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Archive for June, 2009

49 Percent Oxygen- 14 Days in ICU; The Journey of an Allergy Child (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

After my experience with Garrett, I continued my research.  I found more medical articles coming out of Europe than the United States.  In Lancet, a recognized medical publication, I discovered that wheat allergies are very prevalent in individuals with European ancestry.  In one study it noted that 50 out of 500 individuals of Irish/Scottish descent had wheat allergies, while only 1 out 500 of English descent had the problem.  Further research showed that the children/adults  having these problems had parents with a specific gene.  I found that wheat/gluten intolerance is the “Very Last” test done by physicians in the United States.  I then discovered that it was the bacon and ham that caused Garrett to get sicker on the elimination diet he was given.  Celiac and other intolerant individuals cannot tolerate lipids (fats).  This means that the ingestion of fats found in butter, lard, and meats high in fat (sausage, bacon, ham, etc) will cause problems.  At that time there was not any elimination diet that addressed this problem.  I decided to write a book with a new elimination diet that focused on these and other needs relevant to the wheat/gluten intolerant individual.  I wrote my book while I was still pregnant with Adam.  The book got rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and was in just about every library across the nation.  Unfortunately, my Publisher/editor did not follow through with his promises on my signed contract.  I later found out that he had mitigating circumstances due to his excessive drug usage.  After that experience, I pulled myself from the publishing world and focused on my children.

Adam was born in 1981, a healthy 9 pound 5 ounce baby boy.  I fed him soy milk and rice products after he was weaned from mother’s milk.  About the time he was 16 months, the babysitting section of the exercise establishment I utilized , asked if they could give him a graham cracker.  Graham crackers are made from wheat.  I replied that I would give them an answer in three days.  I gave Adam a bowl of Cheerios.  Back in those days Cheerios only had 4 ingredients: Oats (which is mostly wheat/gluten-free), Modified Food Starch (contains gluten), sugar and salt.  In exactly three days he suffered the symptoms of Celiac: the diarrhea, bloated stomach, etc.  The symptoms lasted three days.  My husband’s comment was, “Did you have to give him the whole bowl of Cheerios!”.

Note: You cannot test your children on Cheerios today.  It has at least 16 ingredients, which makes it unsafe.  It has Oats, but it also has Modified Corn starch, Wheat process parts and 16 other ingredients.  Read the Label!

To be continued.

49 Percent Oxygen-14 Days in ICU; The Journey of an Allergy Child (Part 1)

Friday, June 12th, 2009

(This account of my youngest son’s illnesses was done with his permission in hopes it will aid other parents going through some of the same troubles)

For those who did not read my first book, I will update you on the problems that lead to its creation.  My first son, Garrett, was a healthy happy baby.  That was until I started feeding him solid foods.  With baby foods he was still okay but something was wrong and I could not put my finger on it.  With solid foods he started getting congested, and then he got bloated.  His good nature and happy disposition started to change.  The worse day happened three days after we went to an Italian restaurant.  Garrett ate just about every bread stick in the place while we waited for our food.  Three days later my babysitter called and told me he was bleeding everywhere.  It wasn’t blood; it turned out to be red (tomato sauce) diarrhea.  That started a plethora of tests by the physicians.  All pathological tests came out negative.  So the physicians gave my son an elimination diet of the time.  Garrett got worse.  Our household was one of screaming and tantrums.  Out of desperation I began to go to the hospital library and do my own research.  I found articles that limited Garrett’s diarrhea and other reactions to two foods: Milk (dairy) or Wheat (gluten).  I decided that since Garrett did not exhibit the symptoms when I changed from mother’s milk to cow’s milk that wheat was the problem.  I then placed my son on a wheat-free diet.  The results were immediate.  After three days off wheat, Garrett started gaining weight, his extended abdomen disappeared, his respiratory congestion cleared up and his diarrhea ceased.  We were a happy family once again.  You would think that the doctors would be excited that I found the answer.  No, just the opposite.  I was asked continually to challenge my son with wheat.  So I would give Garrett the wheat and three days later he would be sick.  I would take him back to a gluten/wheat-free diet and he was fine.  They asked me to challenge him again with the same results.  Finally after the third time I said “enough”.  He was fine without wheat.  I was then told that only 1 in 33,000 thousand had this condition.  Research has shown this to be untrue; it is 1 in every 133 have this condition and it normally takes from 11 to 17 years before diagnosis.  I was very lucky.  I was hoping that my luck would continue with my next son, Adam.

To be continued.

Gluten-free Cakes and Cookies – Taste and Texture, Texture

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

When I started writing the recipe section of my second book “Food to Some, Poison to Others”, there were many more flours available than when the first book was published.  I decided that I wanted to make a flour blend that was as good as wheat flour.  That decision turned out to be a big order.  After many disappointing trials I finally found the perfect blend.  It did not have corn meal in it -too grainy.  It did not have garbanzo bean flour in it – added a weird taste to the cakes.  It could not rise like wheat flour but it had the texture and taste of wheat flour.  However, I now realize that many people do not have time to find and make my blend, no matter how good it is.  So I am going to commercialize the flour blend so cooks can get it premixed and packaged for them.  This will make it easier to bake cakes and cookies for gluten sensitive individuals.  Also I am teaming up with some interesting links which will make it easier to find the blends. (Please, send your comments on this idea).

Last week I was at a signing of my book.  I passed out samples of my carrot cake.  Everyone loved the cake.  A lady told me the carrot cake was just like the kind her grandmother made.  I asked if she was gluten sensitive?  She looked at me with this blank stare.  I explained to her that the carrot cake was gluten-free, and the topping was made from tofutti (cream cheese substitute), not cream cheese.  She could not taste the difference.  That is the whole point of my cookbook section of my book.  It is possible to make meals for everyone that is enjoyable and still allergy-free.  I am the only one in our family that is not Celiac, so I want to have food that is tasty.  Being the cook, I make sure that is achieved.

Notes Pertaining to Gluten/Wheat, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) And GERD/Heartburn

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

A few years ago, my youngest son called me.  “Mom”, he said “the doctors say I have IBS and GERD/Heartburn.  He was only 25 at the time.  My response to him was, while he may or may not have GERD/Heatburn, he did not have IBS.  This boy of mine had been plagued with a plethora of illnesses ever since his family physician told us he grew out of his wheat allergy (Adam’s story entitled “49 Percent Oxygen- 14 days in ICU; The Journey of an Allergy Child” is coming soon).  I told my son that he had Celiac disease,once a Celiac always a Celiac.  I asked him to go off gluten/wheat for 2 weeks and call me back.  He called me back in 1 week.  “Mom”, he said, “You are right, I do not have IBS, I am a Celiac”.  After one week off gluten/wheat all the symptoms of IBS disappeared and his GERD/Heartburn was gone.  From that day on he has maintained a Celiac diet with healthy results.