New Beginning……

Can’t believe that this day is finally here! 

After decades of sickness, additional health complications and a crisis or two, fighting with doctors, refusing to take prescriptions, years of research, studying, my health finally turning a corner and my body is healing - all of that, lead to learning to help family, friends and clients with their own health  challenges and it all comes together in a few days with my book! 

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It feels like my life has finally come full circle and I have found my purpose. It is with honor, pride, a fierce determination and gratitude that I have gotten to the place where I can now help people who have been struggling with gluten challenges of their own. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can say “I have been there”, that “you can get through it” and that “tomorrow will be a better day” and I that you can do it too with the right tools, with a whole lot of patience, with love, with understanding and with the support that you need.

On Friday, I have the sheer joy and amazing opportunity to launch my book along side 49 other health coaches today in Whole Foods, Lincoln Center in New York from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and I am just so excited, humbled and so grateful  that this amazing day is here. If you are in the area, stop on by I’d love to meet you.

As I'm about to get on my plane to NYC, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who have helped me, believed in me and pushed me to keep going when I didn’t think this day would really come or was even a possibility. 

Sitting down writing a book, was a pretty incredible experience and it truly made me realize just how far my health has come, how much my life has changed and how full and enriched my life is now. I wouldn’t change one thing, one experience, or one moment as it has brought me to this place where I can now say I am an “Author” and I have the best job ever because I have the privilege of helping people improve their health and lives who suffer with gluten challenges of their own. 

I have truly been blessed, I truly am grateful and am so excited to walk in those doors, wish me luck! 

Today is a new beginning for me and hopefully today will be a new beginning for you too as you learn to put your health first and learn to make some better decisions for yourself. It all starts with you believing in yourself and giving yourself the best tools you can to succeed. I’d be honored if you’d let me help you on your journey, my book is now on sale on Amazon. Wow that sounds crazy to say! 

Would love to hear from you, what new beginning have you embraced today? And what are you committed to doing starting today?

My Doctor said I Don’t Have the Celiac Gene but, I Feel Better on a Gluten-Free Diet - What should I do?

When your doctor orders the gene test because he or she believe you could have celiac disease they are looking to see if you have HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 (these are the genetic markers specifically for celiac disease). 93 to 97% of celiacs have one of these genes commonly referred to as DQ2 or DQ8. Now here is where it gets a little tricky, 45 to 50% of people with non-celiac gluten-sensitivity also have one of these genes. And so do 30% of the general population. What is really important to understand is that this test is really indicative of a gluten-related disorder not of celiac disease. 

It has been reported that up to 7% of the celiac population have other genes which are not tested and therefore the gene test is not 100% conclusive. So it is possible to have celiac disease and not have either DQ2 or DQ8 that is the first thing to understand.

There are additional tests that your doctor can order to confirm his or her initial diagnosis that you do not have celiac disease. My best recommendation would be to order an IgA, IgG and IgM test together, which will tell your doctor what is going on in your gut with IgA but also what is going on with the rest of your body with IgG and IgM. Not one test now and another later, all together it is important to have a clear picture how your body is responding. If your doctor will not order these additional tests after you have asked, then I usually suggest finding another doctor who will.

It is important to know and understand what is going on in your body and how to best help and support your body if you do believe that you are having a bad reaction to gluten as you mentioned. I should also tell you that you should not be jump on and off gluten as this can cause more and sometimes complications and damage. When testing, you typically need to be eating gluten for the most accurate results. So depending on how long you have been off gluten and eating gluten-free will determine obviously how your body is responding to gluten. Clearly your body will not be reacting as violently if it has been several weeks or months.

So stay persistent and follow-up with your doctors it is important to know what is truly going on with your health.

If your test results still come back negative it is hugely important to understand is that if your body is telling you that you feel better on a gluten-free diet than you should listen to it. You may be gluten-sensitivity which can have the same symptoms in the body you just won’t have the small intestine damage or develop the tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies found in celiac disease yet. I say “yet” because if the testing was done incorrectly this very well could still be your issue and it will show up later in a much more advanced stage.

Hope this helps answer your question, dear reader. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on this below. And if you have a question of your own, click the ask a question button and I’ll do my best to answer soon.


Differential Mucosal IL-17 Expression in Two Gliadin-Induced Disorders: Gluten Sensitivity and the Autoimmune Enteropathy Celiac Disease

Anna SaponeKaren M. LammersGiuseppe MazzarellaIrina Mikhailenko, Vincenzo Casolaro, and Alessio Fasano

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2010 Apr; 152(1): 75–80.

Hey guys in an effort to stay on my game, I have found that it’s important for me to continue to grow, learn, understand and put into practice as much as I possible can to improve my health and those that I care about. 

So I have made it part of my weekly routine to read some current and not so current medical research that directly relates to celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivity. I have just recently decided to blog about it so my intention with this is really to include so important points on what I have read in hopes that you too will find it beneficial to have a better understanding what is going on in your body and how much some of the researchers know, that unfortunately not all doctors do. I will list the article information that I am reading, so that if you are interested as well, you could do some further research on your own. So here goes:

This article is what is considered a landmark article because it has specifically identified the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity and how specifically how our body responds when digesting gluten.

  • Gluten is the trigger of a heterogeneous set of conditions, including wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity (GS), and celiac disease (CD), that, combined, affect about 10% of the general population.

 

  • CD, which roughly affects 1% of the general population, is considered an autoimmune disorder because of the presence of highly specific autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase (tTG), and may lead to the onset of other autoimmune conditions. Besides CD, GS may present with similar symptoms but without anti-tTG autoantibodies or autoimmune comorbidities. CD is a life-long condition that requires rigorous and continuous avoidance of intake of gliadin, the toxic component of gluten, whereas GS can vary in terms of gluten threshold sensitivity and duration.

 

  • In support of the autoimmune, adaptive nature of CD, there is a strong genetic association with the MHC class II haplotype in CD patients, about 95% of whom carry HLA-DQ2, and the remainder HLA-DQ8. Conversely, only about 50% of patients with GS carry the HLA-DQ2 or -DQ8 haplotype, a percentage slightly higher than in the general population. The diversity of gluten-induced conditions suggests that the immune system reacts to and deals with the triggering environmental factor, e.g. gliadin, in distinct ways. The identification of interleukin (IL)-17-producing CD4+ T helper cells, Th17 cells, has had major impact on understanding immune processes not readily explained by the Th1/Th2 paradigm.

 

  • Data show that the expression of IL-17, a cytokine that is thought to be involved in inflammatory and autoimmune processes, is elevated in CD but not in GS. Our work confirms and extends the study by Castellanos-Rubio et al. showing gluten-dependent expression of IL-17A in active CD. In addition, combined with the other observed clinical and histological differences, it further supports the idea that CD and GS are distinct entities and that the immune system deals with gluten in different ways, possibly depending on the genetic makeup. Where in GS as well as in wheat allergy the gluten-induced response leads to immunity toward a non-self diet component, i.e. gliadin, in CD a deviated, self-directed adaptive response leads, in addition, to the onset of a full-fledged autoimmune process. In clear contrast to GS, CD results from a complex, as yet undetermined, interplay of increased intestinal permeability, mucosal damage, environmental factors additional to gluten, and genetic predisposition, which involves both MHC and non-MHC genes 

 

  • In conclusion, here we present for the first time evidence of differential intestinal mucosal immune responses to gluten between CD and GS, further supporting the notion that CD is the only clinical form of gluten reactivity involving autoimmune mechanisms. We conclude that GS, albeit gluten-induced, is different from CD not only with respect to the genetic makeup and clinical and functional parameters, but also with respect to the nature of the immune response. Our findings also suggest that two subgroups of CD, IL-17-dependent and IL-17-independent, may be identified based on differential mucosal expression of this cytokine. 

 

This article identifies IL-17, a cytokine (a chemical switch that turn on certain immune cells types on and off)  that is thought to be involved in inflammatory and autoimmune process, how this is elevated in a celiac disease patient but not in gluten-sensitive patient. 

 

And that our immune systems respond differently to gluten. Yes, we to a large part already suspected this, this is one of the first studies that actually proves the differences. In science, explaining things, defining them, understanding how they work and being able to find distinct differences and patterns are huge steps forward in being able to then move forward towards managing and improving our health.

 

Science is making huge strides, that is a beautiful thing in helping those of us who live with gluten challenges everyday. So much is still to be understood and it is important that if your doctors are unaware of some of this new information perhaps you could print this article for them. They can’t read every journal. 

Staying on top of your health when you live life with gluten challenges is about so much more than just removing some gluten filled food from your diet.

* Here’s my little disclaimer, I’m not a doctor, researcher, immunologist, just someone deeply concerned and trying to help as many peeps as I can make conscious, good, healthy choices for their health and their bodies when living life with gluten challenges. I have not been compensated or obligated to write this article, and as always, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own!

Top 3 Tips on Food Prep…..

One of the best things that you can do for yourself when you have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive is to try and be as prepared as you can be food-wise. And that for me, works best when I generally food shop on Saturday and then Sunday is my cooking and prepping day for the week.

I am generally a pretty busy girl and most days I work from home which is both a good thing and a bad thing. When I get engrossed in a project hours upon hours can go by and I have no clue how quickly time passes. I often forget to eat or suddenly remember when my stomach is growling up a storm. At this point it is great to be home but I’m not about to stop and start cooking from scratch and interrupt my whole flow and loose track of where I am. So if I don’t have something that I can quickly heat up on the stove, than I’m more likely to grab a protein bar or something quick so I can get back to work.

So I have learned the art of food prep for the week and it is awesome when I do it. And, boy am I grumpy when I don’t. I can certainly tell the difference in better quality meals when I put in the work and snacks too.

So here are my Top 3 Tips, hope they help.

Tip #1:

Review your recipes and decide ahead of time what your menu will be like for the whole week. And try to mix and match meals accordingly, so that you can repurpose a dinner for a lunch and vise versa. This helps cut down on lots of leftovers and wastes as well. 

Make your shopping list from your recipes this way you are sure to get everything you need and not a bunch of extras that you don’t .

Tip #2:

After food shopping, I generally like to clean all my fruits and veggies before I put everything away. This also makes cooking go way faster than if you have to constantly stop and start cleaning.

I have limited counter space so I am constantly having to do to things in shifts, so this really helps me out, quite a bit.

Tip #3:

On my cooking day, plan to be in the kitchen for a while, so I like to put some great music on and dance in the kitchen or I put on a class that I want to listen to. I’m all for doing two things at once and making the best use of my time.

Spend a little time getting organized, have your recipes handy and try and do the things that take the longest first. 

Since I have planned ahead, I know for example one day I’m going to have a sweet potato cooked in the oven and another time I’m going to have sweet potato fries baked in the oven so I use the same item in different ways for different meals. So I’m aware of this when cutting and chopping and am able to leave some for part two and can pre-cook just about everything so that when I need to have a quick lunch or dinner ready, I can do so in about ten to fifteen minutes tops.

Would love to hear you tips on food prep, I am always looking for great ideas on how to stay better organized and make things quicker, please share in the comments below. Also, if you have specific tips you’d like to request, click on the question box and I’ll get to yours just as soon as I can.