Sunday, July 18, 2010

As Close to Mother Earth as Possible

As Close to Mother Earth As Possible
Before leaving for church I grabbed the remaining 1/2 of a granola bar that Shane had been eating.  I hadn't tried it before but the package said gluten free, so I finished it, since I hadn't had anything for breakfast yet and we were late.  After swallowing the last bite, I turned the package over and read this disclaimer "packaged on shared equipment with products containing wheat".  So....this is my biggest irritation with gluten free labeling.  It says gluten-free (because all the ingredients used are gluten-free) but you may or may not get sick depending on whether or not the product came in contact with gluten on the conveyor belt, in the mixing area or packaging area, or if the workers gloves contaminated the product.
So, in a hurry, I had eaten the healthy granola bar with the lovely disclaimer on the packaging.  We get into the car and head to church.  Before getting out of the car, I searched for a piece of gum.  The package in the car was a brand of gum that was supposedly gluten-free that I'd bought several weeks prior, but hadn't eaten again because I had suspected it was the culprit to a previous sick day from gluten. The company had changed the packaging and the gum was square instead of the regular shape.  I hadn't taken the time to call the company to see if it was still gluten-free and in a moment I decided to put the gum in my mouth. 
Not a good choice...it was either the new health foods bar or the gum, but...
While sitting through the first meeting I felt really weak.  We sat in the foyer and I wasn't very pro-active at keeping my kids as quiet as they should have been.  Shane let them play in the church entry way that has windows and doors on both sides like a sound proof box.  I tried to lift my three year old on my lap and she seemed heavier than usual.  Sacrament ends and I walk to our first class - almost in a daze...my thoughts are clouded and I feel very anti-social.
We make it to the 2nd class and I sit down by my husband.  We are asked to give the opening and closing prayer.  The man tried to make light conversation with us and I struggled to say anything at all in return - letting my husband respond to the questions and comments.
As I sat there, with my new baby sleeping quietly in her car seat placed beside me, I started to feel my batteries dying.  When my body has absorbed the gluten and my body recognizes it as the enemy and starts to battle, it feels like someone has put an electrical cable up to me that they attach to a machine that sucks all the energy slowly out of me until I don't even have the strength to lift my own arm up by myself or walk without assistance and much difficulty.  So, when the batteries in me began to drain I turned to my husband and said that he needed to take the baby out of the room and then come back for me.  I always feel very sorry for myself at times like that and so the tears began to fall.  I was frustrated and embarrassed. 
Shane took the baby out into the hall and then came back for me.  He helped me to my feet and then supported me as I put most of my weight on his side and arm.  We walked slowly out of the room as my tears fell steadily from my eyes.  A friend took the baby in the car seat and followed us as we slowly walked down the hall, out the doors, across the parking lot and into the car.  As Shane shut my door, I could hear the muffled conversation between Shane and our neighbor.  It was the usual quick explanation where we try best in a couple seconds to explain about how I've had a reaction to a food that caused the weakness- something unknown to us has caused the reaction. This part is always so frustrating for me to hear.  How can we adequately describe how careful I am with what I eat?  It's the darn changes in the ingredients of a product that I'm use to eating that is the most frustrating to deal with when changes are made and it takes me forever to figure out what it is that is making me sick.
Now that I've been home for several hours, and Shane has fed me lunch (Raw Melissa's Rice Paper Spinach Wraps, soybeans with a peanut sauce and for dessert sliced peaches with coconut milk and maple syrup, and alkaline water with lemon essential oil in it) I feel the strength returning.  I'm still not out of bed yet, am not able to walk without assistance, or lift my baby by myself, but at least I'm able to type on my computer.  My daughter brought the laptop up to me and here I go telling the world my story as if in some small way telling you will help me feel better.
My husband has had callings in our particular church that makes him and me and our children the type of family where if others were to see us doing something wrong they'd say...oh that England family...  Shane has been in the Bishopric and they are "______________________" (insert criticism) or they should do "______________________________" (insert what people expect we should do).
With Celiac Disease, what people don't realize is that the symptoms intensify or lessen depending on the current situation in my life regards to stress, foods eaten, physical challenges (like giving birth to a baby) etc.  The severity of my reaction is worsened if it is in liquid form - it's quicker for me to notice the fatigue.  Or it takes longer to react if the gluten is inside a particular food item that requires more time for the body to break it down.  Sometimes I can be ok in the morning, neighbors see me outside, I eat something - and get completely bed ridden for several hours, and then perhaps I'm struggling to walk again in the evening and don't make it to meetings I should be at (like Relief Society Activities).  I feel like living my life on a remote island where no one can see me and no one can judge me.
One time I had a baby shower to go to in the afternoon.  I woke up early to finish calculating commissions, dealt with an employee that came to the house, started to feel weak, walked outside chatted to the employee, waved to the neighbor having the party, and by the time I went inside I was shaking...I knew I had little time to get the kids in, get the house secured, put a movie on before my strength was gone.  I didn't make it to the store to buy the gift, I didn't make it to the baby shower, and I felt like such a horrible neighbor.  I didn't call to make excuses.  I just thought to myself "someday they will watch the video of our lives...some day they will understand".  It still didn't stop the hurt and it still hurts to this day when I think about the pain I caused my friend who was having the baby and my friend who had planned the baby shower.
This is why I am so determined to eat food as "Close to Mother Earth as Possible".  When we were driving home and chatting about the damn gum I ate (damn as a stop in progress), Shane commented that I should have chewed on the Frankincense gum we had in the car.  I weakly laughed about not wanting to have Frankincense breath and our conversation ended there, but my thoughts continued and turned to my last week’s challenge for myself.  I wasn't supposed to eat anything processed.  That would include commercial store bought gum.  I'll make sure to add that one to the "do not eat" list.

For me, complete healing has forced me closer and closer to products straight from the earth as Mother Nature intended.  Gum straight off the tree...fruits and vegetables right from the tree or plant, grains, seeds, nuts as raw and unprocessed as possible.  This way, there is NO way for me to get sick.
I spoke in an earlier blog about being able to get gluten without having a reaction.  This was true then. Please realize that I've just had a baby.  It takes several weeks for anyone to gain their strength back and I'm no exception. 
I was in the health food store the other day stocking up on all my nuts, seeds and gluten-free grains.  I had my 7 year old daughter with me.  A woman in the store commented to me that she could tell that I never took my kids to McDonalds.  I smiled and said "absolutely not".  She said she could tell by looking at my daughter.  She was extremely healthy. 
While at the same store, in the same area, a couple with a 6 month old baby asked how old my baby was.  I told them three weeks.  The lady said "wow, you are up and about?"  She then said that she was still in bed at three weeks.  Three weeks?  I thought to myself.  That seemed like way too long to recover.  I thought about having 5 kids and how my husband had been out of town for two of the three weeks that I'd been recovering, and four of the week’s just prior to me having the baby.  I thanked the woman for sharing her story with me.  I told her that it was nice to know that just because I eat incredibly healthy, I have had a baby and it's ok that I feel tired.  I have a right to feel that way.  Heck!  Five kids!  Seriously...1 week to recover and then my husband's off to save the world and I'm left to recover by myself.  Thank the dear Lord for people like the woman I spoke with at the store.  They make me feel human. 
So, my story will continue.  My pantry looks amazing and I LOVE the way I have felt not eating processed food.  The more I eat products as "Close to Mother Earth as Possible", the better I feel.  Mom's taking good care of me...it's those DARN products that mimic the original that I look out for.  It's hard to tell these days what is really pure, organic, natural healthy food.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who read this...
Please be compassionate and non-judgmental.  Everyone is fighting their own battle - and you may never be able to guess in a million years why they do the things they do.  A lady rolled her eyes at me one time when I was looking at the label of a juice bottle.  (She thought I was counting calories)  Nope....I was looking for gluten in the ingredients.  I found it - and didn't drink the juice.
The goal is to simply LOVE people unconditionally.
My thoughts and prayers are with you!
- Steffi

1 comment:

Breezy said...

Wow Steff, I can't imagine how awful that must be :( I hope you don't ever feel guilty for "feeling sorry for yourself", that's a tough burden to carry friend! I often feel sorry for myself too and my physical abbilities (or lack thereof) and the pain I grit through all day that rarely anyone knows I go through. Sure makes me feel weak when I read what you endure.

I am halfway through the Maker's Diet and am enjoying it.

I am anticipating your classes you are wanting to get started! Let me know if I can help in any way to create that :)