Let’s Get Real

Hi lovelies. I come to you today with a rather heavy heart. I usually like to keep things fun and upbeat around here but after reading Clare’s post this morning, I decided it was time for me to be honest. When writing a blog most of us usually share a portion of ourselves- we talk about the fun things, what we’re eating and doing and wearing but we often skip how we’re feeling. I generally am a very happy girl and have so much in my life to be thankful for- great friends, an amazing family and so many other blessings.

But today I’m feeling down. You see, I’ve mentioned being sick on in passing rather frequently. But I haven’t exactly explained the extent. For the past 4 months or so, I’ve been really sick. I’ve had dozens of tests, seen multiple doctors and still haven’t been able to get a diagnosis. Each day, I just hope to feel better. And some days I do feel a little better. And then some days I feel really bad. Like, can’t get out of bed sick. But despite feeling so yucky, I push, push, push. I’m a people pleaser and very driven so despite my health telling me to slow down, I kept trying to push myself. But here’s the thing:

You can push and push until your body MAKES you stop.

And man, is that a hard one to come to terms with. But that’s where I’m at now. I’ve pushed my body so hard because I was determined not to let anyone down and have gotten to a place where I just can’t push anymore. And that makes me feel like I’m failing. I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to not be able to do all the things that I used to do. I liked my life just how it was, being busy with a million activities. But I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I just can’t have that right now. I’m realizing that if I want to go on to achieve all the things I want to achieve in life, I’m going to have to stop fighting my body. It’s a battle I continue to lose and I’ll never get to where I want to be until I let me body heal. It’s a work in progress but I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

My Latest Obsession

Hi lovelies! I hope that you are all having a fabulous week so far! I’m so happy that it’s Thursday and the weekend is in sight! I have some fun weekend plans that I’m looking forward to including seeing Jersey Boys with some lovely DGs, a fun brunch on Saturday and lunch and crafting on Sunday! It should be a great weekend and like always, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I feel well! I’ve been meaning to do a foodie finds post lately, but each time I go to write one, I realize that I can’t do my list without including X or Y. But today I’m leaving all that behind because I’m only going to talk to you about one thing. But it’s my very favorite thing. So here’s my confession:

I’m a kale chip addict.

I used to make kale chips years ago before they were popular and they never really turned out right. They ended up burnt, slightly slimy and way too salty. For years, I didn’t touch another kale chip due to my preconceived notions that they would all taste that way. That was until last year, and I noticed kale chips in all my favorite grocery stores and I decided to give them a try. Oh my goodness, I had been missing out. These kale chips are light, crispy and crunchy with the most amazing flavor. And they are seriously addicting. Given that they come in resealable bags, I’m guessing that the companies expect you to eat them on multiple occasions. But not me. That bag is gone in one sitting. I’ve tried a bunch of different kinds, but my favorites are Kale Joy and Kale Krunch.

Don't even try and pry my hand away

Don’t even try and pry my hand away

Both of these products are completely natural, gluten-free and vegan making them a fantastic healthy snack. Plus the coating on both brands contains nuts or seeds, which give them an added protein punch- Kale Joy Original has 6 g of protein per serving! I’m partial to the original flavors of both of them but I’m sure the others are fantastic too. Unfortunately, they aren’t cheap ($6 a bag) but they are worth every penny! At some point I might try my hand at making my own kale chips again, but in the meantime, I’ll be the girl hoarding bags of kale chips at the grocery store.

Questions:

-Have you tried kale chips?

-What would be your favorite flavor combo?

Hidden Sources

Hi lovelies! Happy Thursday– we are so close to the weekend! Do you have any fun plans on tap? On Saturday I’m taking my Grandma shopping for an outfit for my brother’s wedding which should be really fun! I’m always up for a girls shopping trip and hopefully we can find just what my Grandma is looking for! Health wise I’ve been pretty up and down lately but today I want to share with you something I’ve been realizing- the hidden sources of gluten. We all know the common sources- pasta, bread, etc but sometimes gluten is put in products that you wouldn’t even guess it was there! H0pefully this list will serve as a help to those dealing with gluten-sensitivities or celiac, and as an interesting realization to the rest of you about the ingredients that are often in our food!

  • Tea
Check out the bottom right corner...

Check out the bottom right corner…

A lot of people with gluten sensitivities have issues with coffee or caffeine so we become big tea drinkers. Well, who would think that a simple cup of herbal tea could be causing your unexplained stomach pains?! As you can see above, some teas are made with barley which is not gluten-free. Unfortunately, not all companies label their tea but I always try to only drink tea that is labeled as such. One of my favorites is Zhena’s Gypsy Tea because they have such unique herbal tea flavors like Caramel Chai! Also, David’s Tea is huge right now in SF and I’m happy to report that all of their teas are gluten-free but they can’t guarantee there isn’t cross-contamination. If you are dairy-free like I am, be sure to check before you sip as many of their chocolate and caramel teas contain dairy.

  • Lunch Meat

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As a gluten-free girl on the go, sometimes lunch meat is a great quick option when I’m in need of a little protein. However, it’s important to check that your lunch meat is labeled gluten-free because unfortunately quite a few out there contain some very tricky wording but ultimately are not gluten-free. (The same goes for frozen chicken, almost all I’ve seen contain wheat!) But Boar’s Head is a great option that is found in most delis and they have a variety of different kinds to spice it up from being boring deli meat. My current fave is their Everroast chicken that seriously tastes like chicken soup but in deli meat form… it’s delicious!

  • Over-the-Counter Medicine
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NOT gluten-free!

Let’s face it, when you aren’t feeling well, the last thing you want to do is scour a medicine bottle to see if it contains gluten. Unfortunately, the shocking truth is that so many do! I have been taking Advil Liqui-gels for years for my headaches and migraines as Tylenol has never really worked for me and I can’t always take my migraine medicine (or else I’ll be down for the count for 12 hours.) So imagine my shock when I recently found out that Advil Liqui-Gels and Advil Migraine contain a wheat derivative! As far as I know, the non-gel caps do not contain gluten so I imagine it’s something to do with the gel coating. I’m not sure how much this gluten affects people, but it’s an important one to know!

There are so many more big sources so I think I’ll continue this in a future post series!

Questions:

-Do you know of any hidden sources of gluten?

-Were you surprised by any of the above?

Gluten & Allergy Free Expo

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! They always feel too short but I am very excited that next week is a 3-day weekend! I had a great weekend and an amazing time at the Gluten and Allergy Free Expo. I’ve discussed my journey to my celiac diagnosis on the blog before (though full post will be on my About page soon) but I haven’t gone into detail about my other restrictions. Back at the end of November, my doctor put me on an elimination diet where I cut out a variety of things and then could gradually re-introduce them to see how I reacted to them. The list included but was not limited to: corn, soy, dairy, peanuts, vinegar, alcohol, chocolate, strawberries, beef and eggs. I’ve taken the reintroductions slowly and have found that I’m fine with alcohol and chocolate, however I have had reactions to both beef and vinegar. I likely won’t be re-introducing dairy or soy but I’ve tried corn on 2 accounts lately. The first was a complete and utter failure, as I found myself very sick immediately after eating. Since then I’ve been sure to stay away from corn, but on Saturday evening I ordered gluten-free pasta at a restaurant, but forgot to ask if there was corn in it. Big mistake. Minutes after eating I was fighting the urge to throw up, had a killer headache and was really miserable. As it turns out, more than 50% of celiacs are also allergic to corn! Corn also has gluten in it, but it’s a different type of gluten that hasn’t been studied so it’s on the “safe” list. However, since it’s very similar on a molecular level, the body often reacts the same. So for those of you fellow gluten-free guys and gals still experiencing symptoms, try cutting out corn!

After not the best Saturday night, I was determined to wake up feeling better since I had tickets to the Gluten & Allergy Free Expo that I’ve been looking forward to for months. A whole convention where everyone is like me and there will be food that I can eat available! Since I have the most supportive parents in the world, they too wanted to go and we had a great time together. It was such a wonderful conference and part of me wishes I would have gone both days so I could have seen all the speakers!

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One of my favorites was Mrs. Northwest International, Brandy Wendler, who gave a fantastic session on Heart Health & Celiac disease. I had no idea that celiacs are 30% more likely to develop heart disease than the rest of the population. After being scared by that fact, I was pleased to find out that the risk goes back to the normal population risk, after a celiac eats gluten-free. However, it is important to note that gluten-free products are not the solution. Almost every recently diagnosed person (myself included) begins to eat every gluten-free boxed product they can find because they are so excited to be able to eat something ‘normal’! However, those products are often laden with sugar and fat and overly processed. AKA not healthy and certainly not good for your heart. Therefore, the same rules apply as for the rest of the population, eat lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. Brandy was a great speaker and was humorous while still being informative. She is doing so much for the gluten-free community and is truly an inspiration!

Now after all that talk about heart health, let me tell you the main event at the conference: eating! There were over 100 vendors and almost all gave samples of gluten-free goodies. I don’t usually eat any sugar except on special occasions, but this definitely qualified in my book! There were so many amazing things to try, many of which I’d never heard of! It was also extremely helpful that each table was labeled with a sign that specified which (if any) of the common allergens the food contained. That way, I wasn’t constantly having to ask if there was soy/dairy/peanuts/corn in any of the items and could happily much away. Since many of you are also looking for new fun products, here are some of my favorites!

Bella Gluten-Free: Bella  makes great flours and baking mixes but what I was ALL over was the fact that they were serving focaccia bread served with olive oil! I can’t remember the last time I had focaccia which the Italian in me greatly misses so this was absolutely fantastic!

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CheeCha Puffs: These light crispy puffs are absolutely delicious and if you see the allergy card in the left-hand corner of the picture, free of all the common allergens! The fiesta salsa were my favorite and you can have 2 cups for only 80 calories! How amazing is that when you just feel like snacking?!

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Home Free: I think these cookies were targeted toward kids but it certainly didn’t stop me. They were delicious mini-crunchy cookies and reminded me of those Famous Amos cookies you always see in vending machines, only these ones are allergen free!

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Coco-Roons: I’ve never been lucky enough to win one of the Fitnessista‘s famous roons giveaway, but I’d imagine they taste something like these. Every flavor I tried was amazing, but the Almond & Strawberry PB&J blew me away. They are absolutely amazing, organic and raw and I cannot wait to try them again!

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When I got home from the expo I was completely stuffed! You don’t think you are eating that much as the samples are small but I was definitely indulging! But some days it’s important to do that and today was definitely one of them! Tomorrow, I’ll be back eating lots of whole foods like I usually do! Of course, I couldn’t attend the event without buying some products and between my mom and I and our purchases and samples, this is all of our loot which I think is a great haul indeed.

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Questions:

-If you are gluten-free, are you also allergic to other foods?

-Have you ever attended an expo like this? What product would you most like to try?

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