Got a Chronic Health Problem: You Just Might Have Celiac Disease

4 Dec
*Posted with permission from

It’s clear that traditional medicine is not managing the huge problem of chronic illness very well. Every year, the numbers of people that are diagnosed with a chronic health problem are increasing- with little hope of effective treatment in most cases. And doctors who are entrusted to finding an appropriate diagnosis and treatment for patients are consistently missing the common, easily treatable, yet devastating diagnosis of Celiac Disease in millions of people every year.

Celiac Disease (CD) is a very real and widespread autoimmune disease caused by a genetic inability to digest the protein portion of many common grains- including those in wheat. This undigested protein, known as gluten or gliadin, is then attacked by the body’s own immune system, causing inflammation and damage to the small intestine. The ‘classic’ symptoms of Celiac Disease include abdominal pain and weight loss, but its presentation is rarely consistent from patient to patient. CD’s incredibly wide variety of symptoms often seem to be completely unrelated to the digestive tract, and in fact some presentations of the disease strangely have a complete lack of inflammation in the gut. With an individual’s symptoms ranging anywhere from the inability of a woman to conceive, to anemia, to dementia- it can be a puzzle that many doctors have been unable to figure out.

“Delay in diagnosing CD has resulted in long periods of ill health for many. Little emphasis seems to have been placed on this aspect of the disease.”
From ‘Celiac Disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis’

In fact, the diagnosis is so frequently missed that one study showed that it takes an AVERAGE of 5 years from the time of first onset of symptoms to getting the diagnosis of celiac disease; some studies show that this time lag is up to 10 years! This is tragic considering that the effective non-drug treatment is simply the avoidance of gluten in the diet. Missing this diagnosis could be understood if there were little research on these ‘atypical presentations’, but there are thousands of studies showing that CD is rampant. Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland Medical Center believes that it is missed so often and is such a huge health issue, that mass screenings should be instituted. He states emphatically that, “CD is one of the most frequent genetically based diseases of humankind”!

” It seems that, in spite of advances in modern diagnostic techniques, little progress has been made in hastening the diagnosis of CD”
From ‘Celiac Disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis’

So, what symptoms should doctors be looking for in order to consider the diagnosis of Celiac Disease? The research is pretty clear; virtually ANY chronic problem, whether there is a reason for it or not, should make a clinician consider Celiac Disease. ANYTHING AT ALL! The conclusions from many different research articles prove this point:

-“Much more attention must be given, particularly to the finding of anemia, to a possible early indicator of CD”

– “The majority of people with CD are symptom-free adults; the remainder are prone to a bewildering variety of signs and symptoms, ranging from infertility to type 1 diabetes.”

-“Neurologic syndromes may be the presenting extraintestinal manifestation of gluten sensitivity with or without intestinal pathology. These include migraine, encephalopathy, chorea, brain stem dysfunction, myelopathy, mononeuritis multiplex, Guillain-Barre like syndrome, and neuropathy…”

-“The prevalence of celiac disease in osteoporosis is high enough to justify a recommendation for serologic screening of all patients with osteoporosis”

-“Strict adherence to the Gluten Free Diet seems to be the only possibility of preventing a subset of rare but very aggressive forms of cancer.”

Other studies show that the damage and inflammation in the intestines caused by Celiac Disease is the primary cause of most autoimmune diseases- no matter what name that autoimmune disease happens to go by. Other diseases that are associated with Celiac Disease are: chronic fatigue syndrome, gall bladder disease, liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, psychiatric problems, epilepsy, skin conditions, obesity, alcoholism, recurrent pancreatitis, lymphoma, arthritis, and many others. Even more importantly, these problems are not just ‘associated’ with celiac disease, but they nearly all show IMPROVEMENT with a gluten free diet.

Despite thousands of studies and dozens of awareness groups promoting the screening and diagnosis of Celiac Disease, it is still being almost completely overlooked in traditional medicine. Yet desperate patients who take matters into their own hands and find relief with a gluten free diet are often ignored or scorned by their clinicians. Hopefully the future will bring more education to doctors who are still so obviously unaware of the devastating effects of this disease and the lasting positive effects that a simple dietary modification can bring.


About the author

Kerri Knox, RN is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner.
With over 14 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in Conventional Medicine and being well versed in Alternative Medicine.
She can help you to to find and repair the UNDERLYING CAUSES of illness using cutting edge in home lab testing that finds nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections and chemical and metal toxicities that contribute to ill health.
She can be reached through her websites at:
Easy Immune System
Side Effects Site

Learn more:


My Healing Journey – Part 1: When it comes to choosing a doctor, it is OK to shop around

24 Nov

I admit, I am not a big fan of mainstream medicine and typically seek a natural solution first to any health challenges that I encounter.  My recent move to Raleigh from Wilmington was in part because I wanted to have access to a greater alternative and complimentary medicine community as well as a larger selection of organic and locally grown produce.  Ahhh, how I missed Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods, but I do have to give a shout out to Tidal Creek which was my home away from home when in Wilmington.

Shortly before our move I decided to try out the Vegetarian thing which I had been wanting to do for a while.  I have tried cutting out many different things from my diet in order to get rid of my weekly migraines, but thus far, nothing has helped, until the day that meat left my diet.

Within two weeks my crippling migraines were gone and to this day have not returned (except that monthly one that comes like clockwork the day before my period).  It was and continues to be such a relief, literally!  Getting rid of my migraines was just the beginning of my healing journey though.

Due to a recent increase in my symptoms, and a few new ones including sudden rapid weight loss, the first thing I did once we were unpacked was find me a holistic doctor with the qualifications and bedside manner I was looking for.

As a cash patient (yep, that’s right, no health insurance for me) I had A LOT of questions and started calling around with a list in hand and a budget in mind. I wasn’t really sure what reaction I was going to get, I’d never gone doctor shopping before and didn’t know if I was even going to be able to speak to anyone.  I wanted to make sure I was going to be working WITH a doctor who I felt comfortable with, and who also felt comfortable with me and my desire to take an active role in my healing.  I was not looking for a quick fix or a miracle pill, nor to be treated like cattle and rushed in and out as quickly as possible.

After speaking with a few “front desk” people at a variety of offices who were either rude, impatient with my questions or just didn’t answer the phone (during office hours), I was greeted by the very friendly warm voice of Mary at Dr. Karen Carrick’s practice Natural Health Care And Diagnostics.

As a business owner myself I am a strong believer in the power of first impressions which means that the phone people, door people, delivery people or anyone who will have the first encounter with potential clients must be on their game.  Mary, I am glad to report, certainly was.  She was a pleasure to talk to and listened carefully to all of my questions with genuine concern, and answered them as best she could.  What also came through loud and clear was her passion for her job and her belief in the credibility and effectiveness of Dr. Cerrick and her practice.

She was clear about prices and didn’t try to push me to book an appointment.  Instead, to my delight and surprise, she offered to have Dr. Cerrick herself call me for a 15 min consult for free.

When she called I had my list of questions handy in order to maximize our time together.  We actually ended up speaking for 30-40 min.  She was professional, reassuring and to the point.  I was able to share some intimate details about my symptoms and concerns and truly felt heard.  She outlined a potential game plan for me and told me her recommendations based on what I told her while maintaining a sensitivity to my need to keep within a certain budget.  At one point during our conversation she said “I work for you.  We can can utilize as many different tools and techniques as your budget will allow. Think of me as your private investigator with you directing the investigation.”  I was sold.

She emailed me some questionnaires to fill out which were to be submitted before my initial 90 min appointment.  I filled them out and in addition decided to do a daily symptom/food/expulsion diary to send along with it hoping to give her and I a clearer understanding of exactly what was going on with me. I emailed everything to her a day or two before our appointment and here was her reply:

“I received your email and look forward to meeting you on Wednesday.  I have scheduled 1 hour instead of 90 min (price adjusted accordingly) because you have done so much of the work ahead of time.”

When is the last time your doctor gave you a discount because you “did so much of the work ahead of time?”

Hmmm, let me thing, uh NEVER!!

Wait, hold on, when was the last time your doctor emailed you?

Or called you?

Now, perhaps I have just lead a sheltered life and there are fantastic doctor/patient relationships going on everyday, who knows, all I know is that in my life thus far, I have not had such an experience and my first encounter with Dr. Carrick was awesome.

In order to get you caught up before I go into our first appointment, my list of symptoms are as follows:

GERD (reflux disease) / Gas / Painful Elimination / Weight Loss (current 93.4lbs) / Fatigue / Bruising Easily / Chronic Pain / Random Pain / Anxiety & Panic Attacks / Not Feeling Like Myself / Unfocused / Mind Not Clear / Migraines / Limbs Fall Asleep Easily / Cold A Lot / Weakness / Dizziness …

Some of which I have suffered my whole life, some since I was a teen and a few within the last three months.

I have always been conscious of eating healthy, or so I thought, as best as I could with the knowledge I had.  Despite my best efforts, my health has continued to decline and is affecting my quality of life and ability to work on a daily basis now.

I have hit a breaking point and enough is enough.  I am going to get to the root of my issue no matter what it takes and not only regain my health but create a level of health that far surpasses anything I have ever experienced before.

1st Appointment

One of the assignments that I was asked to email Dr. Carrick was a list of my 5 top issues I wanted to take care of  in order or importance.  My list was as follows:

1. All Digestive Issues

2. Anxiety & Panic Attacks

3. Low Energy, Motivation & Clarity

4. Weight Issue – (want to gain in a healthy way by increasing muscle mass)

5. Body Alignment & Structure Issues (heal old injuries to shoulder and neck)

At our first appointment we got right down to it as she explained some potential causes of my symptoms as well as the different ways to approach them.  She asked me a lot of questions and answered all of mine in return.  We went through a list of the different tests available and which would be of most benefit first, second and so on, sort of a process of elimination.  She suggested some products (enzymes, vitamins, & supplements) as well as a specific diet for two weeks.

As I mentioned earlier I have always been health conscious trying out food lifestyles such as vegetarianism, veganism, raw food only, no dairy diets, low carb, low sugar, candida and parasite cleanses, as well as understanding the basics and importance of fresh local nutrient rich fruits and veggies.  To my dismay none of these has helped a tremendous amount except to alleviate the degree of some of my symptoms.

The best result I have had on my own, as mentioned above, was completely ridding myself of migraines, which I suffered at least once a week so bad I could not get out of bed, by eliminating all animal products and becoming vegetarian.  It was such a relief to be migraine free, BUT, that is when I started to experience rapid weight loss. and very low energy as well as a large increase in random aches and pains.

Dr. Cerrick suggested that while I was “eating healthy” (salads, fresh fruit and veggies, fresh juices, etc) I was clearly not absorbing the nutrients from the foods I was eating.  Basically, I was ingesting but not digesting.  Since I had gotten to the point, before giving up meat, where I could not tolerate most foods, we devised a plan to support my body in restoring the digestive system.  She also had a sneaking suspicion that the damage to my digestive track was possibly due to a gluten intolerance (Celiac Disease) so step #1 was to cut out all gluten for at least two weeks.  I was armed with info about what to eat and what not to eat as well as an army of gluten free supplements that were supposed to get my tract back on track. I was also told to continue tracking my food and symptoms daily so we could monitor the results.

*I use the FREE online tracking system at and give her access to my login info so she can monitor my progress.

Relieved and full of hope, I left her office determined to follow orders meticulously and we headed to Whole Foods to get groceries for the week.

At the time I was also reading Healing The Gerson Way – Defeating Cancer & Other Chronic Diseases by Charlotte Gerson.  It suggests clearing out your home environment of toxic things.  I now own a 100% stainless steel cookware set and no longer use any type of cleaning or beauty product that is toxic in anyway.  I even gave up nail polish!  The book also gives instructions for two different healing protocols, one for non-malignant conditions and one for cancerous conditions.  I was very inspired by the book and decided to add some of the recipes (which are gluten free) to my diet for the next two weeks.  The protocols also include tons of fresh juice as well, a glass every hour for 8-10 hours to be exact which I was determined to fit in no matter what.

I was a skinny tired shaky woman on a healing mission and nothing was going to stop me …


To be or not to be (your true authentic self), THAT is the question!

24 Nov

At age 31 I find myself wondering more and more often, am I living my life as me or as others would have me be?  Am I holding back any part of me out of fear of rejection, judgment or lack of love?  What would the consequences of really being me be?  In light of the recent and much needed attention being drawn to the gay teen suicides, I feel the topic of being ones self is of critical importance.

At a young age I recall learning of an aunt who was “disowned by the family for being gay” and in order to live the life she desired, moved to the other end of the country where she still resides today.  I learned back then that in order to gain the approval of my family, gay was clearly not the way.

Worse yet, I learned that in order to avoid being considered an outcast, I had to, at all costs, hide any aspects of the real me that might be cause for disapproval.

This, let me tell you, proved to be way more difficult that I thought it would be.

Finally, at a breaking point, after many MANY suicidal thoughts, many nights of crying myself to sleep, many diary entries, many anxiety attacks, and many upset stomachs, I cracked.

At age 19 I realized I was living someone else’s life, someone I had no relationship to yet was completely in the driver seat and navigating my future.

Sitting in philosophy class one day, one of the few classes I actually enjoyed, our professor announced that we would be grading ourselves that term.

I literally felt the proverbial light bulb go on above my head. Hold the phone?  WTF, wait just a minute, let me get this straight. Here I had been looking to others, even paying others, to “grade” me and reaffirm that I was ok, was doing the right things and giving the right answers, and all of a sudden I (little old me) was supposed to be able to assess and determine my own degree of rightness, okness, and worth.  How on earth was I supposed to do that??  And, if I am understanding correctly, does this mean that I have access to the answers from within?!


Weeks later I quite my job, broke up with my bf, dropped out of school, and announced to my family just weeks before xmass 1999 that not only had I done all of the above, but on Dec 15th, I was flying to Japan to “find myself” and explore the world before deciding what I was going to do with my life.

Dramatic? Yes. Crazy? Maybe a little. Shocking? Most definitely. Did I get any resistance? You betcha. Did I care? HELL NO!  For the first time in my life I was doing something for ME and it felt fantastic!  I was nervous and excited but more than anything I understood what certainty felt like and THAT is a feeling that has guided and saved my life ever since.

You know that little voice that tells you that everything is going to be alright.  Those moments where you get goosebumps or tears of inspiration.  When things around you start to manifest as if by magic, and the right people, places and things just show up.  When you are so engrossed in a moment, be it a piece of art, or music, or perhaps an erotic sensual embrace, and the entire world seems to disappear around you.  Time seems to stand still and you forget to give a shit what anyone else thinks about who you are or what you are doing. You are so engrossed in your own little word (your true authentic self) that you feel like you could be anything you wanted to be and do anything you wanted to do, and the truth is, YOU CAN!!

In fact, by not being your true authentic self to the best of your ability, you are robbing the world of the gift that only you as you can give.

The gift of permission and encouragement to others to be themselves too!  The gift of freedom of unique expression.  The gift of life.

My philosophy teacher gave this gift to me and in turn I give it to you.  The gift that by doing and being keeps on giving, and does not cost a thing!  The truth shall set you free, but more importantly by living your truths, others are set free.

A very wise man has made his sole mission in life to teach the following:

The things we judge in others are the very same things we judge within ourselves.  The things we disapprove of in others are the things we disapprove of or are afraid of within ourselves.  The things we have loved within are easy to love in others, the things that we have not yet loved within we will have resistance to any reflection of in others.

So the next time you are faced with the question “to be or not to be” remember “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E. E. Cummings.  And there is nothing more attractive, sexy or inspiring that a person who has courage!

With Love, Light & Magical Moments,


Come on in and take a bite out of life!

21 Nov

Welcome to the Conscious Life Cafe.

Take a bite out of life!

When I was contemplating creating and maintaining a blog I really didn’t know where to start.  You see, I am one of those serial entrepreneurs who no matter how hard I try, just can’t seem to lock myself into one clear concise concept and then follow it through until completion.  I wake in the mornings with ides and insights that if I don’t write down or share with someone, will take my mind hostage all day.  Some consider it a gift and some a curse, for me, its just daily life.

In my research of “what makes a successful blog” the main ingredient seems to be “having a clear focus.”  Thank you WordPress blog advice for killing my dream before it has begun!

Ugh, where to start?  With so many different ways to go I had no clue where to begin, or where to focus my focus so that I could focus on what I was going to focus on, in my blog that is.

I contemplated creating a blog about my physical health and well being journey, as I am currently working through some health challenges (aren’t we all) and wondered how sharing my experiences might benefit my self and others.

I contemplated blogging about all my favorite “health food and drink” establishments, products and resources so that others could benefit from my addiction to research and lack of censorship in sharing my opinions.

I contemplated writing about my frustrations with the lack of education, awareness and access that people have in relationship to the truth about things that directly impact their/our quality of life, including links to places where I believe such truth, or at least close to it, can be found.

And I even contemplated posting interviews and biographies about individuals that I felt have in the past, or are currently now, facilitating a genuine and tangible transformation for the better by taking a “grab life by the balls no holds bard gut instinct heart inspired leap of faith do or die” approach to life as they see fit.

And then I asked myself, what would I do if I had enough money to quit my “day job” and follow my dream (thinking that this question that so many teachers have suggested asking before may actually come in handy), and the answer was clear:

CONSCIOUS LIFE CAFE – an informal establishment serving refreshments (cafe) for individuals acting with critical awareness (conscious) desiring enhanced experiences that make up existence (life).

I wanted to give the very thing that I am seeking the most!  That which constantly inspires, refreshes and revives me.  A delicacy whose ingredients all come together under one roof (or in this case blog page) and when ingested nourish the body, mind and soul.

I wanted a place where I could unfold my own “grab life by the balls no holds bard gut instinct heart inspired leap of faith do or die” approach to life as I see fit, and hope that in living my inspired dream I can in some way, big or small, impact the life of another, now or in the future, in reality or via the world wide web.

As I write the blogs to come I do so from the heart of the future Conscious Life Cafe that I one day soon hope to meet and greet all of you with a warm hug and a cuppa love.

Love, Light & Magical Moments,