamales
  • Sweet Corn Tamales
  • Roasted Vegetable Tamales

I decided to try the Spinach & Feta Cheese Tamales first, since spinach and feta cheese are both high on my list of faves! The flavor also includes quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, nonfat Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese, too! How can you lose with that?!

After a little warm-up in the microwave, here’s what I got:

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New Product Tryouts: Campbell’s Skillet Sauces

I must admit, I was a bit hesitant about this one. I really enjoy making a good sauce, so I wasn’t too sure what I would get out of this, but when I saw that one of the options was Marsala Sauce, I decided to give it a go.

A little background info: I am gluten-free due to Celiac’s Disease, so I’m often substituting various types of flour and gluten-free baking mixes for the regular stuff in my kitchen. Nine times out of ten, my husband doesn’t even notice, but there are those few dishes that just don’t turn out the same. And let me say that Chicken Marsala is one of them. Mainly the sauce. So what I end up doing when I make Chicken Marsala is, I make it gluten-free, and then I make an additional sauce on the side for J, so he can feel “normal”. However, how easy would it be to just warm up a packet of sauce instead?! Fabulous!

Here’s the sauce:

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Keeping Your Immune System Healthy

You’ve heard it in general conversations, and you’ve probably even uttered the words yourself: “There’s a lot of junk going around!”

**SIGH** When is there NOT a lot of junk going around?

I caught the dreaded flu right before Christmas, and I was purely miserable. It took me about a month to feel like myself after that – crazy how some things can just take you down! Then, soon after the new year, my allergies started up! (If you have allergies, yours probably starting kicking early, too – crazy weather!)

I’m JUST now starting to feel more like myself after the allergy fun, and now I’m hearing about this awful stomach bug floating around that keeps you sick for days on end. Oh dear. If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s throwing up.

Since I have an autoimmune disease myself (read more about Celiac Disease HERE) I really do try hard to stay healthy! Because when I catch something, it takes me longer to rid my body of it than it does the average person. That’s why when I came across an article in the Ladies Home Journal about the secrets of a healthy immune system, I read it right off the bat. Great tips, so I thought I’d share with you!

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