OMGluten Free!!!

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I’m ba-a-ack!

I have been working on BIG plans for 2014 and I am already feeling better than pretty much all of 2013, and super stoked to announce my first expo appearance for 2014!

I can tell you more in person at the GFAF Wellness Event in Austin, TX next Sunday, February 2, 2014:
10 AM to 3 PM
Travis County Expo Center: Banquet Hall
7311 Decker Lane, Austin, TX 78724

Come meet me, along with my Instagram and real-life friends:
Gluten Free Austin, I’m a Celiac, and MindfulPeaceOm.

I will be hanging out with my buddies, Jay and Andrea at the Red Apple Lipstick booth, and trying out their new eyeliner! I cannot wait to get a mini lip makeover too!

I am doing a ticket giveaway on my Instagram… So please follow me before I pick winners on Friday: CeliacHashiGirl!

Tickets are only $10 for adults (13 and up)! And yes, Free Parking!

For more information, please check out: Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event

Time to start preparing…

It is almost October, 2013. This October might be the best one so far (in my life). In the past, October has been my least favorite month: as a child it meant getting bronchitis and ear infections, in high school it meant my sister staying home from school with pneumonia while I still had to attend classes, my first senior year of high school marked the first month of constant pain from my 12-week long migraine, in undergrad I had to start classes, in adulthood it meant getting comfortable with a new job, new dog, or new boyfriend. No matter what, October meant change, usually for the worse!
I have hope and faith that this October will begin to mean a change for the better. I am looking forward to the GFAF Expo in Plano, TX at the end of the month. Along with working in a fabulously healthy, gluten free, vegan kitchen, I hope to make many memories with old and new work-friends. It’s always nice to have like-minded and health conscious friends! My landlord/housemate comes back to Texas in October too! I have missed her and her big dog so much! Friends like her are hard to find, and I am so thankful to have her in my life! My parents will arrive back from their European vacation as well, in October. I cannot wait to be able to FaceTime them every night!

**** Some things I learned this week:
1. Chopping onions without wearing gloves will make your hands stink like onions for at least a full 24 hours. 🙁
2. Most of my coworkers think I have a nice butt. 😉
3. Adding chia seeds to my protein and vitamin drink blends was a great idea. 🙂
4. Not drinking my chia-infused drinks quickly was not a good idea as it led to a giant clump of chia on the bottom of my water bottle. 🙁
5. I make a lot of faces throughout the day. Most of them make my boss and friends laugh. 🙂
6. I need to pay more attention to the amount of gas in my car so I do t run out of gas again. 🙁
7. My adrenals seem to finally be functioning! 🙂
8. My guts are also happily functioning, with almost no inflammation, thanks to liquid grape seed extract! 🙂
9. The best way to make a veggie mix is to “smash the love” into the potatoes. 🙂
10. “Smashing the love into” food makes it look and taste better than “mashing the crap out of” food, especially sweet potatoes and white potatoes. (It also builds more arm strength and muscle.) 🙂 🙂

Have a great week!

Only the Lonely…

Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely. I have my dogs, my family is a phone call away, and my biggest comfort food is now gone.
My favorite food has pretty much always been ice cream. I love ice cream so much, my motto for life (before going gluten free and dairy free) was: There’s always room for ice cream.
Since I went gluten free over five years ago, the only gluten free ice cream I knew of was Purely Decadent (now called So Delicious). My Mom found it for my nephew when he was only a year old. I was so thankful because I hadn’t had real ice cream in at least a year. I love So Delicious coconut and almond milk ice creams. But, whenever Almond Dream flavors go on sale at Whole Foods, I’m all over them too!

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Looking forward to the future

Today is a new day. I am finally feeling better and looking forward to the future, again. I’m learning to take everything one day at a time, and one hour at a time. However, I am getting really excited about the Plano, TX GFAF Expo!

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The thing about the GFAF Expo that I love, is the “me too.” I cannot remember saying “me too” more times than I did last year at the Dallas GFAF Expo. I was working for an energy/vitamin drink company and was super excited to meet Jay and Andrea from Red Apple Lipstick (seriously, I got goosebumps when I saw their booth set-up in the back corner of the expo hall), nervous to meet Jen (event organizer/founder/all-around awesome lady), and I was so grateful to have met Naomi (and Mom and Dad) from Better Batter, and all of our “me too” conversations. Taylor and Anne from Unrefined Bakery in Dallas, TX pretty much changed my life around the holidays (safe, healthy bars, cupcakes, bread, and cookies) with Paleo bread and sweet pumpkin bread that I had shipped to me in San Antonio, and to my family in Orange County, CA.
Just before last year’s Dallas expo, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I was still recovering from the shock of that diagnosis when I met Naomi, Taylor, and Anne who knew so much more about other foods to watch out for (I was reacting to corn and didn’t know it). These three ladies were a great support for me when I had nobody else to ask questions and turn to for inspiration and advice. I had never met anyone with so much knowledge about food allergies, intolerances, and safely living gluten free with Hashimoto’s. They gave me hope for a better food-filled life.

Since the Dallas GFAF Expo last year, I have had to cut out even more foods due to reactions and scratch test allergies. Luckily, there was another GFAF Expo in San Francisco soon after I learned of all my new intolerances and allergies! I was armed with an epi-pen and gained a whole new group of blogger friends including: my GF blogger heroes, a reality TV star, nutritionists, a real-life beauty queen, and a super cool couple with a growing family who believes in gluten free and organic living, and so many people who are aware of this “lifestyle” that I did not choose, but who accept it and struggle with its challenges too.
Even with all the changes to my diet and to my life over the last year, I am so happy that I have made great friendships and I hope they will be life-long relationships, no matter what happens in our futures.
Please let me know if you will be attending this year’s GFAF Expo in Plano, TX!

Changes

I’ve had a good little run working for food and working for my livelihood. It’s been a rough road for me these last few months. I wish I could pinpoint what exactly changed me. I may never know. I do know, however, that my life is not over and I am fighting to stay alive. Whether the thoughts are from my own head, or from my heart’s anxiety, I am trying to block them so that I can stay with my dogs one more day.

I wrote that towards the end of June, 2013. It is now August, and my life has changed so much since then!
I am now on a wonderful medicine, it’s an SSRI (Celexa), which has so far made me have no depression and substantially less anxiety and OCD issues. I love this new medicine and hope I will not need to be on it a year from now. That is the goal.
My doctor changed my thyroid medicine from Armour, back to Levothyroxine. It’s helping. I’m doing okay.
I saw a gastroenterologist. He had me do an Upper GI and get a gallbladder ultrasound. I’m “normal,” as usual; but we all know that I am not even close to “normal.” Some ideas he had were to go on the FODMAP Diet, that I “just have IBS,” and that I may possibly have microscopic colitis.
I’m pretty sure I have something still wrong with me. It’s not normal to have ‘the big D’ all the time, no matter what I eat or drink (of course I’m still not eating gluten, and all my other food allergies and sensitivities).

Other changes in my life include losing one job, a new job, re-gaining an old friend, and gaining a new local “family” network. Life is not always good these days, but it is a heck of a lot better than it was!

I hope everyone has a great August. Stay tuned to my Instagram and Facebook page for all my birthday-month photos and fun facts. 🙂

Another GLUTEN FREE GUEST BLOG

One of my friends with Celiac Disease wrote this guest blog post for me. He’s pretty cool, and also chronically awesome like the rest of us. Anthony lives in Canada and is a Journalism student.
Please feel free to leave comments below. Enjoy!

Becoming a Gluten Free Gladiator
By Anthony Sicilia

This transition from wheat to non- wheat has not been an easy one. It’s been nearly three years since my first diagnosis. Even though I have gotten all the gluten out of my system, a ton of people still don’t seem to get it. I live in a very strong willed Italian family. There food of choice is pasta, pasta and more pasta. How in the world can I survive in a family while they eat pasta? Easy corn pasta makes my stomach happy, mainly because I’m not running to the bathroom 10 minutes after I eat my supper. Most people without wheat allergies look at me as though I’m psychologically not right in the brain.

In all honesty though its my vili that has the real issues, and because of this when I come into contact with wheat, I can’t digest my food.

Eating gluten free at first really was not a good experience. The food often felt like it had no taste or texture. As time went on, I became more accustom to eating food without wheat. I even enjoyed it. The only problem that I am faced it with now is that I often feel left out or like that one kid that gets picked last for everything in gym class.

Going into year two of being gluten free I was still finding it a bit difficult to choose foods that I would like and that my stomach would agree with. It was then I saw my saving grace in wheat free forms. Pasta’s and breads made by Glutino Once I hopped on the Glutino train I rode it all the way home buying up breads, cookies, and whatever my hands could grab.

My first time shopping for Glutino products was like an entire supermarket sweep. I tried real hard to stretch the Canadian dollar as far as it would go that day. Even though, I was on a college budget there was no need for penny pinching that day. Each gluten free isle I walked down that, food was staring at me quietly claiming I should eat this, I should eat that. I was on cloud nine when I returned home with two months worth of groceries.

Some of the brands of gluten free products I enjoy include, Kettle, they made chips; I favour any type of corn pasta vs rice pasta. Rice pasta seems to get too watery and it doesn’t have enough of a solid base. The pasta I enjoy eating is Pasta Del Oro. I like udi’s bakery products.

My favourite cheat foods, are, Resse pieces peanut butter cups, frozen yogurt, snack packs and of course Greek yogurt. From time to time, I still do look recipes by Google or YouTube for anyone to use.

GLUTEN FREE GUEST BLOG!!!

Giving Glute the Boot: Kicking the Wheat Habit

June 5, 2013

Hello (GF) Friends,

My name is Anthony and I am Canadian. Earlier this week I was asked to make a guest appearance on this blog and I figure there is no day better to work than Wednesdays. The reason I was asked to make my presence known on this blog is because like most of you reading I have food allergies. I call myself a self proclaimed wheat free warrior and my fight begins and ends with me standing in a wheat field.

However it’s not the wheat fields I have a problem with. My problem really begins inside food factories. Nation, listen up! Food allergies are not brought on buy natural sunlight and soil. They are manifest in food manufacturing facilities.

The secret ingredients that are harmful to our bodies are called GMO’S, or genetically modified organisms. GMO’s are used to add that little something extra to our foods. We all know that we, who have wheat and/or food allergies, all realize the disgusting feelings we have when wheat gets into our systems. The reason happens is because our Gluten Free bodies can’t distinguish the difference in dangerous enzymes.

Due to the fact that foods that have been modified have wrecked havoc on our bodies, damaging the vili of our intestines, our bodies alert our fight or flight syndrome. We all have it because it doesn’t recognize the grain as safe, but dangerous.

I have been Gluten Free now for two years. I’ll be completely honest with you in saying that the diet and lifestyle can be a pricy one, it can be frustrating and at times it can be difficult.
One thing I suggest is to get informed as much as possible.

When I first started the gluten free diet two years ago, I often found the food tasteless and boring. As I became more informed, food started to taste a lot better. Now I not only have a food allergy but I also have a physical disability condition known as spastic cerebral palsy. Spastic Cerebral Palsy affects 70% of my motor skills from my legs to my arms.

Even with my difficulties in life, I still for the most part, am like any other normal human being. I am very active and I workout about four days a week. It is important for me to continue to strengthen and achieve my goals of walking a little straighter and a little taller after each workout.
Due to the fact that I live with Cerebral Palsy on a daily basis, I tend to burn off a ton of calories each day. I burn off five times as much as an “Average Joe.” To give you a all a better understanding of what that really means it breaks down like this: seven calories every sixty seconds is burned off by me on a daily basis. So for me to maintain a healthy weight, I must take in 3200 calories a day, that breaks down to 8-9 meals a day including protein shakes.

With all this information that you now have read, I hope you are informed, enlightened and entertained. I will be back next Saturday to tell you about what food brands I enjoy and what its like having wheat allergies in an Italian family in a blog post.

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Depression Session

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Depression is not fun, it never was, it never will be.
I survive because I believe in God, and I believe my dogs know that. Every day is a struggle when I wake up like this. I am thankful my dogs are here to make me get out of bed (in fear of them peeing on the carpet), they are the reason I get up. I think my dogs know when I am not feeling right because they are always around to comfort me during those times. My dogs have become my balance in my life.
Sometimes my depression hits and there’s nothing I can do to get over it. Sometimes exercise helps. Sometimes cleaning up and organizing helps, but only for that moment. Thyroid medicine helps, but not always.
Thyroid problems are not fun. When mine is not in balance, my whole world suffers. It bothers me when people just think that thyroid problems are all cured by a pill. It is not that easy when it is autoimmune. It is never just that easy, my body is changing every moment throughout the day, because of this condition.

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