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Friday, November 4, 2011

Meet My New Co-Blogger Who Went Gluten-Free

It is my absolute joy and honor to welcome my friend and now my co-blogger, Cathy Schafer, to Your World: Healthy and Natural. You all will LOVE her, and I hope that her articles and reviews will bless your life, starting with this first one about how she went gluten free! Welcome Cathy!

Hello to Your World: Healthy and Natural Readers! My name is Cathy, and I have been a reader of this wonderful blog for over a year now. I am a wife, mother of 3 boys (ages 15, 13, and 12). My life is all about finding balance and happiness, despite the challenges. I also have the absolutely wonderful privilege of living close by to Cara, allowing me to see her, sweat with her, and share with her my struggles and triumphs. I met Cara just over a year ago while strolling for treasures at her garage sale. Little did I know that I was at one of the lowest health (physical and mental) points of my entire life. Over the past year, she has convinced me that people who are conscious of eating and living natural and healthy are not “crunchy granola freaks”. Her love and care, and what I call overall AWESOMENESS convinced me that I am worthy of being healthy and natural. She actually brought me to tears when she asked me to start contributing to her blog….Who, Me? In an organic nutshell, I’m a: health-knowledge-challenged, overweight now, but once skinny-ex-smoker-wannaberunner -on-the-verge-of-forty-trying to figure out God’s plan for me-living in a small town-raising three boys to be men, which by the way one has Autism. But we all have something, eh? Hopefully, I can share with you some of my struggles and triumphs from my perspective of living Healthy and Natural.

Here’s my first commentary:

I was feeling tired, irritable, and frustrated that despite working out and what I considered eating right, my weight would not budge. In my quest for finding healthy and natural remedies, I came across some information explaining that gluten intolerance may be the cause. I had heard rumors of Gluten Free diets helping those with Celiac Disease and Autism, but what about me? Could I have sensitivity? So, a month ago, I committed to 30 days of living Gluten Free. I considered it a radical choice mainly because I really didn’t even know what Gluten was.

As it turns out, Gluten is a protein. “What?” I thought, I am willingly going to give up a protein? I thought I was supposed to eat more protein! Ok, ok, so not all protein is the same. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Obviously, that means that it is in bread and pasta. But, it can also show up in some lunch meats, beer, and even licorice.

I did some quick reading and found out that gluten may be the cause of hormone disruption. You see, if you have sensitivity to gluten, your intestines may become irritated when trying to digest the protein. This in turn creates stress on your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands are responsible for releasing hormones that repair our bodies (think anti-aging). In our wonderful system that is our body, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you could have adrenal exhaustion. Whoa! I never thought of it that way! You mean that if I eat something that irritates my intestines, it may show up as crow’s feet? Ok, I will try it. Thirty days, Gluten Free.


First, I find myself needing to apologize. In my self-centered thinking, I was only concerned about me. I now know, it is not about vanity. It is not just about me. According to the National Center for Celiac Awareness, Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. It is estimated that 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease. A 100% Gluten-Free diet is the only existing treatment for Celiac today. In addition to those who have Celiac Disease, there are a group of the population who choose gluten free for their children. Today, it is estimated that one in 110 children is diagnosed with Autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. Some parents of children with Autism are on board with the thought that if your body is irritated by certain foods, it confuses and depletes other systems in your body. Some parents have found that when their child sticks to a Gluten Free Casein Free diet, their child’s communication and socialization improves. Wow! This is serious. This clearly isn’t about just looking good, this is about a struggle to gain nourishment and function from food eaten.

Now, I can admit: I didn’t know what to expect when I started out a month ago. I was just hopeful that after trying diet upon diet, I could find something that works. After a month, I can solidly say, I FEEL BETTER! I have lost nearly 6% body fat and a clothing size. I feel like I have lost the cravings for sweets and starches (for the first time since having teeth, I did not need to eat any Halloween candy AT ALL). But, most importantly, I gained! I gained a complete respect for those who struggle with Celiac Disease. I found a connection to other parents by reading more about those who use a gluten free diet for their children with Autism. Over the past month, it was proven to me once again that we do not live here alone. Our struggles, our hopes, and our selves are connected to all of those around us. In short, I gained knowledge, appreciation, and quite frankly, humility; of the role my digestion plays in EVERYTHING.



  1. Great post. :) You are going to be an awesome Blogger...

  2. Thanks Chris.....Your support means the world to me!

  3. Cathy, I'm sorry it took me this long to read your full blog - Wow! Reading this made me wonder if a large part of the reason for the Juice Cleanse I was telling you about being effective is because it is gluten free.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, I look forward to reading more!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. Your thoughts and tips are what make this blog shine!