Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Cost of Eating Gluten-Free

3 GF Apples, watercolor & ink, 5x7, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

I keep reading about the high cost of eating gluten-free. What doesn’t get a mention in any of these articles is the high cost of NOT staying gluten-free.

Does it really cost that much more? All fresh fruit & vegetables, fresh meat & fish are naturally gluten-free. Include in that list milk, eggs, rice, and potatoes - all of these you would or could eat either way.

Where the cost is added is grains, and prepared foods. I agree they do run higher since they are more specialized, as somewhere along the line it was decided wheat should be in everything and be everywhere.

But what about the cost of continuing gluten consumption with celiac disease? Or all the years prior to diagnosis?... The Doctor appointments, the antibiotics, lost time of work, tests, procedures, x-rays, MRIs, prescription meds, co-pays, physical therapy, crutches, acupuncture, pain killers. Painkillers! I can’t even imagine how much I have spent just on Advil in my lifetime.

I have spent a fortune over the years while celiac wreaked it’s havoc, but remained unknown. I shudder to see the actual dollar amount of all that combined.

Treating the problems, related illnesses, chronic pain…. The cost is impossible to calculate. Compared to that the food is a bargain.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A phone call that changes everything

"Yoga Girl Sitting", 5x7, ink & watercolor, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

Did you ever get one of those phone calls, the call that changes your perspective on life, that shifts everything, the punch to the stomach, the one that yanks the rug right out from under you?

The kind of call that when you see caller ID you hesitate a moment before answering because they never call from work/at work/on your cell/at this time... You know the one. You pick up the phone and sub-consciously hold your breath. But they sound so breezy and matter of fact. The circumstances are anything but, so you ask, "what's up?"
Then you get the news. It's not your news but it's them, so it changes everything. From that moment on everything is different because of who it is. The roar in your head quiets just enough to carry on the conversation. This is real and raw and happening. You want to be supportive, helpful, someone they can lean on. Together you talk, you cry, you hope, you pray, you laugh - you are there for them. And you will continue to be there as they will need you and they move through the maze of the unknown and the unimaginable.
Afterwards you sit drained, shocked, trying to absorb it, your thoughts a disorganized mess. You will get yourself together before you speak next. They will need your love, your support, your thoughtfulness, your strength, your prayers AND your hope.
In the meantime the world has just shifted. Nothing feels the quite the same. And you know now that you will keep up with those seemingly pesky medical tests - the ones we all need to do, the ones that are easy to postpone, the ones that save lives. And, you will continue to make healthy food choices, exercise, take care of yourself so you can feel some sense of control.
You will wake up each morning for the foreseeable future with them as your first thought. And you will be grateful they are part of your life. You will feel gratitude for your family, your friends, and all the little things in your life. For you and your loved one you will focus on hope and healing and light. Hope and healing and love. And you will pray.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We have a Winner!

Thanks to all who participated in our first giveaway.  It was great reading everyone's comments and seeing what people were drawn to (forgive the pun).  We look forward to having more giveaways in the future.

Leslie was the lucky winner and chose a print of the Lion portrait which she will receive along with a copy of Roy's book, Patches of Grey.

Thanks again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Finding Motivation

I gather from many of the celiac forum discussions, and articles written, that there is a never-ending stream of people who don't find good health motivation enough to follow a gluten-free diet. Too many focus on what they believe they are missing instead of what they are gaining. They struggle with, or deny, the diagnosis of celiac and consider it a sentence.
Making a drastic lifestyle change like changing the way you eat, shop, socialize, and travel requires motivation. Sometimes it is found within sometimes it comes from an outside source. And, everyone has to find his or her own motivation.
I feel lucky to have multiple motivating sources... 2 come from within: having lived in constant pain and the memory of losing both my mother and grandmother at young ages to stomach cancer.  
The third, and outside source, is my moment to moment reminder in the form of a 3 year old, 39 lb bundle of explosive power who bursts into every day by 6am at full tilt - ready to play, run, jump, draw, paint, bake, read, dance and learn with inexhaustible energy, enthusiasm, and joy!
I need a tremendous pool of energy to keep up with her. I want to live as long and healthy a life as possible to be with her, enjoying every moment to the fullest. I love drawing her as much as she loves seeing the drawings. Two years ago I didn't have the strength or energy to do anything extra. It took everything I had to get through the day. Now, even with my very hectic schedule I find - and use - slices of time to create. It re-charges me and is my special gift to my daughter. And it has made me whole again.
So, from the outside people may only see what I give up or do without to be gluten-free but from where I stand all I can see is what I have gained – and it is infinite!
*My Little Mermaid, work in progress, ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

You can see my more of my work in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint. Or check out my recent 100 Day Project on Instagram