Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Gluten Attack

During the holidays it's especially hard to avoid gluten. Last week at a party they were making some kind of martini looking drink with, what I thought was, sugar and cinnamon around the rim. I wasn't going to try it. I don't drink a lot and I never drink if I have to drive home. But I had worked a long day, had a lot on my mind and when someone walked up holding one of these yummy looking drinks and said, "Oh my God, these are so good. Take a sip."

I did. Put that pretty little drink to my lips and sipped. Then I realized it wasn't just sugar and cinnamon on the rim. So I asked.

"Crushed sugar cookies," they said.

My heart froze.

My gut clenched in anticipation of what was to come. . . . the theme from "JAWS" started in my head.

Over the years my gluten reaction has changed a bit. I guess, as my gut healed from years of  eating gluten (before diagnosis) it has more of a "defense?" But I did know i was going to get some kind of sick so I left the party. Behind me I hear the woman who offered me the drink say, "This gluten thing is so hard."

The heart burn came first as I was driving home. A slow burn getting worse with each minute. Stomach cramps, headache, & everything ache hit soon after. Blah.

My gluten remedy? Ginger tea with honey. (I've read honey helps but I don't know why) and probiotics. I also drink water to flush the gluten out. Not sure if any of this does much good, but I think it helps some.  I really believe only time can heal a gluten attack.

It wasn't the worst reaction I've had as I only had the crumbs from the rim, but it was a good reminder. Then I remember I didn't even check the liquor that was in it. There could have been gluten there, too.

Never let down your guard. Especially during the Holidays when gluten is everywhere! 

Anyone have a better gluten attack treatment? What helps when you've been hit?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gluten Free? No! Recalled Turkey Meatballs

Sometimes I feel like crap and can't figure out why.
Things like this recall on Gluten free turkey meatballs and what happened with Cheerios makes me want to grow my own food and become a hermit.
Check out the recall here.  I buy these at Costco.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gluten Free Cheerios ~ YUM!

I was skeptical. I get very sick on gluten and it can put me down for 3 days. It's horrible and I do anything to avoid it. So when I heard about Gluten Free Cheerios I had mixed feelings. Could it be true??? Could I trust it?

If you go to the Cheerios website, you'll see detailed videos about how they make Cheerios gluten free. They test to keep it under 20 ppm as according to the FDA.
It was interesting but I still wasn't sold. So I turned to the Celiac community for insight.

Gluten Free Watchdog  wasn't too keen on the safety of Gluten Free Cheerios.

Gluten Dude was a little more forthcoming but not exactly positive.

So I reached out to a friend from Sea Shore Celiacs, a support group in my area. One member, a very sensitive Celiac, did a Cheerio Challenge. She ate 3 Cheerios one day, a few more the next, and built up to a whole bowl without getting sick. Then my daughter tried a bowl and was fine.

I've had them for dinner for the past two nights and I'm feeling fine, too.

Like any processed food we try, there is always a chance of the labeling not being exactly honest or the fact that 20 ppm is way too much for Celiacs. How do we know for sure?

eh, I'm eating my Cheerios!

Friday, June 19, 2015

5 Reasons Celiacs Need Support

Whether you're newly diagnosed or have known you had Celiac Disease for years, the support of others who understand will make all the difference in your life. It's important to your mental and physical well being.

1. You will keep up on the latest Gluten news. New Gluten Free products will become available or you might learn of something that is no longer considered gluten free.

2. The Celiac community will share tips for keeping your kitchen gluten free and safe. Things like having a new gluten free toaster or electric can opener aren't always apparent to newly diagnosed Celiacs, but are a big cross contamination issues. Tips like this can be learned at in-person and online support groups.

3. Other Celiacs are the best way to find doctors with the knowledge to properly advise you. Not all doctors know enough about Celiac Disease to help you through from diagnosis to wellness. You're going to want the best.

4. Many newly diagnosed Celiacs are completely lost and have no idea what to eat. It's easy to say fruits and vegetables are gluten free, but there is so much more to a healthy diet. You'll want to know how people deal with everything from daily eating to eating out.

5. Aside from the facts of what to eat and what not to eat, a newly diagnosed Celiac will do better if they can connect with someone who's gone through it all. From shopping to parties, the Celiac Community can offer suggestions, recipes and most of all emotional support. These people know what it was like to be blindsided by a diagnosis and then have to cope with family members and coworkers. They can tell you how they handled situations, rude comments, or the confusion that came with their own diagnosis.

Bottom line, don't fear a support group. You just may find new friends to share dinner with, swap Gluten Free recipes with, or just some information that will help you cope. Go ahead, Google a support group in your area.  You'll be glad you did.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Celiac Diagnosis & Your Mind

Once diagnosed with Celiac Disease a lot of people feel crushed. The rug is pulled out from under them and they feel they can't eat any of their favorite foods. No morning toast, no more bakery stops, and even pizza is off the list. It can be depressing.

When you get that diagnosis it's time to reset your mind. Stop focusing on what you can't eat and look for what you can eat. Check out the Gluten Free section of your local grocery store. Most stores carry a GF (Gluten Free) section and if yours doesn't, talk to the manager. You can also order food online. There are a lot of great companies who will ship direct.

Experiment. Some GF food is dry and won't fit your palate, but there is some really good stuff out there. There are many main stream companies now making GF versions of your favorites. Ronzoni now makes a GF pasta and there are a lot of pasta sauces now labeled GF. Read the labels, the GF is out there!

Remember that fruits, veggies, and meat are naturally gluten free. Google Gluten Free cooking and you'll find thousands of good, nutritious recipes you and your family will love.

If you're still struggling, join a Celiac support group. There you'll find others in the same boat. They share information on doctors, test results, and Gluten Free options.

Reset your mind and look forward to the great feeling of good health and good food as you master the Celiac lifestyle.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Need a Diagnosis? Don't Give Up!

One of the most important things to remember when seeking a diagnosis of your symptoms is; Don't Give Up!

So simple, and yet so many people listen to doctors who tell them they're fine and their symptoms are all in their head. People stop looking and keep suffering.
My advice? Find a different doctor. One that will listen and not give up until they figure out what's wrong. If you know in your heart something is wrong, don't give up.

For years I had symptoms, stomach problems, headaches, exhaustion, etc. Mostly it was the stomach pain, irritable bowel, and inability to eat anything. Everything made me sick. A lot of the time I simply had toast for breakfast and ate nothing else all day until I was safely home where embarrassing stomach issues would be kept private.

Sure, I went to doctors, took their tests, got prescriptions for anti anxiety drugs (that's the only reason they could come up with for my problems), and finally gave up. I firmly believed no one could help me. There was something wrong with me and there was no help.

Life went on and I learned to cope. I didn't like social gatherings because most centered around food and then I'd get sick. I began to hate food. Yet I'd be so hungry by the time I came home I'd eat everything in sight. And life went on...

Call to Action;
When my daughter was 5 I started to see her having the same stomach issues as myself. We took her off milk and it got a little better (typical Celiac symptom) but she still had a bloated belly and problems with some food. It was hard to pinpoint. Doctors said she was fine. At this point I knew I needed answers to my problem so I could help my daughter. I started praying. Every time I was alone I'd pray for an answer, "I don't care what it is, just please send me an answer."

Back to the doctors and another brush off. This time I yelled at the doctor. Frustration welled up inside me and I said, "Something is wrong with me! Even a piece of bread makes me sick. Bread is what you give to sick people. What's wrong with me." He stared at me, obviously startled by my outburst, and said, "Celiac Disease."

Then he went on to explain I couldn't have it because I was 30 lbs over weight. "People with Celiac Sprue are really skinny," he explained. I asked him to test me and he refused. I went home and got on the internet and read everything I could about Celiac Disease and gluten. I went gluten free the next day. With in two weeks I was feeling better. Another month and life just got better, less painful. I took my daughter in and asked another doctor in the same practice to do the blood test. She said, "No, there's no reason to do that test." I sat down and crossed my arms. "I'm not leaving until you do the test."

She did the test; Daughter positive for Celiac Disease.

Moral to the story; Don't give up. I added years to my suffering because, for a while, I gave up. The answer is out there and sooner or later the right person, the right information, will come your way. Just don't give up.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Joy of Celiac


The Doctor’s voice was quiet
He gave a little shrug
“You have Celiac Sprue.”
I asked, “Is that some kind of bug?”

“Oh no, just be careful.”
He was kind of cheery now.
He handed me a list of food,
I could not eat, oh wow!

There’s pizza on this list
And birthday cake here too!
And as I read it to the end
I never felt so blue.

To the Internet I ran
Fear clutching at my heart.
To discover if there was a chance
That pasta and I would not part!

Then there on the net
A wondrous thing appeared
A whole Celiac community
It wasn’t as bad as I feared.

They taught me many things
How to shop and bake with care
This Celiac thing got easier
Just because these folks were there.

So now I read the label
Of each can or jar or bottle
It’s not really so bad
My tummy just needs to be coddled

But at least I have an answer
Though recovery may not be fast
All those years of suffering
Will soon be in the past!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gluten Free Veggie Patty for BBQ's

I found these Veggie Patties at Costco and I love them! What a score!

Easy to put on the grill, organic and down right  yummy with just the right amount of seasoning.

Made by Don Lee Farms, their website is here.  I do wish they had a better website. I saw meatballs there and I'd like to know if they're gluten free? They don't have photos of their packaging - which would make it easier to spot in the store- or ingredient lists. I shot them an email so I'll update as soon as I get a reply.

These Veggie Patties are good when grilling but I also put them in the toaster oven and use them on top of salads or in place of the meat in tacos (just crumble them up.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Udi's at Uno's ...Restaurant Review

I was at a writer's conference this past weekend and, although they promised a gluten free lunch, I packed food. Diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 10 years ago, I learned early on not to trust people to know what "Gluten Free" really means. However, I was happy to find a plate of grilled chicken and veggies served at lunch. One meal safe and done!
For dinner we were on our own. I was ready to sit in my car and munch what I packed for lunch. When my conference buddy suggested Uno's and said it had a Gluten Free menu, I figured I'd try.

At Uno's, I was happy to find the Gluten Free Menu was in the regular menu and not just some xeroxed page from the Internet. It made me feel more normal. A small thing, but I appreciated it. I ordered the burger with mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions that came on a toasted Udi's hamburger roll. Uno's also offers cheese, peppers, and avocado for the burger. I wanted the skinless baked potato to go with it, but they didn't have butter so I opted for a side of broccoli. I was impressed when the manager delivered the plate and asked if there was anything else I needed. For a Celiac eating out is always a risk, but the fact that Uno's manager went this extra mile made me feel they took extra care with my food.
Overall, I'm gonna give my experience at Uno's 5 Stars! Excellent meal, delivered in a timely manner, exactly as ordered. Good job Uno's!

Gluten Free Special K Review

I was excited to see Gluten Free Special K. Although I'd been Gluten Free for years, Special K was one of my favorite cereals back in the day. I couldn't wait to try it. The front of the box said it had a "touch of brown sugar" but I didn't think it would be an issue. I don't like sugary cereals, but what's a "touch?"

Well, it was a touch too much. This cereal was too sweet for me. It was very brown sugary.  I don't remember regular Special K being that sweet. So I checked the labels. Regular Special K has 4 grams of sugar, Gluten free has 9 grams. Double the sugar. This pushes the carb count from 23 in regular Special K to 42 carbs for the gluten free version.

If you like sweet cereals, you may like the new Gluten Free Special K.
But for me? No thanks, Kellogg's. I'll be back when you bring down the sugar count.

There was a nice surprise on the Special K site some Special K Protein Shakes   will soon be labeled Gluten Free!

For the too sweet Gluten Free Special K I'm giving 3 stars. It's good but not like the Special K I loved. I'll be reviewing the Special K Protein Shakes in the future.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day the Gluten Free Way

Picked up O'Reilly's Corned Beef at Shop Rite and very happy to see those magic words, "Gluten Free," on the label. Ten years ago those words were rarely seen, especially on seasonal food. I almost danced in the meat aisle.

Up early this morning, that slab of deliciousness is now submerged in the crock pot. The potatoes and cabbage will go in as soon as I get home from work. Dinner should be ready at seven. All that's missing is the green, gluten free, beer.

Every St. Patrick's day I used to worry about the safety of the meal. The magic words rarely appeared on the good stuff. If I wanted to find them, I'd have to go to the health food store. Now, bigger companies are stepping up and realizing the importance of labeling things gluten free ...

Bahahahaha! Just kidding. They do it because they see a market. More and more Celiacs are being diagnosed. That 1 in 100 number is growing and I'm sure this old estimate will soon be updated. Add in the dieters. Those who are going gluten free because they think it will help them lose weight (Ha!) or who are just hoping to calm the chaos in their gut.

I only hope this isn't a flash in the pan and that labeling gluten will become the norm and not a passing fad. When I see the magic words, "Gluten Free," on a label I go to the company's website and thank them. A short note to let them know how that thoughtful gesture impacted my day and my life. Did they do it for marketing? Who cares! They made my life easier and probably healthier.

Happy St. Paddy's Day! May the Corned Beef be gluten free and the meal make you smile. Just make sure the green beer is gluten free, too!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sharing a Gluten Free Kitchen with...(Gulp!) ... Glutenators!

For those who react badly to gluten sharing a kitchen with a glutenator can be scary. I've gotten sick on more than one occasion on just a tiny amount of gluten so I'm super careful of what goes in my mouth. And I share my kitchen with gluten.

How to manage a shared kitchen?

Set boundaries.
      My counter space is "L" shaped with a stove on one side. All gluten belongs to the left of the stove. There's a drawer on that side holds the gluten snacks. There's a toaster and electric can opener on the counter and a gluten bread basket.

     Right side of kitchen is the longer expanse of counter with a gluten-free toaster, gluten-free blender, gluten-free electric can opener and the always gluten-free coffee pot.

     There are two Teflon pots in our kitchen - both glutenated. The stainless steal      pots are gluten free. Glutened plastic spatulas/Gluten-free stainless spatulas. (Remember Teflon and plastic holds gluten.)
     A lower cabinet is the plastic-ware. I consider all plastic-ware glutenous.
     Upper cabinet is the glass -ware. These have plastic tops but I can hand wash        them away from gluten. And glass-ware comes in lunch-box sizes. Yay!

The biggest thing about a shared kitchen is co-operation. No matter how careful we are it doesn't work unless every family member understands cross contamination. Take time to set the rules and make sure everyone understands the gluten boundaries. Give the glutenators a special place to keep their goodies and make another area the gluten free zone. You're tummy and immune system will thank you for it.
Happy cooking!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Supermarkets & Finding Gluten Free

My supermarket is rearranging the store. They used to have a small but adequate gluten free section with just the basics; crackers, breads, cookies, soups, etc. Now with this giant re-do they're mixing the gluten free stuff in with all the gluten food.

If I had one wish I'd like to take their marketing or layout department or whomever is in charge of this decision shopping with me. Let them get really hungry and take them down these mixed aisles and say, "You can't eat that, you can't eat that, you can't eat that, you can't eat that..." on and on until you find the one box of cereal you can eat.

For a supermarket to do this it's almost torture. Like waving all the things I can't eat in front of me and making me climb over it to get to the prize. Blah. This diet isn't a choice for me and many others. It's a necessity for life. It can be hard and I really don't need the extra aggravation of having to hunt all over the store to find something edible. Am I alone in the fact that it's not going to make me buy more. In fact, it makes me drive down the street to the store that has s special aisle with my gluten free food.

I think I'll go find the store's facebook page and explain.... join me? We might find cookies...