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Kim Hopkins posted an article in Additional Celiac Disease ConcernsCeliac.com 06/24/2009 - If you are like the majority of people diagnosed with celiac disease, it probably took you many years of experiencing debilitating symptoms, talking to multiple doctors who gave you varied theories and diagnoses, thinking that you would never feel better…before you finally got it figured out. Whether you had a positive experience with your health care professionals or not, hearing the diagnosis can lead to feeling lost and unsure of what to do next. It can be quite overwhelming. After all, food plays an important part in our culture – it’s how we share special moments together, celebrate, and nurture one another. A big sense of loss can overcome someone when they hear that they can no longer eat wheat, barley, rye, and contaminated oats. Some people say they go through the roller coaster of emotions similar to the grieving process. Can you make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to feel better and regain your health? Absolutely! Everyone’s pace is different and you need to give yourself time. Is there a way that may help you to adjust a bit more quickly and with less frustration? Yes: consider hiring a personal coach that specializes in food challenges. What Is A Personal Coach? Coaching is a powerful, ongoing relationship which focuses on clients making important changes in their lives. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build a client’s level of awareness and responsibility, and provides the client with structure, support, and feedback. The coaching process helps clients to both define and achieve personal and professional goals faster and with more ease than would be possible otherwise. In coaching, the focus is on designing the future, not getting over the past. The field of coaching is booming and there are many coaching niche areas. Business coaching for executives and teams has become quite popular. Coaching children and teens to help them excel with academics is on the rise, as is parenting coaching. Many small business owners higher coaches to help them increase revenue. Coaching usually occurs in the context of a long-term relationship, where the client’s goals, dreams, and vision drive the action. The belief is that there are multiple paths to reach a goal, and that the client knows the way (though they might not realize it at the time). The coach assists the client to become a “change master.” To this end, coaching and adjustment to dietary changes go hand-in-hand. A Personal Coach Specializing In Dietary Restrictions Can Help You To: Learn the gluten-free lifestyle - Where to buy gluten-free food, product reviews, how to prepare gluten-free recipes, where to eat out, how to become a skilled label reader, understanding the safe & unsafe ingredient lists, decrease cross-contamination risk, how to set up your kitchen, where to find out if your cosmetics, hair care products, and medications are safe. Develop a support network - Website resources, how to get the most out of your primary care doctor, engaging a specialist such as a dietician or nutritionist. Vary your diet, taking into consideration essential nutrients. Adjust for the financial impact- Learn to live gluten-free on a budget. Brush up on your advocacy and education skills – Practice explaining celiac to friends, relatives, and coworkers, advocate to you/your child’s school, learn how to eat out safely, manage your anxiety. Monitor any ongoing symptoms and known associate health risks - Iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, fertility problems, leaky gut syndrome, candida, food sensitivities, other auto-immune disorders. Keep up on the latest research and what it may mean for you – there are many exciting studies happening that may have an impact on how you take care of yourself. Assist with other goals to help your life feel more balanced. How Does Coaching Work? Generally, most coaches have a structure that includes three to four sessions each month, with quick check-ins by phone and email in between. Coaching sessions can be either one-on-one, in small groups, or a combination of both. They can be in-person, via phone, or a combination of both throughout the month, which allows for financial and logistical flexibility. In-person sessions can include shopping, practice with advocating, and cooking.A coach will encourage clients to set goals that they truly want, ask them to do more than they have done on their own, help them focus in order to produce results more quickly, and provide the tools, information, support, and structure to help them accomplish more. It’s like having a personal trainer to assist you with making adjustments to improve your life. Who Should Consider Hiring A Coach? If you are feeling unsure as to how to adjust your lifestyle around your food challenges. If you are feeling limited by food allergies/intolerance/sensitivities. If you are not sure where to go for information or are overwhelmed by all the information you are finding. If you are restricting yourself from enjoying going out to restaurants, parties, etc. If you are having difficulty sticking to the gluten-free diet. It’s important to find someone that you “click” with. Most coachesoffer a free initial session to help get to know them, and to answerany questions you might have about the coaching process.
Wendy Cohan, RN posted an article in Additional Celiac Disease ConcernsCeliac.com 03/02/2009 - Many people suffer symptoms of fatigue prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. For some, fatigue is a major reason for initially seeking medical attention. In both Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, malabsorption of nutrients can result in weakness, lack of energy, and even iron-deficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia can be compounded by gynecological conditions, especially in peri-menopause. A thorough physician will test for and sometimes treat underlying vitamin and mineral deficiencies common in malabsorption disorders such as celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and after three-to-six months, many symptoms related to such deficiencies will resolve. Some alternative practitioners even offer injectables such as B-Vitamins and Magnesium. Oral supplements range from plant-based liquid concentrates, to sublingual drops, to tablets and capsules, allowing a range of options for sensitive individuals. Recently I spoke to a gluten intolerance group where a woman raised an important question. She described her symptoms, which included profound fatigue and asked, “What can you do if extreme fatigue persists on a strict gluten free diet and supplements, even after a year or two?” At the time, I wasn’t sure how to answer her, other than to suggest, off the top of my head, that she ask her Naturopath to do a saliva-based adrenal function panel. I guess my reasons for doing so were based on fifteen years of nursing experience and the fact that she was probably about my age, and possibly in peri-menopause, which I knew places an additional strain on the adrenals. In women the sex hormones are produced in varying amounts in both the ovaries and adrenal glands. A smooth transition through menopause would involve a gradual transition that decreased production of sex hormones by the ovaries, and increased production of sex hormones by the adrenal glands. But, what happens if there are other factors in a woman’s life that prevent the adrenals from assuming this additional burden? Coupled with the added strain that menopause places on the body and indirectly on the adrenals, a triggering event like a significant accidental gluten exposure, an increase in food allergies, or infection with a virus or bacterial illness, could simply tax the adrenals beyond their ability to meet this increased demand. The Gluten Connection Although relatively tiny, the adrenals have a very big job. Adequate levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol are required by the body to help prevent inflammation and tissue destruction, keep blood sugars level, moderate nervous system responses, and attempt to maintain homeostasis, or the steady-state of balance in the body. Periodically experiencing incredibly painful episodes of inflammation and tissue destruction from an accidental exposure to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, places a huge strain on the adrenals, including a sudden demand for high cortisol levels to help moderate the inflammatory response. Each time, the body is able to cope, but with each experience it may take longer for the adrenals to recover. When stress is prolonged, these high levels of cortisol must be maintained. And if there is no significant recovery period during which the adrenals can rest and replenish themselves, adrenal fatigue results. After doing some research for a new book I’m working on, I found another possible connection, especially for those with celiac disease. Many of us are aware of the strong, well-documented association between celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. We also know there is a relationship between celiac disease and another endocrine gland, the pancreas. (Diabetes has a strong correlation with celiac disease.) Autoimmune hepatitis affects the liver – the body’s largest internal organ. Nephropathy, which affects the kidneys, is a very serious, less familiar disorder linked to celiac disease. But, we rarely hear about the adrenals, especially in relation to celiac disease. Could there be a connection? In fact, there are several important connections that are often over-looked. In researching autoimmune disorders, I learned about a disorder called “Autoimmune Adrenal Hypofunction” or “Autoimmune Hypo-Adrenalism”, which sometimes occurs together with other autoimmune disorders. As in other autoimmune disorders, the body produces antibodies targeted against its own tissues, in this case, the two walnut-sized adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys. While thought to be relatively uncommon, Autoimmune Hypo-Adrenalism is most closely associated with celiac disease. In fact, I was quite surprised by the wealth of information on this association, based on many studies done in Italy and Ireland, both countries where celiac disease is common. While the connection between other autoimmune disorders and celiac disease is generally accepted in the U.S., the case for adrenal insufficiency in relation to celiac disease has not appeared to have received as much attention. So, it can’t hurt to mention this link here, since it has the potential to affect those with persistent fatigue and/or chronic inflammatory disorders such as interstitial cystitis, in which low cortisol levels may play an important role. Stress, Food Allergies, and Nutrition As anyone who has studied stress and the allergenic response knows, diet does matter. One of the least recognized forms of stress is untreated or unidentified food allergies and sensitivities. In Dr. Wilson’s book, “Adrenal Fatigue – the 21st Century Stress Syndrome”, he writes, “It has long been observed that people suffering from adrenal fatigue have a definite increase in allergic responses or become allergic to things that did not previously bother them.” This is because levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol, the most powerful anti-inflammatory substance in the body drop, making it “more likely that the body will have severe allergic (inflammatory) reactions and that these reactions will be more severe.” Another factor in adrenal function through is nutritional status. As we know, many people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance do have some underlying nutritional deficiencies, and these become more difficult to address as we age. Certain vitamins and minerals are essential to replenishing and nourishing the adrenal glands. Ideally, we’d obtain these essential nutritional components through our diet. In cases of adrenal fatigue, it is important to discuss with your physician what you can do to help your adrenals recover, both by eating an ideal diet, and taking recommended supplements, including B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and specific herbs and amino acids. Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Ten relatively common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are listed below: Fatigue Depression and memory difficulties Sleep Disturbances Migraine Headache An increase in allergies or the development of new allergies Alcohol Intolerance Low Blood Pressure and Low Body Temperature Blood Sugar Regulation Problems (Hypoglycemia) Low Libido & Hormonal Imbalances Inflammation Adrenal TestingTesting for adrenal insufficiency isn’t rocket-science, but an established and useful diagnostic tool that might have important implications for poor regulation of inflammation as well as for general health. The first step is to check for a low cortisol level, in combination with other hormones, including DHEA, Progesterone, Estrogen, and Testosterone. This is easily done with a safe, reliable, and cost-effective serial saliva test, with four samples taken at specified time periods throughout the day. Your physician often stocks these kits in the office, and can provide one for you to use and then mail to the laboratory. The laboratory will perform the tests, and send the results to your physician, who will discuss them with you. The whole process takes a week or two, and can be repeated every few months to track your recovery. It is not expensive, and may even be covered by your insurance. In fact, you do not need a doctor to order the test, but the results will be of little value without a physician to interpret them, make a plan to address any abnormal findings, and support and monitor you in your treatment. Blood tests, including and ACTH challenge, may be indicated, but a serial saliva test is a good first step. Adrenal Recovery Any program of adrenal recovery must incorporate lifestyle changes that include avoiding stress or dealing with stress in healthy ways, such as exercise, relaxation, and meditation. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, free of sugars and alcohol, is essential, as continuing to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This article is partially excerpted from “The Better Bladder Book – a Holistic Approach to Healing Interstitial Cystitis & Chronic Pelvic Pain through Diet, Lifestyle, & Self-Treatment”, available soon through my website. The book provides documentation for all research and factual content, including the information in this article.
Danna Korn posted an article in Kids and Celiac DiseaseThis article originally appeared in the Summer 2002 edition of Celiac.coms Scott-Free newsletter. Copyright © 2002 Scott Adams. All rights reserved worldwide. Celiac.com 07/28/2005 - Being gluten-free shouldnt change your summer plans. For a kid, absolutely nothing compares to the excitement of counting down those last few days before school is out for summer, and life goes from routine and imprisoning to lazy and carefree. Thats right—sing it now—schools out for summer! We parents, admittedly, have some mixed emotions about summer break. We eagerly await the mornings free of chaos and last-minute-I-have-nothing-to-wear tantrums, evenings without battles over homework, and afternoons when kids will have more time to play, and maybe even to help around the house and yard (a mom can dream, cant she?). But summer break is a catalyst for new battles, such as trying to explain to our kids that yes, it is your summer vacation, and yes, it is supposed to be relaxing, but 16 hours of television is still too much. The first few days are what I call freebies. We all enjoy the lack of structure, allowing our little ones to sleep as long as theyd like (but why is it that on school days they whine that they could have slept until noon, and during summer break theyre up at the crack of dawn?), and even buying into the oh-so-well-presented argument that this is just the first (second, third) day of vacation, and its the only day theyll watch TV all summer—promise! Energized by the contagious enthusiasm of summer break, we pack weeks worth of fun into the first few days, and revel in every minute of family freedom. And then...by about day four...you hear those dreaded two words that can, in and of themselves, induce critically high blood-pressure levels faster than anchovies on crackers: Im bored! Most parents go into the summer with good intentions and the best-laid plans for staving off the boredom blues. Fun-but-educational math and science workbooks, fun family fitness programs, and a well-stocked arts and crafts cabinet can sound like a good idea, but kids (and adults!) just want to have fun. The difference is that adults have responsibilities and obligations, and cant usually put our lives on hold for three months. They, however, can—and should. But my kids are gluten-free.... Oh, good point. That just means you may have to be a smidge more creative, but basically, if your child cant eat gluten, your options for battling boredom are just the same as everyone elses. Yep. Just the same. You may have to be a little more creative, and youll undoubtedly need to spend time educating those around you. But its well worth the time and energy to provide your child with some of lifes greatest summer experiences and memories. You may want to consider summer camps. Both day and away camps offer tremendous opportunities and experiences. There are some wonderful specialty camps for celiac kids, but dont feel that your options are limited to those. Do you think its too hard because of your childs diet? Think again! Day Camps/Away Camps—Gluten-Freedom! Sending your child away to camp is difficult. Oh—dont misunderstand me—its not difficult because of the diet. Its saying good-bye thats the hard part! Whether you choose day camps or away camps is up to you. From a dietary standpoint, the concept is the same. You may want to take all the worry out of it and send your child to a camp specially designed for celiac kids. Three are listed at the end of this article. But dont think youre limited to specialty camps. You can send them to any camp if you keep a few important things in mind: Educate the counselors/cooks in advance. If possible, meet with the head counselor in person to discuss your childs dietary requirements. Ideally, you should meet with the nutritional director or chef, too. Youll probably be surprised at how receptive they are. Most camps are accustomed to accommodating conditions such as diabetes or severe allergies, and are glad to learn the intricacies of the gluten-free diet. Make sure you give them plenty of time to make arrangements for your childs dietary needs. Meet several weeks in advance so they can plan, prepare, understand, and adapt menus. Remember to discuss preparation techniques, so they understand how to avoid cross-contamination during preparation and serving. Send reference information. Make sure the counselors and cooks have printed copies of safe and forbidden food lists. They can be found at Celiac.com, or send them with a copy of Kids with Celiac Disease. These resources will be important if there are questions about ingredients or special treats, and if they take the time to read more about celiac disease, you will have educated someone on the subject, and that is also important. Make sure your child understands his diet. If youve read Kids with Celiac Disease or heard me speak, you know that Im a downright nag when it comes to giving your child control of his diet. Its crucial! But in this case, its also key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable camp experience. Remember, if you dont give your child control of his diet, his diet may control him. Send food. Dont rely upon the camp to provide specialty gluten-free foods like bread and pasta. Theyre expensive and difficult to get, but more importantly, its not up to others to accommodate your childs diet (another "nagging point" of mine). Be sure to send mixes for cookies, brownies, and other treats, if they have the facilities to prepare them. These days, the specialty mixes you can buy are so good that your childs treats are likely to be the hit of the camp. More than simply a great way to beat the summertime boredom blues, sending your child to camp can be a huge growing-up experience. Oh—and the kids will do some growing up, too!