Our path, healing.

Every person, will have a unique story. It’s a part of who we are.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was terrified. I was excited. I was elated. I anticipated the arrival of one of the most amazing miracles ever. And I was terrified. I kept asking myself how that child going to get out. Not that I didn’t know. I mean, the mechanics of it were obvious but… how would it happen?

Being it that position early on, the last thing you want to hear is that “women have been doing it for thousands of years” and it all works out. What I didn’t know at the time is a detail that I carry with me every day now. A detail that has applied to so many things in life. Simply put, God’s timing is right. It’s good. And it’s intentional.

You see, by the time that I was ready to give birth I was uncomfortable. I was tired of having another human taking up space in my stomach, on my bladder and between my ribs. I was ready. However it was going to happen, it just needed to. I didn’t have the worry because I was focused on where I was at in the process.

It’s a process. Regardless of what “it” is. When I was newly pregnant, not nauseous and housing a peanut size child in my tummy, I was focused on the end of the process. All of which would be completely irrelevant to my situation ten months later.

Most of our situations in life are this way. Thinking back to when I started my gut healing process, like most people, I wanted to be well. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to eat what I was used to eating. But I couldn’t have it all. Jumping forward ten months I was in a brand new situation. First (an most important) I felt better. Whew! Who cares what food I have to give up if I can feel better.

With renewed energy levels, my head clear of the mushy cloud that had engulfed my previous thoughts, I was renewed. Just like when I held that brand new baby in my arms, it was a new chapter I couldn’t previously see. God creates a plan, a process and it is good. We may not understand how we will get from here to there but he does.

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Nothin to it, but to do it.

It sucks. And it’s hard. Quite possibly the hardest thing you have ever done.

Making the choice to eat gluten free for your health is a big change. There’s no doubt that sometimes people opt for stomach pain and vomiting in order to eat the coveted donut. But at some point, you must realize that the pain inflicted upon your body is voluntary. That’s right, you might as well be poking yourself in the eye with a stick. You are doing it to yourself. Stop it already.

I have countless conversations with people who laugh sheepishly and sigh. Only to say, “my doctor told me I should be gluten free”. Just this week I had a conversation with a friend who was in a ton of pain. Joint swelling. Can’t sleep. Miserable pain. Indeed, her doctor told her to go gluten free.

It’s time. Start small and don’t use the many options for gluten free products on the market. Go old school. Start clean. Eat fruit, veggies and lean meats. Your body needs to recoup and cleanse from years of processed food. This will also give you time to read up on the thousands of names for gluten and all the places it’s hidden.

Even if you can’t see the results immediately, try it. Stick with it for at least three months (without cheating). This isn’t the latest weight craze, cheating will only recontaminate your body and impede the healing process. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. However, I do have a smidgen of common sense and I can tell you from personal experience that getting gluten in your body can take up to a week to work itself out.

It’s not for everyone, and I would not suggest everyone go gluten free. It can do more harm than good if you aren’t allergic, intolerant or suffering from Celiac. But if your doctor has told you to try it and you choose to suffer instead, you have one person to blame.

There are amazing resources online, in books and by connecting with people (either online or in your community via support groups) who have Celiac and can lead you through the process. My favorite starter book is the G-Free diet by Elizabeth Hasselbeck. You have a community of people here to support you, we eat like this every day. It is possible and you can do it!

I can’t eat that, no I won’t.

Back to school is a time when parents around the world buy new character themed backpacks, tennis shoes two sizes larger and pour that first glass of wine while waiting for the familiar rattle of the bus to pass by.

However, parents of kids with food allergies face tougher preparation. Regardless of the age of your child, you must first equip them with personal advocacy. This isn’t so daunting at the age of twelve or fifteen but with a five year old, you are placing a lot of faith in the system.

Kids are taught to listen, follow directions and go with the flow. They need to learn these valuable lessons. Life isn’t about them and their special needs, or is it?

Both of my kids learned in kindergarten that they had allergies that previously didn’t represent themselves. Both children had to learn that I would not be with them at school and they needed to speak up, ask questions and refuse food. Whoa. Do you mean defy the system? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

My son was sick three times in kindergarten from being fed things that he wasn’t supposed to eat. The challenge for kids is being able to have a voice in an environment where they are seen as defiant if they do.

People ponder the best way to send kids to school when they have allergies. I say arm them with knowledge and your support. Send them with a lunch filled with yummy alternatives to the normal elementary options, teach them it’s ok to say no when their health is on the line and give them permission to go to the nurse for support.

The more your children know about why they can’t eat it, what it does to their body and how you are their advocate, the more they will be comfortable doing the same in your absence.

For the love, of feet.

When pots of coffee and fifteen minute power naps just aren’t enough, I steal away for an hour of me time.What do I do for myself?

Given that I don’t tend to even have bathroom trips alone (it’s just easier to leave the door open than try to interpret my children’s muffled request for snacks through the door) an hour of me time usually only takes on one form, massage.

With the onset of inexpensive options, outside of spa settings, I can do this for as little as $30 and as late as 8pm. Most people don’t realize that those little dives sandwiched between the local liquor store and pub, with names about feet are actually legit.

Equally surprising are the massages. They are not all about feet (although I would be fine with that). These full bodied, fully clothed massages include a foot soak and massage, dim lighting and music varying from asian chants to Kenny G.

Let me just answer the obvious: Is it relaxing in a room with other people? Yes. I’m guaranteed to take a power nap with a recharge capability of a small car battery. Has anyone ever offered services that were, uh, unexpected? Although this relaxing retreat makes me very happy, No, not one of them has ever created an awkward situation offering a happy ending.

I will say they are stealthy, disguised with names like “foot or feat” retreat, finesse, shop, fancy, spa, euphoria, quest and more. They are actually offering a relaxing massage without referring to themselves as a massage parlor.

Massages are great for circulation, detoxing, relaxation and a myriad of benefits related to the reflexology (or foot love). This is a wonderful way to enjoy a luxury service for an affordable price. For the love, of feet, check it out!

Lets talk about it.

Just when you think no one wants to hear about your freakish inability to eat… normal. (Whatever that is). You run onto someone who hugs you out of sheer desperation to feel normal. 

As my son asked to borrow a red solo cup and was denied due to its adult contents, I assured the bearer there was no harm since he was gluten free. Instantly she looked at me like her grandmother had descended from heaven in the form of a dove.

There I stood waist deep in the pool while a very friendly woman, near to tears, hugged it out with me. We had just met. And no, I don’t look that good in a swimsuit.

You see, that woman was having a conversation about the difficulties of being gluten free in a world where it’s not considered a priority, or understood. While some say peanut allergy and people run in four directions to find an epi-pen, there is a look of confusion and dis-concern with gluten.

This woman was desperate to find someone she could relate to and talk with. Sometimes it’s just worth mentioning you have Celiac, you never know who might benefit from hearing the words that make them feel like they aren’t floating alone on an island.