Tag Archives: glutenfree

Comparing emotions with D and CD #DblogWeek

Day 2 of #DblogWeek already !#DblogWeek already ! Today’s topic prompt is “The other half of diabetes”:

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?

When naming my blog, I knew that I would write more about life with diabetes than with celiac but I still wanted to acknowledge the impact that both diseases have on my life. What I have been surprised to observe over the last 2 years of sporadic writing here (today is the 2nd anniversary of my blog!!) is actually how little I had to say about life with CD.

What do I mean by that? Well, both diseases affect my life every.single.day. And yet, celiac does not take the emotional toll that diabetes does. Why is that? Well, maybe I should be more specific. It no longer takes the emotional toll that diabetes does.

When I was first diagnosed with each (a year and a half apart), my honest first emotional reaction each time was relief. Relief that what had been making me so sick had a definitive diagnosis, a name and a treatment (no matter how much that treatment happened to suck!). I also intelectualised quickly that while the CD determined what I ate (or didn’t eat, as the case may be), the diabetes influenced the timing and quantity of my meals. I suppose these are coping mechanisms.

Celiac is a more black and white disease. The treatment is a 100% gluten-free diet. That means not a crumb, not using the same toaster or the same serving utensils used for gluten foods, and in some cases, making sure that food has been processed in a gluten-free facility or at least a gluten free line. It’s a lot of knowledge to have about food ingredients and you have to stay current as manufacturing and ingredients lists can change.

It has a ridiculously steep learning curve both in things you need to know and ways to cope emotionally. You have to re-learn how to eat, how to shop, how to think about food, how to enjoy a meal with friends, how to trust someone else to cook for you, how to ask the right questions at restaurants, how to leave the house without the fear of being “glutened”… My diabetes managment all but disappeared during the first 8 months or so of dealing with celiac, and the connections that I wrote about yesterday were far more celiac than diabetes oriented during that time. Only once I had reached a plateau of sufficient knowlege and coping with CD, was I able to start dealing with both diseases.

An important aspect in the emotional toll for me, is that there is no self-judgement with celiac (the judgement is reserved for people who think I do this to follow a fad) and there isn’t any guilt. There can be sadness, especially at first, for what you have to give up. But personally, I am rarely touched emotionally by what I cannot eat. I don’t know if it’s knowing how sick I get when I am accidentally glutened or if it’s just that the whole 100% gluten-free thing is clear cut enough not to be questionned. And there are results. As long as I am gluten free, I have no symptoms and no clinical signs of the disease since the flattened villi in my intestines has grown back.

Diabetes, on the other hand is all about (striving for) balance. Some insulin, not too much, well calculated and at the right times. Some carbs, not too fast-acting, well calculated and at the right times. Some exercise, planned in advance, preferably the same amount at the same time each day… Learn how to handle the stress that life throws at you and stay vigilant to make sure your diabetes devices are always in perfect working order.

And even when I do follow all the “rules”, my blood sugar doesn’t necessarily follow through with the results I’m looking for.  I get a few appointments with a specialist each year which can feel like the quarterly judgement for all moments I haven’t been perfect. But even the medical professional judgement is nothing compared to the self-judgement that happens daily as blood sugar levels spike and fall.

Diabetes “results” are also a lot less tangible. Whether or not my overall diabetes management is on target and whether or not I’m coping well currently, my blood glucose levels still go high and still go low, which influence hormone levels in my body, which influence emotions, which influence blood glucose levels… and on and on.

So 19 and 18 years later respectively, diabetes takes up much more of my mental and emotional space than CD. Most of the time I manange to cope well but there are definitely times when other aspects of my life take precedence and coping with chronic illness no longer has enough head space to get dealt with. The only tip I have goes back to what I was saying yesterday. Sharing my story and hearing others’ stories – knowing that I am not alone in dealing with this – is the most powerful way for me to manage the emotional roller coaster.

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Gluten free quarter pounder in Oslo!

I have had so many amazing experiences over the last 6 weeks that I want to write about but beyond the craziness of #dblog week, I simply haven’t had time to sit down and sift through everything. So I’m going to start with a quick post on something I never thought I would write about.

I’m currently in Oslo, Norway, to attend some meetings for work. I have my trusty Gluten Free Card app that explains celiac and the can’t-haves and can-haves of a gluten free diet in every language. I also know that most people in Norway speak close to perfect english and nordic countries in general are pretty aware of celiac disease and have a good offer of GF foods.

So I’ll admit that I didn’t do a whole lot of research about where I could eat before jumping on the plane. After arriving and finding my AirBnB apartment for the next two nights, I went off to wander around downtown. Eventually I found my way into a Starbucks to take advantage of some free wifi.

A few quick google searches came up with an all gluten free bakery that has closed its doors for good, and a couple of other places that were either already closed for the evening or a little too far out of my way to get to. Several websites also stated that it is fairly easy to eat gluten free in most restaurants – they get it.

But then I happened on a McDonald’s link. What was this doing on a page about GF eating? Well, as it turns out, all over McDonald’s Norway have gluten free buns for their burgers. The last time I had a meal chez MacDo (the french slang that I have gotten used to hearing) was almost 7 years ago and it was because there was no other possible choice. I was limited to salad and fries.

My CD diagnosis was 17 years ago and I think the last burger I had from McDonald’s was likely about 20 years ago. So even though I’ve never been a fan of this type of food, I decided to give it a go – just because I could. QuarterPounderwm The taste was exactly as I remembered it from 20ish years ago (which is a bit strange given the amount of time that has passed and that it was on a different continent), although I suspect the GF bun is actually better bread than the “normal” one. There. I’ve eaten it. Now I’m good to go for no more McD’s for another 20 years! And on my way back to my little apartment, I stopped by a supermarket to see what they have in their GF section. So I picked up these. It’s all super carb heavy, but I always like to bring a few things back that I can’t find at home… GFfindsinOslowm Travelling with celiac disease can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking but on the flip side, it’s fun to make some new finds.

#dblogweek 2015 – Foods on Friday

Ok, now I’m officially really behind on #dblogweek. I have skipped the Changes prompt altogether, though I would like to come back to it. I am now just a day late on the “Foods on Friday” topic.

I actually had the intention of sharing my entire gastronomic day and taking pictures of everything I ate yesterday. However, if I ever have the occasion to show you my food logs on the mySugr app, you’ll see I’m not very good at remembering to take a pic before I dig in.

So I’ll share with you the culinary adventure I had today. We have a new organic and local farmers’ market just up our street each week. It’s quite small so farmers only bring what you have ordered in advance. This was our first week ordering and we opted for a “family vegetable basket”, not knowing exactly what would be in it but willing to give it a try. The box we brought home had a few kilos of potatoes, a big bunch of white carrots, some rhubarb, 2 gorgeous heads of lettuce and a huge amount of blette. “Blette?”, you ask. Well I had to look it up to know that it was silverbeet or chard in English. I’ve eaten it here in France at friend’s houses, but I had never cooked it myself.

WholeBletteswm

Anyway, my objective of the day was to prepare this silverbeet in a way that my children (who have never tasted it), might not completely reject it. I decided to add it to a quiche, in a similar way I sometimes do with spinach. Here is the (mostly) photographed recipe:

about 1kg (2.2 lbs) of silverbeet
1 onion
5 eggs
a couple of heaping spoonfuls of crème fraiche
a bit of milk
Some cubed or sliced ham or lardons
some grated cheese (Use whatever cheese you like. I used emmenthal but would have preferred to use conté, just didn’t have any in the house.)
grated parmesan to top it offCutBletteswm

Cut the stems off the silverbeet.

Wash both stems and leaves.

Slice the stems and steam them for about 5 minutes (I did this with about an inch of water in the bottom of the pot). Add the leaves and steam about 2 min more.ChoppedBletteswm

Drain the the silverbeets. Chop the onion and sauté in a large frying pan in some olive oil. Add the drained blettes and sauté as desired.

Roll out the pastry. I am fortunate to be able to buy gluten free frozen puff pastry dough, and grabbed one out of the freezer this morning to let it thaw gently in the fridge all day. Another way I sometimes make a gluten free quiche “crust” is just to use leftover brown basmati rice to cover the bottom of the quiche pan. That said, a lower carb version of this could be made with no crust at all. (Just be sure to butter the bottom of the pan!).

Hamwm

Have your favourite 4 year old cut up the ham. 🙂

Scatter the ham and grated cheese on the bottom of the pastry. In a bowl, mix the eggs, cream and milk.

Pour egg mixture over ham and cheese.QuicheBeforeCookingwm

Top with grated parmesan and bake for about 25 min at 210°C (400F).

Get your favourite 6 year old to set the table (with a little help from her dad to pour the wine).

DinnersReadywm

Enjoy with the whole family.

BletteQuichewm