The Defining Moment

glu·ten  /ˈglo͞otn / Noun

A substance present in cereal grains, esp. wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

fer·ri·tin  /ˈferitn /Noun

A protein that stores iron in the tissues of mammals.

A blood test a few years ago showed that I had a low ferritin level.  This started a journey of taking supplements that I hoped would slowly build my ferritin level  to a respectable level.  But always, with every blood test through the years, the levels remained on the low side. When my last blood test came back showing my levels were still low it made me sad. Almost depressed. My level was at six. That’s 6 points away from zero (and I’ve often wondered what would happen at zero.)

When people learn my ferritin is at 6 the question I often get is: “what is normal level?”

So, in case you are wondering the same thing, the normal range for a female is 12-150. That’s a huge range! Like going from being a sloth to being Wonder Woman. Which would make me sub-sloth. Or sleepy-sloth.

The lower the ferritin level, even within the “normal” range, the more likely it is that the person does not have enough iron.

So what does that have to do with gluten? Well, if I am gluten sensitive then my body may be unable to absorb the iron I need. And the only way I’ll know if I have a gluten problem is to cut it out of my diet. Then, in three months, I will re-test my iron.

I’d also like to point out that I turned 50 last year. It has taken me most of those 50 years to realize that I am, indeed, aging.  I must admit it is true because I turn 51 next month. And this last year, like an almost empty roll of toilet paper, went by unbelievably fast. It’s not that I’m afraid of getting older. Rather, I’m afraid of how my mind and body will continue to betray me with each passing year. I’m past the midway point of life. And if I don’t take care of myself who will?

So I’ve known for years that my ferritin was low. And I’ve denied for years that I am getting steadily older. And I knew that going gluten free was in my “one day” future. I know the things I should be doing and yet I don’t do them.

What does it take for me to finally take control of my life and make a change? To stop thinking things will get better on their own? To get off my hiney and take better care of myself?

Well, it doesn’t hurt to have your husband announce to family members at Christmas that he is going gluten free/sugar free for a month in support of his wife who is going gluten free (and mostly sugar free) for 3 months. And it doesn’t hurt to announce to co-workers and friends that I am going gluten free for three months. Certainly doesn’t hurt to start a blog diary of the journey!

Every one of us needs a defining moment to bring about change.

For me it was the number 6.


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