Archive for the ‘My Thoughts’ Category

Interesting Info on the Psychological Effects of Celiac Disease

September 16th, 2012 Comments off

I ran across this interesting .pdf that talks a out some of the psychological effects of celiac disease. Things that stood out to me was the link to depression and to Autism. I already knew that there were some links, but this gives some perspective as far as nutritional deficiencies and how those contribute to these areas.

For instance in one section it quoted this info about celiac and aspergers disease:

Interestingly, the first description of Asperger syndrome was made by Hans Asperger, in 1961, and he was actually describing the behaviors of a group of 12 celiac children who he perceived as being excessively introverted, fearful of people, moody and unable to enjoy human interaction. These same children became friendly, flexible and independent thinkers after 2 years gluten-free.

It is crazy to think thy something that seems so small and insignificant can actually have such a dramatic impact.

Here is a link to the actual .pdf file – It’s Not Just In Your Head – The Psychological Impact of Celiac Disease

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I Strayed From My Gluten Free Diet, But Now I Am Back

May 22nd, 2012 Comments off

In the last 2-3 weeks I have eaten more gluten then I have in the last 2-3 years. This is the first major deviation from being gluten free that I have ever had. I did not end up liking the results of being free off my GF diet, but I did learn some valuable lessons.

Why Did I Stop My Gluten Free Diet?

In short, the answer is FRUSTRATION.

Even after 2 1/2 years of being gluten free it still can be difficult to find foods that are tasty yet don’t have gluten in them. So for a few weeks when I was hungry and could not find something GF I would just eat whatever was available. I did this for a while until I started to notice some changes in my body that I did not like.

What Happened When I Started Eating Gluten?

Nothing at first which just fueled my rebellious attitude. But then after about a week I started to notice changes in my digestive system. Food didn’t seem to be “processing” as quick as it usually was. This and the flu-like blah feeling I had started to affect my mood. After about 3 weeks I concluded that I in order to try to feel better I should go back on a strict gluten free diet again.

All told, these are the symptoms that I noticed in that short period of time:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  •  Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Extreem fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Neuropathy
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Yeah, all of that in that short of a period of time while I was eating gluten. Keep in mind too, this is not eating gluten at every meal all the time. This is having a slice of regular pizza instead of GF pizza. Or having a slice of birthday cake. Granted these were on the same day but everything else I ate that day was GF. I just decided to have these because there were no GF alternatives available. On other days it would be a bag of chips or a hamburger with a real bun.

Are All These Symptoms Caused by Gluten? Really?

I believe so. I don’t think they all directly come from celiac disease but they come about more in a snowball effect. I mean who is going to be in a good mood if they are bloated/constipated/nauseated all the time? All I know is that I went back on my semi-strict gluten free diet and I am feeling much better. My energy is returning, I don’t have the GI issues, and my spirits are up.

Last Words

This experience has opened my eyes to the fact that my celiac disease is real and not following a gluten free diet can have a negative affect on my life. I will continue to try and live GF to the best of my ability. I will always be tempted and may even bow to that temptation here or there, but I know that it is best for me to try and be gluten free.

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3 Weeks of Being Gluten Free

May 9th, 2010 Comments off

They say that it takes 21 days to create a habit and I would agree with that. Yesterday marked my 21st day of being gluten free and I now feel like I am getting the hang of it.

The first week was the hardest. I think it was the hardest because it seemed that I went from being able to eat anything I want to not being able to eat anything. That first week I survived on Chipotle and Chex cereal. It was depressing and I had several pity parties that I attended – alone.

The second week got better as I discovered that their were more foods that I usually ate that were a actually already gluten free. This made me happy. I was tired of Chipotle at this point but Chick-fil-A came to the rescue as a burrito bowl alternative.

The third week saw me crusing along as I had a pretty good variety of places to eat (sadly no Chinese food yet :-( ). My wife got brave and cooked me some corn tortilla quesadilla’s with chicken, avacado, and Tabasco sauce – yummy! I ended the week finding out that my favorite BBQ place Rudy’s was in fact mostly gluten free (go brisket!).

Today I start my 4th week and now I am on cruise control. I talked with my mom last night and told her how I was doing on the diet and she suggested that I might even learn to cook. I told her not to hold her breath but to keep praying for me as miracles still do happen ;-) .

So here I am, doing what I thought was impossible 3 weeks ago. I still eat out at least once a day but do it gluten free now. If anything it has been a lateral shift in my life as opposed to a complete change. I am so thankful to be doing this now as opposed to 10 years ago as I think it would be much harder then. Back then companies were not aware of gluten the way they are now and information was not as readily available. Today if I am not sure if something has gluten I Google it and within seconds I usually have my answer.

For anyone reading this that is just starting out as gluten free don’t dispare. I was not and am not a health nut and I am gluten free now. It is hard at first but once you get your groove it is doable and life returns to normal (well your new-normal anyway). It sucks at times but the alternative sucks even more. If I can do it anyone can.

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6 Months After Leaving School I Can See Some of the Differences

January 28th, 2008 Comments off

So it’s now about 6 months after I left school and I can now see some of the differences between having an education and not having one. The biggest difference is money. Yep, over the course of the last 6 months I have come to realize that I am in the very bottom spectrum in regards to salary for what I do.

Now I cannot attribute the lower pay that I receive directly to the fact that I do not have a degree, even a degree from an online school. I mean this is the first position that I have received in this new career path that I am in so starting some where near the bottom is expected. It is just that the people around me make a good deal of money more then me.

So there are a couple of different ways to look at this. The first is if I had gone to college right out of high school that I would be somewhere near the rest of my peers that I work with right now making the same type of money. But that did not happen and cannot be changed. That is what I would like my kids to do and I will do everything I can to try and make sure that they are able to do that.

The next perspective is that I could go back to school now and I could be “caught up” over time. This is what I was trying to do but when you get older you have other responsibilities (like family) that can (and should) take priority over things outside of work and family.

There is also the whole cost factor that you needs to consider in regards to going back to school. I raked up almost $10K is school loans for the couple semesters that I was going. When it was all said and done it would have been about $40K that I would have need to pay back. For me I had to compare how much potential income the degree was going to get me verses the cost. When I looked at it I was not entirely sure that the cost justified the sacrifice of time with my family and cost of repaying the loans.

The final perspective is staying at my current education level and putting my efforts into doing my job really well. With this decision you look to yourself to make personal improvements in order to advance in your job. For me that was getting more familiar with what we sold and volunteering to take on more responsibility along with my standard duties.

I think this aspect needs to happen whether you are going to school or not. Even if you have a degree you still need to bust your butt to get noticed and move up the food chain in your company. I have done this where I am at right now and have begun to take on some higher level projects. For me not having the extra burden of having to go to school has allowed me to take on this little extra at work without impacting my family the way that school did.

I believe that the experience that I am gaining will over shadow the fact that I do not have a degree when I am out in the job market again someday. In fact it was my experience (8 years of experience) that got me into this job in the first place as opposed to a degree. There are several job posting that want a degree or equivalent job experience. To most companies that is interchangeable.

I guess I said all of the above to say this – your best bet is to go to school right out of high school. If you don’t do it then it only gets more difficult as you get older. You gain more responsibilities as you get older and you will pretty much always be behind those who did go to college right out of high school. For me I accept where I am at and will do the best with it that I can. Will I go back to school? There is not a very good chance of that, I have accepted where I am at and I think I will get more return on my investment of time and money by not going to school.

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Quitting School – 3 Months Later

September 10th, 2007 Comments off

So here I am 3 months after my decision to quit school. Where am I? How are things? do I regret it.

Here is the break down:

Time – my time has now focused more on my family and that strain has been eliminated – this is a good thing and I (and my family) are much happier. It has also taken the strain off at work. I now do not have to rush out at specified times in order to make class every week. Finally it has allowed me to pick up some side work that has actually been very profitable. Coupled with that my blogging revenue is steadily rising which has opened up more doors financially.

So the final question is – do I regret it? No I do not. I have to be candid though, it has only been 3 months. I think the only time that regret will possibly creep in is when I am need of a different job. I have never had this happen before and have never heard of this happing to anyone but it could be a possibility.

I think as I get older I am beginning to come to terms with who I am as a result of the past decisions that I have made. When I was younger I did not go to college – that’s just the way it is. Would a degree have made life easier? Probably but that time has passed. Right now I need to concentrate of developing the skills and talents that I have right now and making those profitable for me. Unfortunately school cannot do that.

So the moral? Go to school when you are young. If you don’t it will definitely be harder (to go to school) when you are older and there is a good chance you will not go at all.

Can you be happy with life if you do not go? I am. I am comfortable with where I am in life and understand that I am here based on my past decisions. If anything seeing this result has helped me to make better decisions for my future and the future of my kids. Are they going to college? You bet. I want them to be better then me and I think college will help them do that.

Enough said.

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Win a Year of Free Tuition or Textbooks at

September 6th, 2007 Comments off

When I was in school I bought one of the books I needed from and am apparently on “the list”. Anyway, I just received this email about their contest for 1 free year of text books or tuition. Sounds good – if you win.

The email:

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Take advantage of our special offers in the Textbook Store. Save up to 30% on over 100,000 new textbooks and receive free 2-day shipping on orders of $200 or more of eligible titles. Plus, if you’re a Prime member purchasing $200 or more of eligible titles, you’ll also receive a $20 promotional certificate to be used on a future purchase (see details). For even bigger savings, shop from our millions of used textbook listings and save up to 90% off.

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I Am Quitting School

May 31st, 2007 Comments off

I know it is so weird to do all of the work just to get into school and then 2 semesters later quit but I have to do what I have to do.

The main reason for my departure from the land of higher education is the impact it is having on my family and I. Having to put in the extra time in the form of a couple nights a week was wearing me out. When I did have time to spend with my wife and kids I was grumpy and tired so the time was not the best.

Another reason that got me to this point was evaluating the ROI (Return On Investment). It was looking as though I was going to invest 3 years of my life and and $40-$50K on this education. That is a pretty significant investment for anyone. The question I had to ask myself was this – what am I going to get out of? Well I already am in the career that I want to be – Product Management – and I have a fall back of Web Design and Development. I am covered pretty well so this was looking to not be the wisest investment of my time and money.

In my current position I have room to grow and develop and really learn the ropes of being a Product Manager. I believe that if I take the time and effort that I was going to put into school and put it into my job then I am going to get more of a return then if I was in school. There is a lot to learn at my present job and if I am on top of my game I can excel here.

The final reason that I quit school was that I dreaded it, hated it in fact. I do not know what it was but I really did not like to go. Every time it was time for class I could find a million reasons not to go. If I actually made it to class I would be there thinking of all the things that I could be doing if I were not in class. That is sad especially because I was paying to sit there! I know that this is sort of a maturity issue but when it comes down to it this is a me issue. This is just the way that I am and I have to deal with me and utilize me the best I can for the best results.

Final Thoughts

I looked at school as an investment, tried it out, weighed the cost of the investment verses the return, and made what I believe is a good investing decision. There are many factors that need to be considered when going back to school – your current occupation, family, and financial situation. You then need to prioritize those things and make your decisions based on the results.

I think college is something that you should really strive for right out of school. I am going to push my kids to do that. When you are young and do not have any work experience school is the thing that can get you in the door to the career that you want. When you are older experience in a particular field usually trumps school alone or is considered an equivalent. The current position that I am in required a Bachelors degree and preferred a Masters degree but I had 8 years experience in the field so my experience was considered equal to a degree.

The only time that I think getting your degree when you are older may make sense is if you aren’t really in a “career” at the time (doing whatever jobs) and you want to establish a career.

Now I am off to pay the couple of student loans that I have acquired in my little experiment.

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No More DeVry – Next Semester University of Phoenix

May 22nd, 2007 Comments off

That’s it, earlier this week I went to University of Phoenix and filled out my application, paid my fee, and changed my FASFA to UoP for next semester. I had filled my wife in on the differences between DeVry and University of Phoenix and she agreed that UoP was the place to be.

The extra added bonus is that I have 25 units at this time which puts me as a second year student at UoP as opposed to a first year student at DeVry. This makes a difference because I will actually qualify for a little more financial aid as a second year student. If all of my figures are right I should end up with about $1000 extra money which would be refunded back to me. This money would go towards paying off the new Mac I just bought.

I probably would have been better of by going to UoP in the first place but I had not looked into them. I as kind of at a cross roads in life at the time and just needed to get into school ASAP so thing really did work out since DeVry got me started so quick.

Anyway, I do not have my classes yet but will update here once I get them.

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I Went to University of Phoenix Today

May 8th, 2007 Comments off

The experience that I have had with the faculty at DeVry really got to me yesterday and prompted me to look at greener pastures. The first place that I checked out was University of Phoenix. I went to their website and requested a call from a counselor.

I got the call this morning and met with the counselor during my lunch hour. It was a good meeting.

UP (University of Phoenix) is a little different then DeVry in a couple of areas that has prompted me to consider switching. The first is that they do not operate on a semester based layout. Classes are 5 weeks long and you only take one class at a time and are considered a full-time student. At DeVry their classes are 8 weeks long and a semester is 16 weeks. You have to take 3-4 class every semester to be full time. My financial aid only covers enough to take 1 class every 8 weeks and therefore I am considered part time. With UP my financial aid will their 5 weeks classes so I can go “full time” and finish sooner.

The other thing that is different at UP is that their online classes are actually cheaper then their in-house class. This is the opposite at DeVry. At DeVry you can take online class but they cannot exceed 50% of the classes you take or they charge you more. The one catch is that the lower price at UP only applies to the lower tier class which account for about 2/3 of the classes that you need to take. The upper tier is more expensive then the standard in house classes (it ends up being cheaper at UP in the long run).

The two items above are pretty significant to me because 1.) I am only going to school part time right now and it is going to take me forever at this rate to finish, and 2.) I think that online classes will be easier for me as my schedule gets out of control sometimes and missing class is a probability.

The final difference that I feel between University of Phoenix and DeVry is that UP seems to be more established in the Austin area. Their facility is much larger and does not appear to be a satellite campus like DeVry in Austin is.

If I decide to switch I won’t start taking classes at UP until July since that is when the 2007-2008 Financial Aid kicks in as it would be really messy to try and do it sooner. I am going to discuss it with my wife before making a decision (that is one thing they don’t teach you in school ;-) ).

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