Sunday, January 24, 2016

Glenn Frey's Struggles Are a Wake-Up Call for Auto-Immune Disease

You know the reason I don't despise people trying gluten-free, or allergen free foods without a diagnosis?
Because getting a diagnosis, accepting it, and getting treatment can sometimes be more than a person can handle. I have met so many people across the United States and abroad who are trying to figure out what is wrong with them physically. They come to our shows seeking answers, needing to talk to someone who doesn't think they are crazy.

Sure, it would be better for them to get a diagnosis if at all possible. It would be fantastic if you can afford to get appointments with a health professional or not be sent running in the wrong direction by someone who doesn't clue in to what is wrong. Perhaps we forget that we still have many people who become bankrupted with just one health crisis. Just some food for thought...

So how does the death of Glenn Frey play into this conversation?
The death of the legendary Eagles front man was a sad day for so many people who appreciated him for the fantastic songwriter he was. As a music lover, I found myself moping about it all week. Then, the details of his untimely death started coming to light, and I was even more sad for so many other reasons than just losing one of the greatest rock and roll legends of my lifetime.

Glenn died of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, and Pneumonia. More to the point, the medications he was taking for RA had given him such a case of Ulcerative Colitis that he had to undergo surgery in November and succumbed to Pneumonia in the end.

We have lost far too many humans to auto-immune diseases already. A celebrity dying from an illness doesn't change anything about the situation, but it does make people stop and think about the implications of ignoring it. It also makes it a prime time for education to be accepted by a more receptive audience. A death takes away the sting of those celebrities just trying the latest fad thing out there, if even ever so slightly. Who are we to know what health issues they are privately dealing with?

One of my friends posted the article on Glenn's death, and she pointed out the sad fact that most auto-immune drugs have remained more lethal than the diseases themselves. And Rheumatoid Arthritis is just one of the auto-immune diseases that have drugs that have lethal side effects.

For example:
Ulcerative Colitis
Treatment includes medications and surgery.
Steroids: Hydrocortisone by mouth (Cortef), by injection (Solu-cortef), or in the rectum (Cortifoam), Prednisolone (Flo-Pred), Budesonide
Other treatments: Infliximab by injection, Azathioprine (Imuran), Prednisone (Deltasone), Mesalamine in the rectum (Canasa) or by mouth (Apriso), Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), Adalimumab by injection, Mercaptopurine (Purinethol), Aminosalicylic acid

Granted, sometimes it is necessary to take medications. But, with all of the side effects present with medications, it only stands to reason that millions of people are trying natural remedies and/or dietary changes. They are seeking answers to their health issues to relieve them without poisoning their body to treat symptoms. You were there at one time too, seeking out solutions for your health failing. You probably continue to try different methods to improve daily.

At least 50% or more of the people who are new at trying a gluten-free or allergen-free lifestyle at Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Events, claim that they are indeed searching for answers to a multitude of auto-immune problems which physicians have not been able to successfully treat or they had a health professional suggest it to them. The rest who attend claim multiple benefits because of dietary change, and many agree it saved their lives.

The things we do all know are that we are not alone in seeking what is right for our bodies, and we should support medical professionals who are busily seeking more answers to help us. With all of that said, maybe we should all take it a little easier on people and their choices. Use the moments when you want to cringe to take the opportunity to educate. I'll be right there with you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Crossing the Mountains of Allergies in 2016

It's a new allergen free year, and I hope you all are having a wonderful start to 2016.
The 2015 year provided our communities with considerable good and bad news which is laid out before you below.

The Good News:

  1. The gluten and allergen free markets are seeing no sign of slowing down yet, meaning still more options are bounding their ways into our local stores and cities. 
  2. The FDA is slowly amending the gluten free and allergen labeling law to try and cover a loophole or two.
  3. Food Allergy safety in school and airlines is being spotlighted and a campaign is focused.
  4. More studies on diagnosis, treatment, and public issues are being delved into with fervor.
  5. Gluten sensitivity is being backed up and hopefully makes more strides sooner rather than later.

The Bad News:

  1. The media is bent on making your gluten and allergen free diet to remain ridiculed and questioned on a daily basis with ever more candor. With every negative blog post and news article, the chances of our safe options are being diminished.
  2. People are 10 times more likely to be vile in comments on blog posts and media articles.
  3. Companies like General Mills and Quaker Oats are able to use their own internal testing methods which have been proven to have flaws.
  4. Whether or not you agree with the P.F. Chang Asian Bistro lawsuit being waged, their legal team has chosen to use fairly offensive reasoning for fighting the lawsuit. These reasons are making fodder of the fact that celiac disease is a disability and that it is genetic.
  5. Talk show hosts, advertisements, comedians and cartoonists are still taking potshots at gluten free or people with food allergies, and failing to be funny to the ever growing community.

Reading the lists above makes me only realize that we thought we had crossed the mountain of food allergies but still have so very far to go. Perhaps being a food allergy advocate should be more likened to hiking the Appalachian trail with hundreds of miles of mountains to traverse. We are likely only a quarter of the way there, or perhaps a third if you want to be a glass half full kind of person. Either way, we are getting there with every tedious step along the trail.

And the best news of all, I am right there with you!

Here's to a year full of successes - Happy 2016!