About Me

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I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What does a celiac diabetic eat? Grocery Haul-Food Edition.

I get a lot of questions about my diet. "What can you eat?" is a common question. I also get questions from many newbie celiacs who need help figuring out what to eat. I was recently contacted by someone who's young daughter (she's only 2) was just diagnosed with allergies to wheat, dairy and eggs. (I'm not a dietitian or health care provider in any sense). That might not seem like a huge deal until you realize how many foods contain one or more of these ingredients. When you have multiple food allergies, you will find yourself making a lot of food from scratch. I have to follow two medical diets, a diabetes-friendly-celiac-diet. I was also diagnosed with allergies to both dairy and onions, but the allergy tests both came back a weak positive, so while I tend to avoid these ingredients for the most part, I don't have to eliminate them to the extent that I have to with gluten.

Today was grocery shopping day. While I love cooking, I don't love grocery shopping, usually because of the sticker shock that comes along with it. So I give myself little incentives to go do these tedious yet oh-so-necessary tasks. One purple pedicure and a soy latte later, I went grocery shopping.

Here are the pics and listings of what I got. (Click on them to make them bigger).

Everything I purchased today was gluten free and dairy free. Namaste pizza crust, tea, Udi's whole grain bread, tiger balm for my neck muscle (slept wrong on it last night), sliced olives, turkey pepperoni, italian sausage, MyChelle creamy pumpkin facial cleanser, organic basil, organic dill, Daiya dairy free shredded cheese (that actually melts!) and Rudi's new flavored flour tortillas (can't wait to try them). Obviously, I'm making gluten free pizza this weekend. One to bake and the other one I'll get it ready and freeze it to cook at a later time.

Unsweetened almond milk- one is vanilla (for my coffee and for anything that needs a "sweeter" taste), and one is original (because you don't want your scrambled eggs or soups to taste like vanilla. Because I've made that mistake before.) Sundried tomato basil polenta. I really like polenta... YUM.

A hot air popcorn popper! And some kernels. I would have preferred organic corn kernels because I don't want GMO corn but I was at Target and they didn't have any. I was inspired to get this after a friend posted of Facebook that she made a fresh hot batch of popcorn, drizzled olive oil on it, and shook a little Lawry's seasoning salt and garlic powder on it. Totally doing that on movie night this weekend.

There's something else about myself that I may have mentioned before. I have a small tea obsession.

The Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger Ice (to the far left) is my current obsession. It is already sweetened with Stevia and it is so good and refreshing. I drink so much of it! I just ordered a case, yes, A CASE of it off Amazon this week. It's a limited edition summer flavor and most stores have already clearanced it out (I swiped all that I could find). Next to it is the Acai Mango Zinger Ice flavor that I haven't tried yet. If it's half as good as the other one, I'll be on Amazon ordering a case of that one, too. I have a lot of teas from Celestial Seasonings because they are gluten free. Also pictured is Two Leaves and a Bud, a great, organic tea line and Good Earth. The red box is the one I usually keep at work in a drawer. I refill it regularly and keep a variety of teas in it. I also have tea from Teavana, who has GREAT tea (you may have one of these stores at your local mall. If so, I encourage you to go in and try one of their many samples of teas.) It is pricier tea, so I usually don't buy a lot of it... unless it's on sale (see below).

THIS beauty was clearanced out at Teavana a while back. It has delicious tea flavors like Strawberry Lemonade (all natural and no sugar added). SO yum!!

The last thing I wanted to show you was the surprise I got in the mail today. It wasn't something I signed up to receive.

Schar, maker of my favorite gluten free baguettes and rolls, sent me a FREE 4 pack of their Ciabatta rolls and a book of really good coupons!!! If you eat gluten free, you know there are almost never coupons or sales for gluten free items. I think it's probably a loyal customer gift or something. These are about a $6 value! I was so happy that I didn't know what end of the pig to feed!

Anyway, I hope this gives you a little window into the world of what a celiac diabetic- who is also avoiding dairy and raw onions- may eat. There are a lot of grocery options out there for us peeps with special dietary needs, whether it's the 'betes, celiac, or food allergies. Life is good!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Good luck charms and other mind games we play with ourselves.

I believe in good luck charms. At least a little bit. At the very least, I don't think having them around will do me any harm. They are all part of the a larger strategy (mind game?) to keep myself both sane and happy while managing diseases. It's not easy having diabetes and celiac. I can't put them away and forget about them for a day (or with T1, not even a couple of hours). And, like you, I have plans for just about every situation- a plan for taking care of my diabetes at home, at work, while driving, while vacationing, for extreme weather, socializing, doing exercise/sport/hobby, and while sleeping.

I have additional plans that I have to add on for celiac disease, for example, eating at someone else's house (I pack my own food), traveling (I pack my own food for both flying and for traveling by vehicle- no fast food options for me). If I get an invite to a restaurant I don't know is "safe," that's another situation I have to plan for. Or plan for hanging out with someone who doesn't know I have celiac and/or doesn't know what celiac disease is. What's worse is having to plan for time spent with people that have misconceptions about what celiac disease is. I also have a plan for when I receive last-minute invites to lunch/dinner (these are always my biggest source of anxiety, because they leave me little to no time to do the things ahead of time that I need to do, like call ahead to speak to the manager during their non-busy time to ask about their gluten free practices). The reality is, if I don't have enough time to verify the gluten free practices of a restaurant, I simply don't go.

Having to plan- for EVERYTHING- it can be draining. I keep good luck charms around the house because they are visual reminders for me- reminders of good things. They evoke good feelings. And they are visual reminders to stop worrying; to take a moment to feel happy and grateful during my busy day. For example, when I see my Good Health Charm, it reminds me to be thankful for my health. When I see my Guardian Angel Coin, it reminds me that there is someone watching over me. My little pig reminds me of how much I've overcome and how resilient and strong I am. So as I'm running around my house and my mind is going 300 mph planning, analyzing, etc., I see one of my charms and my mind just STOPS for a moment. And everyone needs that, right?

I keep them around my house. The first one, Penelope the Piggy, sits on my desk in my office. I got her at Pier One for about $4.

Here is the card she came with

Here are the more recent additions and I haven't assigned them exact places in the house yet. One I think will go in my bedside table drawer, one in the kitchen and one in the living room. Each represent things I want in my life. I got these at Whole Foods for about $4 each.

In my purse, I keep my guardian angel coin. I like to think it keeps me safe when I'm driving. I've had this one for a long time and don't remember where I got it or who gave it to me.

I also believe in reading books about positive thinking. I'm reading The Magic right now and the chapter I'm reading is about how you can bring magic and positive energy to your health.

Lastly, I keep an extra good health charm in the ashtray of my car (do you see the irony in keeping a good health charm in an ashtray?)

Here's what it looks like stretched out

Ultimately, I think each of us has our own strategy for keeping ourselves going strong everyday with diabetes, celiac and illness. Diabetes can quickly zap your motivation; you can have one bad day of numbers and it will make you feel like all your hard work and dedication has been for nothing. That's when the little mind games we play with ourselves come in handy. They are harmless, and really, no one else even has to know about them. (Unless you want to share yours on here or on your blog. In which case, I'm all ears. )

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Health Magazines

Yay! I'm happy to see that Diabetes Forecast has an article on gluten free baking this month (see it up in the top right corner?). It's nice to see them give a little attention to a disease/diet that affects 10% of type one diabetics. No doubt that percentage will go up once endocrinologists start requesting their type 1 patients get tested every year for the presence of other auto-immune diseases.

I subscribe to all diabetes-related magazines out there. It's been disappointing to see that most of them, most of the time, do not ever mention other autoimmune diseases, especially the AIs that are directly related to type 1, like celiac disease, Grave's disease, and Hashimoto's disease. On the flip side, I also subscribe to all gluten-free magazines (Living Without, Gluten Free Living, Allergic Living). Most of these magazines focus on celiac disease versus gluten intolerance. And most of the magazines regularly talk about the links to type 1 diabetes (and other auto immune diseases). So I wonder why the diabetes magazines don't?

I like reading mags about 'betes and gluten free/food allergies/celiac disease, because so many of the articles apply to me. I like when they have recipes I can make that fit MY lifestyle. So many fashion and food magazines don't apply to me- I can't make the recipes without severely altering them to fit my dietary needs, and the articles are about things I mostly don't care about or don't apply to me at all.

Another reason I like to read disease-focused magazines is I like reading about the latest news. And I like to see what other people, like me, are experiencing and skills they use to overcome different situations. It's not unlike reading other people's blogs. You read them to make a connection and to learn a new things. Many of the skills I have for treating and living with diabetes and celiac weren't learned at the doctor's office. They were from blogs and magazines. I haven't made the switch yet to an e-reader, and the reason might seem stupid. But it's because after I've read my magazine, I usually pass it on to someone else that can benefit from it. You can't do that with an e-reader. Although I do want to get an e-reader eventually. I'm just not quite ready to let go of the paperback versions yet.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thank God June is almost over.

I've been stressed lately. You might have guessed that from the absence of posts over the last several weeks. June usually is one of my favorite months of the year, namely because it is my birth month and it is a sunny-but-not-too-scorching-hot month here in Minnesota. I love getting outside and enjoying the sun (with my SPF 2000+). But instead of fun in the sun, June 2012 has been a month of fires to put out. To name a few (none of the issues are related to each other), a troubled relationship with a close relative that has come to a head, challenges with my medical care and insurance, challenges with a particular friend who I love but think I may need to say goodbye to for my own sanity, a sick pet with more vet bills to boot, and the worst birthday that I've had...ever (on 6/11).

These are probably considered 'normal people' problems. Of course we PWDs get to add on to that list diabetes issues and for me, celiac issues as well. Nothing like a little stress to make your blood sugar spike straight up.

How do you react when your meter shows your blood sugar is whack? Here are a few of my favorite options:

1. Sh*t. (under my breathe, monotone and without emotion).
3. No. No. No. (like you are scolding a toddler).
4. (monotone and no emotion) NoWay....
5. You gotta be kidding me.
6. (nothing). (shake head).
7. (blink) (blink)
6. (nothing). (deeeeeep breattttttthhhh).

When I'm feeling stressed I run to bad food like some women run to bad men. A little stress will have me buying out the bakery aisle of the grocery store...

...only after I've hit up the freezer section

This is about as self-destructive as I get (yeah, lame) but to me it's a big deal because I have T1 and celiac and often times food seems like the enemy. I fight my desire to eat crap everyday, willpower sometimes wears thin. And sometimes you just feel like hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake and say ** it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You take the good, You take the bad, You take them both and there you have...

"You take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have the facts of life...the facts of life..." Yep, it's an earworm. I like to replace "the facts of life" and replace it with "diabetes" or "disease." One thing about having a chronic disease is that it has ebbs and flows. You have your good days, and if your lucky, good weeks/months. And sometimes out of nowhere you will have a span of crap times. And during a span of crap times it is tempting for me to head in a downward spiral, emotionally. I go through periods of negativity just like anyone else. Life, in general, will do that to anyone, and if you are lucky enough to have diabetes on top of it, you may experience additional bouts of negativity or even depression.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease, I was never so afraid. These chronic monsters turned my life and everything I knew upside down. I struggled, I suffered. There wasn't one part of my life that didn't pay a consequence as a result of them. Now I see myself differently, and I live differently. I went to hell and back and I discovered myself in the process.

In November 2010, 9 months after my first diagnosis, I decided to take my life back from disease. Feeling that disease had added enough fear and negativity to my life, I decided to purge all extra negativity out of my life (those things that I had control over). It was around that time that I stopped watching the news on tv and reading the headlines online. I phased out toxic people (which was a difficult move for me). I bought and read many positive thinking books from authors like Louise Hay, Kris Carr, Rhonda Byrne and Thich Nhat Hanh. I began to love -everything- more. The smell of flowers. The sights, sounds and wonders of nature. The stillness of a quiet house. I even began to embrace my physical flaws, things I had always disliked about myself. I made the conscious decision to be a positive force.

Disease slowed me down- in a good way, a much needed change. Life has many simple beauties that I missed because I was perpetually busy. I discovered so many things I had never noticed before. Why, I wondered, did it take me getting sick to really start loving life? I'm a different person post-diagnosis. I read a lot. I drink a lot of herbal tea. I deep breathe more. I move a little more conscientiously and I act with intention. I have trained myself to not hurry. I'm more sensitive. I'm a better listener. I don't stay in bad relationships anymore.

I allow very few things to stress me out. One of the few things that does still affect me is when I am in the presence of a negative person. Someone who focuses on their misery (real or perceived); who can't find a good thing in their lives to be appreciative for. Beware of these people (I'm sure someone is coming to your mind as you read this); they will suck the energy right out of you. They will absorb all the positive, good energy you radiate and leave you feeling exhausted. Don't be tempted to join them in their "misery talk" out of camaraderie or pressure. Protect yourself in the situation and, if possible, begin to put distance between you.

If you are feeling stressed about something right now, just take a moment to breathe. Take my advice on this, it really does work. Tomorrow is a new day. You can't always change the situation you're in, but you can change how you respond to it and how you let it affect you.

Whatever happened to the serenity of a coffee house?

Whatever happened to the serenity of coffee shops? There was a time when it wasn't quite as mainstream to hang out at a coffee shop. I used to be able to walk into the neighborhood local shop and grab a quiet table by the window, book in hand. Around me were others who were studying, reading the paper, or listening to something on their laptop through their ear buds. The music overhead was relaxing music by unknown artists, played at a nice soothing low volume.

As I sit here now, it's as loud as a bar on a Friday night. There's loud music blasting overhead and people everywhere. The conversations are so loud, because people are competing to be heard over the music and the non-stop running blenders mixing up frozen coffee drinks. There are people here with their cranky, irritable toddlers, who are screaming and running around the tables throughout the shop. It's no longer a relaxing place to hang out; it's just a mashup of different loud, annoying noises.

Yep, I used to come here to do homework and write poems. I would come here to get away from it all into the peace. Maybe all the bars are empty now? Maybe I should start going there, instead.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meeting up with some fine peeps in the DOC

Last Friday I got the privilege of meeting up with some freaking awesome 'betes peeps here in the Twin Cities. Jeff Mathers, Scully, Scott Johnson, and AuntlyH. It was so great to finally meet Scully! Her and I have "met" through DOC/blogs but never in person! What a sweetheart with a great sense of humor. And all I can say is WOW, these are the nicest, funnest (I know, not a word in the actual dictionary but it is in mine) people I've met in a long time. I felt right at home in their company. There was good energy swirling all around. Here are a couple of pictures Jeff Mather and Scully took. If I look crazy in a couple, it's because I am. I'm a crazy happy person most of the time, but around these fine people, it was magnified!

photo credit: Jeff Mather
YEAHHH!! So happy I can't keep it inside!

photo credit: Jeff Mather
Scott and me!

Photo credit: Jeff Mather
Scully and me chattin' it up

This one was taken when we were trying to find some coffee place- ANY coffee place, which you wouldn't think would be that hard in the state's capital. It apparently was NOT in the cards!

photo credit: Chris Scully

After we were unsuccessful at finding an open coffee shop, I headed home. Except I didn't. I got lost. (If you know me, you are not surprised. You are aware that I get lost everywhere I go). My phone GPS took me into a very scary area of town. It was dark out, and I could NOT find my way out. I drove around in this same neighborhood for probably 30 minutes or more. I was so scared that my blood sugar dropped low, low enough that I had to PULL OVER and treat it. Not here...please not here! My thoughts, which were racing through my head at that point, went something like this. Holy Crap! Where the H am I? STOOPID iPhone GPS! Quit saying "recalculating" and find where I am! Crap, what was that noise??? Omgomgomg. I hope I'm not wearing the wrong colors. Do these people that are hanging out in the middle of the street know that I'm lost? Because they've seen me drive by 4 times. I'm going to die and no one will find me because my GPS can't identify where I'm at! Are Subaru Outbacks hot in the underground market? Hope not. Is my bg up yet????? Better call some friends and tell them one of these street names so they know where to look for the body.

So how did I eventually get out of there? I saw a minivan drive down a road and I turned around and followed it. I figured they were heading somewhere better than where I was at. And voila! They went to a highway! Whew, deep breath...

Anyway, I hope I get the chance to hang out with these friends again. Guess I better get myself a bike so I can ride along with them in the tour de cure next time!