The Pseudo-Healthy Way to Stress Eat, according to me

In case it wasn’t super obvious, I LOVE food! I love snacks. I LOVE cookies. I love cookies so much, my big dog is named Cookie!
This week has been pretty rough, with random, wild and crazy stress in my personal and professional life. So, while at the grocery store yesterday, I picked up this box of cookies.

20130328-083823.jpg Before yesterday, I was not a fan of Mary’s Gone Crackers. I have only tried their crackers and really did not care for them: too much quinoa, or too crispy. I don’t know, I just knew I didn’t like them and they didn’t agree with me.
Now, however, I am in love with this box of Love Cookies! These chocolate chip cookies are everything I need, and have the crunch and flavor of everything I miss from not being able to eat traditional Tollhouse cookies. It was as if my mom made them and I was a kid again, sneaking into the cookie jar for one more cookie.
These Love Cookies are organic, Non-GMO Project, vegan (no egg, no milk in that chocolate), and contain chia (protein and vitamins). I love that these cookies were not crumbly, like gluten-free cookies tend to be, they were also not hard as a rock, like you would think of a “vegan” health-food cookie or biscuit would be. I guess you can tell I love Love Cookies and will be purchasing more in the near future! Mary’s Gone Crackers Love Cookies for the Gluten Free WIN!

Depression

I have not been this depressed in a while. Maybe it is hitting me today because of my thyroid. Maybe it is because of my many jobs. Maybe it is because of the jobs I do not have. Maybe it is because of the lack of money in my bank account after paying student loans and buying gluten free food. Maybe it is just a little brain fog bubble that needs to get out. Maybe it is just stress catching up with me. Maybe it is a sign to be better and do more. I do not know what it is that is making me depressed today, but I do know I am loved by my dogs, and that is enough.

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Some girls buy shoes, some girls buy food…

So, this week’s blog was supposed to be about the ups and downs of life, of having Hashimoto’s, of never knowing if your food will make you sick because of food allergies or unknown gluten contamination. But it’s not going to be about all that, not really. I’d rather write about my cool new finds and another way I just noticed I deal with my emotions: retail therapy.
In the last week I have easily spent over $200 on food: safe, healthy, great-tasting, gluten free food! I guess it may be part of my love of food that drives me to use this as a form of retail therapy, but it also may just be because I am always hungry! I love food, everything about food: taste, texture, and smell. I’m not saying I don’t buy shoes as part of my “retail therapy.” I’m just saying I think of food before shoes most of the time. I have always been this way, even before I knew I had food allergies and intolerances. This is why I am so thankful that I have such a special relationship with food. Although my food bills six years ago included more food for my dollar, my life is better and I feel better with the better quality and “real” foods I am now purchasing. My former stress-coping mechanism has become a passion, and I’m no longer afraid to admit that and share that with the world.
(These are one of my new pairs of shoes – super comfortable, super cheap.)
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This is my dog, and my new favorite Woodchuck Cider. It’s called “Spring” and really does taste delicious! It’s like drinking apple pancakes covered in fresh maple syrup. I enjoyed every drop after a stressful day of working two jobs. I honestly never thought I would enjoy a hard cider more than a good red wine. Woodchuck had me with their new Reserve flavor – made in Heaven Hill Bourbon’s barrels – I’m now a loyal Woodchuck flavored hard cider fan with this Spring flavor. Woodchuck just keeps bringing it!
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Chia seed is my newest favorite addition to my protein and juicing mixes. After seeing updates and reviews from fellow bloggers attending Expo West, I was super bummed that I wasn’t there and didn’t get to try Mamma Chia’s new chia food pouches. (I love food pouches – baby and tot food pouches from Happy Family and Ella’s Kitchen baby food are my favorites!) I had no idea that Mamma Chia made other products, so I became a super-fan as soon as I met my area’s local representative at Whole Foods in Austin, Texas. He knew about the new pouches but did not have any with him. However, he was sampling all the fun new-to-me flavors of Mamma Chia drinks. I love that everything is gluten free, vegan, and organic. I also love their brand’s image: a woman who looks like she is deep in meditation. This is very much the way chia seeds make me feel. They are loaded with vitamins and omega’s that make me feel at peace inside.
This is me rocking my new Mamma Chia pin with my two favorite flavors of Mamma Chia drinks in the Whole Foods flagship store in Austin, TX.
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In other news… I’ve been at South by Southwest all weekend and totally rocking my Celiac and the Beast sweater all over Austin, TX. Keep spreading awareness!
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Food and meals of the week…

Most of the foods I’ve eaten this last week are pictured below. All are clean, real, and safe.
Of course, I must start with all the delicious, fun, healthy desserts and “tacos” from Vegeria Vegan Restaurant in San Antonio, TX. I love this place! It’s my safe haven in my crazy gluten-filled life in San Antonio. All the recipes are so creative, fresh, and a delicious vegan and gluten free spin on the norm of Tex-Mex dining.
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-High-protein desserts to be jealous of: Sunbutter Energy Fudge, Almond Butter Fudge, Sunbutter Fudge with Coconut Creme Cupcake-20130309-225228.jpg

-The first hot meal I’ve had since Christmas Eve: Portabella Avocado Custom Creation “Open-Faced” Taco.-20130309-225237.jpg

-Custom Quick Veggie Taco-20130309-225312.jpg

-Strawberry Lavender and Lavender cupcakes-20130309-225510.jpg
-Lifetime Fitness has a restaurant inside, so I purchased a veggie sandwich on Udi’s Gluten-Free bread.-20130309-224637.jpg

-Raw Revolution has the best tasting raw energy bars. I picked up a bunch of samples at the GFAF Expo and am just now getting to eat them. They were worth the wait! I highly recommend them, all of them! If you can find them: Buy Them! If you have to mail-order, beg, borrow, or steal for them: Do It!- 20130309-224655.jpg

-Udi’s never let’s me down, never let’s me go hungry. Again, I am just going to say this package of mini chocolate muffins may or may not have been a meal this week. (If you’re following me on Instagram, you know the delicious truth.)-20130309-224744.jpg

-I’m not a huge fan of soy-and it’s not a huge fan of me either. If I was cool with eating a bunch of soy, I would surely recommend these No-Gi bars above all else, because they taste so good, the texture is pretty nice too.
Because I enjoy this flavor, I do want to recommend Better Batter’s Zion’s Bar. It’s consistency and flavor is actually better too: stronger mint and chocolate that resembles a certain thin, minty Girl Scout Cookie, with a slightly less-demanding crunchiness. And Better Batter’s bars won’t ever melt in your car or purse!-20130309-224830.jpg

-Enjoy Life’s version of the Crunch bar… My first candy bar after going gluten free over five years ago. This one has a special place in my heart and will ALWAYS be welcomed in my belly!-20130309-224939.jpg

-Tru-Bar, from Bakery On Main, is a great new thing! I love how they like to surprise me with chocolate chips mixed in with what otherwise would be called: allergy friendly trail mix in a bar. I have tried all the bars I picked up at the GFAF Expo now, and I honestly cannot pick a favorite! I am probably not going to be buying Bakery On Main’s granola anymore, because these portion-controlled bars have more flavor, ingredients, and nutrients.-20130309-225004.jpg

-Freedom Foods has these great cereals that are very appealing to parents and kids alike. These were my favorite from the GFAF Expo: Tropico’s. they are the allergy friendly version of the national branded fruit o’s. Although they do have non-GMO corn as a main ingredient, I did not have a bad reaction to this cereal. I attribute that to all natural plant and flower-based food coloring, and that these are vegan (no egg) too.-20130309-225042.jpg

-Olives! These olives are packaged in Morocco, super delicious and healthy. Another great go-to snack that is full of flavor!-20130309-225119.jpg

-My absolute favorite KIND Bar: Coconut Almond. This is my go-to emergency food, sold at every Wal-mart, so I know I can always get something in a bind, while traveling for work.-20130309-225200.jpg

-My love of foods in a squeeze pouch was mastered by Happy Family brand. This squeeze pouch was just perfect! A much needed snack to help me make it through the end of my work day. Taste and texture are always nice with everything Happy Family makes. My favorite thing is that they are simple- few fruits. They are always organic, always natural and always gluten free. I travel a lot in my car for work, between jobs, etc., so having fresh fruit for an afternoon sugar spike is not always an option, this makes it possible.-20130309-225020.jpg -Happy Safe Snacking!-

Today was a good age day…

Today was a good age day. I was just getting started at my first job of the day and this guy (who admitted he was under 30 years old) thought I was under 25 years old. This wouldn’t mean much to anyone else. But it’s huge for me. It’s huge because two days ago I felt like I was dying. Three days ago I was miserably sick. Four days ago I could not feel my feet. Five days ago I was super tired. Six days ago I was too sick to work a full day. Seven days ago I slept most of the day away.
I’d like to thank my parents for these wonderful genetics: big hair, big cheeks, big eyes… When I’m feeling good I look ten years younger than I am! (I won’t mention it’s mostly genetics that made me sick to begin with.) I’d also like to thank Red Apple Lipstick for helping my lips pop and shimmering eyeshadow that helps keep me looking young.

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Food Addiction and Puppy Love

What can I say? I love food! I love the taste of a fresh dessert, the feel of warm tomato and spinach on the roof of my mouth, the subtle crunch of a sautéed baby bella mushroom, and of course: the hot spices in chili sauce that just make me happy to be alive.
I went to the Alamo Quarry Farmer’s Market this weekend with my friend to catch up and for me to introduce her to my newest food love at the Farmer’s Market.
I had crepes on my mind all week, so I could not wait to place my order at GOOD GLUTEN FREE FOODS food booth. While I waited for my Super Veggie to be made, Christian took this photo of me chowing down on the giant Raspberry Tart from GOOD GLUTEN FREE FOODS.
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My crepe arrived! It was so good on its own last week that I decided to try out their gluten free chili sauce. I am never turning back on that sauce now! 🙂 Yup, that’s how good it was! Not too spicy, not too peppery, … just right! All I have to say is: be jealous, friends. And then come join me at the next Farmer’s Market in San Antonio.
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This weekend these were my lunchtime snacks. Most of these items were leftover from my airplane emergency food Go Picnic meal packs. I love the Happy Baby squeeze pouches because not only do they contain fruit and veggies, but they taste like sweet, like a fruit and veggie smoothie. Who doesn’t love Sunbutter?!? Those Enjoy Life Double Chocolate cookies were all crumbles, but also all delicious! And who doesn’t like trail mix? Enjoy Life must know what I like and what works for me because their trail mix is perfect: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried apple chunks (but still kind of squishy), and mini chocolate chips! The Peel A Part fruit chew is actually made in Canada, eh? It’s really good! The Go Picnic Sunbutter meal pack is the only place I’ve ever seen this brand, and sometimes the only reason I pick up this particular Go Picnic box at my local Sprout’s supermarket.
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Sunday night was Oscar Awards night. During the Oscar Awards, my big girl decided it was time to play and I decided it was time to take funny photos. I love my big dog! Not only does she keep me warm at night, she keeps me smiling too. 20130225-182836.jpg

This is my old man. After a big dog food dinner and a long Oscar Awards show, my old man was beat! I love this guy.
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What happened this week? I may not remember everything, but it was Awesome!

After I got back from the GFAF Expo, life just got better! I was back at work, and still feeling groggy and glutened [from the recycle airplane air], but life just seemed to get better each day.
In case you didn’t know, I have wild and crazy food allergies, in addition to the gluten. So it is really hard to go someplace and just order off the menu. That all changed on Valentine’s Day!
I’ve been working part time (one of my many jobs) at Vegeria Vegan Restaurant. I can work there because it is totally Gluten Free. Many items are truly raw, all are vegan. After I gave him a Celiac and the Beast (order one at: www.celiacandthebeast.com) tshirt I bought for him at the GFAF Expo, one of the owners, Fred, and I were talking about creating a menu item for me, that I wouldn’t have to modify, that I would just be able to say, “I would like …..” We talked between orders and dishes and came up with a couple of mg favorite things. On Friday, after my full-time job, I got to try it! It was amazing!
Most of the time, I worry about being able to go out to eat. Whether it is going on a date or out with friends to catch up on life, I always feel like I’m coming across as one of “those people”- the picky eater, the germaphobic, or the mean girl who just has too many special orders. I know, my therapist is teaching me to tell the difference between “my stuff” and “their stuff,” but this is kind of both of our stuff because I LOVE TO EAT! (And I don’t enjoy eating food I think somebody spit in.) I now feel safe and am much happier inside knowing that someone, a business owner, really does care about his employees and his customers. I hope we can come up with many more “Angela’s Allergy List Approved” menu items, and many more desserts with Sunbutter! Raw Sunbutter Fudge was really amazing!

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