I’m a wife & mom of 3 boys. I work from home and blog about my Gluten-Free life, all the while taking classes to finish my degree (focusing on Health Education & Nutrition). I’m from a very small town in Florida (to this day there are still no traffic lights). I relocated to a different part of Florida when I married my husband. He and I live in the country on 50 acres, with our kids. I tend spend a majority of my free time outdoors with him & the boys. I enjoy cooking, blogging, hunting, fishing, learning, reading, organizing, feeding our animals, working in the garden & in my flowers, and walking.
A month or so before I was diagnosed, I went to the doctor after experiencing debilitating fatigue and extreme bone/joint pain, to the point that I missed several days of work. At times the pain was so intense that I couldn’t sleep at night. My doctor discovered that my Vitamin D levels were dangerously low (we now know that this was the result of the malabsorption caused from Celiac Disease). I was given prescription Vitamin D; 56,400 IU’s a week for 8 weeks in an effort to get my levels up. But after 8 weeks, my levels were still dangerously low even after the medical intervention. That’s when my doctor began to suspect that something was wrong internally, as my levels should have improved.
I was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the age of 25, after almost 20 years of suffering. My symptoms began around the age of 5. I struggled through years of migraines, digestive issues, constant fatigue, anemia, and joint pain. In middle school, Pepto-Bismol was my best friend; I had a bottle in my locker, in my backpack, in my gym locker, in my mom’s car, in the bathroom and refrigerator at home. I graduated high school early because I was so sick (and there was no hope for anything changing anytime in the near future). But even with graduating two years early, I still scored high enough to earn a scholarship to a local college.
I struggle with additional food allergies; I am allergic to dairy products (lactose & dairy proteins) and struggle with fructose intolerance.
Artificial sweeteners tear my stomach up severely, so I avoid them all together. I use organic cane sugar or honey to sweeten things. I also avoid cured meats, preservatives, food colorings, malt, refined sugars, alcohol & white rice.
My goal in creating Celiac411.com is to help those who are struggling to adapt to the new Gluten-Free life, to educate them on what all ‘being Gluten-Free’ involves, teaching them how to read labels and showing them the hidden dangers in everyday life. I had a hard time when I was diagnosed and I had very few resources. There were many times that I broke down crying, wondering how I was going to survive. I do not want others to struggle as I did. I want to help however I possibly can.
I am also an advocate for Celiac Disease. I enjoy educating and speaking publicly with others about Celiac Disease (and explaining why this isn’t a fad diet for us).
Please feel free to email me and ask any questions that you may have, even those that seem simple or insignificant. For those who need additional guidance, I am willing to set up phone conferences, or web conferences as well.