GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group March 2012 ~ Dr. Lawrence Miller: Ob/Gyn Issues Related to Gluten

This post is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who joined in our kickoff GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group! Please join us for the April meeting of The GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group on April 3rd. Congratulations to the winners:

The winner of The Future of Food is Sharyn Engle–”Shirley…I loved reading about Dr. Miller! I sure wish I lived closer to have him as my dr…California is a bit too far:)  But I’ve had SO many issues along those same lines, and the dr’s do make you feel like you’re crazy…so much so, that you feel like just putting up with the symptoms because it’s embarrassing to have to constantly go to the dr for so many different issues.  I stopped eating gluten “just because” about 2 months ago, and I have felt SO good, I dont even get the urge to “cheat”.  Headaches are gone, more energy, and my mind feels more “clear”.  Thank you for all you do…”

The winner of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook is Donna Strickler–”Hi Shirley – I love your posts!  They are always full of fun wisdom and helpful info, and the recipes are great!  I especially enjoyed this post, with all of the wonderful info from Dr. Miller.  Keep up the outstanding work for all of us gluten free foodies – we really appreciate all you do!”

The winnner of Healthier Without Wheat is Mona Lebumfacil–”Thank you for making an online support group like this!! I live in Costa Rica, and here celiac decease is still a very new thing, and nobody knows much about it yet . ( in fact my doc asked ME for info!) I would have loved to have a group like his to support me, and I am sure you will b able to reach out and help alot of people here!! Happy to join you!!!”

Now without further delay, welcome to the The GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group—for our very first meeting! Well, I guess before I go on that I should confess that this post is up later than I had hoped … much later … maybe I just can’t get away from my support group’s usual evening start time? I don’t think anyone would want to come to a meeting this late in the evening though. Thank goodness, it’s virtual, right? Anyway, it’s wonderful to have you here at gfe today. To get the true support group “vibe,” you’ll have to imagine me in my kitchen donned in my full apron and busily multi-tasking (or trying to anyway) … setting the table, chopping vegetables perhaps while something else is already cooking in the oven, adding ice to the ice bucket, etc. In fact, I’ll be so busy that I’ll probably just yell “come in!” when you arrive for our meeting and knock on our front door. Yes, most of our meetings are held at my home. That works well for sharing our group meal and offers a comfortable, personal setting that allows the face-to-face, one-to-one support that we all need and appreciate.

Once you’ve come in, you’ll grab your name tag from the sideboard and then because you’re a gracious, mannerly person, you’ll probably ask what you can do to help. Be forewarned … I will put you to work. So be ready for that! But don’t worry, I don’t “assign” any tasks that are too challenging. If you don’t want to pitch in or something else requires your attention—perhaps even grabbing a few minutes with the guest speaker beforehand or checking out our group’s extensive library—feel free to do so. But be sure to grab some liquid refreshment first. Oh, and as you can see from the photos below men are most welcome at our meetings! I mention that because I don’t want my male blogger friends and other male readers to look at The GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group logo and think all the cute figures are female. There are both females and males represented in the logo/badge. It’s a unisex type illustration. You guys are the ones with shorter tunics and pants in the drawing. Just sayin’.


Let’s back up a moment though and talk about what The GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group is all about. Many of you will recall that I mentioned my idea for this event at the beginning of the year and asked for your feedback. All the feedback was very positive and the specific suggestions were helpful! So many of you do not have a local support group you can take part in and you and I both are hoping that this virtual support group can help fill some of that void. A few folks asked for some sort of interactive environment for our virtual support group, perhaps an online chat session, and I do love the idea of that. While something like that may come down the road, initially The GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group will be a “low-tech” monthly blog event. I’d like to “get the kinks out” of the basic concept before adding such features.

The goal of the GFE VSG is to share information from my actual support group meetings with all of you. That includes information on the presentations, the food shared, tips from my members … anything that comes out of the meeting that I think you will find helpful. In return, I’d like you to interact with all of us participating virtually by commenting on the presentations, gluten-free recipes, and all info and sharing your own input. There will be a linky, as you can see at the very bottom of this post, so if you are a blogger, please link up your recipe that fits the monthly theme. You must leave a comment to participate in the linky and you must link back to this event in your post to participate. See all the participation rules further down right before the linky. Finally, there will also be a giveaway each month! Giveaways will tie into the topic of the meeting and/or the food theme. You do not have to participate in the linky to enter the giveaway. Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered for the giveaway. Only one comment is required. Folks are welcome to have discussions in comments, but only one comment per person will constitute an entry into the giveaway. (Yes, I do have a program that excludes all other comments from the giveaway drawing.)

This first virtual support group meeting will be a little different than most because I am sharing information from not just our last meeting, but a mix of information from our last two meetings. Of course, that means this particular post will be much longer. Don’t worry … not all meetings will “last” as long as this one!

documentary, food, GMO, genetically modified, Michael Pollan, Monsanto Presentations:  In January, we watched the movie, The Future of Food. My good friend Elana (Elana’s Pantry) had given me two copies of the two-disc special edition of this documentary—one for my support group and one for a giveaway (thanks again, Elana!). All of us who watched the movie felt that is was quite an eye opener. There were a lot of groans, sighs, and exclamations uttered when my group was watching this movie and an overall sense of frustration from us all with the state of our food. In short, this movie with its painful to watch, but very important to see. I don’t feel I can summarize this movie adequately, so I’ll defer to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) for their overview, which I’m sharing in part here. “The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. … this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed about the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply. Shot on location in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world’s food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis today. The Future of Food reveals that there is a revolution going on in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of America, a revolution that is transforming the very nature of the food we eat.” If you’ve seen Food Inc. or been “tuned into” what’s in our food supply today, you’re no doubt already aware of much of the same information on concerns regarding genetic engineering of our foods, but if you’d like to learn more on this topic, I urge you to watch The Future of Food. You can even watch this documentary online at IMDB.

In February, we had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Lawrence Miller, an obstetrician/gynecologist who practices inRichmondVirginia. He has practiced obstetrics/gynecology for many years. More recently, he has focused on a “total wellness” approach—which incorporates functional medicine—with his patients. Dr. Miller is not just any ob/gyn, he’s my own ob/gyn and several of my support group members are his patients. In fact, a number of other women my area also are patients of Dr. Miller’s. We travel well over an hour each way to receive his care. One even heard that Dr. Miller was our speaker for the evening and joined us at the last minute. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his patients are as devoted to him as he is to them.

Dr. Miller is actually responsible for getting me on the right path to living gluten free. So I can’t talk about him without telling a little bit of my own story. I first met Dr. Miller shortly after I had a hysterectomy in 2001. The pathology done after my hysterectomy showed that the cause of my issues had been undiagnosed endometriosis. The endometriosis was caused by my gluten intolerance, but it was many months after my hysterectomy before I would be told that. After my hysterectomy, I was placed on typical hormone replacement therapy. Synthetic hormone replacement. One medication was tried after another. Honestly, all the hormones prescribed made me “crazy.” The ob/gyn I was seeing at the time evaluated my reactions to these medications and some of the other symptoms I had and told me that I needed to seek psychological help. I am not kidding. That was a turning point for me. I knew that my issues were not in my head. I walked out of her office and never returned. Searching online for doctors who prescribed bioidentical hormones, I found Dr. Miller.

He was a godsend in so many ways. I consider him the ideal doctor. When you have an appointment with Dr. Miller, you never feel rushed. He genuinely cares and listens to all you have to say. You truly feel like you are the only patient he has in the world. In this day of doctors with revolving exam room doors and 8-minute examinations (yes, I’ve timed some of my other doctors’ exams), it’s more than refreshing to have such a positive, professional experience. Mr. GFE actually went with me on our first visit, a consultation. Dr. Miller talked with both of us about what had been going on with me. Again, it was a refreshing change from any previous appointment I’d had with a physician. During the next several months, Dr. Miller took me off all hormones and after having testing run on my hormone levels and more, he prescribed a low dosage of bioidentical hormones. I felt somewhat better, but not great. Something in the equation was still missing. Dr. Miller told me that he thought I might have food intolerances and referred me to another doctor who specialized in food intolerances and allergies. Initially, I thought that Dr. Miller, as fantastic as he was, might be “blowing me off” as previous doctors had. But in fact, he was not. He was putting me on the right path for the rest of my life as the doctor he sent me, too, pegged me with gluten issues right away. I won’t share the rest of my own journey here though … let’s shift back to Dr. Miller.

When I introduced Dr. Miller to my group, he shared how his training in medical school had been focused on treatment, not prevention. He stated that just about the only exception had been guidance to get patients to exercise to lower cholesterol. Dr. Miller stated that he still practices traditional ob/gyn medicine (delivering babies, ob/gyn surgeries, etc.), but instead of looking at the body in parts and those parts in isolation pretty much, now he looks at the body as a whole, with all of those parts connected. He talked about how he got to where he is today in his approach where he looks at the body as a whole and considers his treatment of patients a partnership. He stated that he noticed that one of his colleagues, another ob/gyn, had disappeared from practice. Upon further investigation, he determined that she had stopped practicing as an ob/gyn for a while, but then had resumed treating patients. However, she was treating them in a completely different area. She was no longer practicing as a traditional doctor. She had attended The Institute for Functional Medicine and had moved on to conducting patient consultations where she was addressing celiac/non-celiac gluten sensitivity and other food intolerances/issues. Furthermore, she was treating some of Dr. Miller’s patients and, much to his surprise, they were getting better and in many cases they were seeing complete resolution of former symptoms/issues. Initially, he was taken aback, but being a doctor who is curious by nature and ultimately wanting to serve his patients the best possible way, he contacted this doctor for more information. He quickly discovered the prevalence of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity and how a diagnosis and a gluten-free diet could help many of his patients. He shared with us that the statistics on the percentage of those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity varies from 7% to 12% of the population depending upon which expert (e.g., Dr. Alessio Fasano, Dr Marios Hadjivassiliou) is speaking. After referring patients to the other doctor who was so knowledgeable on the topic, he decided to attend The Institute for Functional Medicine himself. He subsequently earned his own certificate and began using a functional medicine approach to complement the traditional medicine he already practiced.

At our meeting, Dr. Miller cited one patient’s story after another of healing after going gluten free. He stated that traditional medicine says these cases are anecdotal, but the end result is the patient has resolved health issues that she may have been combatting for years. Consider the patient who had suffered three consecutive miscarriages and when further genetic testing (not related to gluten but rather genetic causes of miscarriages) showed no physical reasons, she’d been told by her doctors at the time that it was “just bad luck.” She came to Dr. Miller for a second opinion, tested positive for gluten sensitivity, and about five months later she became pregnant, later delivering a full-term healthy baby after a perfectly normal pregnancy. Dr. Miller stated that, of course, not all symptoms/conditions that he sees and treats can be resolved by a gluten-free diet, but many, many can.

Dr. Miller advocates that his patient get tested via the (often controversial) Enterolab Gluten Sensitivity Stool Test because based on his experience treating patients and his own family’s experience (more on that in a moment), he believes that test is the most sensitive and most accurate. Dr. Miller addressed the statements by many traditional doctors and experts in the celiac community that “everyone tests positive on the Enterolab stool test.” Dr. Miller said that 10% of random people test positive on the Enterolab Gluten Sensitivity Stool Test; however, 90% of his patients test positive for gluten sensitivity. (Note:  In my family, I and my son tested positive, but my husband tested negative. Dr. Kenneth Fine, who developed the test, stated in his conference back in November 2011 that not only did they run the tests on large groups of “random” people, but they also used the tests on stool (i.e,. manure) from animals to see if there were any false positives; there were not.)

Dr. Miller cited the obstetrical symptoms related to malabsorption caused by gluten issues. They include pregnancy failures (e.g., miscarriages, stillbirth), infertility, and premature labor. He cited the case of a patient who had been married for 7 years. For 2 years, she tried to conceive. Finally, she sought out a fertility specialist, but could not conceive. By all appearances, she was healthy. She had no GI symptoms. Yet she tested positive for gluten sensitivity, and after going gluten free, was pregnant 2 months later.

Numerous ob/gyn issues are related to gluten and due to hypersensitivity and inflammation in the gut. Dr. Miller cited Hashimoto’s (as well as other autoimmune diseases), perimenopause, menopause, painful periods, PCOS, endometriosis as some conditions that were either exacerbated by gluten issues or, as applicable (e.g., endometriosis), caused by gluten sensitivity. When gluten is removed from the diet, the patients with these issues ”get better.”

Dr. Miller shared the story of a brilliant colleague who had been diagnosed with lupus. He suggested from the start that she might have a gluten issue. She stated that she did not think that was the case. Two years later, she finally decided to get tested for gluten sensitivity. She tested positive and almost immediately her symptoms completely disappeared.

As you might expect, Dr. Miller shared that other traditional medicine doctors do not often hold his work in high esteem. He’s directed his ob/gyn patients with gastrointestinal issues who tested gluten sensitive to go gluten free. Their gastroenterologists do not take kindly to his intervention and totally dismiss the validity of gluten sensitivity and their patients’ healing on a gluten-free diet.

One of the most resounding facts from Dr. Miller’s presentation is that he personally “practices what he preaches” as he and his entire family personally experienced gluten issues, so he truly “gets it.” One of the most compelling cases of gluten sensitivity that he shared with us was his own son’s. As a teenager of age 13, his son had suffered from “crushing” abdominal pains for several years. He would often wake in the middle of the night and be up for hours while his parents tried to find something, anything that would make the pain go away. His son’s pediatrician (or often the nurse practitioner as the pediatrician was often not available) could offer no guidance/help any time. The only direction was “let’s do an endoscopy/biopsy.” Dr. Miller and his wife were not keen on doing what they considered invasive testing on their son. They instead opted to have their son take the Enterolab Gluten Sensitivity Stool Test and Celiac Gene Test. He tested positive for gluten sensitivity and it was also shown that he had the genes for celiac. They discussed the situation with their son. He asked, “So if I stop eating gluten I can never develop celiac disease?” When he was told that the answer was yes, their 13-year old son decided he wanted to go gluten free. He did and his symptoms disappeared so quickly that Dr. Miller stated, “even though he had had the terrible abdominal pain for years, overnight, he got better.”

Dr. Miller also briefly shared the story of his wife who had a lifetime of issues, despite being an FBI agent who was super fit. She went off gluten and her symptoms disappeared. Next Dr. Miller and his teenage daughter both got tested and both were positive for gluten sensitivity. They went gluten free and they experienced optimum health like they never had before; they thrived. Dr. Miller’s whole family has been gluten free for 7 years now.  He stated that the positive effects of gluten-free living “blow his mind.”

He went on to say that the gut effects of gluten impact about 40% of those with gluten sensitivity. About 15 to 25% have neurological symptoms from gluten. There are also dermatologic issues like dermatitis herpetiformis and eczema, as well as issues like menstrual migraines, which are driven by changes in hormones due to gluten. Dr. Miller shared the story of a stunning model that he had treated. Severe eczema caused her to appear as if she had black lipstick around her mouth. Makeup was used to cover up this manifestation of eczema. After she went gluten free, her eczema symptoms completely disappeared. Dr. Miller reiterated that not every single person sees complete resolution of symptoms after going gluten free, but that some can and many get so much better with gluten out of their diets.

Dr. Miller talked about the genetic modification of wheat as a major factor in the increase of gluten sensitivity. He shared how wheat has gone from two sets of chromosomes to four sets of chromosomes to now six sets of chromosomes with much more gluten being present in wheat today.

By far the biggest issues that Dr. Miller states that he sees in his patients are hormonal imbalances. He sees these concerns in patients of all ages—from those entering puberty to the elderly. Dr. Miller even sees some male patients and treats them for both gluten issues and low testosterone. He stated that low testosterone can be indicated by a loss in strength, extra weight around one’s midsection, and a loss of sexual desire. He treats low testosterone by prescribing bioidentical testosterone.

One support group member asked how Dr. Miller would treat a patient with a low sperm count. Dr. Miller stated that he would test for gluten sensitivity and do blood testing as well.

Dr. Miller’s wife, Denise, whose health history he had spoken about earlier was also in attendance with him. She sometimes interjected reminders about different cases and their own family history. Denise is a powerful and positive force in her own right as the co-founder of Live Love and Peace, and organization dedicating to spreading love and peace, or some might say “good will.” She passed out Live Love and Peace bracelets at the end of the meeting.

We’ve had many excellent meetings over my group’s 7 ½-year history, but folks were saying our February meeting was one of the best. I have to agree! Dr. Miller was an outstanding and passionate speaker and shared one gluten-free success story after another. It was inspiring to all of us to see how a traditional doctor has complemented his skills with a functional medicine approach, and most importantly, with an acceptance and understanding of the role gluten plays in so many ob/gyn and other health issues.

One final note on Dr. Miller’s presentation:  This summary comes from my own notes; I did not get Dr. Miller to review this write-up so any errors or omissions are mine, not Dr. Miller’s.

Food: We always enjoy so many wonderful gluten-free foods and dishes at our January and February meetings. Many of our dishes are dairy free, refined sugar free, etc. as well. Members either bring copies of their recipes to have alongside their dish to show its ingredients or they complete index cards indicating the ingredients or simply if the recipe is gluten free, dairy free. Experienced members, especially those who are gluten free, dairy free, and more free themselves, have no problem identifying the category of their dish. New members feel more comfortable showing all the ingredients and answering questions from those who have very specific concerns due to their own food intolerances.

Our January meeting was a true potluck with no theme. Our menu was Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham and Chicken, Great Salad with Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing, Homemade Hummus, Homemade Cornbread, Guacamole with Tortilla Chips, Salsa with Tortilla Chips, Foods Alive Flax Crackers, Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and Easy Pumpkin Squares.

For our February meeting, our theme was Foods We Love (Or Love to Make for Others) to go with Valentine’s Day. Of course, when I set the theme, I didn’t realize that our meeting date fell on Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday, which is now also known as National Pancake Day. So pretty much any foods and recipes went for this event and you’ll be able to see that from our menu below. But “Foods We Love (Or Love to Make for Others)” is a pretty broad category anyway.

Weighing down the table (but only for a brief time!) were Turkey Tenderloins (Savory Roast and Applewood Smoked flavors), Garlic Cheese Grits, Great Salad with my Homemade Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing, Chickpea Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing (lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, and mint), Raw Broccoli and Carrot Salad (with Pecans, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon, and Olive Oil), Steamed Cabbage (with Organic Chicken Broth and Organic Butter), Steamed Asparagus (with Organic Butter), Irish Soda Bread (Elana’s Pantry recipe), Blue Corn Cornbread, Sea Salt Chips with Red Pepper Hummus, Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips (Original and Kettle Cooked), Rice Crackers with Sun-Dried Tomato Jalapeno Majestic Garlic Spread, Pumpkin Muffins (made using Pamela’s Baking Mix), Sweet Potato Biscuits, Crustless Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie (made using agave nectar, maple syrup, eggs, soy-free Earth Balance, pure vanilla extract, pecans, and Chocolate Dream chocolate chips), Lucy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, a pitcher of Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea, a pitcher of Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea, a bottle of homemade kombucha tea, Simply Limeade, Simply Lemonade, pomegranate-pineapple-orange juice (virgin and non-virgin), and two bottles of wine (Malbec and Riesling).

Yep, those were the meals at our last two meetings; don’t you wish you could have been there for both the great food and the programs? Well, let’s create our own phenomenal meal for our virtual support  group, shall we? Let’s see you all will contribute to our first GFE VSG meeting, by adding to the discussion and the recipes!

And, last, our Giveaway:

This month’s giveaway is for three prizes and there will be three winners, one winner for each prize. This giveaway is open to all. Yes, that means international readers! All that is required to enter the giveaway is a comment. (Additional entries will not be counted.)

~ The Future of Food DVD – donated by Elana (Elana’s Pantry)

documentary, food, GMO, genetically modified, Michael Pollan, Monsanto

~ The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook – by Elana Amsterdam (Elana’s Pantry); donated by gfe

~ Healthier Without Wheat – donated and signed by the author, Dr. Stephen Wangen of The IBS Treatment Center

How to participate in this month’s GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group:

~~ If you’re a reader who is not a blogger, simply leave a comment telling us what dish you’ll bring to our meeting that fits our theme Foods We Love (or Love to Make for Others).  For example, I might say I’m bringing my son’s all-time favorite dish Chicken A La King, which I serve over rice. Another person might share that he’s bringing his special pot roast that family members always request for Sunday dinner.

~~ If you’re a blogger, follow these rules:

~ Link up a gluten-free recipe that you made and posted that contains real food ingredients that fits this month’s food theme, Foods We Love (or Love to Make for Others). Older posts may be used as long as they follow all the other rules shown below.

~ Link to only one recipe.

~ Do not link to advertisement or business blogs.

~ Ensure that you mention The GFE Virtual Gluten Free Support Group in your post and link back to this post so your readers will check out all the event posts.

~ You are welcome to grab the badge from my sidebar and include it in your post. I’d love that because it would help spread the word on our event! (Many thanks to Lexie (Lexie’s Kitchen) for creating the fabulous badge.)

~ Leave a comment on the post and briefly tell us about the recipe you’ve linked up.

~ Links will be removed if guidelines are not met (e.g., no link back to this event, no recipe is included in the post, the link goes to an advertisement or business blog).

A comment is required if you are linking up a recipe or entering the giveaway. Please tell us in your comment what you are bringing to our virtual support group meeting. And, of course, offer any comments on the presentations.

Note:  The *plan* for the future is to have the post and linky up by 10:00 am on the first Tuesday of each month. The linky will close on Friday at midnight EST. The giveaway will end at that same time.



Not just gf, but gfe!

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176 Responses to “GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group March 2012 ~ Dr. Lawrence Miller: Ob/Gyn Issues Related to Gluten”

  1. Ina Gawne on March 6th, 2012 11:41 pm

    Shirley…bless your ever loving heart!! I mean that from the bottom of my soul. I love how you share…you share knowledge, information, deep personal experiences, feelings, and anything and everything there is to learn and know about Celiac Disease.(plus you share some seriously delicious recipes – oh yeahhh!) You shine a light upon our world..and I say thank you. big hugs to you, Ina

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 9:58 am

      Ina–You’re such a dear! Thank you for all your wonderful feedback and beyond moving words! :-)

      Big hugs back to you,

      p.s. still tickled that you made my pomegranate sherbet and that it turned out so well for you. ;-)

  2. leah stokes on March 6th, 2012 11:59 pm

    Hello, can you please tell me how I can enter the giveawys? I didn’t seeany link on where to enter. Thank you. Great site you have. What state is these monthly meetings in?

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 12:04 am

      Hi Leah–Welcome to gfe! All you do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment, which you’ve already done, so you are covered. :-) Thanks for the kind feedback! I’m in VA.


  3. Sharyn Engel on March 7th, 2012 12:07 am

    Shirley…I loved reading about Dr. Miller! I sure wish I lived closer to have him as my dr…California is a bit too far:) But I’ve had SO many issues along those same lines, and the dr’s do make you feel like you’re crazy…so much so, that you feel like just putting up with the symptoms because it’s embarrassing to have to constantly go to the dr for so many different issues. I stopped eating gluten “just because” about 2 months ago, and I have felt SO good, I dont even get the urge to “cheat”. Headaches are gone, more energy, and my mind feels more “clear”. Thank you for all you do…

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:03 am

      Hi Sharyn–I’m so glad that Dr. Miller’s presentation resonated with you, but so sorry you’ve been through the same. The dismissal of our symptoms by doctors can really do a number on us. Finally, I am doing backflips here (see me?!) over your success since going gluten free!!! That is PHENOMENAL! I especially love that you don’t have the urge to cheat. I never did either, but I know it can be an issue for many. When you experience such success, one just can’t imagine ingesting rat poison (aka gluten) again though.

      Congratulatory hugs to you, dear! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! :-)

  4. Catybakes on March 7th, 2012 12:26 am

    Hi Shirley! Loved your first meeting. I’m so happy you started this, because this has the potential to help so many people! I’ll keep checking in and eventually link in some recipes. : )

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:07 am

      Hi Catybakes–It’s great to see you again, dear. Hope it hasn’t been too snowy for you lately up there in the midwest. ;-) Thanks for the kind words on our virtual support group! I truly hope that it will grow and become a blessing to many who don’t have a support group. :-)

      I look forward to you sharing some of your recipes later. Just FYI, all you have to do on recipes is say what you’d bring in your comment. For example, “I’d bring my family’s favorite pot roast to this meeting. They love having that for Sunday dinner.” I’ll tweak my instructions a bit more to give examples. ;-)

      Thanks so much!

      • Catybakes on March 7th, 2012 12:25 pm

        Snow has not been much of a part of our winter here this year! Nice to have a bit of a break. I owe you an email after your email to me several months ago. I’ll get on it!

        By the way, I would bring some of my awesome fried chicken strips and my gluten free and dairy free conversion of the popular Cinnamon Roll Cake.

        Now I’m off to go get the fixings for pot roast which, believe it or not, was on my menu for dinner tonight before you posted your comment. Shirley, you’re uncanny! ; )

        • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:11 am

          Hi again Catybakes–We’ve had a very mild winter, too. (Everyone is saying the bugs will be awful this summer!) No worries on the email. As we’ve discussed before, email is my nemesis these days. I love corresponding with readers, friends, etc., but sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

          YUMMMMY on your awesome fried chicken strips and converted Cinnamon Roll Cake. I know everyone will love those!! And too funny on the pot roast ;-) … bet it was delish!


  5. Debi on March 7th, 2012 12:43 am

    I brought my “Best Ever Meatloaf” to the meeting. It is my gluten-free version of my gluten-full version that my brother and sisters absolutely loved. There is also a second recipe in the post for Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caraway & Leeks.

    Shirley, I love that Dr. Miller is a proponent of functional medicine. I’m seeing more and more specialists turning to functional medicine. I hope that it keeps becoming more mainstream so everyone get much better care across the board. He also sounds like my last doctor in Louisville. He and his partners only saw a set amount of patients per day so they can actually spend time with each patient and not have to do a 3 minute face-to-face before moving on to the next one. It was so refreshing!

    It still kills me that many doctor’s can’t take anecdotal evidence as fact. There is so much of it out there. If all roads point to A, why go to B? I’ll be sharing more about my recent adventures with the Hematologist once I have my results, but he wasn’t quite getting the gluten thing. I had to keep repeating that it makes me sick and remind him that because I had been off of gluten for nearly a year before my IgE so there was no way I would test positive. Other than that, I liked him. Go figure!

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:26 am

      Hi Debi–Your Best Ever Meatloaf will be a big hit for our meeting I am sure. Really good meatloaf is a true gift! And like you said, when made well (as is true of any gluten-free recipe), gluten-full folks love it, too! My meat loaf always disappears quickly at our meetings. (I overhear folks saying, “Hey, that meat loaf is actually really good!” Cracks me up.) Interesting on the caraway with the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Those are one food that I do enjoy, but don’t make because Mr. GFE is not a fan. :-(

      Here’s the thing on lack of acceptance of anecdotal evidence and also the “wielding” of statistics (which are also a pet peeve of mine). If YOU are THE ONE seeing results, it’s doesn’t matter if the doctor doesn’t accept your case as scientific evidence. If you were enrolled in a study, the doctor most likely would, yet studies are often flawed and how many folks are involved in studies? And stats like 99% (making up a number here) of folks will not see an improvement on a gluten-free diet … well, if you’re the 1% who does, isn’t that all that matters? We often forego common sense and give our “power” away to such dispensations of “wisdom” from the medical experts. Last, I knew, there were no studies on banging one’s head on the wall, but we all pretty much know that if we bang our head on the wall, it will hurt and if we stop the banging, the pain stops. We need to do our own testing with our own bodies when the medical system fails us. We cannot wait for the “experts” to catch up and decide that “oh, yeah, that’s not anecdotal evidence after all!”

      Doctors who are moving towards functional medicine are–hopefully–our future, the bright happy one anyway. :-) So glad that you like your new hematologist. Think of it … you might be saving so many people by educating him! Hope that doctor-patient partnership works out well for you. I look forward to hearing more!


      • Debi on March 7th, 2012 6:55 pm

        Exactly! Any study has inherent flaws and many studies we will never read about because if they do not achieve statistical significance, they CANNOT be published. However, there are so many studies that we can learn from that will never see the light of day. This was a HUGE pet peeve of mine when I took Methodology and the reason why I never went for my PhD in Clinical Psych once I had my BA. With that in mind, I always read studies with a grain of salt knowing how things can be skewed in the set up of the testing, the implementation of the testing, and/or the interpretation of the results.

        The founding doctors of the integrative practice I go to wrote a book about “transformational medicine” that comes out next month. Even though I’m in the midst of it, I’m looking forward to learning more about it.


        • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:43 pm

          Debi–Yes, numbers and studies can be used in a variety of ways and, unfortunately, many of those ways are not good. Very frustrating to a lay person once they know, but especially to someone who was as involved and committed as you to your field.

          That book sounds amazing! Please tell us when it comes out! :-)


  6. Linda S. on March 7th, 2012 12:53 am

    Wow, Shirley! This is great! I love reading ALL your posts you share on FB, too, every day. You’re so generous and always provide such wonderful info! I would like to share a wonderful new recipe I made this week that I’m sure you would love but I’m not sure I understand the directions on how to ‘link’ up? Is that for someone who has a blog? It is a very simple and easy recipe for energy bars made with tahini and dates and brown rice cereal, etc., but it is late and time to dream so I’ll check back w/you tomorrow on how to share the recipe. Good night! :)

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 9:05 am

      Hi Linda–Thank YOU so much for all your sweet and generous feedback! :-) My expectation is that non-blogger folks could just share the info on what they’d bring to our virtual support group meeting in their comment. So if you created a recipe (your very own, nobody else’s since we don’t want to infringe on anyone’s copyright), you can just share it in your comment. :-) Does that make sense? Your energy bars sound wonderful, Linda. Certainly something I would love! ;-) So, again, if they are your creation, please tell us all about them!

      Thanks again, dear!

  7. iffat on March 7th, 2012 2:04 am

    I am new to your site and I loved reading your story and Dr. Miller’s story, it was my first time reading something this king without losing interest in the middle. Thanks for sharing all this great information with us and being an inspiration for others to follow.
    My best.

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:33 am

      Hi iffat–Welcome to gfe! :-) I took a look at your blog, Healing Trip, Sensitive Meals Made Easy: That white lentil dish looks wonderful; I love the beautiful presentation. Beautiful food has so much more appeal! And isn’t it almost always true that mom’s original version is the best? And if your mom is like mine, she doesn’t even use a recipe and can only “sort of” tell you how to re-create the dish. ;-)

      Thanks so much for your very kind words on gfe, me, and on my summary of Dr. Miller’s presentation! While it’s nice to have a quick-read type post, I didn’t want to leave out anything that he shared with us all that evening.

      All the best to you, too, dear,

  8. Gloria on March 7th, 2012 5:45 am

    Thanks for all of this wonderful information!! So much new to learn and share.

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:35 am

      Hi Gloria–Thanks for hopping over from my Facebook page (where I get to see you the most!) to our virtual support group! I look forward to your participating and sharing, and do hope you learn a lot in our “meetings.” :-)


  9. Lee Barrilleaux on March 7th, 2012 8:22 am

    Thanks Shirley for the virtual support group. I enjoyed reading about Dr. Miller. I had a discussion with my OB/GYN last year about going GF and she was very supportive.

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:38 am

      Hi Lee–Great to see you again, especially for our first GFE VSG meeting! :-) I am thrilled to hear that your ob/gyn is so supportive of you going/being gluten free. That is definitely a refreshing change! I seriously hope it will become a trend!


  10. heather on March 7th, 2012 9:34 am

    Thank you for all your insight. What an eye opener!

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:40 am

      Hi Heather–So glad you made it for our virtual support group meeting, and that you found the info enlightening! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Hope to see you at all our GFE VSG meetings. :-)


  11. Gloria on March 7th, 2012 9:52 am

    I am wondering if Dr Miller can recommend anyone in the Boston area who practices with a similar philosophy. My daughter (22) very much needs this kind of treatment (adrenal, thyroid, hormonal imbalance)and I don’t her to have to traipse to several different doctors before she finds someone who will treat her from this perspective. Any first hand recommendations are also very welcome!

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:48 am

      Gloria–Unfortunately, I don’t know that I’ll be able to call upon Dr. Miller for additional info for this post such as answers to questions, but I hope others will weigh in. I also recommend going to the functional medicine site itself and checking under their “find a practitioner” info to see if there’s anyone in your area who will meet your daughter’s needs. Be sure to consider more than just ob/gyn’s in your search because often functional medicine doctors do treat so many different issues due to the nature of their training. Hope you get some more info! Oh, and if you belong to the celiac listserve, you can also query there for a local physician with a functional medicine approach to treat such symptoms. (Note: You don’t have to have celiac to join; read more at


    • Debi on March 7th, 2012 7:02 pm

      Gloria, pardon me for butting in. You might also try the thyroid-info Top Docs section since it sounds like she needs a specialist. Here is the link to the site and if you look up the info on the site Shirley gave, you can cross-reference the two. Readers have given input on the doctors and they are right there with the listings. There are Endocrinologists, other specialists, and general practitioners.
      Debi :D

      • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:52 pm

        Hi again Debi–Thank you so much for butting in! There is no such thing as butting in at support group meetings. We’re all sharing input to help each other, and Gloria asked for input. :-) I’m sure that link will help many who are reading!


  12. Nancy @Real Food Allergy Free on March 7th, 2012 9:53 am

    How fun! What a blessing to have a dr that actually thinks outside the box. I brought my slow cooker apricot chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 10:52 am

      Hi Nancy–Great to see you AND your Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken! YUM!! :-) I can’t imagine anyone not loving that dish. ;-) Just from the photo, I was drooling. Then I took a look at the recipe and fell more in love. Plus, I smiled when I saw all those chicken photos at the bottom from your “related posts” (or similar) feature. I love good chicken!

      Finally, yes, it is a true blessing. Dr. Miller has helped so very many people with his caring, open-minded and non-cookie cutter approach.

      Thanks for joining in for our inaugural GFE VSG! :-)

  13. Melissa @ glutenfreeforgood on March 7th, 2012 10:35 am

    As you know, Shirley, I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Miller and his wife Denise last fall. What a dynamic, bright, and engaging pair they are. I appreciate you introducing me to them and I hope to see them again one of these days. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so hard to find good medical care and combining the best of both worlds into an integrative and functional approach is the way to go. I belong to the American Holistic Medical Association and also support the AlterMed Research Foundation (that’s here in Colorado) and have found that some of the best MDs practice with the kind of insight, alternative focus, and personal attention you mention with Dr. Miller. I’m so glad you found him to help guide you to better health. Those special doctors are too few and far between! Thanks for a great post Shirley, and thank you for inviting us into your home! It’s lovely.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:00 am

      Hi Melissa–I’m so glad that you got to meet the Millers when we were all in Dallas. You’ve described them perfectly! Of course, you know that what I shared of my health history is only part of my story, but it’s the key part that relates to Dr. Miller’s mission and explains how I met him and started down the right path. I know that you practice this type of sensible, caring approach with all your clients. You are giving them such a gift in doing so! I am not familiar with the AlterMed Research Foundation, so thanks so much for mentioning that. I dream of and envision a day when we’ll have all doctors (and others in the health field, like yourself)practicing the way that Dr. Miller does. It will mean much, much better health for so many of us! :-)

      Thanks for all the generous feedback, Melissa! I love hosting my support group meetings in our home. It makes them so much more personal and enjoyable, and I’m happy to extend that feeling as best I can through our new GFE VSG. ;-)


  14. Karen on March 7th, 2012 11:43 am

    That sounded like an amazing meeting and yes i truly wish i could have been there. what a wealth of information in that post. i am just learning to be gluten-free and rely on you and several other blogs to keep me company on my learning path. it’s good company i might add. thanks for doing what you do. oh and so glad to enter the giveaway too – would love the cookbook. i’ve been looking at GR cookbooks – as i haven’t yet got my first one. Got a favorite?

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:07 am

      Hi Karen–It’s great to see you again! You always give the nicest feedback—thank you! I’m so glad that you are finding gfe and several other blogs so helpful. :-)

      I have many favorite gluten-free cookbooks! However, the ones I’d recommend to you really depend upon what you are looking for. All purpose? Grain free, too? Do you have other food restrictions as well? Shoot me an email and let me know and I’ll try to give you a quick answer. FYI–I took down my Amazon store some time ago because it was taking up valuable space on my sidebar, but I’ll be adding it back on gfe soon, so then readers can take a quick look themselves to see which cookbooks I recommend that will also fit their requirements.

      Thanks so much for joining in for our first GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group!

  15. Karen@Cook4Seasons on March 7th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Sweet Shirley…I’m sorry I somehow missed your last blog post and the news of your uncle’s passing. My thoughts are with you and your family. I know how tough a loss can be, and grief comes in waves. I am so glad you have the network here as your ‘extended’ family – it is obvious how many people love and support you. You give so much to us – it’s only right we do the same for you. Blessings and continued good work! XOXO

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:16 am

      Hi Karen–It’s wonderful to see you again! All your comforting, generous, and supportive words are so appreciated, dear—thank you. I am indeed very blessed with my greater gfe community, which of course—and thankfully—includes you. :-)


  16. Alissa on March 7th, 2012 1:55 pm

    What a wonderful idea! Can’t wait until the next virtual support group meeting:)

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:27 am

      Hi Alissa–Welcome to gfe, the gluten-free world, blogging, and our GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group! :-) I LOVE the name of your blog, Breaking Up with Captain Crunch (! The truth is that the Captain was never worthy of you or right for you to begin with. ;-) But now with a potential band called Celiac Attack, you might have a “relationship” that will work! LOL All that aside, I look forward to seeing you next month for our virtual support group meeting and, hopefully, more here at gfe!


  17. Mari on March 7th, 2012 2:09 pm

    I don’t know how I missed the dairy free Poppy Seed dressing the first time, but I am thrilled that I found it this time around. Dairy is really becoming a huge problem for me, so it is always nice to find a dairy free recipe from someone that I trust and admire. If anyone knows of a nondairy alternative to Cheez Whiz I’d love to hear about it. I have a recipe that calls for beans and pimentos, among other ingredients, and it has the familiar sharp tang of the Cheez Whiz, but the taste isn’t quite there. By quite there, I mean nowhere near. Since it is dairy free and doesn’t impact me adversely, I make it once in awhile, but I would love to have a recipe that tastes more like the real deal.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:42 am

      Hi Mari–I’m happy you saw the dressing link and found the recipe! I and my support group love this dressing and it’s easy to whip up with ingredients I always have on hand. :-) It’s a bit different from the Brianna’s dressing, but still very good. Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing is gluten free and dairy free and wonderful, but does contain sugar. I alternate between buying that and making my own version. ;-)

      Heidi at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom started down the homemade dairy-free Cheez Whiz path here: Be sure to read comments, too. You might get some answers or inspiration! :-)

      Thanks so much for joining in this month for our virtual gluten-free support group!

  18. Edie on March 7th, 2012 2:13 pm

    Love, Love, Love your write-up on Dr. Miller. I wish I’d been able to hear him speak, but what you posted is great! I may have to pay him a visit. :)

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:47 am

      Hi Edie–You always surprise me! I don’t hear from you for a good while and then you show up, which is very a propos since my support group members do this, too! We’re all busy, right? ;-) Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback on Dr. Miller’s presentation! I know that many could not make it and while sharing my write-up is not nearly as good as getting to hear Dr. Miller and speak with him in person, it does give some insight into all the ways that gluten ssues can affect women (and a little bit about men, of course). I highly recommend Dr. Miller, and don’t mind my trips to Richmond to see him (audio books are my friend when it comes to car time!). :-)

      Thanks so much for joining in the conversation for our VSG!

  19. Kelley M on March 7th, 2012 2:18 pm

    Thanks so much for the post. It is an encouragement. I have had issues for over 9 years and still on the path to recovery. I first went GF 9 yr ago, after 2 years a dr told me it was not necessary based on testing I had, so I added it back in and did not have the stomach pains as I had before. I have had hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, fibro, irritable bowel diagnoses, PCOS etc… I have been GF, Dairy free, soy free, corn free, refined sugar free, (and many more foods) for almost 2 years now. I am still not over my issues, but am better than a year ago. Still a long road ahead… I have felt all along, that food is the route I need to go, so your post is encouragement for me to keep trying. I also have been meaning to thank you also, I was reading back posts and saw your post on oats and Bob red Mill last month, I have been eating that brand and now question if it is why I am not healing better or faster as I may have been ingesting gluten through those oats. (though I had not symptoms from it). I have removed them from my diet. Do you know or heard feedback on if people have reacted or been ok with the trader Joe’s GF oats or Arrowhead mills steel cut oats?

    And for others who may be reading that have similar issues, they might also want to look into GMO crops in general and BPA hidden in tons of stuff in the US — it can also lead to hormonal issues. It is very hard to get all those out of the diet, but it is what I am tackling now.

    There are some good documentaries on netflix streaming that deal with food issues (I think the one you mentioned is on there as well as food inc) Deconstructing supper was well done and showed how the canola plant is modified in a lab in Canada.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 11:29 am

      Hi Kelley–It’s wonderful to see you here again, and for our first VSG meeting! :-) Gluten reactions/symptoms can be an almost mercurial thing. I’ve read it explained this way … when our body is screaming at us through one symptom (or several) and we don’t heed it, it just tries screaming another way. And afer living gf for 2 years, you may have healed your body enough that stomach symptoms were no longer the main issue. Most of us find our symptoms can change over time. I know that my reactions to accidental gluten now are different than what they were when I was eating gluten all the time. Kelley, I am really glad that you’ve found this post, Dr. Miller’s presentation info, etc. to be encouragement for continuing on. Yes, it can be a long road, but it’s worth it.

      As far as your questions on several of these brand name products, I feel strongly that *most of the time* we should only use products that are certified gluten free by a third-party inspection agency, like GFCO. But we must also do our own research and trust our bodies. Unfortunately, I know that everyone does not have a clear reaction like I do. It’s a tough situation for sure. I don’t have any specific knowledge of TJ’s gf oats or Arrowhead Mills gf oats. Neither do testing to my knowledge. There are numerous oats that are tested and certified by a third-party inspection agency. No, they are not inexpensive, but they are worth it. Last, you should also consider that some with gluten issues will not be able to tolerate oats of any kind, certified gf or not. It might be wise to remove them from your diet for a good while and then reintroduce later and see if you have a noticeable reaction. Quinoa flakes can provide a great substitute in many instances, e.g., cookies, granola bars.

      Thanks for the mention on BPA, Kelley. Whole, real foods are what will keep up the safest, but sometimes we do use products that are harboring such ingredients, and they definitely have an effect. :-(

      Thanks for the info on Deconstructing Supper! I’ll be looking for that. I’d certainly like that myth on canola oil being safe and desired to be dispelled! I use three oils these days … olive oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil.


      • Kelley on March 12th, 2012 12:52 pm


        Thanks for your reply. I have been going back and forth on taking oats out completely. I have such a limited list of foods I can eat due to lots of food sensitivities and now that I am removing all GMO products, the list of food seems to be shrinking. Though if cutting out oats completely would solve some of the issues I still have, it would be totally worth it!

        • Shirley on March 13th, 2012 10:19 pm

          Hi Kelley–I understand your reluctance, but elminating them and then reintroducing them will probably show you right away if they have an adverse effect. Good luck in figuring it out! Also, you might consider trying naked oats later if you do determine you’re having issues with oats. Read more on how those might work better for you:

          Good luck!

  20. SherriS. on March 7th, 2012 2:22 pm

    Yay! I love the virtual support group idea, Shirley. I’m so glad you found Dr. Miller and that he “gets it.” Since I experienced fertility problems first hand and many other debilitating health issues until my allergy or intolerance was determined I’m glad to hear about Dr. Miller and other traditional doctors becoming more aware.

    (If I’m lucky enough to win – I already own Elana’s cookbook)

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:03 pm

      Hi Sherri–Good to see you, dear. :-) Thanks so much for the positive feedback our VSG and Dr. Miller’s approach, and special thanks for sharing some of your own health issues prior to disovering intolerances to gluten and more. Those shared experiences speak volumes to all reading who are wondering if they, too, might have food issues causing their problems.

      I’ll be drawing the winners from those who commented by midnight as soon as I finish replying to all comments. ;-)


  21. Amber on March 7th, 2012 3:37 pm

    Hi There Shirley,

    I’m blown away by this virtual support group you put together!

    What a fantastic post – so full of information. Great job Shirley! And I’m in love with your doctor. :-)

    I’m bringing my roasted leek and mushroom pork chops with homemade applesauce. SCD Friendly, of course!

    I’ve also got your badge!

    So fun!!


    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:08 pm

      Hi Amber–You are the best, as always! :-) Future posts should be more streamlined, but I didn’t want you guys to miss out on all from our last two “in person” meetings. ;-)

      Yes, everyone is in love with Dr. Miller … anyone who meets him anyway!

      Oh, how wonderful that you brought those delicious pork chops you made a while back–YUM! SCD friendly is just another facet of gf and like gf, there doesn’t have to be any deprivation … only goodness! You’re doing a great job showing that with your recipe posts, dear!

      Thanks for sharing the badge, too—woohoo!


  22. InTolerant Chef on March 7th, 2012 4:25 pm

    Lots to take in there for sure!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:11 pm

      InTolerant Chef–Ye of few words must be a bit overwhelmed with this post. I promise to provide briefer write-ups in the future. Fingers crossed anyway. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by for our support group meeting!

  23. Vicky on March 7th, 2012 4:27 pm

    Hi! This is a wonderful idea! Your support group meetings sound so informative and I think a virtual support group will be such a great help!

    I couldn’t see the theme mentioned so I haven’t posted a link to a recipe and since they all seem to be meat recipes and I’m vegetarian I haven’t linked anything today.

    I don’t know if I qualify to enter your giveaway since I’m in the UK but never mind, I’m so pleased I saw the link to this on facebook.

    Take care!

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2012 5:02 pm

      Hey Vicky–Wanted to reply to your comment before the others to answer your questions, plus other readers may have the same ones. The theme is Foods You Love (or Love to Make for Others), which is the theme we used for our February meeting. I would never require meat dishes because they would exclude vegans/vegetarians. This holds true for my real life group meetings, too. We always to a theme that works for all eating plans (except a gluten-full one of course). So please link up one of your favorites.

      And yes, my giveaways are ALWAYS open to everyone. I abhor giveaways that are not. You are reading so you should be eligible in my opinion. I will be mailing these out to the winners, but even when I am not, if a company refuses to mail to international winners, I get them to mail the prize packages to me and then I mail them directly to the international winners. :-)

      I will update the post to be more clear. I’ve been reluctant to do that too many times because I found out that the latest version of WordPress strips out the linky code each time you update if you don’t follow certain steps. :-( But this info is needed, so I will do that in a few minutes.

      Last, thanks so much for the great feedback! I am excited about our GFE VSG!


      • Vicky on March 7th, 2012 6:18 pm

        Thank you Shirley! I’ve shared my Vegetable Chilli which is always a favourite with everyone! Served with brown Basmati rice or cauliflower rice, it’s suitable as a grain-free meal or a gluten-free one!

        • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:32 pm

          Vicky–Oh, your chili sounds really, really good! :-) I like Veggie Chili far more than I like regular chili. My vegetarian chili is very popular with family and my support group. ;-) Love your rice suggestions, too. I’d go for Basmati, but am trying to eat more cauliflower.

          Thanks again!

  24. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on March 7th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Ahh..Shirley, you are so very lucky to have such a wonderful OB. It is a total blessing. I am completely amazed at this post and your amazing virtual support group! And that logo is just perfect!! I cannot wait to see how this evolves and how much this is going to help people. You are amazing in every way, my friend!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:13 pm

      Hi Kim–Yes, Dr. Miller is a total blessing, to me and so many others. :-) Many thanks for the kudos on our VSG and our logo! I absolutely love the positive, helping spirit conveyed in the logo.

      Thanks so much on all, dear! Miss you. xo,

  25. Margaret Hoffman on March 7th, 2012 5:25 pm

    I have been reading your posts for about a year. The post about Dr. Miller is a real eye opener!! I have been having hormonal problems and will keep being gluten-free so msybe they will continue to get better. I went gluten free on my own to deal with an outbreak around my mouth. My Dr. said if it helped to continue with it. I’m tempted to cheat some times but after reading your blog and some of the other blogs I will be less tempted in the future. You always have a lot of great information and this time is great as always. I didn’t realise how the wheat has been changed. That answers a question that I’ve had about why more people are having trouble with gluten. Thank you again for being here for all of us.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:18 pm

      Hi Margaret–It’s good to see you again. :-) I hope you had a good experience with the nutmeg flats with your granddaughters are Christmas time. I think that was the last we chatted. ;-)

      I’m really so happy that you’ve found Dr. Miller’s info to be so helpful! Yes, stay 100% gluten free. I believe the temptations can fade away, especially after one gets accidentally glutened and sees the results. Hope that doesn’t happen to you, but if nothing else, it always reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much gluten affects me.

      Thanks so much for all the feedback and kind words; they’re really appreciated, Margaret!

  26. Pamela Erickson on March 7th, 2012 5:27 pm

    Hey, Shirley,

    Thanks for this virtual meeting. I wish I could have been there. I, too, had a hysterectomy. It was after they found a benign tumor the size of a grapefruit on my ovary two months after I had been into my gyno and he couldn’t find anything. At that time, they told me the horrible pain I had been suffering was from endometriois. I had had many allergies, repeated bladder infections and candida before that.
    I had read that candida could have been caused by the gluten intolerance, but this was the first time I learned that It could cause endometriois. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I am so grateful for my health now.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:24 pm

      Hi Pamela–You’re welcome! I was just thinking about you and your zucchini pizza today, in fact. No kidding. My next support group meeting (and therefore, our virtual support group meeting) will have the food theme of Pizza and Greens, so I’m planning out the pizzas in my head. Zucchini crust pizza—in some form—will be on the menu. ;-)

      Much of your story sounds similar to mine … endo, repeated UTIs, candida, hysterectomy … we’s probably even have more similar symptoms if we compared comprehensive notes. I hope thatsharing our stories will prevent other women from experiencing hysterectomies and all the rest.

      So glad you are healthy now!

  27. Cindy W. on March 7th, 2012 5:49 pm

    Hi Shirley,
    Thank you for an amazing first virtual support group. First I would like to say that I will keep you and your family in my prayers and hope things get better real soon. Secondly, your doctor sounds amazing! Why do you have to live in another state? (: I really appreciate all the information you shared with us. It was so enlightening. Lastly, I would have brought my spinach quiche with a brown rice crust to my first meeting. It was a recipe I made before having to go gf – and I was very excited to realize it was naturally gluten free. Take care, Cindy

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:29 pm

      Hi Cindy–Thanks so much for the personal note; I truly apreciate it!

      Those geographical boundaries are a bit annoying, aren’t they? I’m trying to bridge the gap with these virtual support group meetings though. ;-)

      Spinach Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust? I can’t begin to tell you how good that sounds right now! And I’m really glad you shared the info on your delight at discovering it was naturally gluten free. So many of our “old” recipes we can still make … we just have to start taking a quick look to see if they are naturally gluten free or need a slight adaptation perhaps. Great reminder to all!


  28. Tessa Domestic Diva on March 7th, 2012 6:45 pm

    I brought a sweet brown oatmeal bread to the party, I only wish I really did have a party to bring it too..everyone I serve food too has no known food sensitivities/allergies! For now I will rely on on all my virtual friends! I absolutely love the badge, really fun to look at!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:40 pm

      Hi Tessa–It’s clear that you’re going to be very popular at our support group meeting … showing up with such scrumptious bread! :-) We’re here for you, dear. Yours is actually a comment that I hear a lot. That is, that readers/gf folks don’t know anyone else who is dealing with food issues. Of course, we come to realize that many are dealing with food issues; theirs just have not been identified yet. ;-) Thanks re: the badge, too. I absolutely loved the picture and Lexie magically turned it into a wonderful badge for our VSG!


      • Tessa Domestic Diva on March 11th, 2012 12:04 am

        I attended a b-day party today and felt so awkward watching all these kiddos mow down juice, pizza, and bright colored cupcakes, and everyone wondering why my daughter was not. I hate feeling like i am on an island and like I am the only one sometimes…and of course the mommy in me HATES singling my kid out. Why can’t some of you live in my community?! I have to dig some people out, I swear…..sigh, just venting….

        • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 2:58 pm

          Hi again Tessa–I think that being comfortable with one’s sensitivities/differences is something that one comes to in time, but kids’ activities in the “real world” (which sadly as we know is not at all synonymous with the “real food world”) can really make one feel like an oddball. No mom wants their kids to be singled out. Teach them to be strong and know what good, real food is and that will go a very long way to them feeling comfortable with themselves and their diets. You have to learn to be comfortable, too, and know without a doubt that you are doing the right thing without embarassment, second thoughts, etc. Have you seen pre-release reviews of Paleo Parents’ new cookbook, Eat Like a Dinosaur? Stacy and Matt cover that topic some in their book. My friend Katie (Kitchen Stewardship) also did a post recently on connecting kids with real food: She actually has several posts on this general topic of late (hers and guest posts) and I think you’ll find them very helpful. (Note: Katie’s family does not eat 100% gluten free, but does tend to limit grains.)

          Another thought … there are probably actually folks in your community who do live gluten free and more free, or at least focus on real food. You might consider seeking them out. I know the thought of adding another thing to a very busy mom’s list can be overwhelming, but it could be well worth a small time investment. Some ideas could be finding out if there’s a Weston A. Price (WAP) group in your area. Several of my support group members also belong to our local WAP group. While WAP in general focuses on whole grains, gf folks can be included, and even those who are dairy free and more. The lessons taught on real food, dealing with family/friend social and school situations, etc. could be very helpful. There may be folks you already know who have food intolerances, but just keep them to themselves because they don’t want to be singled out either. You might put up a note on a church/school/YMCA, etc. community bulletin board about starting a lunch/snack meet-up group for folks with food intolerances/allergies. It could be a very informal thing where you all could meet at the library (maybe during kids’ story hour?) or another common setting. You might find there are a lot of folks like you who feel like they’re on an island and they’d love to connect and offer support to each other. I’ve found this with my own support group; there are far, far more folks dealing with food intolerances/allergies, but they don’t bring it up when talking to the general population, so to speak. To use your terminology, start digging … ;-)

          Good luck! Hugs,

  29. Patsy on March 7th, 2012 6:55 pm

    Wowzers Shirley! What a good meeting…really liked the information from Dr. Miller. The food looked great and the wine look good too!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:50 pm

      Thanks so much, Patsy! I appreciate you joining in for our virtual meeting. Dr. Miller is having a huge impact to his patients and, hopefully, all reading here. Our food and liquid refreshments are always terrific. I could have shared tons more photos, but my post was already at “epic” level. ;-)


  30. Beth @ Tasty Yummies on March 7th, 2012 8:16 pm

    This makes me SO SO happy! Admittedly I haven’t read through every single bit of this, but I can’t wait to have the quiet time to really take it all in. I love what a wonderful community of gluten-free bloggers and other folks there are online. It makes my heart just burst. Thanks so much for doing this Shirley. It so wonderful. I shared my Gluten-free Vegan Lentil Loaf recipe that has been a huge hit for everyone that has tasted it.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:55 pm

      Hey Beth–I so appreciate your lovely feedback, and couldn’t agree more! :-) We should put the faces of all the wonderful gf bloggers and readers on the VSG logo and the line of these folks would stretch for a very, very long distance!

      That Vegan Lentil Loaf is brilliant! I love lentils and I know everyone in our virtual support group will be checking that out. ;-)


  31. PattyBoots on March 7th, 2012 8:19 pm

    I would bring the fabulous chicken quinoa salad over arugula that was in this last month’s “Clean Eating” magazine. Sorry, no linky because it’s not on the web site, but it was delicious! Even Mr. Meat and Potatoes, who looked at it and pronounced it “weird-looking” tucked into it with abandon after the first bite, making his usual “nom-nom” sounds he unconsciously does when something trips his trigger.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 12:57 pm

      Hi PattyBoots–I think that combination sounds simply amazing! And haha on that dish “tripping” Mr. Meat and Potatoes “trigger.” ;-) I know we’d all love that dish. Thanks for bringing it and joining in for our kickoff VSG! :-)


  32. Trish on March 7th, 2012 8:29 pm

    I particularly found the part about infertility and gluten very interesting. I now know I have gluten sensitivity and realize I have probably had it all my life. Some of his case histories could have been mine except for the good ending. In the 60′s & 70′s that wasn’t even considered, at least, not in my case. We were blessed by being able to adopt a baby girl and have enjoyed almost 30 wonderful years with her. Now I am a grandmother for the second time and it is truly a blessing and especially sweet because for years we had accepted that we would be childless.

    I would like to bring my Broccoli, raisen, bacon and sunflower seed salad. It has been a favorite in our family for years.

    I love the idea of this virtual meeting!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 1:06 pm

      Hi Trish–First, it looks like you are new here … welcome to both gfe and our virtual support group! :-) The infertility-gluten connection has been documented in studies, but is still NOT information that is being shared/practiced by OB doctors. That’s true of so many of the symptoms connected to gluten, but it’s an especially heartbreaking omission because so many want to have children and can’t. I’m thrilled that you have a beautiful daughter through adoption and grandchildren, too, now. “Especially sweet” as you say because of all you went through. So, so glad that there was still a fabulous outcome for you and your family!

      Oh, your salad sounds so good, Trish! We will all love it as much as your family for sure. ;-)

      Thanks again for joining in!

  33. Mona Lebumfacil on March 7th, 2012 8:50 pm

    Thank you for making an online support group like this!! I live in Costa Rica, and here celiac decease is still a very new thing, and nobody knows much about it yet . ( in fact my doc asked ME for info!) I would have loved to have a group like his to support me, and I am sure you will b able to reach out and help alot of people here!! Happy to join you!!!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 1:15 pm

      Hi Mona–It’s fabulous to have you come all the way from Costa Rica to visit gfe and join in on our virtual support group meeting! :-) Don’t feel like your case is unusual though. Celiac and non-celiac gluten issues are still relatively unknown here, too. That’s why about 95% with celiac remain undiagnosed. We need to get the word out as many ways as we can; hope this can be one of them! As is the case with my “real” support group, attendees do not have to be gluten free to join us. Having an interest in what gf is all about and how it might positively impact one’s health is the first step.

      Thanks for all the positive feedback and joining in, Mona!


  34. Carolyn on March 7th, 2012 8:50 pm

    Shirley, what a great beginning for this group. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 1:17 pm

      Hi Carolyn–Thanks so much! :-) You can be sure our VSG programs will vary, but hopefully, they’ll all be of interest and helpful. Just checking out what foods folks bring will be one of the very best parts. ;-)


  35. Susan on March 7th, 2012 9:25 pm

    Hi Shirley,
    Nice to see you posting again. I do hope that the struggles you and your family have been going through are behind you now.
    This virtual group is wonderful. I’m bringing Gluten Free Trail Mix Power Bars to the meeting!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 1:20 pm

      Susan–Thanks so much, dear. (Not behind us … a ways to go.) I’m grateful to have such supportive gfe readers like you. :-)

      I’m so glad that you’re on board with our virtual support group meeting. And you can be sure that I’ll be one of the first folks to grab one of your Trail Mix Power Bars–yum! :-)


  36. Brandae on March 7th, 2012 9:44 pm

    Hi Shirley! Thanks for posting all of this wonderful and helpful information from your group’s meeting. It is so encouraging to hear stories about medical doctors who understand the significance and impact of food allergies, sensitivities, and celiac disease on their patients.
    I’m going to reserve the “Future of Food” DVD from the library to learn more. I’ve enjoyed all of the other health, wellness, nutrition, and food supply type documentaries I’ve watched – this seems right up my alley.
    Thanks again!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 1:23 pm

      Hey Brandae–I’m thinking of you and wondering if you’ve had that little bambino yet! ;-) Hope all is well, dear!

      Thanks for the kind feedback! Hope you will be able to get The Future of Food from your library. There’s much info in it that needs to be seen/shared. Sounds like you’re well versed in that whole area, so it might be repetitive to you in that sense, but still good info and reminds us not to get complacent.


      • Brandae on March 10th, 2012 4:13 pm

        Thanks! Got the DVD from the library already…AND a brand new baby! Pics are on my FB wall if you’re curious. :) He’s a cutie pie.

        • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 4:38 pm

          Hey Brandae–Breaking comment reply ordering protocol to say that you are totally amazing! I truly don’t know how you manage all you do with such grace. You are radiant in the photo surrounded by all your boys. What a beautiful family you have! :-)

          So glad you were able to snag the movie, too. Enjoy all, dear! xoxo,

  37. Ali on March 8th, 2012 12:45 am

    Well Shirley, if this isn’t the mother of all posts I don’t know what is! I’d love to be able to attend one of your support groups. You sure do pull together some amazing speakers! You are doing so much for this community! :)

    The part you shared about Dr. Miller is oh so true across the board. Tom has helped so many women with fertility issues by cutting out gluten and eating a whole foods diet with healthy fats, proteins and tons of veggies! It is true that if there is a deficiency, your body just won’t let a pregnancy occur, and once there is a fertile environment (think soil) the body will let it happen.

    This event sounds like a wonderful way to reach out to more folks with your supportive attitude! -Ali :)

    ps – don’t enter me in the giveaway, I already have all of the wonderful items above.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 1:55 pm

      Haha, Ali! I didn’t expect it to be quite this “motherish” to be honest, but as I stated to others I wanted to share our last tow meetings and I didn’t want to miss anything that Dr. Miller shared. ;-) It would be awesome to have you be here for one of our “real” meetings! As far as amazing speakers, I just ask and they say yes. ;-) I’ve been blessed by that, which you should know as Tom (your husband and nutritionist extraordinaire plus much more at Whole Life Nutrition—for the benefit of others reading) spoke at one of our meetings a few years ago. :-)

      The fertile soil analogy is an outstanding one, and yes, it’s more than eliminating gluten that’s involved. Gluten has to be taken out of many’s diets so they’ll start absorbing vitamins/minerals again from fabulous food, like the ones you cited. Healthy fats, especially, are often lacking in today’s world that often preaches “low fat” to the exclusion of such fats like those found in salmon, coconut oil, etc. So again, great, great analogy!

      I hope our virtual support group will be an amazing resource for many! Thanks so much for your encouragement and positive feedback, dear!


  38. Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers on March 8th, 2012 12:52 am

    This is a wonderful idea! I like the focus on real ingredients. It is easy to feel down about what you can’t eat, which is why I like to focus on what I can – which means there are lots of healthy foods available to me. I linked up my Savory Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower and Celeriac.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:03 pm

      Hi Alea–Thanks so much for joining in and giving such nice feedback, too! Almost all of us who are gluten free by eating real food will tell you that we’re eating more foods, better food that we ever ate when we were gluten full. It’s a blessing. :-) Love your contribution, dear. Sounds so yummy!


  39. Colleen M. on March 8th, 2012 1:23 am

    Would love to be a winner in the giveaway! Thanks for a great post!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:04 pm

      Hi Colleen–Thanks so much for participating in our VSG! I’ll be selecting from all the entries that were in by the deadline in a short while. :-)


  40. Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry on March 8th, 2012 1:32 am

    Hi Shirley,

    What a fabulous idea and support group! This is an amazing resource for the gluten-free community. I shared some dessert tonight-my weakness :) Hope everyone enjoys some No-Bake Key Lime Pie as well as the other yummy recipes being shared.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:38 pm

      Oh my goodness, Laura, I’m so, so sorry, I just realized that I mis-stated your name as Lauren when sharing your link. :-(

      Your desssert is fantastic, dear. I know everyone wanted to make it as soon as they saw it … I sure did. :-)

      Thanks so much for the feedback on our GFE VSG! I’m so happy that you’re joining in!


  41. Alisa on March 8th, 2012 2:27 am

    Such a cool idea Shirley! But dang, I still wish I could attend one in person. They look like so much fun!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:40 pm

      Hey Alisa–Thank you! I’m excited about both my groups. ;-) Would love to have you come to a real one and give a presentation (or not, up to you) one day. Let me know when you’re on the East Coast. :-)


  42. Alta on March 8th, 2012 10:29 am

    Shirley, I love this idea. I shared my Spatchcocked chicken, which I love to make for my husband – it’s one of his favorite meals.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:42 pm

      Hi Alta–I love having both your positive feedback and your spatchcocked chicken recipe! I’m sure that would be one dish that everyone would love. ;-)


  43. Suzanne on March 8th, 2012 10:36 am

    Love the VCG idea and all the information you gave us from Dr. Miller! I would definitely have to bring my incredibly delicious banana bread to the meeting. So easy!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:45 pm

      Thanks so much, Suzanne! It’s great to see you again. :-) And delicious banana bread! Nobody will be able to resist that treat for sure. ;-)


  44. Donna on March 8th, 2012 11:00 am

    It makes me so happy to see doctors going in the direction of Functional Medicine since I haven’t met any yet. I diagnosed myself and ask drs for what I want ordered and they do it. Also, I will watch the food movie since I am very happy to see awareness of what the food industry is up to. I support clean food and informed doctors!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:52 pm

      Donna–It’s so refreshing when one does have a functional medicine doctor and issues aren’t looked at in isolation. Kudos to you for diagnosing yourself! So many are having to do that unfortunately.

      Hope you take time to watch the movie online if you don’t win. I still have to choose the winners …

  45. Marianne Kay on March 8th, 2012 12:24 pm

    I am newly gluten-free and wish that I could be at your meetings in person. Canada is a bit of a commute.
    Your doctor sounds great and I love his take on things!
    I recently made a chocolate cake that would be great for the meeting. I have been baking most of my life so I would love the cookbook.
    I really enjoy your posts. Thank you so much for being there.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:57 pm

      Hi Marianne–Congrats on being gluten free and welcome to gfe! :-) Please be sure to take a look at the printable resource “tip” sheets under Getting Started with GFE: Also, take a look at the Essential Posts on my sidebar. They rotate through so hit “refresh” on your browser until you’ve seen them all. I think you’ll find all that info helpful.

      I’m so glad you’re joining in. I’d love to have you here in person, but since that won’t work, we’ll work with the virtual plan. ;-) Chocolate cake does sound terrific!

      Thanks for all the lovely feedback, Marianne. It’s much appreciated for sure.

  46. Maggie on March 8th, 2012 8:32 pm

    Congrats Shirley! You just continue to amaze me with all you do for the GF community. The time you put into this post is incredible. We’re all pretty fortunate to have you working so hard of us.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 9:59 pm

      Hi Maggie–You always make my day! Thanks so very much, dear. :-) I’m really glad you stopped by for our GFE virtual support group kickoff!


  47. Tanya on March 9th, 2012 6:58 am

    Shirley, This is so wonderful I have passed it on to several friends who are new to the GF diet. THANK YOU! Tanya

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:02 pm

      Hi Tanya–It’s so good to see you again! I’m so happy you joined in for our event and are spreading the word—thank you so much! :-)


  48. Donna Strickler on March 9th, 2012 9:53 am

    Hi Shirley – I love your posts! They are always full of fun wisdom and helpful info, and the recipes are great! I especially enjoyed this post, with all of the wonderful info from Dr. Miller. Keep up the outstanding work for all of us gluten free foodies – we really appreciate all you do!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:16 pm

      Hi Donna–Hope life in NOVA is treating you well. :-) You are one of my wonderfulgfecheerleaders. I’m so happy that you’ve joined our virtual support group and appreciated the info from Dr. Miller. I chose a great speaker and presentation for our kickoff, huh? ;-)

      Thank you for all the amazing compliments, dear. I’m so glad you’re finding gfe and our new event so helpful. Be sure to come back next month (or sooner)!


  49. Courtney @ Whole and Free on March 9th, 2012 2:09 pm

    This information from Dr. Miller is life-changing for me. I had a hysterectomy in 2009 due to endometriosis, and I had never heard before of a connection between gluten intolerance and endometriosis! A lot of my issues in my adult life are beginning to make sense now. Almost six months ago I went gluten free (and removed a whole lot of other allergens as well) and I FINALLY feel like I am healed! (My hysterectomy improved my pain levels, but didn’t have the healing effect I had hoped for.) I will definitely be sending some of my friends your way to read this post. This is amazing stuff. If only people would be more open-minded to getting tested for gluten sensitivity…and then more willing to change their eating habits…they would finally realize how good life can be!!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:41 pm

      Hey Courtney–I know we’ve chatted on Facebook briefly, but I want to welcome you again to gfe and thank you for joining our GFE Virtual Support Group. :-) It’s really wonderful that this post answered some questions for you. I’m thrilled that you are feeling so great now. Thanks so much for all the feedback nd being willing to share. Thanks, too, for all the kind words and for sharing the info with others! Folks have to be ready to learn about gluten issues and be willing to change as you say. Finally, thanks so much for linking up your cupcakes … they’re so wonderful!


  50. Courtney @ Whole and Free on March 9th, 2012 2:11 pm

    PS – I also linked up my Rosewater Cardamom Cupcakes…they are moist, delicious, and completely gluten free, vegan, corn-free and soy-free! :-)

  51. Ali on March 9th, 2012 3:27 pm


    Just linked my chocolate almond butter cake recipe. Thanks again for creating something like this….I hope it reaches a lot of folks!! -Ali :)

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 10:43 pm

      Ali–Love the recipe you linked–thanks so much for all! :-)


  52. Ricki on March 9th, 2012 6:22 pm

    Hi Shirley,

    I’m so sorry about your uncle! I also somehow missed that post. And I know what you mean–even when it’s not a surprise, it is still always such a difficult thing to be going through. Sending love and hugs your way.

    I added my Butterscotch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies to the linkup–these are always something I like to make for people I care about. Wish I could send some to you now!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 11:35 pm

      Hey Ricki–Thanks so very much, dear. It’s truly wonderful to have the support of good friends during difficult times.

      I totally love the cookies you linked up! I enjoyed learning about you and HH’s history together, too. ;-)


  53. Danielle @ Against All Grain on March 9th, 2012 6:36 pm

    wow what a great event! What a great theme too because why else do we all cook besides to share it with the ones we love!

    I shared my dark chocolate hazelnut meringue cookies. Naturally gluten-free, but now refined sugar free too! I use honey as the sweetener and I think they taste like milano cookies. :-) I made a big batch and shared them with just about everyone I know.

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 11:48 pm

      Hi Danielle–Welcome to gfe! :-) Thank so much for the wonderful feedback, too!

      WOW on your cookies that tasting like Milano cookies! I know that eeryone will love those. Those used to be my faves “back in the day.” I’m a fan of honey since we keep bees and have our onw fantastic honey. ;-)


  54. Angela on March 10th, 2012 12:51 am

    What I would want to share (once I figure out this web stuff) would be, what else – (snicker) gluten free cake balls, with your wonderful pound cake as the cake part!

    • Shirley on March 10th, 2012 11:51 pm

      Hi Angela–I should have known you’d bring a cake creation to our VSG! ;-) Your gluten-free cake balls sound like quite the treat! :-)

      Thanks for joining in, dear!

      p.s. Thanks for the pound cake inclusion/mention! :-)

  55. Krista on March 10th, 2012 1:13 am

    What a great idea! I just came upon this tonight. I am curious though if you could answer a question for me. I see the picture of the magazines. Are they specific to eating Gluten free? Could you provide the names of them so that I could look into them? My kids just did a magazine sale and I couldn’t find any that had to do with eating GF. Thanks a ton. This is all new to me. My 4 year old son is the one with Celiac. I would love to win something in your giveaway. I need all the help I can get! :)

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 12:38 am

      Hi Krista–Welcome to gfe! Thanks so much for the feedback on our VSG. :-) Yes, all of these magazines are for gluten-free folks and some accommodate folks who have other issues as well, like dairy tolerance, nut allergies, etc. The current gf publications are:

      Gluten-Free Living
      Living Without
      Easy Eats (online/digital)

      Krista, hope you’ll take a look at the printable resource “tip” sheets on the Getting Started with GFE under my blog header and some of the Essential Posts on the sidebar. They scroll through every time you refresh the page. They should be helpful to you.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for joining in!

  56. Amanda on March 10th, 2012 1:13 am

    How do I hjoin this virtual support group? You are amazing! I may be too late for the give away but I still wanted to tell you!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 12:47 am

      Hi Amanda–Welcome to gfe and to our virtual support group! :-) All you have to do to join in is do what you just did … leave a comment. Ideally, I’d like participants to offer a comment on the post, sharing something pertinent and telling us what they’d bring to our meeting for the food theme. :-) Sorry you missed the giveaway window this time. Last, many thanks for your wonderful words!


  57. Shelly on March 10th, 2012 1:24 am

    Hi Shirley! I know I have missed the giveaway, but that is ok! I have been busy moving my mom and taking care of the kiddos while hubby is out of town! I finally got the time to sit and catch up on my blog stalking. ;) This was a wonderful meeting! And the food incredible! I loved reading about Dr. Miller, I have been searching for a doctor similar to him near me. My symptoms took a sharp turn for the worse, more like they all came back as if I was still eating gluten. This meeting was awesome! I can’t wait until next month!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 12:53 am

      Hey Shelly–Thank you for all the terrific feedback! I truly hope you find a doctor like Dr. Miller. I’m so sorry to hear you’re having issues again. This will sound like an annoying and stupid question, but are you completely sure you’re not consuming a product that might contain gluten? Sometimes folks are eating something they think is safe, when it’s not. Hope you figure it out and soon, dear. You’ve got a lot going on … please take care of yourself!


      • Shelly on March 11th, 2012 1:55 am

        Oh Shirley, not a stupid or annoying question at all! Very valid, in fact one I did not consider when it first started happening. We consume mostly whole foods, my flours are all certified GF, and we almost never eat out. All hair, makeup, cleansers are all gluten free, even the pets are GF! :) I thought it may have been CC from eating out when we took a quick trip to DC. But after tracing everything back, my symptoms started before the trip and have progressively gotten worse. Started with migraines, then tummy issues, sleep and fatigue, hypoglycemia, some other unmentionables and now the eczema. A few days ago, I realized that I switched my L-Glutamine supplement. Something I do not normally do, but had to in a pinch. I had called the manufacturer to insure it was gluten free. I have been taking it daily ever since we got back because of the gluten symptoms. I started adding it to my daughters smoothies last week, as her dr. wants her to take it all the time. After the third day she had her telltale gluten symptom the eczema ring around her lips. Once I had my revelation I ordered my usual brand. Her rash started clearing right away. Mine are not improving so quickly, of course I have 30 some years on her, and I don’t heal as quickly anymore. :) If that is the cause, I have been glutenizing myself for over a month on a daily basis. So today, I am grounding myself, trying to not go into that mode that have I developed another autoimmune disorder because of the 20 years of lack of diagnosis, and am going to spend the next month detoxing and healing, while I search for a dr. :) And I am thinking of ordering a Glutentox kit and testing my supplement. ;) Ok, wow! Just wrote a great novel of TMI, but it it’s feels good to vent it. Especially, where everyone gets it! Thanks, Shirley!

        • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 2:32 pm

          Shelly–I think you’ve found your answer. Unfortunately, it can be surprisingly easy for this type of thing to happen to many. It’s easy to attribute a resurgence of (or ongoing) symptoms to other issues like CC. Even when we’ve decontaminated our house in every way, as you have, sadly, gluten often finds a way to sneak in. I’ve got a post “brewing” on the overall topic of folks still getting glutened, but medications and supplements are one way that gluten can sneak in. Even Dr. Miller talked about taking a supplement that was labeled gluten free, but reacting to it right away. After calling the company and being transferred several times, he finally talked to someone who was responsible for the product formulation and was told, “Oh, yeah, that has gluten in it.” But gluten was not shown on the label and, again, the product was labeled gluten free. Dr. Miller responded to the rep that he KNEW it contained gluten, but he wanted the label to be corrected. My point is that we can’t always believe labels or assurances. It stinks, but it is a fact of life/being gluten free. We do have to trust our bodies, but it can be easy to shrug off symptoms as something else. I am so, so sorry that you have gone through this and will have to heal for a long time now. You are a smart cookie and staying positive, focusing on all the ways to detox and heal, and not going into “worry hyperdrive” as you mention (and definitely some of us are “wont to do that”) will go a long way in getting you well. If you do order the GlutenTox home testing kit, you may want to test this product to the lowest level they can test to, which is 3 ppm. I don’t know that that info is on the testing kit, but I can share it with you.

          Please do not apologize for writing a novel of TMI, there is no such thing when sharing one’s story. Your story will no doubt help many reading, for a number of reasons and with your permission, I’ll even reference it in that post I’m writing. It does make a difference to share your tale with others who get it. The folks who don’t would have stopped reading after the first few lines; however, the rest of us are reading every word, thinking of similar situations we’ve been through or wondering if we’ve exposed ourselves to gluten in this manner (previously or currently). Thank you so much for sharing your story, Shelly.

          Big healing hugs to you, dear,

  58. elaine jensen on March 10th, 2012 1:25 am

    I love your gluten free mediterranean chocolate cake recipe!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:10 am

      Hi Elaine–It looks like this is your first time commenting—welcome to gfe! Thanks so much for the feedback on my Mediterranean Chocolate Cake! It’s my “go to” cake for friends’ birthdays. :-)


  59. Wendy Hayden on March 10th, 2012 1:31 am

    Here is a link to a new favorite of my husband’s Gluten Free Tuna Melt.

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:22 am

      Hi Wendy–It looks like you’re new here … welcome to gfe! ;-) And I see you’re a Virginian, too. :-) Tuna melts are my husband’s favorite. Sometimes I use corn tortillas for melts, quesadillas, etc. Totally delish. A little harder to serve at a support group meeting, but I’m sure they would be very welcomed. ;-)


  60. Elizabeth Molina on March 10th, 2012 7:42 am

    Thanks for sharing such great information.

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:24 am

      Hi Elizabeth–Looks like you’re new to gfe–welcome! :-) And thanks for the kind words.


  61. Stephanie on March 10th, 2012 7:47 am

    I’d bring gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Always a classic! Enter me please!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:26 am

      Hi Stephanie–You’re right … chocolate chip cookies are a classic. They’re always welcome! :-)

      Thanks for joining in!

  62. Susan Spann on March 10th, 2012 8:20 am

    I have not quite started on recipes as my own blog is still so new. I would bring gluten free meatloaf with peppers. Oh and if I had a choice, I would so want The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:27 am

      Hi Susan–Good luck with your new blog! :-) I’m sure that folks will love the meat loaf with peppers!


  63. Christy L on March 10th, 2012 10:31 am

    Thank you so much for doing this! I can’t wait to see next month. I would bring my son’s favorite homemade ice cream with GF cones for dessert. Just 3 easy ingredients: Sweetened condensed milk, cream and GF vanilla. Yum!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:33 am

      Hi Christy–It’s great to see you again here at gfe! :-) Thanks for bringing your son’s favorite homemade ice cream–YUM (and easy) indeed!


  64. Deanna on March 10th, 2012 10:45 am

    Wow – what great information. I’ve never had the stool test. I had been GF for 2 months and then ate it for 2 weeks prior to doing the celiac blood test, which came back negative. Based on the severity of my reaction to eating it, my doc was happy to “diagnose” me with non-celiac gluten intolerance. But, I’m still curious about the stool test. I might have to see if I can get that done….

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:43 am

      Hey Deanna–Thanks! If I recall, you’ve been gluten free a long time. The stool test will still work (i.e., show gliadin antibodies) up to about a year after going gf per its creator, Dr. Kenneth Fine, but after that, it won’t show antibodies because your body will be healed and no longer making the antibodies since you’re no longer getting gluten. You might want to take the celiac gene test. I did that through MyCeliac ID. In that case, about 2-3% of those with celiac do not have the genes identified to date. Having genes doesn’t mean you have celiac, because one can have the genes and never develop celiac, but many folks find taking this test very helpful, very validating. Here’s more info on it here: Often you can find discount codes online. :-)


  65. cheryl on March 10th, 2012 12:27 pm

    Hi Shirley,
    First, I love that you’re doing this! And Dr. Miller sounds like such a wonderful asset not just to the gluten-free community but to the planet.

    Re: enterolabs, you know my thoughts so I won’t go there. However I’m surprised he found only 10% positive on enterolabs in the general population, because the enterolab website sites “the fact that at least 81% of America is genetically predisposed to gluten sensitivity.” on their FAQ page.

    I think it’s neat they did manure samples as a control, that’s quite clever!

    I am sorry I didn’t have my act together enough to submit a recipe. Next time!

    Thanks again, Shirley, for putting the tremendous amount of effort that I’m certain all of this took. I have no doubt that it has/will go to good use.

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 1:50 am

      Hi Cheryl–Yes, Dr. Miller is awesome .. you would love him! :-)

      Remember that a “genetic predisposition” does not a disease/disorder make. About 40% of the U.S. population have celiac genes, right? But 40% do not have celiac disease. There still has to be some tyoe of trigger to activate that predisposition per my understanding.

      Yes, I was impressed that different manures were uses as controls, too. I had never considered that idea.

      No worries on no recipe. My members know that they don’t always have to bring a recipe either. Things happen. It’s no biggie. ;-)

      Many thanks for all your very positive and kind feedback, Cheryl!


  66. LisaB on March 10th, 2012 11:53 pm

    I’m showing up very late to the party here. I’ve had a crazy week getting my son packed and ready for a week-long high school trip to Washington DC and Philadelphia. We had to strategize and pack a lot of GF portable foods into his carry-on suitcase, because you know, hotel breakfast bars aren’t the kind of place that we’re going to be eating. Anyway that’s why I’m late.
    I just wanted to come by and say- HOLEY MOLEY what a great post! I’m very jealous and now I want to come to one of your meetings in real life some day. Thanks for the movie link too. It’s no wonder why your blog was a runner-up in the 2012 Best of Gluten Free Awards. You rock!!

  67. Mona Lebumfacil on March 11th, 2012 11:53 am

    Yay!!! I won!!!!! So excited to not only b following the support group here, but adding this incredible book , Healthier without wheat, to my library!!! Thank you!!!!!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 11:01 pm

      Mona–Love your enthusiasm, dear! Can’t wait to send this excellent book by Dr. Wangen out to you. :-) We’re so fortunate that he donated a signed copy!


  68. Sharyn Engel on March 11th, 2012 12:02 pm

    Shirley…Woo Hoo! Just woke up & saw a note from you telling me that I won the DVD! You already help me learn so many new things, and now I’ll be even more informed.

    Thank you so much, and for the time you take for your blog and writing back to us all…you’re AWESOME! And, thank you to Elana’s Pantry for donating the DVD :)


    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 11:03 pm

      Hi Sharyn–Love the woohoo! You are too generous, of course, but you are welcome on all. :-) I think you’ll appreciate all that’s shared in this movie.


  69. Emily on March 11th, 2012 7:41 pm

    I was so happy to hear about a virtual support group, but it looks like a real-world support group. Is there a virtual component as well? As much as I’d love to come to the next meeting, I live in MD (Annapolis) and VA might just be a wee bit too far for me.
    Either way, the support group is a wonderful and much-needed idea!

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 11:34 pm

      Hi Emily–Welcome to gfe and our virtual gluten-free support group! :-) Sorry, it’s confusing, but as I explained near the beginning of the post, our virtual support group will be a blogging event that’s sort of an extension of my “real-world” support group. I’ll share the presentation info, our meal, a giveaway, etc. and then ask you all to comment on/discuss info shared, ask questions, and shared what you’d take to our group meal. Perhaps later on, I may add a true virtual component for chatting and interacting. All you have to do to participate is show up on the first Tuesday of each month and join in. ;-)

      Hope you’ll join us! BTW, some years we venture north for the Annapolis sailboat show, but you’re right it’s a bit of drive. ;-) There’s no need to drive for our support group. Just show up on the first Tuesday each month. :-)


  70. Donna Strickler on March 11th, 2012 9:47 pm

    Hi Shirley – I’m so excited that I won the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook :-)! I can’t wait to receive it and try new recipes! Thanks for taking the time to reply to our comments – I know it makes me feel “special”! You are the best! Donna

    • Shirley on March 11th, 2012 11:35 pm

      Hey Donna–Congrats! And you’re welcome on all! :-) Will ship off Elana’s cookbook to you right away. ;-)


  71. Mercy on March 11th, 2012 11:52 pm

    What an amazing idea to have a virtual support group! I have checked in to support groups in my state, but they are all at least 4 hours away. This great idea of yours will reach many like me in rural corners of every state! What a blessing! I have offically and happily passed my year mark. Okay, I was a little sentimental about it and actually blew out one candle . . .
    I wish I had more time for learning, but your blog covers so much and I appreciate that. Thanks for the great info and for bringing us together!

    • Shirley on March 12th, 2012 10:41 am

      Hi Mercy–It’s wonderful to see you here again at gfe, and thanks so much for the wonderful feedback! You are appreciated, too! :-)

      Congrats on your one-year anniversary! I love that you celebrated, dear. We should celebrate … being gluten free is a gift for sure. I sometimes wonder what state I’d be in now if I hadn’t gone gluten free. Not pleasant thoughts for sure. So celebrate by blowing out candles and living life to its fullest! ;-)

      I’ll be looking for you at our future support group meetings, dear. Hopefully, it will be a great way to get out much needed info to you and all. I am sorry that there’s not a real one nearby for you, but again, I hope this will fill part of that void.


  72. Stacey on March 12th, 2012 7:29 am

    THANK YOU for sharing your support group with us! I have always wanted to go to one and I LOVED being able to virtually attend yours. It is very inspiring! It is important so we do not feel alone in our different parts of the world. You are a wonderful woman for sharing your life with us…thank you. And, a big thank you to Dr.Miller and his wife also. It is nice to be validated and supported by a member of the medical community. I appreciate the stand he has taken in his own profession on behalf of people like you and me and for the truth. God bless his family and yours. -Stacey

    • Shirley on March 12th, 2012 10:46 am

      Hi Stacey–Welcome to gfe and our GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group! :-) I am loving getting all this great feedback from each of you. You are very, very kind in your words—thank you! None of us needs to feel alone.; we have each other for support. The beauty of the web is that gf blogs and other resources are available 24/7 from the convenience of your own home. ;-)

      I know that Dr. and Mrs. Miller will greatly appreciate your feedback. You have stated it well … he has taken a stand for the truth and the well-being of his patients. He is changing lives every day!

      Thanks so much, Stacey. Hope to see you here more and definitely at our next support group meeting. :-)

  73. Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry on March 12th, 2012 4:12 pm


    What an inspiring event you created and one that I will look forward to again and again. You are doing such an amazing job supporting the gluten-free community.

    Thank you so much for sharing your great post on Allergy-Free Wednesdays! Be sure to check back next week for recipe highlights (including the top 3 reader choice submissions and hostess favorites).

    Be Well!

    • Shirley on March 13th, 2012 10:20 pm

      Hi Laura–Thanks you so much for all your kind words! AFW is a super fun, well organized event. :-) I’m happy to join in!


  74. Amber on March 13th, 2012 9:56 pm

    Hi There Shirley,

    Just a quick note sharing that I featured your awesome post this week on Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

    Thank you, Shirley, for providing the gluten free community with such a valuable resource. This is really huge!

    Be Well,

    • Shirley on March 13th, 2012 10:22 pm

      Hey Amber–I’ve so very honored–thank you for doing that, and for all your lovely feedback and support. :-)


  75. Pamela Erickson on March 13th, 2012 11:55 pm

    Here is the link to the zucchini-gf-pizza-crust that I would bring to the next VSG.
    This is the url in case this link does not work.
    I think you will like it!

    • Shirley on March 15th, 2012 7:05 pm

      Hi Pamela–I’m sure that everyone at our support group meeting will love your zucchini crust pizza! Thanks so much for sharing it with us all. :-)


  76. Donna Strickler on March 15th, 2012 2:33 pm

    Hi Shirley,
    I received Elana’s cookbook yesterday, and I can’t wait to try some recipes. I’ve never used almond flour before, but I love almonds, so I’m sure it will be delish!
    Thanks Again,

    • Shirley on March 15th, 2012 7:12 pm

      Hey Donna–That’s terrific! I think you’ll love the taste and texture of almond flour. Just be sure to buy some almond flour vs almond meal. Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour is my favorite. You can buy it from their site or Amazon. It seems very expensive, but it’s high quality, super nutritious, and a bag lasts a very long time.

      Enjoy, dear!

      p.s. Did I tell you that our mountain property on the Shenandoah River is only about 18 miles south of you? We camp there almost every weekend during the summer. :-)

      • Donna Strickler on March 16th, 2012 9:57 am

        Hey Shirley – Last fall, you posted some pictures of your mountain property, and I thought to myself, I bet that property is near Rileyville or Luray. We actually lived in Bentonville (about 5 miles north of Rileyville) until January. Isn’t that too funny :-). Perhaps, sometime when you are here, we can get together – in the spring and summer, there is a bakery in Luray that offers gluten free bakery items, as well as sandwiches, etc. I’ve had the Curried Chicken Salad, and it is delicious! Just send me an email sometime, and I’ll give you my cell phone number! Hope you have a great spring-like weekend!

        • Shirley on March 16th, 2012 11:11 am

          Hey Donna–You figured it out! Our property is in Rileyville, off Route 648 in Shenandoah River Bend Estates. :-) We used to always take our canoe out/finish up at Bentonville when we’d do our two-day floats of the river. ;-) Now we typically just canoe back and forth in “front” of our property. We can canoe against the flow for quite a ways, until we get to the big rapids at least, and then we float back. Will definitely send you an email when we have firm plans to go back up!

          Hope you have a good weekend, too, Donna! Thanks!

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