Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Adjusting to NEW Food Sensitivies

Our house has been going through a bit of an adjustments lately!  Recently, we  discovered my hubby has more food sensitivities than me, and Miss J!  As I have mentioned before, in addition to having Celiac, I also have Crohns.  Luckily both are controlled by being on a Gluten Free diet.  My GI was concerned at one point at all the damage he saw on my colonoscopy -but, when I had my recent test, the finding showed that it surprisingly healed!  I've been trying my best to eat all whole foods in addition to being gluten free.  Lately though, I've been having an annoying feeling in my side -so, I knew something else was going on with me.  Since I know first had how much food can be such a huge factor in our health, I had a feeling my body wasn't liking something I was eating.  In the past, I saw a blog post from Sincerely Caroline about Emily Levenson performing food sensitivity testing, and was quite intrigued.  My husband is always complaining of stomach issues -but, would never believe me that it has to be a food sensitivity, and just fluffed it off to too much pop or spicy food.  There was no question in my mind that he had food sensitivities -so, I reached out to Emily to schedule a visit.     

Well...thanks to an amazing visit with Emily, we now know my hubby's stomach issues were all due to his sensitivity to butter, whey, wheat, and nightshades (what the heck is this you ask?  see below!).  In addition to gluten, I also have a sensitivity to nightshades, and a few more things.  

Now that I have cut our nightshades, and more my side is feeling better! Guess what?!?!  My hubby is feeling much better too!  This year, I made homemade Elderberry Syrup with ACV, and local honey only to discover I have an honey sensitivity, too!  So many of my comforts have been causing my discomfort!  Before my celiac diagnosis the same thing happened, too!  I'd be queasy so I'd eat gluten filled pretzels or toast...go figure!!  Food is such a huge factor to our health.  

We all highly recommend a visit with Emily; which can be done in-person or via distance testing with immediate results.  How it work you ask!?!?  To be sure I didn't misspeak, I pulled the following from Emily's website:  
The Food Sensitivity Testing looks at the body’s energetic response to over 300 foods, including: berries, beverages like caffeine and alcohol, dairy, fish, fruit, grains, beans and legumes, meats, nuts and seeds, oils and fats, shellfish, herbs and spices, sweeteners, thickeners, and vegetables.
The testing is done through a process called BioEnergetic Assessment or ElectroDermal Screening. The assessment involves taking simple, painless, electronic readings on the skin surface of the hand; no blood is drawn.
The test results are immediate. There is no lengthy waiting period for you to get the answers you need.
After my Celiac diagnosis over 11 years ago, I had to do a lot of research to wrap my mind around my new way of life and finding out what contained gluten.  Not to mention, there wasn't nearly as much information or product option as today. I was so overwhelmed.  Please know, Emily does not tell you what food you are sensitive to, and send you on your way...she is there for you! During your visit, you can opt for Emily to help you with meal planning.  In addition, Emily is extremely resourceful, and a wealth of knowledge.  Not to mention, her web site is very resourceful and has a ton of great recipes, too!

As I mentioned in the past, I struggle with anxiety, and my food issues tend to heighten it. Thanks to Emily, I have found a useful too that I just never knew how to try...meditation!  Thanks to Emily's suggestion, I've discovered a podcast, and love it!!  

Gluten & wheat (for my hubby) are no big deal to us...however; adding nightshades to the mix was another story!  Just like my Celiac diagnosis when I had no idea what gluten was...well, it was the same thing with nightshades!  I'm still frequently referring to my sheet from Emily to double the list of nightshade foods.  We were such potatoes eaters -but, easily switched to sweet potatoes.  One of the little challenges we discovered is that most gluten free bread products contain potato starch to make it fluffy -so, we even have to double check our gluten free products. However, luckily my new Canyon Bakehouse bread find is on the safe list!!  

Overall, we truly can't complain about our food sensitivities  it can be much worse.  We still have SO many yummy food options.  In 6 month we will try to reintroduce nightshades for me, and my hubby...but, of course will never re-introduce gluten.  

As you can tell, we learned so much from our visit with Emily, and highly recommend her.  To get in touch with Emily or more information of what she has to offer, take a look at her website: http://emilylevenson.comPlease feel free to drop a line with any questions.  If I don't get a chance to post a blog before...Happy Thanksgiving!!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gluten Free in Hilton Head

Our trip from Hilton Head was very tough for us to leave it was that good! Especially since I discovered amazing GF food our last night there...and had more on my list to try!  

As I have mentioned before we are frequently visit Disney since we have their DVC, and because they are so amazing with accommodating food allergies/sensitivities.  For our trip to Hilton Head, we stayed at the Disney HH resort.  It has the same magical Disney feel without the park, and characters...just relaxing!  The only Disney character is Shadow who is a real live golden retriever!  

At the resort they only have quick services; which is fine with us since it gave us a chance to explore more eats!  Even at Disney HH they are very accommodating to allergies, and take all the necessary steps to provide safe food.  We also picked up some food at a Whole Foods down the street.  We did have a full kitchen -but, to play it safe with the pots and such, I don't  use them.  

For our quick serves, we had burgers, hot dogs (both with GF buns), turkey sandwich with GF bread, and fries (baked since they don't have a dedicated fryer).  And...are you ready for this?!?!  They even had Dole Whip...yup, even Dole Whip!!  Can you tell its a fav?!?!  If you haven't tried it, it's a must!!

We typically had a quick serve for lunch, and then enjoyed breakfast in our room.  I packed Chex instant oatmeal packs, and picked up yogurt and fruit at Whole Foods.  On our last morning we did have breakfast as a quick serve and it was amazing:  bacon, acrvles eggs, and mini mickey waffles.

Now...onto the Hilton Head eats that we enjoyed off the property. Unfortunately, we had a quick visit so we only tried 2 new places outside of what we have already tried before.  Our first 2 nights, we had Carabba's Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill.  I'm a creature of habit and usually stick to my comfort of places I feel safe -but, built up the guts to go out of that comfort zone.  So, we tried Hudson's and The Black Marlin Bayside Grill, too!  Carabba's & Bonefish have a gluten free menu -however, my other 2 visits had GF noted on the regular menu for options.  

Guess I should also mention I did a lot of research before this trip too!  We used to have a local Celiac Support group -but, the president ironically moved to Hilton Head so I always reach out to her before my visit.  Our last visit to 5 was 5 years ago, and my discovery of our past support group president was a very pleasant surprise!  BTW, HH has come very far in the past 5 years!! Thanks to my go-to contact who is a true pro, I used the Find me GF app, and the Hiton Head Guide the resorts provide.  In the front of the Hiton Head guide, it noted GF friendly eat on the index, too!  Having all the information this infomtion in hand, it gave me great confidence to go out of my comfort, and try new eats!  

We are seafood lovers -so, we thought to try Husdons Real Local Seafood.  We, of course, had fresh crab leg!  My pick for dinner was the grilled salmon, with baked potato, and broccoli.  It was good -but, heavily buttered.  Since eating so many real foods lately, I got full quick from the heavily buttered meal.  Not to hubby enjoyed the rest!!  Miss J loved her first experience with crab legs, and enjoyed her shrimp & broccoli, too!

Now...onto my fav...The Black Marlin Bayside Grill.  We thought Hudson's ones was good until we ate here!  

The Black Marlin was amazing!  We started with crab legs again, and an order of potato skins made with pulled pork.  

Miss J is a shrimp lover, and had shrimp again!  However, her shrimp at the Black Marlin was literally the best shrimp I have ever tasted in my life.  
For me, I had the Grilled Salmon Salad...and it was amazing! The salad had mixed greens, strawberries, blue cheese crumbles, candied pecans, and a raspberry poppy seed vinaigrette.  Outstanding!  We all left The Black Marlin with very full, happy bellies! 

In case your wondering what my hubby had...well, he always has gluten or as we call it gluten glitch when we are out to eat.  Since our house is 100% GF, he typically has gluten when we eat out of the house.

My biggest regret of the whole trip was not going out of my comfort zone sooner!!!  

For our next Hilton Head trip, I already have a wishlist for our eats:

Hope this passes on some useful info, and maybe gives one of you confidence like I did on venturing out of my comfort zone!  If you have any Hilon Head recommendations, I'd love to hear them for our future visits!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gluten Free Kids Party

This weekend we had Miss J's 5th birthday party, and had a blast celebrating!  It was held at a local bounce place with all inflatable fun!  Typically the bounce place provides pizza for the kid -but, made an exception for us to bring in our own food due to Miss J being gluten intolerant.  Although I could have made it much easier for me, and had the other kids have the pizza and just make Miss J a separate pizza -but, I wanted to have all 100% safe.  

Since the party was from 11 AM - 12:45 PM we had a light snack type lunch with carrot sticks, cheese cubes, grapes, and GF pretzels individually portioned out.  For the adults, we all snacked on a veggie tray, cheese with a side of spicy mustard, and pretzels.  After the party, I realized I didn't send any of the kids hone sugared up since we didn't even hand out candy for the snack bags!  (more about that later!)  

For the cake, I made GF ice cream cone cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting.  The helpers at the bounce place were quite intrigues, and thought the were real ice cream cones -but, couldn't figure out how I kept them from melting!  I'm so disappointed...with all the craziness of the party, I forgot to take a picture of the finished project of the cones.  However, you can get an idea from the blog page that gave me the idea!  Thanks to JoJo & Eloise for the Ice Cream Cone Cupcake idea! 
(Unfinished product)

Miss J is a huge animal lover, and wanted to to somehow include that in her party -so, each child adopted a puppy...a plush one that is!!  Each child went home with a little plush webkins puppy in a little house, with a certificate of adoption signed by Miss J!  The kids all loved it -plus, they all got a new little friend to snuggle!  To get more details on this idea, check out this link:  Puppy Adoption Idea Link.

It was a true joy to watch all the smiles on the kids faces, and know that I provided a 100% safe environment for my baby girl...and myself!  And...even more of a joy that all enjoyed the food! Next time, I process to get more pictures!!    

I'd love to hear what you have done for birthday parties, too!!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Might make some minor changes....

I've been digging into my 100 days of real food book , and doing a lot of thinking.  As I started reading the book, I did a google search for Real Food for Celiacs, and really didn't find much.  There are a few -but, not specifically Celiac or those living a gluten free lifestyle.  So, I got to thinking that maybe that could be me!  As a celiac, I have the basics down for real food, and just need to make adjustments to making some of my own real food grains -such, as breads.  When I was first diagnosed, I learned the easy way to grocery shop was to stay in the outside isles...with all the fruits, veggies, deli, meat/seafood, and dairy; is also the basics to real food, too!  

Awhile I go, I started trying to make my own waffles,  donuts, and cookies when we want them instead of store bought.  Now, I need to play around and find a good bread recipe!  I'll be honest, I'm still not the most creative baker to make my own recipes from scratch.  I'm the type that prefers, and easy recipe, and I just adjusted as needed as I make it.  Hopefully, you don't mind if when I share recipes they aren't my own.  

Since I started this blog last summer, I've been trying to find my voice as well as finding my area of expertise per say!  I'm thinking this just may be it....happy go lucky, gluten free...and eating real food!    

So, what do you all think?  Will this help you, too?  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

100 Days of Real Food

My last blog was about me choosing to start eating much healthier...well, now I'm serious!  Recently ordered the book 100 Days of Real Food and just darted to dig in reading in.  I'm ready to commit, and dig in!  Before ordering the book, I asked if the book would be suitable for a gluten free life style, and I was excited to find out there are 71 recipes out of 100 that can be gluten free!  I'm sure I'll be able to alert the ones that aren't gluten free, too!

The 100 Days of Real Food website, and FaceBook page is extremely informative.  Even if you hesitant on doing 100 day, there is a 10 day challenge to try...and a ton of tips!  My daughter will adjust to real foods perfectly since she is already pretty much used to it.  However, my husband on the other hand may be a different story.  Our daughter who will be 5 next month is Gluten Intolerant (also has the Celiac gene), and I'm a Celiac -so, our house is 100% gluten free.  My husband is great at being gluten free in the house -but, outside of the house is a different story!  Not to mention he has a slight addition to chips, and such...junk food in general!  I'm up for the challenge with him though!!

My plan is to start weeding out processed food this week so we don't have the temptation, and start stocking with real food.  I've always believed the real stuff like sour cream and cream cheese are much healthier for you than the low fat/non fat since there are so many additives in them.  Of course, as long as you limit your portions!

For now, I have lots of homework to do with cleaning out, organizing, and finishing my reading!  I'll be sure to keep you updated on how it goes!

If you have any tips or advise, please feel free add a comment, or drop me a line.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adapting to Healthier Eating Habits

It's been 11 years since my Celiac diagnosis, and being 100% gluten free.  It's truly amazing  how many changes there have been for a gluten free lifestyle in the past 11 years.  Food has certainly gotten much better with many more options.  Upon my diagnosis, I went back to the basics since I was so intimidated by the labels, and having no clue what was safe.  For breakfast, I'd have some fruit or yogurt, and lunch some cheese, apples with peanut butter, and veggies.  For dinner with plain chicken breast, potatoes, and  more veggies.  Keep in mind, I was diagnosed 2 weeks before my wedding day, and had no experience of cooking except for Ramon noodles from my college days!  So, upon adjusting to being married, I attempted to learn to cook gluten free!  To say the least, it was a rough adjustment for a while, and many gloomy days.  My husband was a saint during that time (and still is), and of course couldn't have done without my mom...especially since she kept me fed, taught me to cook, and a shoulder to cry on!  

Now that I'm beyond comfortable in my gluten free lifestyle, I've been thinking of how many processed food we can fall back on.  Over the next month I'm determined to go back to real food, and a truly healthier lifestyle.  I'm going to start cleaning out the pantry and weed out processed food so there isn't a temptation.  Certainly, I'm sure we won't adhere 100% all the time...especially since being a Celiac requires so much dedication, I'll need a cheating outlet since there is absolutely no cheating with gluten free.  

Many times, people are surprised that Miss J is such a good eater.  Really and truly, I know it's because of our gluten free lifestyle.  She loves, shrimp, salmon, hard boiled eggs, fruits and veggies galore.  I'm truly glad that we don't have the option of fast food or pizza delivery so that we are forced to have much healthier eating habits.  

Over the next month, be sure to check out my FaceBook page and Facebook Group Page for recipes, and such!  For now...cheers with a green smoothie to healthier eating!  Please feel free to comment with any input or suggestions!  

Back to School Concerns

Do you have any little ones heading back to school, and you are preparing and education the school of your child being a celiac, gluten intolerant, or any intolerance?  Personally, I never didn't go through my school years as a celiac since I wasn't diagnosed until I was 26.  However, I have Miss J to get safely through school.  Miss J is getting ready for her 2nd year of pre school -so, for now we only have to deal with a snack.  We are very blessed that one of Miss J's teachers is a mom of a Celiac; which gives this anxiety ridden mom much comfort.  At Miss J's school they take turns bringing in a snack.  For the days a safe snack isn't provided, we send in a stash for the teachers to have on hand.  

For years, I've mentally been preparing for elementary school, and already have major anxiety over it!  Miss J is very good about checking with us first before eating something other give to her.  But, can't help but worry about that one time she does forget to ask or someone tells her it's safe when in fact it isn't.  In addition to mentally preparing, I'm also preparing my Pinterst board with lunch ideas!  All the fun lunch ideas distract my from all the mental preparing!!!  

Even though Miss J isn't in elementary school yet, we still have a good bit of practice of packing lunches/dinners since we typically take a meal to all functions.  We also pack our lunch each day since us girls help out at my husbands seasonal business.  We always pack lots of fruit and veggies, yogurt, sandwich on gf bread, corn tortilla or wrap, gf pretzels (we love snyders of Hanover), and of course a sweet little snack.  For some creative lunch ideas, check out Keely McGuire's website.  

I'd love to hear what some of the things you pack in your little ones lunches, and/or your concerns.