March? How the heck did March get here so fast?
Spring in Colorado is so unpredictable. It’s supposed to reach 75 degrees today followed by snow tonight. Meteorologically speaking, it’s never boring around here.
Renewal. That’s what spring is all about and I’ve decided March is a perfect time for a blog renewal.
Those of you who have your own blogs know how much time it takes to create, edit, publish, and manage posts. Each of us has our own blah, blah, blog “voice” and that usually takes a little time to reveal itself. My goal is to increase awareness of celiac disease and help people lead healthier lives. When I started this blog endeavor, I jumped on the gluten-free recipe bandwagon because that’s the key to dealing with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Changing your food choices.
Celiac disease is a genetically predisposed, immune-mediated disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten, the main storage protein in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s an autoimmune disease. I have it, my daughter has it, and I believe undiagnosed celiac may have contributed to my dad’s death a few years ago. My two boys have the genetic markers, but at this point, show no signs of elevated antibodies specific to celiac. The probability for celiac is determined by specific variations of either the DQ2 or DQ8 HLA molecule. Both of these genes are believed to express susceptibility for celiac by presenting incompletely digested gluten peptides as antigens to the immune cells of the small intestine. One and/or both genes must be present for the immune system to respond and the disease to develop. Gluten protein molecules induce a chronic inflammatory response in the lining of the small intestine, resulting in all kinds of problems, including an increase in the possibility of secondary autoimmune disorders, various nutrient deficiencies, and associated food sensitivities. There’s more to the genetic piece than scientists currently understand and there’s more to gluten intolerance than just these two genes. The absence of DQ2 or DQ8 rules out celiac, but you can still be gluten intolerant with all kinds of associated problems. It’s all a bit confusing, but the bottom line is, many people don’t tolerate gluten and are better off eliminating it from their diets. Hence my name choice for this blog, gluten-free for good. Forever and for my own good.
Celiac is the only autoimmune disease in which the main trigger piece has been identified – and it’s food. In the murky gene pool of autoimmune diseases, celiac is the one to choose. Not that you’d choose this and not that it’s easy to deal with, but comparatively, it’s not that bad. If I had never eaten gluten in my life, I’d never have celiac. I no longer consider myself as having a disease. I just don’t eat gluten-containing grains. No big deal. I know I’m lucky – for some people, it’s far more complicated.
Okay, sorry about all the science talk, although fellow science blogettes Cindy and Michelle are probably eating this stuff up. The rest of you have either skipped out or your eyes are starting to glaze over.
But, my point is, and I do have one (as my third favorite yoga instructor Scott always says), my focus is on providing people with information on how to lead healthier lives. (There’s a story behind that third favorite comment, but I’ll save that for my yoga post, which is currently on hold and collecting cyber-dust. Oh, but I do love Scott and his unorthodox yoga classes.)
This is my mission and I’m passionate about it for a number of reasons. Now, what does that have to do with spring renewal? I’m rethinking the direction of this blog. I fumbled around quite a bit at the beginning, thinking I had to keep up with all these wonderful gluten-free recipe bloggers. Not to mention having no clue how to use blogging software, which I’m still arguing with on occasion.
From now on, I’ll focus my attention on gluten-free health and nutrition and what we need to heal, become stronger, and express more vitality in our lives. This applies to everyone, gluten intolerant or not. I will occasionally post my favorite recipes, but that won’t be the intent of this blog. Food, yes. Recipes, not so much. I’ll leave that to people like Karina, Shauna, and the rest of you tasty GF bloggers. This is such a wonderful little subculture, full of people helping people, everyone finding their own special niche. Kelly and Kim providing groovy general information, Michelle for her heart health links, Lizzie the good eatah, Catherine the social guide, Cindy our in-depth reporter, Sea our exotic gluten-free food guru, Sally our inspiration, Steve my local boy, Suzanne the culinary lifestyle queen (check out her new Gluten-Free Answer Book), and my favorite gluten-eating, but talented and creative food writer, David from Leite’s Culinary. There are way too many of you to mention, but each and every one has a special gift they’re willing to share with the rest of us. It’s a nice community and I’m grateful to be part of it. Thank you and united we stand!
So – my part will be nutrition, exercise, yoga, healing, health-boosting foods, and gluten-free life in the backcountry. Those of you who have been with me from the beginning have probably noticed the directional shift taking place and I hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride (however bumpy it may be).
Stay tuned for seasonal foods for March, which I’ll post next week. I’m also working on a sugar post, an anti-inflammatory diet post, yoga for digestion, yoga for osteoporosis, gluten-free backpacking foods (Annie, where are you?), artful aging, boosting your metabolism, and the occasional GF recipe – well, you get the idea.
Merry March and happy spring renewal!
Onward . . .
In good health,