Monday, August 25, 2014

Adapting to Healthier Eating Habits

It's been 11 years since my Celiac diagnosis, and being 100% gluten free.  It's truly amazing  how many changes there have been for a gluten free lifestyle in the past 11 years.  Food has certainly gotten much better with many more options.  Upon my diagnosis, I went back to the basics since I was so intimidated by the labels, and having no clue what was safe.  For breakfast, I'd have some fruit or yogurt, and lunch some cheese, apples with peanut butter, and veggies.  For dinner with plain chicken breast, potatoes, and  more veggies.  Keep in mind, I was diagnosed 2 weeks before my wedding day, and had no experience of cooking except for Ramon noodles from my college days!  So, upon adjusting to being married, I attempted to learn to cook gluten free!  To say the least, it was a rough adjustment for a while, and many gloomy days.  My husband was a saint during that time (and still is), and of course couldn't have done without my mom...especially since she kept me fed, taught me to cook, and a shoulder to cry on!  

Now that I'm beyond comfortable in my gluten free lifestyle, I've been thinking of how many processed food we can fall back on.  Over the next month I'm determined to go back to real food, and a truly healthier lifestyle.  I'm going to start cleaning out the pantry and weed out processed food so there isn't a temptation.  Certainly, I'm sure we won't adhere 100% all the time...especially since being a Celiac requires so much dedication, I'll need a cheating outlet since there is absolutely no cheating with gluten free.  

Many times, people are surprised that Miss J is such a good eater.  Really and truly, I know it's because of our gluten free lifestyle.  She loves, shrimp, salmon, hard boiled eggs, fruits and veggies galore.  I'm truly glad that we don't have the option of fast food or pizza delivery so that we are forced to have much healthier eating habits.  

Over the next month, be sure to check out my FaceBook page and Facebook Group Page for recipes, and such!  For now...cheers with a green smoothie to healthier eating!  Please feel free to comment with any input or suggestions!  

Back to School Concerns

Do you have any little ones heading back to school, and you are preparing and education the school of your child being a celiac, gluten intolerant, or any intolerance?  Personally, I never didn't go through my school years as a celiac since I wasn't diagnosed until I was 26.  However, I have Miss J to get safely through school.  Miss J is getting ready for her 2nd year of pre school -so, for now we only have to deal with a snack.  We are very blessed that one of Miss J's teachers is a mom of a Celiac; which gives this anxiety ridden mom much comfort.  At Miss J's school they take turns bringing in a snack.  For the days a safe snack isn't provided, we send in a stash for the teachers to have on hand.  

For years, I've mentally been preparing for elementary school, and already have major anxiety over it!  Miss J is very good about checking with us first before eating something other give to her.  But, can't help but worry about that one time she does forget to ask or someone tells her it's safe when in fact it isn't.  In addition to mentally preparing, I'm also preparing my Pinterst board with lunch ideas!  All the fun lunch ideas distract my from all the mental preparing!!!  

Even though Miss J isn't in elementary school yet, we still have a good bit of practice of packing lunches/dinners since we typically take a meal to all functions.  We also pack our lunch each day since us girls help out at my husbands seasonal business.  We always pack lots of fruit and veggies, yogurt, sandwich on gf bread, corn tortilla or wrap, gf pretzels (we love snyders of Hanover), and of course a sweet little snack.  For some creative lunch ideas, check out Keely McGuire's website.  

I'd love to hear what some of the things you pack in your little ones lunches, and/or your concerns.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Celiac Bucket List

Lately, I've been debating on giving up blogging or keeping it going.  When I started, I never anticipated how tough it was to get your words literally out there.  But, today, I got quite a bit of motivation, and thought I'd share a bit of my Celiac Bucket List.  It was truly an honor that Jennifer Esposito gave me some props today, and passed my blog on.  Jennifer is a true inspirational Celiac  and voice for so many of us...not to mention a hero!  With that said...let's get started onto yummy goodness that every Celiac should try whether placing an online order, or visiting in person, I've heard rave reviews of all that I've mentioned.  

Do you live in an area that has a lot of fresh, gluten free options?  Surprisingly the Pittsburgh area, and especially the area I live has very few options.  We aren't big traveler s -but, thanks to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, I get to see lots of yummy options and makes me wish even more to have places -such as, Jennifer's Way BakeryBabyCakes NYCP. S. & Co..  So, as you can guess, all of them are on my Celiac Bucket List!

Jennifer's Way Bakery is located in NY, NY and owned by the amazing Jennifer Esposito who is a true voice, and advocate for Celiac...and is a Celiac herself!  Jennifer's Way Bakery is a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Organic, Allergy Friendly Bakery!  In addition to the bakery itself, you can also purchase cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chunk) and pancake mix online.  Jennifer's Way Bakery offers "good, clean, delicious products that had integrity, nutrition and simple ingredients".  In addition to the bakery, Jennifer also wrote a book titled "Jennifer's Way:  My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Docotors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again."  

BabyCakes NYC is located in NYC, LA, and Orlando and owned my Erin McKenna.  BabyCakes NYC goodies are Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten Free, Wheat-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, and Kosher.  In addition to the bakery, there BabyCakes NYC has an app and 2 books: BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery, and BabyCakes Covers the Classics...with a 3rd in the works!  I have been lucky enough to visit the Orlando location in Downtown Disney several times before the location closed -but, the selection doesn't compare to the NYC selection so I hear!  So, I've partially filled my Babycakes NYC bucket list -but, not completely! 

(Donuts I made using BabyCakes NYC recipe)

P. S. & Co.  is located in Philadelphia, PA, and owned by Andrea Kyan.  P. S. & Co. is an organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher parve cafe.  Last year, I was lucky enough to win a contest P. S. & Co. offered, and got to try their amazing sweets. The PBJ Crisp was to die for!  
One day, I'm just going to have a do a road trip, and visit them all...and pack comfy cloths for room to expand from all the yummy goodness!!!  

Locally, we do have a few yummy goodness options:

The Gluuteny is a dedicated gluten free, dairy free bakery where everything is made in-house, from scratch, by hand, daily.  They offer cakes, cookies, pizza crust, cupcakes, mixes, and more!!!  You bet each year, they make our birthday cakes!!  

SunnyBakes is a Cafe located in SunnyBridge Natural Foods.  SunnyBakes is a dedicated gluten free bakery and cafe.  Anytime we stock up on gluten free foods from SunnyBridge, Miss J without a doubt needs a sweet SunnyBakes treat, too!  
We are very lucky to have a few places to get our yummy goodness, gluten free fix -but, wish we could move Jennifer's Way, BabyCakes NYC, and P.S. & Co. here too.  A Celiac girl can dream, right?!?!?  The biggest comfort of them all is being 100% safe food for Celiacs.  Not to mention, they are all a small business...always have to support the little guys!   

Where are your favorite gluten free places?  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Safe Eats

Is it just me or have you also found it more difficult to eat out lately?!?!  In the past, when a restaurant had a gluten free menu, they knew to take precautions due to Celiac.  Now, when I request a gluten free menu at the very few restaurant choices that I have, they seem to fluff me off -so, I stress several times we have "allergies".  It so frustrating that the fad diet now makes it difficult for those of us that need gluten free to get safe, gluten free food.  

Unfortunately, we only have a handful of choices of where we can eat out, and of that handful only 3 do I feel confident of getting a safe meal.  Locally, we have a BnDz (Burgers and Dogs) who are extremely knowledgeable, and have delicious food.   We had our first visit the other day, and truly impressed.  You can order off the menu or create your own.  My daughter who is 4 was tickled pink that they gave her a sweet treat; which was gluten free (labeled that way too)!  They also have a dedicated frier for their fresh cut fries, and gluten free buns!  
Upon placing our orders and saying we needed gluten free, they asked if we were Celiacs.  That is honestly the first time I'v been asked that in a very long time!  The owner has a medical background, and wanted to create a safe place for all to eat...that he sure did!  

Another comfort out to eat spot is PF Changs.  One of my biggest comforts with our PF Changs is Gluten Free meals are served on a different style plate -so, when you are handed your plate you aren't wondering if its the correct meal.  It would be nice if all the other places that offer Gluten Free menus would do something similar.  Or even put a Gluten Free flag on it!  

Last but certainly not least, my 3rd favorite comfort to eat out is Mandy's Pizza.  There are 2 locations to get Gluten Free yummies:  West View, and the newest location is in Squirrel Hill.  The owners son has food allergies -so, they take every needed precaution.  Mandy's Pizza offers a fantastic selection of yummy goodness, too!  I've tries all they have to offer, and have never been disappointed!  The Squirrel Hill location is actually across the street from a dedicated Gluten Free Bakery:  Gluuteny.  That right there is just a Celiacs dream to be able to get a delicious Gluten Free Pizza, Fries, Hoagie...and then go across the street for Dessert!  

I'd love to hear of some of you favorite safe, Gluten Free spots in Pittsburgh...or any other area for travel ideas!