Is Your Medication Gluten Free?

Medications

 

It happens to the best of us, we push ourselves, overdo it, stress our systems; we get sick.  I’m not talking about a sniffle or cough, but really sick!  I am a great believer in homeopathic medicine, but I also understand that there is a time and place for allopathic medicine.  As a Nutritional Therapist I believe that a properly prepared nutrient dense diet can keep our immune systems strong, but I also know when to say when.  My best friend urged me to write this post, and hopefully the information I am sharing will be helpful.

In September of 2003 I contracted Lyme Disease.  Unfortunately, the Doctor I saw was not well versed and it was many months before I received proper treatment.  I don’t want to go into the gory details, suffice to say I learned how to live with Lyme Disease.  Through trial and error I found a supplementation protocol and nutrient dense diet free of grains and refined sugars prevented relapses.  I have been in remission for many years, but during the Holidays the perfect storm occurred; my immune system became stressed.  The holiday rush, lack of sleep, getting glutened several times….Wham, the “bulls-eye” had returned!

I know that many of you are going to disagree with the course of action that I decided to take, but I had to do what was best for me.  My Functional Practitioner referred me to an Integrative Physician who specializes in Lyme disease.  This Doctor fully understood Lyme as well as Celiac Disease, and the protocol he prescribed (both allopathic and holistic) was gluten free.  What happened next, a true fiasco!

Gluten Free prescriptions in hand I headed to the pharmacy.  I was tired, had a severe case of brain fog, muscle aches, and a pounding headache.  I waited patiently for the prescriptions to be filled; 25 minutes later, with medications in hand, I headed home (without checking the prescriptions).  Once at home I opened the bag to find that the pharmacy had filled the prescriptions with gluten containing generics!  I called the pharmacy immediately and told them of the error.  The pharmacist explained that the insurance company only allowed the generic to be filled, and any changes would require pre-authorization.  They pharmacist also explained that they would have to order the gluten free medications and it could be several days.  Many phone calls and 5 days later I finally have gluten free medications and can begin the protocol prescribed by the Doctor.  When you are sick, and have Celiac Disease the last thing you should have to worry about is getting ill from the medication you are taking to make you better.

I knew that the medications contained gluten because of years of experience, but even I am fallible and I hope you will learn from my missteps.  (1) Always ask your Doctor to confirm that the prescription he or she is writing is gluten free. (2) Make sure the Doctor checks the little box on the prescription pad that says “Brand Medically Necessary”.   (3) Check with the pharmacy to confirm that they have the prescribed medication in stock. (4) Always check your prescription before leaving the pharmacy (5) Let the pharmacy know that you have Celiac Disease or are Gluten Sensitive.  (6)  And finally, one of the most important resources that anyone with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivities should have bookmarked is www.glutenfreedrugs.com.   This website is authored and maintained by Steve who is a clinical pharmacist.  It contains an extensive list of both prescription and over-the-counter medications and is updated frequently.  He provides this information as a public service, and obtains and compiles data from a number of sources (including the manufacturers).

I am on the mend, and my sincere hope is that if you do need to take a medication the information in this post will save you from the mistakes that I made….Please, confirm that your medications are gluten free so that you may heal quickly.

Health, Personal Care

Quarter Cupcakes

Grain Free Quarter Cupcakes

Grain Free Quarter Cupcakes

 

I know, it’s an odd name, but let me explain.  I dubbed these Quarter Cupcakes because 1/4 measurements are found throughout the recipe….thus Quarter Cupcakes!  The D-Man and I made these last week to celebrate Aunt Karen’s Birthday, she loved them!  The cake is moist, but dense, and not overtly sweet; reminiscent of the cakes she enjoyed when she lived in Germany.  The D-Man recommended we top these with chocolate frosting because “it’s Aunt Karen’s favorite”, (yes, it’s the D-Man’s favorite too).

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Butter, Ghee or Coconut Oil (melted)
3 Pastured Eggs (Room Temperature)
1/4 Cup Coconut or Palm Sugar
OPTIONAL:  For sweeter cupcakes add a bit of stevia powder or 10 drops of liquid stevia
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Organic Ground Ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (I typically add 2 to 3 teaspoons for extra flavor)
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour (sifted)
1/4 Cup Tapioca or Arrowroot Starch
1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil or use regular sized muffin liners or stand alone muffin cups found in home stores or on-line.

In a small bowl whisk together the sifted coconut flour, baking powder, tapioca/arrowroot starch, and ground ginger.

In a medium sized bowl combine eggs, melted butter (or ghee/coconut oil), coconut sugar, (optional stevia), and sea salt.

Blend the egg mixture by hand or with a hand held electric mixer until the wet ingredients are combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, blending until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.

Scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until done).

Allow the cupcakes to cool and top with your favorite frosting.

Recipes, Sweets and Treats

Update: Is Your Orange Juice Really Healthy?

Orange Juice

Orange Juice, Is It Really Healthy

 

It’s a new year and many of you have made resolutions to transition to a healthy and nutrient dense diet.  As a Nutritional Therapist, my clients often ask about “Healthy Juice” options.  While I am not a fan of “drinking” your fruit (that’s another post), I know that many people love to start their day with a glass.  I wrote this blog several years ago, but for better or worse, it is still timely today.  When I published this post in 2011 there was quite a bit of backlash, but now many bloggers have written and posted about “what is really in your orange juice”, it’s kind of flattering.  Anyway, here is the link to my original post:  http://livingglutenandgrainfree.com/2011/08/25/is-your-orange…eally-100-pure/

Thankfully, there have been positive changes since I published my post in 2011, and there are healthier options for juice drinkers in mainstream stores.  So what do you look for before purchasing juice….

Labeling, What to Look For on Your Juice Label:

Honestly, the top pick for my clients who want to drink juice is to select USDA Organic Fruit and Juice at home.  Obviously with the busy schedules we keep this is not always possible.  For those who want to purchase juice at the store I recommend the following:

Organic Cold Pressed Juice:  These juices can be found at places like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Health Food Stores, and even some large grocery chains.  Because the majority of these are made with organic fruit you will not be ingesting a chemical sludge which increases your toxic load.  Also note that since these juices are not heat pasteurized they retain a good amount of vitamins and minerals.  The downside is they have a shorter shelf life so make sure to check your labels for pull dates.

High Pressure Processing (HPP):  This process, as the name implies, uses high pressure (instead of heat pasteurization) to remove pathogens from the juice.  The HPP process extends shelf-life without removing oxygen thus retaining more of the nutrients found in the natural fruit.

For those interested in learning more about Juice Processing you can read the article by Food Babe:  http://foodbabe.com/2013/11/10/juice-labels/  Her article also has a link to where to find Cold Pressed Juices by State.  I am also including a great chart from Food Babe which shows how many of the major brands of  juice fare:

How to Choose Store Bought Juice

How to Choose Store Bought Juice

 

My advice to my clients is to focus on eating organic fruits, but if they just can’t give up the  juice at least there are more mainstream and healthful options available to them.

In Health,

Living Gluten and Grain Free

Breakfast, Health, Real Food Musings