Food Allergies and Me

Before I decided to write this post, I really had to vent to pretty much every friend I had without food allergies and a couple with food allergies. My apologies if it comes across as an angry ranting blog post.

As some of you may know, I have Celiac Disease and food allergies. In addition to my food allergies, I’m in the lucky [on average] 10% of people with food allergies who also has one or more airborne food allergies. This means that if there’s poor air circulation at an office in which I work, or if an air vent is blowing one of my airborne allergens directly on me, I need to wear a face mask to protect myself from the chronic pains that could ensue.

I enjoy advocating for safe foods for people like me who have to live a gluten free lifestyle with no government subsidized food allowance. So, chances are, you found me through my Instagram or Twitter account where I frequently show off all the fun new products I find and the products I frequently buy, use and love.

Sometimes, I get to attend expositions where I learn about new products, and get to see old friends. As of late, I get to also work directly with a company, or 2 or 3 at one of these events. As a gluten-free and multiple-food-allergy advocate, this is my favorite part of any and every job I have ever had: the ability to try new and safe-for-me things!

Unfortunately, the advocate lifestyle doesn’t pay any bills, and only seldom puts food on my dinner table. So I work, a lot! Day job, night job, weekend jobs, all the time and multiple locations in a single day. It’s sometimes daunting just keeping up with my own schedule, let alone being single and trying to date a guy who understands what it means to date someone with food allergies.

So, life happens, I work hard, I have fun, and I work some more.

This is where it gets tricky…  I have food allergies, and celiac disease, so you can rest assured I will not knowingly poison myself and work in a non-gluten-free bread factory, peanut butter plant, or participate in a crawfish eating contest. I know my limits and when to set boundaries with food and people who handle food:

  • I do know that I can shake hands with the real Justin and his amazing staff, from Justin’s nut butters, without having any type of reaction. The reasoning: they know safe food handling processes and abide by them. Yes, even my airborne peanut allergy is not affected by having conversations and interactions with any of the Justin’s staff in store demonstrations, nor at major events and expos. In fact, if I didn’t have an allergy to peanuts, I would only and exclusively buy Justin’s Peanut Butter and peanut butter cups as my main source of safe vegan protein.

I know my limits, and if I fail at protecting myself, I always have a backup plan with multiple strengths of dye-free Benadryl and as a last resort: the epi-pen. If you deal with food allergies in your daily life, or the lives of people you protect, I recommend having a plan as well. Just like a fire drill, earthquake drill, lockdown drill, tornado drill, it’s always better to be safe than the alternative.

  • Being denied work because one has to live with food allergies is unlawful according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

My goal as an advocate is that nobody has to go through the struggles I have had to deal with throughout my school and work careers.

If you have had to deal with being fired or denied employment for having food allergies or celiac disease, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me directly.

This post is not sponsored by Justin’s, it is just my life.  Justin’s does have a great, and very easy to modify for peanut allergy, cookbook: you can buy it here.

The life of a gluten-free Instagrammer

I sure am glad that you are reading this! I write a lot on Instagram, but those are always much shorter posts and use less formal punctuation and language. It’s been quite difficult for me to come up with a theme for a blog post; and then actually writing it, so I really do appreciate your time!

The things I love about being a gluten-free foodie and Instagrammer/Tweeter/snapchatter (search for “angerasan”) are that:

  • I get to try and eat a lot of fun new foods and drinks
  • I get to attend events and expos with a purpose and thirst for knowledge
  • I get to be a part of an amazing community of understanding individuals
  • I get to help people with every post
  • I get to be a voice for our community on various social media outlets
  • I am encouraged to create and engage in new food and meal recipes

Obviously, those are the highlights, the only real low is that I have no freezer space left for regular frozen foods, like coconut or cashew milk ice cream and frozen organic broccoli and cauliflower rice. 😂

So, I really do appreciate your time and interest in my life and food. I hope you find my food allergy journey interesting, or at least semi-entertaining.

Thank you,

angela (CHG)

GFAF Expo-San Diego Preview!

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Hello Friends!

Well, it is officially Expo Season again! It’s coming quicker than the rain El Niño promised us in Southern California.

You can buy your ticket(s) to the GFAF Expo in San Diego by clicking HERE!

I’m super excited about this year’s GFAF Expo in San Diego because not only do I get to reveal special sneak previews on my Instagram account (CeliacHashiGirl), but I’ll also be working with my Dad at the expo! You’ll have to come find us, or just wait and see what brand we will be working for Saturday morning! Furthermore, if I can get reception, I’ll be on Periscope too! You can find all my periscope replays HERE on Katch.me.

Now for the things, and people, I’m excited to see and taste at the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo:

  1. Finally getting to meet Tiffany @gfmomcertified. Seriously, she’s an amazing food allergy mom, food allergy warrior, and you cannot talk about her without mentioning her amazing cookie recipes and adorable daughters! I watch her on Periscope just to see the littlest one “help” prepare cookies or Friday’s pizza dinner, you should too, it’s adorable.
  2. Breathing in all the sweetness of Safe Gluten-free bread, cookies, cupcakes and pizzas
  3. Getting to spend a whole weekend with some amazing gluten free bloggers and celiac & food allergy warriors!
  4. Freedom Foods Cereals and SMUDGE! (The only place I know where I can buy SMUDGE is at the GFAF Expo – it’s like Nutella but no dairy and no nuts!) Freedom Foods came out with All Round Goodness last year; it’s an OAT-FREE and vegan cereal, so even celiac’s who can’t eat oats can have something like, but better than other oat circle cereals. (I believe Real Maple Goodness is always better than that honey-nut flavored stuff.) Freedom Foods products are all made in Australia so they are always: non GMO, tested for top nine allergens, top 12 allergen safe, and I can now use this bitmoji: image
  5. Udi’s & Glutino product tasting and previews of what we can soon find in stores! It’s no secret I love Glutino pretzels; they saved me from going mad when I first found out I had to be gluten free 8 years ago. I happily paid $16.00 for a large bag of these pretzels at my local Publix grocery store for a sense of normalcy while I was trying to find out what I could possibly eat that wouldn’t hurt me. My Dad and Nephew only eat Udi’s bread, and I do not foresee that ever changing, especially with the addition of the Rye Style bread to the Udi’s line of gluten free breads!
  6. Potapas Tortillas! If you pay attention to my taco nights, or Sunbutter/Smudge rolls on Instagram, you know I ??❤️ Potapas tortillas! I like to think I’m the reason all 3 of my local Sprouts stores carry them now, right next to my favorite …
  7. Smart Flour Foods Pizza Crust! I’ve been a fan of Smart Flour from the first time I found out they were GF and Vegan (I had just found out I have an egg allergy). Smart Flour always has a line for their pizzas at the expos they attend, and can you blame them? They use uncured pepperoni so it’s safe from harsh chemicals that can upset [my] digestive system further.
  8. BioK+  Luckily, if I want to try a taste of something at the expo with egg or dairy (I like to try everything!), I’ll be able to take a quick shot of BioK+ vegan and soy free probiotic drink! I love this brand so much, because it truly WORKS to heal my guts before I know they are about to freak out. Probiotics are also great to take to prevent and shorten the length you have a cold or flu bug.
  9. Bakery on Main will be there! OMG, this is my all-time favorite instant oatmeal brand because it has a blend of GF oats, quinoa, flax, chia and amaranth! The oatmeals are all sesame free too!
  10. Beanfield’s chips & Glutenberg beer! (Do I have to tell how this combo of GF and food allergy safe treats makes my heart skip a few beats?!? It does, I just got light-headed thinking about it!)

So, that’s my personal top 10 list of things in looking forward to February 20-21! I hope to see you all there!

 

“A Shared Food Household” Guest Post: King Gluten Free

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A SHARED FOOD HOUSEHOLD
by Jordan Middlebrook, aka: King Gluten Free (@kingglutenfree on all social media)

Not everyone in any given house has celiac disease so there is a very good chance that there is a shared house hold. Based on a four person household, usually one person has to be 100% gluten-free and has their own shelf in the pantry and their own little section in the fridge where all their food sits. Maybe you have to keep writing ‘gluten-free’ on all the food because the gluten-full people in your home just don’t get it.

This can be the case, more often than not. One person has to be medically gluten-free while the rest of the family can go willy-nilly and eat whatever comes their way. It’s not a problem, its just a common household and family dynamic. Yes there are families that ALL go gluten-free to make things easier; that’s not always the case.

Sharing a home with people who don’t have to be gluten-free can be as frustrating as sharing a home with your in-laws.

Making sure everyone in the house is aware of what crumbs of gluten filled food can do to the peanut butter is of top priority, and letting the diagnosed celiac know that they used the spinach dip by cramming in bread sticks, is of the most importance. Sometimes the other members of the household drop the ball when it comes to making sure the gluten-free food stays gluten-free (the case and be argued that making sure the gluten-free food stays gluten-free is up to the person who needs to be gluten-free. But where does the respect click in?). Just keeping all those in the house involved in the what is gluten-free in the house is as important as making sure you, as a diagnosed celiac knows what gets tainted with their terrible wheat crumbs.

SIDEBAR: I have said ‘gluten-free’ a ton of times in this blog.

Maintaining a proper gluten-free diet in a house of people that that don’t need to be gluten-free can sometimes be an epic challenge. And in the end, it’s always love and understanding that gets the message across.

Not all shared households are like that but the real good ones are, and to the person who needs to be 100% gluten-free it’s one of the greatest things in the world, because if you can’t feel safe about your own food at home; where can you feel safe?

The wonderful world of oils!

  
It’s official, as of this week, I have become a Wellness Advocate through Doterra. I have been using these oils and have used some of their other products over the course of the last three years. I love the healing effects of oils like DigestZen and fennel after a glutening. I also love the peppermint, lavender, Whisper, and On Guard to combat the migraine that goes along with my glutening accidents and other stressors that cause me to lose sleep. 

If you have any questions about oils and how they can help manage pain, please let me know. I am always ready to help, even if you do not choose to purchase from my Doterra site.

How Does it Feel?

How does it feel to be glutened? For me, first it’s an unsettling feeling, followed by a migraine. My digestive bloat and “issues” comes within an hour, or sometimes two. I always try to have probiotics, Tylenol, and Hyland’s Teething Tablets with me to delay the pain. Inflammation and “belly bloat” is inevitable, as is the brain fog and carelessness for weeks to come.
How does it feel to be told it’s all in your head? For me, it’s hurtful down to my guts and back again. It hurts in every cell in my body, every nerve ending just bursts with heat and fire. It hurts in my hair. It hurts in my toenails covered in gluten-free nail polish. I don’t expect half the world to understand, but I do expect those that I have educated, those that knew me before: when I stuttered, when I had a migraine that didn’t go away for 12 weeks, when I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk to the bathroom, I expect those people to know that gluten-poisoning is real for me.
How does it feel to see gluten-free dishes and cooking spoons be contaminated with gluten? For me, it’s not the end of the world, but it still hurts. It hurts until I am able to purchase a new pot, pan, bakeware, blender, mixer, lid, spoon, etc. However, I still feel the pain of knowing it could all be avoided when I buy my new pot or spoon. It hurts a lot to know that I used to be careless just like this. It hurts to know that regular people actually do hurt other regular people and think nothing of it. It hurts to know that this pain can all be avoided if everyone was open to change and acceptance of other people’s differences and diseases. I’m not asking the world to understand my pain, I’m just asking the world to acknowledge that it is real, even if you can’t see or feel it.

GFAF EXPO SAN DIEGO

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I hope to see you soon at the GFAF Expo and don’t forget you get a free one-year subscription per household to Delight Gluten Free Magazine ($24 value) with all purchased tickets.
BUY TICKETS, CLICK HERE! Use Promo Code: BLOGSD to help support my blog, or, before 2/6/15 CLICK HERE and use Promo Code: ADVANCE for 15% off tickets.
(PS: You might get to see me and my family checking your tickets at the doors!)

Here’s the details of the expo:
February 7, 2015: 10:00am-4:00pm
Parking-$10
Del Mar Fairgrounds-Wyland Center
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar, CA 92014-2216
858-755-1161
www.delmarfairgrounds.com

My favorite things and tips & tricks of going to the GFAF Expo are:

1. Bring Cash because a lot of companies have “better than store prices” on things you normally buy anyway, and sometimes the wifi doesn’t work for people who use Square for credit card purchases.
2. Bring an extra bag for keeping freebies and swag (one will be given to everyone in attendance at the doors)
3. Bring a hungry belly! There are ALWAYS lots of treats to eat and some adult beverages to drink, with proper ID.
4. Prepare to take notes: on your tablet, phone, or the old fashioned pen and paper method. Most vendors will be able to educate you with info about their company, and there’s classes to attend too!
5. Plan on attending at least one of the classes. A lot can be learned at these lectures, even for those of us who are “old pros” at living the gluten free life.
6. Have enough memory on your phone or tablet to take photos of products that may be new to you, and maybe one of you with ME!
7. Bring a water bottle. It’s going to be a long day; you may need to take a few breaks by the water cooler to rehydrate.
8. Review the website for the GFAF EXPO SAN DIEGO
9. Check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @gfafexo and use the hashtag #GFAFEXPO for all your posts at and about the event.
10. Prepare to Have Fun! I am always so happy to meet people who are just like me in my need to be gluten free.

Back to Cali, And Expo Season Begins!

If you don’t know me on Instagram or in real life, then you probably don’t know I’m back in So. Cal. Hopefully, this time, it’s for good! My fur-kiddos and I are very happy now that we have family and friends all within walking distance (and more just miles away via freeway and side streets).

Anyway, this post is really all about Expo Season!

The GFAF Expo is just around the corner in San Diego and I will be there. I’ll be there everywhere! As a volunteer, as a worker-bee with my family’s favorite brands, and as a blogger/Instagrammer too! I cannot wait to try some new brands, and partake in a few “Gluten Free Classics” like Enjoy Life, Udi’s & Glutino, Freedom Foods (link is to the USA site, AUS site is freedomfoods.com.au)and of course Sunbutter!
Oh, and guess what? There’s going to be a company coming all the way from Japan called Bears/Kumamoto Flour Milling Co! Their website is all in Japanese, but I promise you the photos on this version, all remind me of my Japanese summer exchange program where I learned to bake in the metric system in my high school’s baking classroom where we may have actually used this very flour when we baked traditional Welsh scones! I’m super excited to connect with this Japanese company, and hopefully take a “peace” shashin (✌️

New Year, New Goals

It is now one month into 2014, and my one year anniversary for my domain and a real blogger! Also, in just a few days, it will be my 6th Gluten Free Birthday!
I decided last year that I should celebrate my Gluten Free Birthday, just as anyone would celebrate a regular birthday, or half-birthday. Since my GFB is pretty close to my half-birthday, and I have been gluten free for five full years, I’m going big this year!

How do you go big for your Gluten Free Birthday?
Aside from the usual New Planet and Bard’s beer fest, I am committing myself to blog more, review more, and commit myself to no longer be afraid of food in the big world of wheat and GMO’s. Because I am still not a committed vegan [though I would like to be someday], another goal of mine is to be more conscious of the foods I am taking in. By this, I mean I strive for organic and sustainable produce whenever possible, eating more green and red (veggies and fruits), less brown and white (carbs and sugars—but I love sugar!). If I can truly accomplish these goals, I know I will be healthier and happier with other choices in life.

Life is short, and sometimes seems shorter as a spoonie. But, we only have this one time in these blessed bodies, so please join me in treating yours well too. It’s only one year. We can do it together.

Pictures and things from the GFAF Wellness Event!

Theses are my favorite things from the GFAF Wellness Event last weekend in Austin, TX.
To recap from my Instagram feed: It was awesome! I always enjoy working with Red Apple Lipstick at the gluten free expos and events, this time I even got a cool shirt to wear! I became an official Rep for Red Apple Lipstick! I was star-struck when I met Peter from New Planet Beer (P.S.: He is also very awesome, generous, and who doesn’t love the Aussie accent?!). Freedom Foods is always awesome with my favorite cereals on tap (I love those Aussies and their non-GMO, dye-free cereal!). Leprechaun Cider is my new favorite local beverage: it’s local to Austin, TX and Oregon at the same time! (I think it was Pam from I’m a Celiac‘s favorite drink too.) Tito’s Vodka was there too… The original Austin gluten free vodka was served with fresh pressed juice from a local juice store: this was not your average Southern Sunday morning, for sure! And, one reason I cannot yet be 100% vegan is Noosa yogurt; Noosa has the best kept cows making the healthiest milk and delicious fruits in every cup!

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