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Coolest Christmas (Or Other) Gifts Ever

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I have to admit that I'm still like a kid around Christmas. I did know what I was getting this year from my MIL, sort of, but last night I think she almost strangled my husband when he blew it right in front of me. We were making dinner and she asked him what he wanted, and if he wanted the same thing she is getting me. He was like, oh I wouldn't enjoy feeding the giraffes nearly as much as her. I couldn't turn around and look at her because I was trying to hide the world's biggest smile, but I imagine she didn't look particularly happy. I may be a month away from being 35 but it was all I could do not to squeal like a little girl and bounce up and down.

Yes, the zoo here sells giraffe encounters where you can feed them. And, it is entirely possible that I may actually come into physical contact with a real, living, breathing, giraffe. I get so excited thinking about it that I actually hold my breath accidentally. The coolest part is that they only do this two days a week, and my birthday is right after Christmas and falls on one of the days they do it. Which means we are scheduling to go then. I guess I'm getting a two-fer.

So who else is planning the best gifts ever this year? Maybe for someone else or maybe you know you're getting something super awesome. I wish that I could get my husband something to make him as happy as I know I'll be but alas, there is nothing that will make him squeal with joy like a little girl.

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So who else is planning the best gifts ever this year? Maybe for someone else or maybe you know you're getting something super awesome. I wish that I could get my husband something to make him as happy as I know I'll be but alas, there is nothing that will make him squeal with joy like a little girl.

No comment. :ph34r:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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I wish that I could get my husband something to make him as happy as I know I'll be but alas, there is nothing that will make him squeal with joy like a little girl.

oh boy, this just begs for a naughty response.... :lol:.and I will refrain. I know ways to make my hubs....er,...ahem...anyhoo

I am very happy you will be feeding giraffes. I had the chance to feed them--and other wild animals---at the Catskill Game Farm in NY

when I first moved to NY from Bahston in 1984.

and I have to say....I squealed with delight --and scared the crap out of all the children nearby.

Best. Day. Ever.

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You girls. I swear..... I was OBVIOUSLY talking about gifts.

Note to self: Remember your audience and always triple check what you typed before hitting enter.

I guess no one else has super awesome plans?

I already know this will be the best day ever. I am so with you there! I've had people be like, you can't think of anything, anything at all in your life as awesome? I'm like nope. Not a thing.

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I'm sure if you make your husband squeal in any way, he will consider it a gift. ;)

Sooooo anyhoo! I think the gift I've gotten most excited about is actually something

a little silly, but still. My grandmother makes needlepoint squares that spell out

'Merry Christmas' that are looped together that you hang over your mantel or on

a wall somewhere or something. I remember the year she sent me one of my own

'Merry Christmases' it was like I was officially an adult, and I got childishly excited

about it.

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Honestly, the best gift is something my family knows that i have been eyeing for a long time (be it a game, a book, whathaveyou), it always makes me excited and happy that they remembered :)

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I'm sure if you make your husband squeal in any way, he will consider it a gift. ;)

Sooooo anyhoo! I think the gift I've gotten most excited about is actually something

a little silly, but still. My grandmother makes needlepoint squares that spell out

'Merry Christmas' that are looped together that you hang over your mantel or on

a wall somewhere or something. I remember the year she sent me one of my own

'Merry Christmases' it was like I was officially an adult, and I got childishly excited

about it.

Bunz...I think that is the sweetest thing !.

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You girls. I swear..... I was OBVIOUSLY talking about gifts.

me too, babes ;)

anyhoo..okay seriously.

I have received many cool gifts and I am beyond grateful. Let me explain--we are Christmas Freaks here.

My bday, our anniversary and hub's bday--are between 11/22 and 12/13 so...

Every year, hubs gives me a pewter Peter Rabbit ornament (cuz I love bunnies)

and one year, my friend made us a wedding quilt that took her 2 YEARS to finish

and because we were married in NYC, and saw the Rockettes Christmas show 4 hours after the ceremony with our best man and woman, we continued to go down there every year.

until I got sick. So sick I could not travel

Well, this year, I got the tickets and the hotel room and the restaurant reservations ....and we're going!!

yaaay !! first time since 2006.

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Not this year but in the past these are amongst things my husband who squeals like a girl has done for me (well, I mean Christmas gifts):

- blindfolded me and taken me to a cooking class at a swanky place

- found a book I desperately wanted and could not get in North America but managed to order it from the UK

- found counted cross stitch patterns by Paula Vaughn (the loveliest and most challenging you can get - another passion of mine), bought me all the threads to go with it (over 70 colours) in a craft store. I love to picture him picking out all the colours for me in less than a manly store.

- packed my bag without my knowing, picked me up at work and whisked me off to a romantic boutique hotel for the weekend and then took me food shopping followed by some other stuff ;)

- two years ago, he somehow managed to arrange for Amazon books to be shipped to me for ten consecutive days - the boxes just kept on coming! (He actually had them sent to his work separately then put them in the mailbox each day.)

I am a very, very spoiled girl. Methinks perhaps I'll keep him.

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I'm sure if you make your husband squeal in any way, he will consider it a gift. ;)

Sooooo anyhoo! I think the gift I've gotten most excited about is actually something

a little silly, but still. My grandmother makes needlepoint squares that spell out

'Merry Christmas' that are looped together that you hang over your mantel or on

a wall somewhere or something. I remember the year she sent me one of my own

'Merry Christmases' it was like I was officially an adult, and I got childishly excited

about it.

I love that moment when you have gone from one of "the cousins" to a grown up! I had one of those too, and was childishly excited. Kinda contradicts the whole thing doesn't it?

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me too, babes ;)

anyhoo..okay seriously.

I have received many cool gifts and I am beyond grateful. Let me explain--we are Christmas Freaks here.

My bday, our anniversary and hub's bday--are between 11/22 and 12/13 so...

Every year, hubs gives me a pewter Peter Rabbit ornament (cuz I love bunnies)

and one year, my friend made us a wedding quilt that took her 2 YEARS to finish

and because we were married in NYC, and saw the Rockettes Christmas show 4 hours after the ceremony with our best man and woman, we continued to go down there every year.

until I got sick. So sick I could not travel

Well, this year, I got the tickets and the hotel room and the restaurant reservations ....and we're going!!

yaaay !! first time since 2006.

That is super exciting! I'm so happy for you. That doesn't even come close to a little win, that falls into the major freaking victory category. That sounds like an awesome tradition to have back. I've also heard super amazing things about how gluten free friendly NYC is, I'm sure you're going to be having the time of your life.

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Not this year but in the past these are amongst things my husband who squeals like a girl has done for me (well, I mean Christmas gifts):

- blindfolded me and taken me to a cooking class at a swanky place

- found a book I desperately wanted and could not get in North America but managed to order it from the UK

- found counted cross stitch patterns by Paula Vaughn (the loveliest and most challenging you can get - another passion of mine), bought me all the threads to go with it (over 70 colours) in a craft store. I love to picture him picking out all the colours for me in less than a manly store.

- packed my bag without my knowing, picked me up at work and whisked me off to a romantic boutique hotel for the weekend and then took me food shopping followed by some other stuff ;)

- two years ago, he somehow managed to arrange for Amazon books to be shipped to me for ten consecutive days - the boxes just kept on coming! (He actually had them sent to his work separately then put them in the mailbox each day.)

I am a very, very spoiled girl. Methinks perhaps I'll keep him.

I'd keep him too! I have to say I'm spoiled myself. I have something like 4 dozen stuffed giraffes at this point and they just keep coming. Usually for no apparent reason. I even have one I use to prop my arm up when my shoulder is bothering me and he doesn't complain about giraffes in the bed.

We're some lucky girls having such men to spoil us. Books every day? Yeah, I could sign up for that.

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I'm a total sap -- my absolute favorite thing is surprising someone with their perfect gift. It is pure magic when it happens. So far my top two are:

Oldest son's hero from 4-10ish years old was Jeff Gordon -- we camped infield at the then brand new California Speedway for years until I got too sick -- anyway my son was 6 and I found a mini Jeff Gordon race suit with helmet -- it wasn't on his Santa list -- oh my goodness -- the look on his face when he opened it and threw on the helmet I will never, ever forget...the next race was the following February -- he wore the suit for the entire weekend -- couple drivers came out of the paddock to visit our kid's lemon aid/brownie stand -- not Jeff, but still priceless memories.

Last year my father (81) had researched his father service in WWI - my Grandfather never shared any info from his service...so my Dad visited the WWI Museum and found out really amazing info. He shared the story with me and asked for a WWI movie for Christmas...in addition to the movie I found a book about my Grandfather's unit that mentioned him three times and had great photos of the unit my father hadn't found - original print from 1919 along with his unit's insignia pin -- I have never seen my very formal father so emotional -- I wanted to surprise him -- I got more than I hoped for that Christmas.

My hubby is a horrid gift giver - he is wonderful in many other ways, but gift-giving is not one of his "gifts" -- this year I don't have any winning surprise ideas sooo I guess I'll have to think of something that I really want and give some stellar marching orders :)

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Honestly, the best gift is something my family knows that i have been eyeing for a long time (be it a game, a book, whathaveyou), it always makes me excited and happy that they remembered :)

With my family back home I'm happy if I even get a card. My husband is good at remembering those random things I mentioned forever ago or have been eyeing a long time. (I know I'm sticking my foot in my mouth here so to speak... but here goes anyway.) I'm pretty easy to please.

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I have to admit that I'm still like a kid around Christmas. I did know what I was getting this year from my MIL, sort of, but last night I think she almost strangled my husband when he blew it right in front of me. We were making dinner and she asked him what he wanted, and if he wanted the same thing she is getting me. He was like, oh I wouldn't enjoy feeding the giraffes nearly as much as her. I couldn't turn around and look at her because I was trying to hide the world's biggest smile, but I imagine she didn't look particularly happy. I may be a month away from being 35 but it was all I could do not to squeal like a little girl and bounce up and down.

Yes, the zoo here sells giraffe encounters where you can feed them. And, it is entirely possible that I may actually come into physical contact with a real, living, breathing, giraffe. I get so excited thinking about it that I actually hold my breath accidentally. The coolest part is that they only do this two days a week, and my birthday is right after Christmas and falls on one of the days they do it. Which means we are scheduling to go then. I guess I'm getting a two-fer.

So who else is planning the best gifts ever this year? Maybe for someone else or maybe you know you're getting something super awesome. I wish that I could get my husband something to make him as happy as I know I'll be but alas, there is nothing that will make him squeal with joy like a little girl.

You have never met a giraffe? The tongues are very rough and they like large marshmallows and graham crackers. The large marshmallows are funny. You put them on their tongue and they chew away. They probably won't let you give them marshmallows anymore. :(.

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We get to feed ours at the Wild Animal Park - pellets that look like baby carrots -- smart ass that I am asked why can't we feed them baby carrots? Hey my dog likes carrots as treats.

Very cool tongues -- so glad you get to get up close and personal on your special day :)

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I think the best gift anyone ever gets me is a Precious Moments figurine, there is something about them that is so relaxing about them. It is the one thing that I look forward to getting from my husband, although I won't be getting one this year :(

As for giving gifts to people I usually like to do something personalized, but the favorite gift that I was able to get for my parents and sister was sending them to see Grease on Broadway. It was the first time they had ever been and my grandmother rented a limo for them to go and they seemed to really love it.

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I definitely get more fun out of finding that exact right thing for someone else.

A friend of mine is also obsessed with giraffes, and I found a beautiful figurine

at a consignment shop once that matched and elephant next to it, and said friend's

mother ADORES elephants. So they got perfect matching favorite animals. I

made her cry. :D Score....

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I am a very, very spoiled girl. Methinks perhaps I'll keep him.

I am sure the spoiling is mutual. ;)

That is super exciting! I'm so happy for you. That doesn't even come close to a little win, that falls into the major freaking victory category. That sounds like an awesome tradition to have back.

Thank, honey---I am very excited to be able to give this gift to him--he has been a rock for me all this time. You should see me in the audience---5,000 kids ...and me--whooping it up and crying and yes, squealing like a little girl. SANTA!! I wanted to be a Rockette, but this is the closest I have come hahaha

I'd keep him too! I have to say I'm spoiled myself. I have something like 4 dozen stuffed giraffes at this point and they just keep coming. Usually for no apparent reason. I even have one I use to prop my arm up when my shoulder is bothering me and he doesn't complain about giraffes in the bed.

We're some lucky girls having such men to spoil us. Books every day? Yeah, I could sign up for that.

One time, I started to count the bunnies in this house--stuffed, porcelain, glass,, whatever--and I stopped after the kitchen and the family room because I had 43 and I still had 5 rooms to go....it got a little nutty for while with people "gifting" me bunnies. Either that, or they multiplied on their own.... :lol:

I'm a total sap -- my absolute favorite thing is surprising someone with their perfect gift. It is pure magic when it happens.

Me too. I prefer to give than receive. The planning, the plotting, the execution, and the look on their faces when they see it...priceless!.

Those were awesome gifts you gave, Ski!

I definitely get more fun out of finding that exact right thing for someone else.

So they got perfect matching favorite animals. I

made her cry. :D Score....

Yes, making the tears of joy flow...a score indeed! :D

I hope you can all see I have mastered the multi quote--so thanks for the gift of explaining it to me.

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omygosh....I just remembered this ...and I had not thought about it in years. It is not a sad story, honest. It's one of those pure magic ones.

I had suffered my first miscarriage (on Christmas Eve of all days ) and was I very blue and trying hard to" rally" for the ex ...and I was so distraught and sad.

I lived far away from my family and friends in Boston and my best friend lives 1500 miles away in Florida.

A few days after, I was home from the hospital and it was snowing and cold and I was feeling about as lonely and poor me-ish as it gets and I heard the doorbell ring...I slugged down the stairs and thought, it's just the electric meter reader.

No...... It was my best friend--she had flown up in a snow storm to be with me while I recovered.

Sometimes the best gifts don't come in a box..

:)

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No...... It was my best friend--she had flown up in a snow storm to be with me while I recovered.

Sometimes the best gifts don't come in a box..

:)

Very true -- I know this story ended happy, but you still made me cry -- this disease sucks.

So glad to hear you'll be kicking your heals up in the Big Apple -- do hold off on high kicking with the Rockettes for now...leave a little something for next year's fun ;)

http://www.radiocitychristmas.com/content/dam/radiocitychristmas/images/3.PNG

Jerky is edible -- only used half of the meat I bought for this purpose...so off to do some kitchen chemistry for the second batch -- after my morning walk :)

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aren't their tongues blue too?

Pretty much. I say purple but it's up for debate.

One time, I started to count the bunnies in this house--stuffed, porcelain, glass,, whatever--and I stopped after the kitchen and the family room because I had 43 and I still had 5 rooms to go....it got a little nutty for while with people "gifting" me bunnies. Either that, or they multiplied on their own.... :lol:

I'm a fan of bunnies (not in the way I am a fan of giraffes or anything) but I stick with one lest she multiply. Of course, mine requires maintenance like feeding so it's a real possibility! If I can't have a pet giraffe, a bunny is the next best thing.

I totally forgot about this, but my oldest daughter is very much like me. (And with any luck she will never read this lest she kill me for saying so. :lol: ) One of her best qualities imo, is that she not only reads, but has an absolute passion for reading. We once spent... I don't even know how long talking about all the ways that books are better than people. Few things can compare to sharing with her the magic that can only be found in the pages of a book. To people who get it, it means everything and to people who don't it seems silly. That I was able to share my passion for reading, and can continue to share books with her means a lot to me.

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Pretty much. I say purple but it's up for debate.

I'd go with dark purple too. We were really surprised the first time we saw one. Very cool animals.

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    • I am sorry that I was not clear.    I only mentioned  your diagnostic background, not to discredit you, but because without any lab results (other than a positive gene test), how can you be sure that gluten (shampoo containing wheat protein) was the actual culprit (not a guess) of your symptoms?  It is common for celiacs to receive follow-up antibodies to monitor their dietary compliance.  This is not perfect, but it is the only tool in the toolbox for now.   My husband has been gluten free 12 years prior to my diagnosis.  He went gluten free per the poor advice of his GP and my allergist.  So, I am not trying to discount your diagnosis at all.  I am just trying to see if other lab tests (e.g. liver tests that were elevated previously for you when you were still consuming gluten) were measured after your shampoo exposure.   I am curious because I have had issues over the last year.  I was glutened last January, had the flu, a tooth infection, a cold and a tooth extraction, three rounds of antibiotics (verified to be gluten free) within a month or so.  Like, you, I am very careful.  I have no idea as to how I was exposed.   The last time I ate out was a year ago and even then it was at at 100% gluten free restaurant.   My hubby did not have any symptoms at this time.  He is like my canary.    I went to my GI and my DGP IgA was off the charts even some three months later.   My celiac-related symptoms diminished in three months, but I struggled with autoimmune hives for six.  My GI offered to do an endoscopy in the summer.  Instead I chose to follow the Fasano diet.  I still was not feeling well.  In December, my antibodies were 80.  They were either on a decline or they were increasing again.  I opted for the endoscopy.  My biopsies revealed a healed small intestine (you could see the villi on the scope too).  But I was diagnosed with chronic gastritis and had a polyp removed.   So, all this time I thought my celiac disease was active, but it was NOT the source of my current gut issues.   Again, my apologies.  I just wanted to know how you know for SURE that hydrologized wheat protein from someone else’s shampoo and conditioner could reach your small intestine to trigger an autoimmune reaction.  Maybe, like me, Gluten was not the actual culprit.    
    • The reason I think it was the shampoo? Process of elimination. Our house is almost entirely gluten free (except for this shampoo which slipped through the cracks until I read the ingredient label). My husband has bread that he eats at lunch, but he practices something that resembles aseptic technique from the lab when he's making his sandwiches. He's been doing this for years now and I've never been glutened from within my home. The previous week I hadn't eaten out, I cooked all my food, I don't eat processed food and I never eat something from a shared facility.  Usually if I get glutened it's a single dose sort of thing and it follows a very predictable course, to the point where I can estimate when I got glutened within 24 hours of when it happened. However, this time, I was feeling achy and arthritic and moody for about a week before it got bad enough for me to recognize it as the result of gluten exposure, at which point we went searching and found the shampoo (and conditioner, which does leave more of a residue than shampoo), which he immediately stopped using. Within three days I was feeling back to normal (which is the usual course for me).  Sure, it could have been something else, but I know how sensitive I am, and, as silly as it sounds, it was the only thing that made sense. The other thing you said: You're correct, mine was not a rock solid celiac diagnosis, but I have no doubt that gluten is the problem. I was SICK. I went through two different gluten challenges in an effort to get a more straightforward diagnosis during which I was a barely functioning human being. Consuming gluten may not have given me blunted villi or elevated antibodies, but it did inflame my gut, and actually started to damage my liver. If you look at my diagnosis thread, I had elevated liver enzymes, which have been correlated with celiac disease in the past. There was no alternative explanation for the liver enzymes, he checked EVERYTHING.  I too am a scientist and I have spent a lot of time with the literature trying to make sense of my condition.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26150087 I also have no doubt that gluten was damaging my intestines in some way, as any prolonged gluten exposure in the past has inevitably been followed by a severe FODMAP intolerance that goes away once I've eliminated the gluten and given myself a month or so to heal.  I also had a very fast diagnosis following the onset of symptoms (~1 year) so it's possible that the disease never had a chance to manifest as full celiac. I wasn't willing to eat gluten long enough to find out. As a result of my diagnosis, hazy as it was, I am *meticulously* gluten free. It is not a fad for me. I don't occasionally cheat. It is my life, for better or worse. All of that being said, I'm not sure what my diagnosis has to do with your question. You say you're not trying to be rude, but when you bring up my diagnosis in a thread that has nothing to do with diagnostics, it seems like you're trying to undermine the validity of my disease or the validity of my input in this forum. If I'm being hypersensitive, I apologize, but that's how you came across on my end. I'll admit that the fact that my diagnosis wasn't more straight forward does make me a bit defensive, but I promise that even if I didn't have a solid diagnosis, I interact with the world as though I did, and I'm not out there giving people the wrong idea about celiac disease by not taking it seriously. If there was a connection between your question and my diagnostics that I missed I would appreciate you giving me the chance to better understand what you were asking. 
    • I am just curious.  As a scientist (and I am not trying to be rude), how can you determine if hydrologized wheat protein from your husband’s shampoo was actually the culprit?  If I recall at your diagnosis, you were seronegative, Marsh Stage I, gene positive,  but your doctor still  suspected celiac disease.  You improved on a gluten diet.  Other than observation, how do you really know?  Could it not be something else that triggered your symptoms?   I firmly believe that even trace amounts of gluten (under 20 ppm), can impact sensitive celiacs.  But traces of a protein within a shampoo from someone else’s hair that was rinsed?    
    • I also can't have dairy but through a series of experiments and a lot of research I think I've pinpointed my problem. It may or may not be the same for you, but I thought I'd share.  There are two kinds of beta-casein protein A1 and A2. We'll call A1 "bad casein" and A2 "good casein". The two proteins differ only in a single amino acid, but this is enough to make it so that they are processed differently in your guy. Bad casein is actually broken down into a casomorphin, which is an opioid peptide. That does not mean that milk gets you high, or is as addictive as heroin, or anything like that, it just means that it can interact with opioid receptors (which the gut has a bunch of). It's worth noting that opioids cause constipation due to their interaction with the opioid receptors in the gut, and that a lot of people feel like cheese and dairy slow things down, but any connection between the two is pure speculation on my part at this point.  Now here's where things get weird. The vast majority of milk cows in the western world are derived from Holstein-like breeds, meaning black and white cows. In a few select places, you'll see farms that use Jersey-type cows, or brown cows (Jersey cows produce less milk than Holsteins, but many connoisseurs feel it's a higher quality milk, particularly for cheese).  Holstein-like cows have A1 and A2 casein (bad and good), however, Jersey-type cows only have A2 (good casein), unless their genetic line involved a Holstein somewhere in the past, which does happen.  A company in New Zealand figured out how to test their cows for these two genes, and selected their herd down to cows that specifically produce ONLY A2 (good) casein. You might have seen it in the store, it's called A2 milk. Some people have had a lot of luck with this milk, though it still doesn't solve the problem of cheese.  I have suspected, due to trial and error and a few accidental exposures, that I have a problem with A1 casein, but not A2. In line with this: I am able to eat sheep and goat dairy without any difficulty, so at least I can still enjoy those cheeses! I am also fortunate because I'm apparently not too sensitive, as I can still eat cow-milk butter. The process of making butter removes *most* (read: enough for me) of the casein.  However, if I eat cow cheese or a baked good with milk, I get really sick. It's a much faster reaction than if I get glutened. Within minutes I'm dizzy and tired and my limbs are heavy. I have to sleep for a couple of hours, and then, over the next couple of days, I'm vulnerable to moodiness and muscles spasms and stomach upset just as though I'd been glutened (though the brain fog isn't as bad). I actually haven't tried A2 milk yet, mostly due to lack of availability (and motivation, I don't miss milk, I miss CHEESE). However, last year, when I was getting ready to go on a trip to Italy, I had a thought. Once, in the recent past, when I'd been testing dairy, I'd had a slice of parmesan cheese. Miracle of miracles, I was fine. I didn't feel a thing! I was so excited that I ran out and got some brie to eat as a snack. That did not go so well... Turns out parmigiano reggiano is made from the milk of the Reggiana variety of cow which is, you guessed it, a brown cow (they say red). I did a little more research and found that dairies in Italy predominantly use brown cows. So I decided to try something. As some of you may know, Italy is something of a haven for celiacs. It's one of the most gluten-free friendly places I've ever been. You can say "senza glutine" in the smallest little town and they don't even bat their eyelashes. You can buy gluten free foods in the pharmacy because they're considered a MEDICAL NECESSITY. If travelling-while-celiac freaks you out, go to Italy. Check out the website for the AIC (Italy's Celiac society), find some accredited restaurants, and GO NUTS. While I was there, I decided to see if I could eat the dairy. I could.  Friends, I ate gelato Every. Single. Night. after that. It was amazing. Between the dairy being safe for me and the preponderance of gluten free options, it was almost like I didn't have dietary restrictions. It was heaven. I want to go back and never leave.  So that's my story. Almost too crazy to believe.  TL;DR: Black and white cows make me sick, brown cows are my friends.
    • I'm a scientist, and I did a little research into the study. Looks valid and it was published in a respected journal.  http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(17)36352-7/pdf The science looks solid. As someone who didn't have a super clean cut diagnosis before going gluten free, I'd love to see something like this become available. Then again, there's no doubt in my mind that I can't have gluten, so any additional testing would be purely academic. But like I said, I'm a scientist. I can't help myself. 
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