It’s been nearly two weeks since I gave up gluten in my diet and the results have been amazing! I can’t say for certain whether or not it was directly related to my Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or if it was just a secondary food sensitivity. And quite frankly, I don’t care to analyze it.
I’ve spent years analyzing my health, feeling broken and hopeless as I went from doctor to doctor without any long-term cures. None of the specialists even considered removing gluten from my diet. Some of them even praised me for consuming a diet that was rich in wheat. “Good, keep doing that, it’s healthy for you,” they’d say. What has happened to our doctors?!
All I know is that since I stopped eating food that was high in gluten, I don’t run to the toilet anymore. I don’t eat Pepto tablets like candy. I have more energy and feel great. That’s all I really need to know, isn’t it?
Giving up gluten hasn’t been nearly as difficult or expensive as I thought it would be. There are many great options at the grocery store and some of them are reasonably priced. They even taste better, which was a pleasant surprise. Instead of using wheat, most use rice, corn, and/or potato to give a similar texture and flavor. They are very yummy and the ingredient list is usually just 3-5 items, rather than 12 ingredients I can’t even pronounce!
I’ve been reading a lot about the problems with wheat. I used to think it was all bogus scare tactics, but now, I’m starting to believe it’s real. Wheat today is not the healthy wheat that our ancestors consumed. It’s heavily altered and many times the nutrients are stripped away and replaced with artificial preservatives. Some people call it “Frankenwheat.” No wonder my body was rejecting it!
I encourage anyone with unexplained stomach problems, tiredness or fatigue, to seriously consider giving this a trial run. Just because you don’t have Celiac disease does not mean gluten isn’t affecting your health.
That’s the news for now! I hope everyone has a great holiday and I’ll have more stories to share soon!
Of all the hundreds of video parodies of the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” video, this is my favorite! See what happens when a man named Steve Kardynal surprises random people on Chatroulette.
Over the years I’ve discussed my struggles with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s a digestive problem that apparently affects at least 15% of the population, maybe even more. Food and stress are the biggest triggers for the symptoms, although sometimes you just get explosive diarrhea for no good reason at all.
I’ve worked with doctors to reduce my symptoms. That’s all you really can do since IBS is incurable. I maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and try to avoid these foods, which are usually triggers: Onions, garlic, spicy foods, fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, dairy… Basically, all the tasty stuff!
That used to be enough for me. If I did all of those things, I had a generally happy stomach with only occasional flare-ups. But something has changed in my 30s. Even the “healthy” food isn’t tolerable for my stomach anymore. I met with a specialist and we did a series of tests, just to confirm there wasn’t anything else going on. He also prescribed me with an antibiotic to clear up a very specific strain of my stomach’s bacteria. We did more tests after that and everything was “fine” as far as fine goes.
But recently I read that people with IBS can mimic the symptoms of Celiac disease (people who can’t eat wheat). True Celiac disease requires a strict gluten-free diet, as gluten can permanently damage the lining of the stomach if you have it! I do not have Celiac disease, so I am not at risk.
However, I was surprised to read that removing gluten from your diet can also help with IBS! Hmmm, this was interesting. I eat whole wheat cereal for breakfast and whole wheat crackers and hummus for lunch. So for 2/3 of my daily meals, I have a diet that’s high in whole wheat! I also have whole wheat or some form of wheat with dinner on most nights too.
This is generally supposed to be good for you, as it’s heart healthy, low fat, low cholesterol, and all that good stuff. But if wheat upsets your stomach, it’s obviously very, very bad!
So for two full days now, I’ve tried to eat gluten-free, and so far, my stomach has been much happier! I’m really hoping this will start a new chapter for my health.
Since I’m not allergic to wheat, I will probably still indulge from time to time. Who can resist a cookie or piece of pie, right? But I think if I generally avoid gluten, and certainly don’t make it the main ingredient in my daily diet, I will be in much better health.
Here’s hoping! Anyway, I wanted to share this information for anyone else out there who may also be living with IBS and wondering how to reduce your symptoms. Even if you’re not allergic to wheat, it may be upsetting your stomach. If you’ve tried everything else, you might want to try avoiding wheat and seeing what happens.
Happy holidays, all! I have so much to tell you…
The first bit of news is that Daniel and I are getting married (again) next month!
We had our wedding ceremony in Tennessee in April, 2011. It was the happiest day of my life. Unfortunately because of Tennessee’s discriminating policies, we were not able to register to make it “official.”
When you’re gay, you kind of trick yourself into believing that’s fine. It has to be, right? It’s just a piece of paper, labels don’t mean anything, blah, blah, blah… It’s the only way to convince yourself to sleep at night.
Well we were so happy when Illinois passed marriage equality because that’s where I grew up, and subsequently where I endured years of bullying while I was a kid. It would be such sweet revenge to go back to my hometown and get married right there. What a way to raise two big middle fingers to society, right?
That was the plan. When the law went into effect in June, 2014, we planned to get our marriage license in Illinois. Since Tennessee doesn’t have state income tax, it really and truly would be a legal marriage because we only file federally. Thanks to the overturn of DOMA, we would be able to file as married. How exciting and affirming to finally be equal! I cringe when I checkmark the “Single” box on my taxes.
As 2014 got closer, I really thought about what that day would look like. I imagined us walking in and filling out that paperwork. The discomfort. The stares and the whispers. Would I cause a scene? Would I tell everyone to go fuck themselves? I imagined what this special occasion would really be. It just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like love, and that’s all marriage should be.
I decided San Francisco was the place we should be married. We both love the city by the bay. It’s a place of magic and beauty where anything seems possible. Yes, that is where love is. That is where we should get our marriage license.
For Daniel’s birthday, I surprised him with a wedding proposal written on our flight schedule. Since we already have engagement and wedding rings, I used a ring pop. He loves playing Candy Crush, so it seemed oddly appropriate.
The date is set for next month! We’ll get married in San Francisco, and then have a nice leisurely second honeymoon to celebrate our status as married… again… and this time, it’s as real as it gets. We’re so excited! The new year can’t get here soon enough.
That’s the big announcement. I have some other stories I want to share from the last few months, so that will be my incentive to write again soon!
Each night before bed, I go into the nursery and think about the baby boy who will be there some day soon (we hope!). It’s my favorite place in the world now. The colorful walls make me think of a childhood escape into a wonderland, and that’s exactly the emotion Daniel and I intended to evoke when we painted it.
Just a few months ago, it was a cold, musty smelling room where the occasional guest spent the night and odds and ends got pushed into corners and drawers, stacked on shelves. It’s where insignificant objects went to disappear, but now it is a place of life. No detail is without meaning, because the little boy who will grow up there will mean everything.
Right now I feel like I could burst open with tears. There’s so much love in my heart for a human that hasn’t even been born yet. But I feel like his presence is drawing closer. He might be out there right now, growing inside someone’s belly.
Tonight I counted the stripes on the wall. There are 17. It makes me think of the years of his childhood. I could cross off each one in my mind, and then when his 18th birthday rolls around, there will be no more stripes to count. He will be a young man. Maybe that’s why I feel like crying. 17 is so few. I won’t be ready for him to grow up. I know that for certain, even though he isn’t here yet.
It’s interesting how this long adoption process has changed me. I feel so mature in some ways, yet so scared and vulnerable in others. One way or another, this little boy is going to make a man out of me. I will have no choice. I will have to be brave and be strong, be the adult, because another human being will be counting on me. Nobody warned me about this feeling. I didn’t realize that when my parents were raising me, in their early 30s, they probably felt way too.
But I’m getting comfortable with the concept. It’s put everything else into perspective. I’ve stopped caring about many stupid things. I hardly notice what’s on TV anymore. I feel disinterested in politics or news, or any of the madness taking place outside of our home. I hardly care what anyone thinks about me or says about me. I know what truly matters now…and that’s all that matters now.
It’s a quiet confidence that I can only describe as being “Dad.” And it just occurred to me right now as I wrote it. Yes, maybe that’s what I feel. I’m going to be a Dad, and I really can’t wait.
In any case, it’s almost 4 A.M., so this Dad should get to bed. Perhaps I will dream of our son tonight. I dreamt about him a few weeks ago. Maybe it’s a sign that he’s alive; that his heart is beating and his brain is forming, and he’s sending little subliminal messages that he’s out there.
Daniel and I are ready when he is.
Daniel and I have made good progress with preparing the nursery. We haven’t been matched with a baby (we’re on a waiting list), but we wanted to go ahead and get things ready in advance, as our lives will change rapidly with one phone call.
The walls are painted and we’re working on getting furniture. We love it so far. It really makes things feel official, having a space set-up for our future son. Very exciting!
Sometimes I just got in there and think. It’s a happy place, imagining what the future holds.
Fall is here, which I love. Halloween parties, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin spice-everything. But there is one fall task that I’m terrible at, and that’s cleaning out the garage.
I’m a sentimental person, which makes it difficult to part with anything I have saved. I have box after box filled with things that evoke some type of memory. A photo, a book, an inspiring letter from my high school art teacher. All of these things, no matter how small, mean something special to me. I have almost 32 years worth of accumulation, right down to the first outfit I wore after I was born.
It’s nice, in a way, to have such a consistent road map of my life. Most people I know just have fragments. Family photos are lost in fires, floods, or during a big move. But I could tell you my whole story, complete with props.
Reminiscing slows down the cleaning process, and I usually give up after a few days, put the boxes back in their designated corners, and vow to try again next year. I’m usually successful at eliminating a box or two, so there’s a little progress.
And since all of my new music, photos, movies, and books are digital now, it helps because I’m not adding new boxes to the garage. But I do foresee a potential problem in the future as my computer hard drives are close to being filled, and even my cloud-based online back-ups are nearing their limits. Yes, we will have a big problem in the future as we become dependent on internet storage, and we have thousands of gigabytes of data to manage. That’s a problem too big to tackle today though.
I found this photo above from autumn 1996, when I was 14. That was the last year of true innocence. The next year is when my issues with hiding my sexuality came to the forefront, as my hormones raged and I couldn’t keep my secret any longer. It spiraled from there and was rough until my 20s. But this moment captured in time on camera, I had a bright smile, and I enjoy this particular memory.
Maybe the true hoarding isn’t what we store in our garage, or our computer hard drives. Maybe it’s what we carry around in our hearts and souls; the memories that have shaped and defined us, and ones we can never let go of.
A whole summer has passed with hardly a peep from me. I think it’s time I shared what’s been going on.
Starting with the biggest news, things are moving forward in a positive direction with the adoption process. We’ve been at it for over a year now, and it’s shocking to think about how much time has passed. Yeah, it really does take a long time, just as everyone says it does. But things are moving forward and we’re currently putting together the nursery, which is very exciting! I’ll post photos when it’s finished. We haven’t been matched with a baby yet, but we have narrowed our decision down to a newborn. We were originally working on adopting children between 8-12, as mentioned in earlier posts.
I was very nervous about having a newborn at first, but time has helped me realize that ALL people are nervous about newborns! If I wasn’t nervous, something would be wrong with me!
Second, things have improved quite a bit with all the stomach problems I was having. Part of it was due to my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). If you have it, or know someone who does, you know it can control your life. I started working with a gastrointestinal specialist in July and it’s been great. I wish I hadn’t put it off for so many years.
Third, I’m much more involved in the foreskin restoration community. From time to time, I’ve posted articles here about the topic and received some great input from readers. I have some new information to share soon, as well as some side sites that may be of interest.
Fourth, and finally, it’s Halloween season—my favorite! I have a Halloween costume blog called Gay Halloween Costumes, which collects and posts the most popular costumes gay men are buying. It’s fun to be involved with what gay guys are buying for my favorite holiday!
That’s the news for now! I will expand on some of these topics soon.
On June 24, a hungry little cat showed up at our home begging for some grub to fill his belly. He was a very talkative kitty and loved to cuddle. I could hold him like a baby and he reveled in the attention. He was the friendliest cat I’d ever met. He even liked to give hugs like a human. When I leaned down to talk to him, he’d put his front paws on my shoulders and lean in to kiss me.
I decided to feed him, against my better judgement, and he was so appreciative. Eventually I set up a little house made of plastic bins for him to sleep in the shade of our back yard. We became very attached and he stayed on the deck 24/7. Sometimes I’d just take a break from my work day and go cuddle with him for a few minutes. That made everything better.
Our dog, Mrs. Anna Madrigal (named after the character in Tales of the City), was quite fond of the cat too. Anna always enjoyed giving him a lick on the forehead when she went out back to do her business.
We knew a cat this special must have an owner missing him. We checked online ads for posts about missing cats and didn’t find any leads. We even posted our own ad several times, but didn’t receive any responses. I finally decided that his owner must be nearby, so I drove around the local streets and neighborhoods near our home looking for notices about the cat. There were none. I decided that wasn’t good enough so I headed out on foot and walked a little over a mile and a half through the surrounding areas to see if I’d missed a sign. Nope. Lastly, we had him checked for a microchip, which he didn’t have.
Daniel diligently called 30 animal shelters in our area. Thirty! They were all full and would not accept an adult cat. The only option was to euthanize him and I just couldn’t stand the thought of that. So we took care of him while we could.
Last night I was playing a game on my phone, as I normally do before bed. I looked at my battery indicator and it was at 56%, which isn’t bad at all. But it still bothers me for reasons I can’t explain.
At that moment, I had a very profound thought. What if we, as humans, had an energy indicator floating above our heads? What if we all knew how much time we had left, and everyone else knew it too?
I could just look at someone and see they’re at 5%. Oh, no. They’re probably going to die soon. How sad.
Or I could look at someone else, a baby perhaps. Hers says 98%. She has her whole life ahead of her. How exciting!
When our electronic devices are losing power, we make adjustments to prolong and optimize their energy. Why don’t we do that for our bodies too? Why don’t we think about the limited energy and short time we have on this earth? Why don’t we make every second count?
This revelation was startling and has really made me think today. According to U.S. statistics, I have 60% of my life left. That’s not bad at all. I still have plenty of years left in me. But still, 60% feels short. I really care about how I spend that remaining energy.
I hope you’ll join me in this idea to ponder. Think about where we put our energy, where our time is valuable and where it’s wasted. I hope we’ll all make an effort to adjust accordingly.