Mass marketer General Mills Inc. is carving out a niche in gluten-free food after realizing it could reach eager customers without costly ad campaigns, says today's Wall Street Journal. The company's Betty Crocker brand is rolling out gluten-free mixes for cookies, brownies and cakes. The mixes are the first gluten-free offering from a major, mainstream brand in the cake-mix aisle. Gluten is a key protein in wheat, but many people react badly to it. Ann Simonds, General Mills's president of baking products, says the company decided to pursue gluten-free products last year after its customer-relations department noticed that customer inquiries about food allergies and sensitivities ...
I have glaucoma. It came out of nowhere and hit me right between the eyes...sort of. One of my sisters had glaucoma, but I'd never had a hint of excess pressure. I procrastinated six months regarding my annual eye exam, and at the end of the exam, I was stunned to learn I had glaucoma, and it could change my life. In the meantime, I had two surgeries to remove cataracts and implant new lenses. It's possible that the glaucoma brought on the need for the surgeries, but who knows? I do know that having lens implants was miraculous and I can see much better. But that's a side issue. So what do I do? Try to stay as healthy as possible and take eye drops as directed to keep the pressure on the optic nerves as low as possible. Having a superb eye doctor like Curtis Akerman helps. He knows his stuff and fields my questions with grace. Here's a link to the World Glaucoma Day site. It also provides information on glaucoma. And here's an excerpt from one of their print documents:
Because glaucoma is a progressive disease causing irreversible visual loss, usually without warning until relatively advanced, and because 50% of affected people in the developed world, and 90% in developing countries, do not know they have it, and are not on treatment, we believe community awareness needs to be increased. This includes awareness of the disease, and of the need to have regular eye checks, thereby permitting earlier detection and avoidance of what should be preventable visual disability.So you don't have glaucoma. Wonderful! What's the best way to make sure you stay that way? Make sure you have regular eye checkups and that you are always tested for glaucoma. Have a good World Glaucoma Day! Please direct any questions concerning your personal health to a licensed eye doctor or other appropriate health care professional.
Disability Empowerment Center Grand Opening Last Thursday I had the privilege of attending the grand opening celebration of the Disability Empowerment Center of Arizona. Joining me was my brother, David Crook, who took many photos of the event. The center, a project of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL), is a universally designed, accessible, and transit-oriented nonprofit resource for Arizona's disability community. Perhaps this is best illustrated by the photo below, which shows people using wheelchairs and scooters breaking through the walls...portraying successful steps taken to advocate for the disability community...including legislation. The entire evening was filled with grace and beauty, as people came together to celebrate the opening first portion of the center. Currently DEC offers fully accessible administrative office space, meeting rooms, event space, a cafeteria and kitcen, computer lab, and a resource center. "The DEC will serve as a national model for accessible design, according to Phil Pangrazio, executive directory of Abil. "Future plans for the center also include a universally accessible sports and fitness center for persons with disabilities that is being funded through the City of Phoenix 2006 Bond program and private foundations that include: The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the David Reese Family Foundation, Thunderbirds Charities, the Rhett Butler Family Foundation and others that are currently being pursued. Completion of the sports & fitness center is planned for the summer of 2009." The 62,000-square-foot facility houses (in addition to ABIL),
- Arizona Center for Disability Law
- Raising Special Kids
- Arizona Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Joni & Friends
- Statewide Independent Living Council
- Arizona Autism United
- Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association
- Valley Center of the Deaf
- PRN Medical Services
Introducing Jaie Benson, a new friend who went from near death to hope because her physician insisted she couldn’t have Celiac Disease because she was African-American. Here’s her story: Just 6 weeks ago, I felt like I was dying. For the past 6 months, I have been really, really sick. Six weeks ago, I found out I have Celiac Disease. I can’t have gluten (wheat, rye or barley) or take any type of anti-inflammatory drugs. Last August, it was challenging for me to even lift my head off the pillow. I had a litany of things wrong with me, daily migraines, tingling and pain on my left side, extreme fatigue, circles so dark under my eyes concealer wouldn’t hide it, but the most crucial for me was the fogginess in my brain - I could not think logically and could not reason. I was confused, I had lost my edge and I was very scared. I had always been a healthy person. I ate organic, I exercised and mediated daily. I did not let anything stress me out. For months my doctor could not find anything wrong with me. In late November, I went to the emergency room because I could no longer take the excruciating pain in my brain. One of the young interns came in and after a brief chat he said - from the symptoms you describe - it sounds like Celiac. Then he said - but maybe not - since you are African American. The cat scan revealed a small abnormality in my brain (the doctor said possible aneurism - which I refused to buy into) and they sent me home making me promise to see my doctor right away to get a referral to a neurologist along with some meds to kill the headache for the moment. I went home and immediately started researching Celiac Disease and I almost fell on the floor. Just about every symptom I found ~ I had. I couldn’t believe it. I cried tears of joy because I no longer felt like I was crazy and that I was dying. According to what I was reading it could all be corrected through diet. I went to my doctor later that week with all of the info I could print off and asked him to test me for Celiac. He looked at me and said...NO. I asked, “why”? His response, you don’t have it - you are African American, and it is only prevalent in people with European descent. I said but I have every symptom on these pages and I want the test. He said...NO, it will be a waste of time and money. OK, people who know me call me the “Queen” of Positivity (at least for the past few years) but everything in me changed when this man told me NO. I think I grew three heads which all started spinning at the same time and from my look and tone when I said to him, “I want to be tested, I will be tested, NOW” he said, “Okay.” Test results revealed I am allergic to gluten, I also have the “gene” for Celiac. Everyone on my Mom’s side of the family has always had stomach problems - now I know what those problems were. I had started a gluten-free diet even before the results were in and started to feel a little better each day. Incidentally, the doctor, after realizing he was wrong, said absolutely nothing but that was okay: I was just so grateful to know that I had a chance to live. Today, I am gluten free, baking my own bread, and eating fresh foods. I was able to walk (not run yet) a mile and do four push-ups today. Six weeks ago, I could not even walk up my driveway. I live on 4 acres and it was an absolute joy to feel the sun on my face this morning even in 14 degrees. One thing I have learned is that unless we take care of ourselves we can’t go out there, “be” remarkable, and “do” remarkable things for others, our communities and the world. We only get one body in a lifetime...PLEASE make sure you are doing all you can to take care of it. That includes making the best eating choices, exercise when possible, and not stressing out over things we cannot control. I strive everyday for wholeness in mind, body and spirit. I believe in giving a tenth of the day (24 hours) to myself and I split the 2.4 hours in thirds and give equally to my mind, my body and my spirit. A different sort of tithing. By loving myself enough to do this daily, it strengthens me to be there for others and help where I can. I am getting better day by day. Heck, I was able to write today and for me this is a miracle. One of the projects I am going to work on in 2009 will be raising awareness of Celiac (and leaky gut) among all ethnicities and I would love to also work on helping the poor eat and live better. If you have any info to share that I could use, please pass it along to me.