Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Response to "Is True Happiness Possible Without Gluten?" by Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue Magazine, September 27, 2013

In the article, "Is True Happiness Possible Without Gluten?", the author outlines his views on gluten and those who avoid eating it. It's worth a read since it represents views I have heard expressed by others. A caution though: If you have any sort of food intolerance or dietary restrictions (particularly gluten or lactose), it may irritate you at least as much as the author is irritated by those who avoid gluten.

Here is my response to the author of this article:

That last phrase, "who am I to judge?", is interesting and exactly what I kept wondering the entire time I read your article, Jeffrey. Who are you to make such bold and ill-informed statements about both gluten intolerance (as well as lactose intolerance) and gluten-free food? I had to 'Google' you to learn that you are the Vogue food critic and have been for some time. I assume that is why you feel you are in a position to judge such things as the eating habits, preferences and dietary requirements of others. The last phrase is interesting because you do nothing BUT judge those who choose not to consume gluten for whatever reason. 
The article was well-written, yet, despite your attempts, not well enough researched. You have not sampled enough gluten-free food to state that, "If you can’t eat gluten, then you can’t eat" the excessively lengthy list of food items you provided. That's simply not true. I have eaten and prepared extremely tasty gluten-free versions of most if not all of the things you listed. While you did as good a job as most people - which does not say much - of describing celiac disease and it's relationship to gluten, you make it clear that you are not well-informed about the seriousness of either lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. 
I'm not going to go into the data that supports the avoidance of gluten for a very large group of people with ailments outside of the two you acknowledge (celiac disease and IBS). These are things you should have investigated prior to writing this article, but it is clear why you did not. It is clear that you did not intend to present an informed investigative report. Your intention was to complain about a group of people that irritate you. 
You finally - after doing much damage by labelling anyone who avoids gluten (and does not meet your narrow criteria) "food phobics" - acknowledge that the science does not agree with your view. Yet, you go on to include yet another population of people who may fake being gluten intolerant and close your article on that note as if to lend support to your close-minded view that gluten is good, healthy and even holy (unbelievable), while gluten avoiders are nothing but a bunch of annoying posers (excepting, of course, the population to whom you so graciously offered your respect - those with celiac disease). 
This is a witty article, and if I too was easily annoyed by other people's dietary choices I might have found parts of it amusing. 
In answer to the question posed by your article's title, "Is True Happiness Possible Without Gluten?", I suggest that for you the answer is clearly a resounding, No. You are not, however, in a position to judge (as you yourself acknowledge in your last phrase) whether this is true for others. A better title for this article would have been, "Why I people who don't eat gluten annoy me."

What do you think?
Should the author have done a little more research?  
Do you agree with me that he ought to live and let live? 
Do you agree with the author? 
Is anyone else hungry after all of this food talk?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Healing with kindness and giggles

I have a confession to make. I am not strong. Not always. Not as strong as people think I am.

A friend recently said about me, "The author of this blog is one of the strongest and bravest people I know. I am proud to call her a friend." I was awed by the fact that she had gone to the trouble of sharing that sentiment and it was incredibly helpful to me on a day when it was all I could do to feed myself and my son. It reminded me that little things, a few kind words, can make a huge difference to someone. Thank-you friend.

That was a week ago, and despite being home with a sick child and feeling under the weather myself, I was coping. I was keeping it together. But then, last night happened. Despite being exhausted, I couldn't sleep: feet too cold, head too foggy and dizzy, body aching from head to toe, worst-case scenario thoughts about the future racing through my mind...

I gave up and got up. I cried. A lot. I was too tired and sad to journal about what I was feeling even though I knew that would be most effective. I opened my computer and desperately hoped that someone was on Facebook at 2:30 am. I needed to talk. I needed help. No one was online, so I did other things - anything - to take my mind off my dark thoughts. I retweeted some great stuff on Twitter. I pinned and scooped some intriguing articles. Eventually, at 4 am, I attempted again to sleep and got maybe 2 hours. 

I missed seeing my son off to school this morning for the first time ever. Not the end of the world, but on top of my deeply depressed mood it was the straw that broke the camel's back. My husband was around then and I thank the universe for him. It's not that he helped me work through the emotions or the negative thoughts - that's no so much his forté - but he got me to laugh. He helped me to not take things so seriously, and like my generous friend with her kind words he reminded me of all the good that I do.

And then I saw this video, and all was right again with the world:

It's funny, because it's true and it's ridiculous. This really is what we sometimes sound like - especially we Twittery bloggers.

Seeing the humour in things and taking things lightly has immense healing power.

Thank-you to my friend for her kind words. Thank-you to my husband for being my rock. 

And thank-you to Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. Without your special man-friend creative union, this world would be a much darker place.





Until next time,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last night I had the strangest dream...

Prepare to be disgusted.

I had a disturbing dream last night.

I had... lice. Yes, okay, I said lice. (Cue the shudders and groans.)

Jack came home from school with lice last year and it still creeps me out! I have a lot of hair and the thought of it being overtaken by a blood-sucking parasite has haunted me since then.

As the bugs fell from my hair into the sink, they grew to be about the size of rats! I grabbed the closest thing to me, a spray bottle of something. As I sprayed each one, it got smaller and eventually disappeared, but there seemed to be no end to them. It felt like I was at the centre of some perpetual twisted carnival game akin to whack-a-mole... spritz-a-louse.

Jack woke me up just then, crying because his throat was sore from a terrible cough. I felt bad for him - I had that pit in the stomach a parent gets when their child is in pain coupled with the understanding that I would be next and that whatever plans I had for the next few days would have to be changed - while at the same time I was grateful to be done with the lice. Mercifully, I had no time to ponder the dream, immersing myself in his care.

Yet hours later the dream returned to me. I wondered what Freud would think of it! Then it dawned on me, and I knew what my fellow "Lymies" would say. (Remind me to come up with a better name for those dealing with Lyme Disease. To be discussed...) Clearly the external parasites of my dream are a symbol of the internal parasites of my reality.

When people ask me about Lyme Disease - if I will be well again - I tell them what I know, which is little. I know that treatment will be difficult at times, that I will likely feel worse before I feel better as the parasites (Borrelia Burgdorferi and his friends) launch counter-attacks, and that with luck the parasites will all but disappear. I say it that way, because I imagine that they are now a permanent part of who I am, since I have likely had them for roughly three decades. It may be impossible to completely eradicate them, and perhaps this is not the best way to envisage the healing process, in any case.

I am torn at times between feeling like I am in a fight for my life, and recognizing that parasites are a very real and necessary part of life. (Witness this recent reflection of my inner turmoil!) For now, I am treating the parasites - they at least need to be managed, if not destroyed - and improving the host by such therapeutic means as yoga, meditation, journalling and so on.

The dream was a bit of an epiphany in a way. It helped me to realize that fighting this thing called Lyme Disease is probably futile. Better, perhaps, to think of achieving a mutually beneficial symbiosis with the organisms that now call me home.

Still... I don't know about you, but I can't stop itching!

Until next time,


"With every rising of the sun think of your life as just begun." 
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guest Post:
"Caught in the Act"
by Borrelia Burgdorferi

Today I bring you a guest post from an entity I have known about for some time but have only recently been introduced to, not a friend so much as an uninvited guest.

Be sure to read my comments and links following his post.

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"Caught in the Act"
by Borrelia Burgdorferi

I've been found out.

I managed to escape detection for years, being called things like chronic fatigue and MS. Please! As if MS could do what I do. Sometimes they told her I was nothing at all, or all in her head. But she persisted. Slow and arduous as her mission has been, she has not let up! And now I've been caught in the act.

Way back when I first infected her, doctors tried to kill me with antibiotics. Oh, they had no idea I was even here, or why she was ill, but they tried anyway. When all of the antibiotics made her sick, they gave up, as doctors do, and told her she had mono - the virulent Epstein Barr.

Good old EB just looooves to take advantage of a weak immune system. I did that to her. In fact, I paved the way for a whole bunch of my viral buddies. Some of them may have even hitched a ride on the same tick I did: Babesia, Bartonella, Rickettsia - these guys are awesome! We're way stronger as a team. Alone I am just a spirochete, vulnerable to antibiotics and her immune system, but with them I create more disease and protect myself against her attempts to get rid of me!

My buddies and I, we exchange information all the time - bits of what my host calls DNA - and we learn how to defend ourselves against all kinds of attacks. The antibiotics give us information too. They make us stronger, or - here's another of her words that I love - resistant.

We are strong, but is she stronger? Only time will tell. If she thinks she can kill all of us, she'd better be in it for the long haul. I don't give up. Ever! And I only replicate once a day, so she's going to have to find me first!

I have to admit, she's worked hard to find and eradicate us. Another host might have given up long ago. She thinks her immune system is weak - that she is weak. Well, after all, that is what they have been telling her for three decades. But we are strong, and if she had been weak she might very well be dead by now or at least far worse off.

Of course, we like that she is strong, because if she dies we die too. I don't want to die. I wonder if we will reach an agreement. I have no need to be greedy. I'm happy with the current size of my army.

And anyway, I live beyond her. We became part of her DNA long ago and now we are in him too! Her son is strong like her, perhaps even stronger, but he must fight or we will lose him. He must stay alive so that he can pass us along to his wife and his children.

Well, now that we have him, maybe we don't need her... Then again, the more hosts we occupy, the better able we are to spread to new ones. Most people don't know that we can spread through breast milk, saliva and other secretions. Oh, yes! If we remain smart and stealthy, we are practically invincible!

Perhaps it is in our best interest to be a little quieter. She'll never go back to ignoring us. I can feel that change. But if we are just quiet enough, maybe she will let us be.

I don't want to die.


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Recently, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (not in Canada, but via a US diagnostic test), a tick-borne illness that if not treated immediately and completely can have chronic, damaging effects... to put it mildly. I have had suspicions for years, but since Canada does not have appropriate testing procedures in place to accurately diagnose Lyme and does not see Lyme Disease as the epidemic that it most certainly is, I have been led to believe that I did not have Lyme Disease until recently.

My five-year-old son also has Lyme Disease.

As you can imagine, this news has changed my focus dramatically. I have not blogged much these past many months, because I have been ill and because of shifting priorities. Last year, my son was given a diagnosis of Celiac Disease and I hoped that this was all he had. But a dark cloud of uncertainty has been hanging over us this past year as I wondered why he has not fully improved since adopting a gluten-free diet.

Since my focus has changed dramatically, so too will the focus of this blog. If you suffer from Celiac Disease; Chronic Fatigue; Lyme Disease; and/or other autoimmune disorders, syndromes or diseases, I hope to provide help for you here. I'll continue talking about parenting (the original inspiration for this blog) and my beautiful, joyful, talented young boy, as we navigate our way through this new world. I'll also never stop injecting humour into what I write, because if not for laughter I shudder to think where I would be.

I hope you will join me, as I turn now to an honest look into my life as a patient with Lyme Disease and a mother of a child with Lyme Disease. I am currently detoxing and preparing for Lyme Treatment, which I am told is like a living hell. I hope that it will be more than just that.

Once I have gone through some of the treatment phase and know what to expect, I will begin treating my son. I will share this experience with you when I can, as well as what I learn so that you can learn too, because there is so much mis-information out there about disease and wellness.

And there will be food! I am currently working on, when time and energy permit, some delicious gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free recipes. Lyme Disease patients often have many food restrictions and little energy or interest in preparing food, understandably. I hope to bring some joy back into the kitchen.

I wish you great happiness, much love and relative good health! Until next time.


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Lyme Disease is making the headlines lately. Here is some of the latest news:

NOTE: Today and for the next three days, you can participate in a free online health and wellness event for Lyme Disease patients, featuring 12 speakers. Register at http://lymelesslivemore.com/live/. After the event, you may purchase these sessions.

For more information about Lyme Disease, check out these resources. I will spend more time on each of these resources in future posts, and will have many more resources to share, but I want you to have a place to start. When reading articles about Lyme Disease, be aware that there is much mis-information out there.

Under Our Skin, the movie (I highly recommend that everyone see this award-winning documentary. Don't miss the special features section, and particularly the segments featuring Dr. Alan MacDonald.)
Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA) - U.S.
Alabama Lyme Disease Assocation
Lyme Disease Association of Alberta - LDAA
Lyme Disease Support
Cure Unknown, the book
Out Of The Woods, the book
Lyme Light Radio
Dr. Rebeca Risk, Lyme-literate doctor and patient