Thursday, November 15, 2007
The reason I ask is because I was pretty much a vegetarian before my celiac diagnosis. It's too bad I didn't "like" meat, as whatever ground beef, chicken, tuna, or other fish I managed to eat, apparently wasn't enough to sustain my B-12 (or iron) levels. Call me crazy. Literally. Shortly after diagnosis, my B-12 level was 264. My iron was lower range, but my ferritin was screamingly low at 5 (range starts at 20). The lab's reference range for B12 is 200-1100, so doctors said to not worry about it. *However, there's a note on my lab results which reads: "PLEASE NOTE: Although the reference range for vit B12 is 200-1100 pg/mL, it has been reported that between 5 and 10% of patients with values between 200 and 400 pg/mL may experience neuropsychiatric and hematologic abnormalities due to occult B12 deficiency; less than 1% of patients with values ABOVE 400 pg/mL will have symptoms."
At diagnosis, my vitamin D was a 21 on a reference range starting at 20. I got an Rx to boost THAT, but nothing for the B12. Believe you me from my research: if your B12 is that low - you're bordering on being loopy and that's in the head AND physically. I took a few tumbles on missed curbs and up stairs and wrote it off to occasional clumbsiness over the years. I was holding visions/memories of the sure-footedness of my youth on the balance beam and around creekbeds in the front of my mind: who knew these were little hints of a diagnosis to come?
One night, I let out my little poodle, Ernie, to pee (since deceased due to complications of diabetes because his poor owner was too tired to walk him, and he ate glutened dog food, but that's another blog). Rumor had it that there was a wild bobcat loose in the neighborhood, so I was on-guard standing on the patio while Ern was doing his business, the cat ever present on my mind. Lo and behold, OF COURSE the bobcat came into my yard and chased my dog around the swingset! Dagnabbit! What are the odds?! DH was out of town or working, don't remember, but OF COURSE he wasn't home. I say "of course" because I obviously wasn't handling stress well and wanted him desperately to be my knight in armor swooping in to save the night as it were. *Instead,* I was a screaming maniac trying to get my dog back into the house. (Have you ever seen 1979s comedy "The In-Laws" with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin? I think both are evading helicopter gunshots by crisscrossing a field, yelling, "Serpentine!" It made me laugh much at the time, and this is how I felt!) Anyway, I was half asleep, half hysterical and in SUCH a panic! I can still feel my heart pounding, my insides ricocheting with electric energy zaps.
...And that was my story for a long time until one night as I lay in bed half-asleep (as usual) I rewound that clip in my brain, "Hey! That bobcat had a long tail!" Was it really a big cat? Was it a DOG?? Were they PLAYING?! I'll never know. But I think about it, and wonder if I wasn't losing it.
Another time I had a mouse in the house, and my Ginger dog cornered it. I covered it with a huge stainless steel bowl and then said, "Now what?!" I was gasping for air calling my dad what to do next (cause OF COURSE my DH wasn't home); dad said to get a board and slip it under! Anyway, I could NOT think, and I remember how I was riddled with anxiety and stress.
Then we move to Alaska. I'm painting the garage, the dogs are enjoying the warm sun in the driveway. They begin incessant barking and will not come when called. I run in the house for a bisquit to lure them back. Ginger comes, but Ernie, my bud, my protector, won't back down to whatever it is ... I'm thinking another moose. I'm about to leave the garage to go into the woody area to get a clue when I heard a roOARR! You've heard the term "blood-curdling"? Whatever color I had in my pasty white skin left me as I realized a bear was out there. Then I didn't hear Ern barking anymore. *wide eyes*. I called the Wildlife Dept. (DH is out of state OF COURSE! lol) and he finds the dog buried under leaves: concussion. Vet visit. Long recovery with TLC and chicken soup.
Those stressful events which left me riddled with compounded anxiety felt much different then than when I get stressed now -- maybe it helps that there're no bears where I live though ;0). Since starting the gf diet, absorbing critical nutrients, I handle life's daily stressors much better, and I'm very grateful.
I bring up B12 and vegetarianism because I have a belief, based on my own experience, that vegetarians are trying to eat clean and be healthy: that they're innately trying to fix something "not right" within; and possibly, they're taking out the wrong food. Maybe because they're more sensitive emotionally (B vit deficient?) they take out meat or things with eyes. But also for consideration should come out: things with gluten.
I read the China Study a while back and all I kept thinking, since I'm celiac and all, is that T. Colin Campbell did not address gluten/grains in any of his studies. He sees meat as I see gluten maybe! I now try to read appendixes before I buy my nutrition/health books, and think that an author is pretty saavy if he/she lists gluten :). Dr. Atkins mentions gluten in his Age Defying Diet book, btw.
Anyway, many Chinese don't eat much gluten (unless they've been "Westernized"), which would allow for greater absorption of nutrients, which would help fight off free-radical damage to help ward off diseases & cancers. Some Chinese eat noodles likely made from gluten grain wheat. Wheat also has phytates which block absorption of minerals and vitamins. They do not eat sugar. Most Asian cultures are rice-based, and most are full of vegetables, if not fermented vegetables, on top of THAT. Fermented foods are good for immunity/gut health (gut=brain health).
When we fished for halibut in Alaska, the local Asians would crowd the boats upon our return looking for the guts, eyeballs and other junk we were discarding from our catch of the day ... much like a bear?! Eyeballs and guts have lots of fats? Fermented food is good for the gut, which feeds the brain, which feeds the soul. :) Gluten is glue for the gut and brain, it's sticky. And I'm reading more about it's connection to the heart. Please read the link below for more info concurring with my hypothesis and experiences.
If I had to have a name for my diet, I guess it would have to be the gluten-free Paleo lower or no-er grain vegetable/fruit diet. And now I have my wits about me.