Renovation Today.


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This blog formerly known as “Seeking Health Today”, will now be known as Gluten Free Cottage. I am tying my blog together with my baking business that I started last October 2012, in an effort to blog more and actually seeing how the 2 fit together, it was a natural response. My baking business was started for those who have food intolerances, such as myself, to be able to enjoy a dessert, birthday cake, anniversary cake etc. without going off on a binge and regretting it the next day.

This blog will continue to post on healthy lifestyles and diets with an emphasis on gluten free living. I am a firm believer in “everyone has their own body”; sounds ridiculous but sometimes people feel that just because their diet is working great for them, it should work great for you and even think their diet trumps all other diets. I don’t think anyone eats identical to anyone else and you and you alone are responsible for what you eat and only you know how you FEEL when you do. So,,no finger pointing or trying to be “king of the diet mountain”. We are all on a journey with health being the goal and that goal is achieved differently for everyone.

Thanks for reading this blog. I hope you get something out of it; because I think we can learn something new everyday.

Diana Jamerson

Owner: Gluten Free Cottage

Hidden Signs You Might Have a Thyroid Problem

What are the symptoms of a thyroid condition?  Thyroid issues can be difficult to spot at first since many of the symptoms are also indicative of other health conditions. The symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can also vary in severity from person to person. If you have other medical conditions, symptoms associated with those conditions may be more severe due to underlying thyroid issues. The cause of thyroid disease, severity of thyroid hormone deficiency and the length of time the body has been deprived of the correct levels of hormones all affect symptom severity.

Here are some signs to look for that might indicate a thyroid condition:

  • Feeling run down, exhausted, drowsy and/or fatigued, even with proper rest
  • Feelings of depression or lack of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Increased and/or heavier menstrual periods, PMS, fertility/miscarriage issues
  • Constipation, even with adequate fiber intake
  • Forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty learning or feeling like you are in a ”fog”
  • Unexplained weight gain beyond a few pounds, increased fluid retention and/or puffy face
  • Dry and/or itchy skin, even with regular moisturizer use.
  • Dry, brittle nails and hair (with or without thinning)
  • Hoarse voice and/or difficulty swallowing
  • Intolerance to cold, especially in extremities such as fingers and toes
  • Muscle cramps

If you have been experiencing many of the above symptoms, speak with your doctor about screening your thyroid hormone levels to rule out a possible condition. Don’t put off getting tested just because your symptoms seem like ”normal” everyday ailments (fatigue, forgetfulness, etc.). With the proper care, it’s completely possible to lift the fog and feel like yourself again.

Do you have a thyroid condition (or know someone who does)? What symptoms did you experience that made you seek help?


Estrogen Dominance part 2: Dietary Adjustments

Overeating and under-exercising are the norm in developed countries. Populations from such countries, especially in the Western hemisphere, derive a large part of their dietary calorie from fat. They also show a much higher incidence of menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown that the estrogen level fell in women who switched from a typical high-fat, refined-carbohydrate diet to a low-fat, high-fiber, plant-based diet even though they did not adjust their total calorie intake. Plants contain over 5,000 known sterols that have progestogenic effects. Cultures whose eating habits are more wholesome and who exercise more have a far lower incidence of menopausal symptoms because their pre- and postmenopausal levels of estrogen do not drop as significantly.

In non-industrialized societies not subjected to environmental estrogen insults, progesterone deficiency is rare. During menopause, sufficient progestogenic substances are circulating in the body to keep the sex drive unabated, bones strong, and passage through menopause symptom-free.

Some years back, scientists discovered that unfermented various cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts contain a high level of phyto-estrogen. These compounds’ chemical structure resembles estrogen but are many times weaker in potency. Women consuming these vegetables reported some relief of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The prevalent wisdom is that women in menopause lacks estrogen , and phyto-estrogen replenish the body with estrogen.

It is now known that these vegetables work by competitively occupying the estrogen receptor sites on the cell membrane to prevent internal estrogen from exerting its effects on the cell. Those who have estrogen dominance may therefore experience relief of symptoms as phyto-estrogen is many times weaker than the estrogen in our body.

While phyto-estrogen may work and relief symptoms, the long term effect is probably undesirable because the estrogen receptor sites are still occupied, although by the less potent phyto-estrogen. Over consumption of phyto-estrogenic food such as cruciferous vegetables on a long term basis may actually not reduce the risk of estrogen dominance significantly. Its akin to replacing one potent devil with a lesser potent one. It is far more beneficial to rid of the estrogen from the receptor sites and replace them with progesterone. Estrogen load will therefore reduce significantly, and the risk of estrogenic diseases such as breast cancer will be less. Furthermore, phyto-estrogen have been shown to inhibit the conversion of T4 to the active T3 thyroid hormone, and can trigger hypothyroidism.

A plant-based unprocessed whole-food diet is recommended. At least 15 grams of fiber should be consumed a day. Avoid high-glycemic foods such as refined sugar. Avoid alcohol or drugs that can damage the liver which will lead to an increase in estrogen due to the lack of estrogen breakdown. Caffeine intake from all sources is linked with higher estrogen levels regardless of age, body mass index (BMI), caloric intake, smoking, and alcohol and cholesterol intake.


Estrogen Reduction Protocol

Strictly speaking, all of us, men or women alike, suffer from estrogen dominance. There simply is so much of it around and it is impossible to fully escape its impact. Plastics, car exhaust, meats, soaps, carpet, furniture, and paneling are just some of the examples. You may have on-and-off sinus problems, headaches, dry eyes, asthma, cold hands and feet, and may not attribute them to your exposure to xenoestrogen. Over time, the exposure can cause more chronic problems such as arthritis, and gallbladder disease.

While a definitive diagnosis can be made through a thorough history and physical examination, together with laboratory tests of estrogens and progesterone levels, this is seldom done. Instead, synthetic estrogen such as Premarin ,or combination synthetic estrogen and synthethic progesterone (such as Prempro) are often passed out on the premise that symptoms presented are due to estrogen deficiency without any consideration for the progesterone part of the equation. In reality, many are suffering from relative estrogen dominance.

One of the first steps you can take to combat estrogen dominance naturally is natural progesterone.

The typical domino effect of estrogen dominance starts with proliferation of estrogen sensitive cells, leading to overgrowth of endometrial lining, to PMS, to PCOS, to uterine fibroid, to hysterectomy, to severe iatrogenic (doctor-caused) hormonal imbalance (when estrogen is given alone with opposing progesterone), to misguided medication for depression and anxiety, to bone loss and reduced libido. These all can be reduced if the amount of estrogen in the body is normalized by administration of natural progesterone as a balancer.

Natural progesterone is therefore a cornerstone of estrogen reduction therapy. It helps to reduce the risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancers, while unopposed estradiol causes that is frequently associated with fibrocystic breast disease, endometriosis, PMS, fibroids, and breast cancer. If you have symptoms of estrogen dominance but have not been diagnosed with estrogen-related cancer, natural progesterone will still be valuable for its cancer prevention properties. Specific dosage varies depending on the condition. Baseline saliva testing of estrogen, progesterone, and their respective ratios should be undertaken. The body normally produces 20 mg of progesterone a day. Replacement of this physiological amount in natural cream form is suggested in most cases. There is a tremendous variation in the amount that should be taken for optimum effectiveness. It is recommended that you consult a naturally oriented physician prior to treatment.


The cure for arthritis? Fish oil AND aspirin, according to a breakthrough discovery.

Fish oil and aspirin could be the key to beating a host of devastating chronic diseases, according to new research.

Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston found that the two work together to combat the inflammation responsible for a host of illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

Both aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids from fish are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on their own, but the research shows that when taken together they can control the overactive immune responses associated with long-term illnesses.


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By Drew Canole

1. Avoid Sugar and Refined Starch
Anytime you eat foods containing sugar and refined starch your blood sugar immediately spikes. This includes eating sugar, white bread (really anything that is a white food), lactose, sucrose, fructose and more. You should also avoid agave. Most people think that agave is a “healthy” sugar, but in actuality agave is packed with fructose. (1)
When you continuously eat foods high in sugar and refined starch your blood sugar responses by spiking and this can lead to blood sugar instability and inflammatory responses like headache, fatigue, crankiness, pain etc.

2. Cooking Oils
Cooking oils such as soy, corn, cottonseed, and sunflower contain ingredients that increase inflammatory responses in the body. (2) These oils are long chain triglycerides which take longer for the body to break down and they are also packed with omega 6-fatty acids.
Instead cook with coconut oil. Coconut oil is amazing. I use it on my face, in my hair, with my foods, and I even blend a tablespoon in my juices. Coconut oil is packed with medium chain triglycerides. They are easier for the body to breakdown and research has shown that MCT’s can help prevent dementia and other aliments.

3. Trans Fat
Trans fat is found in any processed foods such as fast foods, fried foods, really anything that comes in a box. Avoid trans fat foods instead eat foods that are fresh, high in vitamins, nutrients and minerals like vegetables.

4. Dairy
Milk is a common allergen that can cause acne, stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation and other inflammatory responses. If you’re looking to get more calcium in your daily consumption then choose kale. Kale has more calcium than milk (90 grams serving) and is better absorbed by the body.

5. Gluten
Many people have sensitivity issues to gluten. Now a days there are many products that are “gluten-free.”

Gastric Reflux is A Common Symptom of Gluten Exposure

I commonly see patients with a conglomeration of gastric symptoms that are directly caused by gluten exposure. Reflux, heartburn, ulcer disease, Barrett’s esophagus, and even hernia are some of the more common diseases I have seen go into remission with the implementation of a TRUE gluten free diet.

Make Sure Your Doctor Orders the Right Tests
It is common for physicians to rule out infection (primarily H. pylori) in these patients, but gluten intolerance is very rarely investigated. The results of this study suggest that patients with gastric disease be screened for celiac disease. The problem with this recommendation is that celiac blood tests and biopsies are extremely inaccurate and have a high degree of false negatives. The other problem is that many people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Therefore, testing them for celiac disease is a complete waste of time and extremely misleading.

That it why I recommend genetic testing. The results cannot be skewed by diet and are not accompanied with the flaws of celiac blood and biopsy testing.

Drugs That Block Stomach Acid Have Dangerous Consequences
Remember that taking heavy doses of anti-acids and prescription reflux medications is not the answer. These drugs only serve to neutralize or reduce stomach acid. Reduction of stomach acid is a major problem as it increases the risk for:
Osteoporosis (ironically, gluten also causes bone loss)
Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies (calcium, B-12, folic acid, iron, zinc, and more – also common in those with gluten sensitivity issues)
Protein and fat malabsorption as well as indigestion.
The chronic use of these medications works against your natural physiology. It does not treat the actual cause of disease, but merely reduces the symptoms (sometimes), thus creating a false sense of “healthy security”. What are the Consequences of these Deficiencies?

Vitamin A – suppression of the immune system, skin inflammation, gastric inflammation, lung inflammation, acid reflux, and infertility
Protein Deficiency – immune suppression, anemia, inability to heal, blood sugar abnormalities, weight gain, cancer…
Calcium Deficiency – bone loss, hormone disruption, blood clotting problems, muscle cramping, high blood pressure, gum disease…
Iron Deficiency – anemia, increased risk for viral and bacterial infections, fatigue
Vitamin B12 – nerve damage, increased risk for cancer, heart disease, bone loss, anemia, depression…
Zinc Deficiency – reduced immune function, slow healing, easy bruising, lowered antioxidant status, acidic pH, diabetes, heart disease…
Folate (Folic Acid) – intestinal cancer and polyps, mood disorders (depression, anxiety), cancer, heart disease, bone loss…

Why would anyone want to trade the problems above just to reduce symptoms of heartburn????? Does it not make better since to try and determine the cause of the heart burn? We bathe our intestines with food 3 or more times a day. Shouldn’t we start looking at the diet first? When did common sense go out the window? Below is a list of foods that commonly trigger acid reflux: grain, wine and other alcoholic beverages, dairy, eggs, soy, coffee and tea.

There are many more, and it should be stated that different people react differently to different foods. The bottom line is this – if you have acid reflux, have your doctor test for food allergies as part of his investigation into the cause of your problem. Don’t accept a drug based treatment without a solution.

Organic farming is thriving all over the world.

Rooftop farms flourish in space-starved Hong Kong
Unused roofs are some of the few places in the most heavily populated areas for budding vegetable gardeners. On the rooftop of a tower block above the hustle and bustle of teeming Hong Kong, dedicated growers tend to their organic crops in a vegetable garden. Against a backdrop of skyscrapers and jungle-clad hills, earth-filled boxes are spread out on the roof of the 14-storey building, where a wide variety of produce including cucumbers and potatoes are cultivated.
Full story:

Israel’s organic labeling revolution underway
The Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee has given its final seal of approval to a set of regulations for the oversight and certification of organic products. In accordance with the new rules, official labels attesting to the products’ organic nature are to be affixed to packaging. The labels will confirm that the goods were grown under legally-established organic farming conditions, and that the products are indeed free of pesticides and other chemicals.,7340,L-4265314,00.html

Former world no. 4 turns organic farming entrepreneur
Magdalena Maleeva used to be the no. 4 ranked tennis player in the world in the 1990s. Now she has turned her attention to farming and along with her husbnad, she is taking her farming company to new heights.
“For me, one of the best things about Bulgaria is the food,” Maleeva told beyondbrics. “It’s a very important part of the country.”

Autoimmune diseases,,”what are those anyway”.


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The 2 words, “autoimmune disease” can be intimidating and foreign to some but for others the phrase “autoimmune disease” is a relentless attack of the most debilitating kind. You probably know someone with an autoimmune disorder because they are very common in society now, and there are commercials galore promoting the latest pill that will give people their life back. Let’s look at a few of the most common autoimmune disorders.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of all ages. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, characterized by periods of disease flares and remissions. In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually, but not always, affected in a symmetrical pattern. Chronic inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent joint destruction and deformity. Damage to joints can occur early and does not correlate with the severity of symptoms. There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis optimally involves a combination of patient education, rest and exercise joint protection, medications, and occasionally surgery.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation throughout your body. It can affect any or all of your organs, resulting in dozens of physical symptoms ranging from headaches to irregular heartbeats. Most of us are protected by an immune system that attacks invading bacteria and infections. If you have lupus however, your immune system can’t tell the difference between foreign cells and your body’s natural cells and tissues. As a result, inflammation starts to build throughout your body, causing many physical problems, such as joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, rash, sensitivity to sunlight, Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, is a chronic autoimmune disease also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. The name Hashimoto’s thyroiditis comes from the pathologist who in 1912 first described the microscopic features of the disease. In general, there is a gradual loss of thyroid function, often accompanied by enlargement of the thyroid gland, also known as a goiter.  Some of the symptoms of Hashi’s are fatigue,  mental fogginess and forgetfulness, feeling excessively cold, constipation, dry skin, fluid retention, muscle aches pains and stiffness in joints, depression.

Keep in mind that these disorders have been on a steady rise in the United States and are being diagnosed in younger and younger people. Many young children suffer with these disorders now that literally have them living in a physical life of what was once thought to only happen in the very aged. These “unseen” disorders are misunderstood by most and have devastating effects on people’s lives. Marriages break up, jobs are lost and sometimes the sufferers of these illnesses can be overcome with depression due to the relentless exacerbation of symptoms. Why are these illnesses on the rise and what can we do to help ourselves, friends and loved ones who suffer from these type of illnesses? The medical establishment would say that they have a pill or a shot for those things, but in reality these do not treat WHY a person gets an autoimmune disease in the first place. They simply mask the symptoms. Really,,if you had cancer would you be happy if the doctor came up to you with a Band-aid and said,,”here ya go, now your better.”


Organics and how they really do your body good.

Last time I wrote about the issues with meat and what clean meat actually is, and what it is not. This time I thought I should follow-up with a very popular subject lately, Organic foods. The meaning of organic as it pertains to the FDA is, “What makes organic food different is the way it’s grown and produced. For example, only fertilizers like compost or manure can be used; chemical fertilizers are out, as are most synthetic herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics. Animals must be raised on organic feed and have access to the outdoors.” The importance of organic food was lost on me. I saw them as a means of making ones food bill higher than it needed to be and considered myself a savvy shopper for finding the cheapest food out there. I found out that the “cheap food” I was eating and feeding to my family was contributing to “cheap health”. I could kick myself, HARD, every time I think about the lost years spent eating and feeding my family unhealthy foods that I thought were healthy. I also get upset to think that all the effort I put into my diets, buying fat-free, low-fat, etc. etc…only to find out that these foods were detrimental to my health all along and actually promoted my body to stay in the state of obesity that I was in. Back to organics…

Organic vegetables and fruits are grown the way God intended them to be grown, free of poison and thereby not polluting the soil as well. When we started eating organic foods I was at the point in my health where I was willing to try ANYTHING to see even a step in a positive direction. My weight was packing on no matter what I tried, my mood was horrible and the phrase “People will not change until it’s too painful not to” fit the bill here. It was too painful to not try whatever it took.

Oh and yes the mean doctor was such a horrible man,,prescribing REAL food. Organic, fresh foods. Not processed foods. Not “artificial food product”, but honest to goodness FOOD. Now you would think to yourself right about now,,”big deal, it’s just switching foods, right?”, and you would be right to a point. I have learned by experience and by time that food is extremely important to people. We identify foods with different memories, people, and we definitely can become emotional eaters. To my surprise the organic foods not only tasted better but they reminded me of something, oh yes it was “real food”. I had remembered the taste of fruits from when I was young but had not tasted the real flavor of fruits in so long. I honestly stopped eating most fruit because as a professional dieter I figured “well they don’t taste good and that’s just fewer calories in my day”. The real problem was that the conventional fruits and veggies didn’t taste good because they weren’t good. They were laced with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. They gave me heartburn, gas and bloating. At one point I thought about giving up on salads,,(a dieters staple) because it was so painful to eat them.

Imagine my pleasure when after a few weeks of eating clean and detoxing my body from all the filth that I had been consuming by way of processed foods and unclean foods, my taste buds had a rebirth. Food tasted ,,,good! No , not good great! I could taste the flavors of the fruits that I remembered and salads were not only my friend again, but my palate had widened and I was craving all kinds of vegetables now that I would have never even thought to eat before. I say that if you want to get someone to understand how much better organic foods are for them, feed them organic. Once their body feels the difference they will be sold; and another “foodie” is born.