Tag Archives: gluten free lessons

Reflections On Life With Celiac Disease (year 2)

I need to vent a little bit…

I haven’t been feeling that great lately.  I know what it is.  During the weekends I am usually on the go and rarely have time to prepare my own meals.   As much as I say at restaurants:

“I have celiac disease, I am gluten-free, dairy-free and shellfish-free, please notify the chef.  Also please avoid cross contamination by asking the staff to either change out their gloves or mix my food in clean bowls and avoid breading, sauces, and spices”

…I still find a way to become sick.  During the week it is super easy to stay gluten-free I usually make all of my meals.  I still manage to get sick even when I am super strict, which makes me wonder:

  1. Is it true what they say about gluten and coffee? 
  2. Should I avoid my Diet Coke because there could be gluten in the caramel coloring? 
  3. Is it true what they say about quinoa and other grains still aggravating celiacs? 
  4. Is my non-dairy creamer making me sick?
  5. Do I need to worry about the meat I eat, do I need to be concerned if they were fed grains?

I am not one of those people who knows exactly what makes me sick.  I typically eat the same thing each week and rely heavily on vegetables and salads.  After two years with this disease I am still perplexed and frustrated.  I miss convenience and I miss being able to eat without having to describe what is wrong with me. I don’t miss bread or pizza (well maybe a little) or stuff like that, I am just frustrated that gluten-free does not always mean gluten-free for all.  Packaging is confusing and cross contamination is not always labeled or taken seriously.

Thank you for letting me share- I promise to post something positive next time…

What is hard for you? Do you have any advice for me?

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My Life. My Health. My Gluten Free Native Sun.

Today I ventured to Native Sun (Baymeadows Store) to cash in on all of the deals they have on gluten-free products in honor of Celiac Awareness Month.  I was also told by a few of my friends about their gluten-free bakery.  I know sweets aren’t great for you and a lot of gluten-free baked goods are not low-fat, but I miss out on a lot of cakes and cookies around the office and at nephew’s birthday parties now and a girl has to fulfill her baked goods sweet tooth.  As I walked around and found things like gluten-free risotto, gluten-free spaghetti sauce, gluten-free chips, gluten-free beer, I looked around and was expecting to see an actual physical bakery counter.  However, just as I rounded the corner near the deli and their prepared foods, next to the chilled gluten-free beer, I found these delightful gluten-free treats.  There were about 6-7 individually wrapped gluten-free cakes, pies and cookies.  I was tempted to buy one of each, however I knew there was no way I could eat that much dessert so I opted for the gluten-free Oatmeal Cream Pie and the gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cake.  Next time I think I am going to try the gluten-free carrot cake and gluten-free apple pie.  All had short expiration dates so to me that made me think not many preservatives and they are going to taste fresh.  Sure, there are plenty of gluten-free cookies and mixes out there but this was the first time I had organic gluten-free baked goods that I didn’t make myself or didn’t come in a tray and plastic wrap.  After check-out one of the always friendly cashiers asked if I would like to sign up for the My Life. My Health. My Store customer discount card.  She also told me that it would qualify me for additional discounts.  Ooo, I could sign up for free and feel special?  Wanting to feel special I filled out a card right away.  I then asked if it was possible to apply my new card to what I had just purchased so I could receive the discounts.  Although this was against policy and getting late in the night, a woman who I think was the manager decided to review my entire purchase list and lucky me, I had already received the discounts.  As soon as I arrived home I had to dive into my treats, even deciding to forgo dinner and just have dessert.  The oatmeal creme pie did not last long in this house.  All in all it was a great trip to Native Sun.  What they have done to recognize the hunger pangs of those of us with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or children with autism is really special and something to be recognized.  I look forward to my next trip.

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Filed under Shopping

Spring Break 2010

I recently took a trip to Montego Bay Jamaica for Spring Break (ok, I am 33 but who’s counting).  I went with great friends from my college and from Atlanta.  In spring breaks past we would perhaps consume a little too many Pina Coladas and stay up late, but on this trip (with a friend 5 month’s pregnant with her second child) we were planning to enjoy the food and fine dining and taking naps on the beach.  As you can imagine the “fine dining” had me a little nervous, however I chose before the trip to not let it get to me and not stress out about the food.  I imagined eating at a restaurant each night with a server who could express my dietary needs to the chef.  To my dismay, and the dismay of my traveling friends when we arrived all of the restaurants were booked except for 9:00 on Saturday night, the night before we were leaving.  As anyone with Celiac disease knows, eating at a buffet is typically forbidden because of cross contamination.  I tried my best but ended up getting sick a few times during the trip.  Another thing that was hard to avoid was spiced Rum, which I have heard contains gluten.  As much as I tried to request my Pina Colada with clear Rum, there were times when the spiced run made it into my drink.  On the second night we were actually able to get into the Steak restaurant and it was a really nice experience, we relaxed, talked about our trip so far and sadly I began to think that this trip was too short.  I was enjoying the laughter and catching up with old friends.  On our last night, I was very surprised by the Chef at the Japanese restaurant.  Almost all of the dishes were covered in soy sauce, another big celiac disease- no no!  He informed me of the dishes I could have such as the curry chicken dish and even made a fresh batch just while we were talking.  With amazing memories of  a great trip, I look forward to being home and being able to prepare my own dishes again.

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5 things I have learned in 5 months

1.  I am happier! My celiac disease is now somewhat under control.  My moodiness has decreased tremendously; I am happier and able to juggle a lot more work.  Today my boss made a comment that something has changed for the better with me and I know it is because I have my celiac disease somewhat under control.  I feel like I am more loving to my boyfriend, family and friends.  Jennifer the grouch isn’t around as much anymore and the small bouts of depression are gone.

2.  I no longer need a nap after exercising.  I love to exercise, play sports and be outside; since I have adjusted my eating I have more energy.  For the first time in 3 years, I feel great, physically, about running in the Gate River Run this weekend.  I can’t wait.  I no longer have to take naps after exercising for 30 minutes or longer and when I play volleyball I feel so much stronger and more powerful.

3.  I cannot eat out as much as I used to.  Through a process of suffering, I am slowly illiminating where I can eat out in Jacksonville.  Even when I talk to a waiter or chef there is still no guarantee that the food will be gluten free.  Cross contamination is everywhere and not everyone is educated about the disease and the ingredients that are harmful.

4.  My shopping bill has doubled.  There is no way to sugar coat it, gluten free products are more expensive.  I also feel that like “all natural” or “organic”, “gluten free” is becoming the new HIP term in shopping that makes foods more expensive.  As much as I love Glutino products and feel so safe with them, their products cost almost 3 times as much as the gluten- containing comparison brands and I feel like I get half the amount of food. 

5.  There is so much I CAN eat. Amen for: olives, cheese, steak, milk, okra, rice noodles, potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, tomatoes, avocados, black beans, pickles, vodka, wine, peanuts, broccoli, spinach, apples, pears, mushrooms, eggs, yogurt, chicken, snickers bars, diet coke, sprite, port, grapes, corn chex, green beans as well as all of the gluten free options!

Wow, keeping this to 5 was hard.  Can’t wait for 6 things I have learned in 6 months

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