Friday, March 5, 2010

Why a food blog?

My name is Sean-Michael and I have been living with chronic illness and pain for more than half of my life. At age 19 I was in a car accident which caused pain in my joints, muscle pain, and over two years of severe migraines. Approximately six years of pain, weakness, gastro intestinal distress and fatigue later I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Sleep Apnea along with a continuing constellation of other symptoms some of which were not adequately explained by either of the above diagnosis.

After 15 migraine free years, I once again developed chronic migraines for no reason that doctors have been able to discern. Since November 2008, I have been living with daily migraine pain.  It has felt like a year of constant fruitless doctors visits. Still, we are attempting to create a sanctuary of peace, low light and joy for myself and those I love here in our home. Patch and Carlie have been nothing but supportive and wonderful through all of this, taking everything in stride and being rock solid as usual. About 5 years ago we moved to the desert in the hopes that the dry heat would help my sore joints and muscles. We have been blessed with friends and family who do not hesitate to share anything they've learned along the way which may help bring me relief. Some have helped a bit, some have been fruitless, but due to their most recent suggestions we have begun research into two different ways of eating which may bring me to an even healthier place: gluten free foods and Gerson Therapy.

A documentary called Gerson's Miracle convinced me that changes were in order, but I was also hopeful that I would not have to take measures as drastic as that.  We ordered the book Healing the Gerson Way, and almost immediately I was informed that many of my symptoms may be related to casein and gluten intolerances. Being wired and unable to sleep from the Prednisone, I took a Celiac survey online which made me realize that an astounding amount of the symptoms overlapped my own! Although a gluten-free diet sounded daunting and I worried that my future might be limited or negatively impacted by these new changes, I also worried that continuing to eat foods with gluten might negatively impact my health even further. Suddenly I had many questions such as "Should I begin changing my diet immediately or is it necessary to wait until after being tested for Celiac Disease before starting to live gluten-free?" "What tests should my doctor do to find out if I have Celiac Disease?" and more. Here are a few resources I have found particularly helpful in my quest for understanding:

Tests for Celiac:
• IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
• Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
• Total IgA antibodies
• HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic suspectibility).
• Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive -- based on my interpretation of the recent study)

Although I would very much like to begin changing what I eat right now, I have been informed by doctors that I must not change what I eat until after I have been tested for Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. I must also wait for those tests until the most recent prescription of Prednisone is out of my system. Both things would risk false negatives on the lab results. 

This blog is a place for me to share about my attempt to find more health in my life without losing any of the satisfaction of a good meal through changes in what I eat. As someone with a healthy appetite who is practically addicted to sweets and carbs,  the concept of such changes is daunting at best. But I have found hope and inspiration in reading through blogs like and  Through talking with friends who have already made such changes, I have become convinced that good taste and the enjoyment of a full stomach must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of health. 

Tonight's meal was meat (pork loin) and potatoes ala Patch with a side of broccoli.  The entire meal could have been prepared gluten and casein free if we chose. It was DELICIOUS!  So come, pull up a chair at our table with your favorite food and join the conversation. Let's break bread together, be it gluten-free or otherwise! 

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