There’s something to be said about being close to nature to help you heal. I feel more connected to myself and the world around me when I’m outside surrounded by green, blue and yellow. The deeper I dive into the technical world, the more I want to spend my off time without the hum of a nearby computer.
The more I incorporate nature and all things natural into my life, the better I feel. I’ve always loved accessorizing and have never had luck with costume jewelry. Those metals turn my skin green or make me itch. I don’t have an issue with 10K+ gold, but My Celiac Wife can’t wear his white gold wedding ring for long before breaking out in a rash. I’ve been looking into natural jewelry and am loving the vibes. About a year or so ago I began this obsession with needing a watch. I don’t know if it has to do with knowing the time or liking the accessory, but I’ve been searching for a watch that won’t leave my wrist itchy or sweaty.
My Celiac Wife bought me a couple watches, but they were a bit too large and made of plastic. They were stylish but unfortunately, not very comfortable. I get picky with my accessories. I’d like a watch made of wood and/or leather that has style but isn’t too big. I like the feel of the smooth wood against my skin. I found these watches below and am looking forward to getting one (one of these days).
Most are made of sandalwood, which makes a good-smelling, healing essential oil. Sandalwood has so many benefits including memory boosting and carminative properties, a relaxant for the stomach and intestines. I figure it couldn’t hurt to try wearing actual sandalwood. One of these to start would be nice and they’re relatively inexpensive. Manufacturers say you should be careful of the watch getting too much light and to keep them clean and away from water for the best performance. Check them out!
One major issue I had in high school was I had trouble staying awake through the 3rd and 6th periods. I just couldn’t stay awake in those classes, no matter what I did. I chalked it up to a warm room for one class, but then it happened in a cold room later. Then I thought it was due to the fact that I could never fall asleep at night. It kept happening and became more frequent the older I got. Looking back now, I realize it was my diet, especially a gluten-filled diet.
I would eat a gluten bagel with cream cheese every morning when I got to school around 7 am. By third period, around 10 or 10:30 if it wasn’t an interactive class, I was out like a light. Lunch would be either 4th or 5th period where I would probably eat either a sandwich, pizza, sometimes a salad, mozzarella sticks, macaroni and cheese or french fries, along with a cookie or other little dessert treat. I loved those Little Debbie snacks. (I think they changed their recipe or supplier because the last one I ate before going gluten-free tasted like a mealy, cardboard cake covered in plastic, so I figure I’m not really missing out.)
Then 6th period would come, sometimes it would be 7th period, depending on what the class was and if it was interactive. If a teacher spent the time lecturing, I was out like a light, no matter how animated they were. My 9th grade history teacher was especially good at telling historical stories and knocking me out. I was incredibly embarrassed every time I fell asleep in their classes, I apologized if they caught me or if it happened two days in a row.
I’ve had interesting things happen while falling asleep in class. Once I dreamt that I slipped on ice and almost fell out of my desk. Another time my teacher dropped the heavy, metal trash can right next to my seat to wake me up. I about jumped out of my skin! These types of events had the entire class laughing. I felt like I was hugely disrespecting my teachers by falling asleep, it was through no fault of their own. I wanted to stay awake and I tried very hard.
I took a ton of notes to try to stay awake. Sometimes my sentences would taper off into squiggly lines in my notebook because I had fallen asleep while writing. Because it was happening so frequently, I began to buy a Coke and a bag of M&M’s, Twizzlers, or another type of quiet candy or snack to munch on while I was in those classes thinking the chewing motion and sugar would help me stay awake. Sometimes it worked but I usually ended up with a belly ache and headache afterwards, then crashing for a nap after I got home.
Me in 2003, the year before I graduated college. Posing to hide the pudge.
It happened in college, also. I ate a semi-healthy diet after my junior/senior year of high school because I gained weight both years, seemingly out of no where. After I lost a bunch of weight, my mother told me her and my father wondered if I was pregnant because I had gained so much. I couldn’t believe they would say that! Now I know it was because I looked pregnant with my gluten-baby belly. Though I am surprised she would wait until after I lost the weight to mention that.
STRESS & GLUTEN
Looking back, it was all due to gluten and stress. My weight fluctuations always came after dealing with a stressful situation. I would eat to compensate for being overly stressed or pressured. It came from all angles. I loved pizza and comfort foods, ice cream and cookies. All the things my stomach can’t handle now. I was most likely always lactose and gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive and we believe that when I had radioactive iodine treatment for my thyroid that the celiac disease was triggered. It’s been a hell of a roller coaster ride to get to this point, but I’m here, still rolling on.
These are only a few of the symptoms I experienced as a teenager and young adult with gluten and lactose intolerance. If you or your child is experiencing similar issues with staying awake, alert or paying attention, it would be a good idea to get checked for food sensitivities or intolerances. Trust me, eliminating those foods will make paying attention and staying awake so much easier.
In my first post about staying hydrated with celiac disease, I wrote a post on Celiac and Water Absorption explaining that I was drinking Body Armor drinks and taking Smarty Pants multi-vitamins among a slew of others, to stay hydrated and healthy. At my last appointment the doc told me to cut out all the extra vitamins for two weeks because my B-6 and B-12 levels were very high. I felt like my nerves were fried and my muscles were tight and on edge. I guess you can overdose on B-vitamins. I cut out the vitamins and drinks on 5/5/16 and after about 3 weeks off all the vitamins and 2 weeks off fish oil/DHA, I was tired but much less wired.
After two weeks of eating my regular diet, cutting out the Body Armor drinks and not taking supplements, I was exhausted and my joints were burning again. My upper and lower back hurt but the pinching between my shoulder blades receded a bit. I added back in one fish oil pill a day before lunch or dinner, whenever I remembered to take it and after about a week the upper back pain settled down more and the joint pain started to decrease. I tried a few gummy vitamins and the upper back pain came back, but that could also have been due to being on crutches. As my back, chest and core strengthen from the crutching, it gets less painful.
After about 3 weeks I added back in half the dosage of the Smarty Pants gummy vitamins and I think I’m doing good. My body needs something extra, I can’t eat enough foods to get the nutrients I need. My stomach does not process the food or absorb it well. I’ve switched to water and regular fruit juices and cut out the Body Armor drinks for now. I cycled through OJ, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and apple juice. I’m loving the OJ and am so happy I can handle orange again! I really missed the juicy sweetness of oranges. The cranberry juice is also helping, though I’m not as into the grapefruit or apple as much. I drank all the grapefruit but there’s just something about the apple that I’m not digging so much.
It’s been about a month and a half now and I’m feeling ok. My thyroid levels are getting back in order and I’m starting to balance out. My body is still going through the processes it does after giving birth and having a baby. Even though the baby isn’t here, my body is still going through the cycle of having a newborn, including sleepless nights and all, less the dirty diapers. My cycle is off which could be due to the pregnancy, surgery, celiac, stress or a combination of all. My intestines feel like they opened up, not as tight as they once were. It’s making me nervous though, wondering if it’s a new type of pain or if it’s just the absence of pain. I’ve been very bloated this week and haven’t been for quite some time. There has been much stress over the past weeks/months, so that could be why.
Staying Hydrated with Celiac Disease is Difficult
I stopped drinking the Body Armor drinks and am drinking water and fruit juices instead. Staying hydrated is difficult, especially since it’s dry in Cali. My skin doesn’t feel as dry as it was, but it’s still pretty dry. I added fruit juices and fruits to help. I also use olive oil on my skin to hopefully save me from alligator skin later. The only thing with fruit juices is that they’re sweet, and sugar isn’t really doing much for me these days. My upper intestinal area blows up like a balloon when I eat sugars which is no fun and quite painful. I stopped the fish oil again because it gives me terrible gas. Next I’ll figure out if it’s the capsule or the oil itself that’s the culprit, but I have to add it back in because it really does help with all the inflammation.
All in all, at the moment I feel partly better not being on so many supplements. My body feels calmer, my nerves don’t jump as much and my muscles don’t ache as badly. They still ache and I’m more inflamed than usual, but it’s not as bad as it was before. I like the Body Armor drinks but haven’t had one in a while as I’m now worried about getting too many vitamins. I have to try one again and see how it makes me feel. They are very tasty drinks. In a couple weeks I get another blood test to check my thyroid and vitamin levels and will see where I stand. I’ll let you know how it goes!
This post is a follow-up from Anxiety & Celiac Disease.
The fact that the B-Complex vitamin calmed my anxiety made me wonder, so I did more research and found that anxiety is rarely a mental issue. In fact, most health-related issues are related to something we’re eating – the gut is our only line of defense against the outside world. Researchers have found that serotonin and dopamine (the happy hormones) are not produced in the brain, but in the stomach and then carried to the brain for release from the hypothalamus. Serotonin is made from processing B vitamins, among other vitamins and minerals, in the small intestines. When you have celiac or autoimmune disorders, you most likely have a leaky gut that small particles of food is allowing to escape into your body. Your body knows it’s not supposed to be there so it goes on attack, causing all kinds of symptoms like bloating, itching, sneezing, allergies, anxiety and panic attacks, fatigue, acne and many others. Upon further research, probiotics are also incredibly important for those with anxiety and GI related disorders.
COULD VITAMINS WORK?
Your doctor may not bring it up as a possible option to you, but you can bring it up to your doctor. I don’t recommend going off prescription dugs without the consult of a doctor, as they can really throw you through a loop and serious issues can occur. I’ve also read that people who are on anti-depressant or anti-anxiety meds can have increased symptoms adding the complex-B vitamins, however I wonder if that isn’t due to the ingredients in the pill or the type of pill it is. I take a whole food B-complex vitamin, however one of the whole food ingredients in the pill, brewer’s yeast, can cause bloating issues in some people. Before doing anything drastic, take stock of your situation. Educate yourself on natural ways to help anxiety, B-vitamins, leaky gut and wherever those things take you. Print out some good articles you find interesting or have questions about and take them to your doctor.
I’m super curious about your experiences with trying to naturally help your anxiety. Have you tried B vitamins, probiotics, Vitamin D, something else? I think it has to be the Complex-B, with all the B vitamins, not just one or two. Adding magnesium helped me a lot as well, Natural Calm plus Calcium has helped the most, but only in conjunction with an additional Calcium/Magnesium pill. What have you found that works?
I touched on ‘acceptance’ being an integral part of healing from celiac disease, but it’s more than that. It’s not only accepting the fact that you can’t eat or do certain things anymore, it’s also surrendering yourself to healing. Now that you have a diagnosis of celiac, what are you going to do to make yourself heal? What lengths will you go to to feel better?
Researching ways to heal my body naturally has become an obsession for me. I pour through journal articles, medical studies and even blog posts to try to find the right cocktail of vitamins, minerals, herbs and foods I need to consume in order to feel better.
Sometimes I feel like I’m reading in circles. When I get to that point, I take a break for a while. I just want to understand the processes in the body, how they work together normally and what causes them to misfire to cause disease. I believe that means taking into account many different paths of medicine, natural, modern, eastern, Ayurvedic and more. I don’t believe any one way is more beneficial than another; it all depends on the doctor, their knowledge and experience. If you are lucky enough to find a doctor that will spend their time to work with you on finding ways to make you feel better, you’ve got it made!
I haven’t been so lucky. My whole life has been one misdiagnosis after another. Doctors have gotten exasperated with me and my requests, they make me feel like I’m crazy for wondering about some of the things I ask. Modern medical doctors have done me wrong numerous times: performed surgeries, given radioactive iodine, and been generally uneducated in the functions and processes of the body, and my body in particular, before they administer surgeries or drugs.
One can say that modern medicine hasn’t been around for that long so how can we truly understand the processes and malfunctions of the body until recently, and yes that is somewhat true. Functions of the body have been known for millennia, with scrolls depicting veins and inner systems of the human body. We can understand more now, but modern medicine seems to turn a blind eye to anything that wasn’t documented before 1910, even later on other things. Methods of keeping ourselves alive for thousands of years are discredited because there isn’t a ‘proper medical study’ done on a particular remedy. If modern medicine wasn’t funded by drug companies whose sole purpose is to replace natural treatments with synthetic versions that they can make money from, what would be the state of health in America?
On that note, I don’t quite understand why the drug companies need to make it synthetic to make money. Natural remedies work, they just don’t work very fast. Our society has become so fast-paced that taking the proper amount of time to heal yourself is frowned upon. Read that again folks…taking time to heal yourself is frowned upon by the companies we work for and society at large.
I’ve been trying to heal myself my whole life and all I’ve heard is that it’s either all in my head or to just keep pushing through the pain. So that’s what I’ve been doing, pushing through the pain. Put on a smile and spread some sunshine when my stomach and joints are burning, a headache is threatening, my muscles ache and spine hurts high and low. I bob back and forth on my ankles because they can’t hold me up straight and my feet and legs ache to no end. It’s exhausting and I try, but I’m not always the best at bringing the sunshine and happiness every day. I’m much better now than I was a couple years ago before my celiac diagnosis, as I’m sure some of my old coworkers can attest, but I did try.
It makes me sad because I’m usually a very happy-go-lucky person, a lover of life with a positive outlook towards everything and everyone. I feel like celiac and modern medicine have robbed me of my happiness and chance at a normal, healthy life. I’m still angry and I need to just surrender and let it be. There’s nothing I can do to change the past, so I have to figure out what to do to move forward and get as healthy as I can from here.
I’m at the point now where my feet and legs ache so badly, it’s all I can think about. My lower spine has been aching and swollen, along with the upper part of my spine in my neck. I can’t focus or get lost in my work or creative outlets because the pain is taking over my mind. I’m laying here outside now, it’s getting chillier and I’m getting cold, but I don’t want to get up because my ankles, lower legs and feet are throbbing. I’m trying to form a complete thought and post here, but it just runs to rambles because the pain is the focus. I’ve put off surgery on my feet long enough and I can’t put it off anymore. The house is almost set up, the backyard is just about finished. It’s time to fix my feet. I have to surrender my Type-A, go-go-go, Miss Independent lifestyle to Celiac, and let it be until my body heals. If I could lie in a pool and float for a few months, that’d be great, but then my skin would probably get funkier than it is now. Celiac…I surrender…to the pain, to the worry, to the stress and uncertainty…to the healing.
I tried it before I got pregnant and I’m thinking about trying it again – eating certain foods to help balance my hormones. I’m bloated and swollen with what I’m guessing is postpartum edema and I would love to deflate and see my ankles again. Here are a few things I’ve tried sporadically over the past few weeks:
Raspberry Leaf Tea – Full of vitamins and minerals like calcium, this will help prime the uterus. I noticed I bled a little more after drinking this a couple times so I haven’t had it in a while. – more research needed
Dandelion Root Herbal Tea – Aids liver function in processing the hormones and toxins from your body. This definitely helped with the bloating, however it doesn’t have an incredible taste or smell, not the worst but not great. I add raw honey and usually brew with a better tasting herbal tea to mask the flavor.
Peppermint Tea – Soothes the stomach and releases gas and bloating. Yup – it works! So tasty too, and it blends well with other teas. I’m not sure if this helps balance hormones, but it helps balance my stomach, which helps balance my mood.
Not stressing – This one is tough for a lot of people but will do so much in the way of balancing your body and mind. I’ve used sewing projects, gardening, cleaning, cooking and reading to keep myself busy, which are all things I enjoy doing. Especially the sewing and gardening, they help me get almost into a meditative state which allows my thoughts to flow freely through my mind. I’m working up to being able to meditate without aids. Every time I go to meditate my mind wanders to “How much longer will I have to sit here?” I’m a do-er, I like to do things. I realize I should try to relax and be in the moment with myself in that way, but I feel much more connected when my hands are busy. I’m hoping one day to get into that deep, meditative state, but for now, the hobbies are working.
Chocolate Chip Cookies – These have been my go-to comfort food this past month. Chocolate chip cookies taste so good and yummy, but they don’t do anything good to balance your hormones. I’ve made a couple batches, I’ve eaten too many of the delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from the Walmart bakery. I noticed more bloating, more swelling of my feet, ankles, legs, arms, etc. after eating the cookies. While they are an awesome comfort food, the sugar in the cookies wreaks havoc on the system. Stay away…if you can.
Best cookie mix
Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels – My favorite treat during pregnancy were chocolate covered pretzels – Max loved them! While the chocolate has some caffeine, it’s not really enough to disrupt too much, as long as you don’t eat the entire bag. Good nutrients like magnesium are in dark chocolate, and the pretzels are low in calories and all the bad stuff. I feel the benefits outweigh the cons here. I wouldn’t eat more than a handful per snack, though.
These are my fav!
Sleep – The most important factor to balancing your hormones and healing your body is sleep. It keeps coming up everywhere because it can’t be stressed enough how much sleep impacts your life. Getting 7-10 hours sleep per night will help so much you’ll be amazed. I know you don’t always feel great after getting a lot of sleep, and maybe that’s because your body is still needing more. I found that a few nights of sufficient sleep will take my bloating away, make me feel more refreshed and keeps inflammation manageable.
Rest – If you can’t get the sleep you need, at least get some feet-up rest. I haven’t been sleeping long enough most nights, nor have I been resting as much as I should during the day. When I rest with my feet up, the swelling goes down some and the bleeding lets up a little (until I stand, that is). Take the time…your body needs it to survive.
What helps you feel balanced and closer to normal?