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Living Life with Celiac Disease

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Helpful Hints

Blood Screening

In a recent email from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, they are offering  Free Blood Screening for Celiac Disease “To be screened, you must consume gluten daily for 12 weeks prior to the test.”

Is it any wonder there are so many false negative tests? I do not have 12 weeks (and more for recovery) of my life to intentionally make myself sick. Many people learn about Celiac Disease from other people by listening to symptoms, cures, and struggles. If you think you might have Celiac Disease and have or have not had blood tests, your body will tell you if you should cut foods out of your diet (all changes in your nutrition should be discussed with a doctor).

The symptoms can be found on our blog at Symptoms of Celiac Disease. We also discuss Foods to Avoid in another post. Only you know what is best for your body, don’t let the results of a negative blood test decide if you are able to eat gluten or not. If you want to put 12 weeks to the test, remove all sources of wheat, rye, barley and corn (some celiacs are sensitive to corn) from your diet. I would rather have 12 healthy weeks to find out if I am gluten sensitive than 12-16 unhealthy and sick weeks (4 for recovery) to take a blood test.

We are not doctors, but we do know the difference of being bedridden and being physically active, you will too.

 

Namaste

~Kate~

 

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Fig Newtons

It has been 3 years since I ate my last Fig Newton and finding a gluten free alternative has been unsuccessful. I picked up this bag of all natural, organic, unsulfered, sun dried figs. My first bite into one made me gasp out loud and run to Robyn to take a bite. It tastes EXACTLY like a fig newton (to me). If you ate your last fig newton last week, I am sure you will beg to differ, but three years is a long time to hold onto a taste memory. Even if you found a great GF alternative, give these a try, unprocessed food is so much better for us. I bought mine at Costco but also found several online retailers when I googled “Made in Nature Figs”

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Namaste

~Kate~

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Shopping Shenanigans

Challenges for someone with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease don’t stop at the grocery store. It’s true that shopping for everyday groceries is a time consuming chore, unless you stick to the produce section. Labels for ingredients, labels for gluten free certification, labels processed on equipment and/or in a facility that produces products containing wheat. It is enough to make your head spin and requires a good hour set aside for weekly grocery shopping.

This week I took the dive into gluten free hair care, skin care, body care, and make up. No, I do not plan on eating my make-up, but I do plan on sweating this summer (you know you are too). With those beads of perspiration will come everything it passes through, my hair product, my eye shadow, foundation, and lip balm. Undoubtedly some of the perspiration will make its way into my eyes, nose or throat and with that, the gluten it passed through.

Our skin is also our largest organ. Science says that what we put on our skin can make its way into our bloodstream. The more you rid your diet of gluten, the more sensitive you will become to it. When your gut is already damaged and bleeding from gluten, eating more gluten prolongs the healing and amplifies the symptoms. That same gluten put into a healing or healed gut acts like a foreign body and creates an autoimmune response which in turn makes you feel horribly ill inside and out.

A wonderful resource has been the Gluten Free Makeup Gal http://www.glutenfreemakeupgal.com I urge you to sign up for her gluten free make up list. It has everything from soaps, body lotions, deodorants, facial care, bath care, to baby and pet care. You will most likely find yourself browsing through websites for hours. What else is new for a Celiac, right?

Hope you have a healthy and blessed day!

~Kate~

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Removing the Poison

What one little crumb of bread can do to a gluten sensitive/Celiac body is outrageous. Fatigue is the one symptom that to most people does the least harm to our bodies.
However, fatigue can prevent one from getting up and getting moving. The best way to get that poison out of the body is by exercise. I know, that is the last thing you want to do with all of the other gluten causing issues.

Exercise helps get that poison out faster than being sedentary or just going through daily tasks. Cardio is the best form of exercise to push the gluten poison out fast.

Once you get to working out… It will be hard, you will feel a smaller lung capacity and you will feel as though your heart is going to burst through your chest cavity. But the results after a 30min-60min work out is a miracle. Usually I have to rush to the bathroom within 30 minutes but the next day I feel almost human.

I remind my close friends and family to encourage me to do cardio when I know I got glutened… Because exercising is really the last thing I want to do when I have that poison in my body.

Try it next time, let me know if it works for you too!

~JoJo

 

 

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Satisfying the Gluten Craving

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Sometimes, you just want a real cookie, or a real tortilla so you can eat a burrito and not get sick. Well these are my go to foods when I just need to satisfy the flour/wheat craving.

Craving a good bagel, maybe Sara Lee’s Onion Bagels? Well UDI’s makes great Certified Gluten Free bagels, my personal favorite is the “Everything Inside Bagels” .

Craving pasta, that taste good with a cheese sauce or Alfredo? I recommend a pasta that only contains rice! Corn pasta, may upset a Celiac tummy and it only tastes good with red sauce. Some pastas contain pea proteins, which leave a nasty film on the pasta. This brand that I pick up from my local gluten-free store is really good, and my boyfriend can’t tell the difference.  The only difference he notices is the price difference from “real” pasta. The brand is PastaJoy and this one is made with Brown Rice (a healthier option to White Rice pasta).

Craving a good cookie? WOW makes some great wheat & gluten free cookies, my GFF (Gluten Free Friend) found them in San Francisco and she told me that day, how delicious they are! Believe me, it takes a lot of self-control to only eat, one or two in one sitting.

Craving something to snack on? Glutino makes a really good Sea Salt flavored snack crackers, they taste very similar to Wheat Thins. Also Van’s makes some certified gluten free crackers, my favorite is Lots of Everything Inside. The great thing about the Van’s crackers is that all of the ingredients are all natural, no added sugars, no trans fats, just a delicious and nutritious snack.

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Craving a yummy quesadilla or burrito? Food for Life makes a Certified wheat and gluten free Brown Rice tortilla that satisfies the craving of a flour tortilla. I still can’t wait for something even better then this tortilla!

Craving Garlic Bread? Against the Grain makes amazing baguettes that can be baked to be garlic bread, or cut up to be served with spread, cheese, or meats. It is amazing, but not too amazing on the wallet.

Those are my go to Certified Gluten Free foods. Not only do they pass my taste test, but Robyn & Kate’s taste test. My GFF from San Fran. Emily also loves the Van’s Crackers and the WOW cookies (since she was the one who got me hooked on both of them).

Hope this helps your taste buds be a little happy when craving BREAD, FLOUR, WHEAT, BARLEY, etc.

Happy tasting!

~JoJO

Slow Recovery

It is amazing the damage a piece of grain can do. Since my last post, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” my recovery is slow going. It’s been 6 days since my cross contamination at Red Robin and today is my first adventure out of the house. If not for Robert driving and accompanying me through the grocery store, for last minute Thanksgiving needs, I might be writing this from the floor of a shopping aisle.

The migraine is gone but the shortness of breath, brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, and exhaustion remain (I’m still waiting for the onslaught of hives).

The worst part of it all is knowing it may happen again. How many times do we play Russian Roulette with our body? When this episode is long forgotten, and I am caught up in the joyous whirlwind of love and family, I will let my guard down. I don’t know if it’s the black hole each episode leaves in my memory or wishful thinking it won’t happen again. Short of tattooing, “Do not feed the Celiac” on my forehead, I am doomed to repeat this mistake. Hopefully it won’t be days before a holiday again.

~Kate~

Easy GF Rice Pudding

I am a big fan of rice. It’s so versatile and if brown rice is used (or half brown rice), it’s even good for you. Since I have a mini 6 cup rice cooker at work, I always have something to eat to get me through a 12 hour shift. A co-worker suggested the following recipe and I felt another life changing moment come upon me (I suffer from an extreme case of sweet tooth itis). I hope this easy GF recipe makes you as happy as it did me 🙂

5-6 cups cooked rice
½ can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Cinnamon to taste
¼ cup raisins (optional)

Combine all ingredients sans cinnamon. Serve warm or cold with cinnamon sprinkled on top. All measurements are a approximate and can be increased or decreased to personal taste. Enjoy and let me know if you have a personal twist to this recipe that we might like too 🙂

~Kate~

Safe Restaurants

Social gatherings, meetings, and lunch dates, all involve food. Finding a safe restaurant is hard! Some have gluten free menus, but that jut means they have foods with no wheat, flour, barley. It does not always mean that their food is made without cross-contamination.

Red Robin:
Most Red Robin’s now have a separate fryer for French fries, most restaurants fry all of the French fries (naturally gluten free) in the same fryer as onion rings, fried fish, breaded chicken and mozzarella sticks and all of the other breaded fried foods.
Red Robin also carries a gluten-free Udi’s bun which tastes great.
Be careful all of their dressings and sauces are not gluten free, honey poppy seed and ketchup are safe.

In-N-Out
Most people know that they will wrap the burger in lettuce, but did you know that if you say “allergy to wheat” they will cook your burger on a gluten free grill that does not handle buns.
Since they have such a small menu and only fry French fries, their fries are also GF.

Chipotle
Most of Chipotles food is gluten free, minus the tortillas and the hot salsa. But if you let the person starting your bowl or salad that you have an allergy to wheat, they will wash their hands, change their gloves and they usually make sure no one else handles your food. They will also get cheese and lettuce that have not been contaminated with flour tortilla hands.

These are my three go-to places. I will fill you in on other SAFE places to eat. Just remember ALWAYS let your server know you have an allergy!

~JoJo

Mark Your Territory

Cross contamination is real, even at home. Mark your territory with stickers, labels, whatever you have or can make to show family “This is a Gluten Free zone.” Knives used to spread condiments can carry pieces of gluten bread to your once safe container. Speaking of bread, either mark half the toaster Gluten Free or have a dedicated toaster for your non gluten goodies.

~Kate~

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