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Ferritin Out the Truth

April 19, 2012

My girlfriend is a blood donor. Me? I tried to do it once, almost passed out, and never tried it again. But her? Even though she almost passed out while on public transportation–two separate times!–after giving blood, she goes whenever she can. After the second almost-passing-out incident, I put my foot down and wouldn’t let her donate for a couple of years. But then we brokered a deal where she could donate as long as she was in a place where she wouldn’t have to take a bus or train home and could lie down immediately.

I thought this would end all this donation nonsense, but then we were at a Science Fiction convention recently where they had a donation bus parked outside the hotel and I knew I was licked.

But the funny thing was that when she tried to give blood, they wouldn’t take her.

“They said my iron was too low, but I should take an iron supplement and try again tomorrow.”

She took the supplement, went back the next day and all was well. There was no low iron, no passing out, but my antennae were raised. Low iron? What was that all about?

The word ‘ferritin’ had been popping up a lot in my reading. Janie Bowthorpe talks about it in her book Stop the Thyroid Madness which I reviewed here recently. Ferritin isn’t the active form of iron in your blood, the hemoglobin that moves oxygen around your body. Ferritin is the storage form of iron–the pool of iron that your body draws on for all the other iron-y stuff it’s got to get done. Stuff like making your liver work properly. Oh yeah, and your brain. And that’s just the start of a long, long list.

Read all about the symptoms of ferritin deficiency here

You thought anemia was the first sign of iron deficiency? It’s actually the last. If you’re low on iron, your body will make sure your hemoglobin gets first dibs–oxygen making it around your body is top priority. After that, it’s catch as catch can for all the enzymes, organs and processes scrambling after the remains. By the time your iron is so low the blood donation bus won’t take you, things have gotten pretty bad.

Since the level of ferritin is the true test of how your iron levels are doing, I wrote the word ‘ferritin’ on a sticky note and gave it to my girlfriend when she was on her way to her next annual doctor’s appointment.

“Ask for this test,” I said.

“Is it a real word? It sounds funny.”

“Just ask.”

When she got home, I checked to see if the doctor had given her any trouble.

“She was dubious at first,” my girlfriend said. “But then she said, if it created more harmony in my household, she would be happy to order it.”

Along with the alarming number of symptoms low ferritin can cause, you will also read here that a ferritin level below 50 is pretty dodgy.

My girlfriend’s came back at 7.

I was appalled. I gave her a stern talking-to about how there was to be no more blood donations until her ferritin was up to 100, and that it wasn’t a joke, she would have to take her iron supplement every day. And that she shouldn’t be so cavalier about her health–giving away her last precious molecules of iron to strangers without a thought for herself.

I took a little break from my lecture to look up my own ferritin level from my last blood test.

It was 15. Oops.

I had a vague memory of my doctor telling me that I needed to do something about it, but I had thought him to be an annoying pest to bring up such trivia when I had bigger fish to fry. I was mercury toxic! That was my problem! Why was this idiot banging on about some irrelevant iron deficiency?

Okay, so now we both take our iron supplements every day. I had my own annual physical the other day and of course I got my ferritin tested. It was still only 15. Sigh.

Getting iron levels up is a notoriously slow process, but even after these few short weeks of supplementation, I’ve noticed that my physical stamina is very impressive. Spring is the season to work out and I’ve been doing all kinds of long-bike-rides and running-up -hills with no complaints. But even more wonderful is my hair situation.

My hair has been falling out in alarming amounts ever since I was a teenager. I have really thick hair, so it always gets replaced, but I have to keep my hair short if I don’t want big clumps of hair in the drain every time I take a shower. What’s a huge sign of low ferritin? Hair loss. Big clumps of hair in the drain every time you take a shower.

But not these days. More and more hair is staying in my head and less and less is going down the drain. I often used to joke that I’d know I was truly truly healthy the day that my hair stopped falling out. Maybe that day is coming soon…maybe when my ferritin hits 100 🙂

Fight Autism and Win

April 12, 2012

I’d like to congratulate Jan Martin and her co-authors Rebecca Claire and Tressie Taylor on the launch of their new book Fight Autism and Win. Jan is the blogger behind Mercury Babies, where she has been sharing her honest and very helpful account of how she has chelated her autistic son using the frequent dose chelation protocol.

She and her co-authors–who are also moms of autistic kids–are highly qualified to offer advice as they have been in the chelation trenches for years. They have put together a quick and easy-to-read guide to frequent dose chelation that cuts through all the confusion and helps parents focus on the most important thing–treatments that actually work.

I am so glad to see another book on the market about frequent dose chelation–I hope it’s the first of dozens and I wish Jan, Rebecca and Tressie all the luck in the world. I hope it becomes a best seller, ladies 🙂

Creating an Aspie

April 5, 2012

Fiction. Made up stories. Novels.

It’s what I used to write before mercury came along and tried to kill me off. Having defeated that monster, do I want to pick up my writing where I left off? Edit that first draft of a novel I wrote in the weeks before I got my amalgam fillings removed?

Hell no! All I want to do now is write about mercury toxic people. My first book Getting the Mercury Out was just the facts, ma’am, the memoir of my horrible brush with mercury. And back in November, I started writing a new book, a novel–which rapidly grew into a trilogy–peopled with a host of mercury toxic characters living in the not-so-distant future, a time when mercury toxicity is far more common than it is today.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been intensively editing the first novel in that trilogy. One of the characters is deeply mercury toxic–I don’t want to give too much away–but one of the big ways in which her mercury toxicity manifests is Asperger Syndrome.

At first glance it would seem that writing a novel is easier than writing a memoir, right? I don’t have to get the facts right, I can shape the plot to suit my whims. It’s set in the future for God’s sake, so I can even make up a town that doesn’t exist today if I feel too lazy to research one that’s real.

But I can’t cut corners with my characters. The book will fall flat if I present a character who doesn’t ring true, and this character I’m creating who’s an Aspie plays a pivotal role in this book. I have to get her right.

Like practically everyone on the planet alive today, I’ve come across plenty of Aspies in my life–members of my extended family, people I’ve worked with, children I’ve taught. But I’ve never BEEN an Aspie. I haven’t lived that experience from the inside out.

In order to get a better grip on the mind of my Aspie character, I decided to embark on a quick reading tour of the Aspie world courtesy of our local library system. Over the past few months, I read over a dozen books about the syndrome. Some were memoirs written by Aspies. Some were guides for parents written by mothers who are raising Aspies. A lot were self-help books to help heal broken romantic relationships between Aspies and their Neurotypical (NT) partners (I don’t know what the local librarians think is going on in my home, but I hope other titles like “Building Better Plots” and “Creating Dynamic Characters” tip them off).

In all of my reading, two excellent authors really stood out. The first is Temple Grandin. She is an Aspie who has been writing for a long time about her experience of the syndrome, helping parents, educators and curious writers like me understand how the mind of an Aspie works.

Temple Grandin is also famous for her work in designing more humane slaughterhouses for cattle. This fact made me avoid watching the movie about her life until very recently. I didn’t want to witness lots of scenes of animals suffering and dying. But the movie is very tastefully done and Grandin’s very sweet personality shines through and makes it a movie well worth watching.

I also recommend her book Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships which she coauthored with Sean Barron. It gives a very illuminating look at two contrasting forms of the syndrome from the perspective of each of the authors.

The other author I was seriously impressed by was Ashley Stanford. She is an NT married to an Aspie and her book Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships is an excellent handbook for navigating the everyday issues and misunderstandings that arise when dealing with an Aspie on an ongoing basis. This book gets top marks for helping bewildered NTs understand why their Aspie is behaving so weirdly and how to reach out and build a better relationship with them.

Okay, I just want to add one more book. This one is a memoir by an Aspie man who decided to spend a year focusing on healing his broken marriage with his wife. It’s called The Journal of Best Practises and it’s written with a lot of humor by David Finch. It showed all of the good advice from the other self-help books put into action, and proved that when you have a lot of love and determination in your heart, even a super-challenging relationship crisis can be healed.

Stopping the Thyroid Madness

March 29, 2012

Fatigue. Low energy. Exhaustion.

It’s par for the course to feel like a wrung-out dishrag when mercury has a hold on you. And it’s not surprising. Mercury can mess with your heart, your pituitary, your adrenals, your thyroid, the list goes on…

In the midst of mercury detox, I wanted to find out what I could do about my low energy levels. I knew that there were supplements I could take, but which ones? And for what?

Taking Your Thyroid’s Temperature

I was lucky that a detox friend of mine told me to check out Dr. Rind’s adrenal and thyroid website. Here I learned about a very simple at-home test to sort out which parts of me were causing my fatigue. All I had to do was take my temperature every day and record it on a chart. Just by looking at the pattern on the graph, I could instantly tell if my adrenals or thyroid were impacted by mercury. It was that easy.

  • A consistently low temperature indicated thyroid problems.
  • A temperature that varied from day to day indicated adrenal problems.
  • A low and varied temperature indicated both adrenal and thyroid problems.

My temperature graph wasn’t low, but it varied a lot. I was relieved that my thyroid was okay, but I went about supplementing with Adrenal Cortex right away and my energy levels improved dramatically and my temperatures evened out.

Download a graph and learn how to take your temperatures here

What To Do About Your Results

If your temperatures vary, an excellent resource to learn about your adrenals is James Wilson’s book Adrenal Fatigue and the best supplement to start adrenal support with is Adrenal Cortex.

If your temperature graph is low AND varies–showing that you have both adrenal and thyroid problems–it’s vital that you treat your adrenals first. Stressed adrenals can be pushed over the edge by the demands put on them by a newly-supported thyroid. It’s important to make sure that adrenal support is in place before you tackle thyroid issues.

And your thyroid?

If your temperatures are low, don’t rush out to any old doctor asking for thyroid support. Most doctors rely solely on the TSH blood test to diagnose low thyroid, ignoring low temperatures and other obvious symptoms of low thyroid. There are far better tests available than TSH, and you can order them through your GP and interpret them yourself, or you can find a thyroid-savvy doctor near you on Mary Shomon’s website.

Want to Learn More About Your Treatment Options?

Read Janie Bowthorpe’s book Stop the Thyroid Madness. Bowthorpe is a longtime sufferer of thyroid disease and talks about treatment from the point of view of a patient. Her straight-talking style cuts through all the BS and lays out:

  • Which blood tests really diagnose thyroid function
  • Why how you feel is more important than what the labwork says
  • Which drugs actually successfully treat thyroid symptoms, and which are mildly helpful, at best

Put her advice together with the temperature graph diagnostic tool on Dr. Rind’s website, and Mary Shomon’s thyroid doctor database, and you’re well on your way to supporting your thyroid and getting your energy back.

Review: Rising Above Mercury–A Memoir by Nancy Seagal

March 22, 2012

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a new memoir written by a fellow mercury sufferer. Having written a similar book myself, I was very excited to read Nancy Seagal’s Rising Above Mercury to see what her journey was like.

Just like me, Nancy was the second-to-last child in a large Catholic family.  Right on the first page, I could tell we were going to have a lot in common! Her moving description of her early years echoed my own dysfunctional upbringing, and made me think about similar stories I’d heard from other mercury sufferers. These stories make me wonder how many of our parents were struggling with heavy metal toxicity that never got diagnosed–it makes sense on a lot of levels.

Much of Nancy’s story details her struggle to find a diagnosis for her fatigue, pain, tremors, muscle spasms and paralysis. The paralysis was her most alarming symptom, as it would come upon her without warning, leaving her unable to move for unpredictable periods of time.

The thing that struck me most about Nancy’s search for a diagnosis was how poorly she was treated by the doctors she saw. Because none of her symptoms caused irregularities that could be detected using a spinal tap or MRI, doctors dismissed her, refused her pain medication she clearly needed, and accused her of faking her condition.

This truly boggles my mind. It never happened to me–thankfully, I avoided going down the conventional medical road when my mercury symptoms began. But I hear it all the time from mercury sufferers–doctors refusing to help because the patient’s symptoms do not fit certain predefined criteria.

It’s not just the fact that doctors refuse to help that blows my mind, nasty enough as it is to deny care to a person who is suffering deeply. It’s the way that they try to turn things around and blame the patient for being so difficult. Or even worse–they flat-out deny the patient’s reality and tell them that they are not experiencing something that is all too real.

Luckily, Nancy was able to figure out that mercury was her problem and stop her exposure to mercury and begin her recovery. I was a bit apprehensive to read that she used DMSA on an infrequent dosing schedule–I am a Frequent Doser all the way and wouldn’t recommend any other kind of chelation. But Nancy seemed to make it through detox okay, even if it was a bit rough on her.

Putting her treatment choices to one side, I really recommend Nancy’s book as a great read. The world needs more people writing about what mercury toxicity is really like. We need to have our experiences mirrored, and we need books that will educate the public about what mercury sufferers go through. Nancy’s book does all this and more.

Mercury Anthems

March 15, 2012

I wanted to interrupt this long series of dietary posts to ask a question:

Is there a song that embodies the mercury toxic experience for you?

Recently, at a guitar class, I learned a song by Matchbox 20 called Unwell, and I thought it was a good addition to the ‘Chelation’ playlist on my iPod.

That’s right. I have a playlist.

On it, I’ve got P!nk’s Just Like a Pill (for when a round went bad), Maroon 5’s Won’t Go Home Without You (because that was the song that was playing on the bus when my ability to love music returned), and Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (for obvious reasons).

But the most evocative song on the list is My My My by Armand Van Helden. For me, it utterly, utterly captures the experience of being in the grip of repetitive OCD thoughts:

Are there songs that capture your mercury toxic experience? Let us know by commenting on this post (adding a link to the song on YouTube if you can find it) so we can hear each other’s chelation soundtracks 🙂

Mercury Detox Diets–Killing the Yeast

March 8, 2012

One of my biggest mercury symptoms throughout my detox journey has been a chronic and system-wide case of yeast overgrowth. Not only does mercury interfere with the way in which the immune system kills off yeast cells, the chelator DMSA also has the side effect of depressing the body’s yeast killing abilities.

That one-two punch of mercury plus regular DMSA use meant that for a couple of years, I had to be incredibly vigilant about making sure that yeast didn’t get out of control in my body.

Even if symptoms appear as a skin rash or athelete’s foot, all yeast problems originate in the gut. Yeast or candida is an organism that is a normal part of the microflora in your gut. Problems only arise when the population of other more beneficial bacteria (like acidophilus found in yoghurt) decline and yeast takes over.

If yeast has gotten the upper hand in your system, there are three things that need to be done all at the same time to restore balance:

  1. Take a yeast-killing agent, whether it’s a prescription antifungal like diflucan or nystatin, or an over-the-counter supplement like oil of oregano or grapefruit seed extract.
  2. Take probiotics daily, either in the form of lactofermented foods like yoghurt or sauerkraut, or as probiotic capsules.
  3. Starve the yeast by depriving it of its favorite food–refined sugar.

The Yeast Killing Diet–The Basics

Yeast thrives on a diet high in refined sugar and carbs. If you are battling chronic yeast issues, the first step you must take is to radically cut down your intake of refined sugar. This means no candy, cake, sodas, cookies, or anything that has sugar as a significant ingredient. And switching to honey or agave nectar is not an option. Yeast feeds just as readily on these sweeteners.

While you do this, it’s also a good idea to avoid all but freshly-squeezed fruit juices–especially commercially-made orange juice–and to limit your consumption of dried fruit. For some people, fresh fruit is also problematic, but luckily, it never gave me any trouble.

More Options

If the above changes don’t control your symptoms, there are a few more options to try.

Cut the Carbs: You can take the extra step of cutting your consumption of all  carbohydrates. Switching your calorie intake to include more proteins and vegetables and healthy fats will deprive the yeast even more. This approach is easily implemented using the Atkins Diet.

Try the Specific Carbohydrate Diet: This diet, outlined in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall, defeats yeast by only allowing consumption of carbs that are readily absorbed in the gut so that nothing is left for the yeast to feed on. All grains are considered illegal on this diet.

The Body Ecology Diet: This diet–described in The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates–has a strong focus on fermented foods that naturally build healthy flora in the gut. Like the SCD, this diet is gluten free, but some grains like millet are allowed.

Mercury Detox Diets–Organic Only, Please!

March 1, 2012

It’s very easy to avoid thinking about where our food comes from or how it’s grown. Food comes from supermarkets, as if by magic. A zillion kinds of breakfast cereal crowd the aisles. Chickens appear on styrofoam trays from who knows where, and shiny red peppers and fresh heads of lettuce are always in the fridge, no matter what season it is.

The incredible convenience and bounty we experience every time we grab a cart and walk down a supermarket aisle comes at a price, though. Those shiny red peppers were covered in wax so that they could make the long trip from California to New York without going bad. And those golden ears of corn were grown in a field fertilized with minimally-treated city sewage. And don’t even think about how sick and antibiotic-laden those battery farmed chickens were before they got turned into nuggets.

Most healthy people can withstand the insults of today’s farming practices. Their livers can deal with the doses of pesticides, preservatives, and assorted mystery fillers that come along with every convenient meal.

But the mercury toxic body just can’t handle it.

Mercury impairs liver function, messes with digestion, subtly effects how the immune system works. Dribs and drabs of allegedly-harmless okay-in-small-doses chemicals have the power to topple a system that’s operating on the edge. The mercury sufferer’s liver gets swamped, their immune system rears up in protest, and digestion goes haywire, all because of that steady diet of seemingly innocuous frozen dinners and chocolate chip cookies.

The Solution: Organic, Unprocessed, Whole Foods

It a very simple thing to make life about a million times easier for the mercury toxic body–just stop eating things that aren’t food.

We’ve gotten used to the idea that it’s okay to eat traces of plastics, chemicals, fillers, dyes, petroleums, and antibiotics, but it’s not okay, and our overburdened mercury toxic bodies are protesting. Headaches, depression, mood swings, brain fog, rashes, constipation, low energy are all signs of an overburdened liver.

It’s time to give your liver a break.

Here’s how you go about it

  • Stop eating packaged foods that have ingredient lists as long as your arm. If it has more than five ingredients, don’t buy it.
  • Buy only organic meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables. They cost a lot more, but your liver will thank you.
  • Eat foods that are as unprocessed and closest to their natural form as possible. Brown rice instead of white, grapes instead of gummi bears, baked potatoes instead of frozen waffle fries.
  • Learn to cook a few simple dishes from scratch using super fresh organic ingredients. The result will be a hundred times better for you than anything you heat up in a microwave or order in a restaurant.
  • Read this Cook Book!

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is the bible of organic and natural whole food ingredients and cooking methods. The recipes are yummy, and the introduction alone is worth the price of the book. It will ground you in the healthiest possible choices to make when buying everything from milk to meat to spices.

Mercury Detox Diets–Avoiding Dairy

February 23, 2012

When I first discovered that I was gluten intolerant, I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer to the dietary gods, hoping that I wouldn’t have to give up dairy too.

Why? Because gluten allergies frequently go hand in hand with an allergy to a substance called ‘casein’–a protein found in all dairy products. For the casein intolerant, all dairy products have to be avoided rigorously–and I really didn’t want to add a whole other set of foods to my forbidden list.

I watched my reaction to dairy products over the following weeks and saw that even though I was fine with cheese, yoghurt, cream and butter, I was having gastrointestinal distress whenever I had milk.

What was going on? Was I casein intolerant or not?

The answer–to my relief–was a categorical ‘not’. I wasn’t reacting to casein, I was reacting to another component of dairy which is called lactose.

Casein Intolerance vs Lactose Intolerance

Casein intolerance is a classic allergy, in the sense that the immune system is mistakenly targeting a food protein, treating it as if it were an invader that needs to be neutralized. Casein intolerance is very similar to lactose intolerance, and people who have both often get the same set of symptoms if they eat gluten or dairy.

Lactose intolerance on the other hand is not strictly a food allergy. Your immune system is not treating milk sugar (lactose) as an invader. Instead, your digestive system is failing because it’s deficient in the enzyme that breaks down lactose. This causes fermentation, gas and unpleasantness when the undigested milk travels through your gut.

Which Kind of Dairy Gets to You?

If you have some kind of reaction to dairy, but you’re not sure what kind it is, here are some clues to sort out reactions to casein vs dairy:

Milk is the highest-lactose dairy product, while butter, and hard cheeses contain little to no lactose. If milk is the only dairy product that bothers you, you’re probably lactose, not casein intolerant.

Casein is found most abundantly in cheese, and is even found in some “non dairy” products like soy cheese and Cool Whip. If you react to these foods, a casein allergy is more likely, since they contain little or no lactose.

An enzyme supplement like Lactaid can be very effective at easing lactose intolerance symptoms. If it has no effect when you eat dairy, you are probably looking at casein intolerance symptoms.

There is Hope

As I’ve mentioned frequently on this blog, classic allergies can be cured by detoxing mercury. My gluten allergy was 99.5% cured by chelation. And though it was a lot less serious, my lactose intolerance cleared up too. At the worst of it, I got stomach pains when I took homeopathic pills that used a tiny amount of lactose as a filler. Now I can drink milk freely without any symptoms. If you’re like me, you’ll just have to restrict your diet temporarily until the mercury is gone, and your body figures out how to digest food properly again.

Mercury Detox Diets–Going Gluten Free

February 16, 2012

I’ve written here before about the strong connection between mercury poisoning and gluten intolerance. Not everyone with mercury poisoning ends up reacting badly to gluten, but it’s very, very common. And gluten symptoms come in a lot of different flavors, so it can be hard to guess what’s going on unless you pay close attention and do a gluten elimination test.

My personal gluten symptoms manifested as a headache, depression, and numbness and tingling in my hands, feet and scalp. When they were really bad, I got the added bonus of tunnel vision. I never got gastrointestinal symptoms from gluten, but diarrhea is another very common gluten symptom, especially among those with the specific autoimmune kind of gluten intolerance called Celiac Disease. I’ve heard of gluten causing lots of other odd symptoms from brain fog to joint pain to rashes and itching.

It’s Time to Test Your Tolerance to Gluten

Since everybody eats gluten practically on a daily basis, it can be impossible to tell how it’s affecting you until you go cold turkey. And going cold turkey can be a little bit more complicated that you’d think, since gluten is a surprise ingredients in a lot of unlikely foods. Soy sauce? Rice Krispies? Who knew?

Step1: Take a gluten holiday

Give gluten up entirely for two weeks. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Meat, potatoes, milk, cheese, vegetables, beans, rice, and corn are all naturally gluten free foods as long as they aren’t packaged with any sauces, flavoring or seasoning mix. And these days, you don’t have to give up bread and pasta and other treats as long as you have access to a supermarket with a gluten free aisle.

The rest of the world of packaged foods requires a little bit more attention. In the United States, manufacturers are not required to state on their labels whether their product contains gluten, but it’s not too complicated to figure it out. Before you go shopping, visit and print out a copy of their Unsafe Gluten Free Food List. Before you put anything in your cart, check the ingredients against the list to see if it’s got any gluten in it.

Note: How to Avoid Cross Contamination

Our immune systems are exquisitely sensitive beasts. The tiniest crumb of bread can turn a gluten free meal into a gluten bomb. That’s why you have to be very vigilant during your gluten holiday, especially if you share a kitchen with gluten eaters. Avoid the following gluten traps:

  • Don’t put your gluten free bread in the family toaster–crumbs can linger and stick. Toast your bread on a rack in the oven after you have wiped it clean.
  • Don’t share butter, cream cheese, peanut butter etc with gluten eaters. They are full of sticky breadcrumbs. Get your own clean versions of these condiments and write Gluten Free–Stay Out! on them in big red letters.
  • Wipe countertops, cutting boards and oven racks clean before you prepare your food on them. Avoid those darn sticky crumbs!
  • Try not to eat out during your two weeks, but if you must, let your server know that you are ordering a gluten free meal, and get them to ask in the kitchen what’s safe for you to eat. Salads (without croutons) are often a good bet.

Step 2: The Gluten Challenge

When you’ve survived your two weeks without gluten, it’s time to test your tolerance. For one meal–and one meal only!–eat a nice big portion of gluten. Then go back to your gluten free ways for the next two days and observe. Does anything come up? Often it doesn’t happen right away. My gluten symptoms never appeared the day I ate gluten, it was always the next morning. If you notice nothing out of the ordinary, then congratulations, you tolerate gluten just fine.

But if symptoms come up, whatever they may be, you know what you need to do to keep them from happening again.

Living the Gluten Free Life

Going gluten free is not all that bad, once you get the hang of it. And there are some great resources to help you along the way.

Danna Korn’s Living Gluten-Free for Dummies is an upbeat, fun read packed with excellent advice on how to manage a gluten free life. She covers everything from eating out to safe ways to share a toaster with a gluten-eater.

Bette Hagman’s Gluten Free Gourmet books are a collection of easy-to-make recipes that will impress everyone, even the die-hard gluten-lovers in your life. Gluten free baking is very tricky, but Hagman’s bread and assorted treats turn out great every time.

And in the United States, a great resource for finding places to eat with gluten free menus where you can eat out without hassle is