Gluten Statistics

I recently was helping my 5th grader write a persuasive letter for a school assignment.  She chose to write to The CEO of a national pizza franchise to recommend they offer gluten-free pizza.  While helping her with her homework I came across an excellent website for learning about gluten.  I would like to recommend it here:

It is estimated that 10% of all people suffer from some form of gluten intolerance. According to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, only 1 in 4,700 people who suffer from Celiac disease have actually been diagnosed.  The statistics are adding up quickly.

Intolerance vs. Celiac

Gluten intolerance or sensitivity occurs when a person’s body reacts to the protein (gluten) in wheat, rye, or barley, causing inflammation in one of varied tissues of the body (see posts under inflammation and disease tab). Persons with gluten sensitivity may or may not experience gastrointestinal symptoms.

Celiac disease occurs when the body produces antibodies that actually attack the intestinal lining.  The attack destroys the part of the lining that absorbs nutrients, and as a result the person will become malnourished.  People with Celiac Disease almost always feel gastro-intestinal symptoms, in addition to other varied symptoms of inflammation throughout the body.

Following a gluten-free diet, or at least limiting the amount of gluten consumed is a wise move for anyone to make in light of the above findings.  Our family has discovered many foods we had never tried before, and it has been great fun adding new foods to our diet.  I am trying to post some of the recipes on this site. 


In Light of Eternity

Photo courtesy of Tami Werling

Years ago I attended a summer training program with a Christian ministry called The Navigators.  It was a 4 week venture where a small group of collegiates, together with a few staff, met to work, to play, and to study the scriptures.  It was a time of intense growth, and the lessons I learned then have served me well.

In this world you will have trouble…

Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it?  Often it even seems that we finish one problem, only to begin work on the next, or, just as often, problems come flooding in.  About 10 years ago I was working in therapy with an older gentleman following his fractured hip.  He was also dealing with cancer, and his wife was ill.  He modified a cliché saying that made me chuckle and shake  my head in agreement, “If it’s not one thing, its two!”  I repeat that saying to this day–so true!

Life has been challenging the last several years to be sure.  Our family has walked through some tough times:

The sudden and unexpected death of my mother–our family’s chief supporter, cheerleader, and one of my dearest friends

My daughter’s diagnosis of a lifelong disease (see post entitled: Our Diabetes Story)

Unemployment, three times in 8 years…financial strain

A horrible car accident where a family member was involved, and a young man lost his life

Betrayal by a close friend

Health questions, including a cancer scare

A threatened lawsuit regarding earned wages

Caring for an elderly parent

A bitter family member that grieves the heart

And a few other things that will not be mentioned here

…but take heart!  I have overcome the world! 

–Jesus  (John 16:33)

How can a person make it through the  heart wrenching and difficult times that come in life?  I know there have been times when I have been incredibly needy.  I’ve joked with a friend that I’m an 8 on a scale of 10 in neediness (If you’ve had me as your therapist, the 1-10 scale might make you laugh).  Tragedy, loss, fear, illness, persecution, you name it. –is there anything stable and dependable in life???  Thankfully, yes.  Yes there is.    The key to continuing on is found in a concept I learned back at that summer training program:  Live in Light of Eternity

There is a God who has promised that He will always be with us, that He will never leave us, and that He will complete His work in us. In knowing Him, in finding not only my worth, but my very identity in Him, I am secure, and able to navigate what life has in store.*

Life on earth is just a speck in light of eternity.  Stresses are real, and losses are devastating, but God offers a bright future.  This world is our practice field, our preparing grounds, for the life God has planned for us with Him.  For the one who follows Christ, home is with Him.  Home is in eternity, and the hard things in this world just make us long for our home.  Matthew West put it beautifully in his song, The Reason for the World.  Listen to this link:

Finally, I would also like to invite you to read a blog post about suffering.  It gives a wonderful perspective on our response to God as humans in a fallen world.  It is full of insight about a principal called the “vav,” a hebrew word that translates “and yet.”  I hope you will be inspired by it.  I know I found myself agreeing:

*Philippians 1:6, Galatians 2:20, Matthew 28:18-20, Hebrews 13:5 , Romans 8:28-29, Jeremiah 29:11, = some scriptures to consider

Nutty Quinoa Breakfast Bake

One look at this breakfast bake makes my mouth water, and the smell is even more heavenly!

Last summer I harvested an overabundance of butternut squash.  What to do, what to do…

I ended up baking, scooping out, and freezing a bunch of it, and I have had so much fun using it since that time.  I will replant this year for sure!  I have used it in all my favorite pumpkin recipes (shh! don’t tell the relatives), and I have incorporated it into some new recipes as well.

Here is how I made a delicious nutty quinoa breakfast bake:

1 c. quinoa, boiled in 2 1/2 c water until absorbed

1 1/2 c butternut squash puree

1/2 c coconut milk

1 c chopped pecans, and 2 dozen pecan halves

1 t cinnamon

dash of salt

1 t nutmeg

1/2 t ground cloves

1/2 t ginger

2 t vanilla–a patient brought me a bottle of the “real thing” from Mexico, and it is Wow!

1/4 c. brown sugar

2 T flax-seed meal

Layer 1/3 of the quinoa in the bottom of a greased bread pan.  Follow with 1/3 of the butternut squash, and 1/3 of the chopped pecans.  Mix the rest of the ingredients (saving the pecan halves for topping) in a small saucepan and mix while heating through.  Layer this over the pecan layer, and then arrange pecan halves on top to decorate.  Heat through.  I used 350 degrees 20 minutes.  Enjoy!!  This is a sweet treat, but full of protein, omega 3s, beta carotene, and other nutrients!

Delicious Gluten-free Strata

Here is a delicious adaptation of one of our favorite breakfast treats:

Because so many people who are gluten-intolerant are also sensitive to milk, I generally cook with milk substitutes when practical.  In this recipe I use real cheese, however in our family diet I do not cook with dairy every day.  As with all g-free cooking, be sure you buy ingredients that do not have hidden gluten (for example, some corn meal may contain wheat flour as a filler, and some spices may have wheat filler).

8 eggs scrambled

1 c. ham, cooked and cubed into 1/4 in. cubes

10 slices bacon, cooked ,and grease soaked off with paper towels

1 c. soy, coconut, or other milk

1 c. corn meal

2 med. apples, peeled and cubed

2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 T brown sugar

2 t Worcestershire

2 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

1 t dry mustard

2 T flax seed meal

Mix all ingredients, and pour into 8×8 pan.  Cook on 350 degrees, 50 min or until center is set. 

Calf Stretch

Here is an easy way to stretch your calf muscles:

You do not have to have a fancy wedge like we have in the picture.

You can use a thick book such as a phone book, or use a short piece of 2×4. 

Place the ball of your foot or feet on the wedge, book etc.  Keep your knees straight, and your heels on the floor.  Do not rock back and forth or raise up on your toes.  Just stand still and allow gravity to do the stretching for you!

Next, hold this position, but bend your knees.  You will feel the stretch move lower in your calf.  Hold 30 seconds.

Both these stretches are important because there are two main calf muscles.  One stretches most when your knee is straight, and the other when your knee is bent.  One of these muscles is most active when you are standing still, and the other when you are walking, running, or climbing. 

Here is one more option:

 Stand with the ball of your foot on the edge of a step.  Now drop your heel(s) down below the level of the step.  Hold 30 seconds.  You may repeat this one with your knees bent as well.  On this one, make sure you have a firm hand-hold for balance !


Note:  These exercises are intended as a review of exercises taught in therapy, and not as an individual prescription for exercise. 

Hip Stretching

Hip muscles are significant in low back pain because they derive part of their attachment from the low back.  Therefore, when hip muscles are tight, they can cause low back pain.  Here are some choices for stretching hip muscles:

Lie at the edge of the table or bed with the right knee pulled up to your chest, and your left leg hanging over the edge of the table.  This will stretch the right hip extensor, and the left hip flexor (Note that in the picture above, the young man’s left thigh is not able to reach the table.  This is due to a tight left hip flexor).  From this position, you would want your left thigh to drop below the level of the table.  If you can relax in this position, you will get a good hip flexor stretch.  Hold 30 seconds.  Repeat by reversing which leg is in each position.

The above picture shows another method of stretching hip flexors.  Place one foot on a step and keep your hips tucked under (like a dog tucking its tail).  Keeping your body upright, lunge forward toward the front leg.  The stretch should be felt in the front of the leg that is on the floor.  Hold 30 seconds.

You may also try a kneeling hip stretch:

To stretch the right hip, kneel on the right knee.  Keep your hips tucked under while you lunge forward toward the left foot.  Keep your torso upright throughout the stretch.  Hold 30 seconds and repeat. You may also stretch the opposite hip in the same way.

This one is for the piriformis, a deep rotator of the hip:

This one is a bit complicated to learn, but a very effective stretch:  To stretch the right side, bend the right knee and place your right ankle over the left knee.  Next, bend your left knee up toward your chest, and use your arms to pull the left leg up further, giving an additional stretch to the right side.  Hold 30 seconds.  Repeat for the left side.

The following is an alternative stretch for the deep rotators of the hip:

Lie on your back and pull your knee toward the opposite shoulder.  Hold 30 seconds.  Repeat with opposite leg. 

*note:  Stretches should not HURT.  you should stretch the muscle to the point of tension, and maybe some mild discomfort.  Do not stretch into pain!  A relaxed muscle stretches better than a painful, tense one! 

Good Friday

Good Friday was the best thing that ever happened in the history of mankind!  Good Friday was the day a perfect, spotless, sinless, man died to take the punishment deserved by all mankind.  That man was God’s Son. His name is Jesus Christ. He gave a world that chose death, a second chance at life.

All have done wrong, and fall short of the standard God set–Romans 3:23

The wages of that wrong is death, punishment, and separation from God, but God freely gives life through the sacrifice of His Son–Romans 6:23-24

God demonstrated how much He loves us by sending His Son as a substitute to take our punishment–Romans 5:8

There is no other name, person, mediator, or sacrifice by which mankind can be made right in God’s eyes–I Tim 2:5-6

It is through faith in this mediator that we are able to realize true HOPE–That is, we have the confidence that wrongs are forgiven, and eternity is determined–Heaven, in the company of God forever.

Here are just a few verses to read on the subject:

Ephesians 2:8-9

Titus 3:5-6

Galatians 3:1-14

Romans chapter 4

If the above seems like a simple formula, it is backed up by the entire message of scripture. What a BEAUTIFUL story the scriptures tell of a loving God who gave mankind a choice of how to live.  When man messed up, God provided a way to make it right, and man, by accepting God’s way, can be in right standing again before his Creator.  I hope you’ll read it.  I hope you’ll be challenged by it.  I hope you’ll believe!

Leave a comment!  I love to talk about the Bible. It’s an indescribably rich book, the very Words of Life!