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One Month gluten Free

** Self Diagnosed with Celiac Disease - Blogging my Gluten free Journey **

One Month in the Gluten free trenches.

Slowly getting my energy back. Felt really toxic from the second week on. I finally got desperate and googled some ways to detox my body. 

Green teas  - mint, chamomile, cinnamon were my daily by the gallon choices
Epsalt salt baths - with baking soda added one day, raw sliced ginger another day, and real lavender essential oil on the third day
Essential oil rub - olive oil with a few drops of peppermint oil, lavender oil  & chamomile oil. Rubbed over my abdomen at night before bed and again when I got up.   (I thought it was a bit silly but I actually was less achy after the first night.)

I really noticed the difference 
after the baths, teas and abdomen oil rub. 

I took some alfalfa in capsule form and when I didn't feel sick from it I took a little more the next day.  Sometimes certain vitamins still really bother my grain-mangled guts. The toxic feeling started leaving and I actually was able to get some decent sleep for a few days.

The last few days my guts are starting to calm down and the random pains are lessening. I am determined to just go one day at a time.

What I ate this week:
Got some Udi's gluten free bread - Yummy
made toast one day and a peanut butter and jelly the next - pretty good

Made homemade spinach dip - SO DELICIOUS!!  I loaded it with tons of green veggies and am sad  cause it's all gone. It's the best thing I ate all week. Used almond crackers or corn tortilla chips for dipping.

Betty Crocker GF brownie mix - fudgie goodness. I got teary-eyed after the first bite. Even my hubby liked it.

Homemade cornbread - It was tasty but turned hard as a brick after a day. Will adjust the recipe.

I am hungry so I am off to whip up some gluten free goodness. I am anxious about the upcoming holidays and my ability to partake. Need to be patient and prepared.

I'd love to thank my mom this week for the cheerleading and dragging my sorry behind to the health food store. Mom, you are great company and I am glad we are in this together!

Leah Banicki
Gluten free since 10-8-10


3 weeks gluten free - still alive

There are many people who think that going Gluten free would be a life sentence to boring food. I have heard some people have refused to go gluten free even with a diagnose of Celiac's disease. That is sad to me. The more I read the more I see dangers of continuing without changing the diet. Danger's like cancer, infertility, seizures and more.
If gluten filled foods like pizza, bread & donuts are killing me... I can live without them.

The reality is, if every time you ate these things they acted like broken glass in your body eventually you would stop, if you knew.

I am not tempted in the slightest to eat anything with gluten right now. Seriously, I miss me. The singing , writing , social person that was Leah before my body went haywire.  I miss having the energy to work out and go to my kid's sporting events, ( I missed an entire season when I couldn't get out of bed because of intestinal pain when I ate anything.)  I gave up my singing , writing and living. It was a dark and lonely place, even with the love and support of my family.

Three weeks in  and surviving. First two weeks were better honestly. A lot of research has led me to understand that coming off of gluten can be tough. There is a detoxing phase. I am losing weight and its a sad fact that toxins live in stored fat. (I know, not pleasant to think about.) Had lots of leg cramps this week.
I have felt sick for two years but I don't know the damage that was done to my intestines. I am eating with the idea to heal. I am not worrying about how many calories. Though my habit is too barely eat and I am working hard to change my eating.

My husband says I still don't eat enough.  He takes such good care of me. He has embraced my new gluten free life and cheers me on.

Today:  made homemade cornbread  ( recipe)

So tasty. Had seconds with a little apple butter.

Organizing my gluten free pantry. Will probably make some muffins today too. Stocking up so I have some handy food so I eat healthier and more, to make me and my hubby happy. = P


Gluten free Story - Hilarious

A Celiac friend of mine and her partner entered a restaurant well known for catering to Celiacs.

The were seated and the server came with a menu, after they had time to peruse the menu the server returned.
As soon as he opened his mouth it was obvious he was East European.

Before my friend ordered, she thought it wise to let him know she was a Celiac.

She said " I'm a Celiac and I can't eat Gluten "

Server: Blank Stare

She tried again " No Wheat, Rye or Barley"

Server: Blank Stare

Desperation was setting in she tried once more.

" I can't have flour, very very bad, make me sick"

The Server had a big smile on his face:
and removed the rose from the table !!


Thanks to David H. for posting this on Gluten-free Faces.


2 Weeks Gluten Free

**After a self diagnoses of Celiac Disease I have started a gluten free adventure. **

2 Weeks in: Gluten Free

Love, Love, Love how I feel.

In two weeks of living gluten free I have energy back
have lost a dress size and decreased the anxiety in my head. 

Two years is a long time to feel sick and not know what's wrong. I have many friends and loved ones over the years feel sick for decades without relief. Their faith and determination kept them moving toward their own health. I had my own sleepless nights of pain and confusion and the hopelessness that sickness brings. 

Keep the Faith~
 I am a spiritual girl and my faith in God during the hard times was my hope. Trusting God was what got me through the rough days when the doctor had 'nothing in that black bag' for me.

The Food Issues~
I'd be lying if i didn't have a come apart or two about wanting a cookie or slice of pizza in the last two weeks but the improvement was so tangible I don't want to botch it for anything. I mean it!! 

My goals~
Keep up the simple eating plan. Gluten free and light on dairy is how I'm doing it.  Dairy is hard to digest and it was my choice to give my mangled guts a break.  I have had a little bit of dairy but limiting it for now.  

Gonna keep up the fight, get healthy and do what I love and gives me purpose and meaning in my life. To sing and write is my lifelong pursuit.  I feel so lucky to finally see results and the hope for a healthy life within my grasp.

Be Blessed & Healthy out there

Leah Banicki



Leah's Writing idea!!

Leah's ridiculous idea of the day -

I was walking back from the grocery store near my work (Dr.pepper was calling to me) and saw something curious on the sidewalk. I glanced closer and saw it was a mysterious looking hospital wristband discarded on the sidewalk. It was blood red and not from the local hospital. ( I know, you have been injured too many times when you know that your local hospital bands are clear!)

The wristband gave me a murder mystery story in my head.

Here is the pitch -

Starting with an escaped mental patient who casually discards his hospital wristband. A young mother leaves for the store but never returns.

A small town detective struggles with her faith and the wrath of a small town when the missing woman isn't found. One clue, a blood red hospital wristband, was found near the woman's apartment.

     * * *
It was a fun lunch hour thought. I will add it to my idea pile and keep editing my existing book. Back to work!
Leah Banicki 

(Closet mystery writer)


Gluten Free - 7 days in

What 7 days of Gluten free living has done for me!

This week is a balancing act of eating great and straddling the moments of feeling better than I have in years and the healing moments where my intestines wondered what the heck I am doing.

This weeks challenge was to eat Gluten-free (check) and find a way to stick to it.  I think the hardest part about the sticking to it is how easy I have made my life with carb-filled food. The instant gratification of a can of ravioli for lunch or a pop- tart for a snack.  The major adjustment was finding realistic things to eat without having to do a big song and dance or two hours of cooking, thawing and chopping.

The reality check is that if I am going to take care of me I have to step up my game. I have to actually try!  I have to think! I have to love myself enough to say "I am worth getting up and making something."  It is hard to do when you are healing and exhausted but I cannot waste another day just waiting for the food elves to come make me snacks!

I want to thank my family for shopping with and for me, the support is SOOO helpful. I hope as I heal I can be a good a friend and loved one as you all have been to me.

Today someone asked me how much better I feel since one week ago today. I have to say 60% improved in how I feel and energy level.  Last week I was starving and bed-ridden, I almost passed out trying to load the dishwasher! 
I am more convinced then ever that going Gluten free was the right thing for me. There are moments that rush over me that remind me of when I was younger and had energy and spunk. Those are my hope building moments. I know these are my glimpses of health. 

I thank God for opening my eyes.


Glutten free - Day 5

Embracing my new life being gluten free. I have taken lots of steps to fill my pantry full of GF (gluten free) goodies and have a few baking projects to start, I will share my results for the few that may be curious.

My body is reacting nicely, have the bursts of energy sometimes that feels better than I have felt in years. I know I am still healing and my stamina still needs work but really noticing how much calmer my guts are. They haven't screamed for attention in a few days.

Today my mom and I explored Aldi's for any gluten free potentials and actually found a few. Some chocolate pudding that advertised being gluten free on the front. Of course the veggies and fresh fruit are always gluten free.
Munching on cucumbers right now, so yummy.

For anyone who thinks they may have Celiacs Disease and wonders if it would be too hard to give up wheat I guarantee if you start feeling better, you won't miss the wheat. The gluten free community has so much support and ideas you will be surprised.

I have added a few favorites websites to my blogs website for those curious about Celiacs Disease or needing recipes. There are some amazing chefs that have complete menus. I have really enjoyed the forums and gluten free food lists available too.

Going to try baking some gf biscuits. I will share how they turned out.

Thanks for all the prayers and support friends. I  love you all.

Leah Banicki

24 hours of GF  The highlights
- last night refried beans tostada  - (soooo good)
- today - tuna salad and a fruit smoothie in my magic bullet (soy milk - 4 frozen strawberries dash of salt and cinnamon a spoonful of ground flax* optional) the flax is to help my guts heal, can't even taste it really.)

in my purse for emergency hunger - ziploc of roasted sunflower seeds

Cooking wishlist:  Wanna learn

Potato Pancakes
Chicken salad


Gluten Free - day 2-3

**After a self diagnoses of Celiac Disease I have started a gluten free adventure. **

Just starting day 3 of Gluten Free -
I have just started recovery and still having moments that I don't feel well at all but they are getting further apart, (playing the glad game today!) The food list to avoid seems do-able but the hunt through my pantry is sad, very sad, 95% unusable sad. Feeling weak and a little discouraged from the "You'll never eat Pizza" demon that is determined to steal my joy. I will not let it!! (I said it out loud just now for the demon to hear.)

Starting a shopping list of ideas and finding it slow going, every time I think of something to make I do the GF (gluten-free) game in my head. Things I have learned in the past 48 hours.

Kraft Jello is GF
Miracle Whip is GF
Pepsi products are GF - (I know, not a good habit)
Reese's Peanut Butter cups are GF (Haven't eaten any in a while but good to know)
The list continued but these stood out as a good sign to me that my new alien planet has a few familiar friends.

I have been afraid of eating fruits and veggie for the last year because of bad reactions, most likely due to the wheat I ate with it. (Hoping)

I dared to eat some green beans and a plain chicken breast today. It was delicious and I am hoping my mangled guts can handle them, I need the protein and nutrients if I am ever going to get some energy back.

My mom took pity and did a little "free" shopping for me and got me some rice crackers. Thinking about Tuna Salad (All ingredients are "free")

All in all just trying to put together a grocery list and realizing its gonna be a lot of work.
Thanks to all my friends for the prayers and support. Now I just need enough energy to get the the store.


Gluten Free - day one


I have struggled with my stomach and intestines miserably for 2 years. I had a horrible parasite exactly two years ago that did damaged to my intestines, it wasn't pretty. The doctors were never able to find any specific reason that I couldn't eat well or would go weeks where I couldn't be more than five feet from a bathroom. (I know it is disgusting, I lived it.)
I had the "Maybe you have Irritable Bowel" discussions a few too many times but with no actual relief. Tried a few prescription drugs that messed me up. One gave me hallucinations, my next door neighbor dogs turned into trolls and yelled at me all morning to "Get out of your house." I was a grown woman calling her mommy for help that day.
I finally got a little relief a few months ago. No apparent reason for it, just sometimes my guts are in agony and sometimes it improves enough to function, work and be normal.
Last week the scary guts came back and after a few days of agony after eating I go into protective mode where I stop eating altogether. I resort to a few bites of crackers or toast and drink gallons of peppermint tea and water. You can't function that way and I found even that did not keep the agony away, now you add intestinal cramping to starvation pain and weakness.
I am pitiful at this point.
After a lot of prayer and a run in by my mother with an acquaintance, she shared a story of her own family's struggle with Celiac Disease. There were some definite parallels and once my mother and I discussed the possibility and started reading the book the acquaintance gave us we can see how this could be a solution.
I decided to go for it. There is no cure for Celiac disease but if you live Gluten-free you can feel great and actually eating without pain.
* * *
I am almost 24 hours into my gluten-free adventure and my stomach is calmer.

1st day - mom made me a soy milk shake, I boiled some brown rice and added a little soy garden margarine & later ate a handful of gluten free corn flake cereal. All tasted good, I was glad.

Today I had some more cereal for breakfast and it's settling nicely. Hurray.

* * *
Spent a few hours reading LIVING WELL WITH CELIAC DISEASE by Crangle. It's very informative and helping with the questions I have.

The next step is to figure out how to eat without Gluten. A family member has a gluten-free daughter who will be a great resource. I have also bookmarked a few forums on that may help.

I already found out that Pepsi and jello are gluten-free! Whoop! It's the little things. Honestly I have spent all morning trying to push the thoughts out of my head that are real and will affect me eventually.
If this trial gluten-free diet works and I feel better will I ever want to eat gluten again? Probably not. The pain is real and has worked hard at ruining my life.

If I never eat gluten again that means, no brownies, no pizza, no favorite burrito at the Mexican restaurant I love, but these are so little compared to the pain in my body just this week alone. I have battled depression and weight gain and my own sanity over my bodies inability to digest anything. If I finally have an answer why would I let the longing for a brownie ruin my chance at being whole again.

I remember what it felt like to have energy and spunk, I miss that desperately. My hope is all wrapped up in this.

Wishing and praying for relief.

Leah B.

Hmm... what's for lunch ???


Wondering about Leah?

Started a new phase of my life doing something that I have loved since 3rd grade. Writing stories.
I have always been writing is some way or another between stories in school in every notebook I ever owned or songs in my music making days.

Adventure, romance, tragedy is just a few topics I would delve into. Keeping my stories in the realms of lifetime possibilities. Things I wish would happen or the what would happen if’s.

In college I had some goofy creative writing professor who hated my style and shared his prophecy with me that, “NO One will ever publish you because you write too straight forward and simple.” In that na├»ve 20 year brain I figured he was right and set aside my novel ideas and began songwriting.

A few heartaches later I was in need of a new start, something to rebuild Leah into a confident creative soul again. Fighting back depression with a big stick I got some inspiration from a self-publishing friend and found my desire to write reborn.

So now I am having a blast with a story I began years ago about the journey of a young woman, perhaps a bit wishful thinking about myself learning to face my dragons and get to my own authentic place.

So for those of you wondering if I just started writing out of the blue, I didn’t . It’s always been a passion of mine. I am just finally taking the time I have to put the stories down.
Learning the daily habits of novel writing has been a blast and I have great plans for the many ideas I have written down over the years. I hope my stories bless people and my characters feel like friends.

For the many friends and fans who are wondering when I will sing again please keep praying for me. I know I will get there, but for now just taking some time to build up my confidence again after a few bumps in the road. I am so thankful that my depression is getting better ever day, that God is giving me another chance to be creative and that I am finding my joy again.


Finding My Place

Spring always feels to me like a new beginning. After spending a year plus in depression, the last two weeks have felt miraculous as I am up and out and panic free (mostly). The huge insurmountable struggles are smaller now and faced day by day as I rediscover my purpose and find my voice.

I have been singing a little every day these last weeks. So much of who I am and my past is made from music and performing and to go a year without it was bizarre and changed me a little. I feel a little dusty. My voice sounds the same but I feel different about it. I guess I always had this magic number in my head that was the end of my singing career because I figured no one would ever take me seriously after I turned thirty. That came and went and I discovered more about my gifts and having so much fun writing and recording on my own that I thought perhaps I was wrong. There is no age limit to talent… Well I am afraid that old lie has snuck back in with a few friends, like insecurity and procrastination.

So here I am with my studio back together and starting on a new simple road. A little insecure and fearful but ready to face the world. I truly don’t know what I would do if God wasn’t with me on this, probably crawl back into a pit again.

It feels good to be honest about where I have been. I know many people have struggles with depression and live to tell about it. Its real and even Christians can be depressed. I learned in recovery that sometimes tragedy happens again and again and some people handle it differently than others. I felt God with me every step of the way, especially in the darkest days early on. He never left my side.

I am on assignment, sing some love songs and begin singing at weddings. I have been doing it for friends and family for years but now it’s a new day. I am trusting in God to help me to know His network is bigger than mine. I am leaning on him and putting my feet on a path to where he sends me. Singing has never paid my house payment before but stranger things have happened. Ready, set, go!

I am also secretly hoping to sing and write again; praying some inspired Christian musicians come my way and want to collaborate. That is truly the most fun thing ever, trust me …creating something from nothing and the harmony it makes is brilliant and magnificent.

Back to recording, friends keep praying for me please.

Leah Banicki