Tag Archives: eat

Dogs sick from toxic dog treats still reported | HULIQ

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Dogs sick from toxic dog treats still reported while FDA offers answers | HULIQ.

BOY this makes me mad!!!  Dogs are dying from these so-called “TREATS”  Stores like Wal Mart and Dollar Store… QUIT IMPORTING THESE FROM CHINA!  From other sites I have read, this goes for any type of duck treats too :/  Below is the article in its entirety from HULIQ


By Dave Masko on 2012-03-22
Dogs sick from toxic China dog treats still being reported while FDA offers answ

Imported chicken dog treats from China are still being blamed for kidney failure and even death, as dog owners nationwide are sharing their sad stories.

Dog owners Kevin and Candace Thaxton told ABC News in a TV report March 16 that “their 10-year-old pug Chansey died after eating chicken jerky dog treats made in China. In turn, this story of imported chicken dog treats sickening dogs in the U.S. continues after “the Food and Drug Administration has fielded over 530 complaints from pet owners over the past four months claiming their dogs suffered illness or death after eating jerky treats made in China,” officials told ABC News. At the same time, the ABC News report explained how “the FDA has issued three separate warnings about Chinese jerky treats in the past four years” by advising owners who give their pets the snacks to watch the dogs closely for signs of illness. In turn, ABC News did not list each of these three separate warnings. However, the FDA website includes a record of the FDA’s activity on this recent pet food issue.

Moreover, since the agency says it has yet to find a “definitive cause” for the mystery ailments, ABC News reported March 16 that “it hasn’t blamed Chinese treats for the illnesses, it hasn’t named any of the well-known American firms like Purina that sell them, and it hasn’t recalled any of the products. Dog owners and legislators are now demanding action.”

China’s toxic dog treats known since late 2011

At the same time, an ABC News TV station in Los Angeles (KABC) reported on Dec. 29, 2011 that the same thing that’s happening now in 2012 also took place just three months ago when it reported how “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a dog treat after receiving hundreds of reports of dogs getting sick, some fatally. Over the past month, there have been more than 350 reports of dogs being sickened or dying after eating chicken jerky treats imported from China.”

In turn, the FDA stated that “it is actively investigating the matter and conducting analysis for different contaminates. However, ABC TV News in L.A. reported no results back in late December after the FFDA tested different brands and products.

Thus, the FDA stated “it still has not found any contaminants,” and why the FDA said back at the end of December “that’s why a recall of the products has not been issued.”

Thaxton dog’s death an example

These toxic chicken dog treats imported from China stated harming American dogs last year, add the FDA when sharing the latest information on the government website.

For instance, ABC News reported – in a very emotional TV report March 16 – how Kevin and Candace Thaxton’s 10-year-old pug Chansey got sick late last year.

In turn, the couple told ABC News that they “assumed at first it was simply old age. The small dog started showing symptoms of kidney failure — drinking water excessively and urinating in the house. By the time the Thaxtons got her to a veterinarian, Chansey’s kidneys had shut down and she was in extreme pain. She died two days later.”

“It was so hard. It was just devastating,” Kevin Thaxton told ABC News.

Also, the Thaxtons would go through the ordeal again just weeks later — leading them to a new theory behind Chansey’s death — when their new Pekingese-mix puppy Penny exhibited the same symptoms, finally resulting in kidney failure.

For instance, Candace Thaxton told ABC News that when she “stumbled on a Food and Drug Administration warning that there’d been ‘an increase in complaints’ about chicken jerky dog treats made in China, she says she knew immediately what had happened to her beloved dogs.”

“I grabbed the bag of treats and turned it over,” Candace said. “At first I saw it said ‘Manufactured in South Carolina’ so I thought I was safe. Then I looked harder and it said ‘Made in China’ and I just said ‘Oh no.’ ”

What’s going on with pet food safety?

The owners of a dog named “Suzie,” told Huliq during a recent interview that “we’re so worried about what she eats that we’re now restricting the usual dog treats that our Suzie gets when at coffee or food drive-ins. Everybody likes to give dogs treats, but we’re now asking where are those treats coming from?”

Also, a dog named “King” has been “real sick.” King’s owner Frankie said his dog has been ill for some time, and he now wonders if it’s “those dog snacks from China?”

Such alarming news of the possible risk to dogs comes at a time when the safety of imported food is being heavily scrutinized.

For instance, on March 15 the Centers for Disease Control reported that foods imported from other countries are to blame for dozens of recent foodborne disease outbreaks. ABC News explained that the CDC looked at outbreaks from 2005 to 2010 and concluded that 39 outbreaks and over 2,300 illnesses came from food imported into the U.S. Nearly 45 percent of the foods that caused the outbreaks came from Asia.”

In turn, the FDA says it is “actively investigating reports of illness and death and has been conducting tests on samples of the treats. An FDA spokesperson said the samples came from around the country but would not cite specific sources that provided the samples.”

FDA offers Qs and As on dog treats

Concerned dog owners can go to a new special Q and A section of its website at http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm295445.htm – 12k – 2012-03-09 for specific details about these toxic dog treats from China.

For instance, this FDA “Questions and Answers” section explains when the agency first reacted to reports from dog owners about these toxic dog treats.

In 2011, FDA stated on its website that it “saw an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. FDA previously issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. The number of complaints being received dropped off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010.

However in 2011, FDA once again started seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.

Since the issuance of the CVM Update on November 18, 2011, the agency has received numerous additional complaints regarding chicken jerky products, the FDA added.

As for what products are involved, the FDA explains: “The cautionary update specifically refers to chicken jerky products that are imported from China. These dried chicken jerky products, intended for dogs, may also be sold as tenders, strips or treats.”

FDA explains signs of illness being reported

Dogs that have become ill show “signs that may be associated with chicken jerky products include decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. These signs may occur within hours to days of feeding the products. Laboratory tests may indicate kidney problems, including Fanconi-like syndrome. Although many dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died. FDA continues to investigate the problem and its origin. Some of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky,” stated the FDA.

Since 2007, FDA also explained how it’s been actively investigating the cause of illness in pets reported in association with the consumption of chicken jerky products. For example, the FDA website noted how “samples have been tested by FDA laboratories, by the Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (Vet-LRN), and by other animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S for multiple chemical and microbiological contaminants.”

In turn, the FDA stated how product samples were tested for Salmonella, metals, furans, pesticides, antibiotics, mycotoxins, rodenticides, nephrotoxins (such as aristolochic acid, maleic acid, paraquat, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, toxic hydrocarbons, melamine and related triazines) and were screened for other chemicals and poisonous compounds. DNA verification was conducted on these samples to confirm the presence of poultry in the treats.

The FDA stated, for example, how “samples have also been submitted for nutritional composition (which includes glycerol concentrations), vitamin D excess and enterotoxin analysis. Some samples from recent cases (2011-2012) have been submitted for multiple tests and we are awaiting results. More samples are in the process of being collected for testing.”

At the same time, the FDA stated that the “results of the testing” are from “samples collected from all over the United States have been tested for a wide variety of substances and to date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses.”

Meanwhile, the FDA website explained how it looked for “metal contamination” in these chicken jerky products produced in China. “FDA’s previous testing of chicken jerky product samples did not show toxic levels of metals. In addition, results from March 2012 toxic metal analyses, which included tests for heavy metals, have again shown samples of chicken jerky products to be negative for toxic metals.”

No specific brands recalled by FDA

Also, of concern, say dog owners, is the FDA admission that “no specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined. The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin.”

In turn, if the FDA identifies the cause, the agency said it will “take appropriate action and notify the public.”

As for the question from dog owners about why aren’t these products being taken off the market, the FDA website stated: “There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall. It is important to understand that unless a contaminant is detected and we have evidence that a product is adulterated, we are limited in what regulatory actions we can take. The regulations don’t allow for products to be removed based on complaints alone. This is an ongoing investigation and FDA will notify the public if a recall is initiated. Currently, FDA continues to urge pet owners to use caution with regard to chicken jerky products.”

FDA guidance on feeding chicken jerky treats to dogs

According to the FDA website about this specific issue, “chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.”

In turn, the FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:

— decreased appetite

— decreased activity

— vomiting

— diarrhea, sometimes with blood

— increased water consumption

— increased urination

Also, the FDA stated that “if the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi-like syndrome (increased glucose).”

In addition, the FDA guidance states: “If your pet has experienced signs of illness, please retain the opened package and remaining pieces of the chicken jerky product that are in the original packaging. It is possible that your samples will be collected for testing. If your product samples are collected, please be sure to provide the FDA official with all of the sample that you have. The extensive testing that is being conducted may require multiple pieces from the package. It is also possible that a toxicant may be present in some of the samples in the package, but not all. We may be able to get better or more accurate testing results with a larger sample size.”

Additional information on what happens when a problem is reported can be found at the following link:
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/QuestionsandAnswersProblemReporting/ucm056069.htm4
FDA responsible for dog food safety

Also, according to the FDA website about pet food safety, this government organization is tasked to “regulate that can of cat food, bag of dog food, or box of dog treats or snacks in your pantry. The FDA’s regulation of pet food is similar to that for other animal foods. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

At the same time, ABC News reported March 16 that “the FDA issued its first warning about chicken jerky treats from China in 2007, in response to the first wave of consumer complaints, and then issued a second in 2008. When the FDA issued a third warning in late 2011, based on another increase in complaints that year, it asked consumers to report any other purported incidents directly to the agency. Since that update, hundreds of dog owners have come forward to share their concerns.”

For more information, check out the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/Products/AnimalFoodFeeds/PetFood/default.htm

Image source of a dog named “King” with owner Frankie who said his dog has been ill for some time, and he now wonders if it’s “those dog snacks from China?” Photo by Dave Masko

Poisonous Sweetener, possible link to brain cancer MUST READ

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Good old FDA… they never let us down. NOT.

You can read the following article in its entirety here:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/a-poisonous-sweetener.html

A Poisonous Sweetener

A Poisonous Sweetener

By Zachary Shahan, Green Options

According to a UK documentary, “Sweet Misery,” the National Cancer Institute identified a significant and impressive increase in brain cancer starting in about 1984. Why did brain cancer shoot up? Evidence suggests that it is because of artificial sweeteners such as those found in diet drinks and food.

Scientists noticed that in 1983 humans began consuming something never before consumed by humans — aspartame, a chemically created substance acting as a sugar alternative used in diet drinks, food, and even on the table in most restaurants (i.e. NutraSweet, Crystallite, Equal).

Increase in Aspartame, Increase in Brain Cancer

According to the documentary, in 1984, one year after its introduction, 6.9 million pounds of aspartame were consumed by Americans. In the next year, that number doubled. It continued increasing into the ’90s.  This spike in Aspartame consumption parallels the spike in brain cancer.

From 1984-1987, other cancers outside the brain basically remained the same or declined. However, brain cancer rates shot up.

Scientists confirmed that the increase in brain cancers is not due to technological advancements that made diagnosing brain cancer easier and it is not a result of changes in disease classifications.

Why is it suggested that aspartame has this neurological effect?

Scientists think that it is because 10 percent of the chemical substance, after ingestion, becomes free methyl alcohol (wood alcohol), which as one scientist in the film states, is a “real poison.” Another says, “the poisonous effect of methyl alcohol and its methyl esters are well-known.” Even small amounts of this poison can lead to blindness and death. The “miniscule” amounts in our common foods and drinks seem to sometimes lead to cancer and other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Bottom line — maybe it’s time to cut artificial sweeteners out of your diet!

Hot Dogs Dangerous, Red Meats Can Increase Cancer Risk

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I read the following article on Care2.com this morning.  Many of us already know this but it is worth reminding everyone.

On Wednesday, July 22, the Cancer Project, an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit organization that advocates vegetarianism and alternatives to animal research, filed a class-action consumer fraud lawsuit to require hot dog manufacturers to place warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey. The labels would read, “Warning: Consuming hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer.”

According to PCRM’s press release, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of three New Jersey residents who purchased hot dogs without knowing that processed meats contribute to colorectal cancer.

Studies show that there is conclusive link between meat consumption and colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society even warns, “A diet that is high in red meats (beef, lamb, or liver) and processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, and lunch meat can increase your colorectal cancer risk.”

Additional Sources of MSG

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Depressing how little our FDA thinks of us to allow this crap in so much of our food… but here it is: http://www.vitalearth.org/MSG.htm (please see my additional post below about additives used to GROW CANCER CELLS… in our ice cream, dairy, and more!)

Hidden names and sources of MSG
enzyme modified
annatto
Anything “enriched”
anything fermented
anything protein fortified
anything ultra pasteurized
autolyzed yeast
barley malt
broth
bouillon
calcium caseinate
carrageen
caramel flavoring
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Cornstarch
Dough conditioners
Dry milk solids
flavoring
natural flavoring,
gelatin
gums
hydrolyzed oat flour
hydrolyzed vegetable
hydrolyzed protein
malt extract, maltodextrin
Malt flavoring
Milk powder
Modified food starch
natural flavors
Natural chicken, beef, or pork pectin
plant protein extract
potassium glutamate
Protease, protease enzymes
Rice syrup
seasonings
sodium caseinate
soy protein
Soy protein isolate
soy sauce or extract
stock
textured protein
Vegetable gum
Vitamin “enriched”
Wheat, rice or oat protein
whey protein
Whey protein isolate
yeast extract
yeast food
Yeast nutrients

MSG in all the wrong places

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Below is a list of where you can find (and thus avoid as much as possible) MSG, otherwise known as Monosodium Glutamate.  If you are unaware of the dangers of this DRUG (yes drug) then please see archives and categories for my posts on MSG.  Likewise you can google MSG and dangers and find TONS of info. Long story short, MSG causes drug reactions that mimic diseases and illnesses such as heart attack-like symptoms, arrhythmia and palpitations, panic attacks, weakness, partial paralysis, rashes, allergy symptoms, feelings of pressure in the chest, depression, behavioral problems, mood swings, neurological problems, and more… just to name a few.

WHY the FDA allows it…  I don’t know.  After you educate yourself on just how bad MSG is for people, the next step is to write the FDA and also the presidential administration, and ask them to stop a) allowing it and b) processing (and thus creating it in many forms) in our foods!  Some of it occurs naturally in things like tomatoes and soybeans, and this should be labeled appropriately as well.  The majority of it is created through processing of certain food items in the factory.  Yet others just use it like a seasoning (which it is NOT).  It is a DRUG and NEUROTRANSMITTER, used to trick the brain into thinking something lousy tastes better than it really is.  It creates addiction to certain carb-loaded foods and has been linked in various studies to OBESITY.  It is also used in Nutrasweet… and vaccines!

The following table is taken from this link: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

Hidden Names for MSG

The following substances contain the highest percentage

of factory created free glutamate, with MSG containing 78%:

WWW.truthinlabeling.orgHome page

Table of Contents


NAMES OF INGREDIENTS THAT CONTAIN ENOUGH MSG
TO SERVE AS COMMON MSG-REACTION TRIGGERS

The MSG-reaction is a reaction to free glutamic acid that occurs in food as a consequence of manufacture. MSG-sensitive people do not react to protein (which contains bound glutamic acid) or any of the minute amounts of free glutamic acid that might be found in unadulterated, unfermented, food.

These ALWAYS contain MSG
Glutamate Glutamic acid Gelatin
Monosodium glutamate Calcium caseinate Textured protein
Monopotassium glutamate Sodium caseinate Yeast nutrient
Yeast extract Yeast food Autolyzed yeast
Hydrolyzed protein
(any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed corn gluten Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)
These OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing
Carrageenan Maltodextrin Malt extract
Natural pork flavoring Citric acid Malt flavoring
Bouillon and Broth Natural chicken flavoring Soy protein isolate
Natural beef flavoring Ultra-pasteurized Soy sauce
Stock Barley malt Soy sauce extract
Whey protein concentrate Pectin Soy protein
Whey protein Protease Soy protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate Protease enzymes Anything protein fortified
Flavors(s) & Flavoring(s) Anything enzyme modified Anything fermented
Natural flavor(s)
& flavoring(s)
Enzymes anything Seasonings
(the word “seasonings”)

IN ADDITION

The not so new game is to label hydrolyzed proteins as pea protein, whey protein, corn protein, etc. If a pea, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a pea. Calling an ingredient pea protein indicates that the pea has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present. Relatively new to the list are wheat protein and soy protein.

Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. Their use suggests that the product has MSG in it. They would probably not be used as food additives if there were no MSG present.

MSG reactions have been reported to soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MSG is hidden in ingredients that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “amino acids,” and “protein.”

Low fat and no fat milk products often include milk solids that contain MSG.  Low fat and no fat versions of ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not an exception.

Protein powders contain glutamic acid, which, invariably, would be precessed free glutamic acid (MSG).  Glutamic acid is not always named on labels of protein powders.

Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG and of aspartame and neotame. Aspartic acid, found in neotame and aspartame (NutraSweet), ordinarily causes MSG type reactions in MSG sensitive people. Aspartame is found in some medications, including children’s medications. Neotame is relatively new and we have not yet seen it used widely. Check with your pharmacist.

Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MSG.

According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) which causes brain lesions in young laboratory animals, and causes endocrine disturbances like OBESITY and REPRODUCTIVE disorders later in life. It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain MSG.

Reactions to MSG are dose related, i.e., some people react to even very small amounts. MSG-induced reactions may occur immediately after ingestion or after as much as 48 hours.

Note: There are additional ingredients that appear to cause MSG reactions in ACUTELY sensitive people. A list is available by request.

Remember: By FDA definition, all MSG is “naturally occurring.” “Natural” doesn’t mean “safe.”  “Natural” only means that the ingredient started out in nature.

Happy Saturday everybody :)

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Hi all & Happy Saturday.

I don’t have any real updates today about the H1N1 slash swine flu sitch.  Things seem pretty much the same.  I have *heard* that the WHO is considering a level 6… I hope not because a Level 6 pandemic means some other problems too that come with that… other than that, though, things are about where they were.  Mild cases are continuing to pop up… Mexico says the deaths seem to be levelling off, that’s a good thing… and you may have heard or read my post about the actual number of *confirmed* cases of Mexican deaths from the swine flu being much different than the numbers we were originally given.  If not, my post is below where you can read it.  To quickly get a summary of swine flu posts, go to the “Categories” section on the right and click on Current Events: Swine Flu Updates… it will take you to a page where all the SF items are neatly arranged in order for you to read.

I’ve mentioned a couple different sides of the story – I really don’t know what to think.  So far no deaths have occurred outside Mexico, except for the toddler who *came* from Mexico into the US and who was already sick.  It came out he had underlying health problems even before this  happened.  I am so sorry for the Mexican people dealing with this, my heart goes out to them. I am grateful that so far no other deaths have occurred, that we know of.  For updates, please see my below posts on links to the RSOE site, also don’t forget that you can contact the local public health dept for your state.

For our part, I have just been making sure my family has lots of Vitamin C (I am a firm believer in that) and of course continuing to practice good cleanliness.

We have gotten the RAIN the past few days!!!  It rained so much last night and today, I thought for sure I was going to see Noah go sailing by and waving, with a giraffe sticking his head out of a little ark window! hahaha  :P  Seriously, it didn’t just rain, it POURED and STORMED and thundered and lightning.  Which, I kinda like the storms a little bit, I love the sound of the rain and some thunder. I know, that’s probably weird.  But I don’t like seeing small rivers on the road and at the foot of my steps! :P

OH… for those of you like me, practicing a GF (gluten free) diet… found something out that I want to pass along.  The GF thing is still new to me so I definitely appreciate any little tidbit I can get.  I found out that gluten takes its own sweet time leaving the body – could be as much as 6 to 9 months. If you’ve already been gluten free for a little while and then you get “glutened” it can take about 3 weeks (my goodness!!!) to leave your body.   This was interesting to me because I think I got glutened last weekend at a Thai restaurant.  The food was great, don’t get me wrong, but hubby is a photographer and he was doing some pictures for their advertising.  They kindly served us the food that they made for the shoot.

Of course, I was very wary of whatever I might/might not be able to eat, but they were so nice and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.  So, I settled on something that I thought (hoped) would be okay, it was made with rice noodles and the broth was just heavenly.  LOL a little too heavenly.  I had mentioned to them I had a wheat allergy (gluten intolerant) and they seemed to think I just didn’t want to eat their food… that made me feel bad… I didn’t want them to feel that way.  So anyway… I had a rice noodle soup… but I noticed their soy sauce has GUESS WHAT wheat in it (Kikkoman’s) and I think there must have been some (probably definitely) in the soup.  I felt *terrible* later on.  I have been feeling so great lately that I could tell right away something was wrong. Amazing how when you get healthier, and start feeling good… you recognize immediately when things are not right.

The next morning, my skin was bloated, and my poor puffy eyes… I had the same old headaches like I used to get which lasted a couple days… I still don’t feel 100% yet, but I am better.  Next time, even at the risk of hurting someone’s feelings (which I try hard not to do)… but I will not eat something that my instinct tells me to stay away from.  And if you are gluten free, or a celiac, I offer the same advice to you.

People don’t truly understand when you tell them.  I tried to tell my husband and he kind of “pooh-poohed” it saying it was “all in my head” (OH I hate when he does that! haha) but he just didn’t understand, he’s never dealt with anything like that.  I’ve tried to share what I’ve learned with him and for the most part he has been supportive in helping me find GF foods, which I appreciate, but sometimes he acts like it’s just me.  And that is really hurtful.  Anybody GF out there run into the same thing with their family members? :rolls eyes: haha

Well, here’s hoping it will be a great Saturday for all of you… stay well, take lots of Vita C, and try not to worry about all this flu too much.  There’s not really much we can do, except use wisdom and caution. Blessings and light to each of you :)

Amy

Gluten Free for Me

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I have recently discovered that I have a gluten intolerance/allergy. I believe that this is probably something I have had all my life. A little background for those of you who may not know what gluten is:  Gluten is that protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  It makes our dough stick together better, makes our cakes and breads all light and fluffy and yummy.  But it also makes the body work very hard to digest it.  For someone who does not have a problem with digesting gluten, this is okay and even beneficial.  But for those of us (and there are a lot of us, more than was previously thought) that *do* have a problem with gluten… the results in our bodies can be terrible… leading to sickness of all sorts… even premature death, eventually, because of the effect it ultimately has on our systems.

I started gaining weight when I was little, about 3 or 4, and when I was younger, the only way I have ever been able to keep it off is by drastic dieting measures, extreme exercise, etc.  It used to work, but as I have aged, it’s gotten harder and harder.  Now when I undertake a  major exercising plan, it ADDS INCHES to my middle.  I recently began a vigorous daily plan of 1-2 hours day.  I  lost a few pounds… gained them back… lost them… gained them back.  Every few days I would lose a couple pounds and get so excited… and a few days later, despite the fact that I was dieting and eating healthily… those pounds would come right back.  And then, I thought, well maybe I at least got some lean muscle!  Sure… right around my middle, on top of the fat that was already there.  I felt discouraged… depressed… hopeless.  For those of you that look at overweight people and think “well they just don’t exercise” or “they must eat twinkies all day,” this is wrong.  I’m sure there are people who do… but get to know the person before making a snap judgment.

I always thought that maybe it was a thyroid condition and so I recently made plans to visit an endocrinologist, as some doctors seem to ‘pooh pooh’ the idea that anyone could have a real thyroid condition (even though it does affect so many people.)  I know… I should have already had that checked out long ago… but that kind of thing costs money that I just didn’t have.  I recently tried the “morning temperature reading” test for thyroid problems and my temperature was just a slight tad under normal … so what in the world was wrong with me?  I went vegetarian for three months… and GAINED WEIGHT.  Two of those months I even followed an 85% raw diet.  What gives?!  Now I know what it was. **(Update:  since identifying my gluten problem, I have lost one dress size and working toward my next! YAY!!)

I have been interested in healthy eating for a long time now, as well as taking vitamins, etc.   Recently though I became aware just *how* bad white floured items were (turns to sugar after 5 minutes in the body!) for us… if you eat a piece of white bread for example, as I have read, it turns to sugar super quickly in the body, within minutes of eating it! And if those carbs are not used up… guess what… excess fat.  I was horrified when I thought of how much white bread in just one day we used.  So I began studying more about whole grains and decided from that point on, we would be a whole wheat, whole grain family.  And we’d like it! :P

So we switched to whole wheat *everything*.   If it was a bread or cereal or cracker item, etc… it was whole wheat.

But… after a couple of weeks of whole wheat in different forms, several times a day, I suddenly broke out in hives.  Terrible, itchy, miserable hives.  I couldn’t figure out what triggered them… where they came from.  I thought maybe a detox reaction… clothes detergent… I just didn’t know.  I have never had allergies of that nature, just like sinus, hayfever-type stuff… nothing involving welts or hives!  I had read a while back about people who were gluten intolerant (or that had celiac disease) but I never thought much about it.  I really can’t say what it was that made me put 2 + 2 together… I personally think it was God.  I was thinking about this one morning, feeling extremely sorry for myself and wondering what the heck was wrong and should I see a doctor or a dermatologist… when it was like this thought jumped into my mind: “Gluten Sensitivity.”  I know it sounds weird… but it was like that thought was “inserted” there… I hadn’t read about that in a looooong time and never would have thought I might have that.

So I hopped on the internet and started researching everything I could find about gluten intolerance and celiac disease.  I read a book by Dr. Shari Lieberman titled “The Gluten Connection – How Gluten Sensitivity May Be Sabotaging Your Health” and it was like she was reading my mail, as the saying goes.  All my life I had just felt… bad.  Not much energy… acid reflux constantly… gall stones… headaches all the time… often depressed, even when I was “happy” … just blah blah blah.  I took my vitamins and ate as healthily as I knew how… it would help somewhat but nothing ever major. Sometimes I would tell my husband, “I just don’t feel good. I don’t feel good at all.” I would sleep and not even felt like it when I woke up.  While these symptoms can be attributed to other things too… they are also symptomatic of people with gluten intolerance/allergies or the more advanced form, celiac disease.  And long ago it was thought that extreme weight loss was possibly a symptom of celiac disease… but now they are finding weight gain and inability to lose it can be a symptom as well… weight that people could not get rid of,  disappears on a gluten free diet… not overnight… but it does go away.  Some people have lost it rather quickly, others a bit slower.  It seems to affect people in a way that normalizes their bodies… those that were underweight, gain up to a normal weight… those that were overweight, lose down to a normal weight.   I felt I had stumbled onto my lifelong problem.   I highly recommend this book if anyone has had problems like that.

And if you think these symptoms might sound like you, my suggestion is just to try a few weeks with no wheat, barley, or rye items… just see how you feel.  If you notice a change for the better, then do what you feel is best.  Have your dr. check you out… whatever… but remember that even drs can make mistakes.  You know your body best.  I read of people who had *asked* their doctors to test them for gluten problems, and they were laughed at.  This is very poor professional judgment on those doctor’s parts and I know not all doctors are that way.  In those situations, the people took care of the situation themselves… went gluten free… and today are enjoying happy, healthy lives, free from the problems that had once plagued them day in and day out.  I’m not against doctors… I am very thankful for them.  I’m just saying that God gave us a brain and common sense.  We need to use it.

Anyway… I began going gluten free… and where before the hives had been continuing… the *next day* after I stopped my gluten intake, I noticed a difference.  They started to go away.  Then we went to a restaurant & I decided to eat just a salad… but they served light ranch dressing.  I would never have thought wheat would be in light dressing… but low and behold, it was.  I ate half of it before I realized it, after reading the packet (I was new to reading labels that closely and just figured the dressing would be okay… never assume anything about gluten.  They hide it in places you would never dream.  If it contains wheat… barley… or rye… it contains gluten).  And guess what… by the time I got home, a couple small patches of hives had newly popped up.  That cinched it for me.  (Please note that corn and rice glutens are not the same and are considered safe for celiacs.  Corn and rice lack the “gliadin fractions” that are found in the other grains mentioned above.)

At this writing in April, I have been gluten free for about two weeks now… the hives have nearly disappeared (and would probably have been gone sooner had I not scratched them so badly) and I have a new energy.  My headaches, which I had always thought were just sinus problems… have disappeared.  I have not had a headache since going GF (gluten free).  My problems with feeling depressed have greatly improved, even after just a couple weeks!  I have felt cheerful, happy, and even my husband has noticed the difference.  They say it takes time for all the gluten to be flushed from your system, it can take as much as a month, to three months even… but I am already seeing positive changes. I have slowly, steadily, and surely started taking the weight off.  Some people say it takes as much as a month to start losing the excess weight and to notice the other beneficial changes… but if you think gluten sensitivity is a problem… and you swear off everything (it must be everything!) that has gluten in it… and if you notice yourself feeling better, looking better, even feeling GREAT … you may have found your answer.  You can’t go halfway though and expect to see great changes.  I have read of people who bloat up several pounds after a spaghetti dinner (it has happened to me too) just overnight!  And while it sounds strange… it is TRUE, I promise you.  If you really care about your health and you even suspect that gluten is the culprit… start finding better ways to eat.  One thing that has helped me is my friendly neighborhood health food store.  I buy quinoa (a wonderful grain, as old as the hills, the native americans used to grow it) “pasta” and I cannot tell the difference between it and reg. pasta.  I cook a small amount of quinoa pasta for me and my family still wants the reglar pasta, so I cook it for them… and we all have our dinner together as usual.  There are lots of little things you can do. (Incidentally… if you are currently dealing with hives and rashes, as I was, and after reading this you suspect it may be gluten related… I suggest putting tea tree oil on them. It helps greatly with the itching, I wish I would have had some on hand sooner, maybe I could have slept better! haha  Be careful with tea tree though, as it is very strong.  It would be best to mix it in a base with some olive oil, in a separate jar.  Like, 1/4 cup olive oil and about 5 or 6 drops of tea tree.  Remember this is NOT medical advice, just my suggestion for things that have worked for me!  I love aromatherapy so this was easy for me to implement.)

I wanted to share this with you out there, anyone who may be suffering from this and just never thought to check it out… now is the time.  Research it.  YES you can live without bread. At first I was like, “Oh no… now what will I eat?” But there are so many good healthy foods out there… after a few weeks, you truly will not miss it.  If you crave something bread like, there are lots of good recipes that use flours such as white rice flour, soy flour, tapioca, corn, etc… get on the trusty internet and google your way to good eating with all the great GF recipes that you can find.  I have found though that I feel better not eating of the breads, cakes, etc., even the GF ones.  But they are great to help you with the transition, or to break up the routine.

This is not intended to be medical advice.  As I have said in my last post… I am not a doctor.  But I have a desire to help people and when I come across something that will possibly be of help… I want to share it.  I am simply sharing what I have read, and what I have found to be true in my own life.  Take what I have said and do what you will.  I am a firm believer in doing my own research!  It’s not hard with today’s technology… just hop on the internet highway and get surfing! Search engines are great vehicles to take us where we want to explore.  Do your own research… and see what you come up with.   You just might find yourself on the best ride of your life, the ride to good health!  You can have all the money in the world… but if your health suffers… you will never be able to enjoy it.  The good health of you and your family is more important than anything else physical this world can offer.

Here are some good links that helped me, I hope they help you too, towards the road to good health!

Allergy MedSites.com

Celiac Disease, Gluten and Wheat Allergies


Celiac Disease & Obesity – There is a Connection

Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease, and Weight Gain


There are lots of gluten free recipes on the net, here is one site:

Gluten Free Recipes


Tortillas are naturally gluten free, this recipe tells how to make y our own at home!

Book of Yum, Gluten Free Recipes


All kinds of gluten free foods you can get, even mail order:

The Gluten Free Mall

Hopefully this info and these links will get your road trip started out to success.  I hope this is helpful to you.  :)