Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Wow, You Can’t Eat Gluten? Your Life Must Suck.”

Yesterday I went to a lunch meeting with a few classmates to work on a group project. While we were ordering, I casually mentioned I couldn’t eat a lot of things on the menu because I can’t eat gluten.

One of my classmates then turned to me and said- “Wow, you can’t eat gluten? Your life must suck.”

This might sound like this would be offensive, but I am totally used to it. This is not the first time I had heard this response when I told someone about how I can’t eat gluten.

I always get interesting responses when people find out this piece of information about me. Here are some of the other things people have said to me:

  • “So how do you live?”
  • “That must be awful.”
  • “I definitely would not be able to do that.”
  • “I think I would kill myself.”
  • “How do you not eat bread?”

These are just a few.. I have gotten some other crazy ones as well.

I didn’t take offense when my classmate said my life sucked, and I don’t take offense when people say these other things to me as well.

Mostly, I’m just surprised when I hear them because living gluten free is something that is so normal to me now. I don’t think my life sucks or that I am in a bad situation. I actually feel that I am now healthier than most people because of it.

It’s just crazy how people can’t view things that they are not living themselves. It is like if they are not dealing with it in their own life then it is not possible for someone else to deal with it.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? I’d like to know.

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How My Boyfriend Deals With My Celiac Disease

I’m just going to apologize right now: this post might get a little mushy.

I met my boyfriend two years ago by fate (at least I think it was fate). We both weren’t supposed to go out the night we met. He was scheduled to work but someone picked up his shift at the last minute and I wanted to do anything but be dragged to another frat party by my best friend.

But somehow my friend won the battle that night and I ended up going out with her and meeting Rich.

I told Rich about my Celiac Disease the night we met. I wasn’t like – “My name is Bridget and I have Celiac Disease.” It just came up naturally. He just offered me beer and I had to turn it down and just explained why.

From the minute he found out, he was super cool and supportive of my lifestyle. For our first date, he let me pick a restaurant where I would feel comfortable eating. And for our first Valentines Day (which was still early in our relationship), he looked up safe restaurants on a gluten free registry so he could plan a surprise but still be safe for me *celiac girl swoon.*

And just the other day when I found out Milky Ways were not gluten free, he picked out all of the Milky Ways in the candy bowl he keeps for me at his house (yes, I really love candy).

He has definitely changed his own lifestyle a lot for me. And I could not be happier about that.

First off, he never gets mad or annoyed with me and my disease. Sometimes I get sick or sad about it, but he just comforts and takes care of me, instead of telling me to get over it.

Second, when we go on dinner dates, he tries to eat gluten free as well so we can share food. This is not something he has to do, but does it because it makes me happy.

Rich even keeps gluten free foods in his house for me (like the candy bowl). This leads to him eating less gluten as well.

He also always brushes his teeth and washes his hands after eating something with gluten that could hurt me. This is really important and he never complains.

Rich is now just more aware of everything we eat. He is always watching out for me. One time we went out to dinner and the waiter brought me flour tortillas instead of corn, and I only noticed because he pointed it out to me.

There’s many more things he does for me that won’t fit into just one blog post. I’m happy and lucky to have someone so great in my life. I don’t think there are many guys out there that will change their lives to accommodate yours, but I found one.

Tips for a Gluten Free Halloween

In a previous blog post I talked about which candies are safe and not safe for kids with gluten intolerances on Halloween. But what do you do when your child goes trick or treating and comes back with a bag of gluten filled candy? Here are a few things you can do instead of eating it all yourself:

1. Stop it before it happens. If the child is young enough, you can go up to doors with them when they pick the candy. You could encourage them to pick the ‘safe’ candy instead of the ‘unsafe’ kind.

2. Have a sibling or friend trade with them. One of my favorite parts of halloween was always laying out all my candy along with my brothers and sisters and trading ones we didn’t like. Its an easy way to end up with as much candy as you started with. This way, the child won’t feel bad if they have less because they had to give up the kinds they can’t eat.

3. Be honest with them. Warn them of which candies they can or can’t have. Then they won’t even bring home any gluten filled candy. Or when they come home, explain that they can’t have it and maybe replace it with some safe leftover candy you have.

Happy Trick or Treating 🙂

 

A Celiac Kid’s Halloween

Trick or Treating is a standard and fun part of Halloween for children. They get to dress up as their favorite characters and go door to door collecting candy.

But when you’re a kid with Celiac Disease, Halloween is a whole different story. Yes, you still get to get dressed up and go trick or treating, but you may not be able to eat all the candy you receive. And that sucks sometimes.

But there are many candies Celiac kids can eat. Here are some common gluten free candies:

  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Snickers
  • Three Musketeers
  • Dots
  • Blow Pops
  • Smarties
  • Hershey’s Bar
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Almond Joy
  • Heath Bar
  • Baby Ruth
  • Butter Fingers
  • Raisinets
  • M&Ms

Here is what to avoid (not gluten free):

  • Nerds
  • Chewy Sprees
  • Twix
  • 100 Grand Bars
  • M&M Pretzel Flavor
  • Mars Bar
  • Milky Way
  • Sweetart
  • Cookies & Cream Hershey Bar
  • Mr. Goodbar
  • Hershey Miniatures

Remember to always, always, always read ingredient labels! I didn’t even know until right now that Milky Ways are not gluten free!

Happy Halloween!

Chex Gluten Free Cereal

I know its old news, but General Mills is amazing for creating gluten free Chex cereals.

Cereal was always my go to thing for breakfast. But after my diagnosis, I could not longer enjoy some of the kinds I liked the most, i.e. Lucky Charms and Frosted Mini Wheats.

I then switched to ‘organic’ cereal, which was very bland. It was not enjoyable at all.

But then came a miracle… gluten free Chex was invented- with multiple flavors!

chex

 

I can now enjoy cereal again! My personal favorite is the Honey Nut Chex, with Cinnamon Chex coming in at second. But to be honest, I haven’t tried a flavor I didn’t like. They’re all that good.

Which is your favorite?

Van’s Snack Bar

Guys… I found my new favorite snack.

Vans-Natural-Foods-Chewy-Baked-Whole-Grain-Snack-Bars-Gluten-Free-Cranberry-Almond-089947802205

 

I have been looking for a good granola snack bar since I went gluten free. Nothing ever seemed to compare to Quaker Oats. But I finally found one.

Van’s whole grain snack bars are amazing. They don’t taste bland like other gf snack bars, they actually have flavor to them. They are even chewy and not hard to bite into like many others.

My favorite kind right now is the cranberry almond (as pictured above). But Van’s also has chocolate chip and peanut butter! Talk about delicious.

The bars are certified gluten free, so they are totally safe. They are made with gluten free whole oats and all other natural ingredients so they are also super healthy!

The only downside is they are a little pricy and there are only 5 bars per box. If it were cheaper I would be eating multiple bars per day!

I would definitely recommend trying them out. Let me know what you think 🙂

Gluten Free Restaurant Shout Out: On The Border

If you have never been to On The Border, get in your car and go now!

If you don’t have an On The Border near you, I feel bad for you.

First off, it is delicious Mexican food. From the chips to the sizzling fajitas, everything tastes pretty authentic (Tex-Mex authentic, that is).

Better yet, they have gluten free options! And they are actually good about it. They do not just say it is gluten free, it actually is gluten free and very safe. The waiters are always educated and informed about allergies and intolerances and know what you can and can’t have. They also always assure to tell the chef so there is no cross contamination.

I seriously love this restaurant. If PF Changs did not exist, it would definitely be my favorite. (P.S. look out for a future post about P.F. Changs!) I have never had a problem with their food. It is one of the only restaurants I feel safe eating at. They even have gluten free mixed drink options which is a plus.

Now that I’m writing about it… I’m craving it. Better go now and get some! Talk to you soon!

Gluten Free Rice Krispie Treats

Who would’ve though RICE krispie treats wouldn’t be gluten free?! Well, surpsingly, they’re not. The normal Rice Krispie Treats cereals have malt flavoring, which is not safe for those with gluten intolerances or Celiac Disease. But thanks to Kellogs and their new Gluten Free Rice Krispie cereal, we can make our own!

Here’s my recipe (pretty much the same as anything you would find online :))

Ingredients:

1 Stick of Butter (Yes, a whole stick!)

6 Cups Gluten Free Rice Krispie Cereal

1 Bag of Marshmallows (can be big or small marshmallows)

Directions

1. Heat up a large pot on a top burner of your stove. Spray the pot with cooking spray.

2. Once warm, drop the stick of butter in there and let it melt. Make sure to watch the heat and not to let the butter burn!

3. Dump marshmallows in bit by bit and let them all melt together into a nice sticky consistency. To be honest, I just drop them in there all at once and it works out fine.

4. Once you have the desired consistency, turn the heat down. You won’t need to melt anything else, but you still want to keep it warm for the next step.

5. Next, dump the first cup of cereal in there and start mixing. Gradually dump the rest in little by little and mix it all up. Soon it will look like a giant Rice Krispie treat.

6. This is where it gets tricky. Before the Rice Krispie mix starts to cool down, you have to pour it into a baking pan. I would have the pan prepped with cooking spray before you start baking the Rice Krispies.

7. Even out the Rice Krispies in the pan.

8. Then let them cool off, cut them, and enjoy!

**Halloween edition: add some orange food coloring to the marshmallows as they are melting. Voila!

Celiac Disease and Dating

Let’s face it, first dates are awkward. They usually consist of uncomfortable conversation over an overpriced meal.

But try imagining yourself going on a first date to a restaurant and not being able to eat anything on the menu. Thats where it gets really awkward. I mean, you don’t want to be THAT person that orders a salad, right? But you also don’t want to make your date go somewhere else. So what do you do?

  • Change it up. Who says first dates have to be at restaurants? Why not doing something different? There a tons of fun things to do where you can still get to know your date that don’t involve food.
  • Inform your date ahead of time. Some people don’t like to share their food allergies/intolerances right away in fear of scaring the other person away. But it’s going to come up eventually. Might as well rip it off like a bandaid.
  • Date someone else with a food allergy. This obviously isn’t necessary. But if you are both in the same boat it makes things easier.

Honestly, my Celiac Disease has never interfered with my dating life. Maybe I have just had good luck. However, that isn’t the case for everyone. But if someone isn’t cool about your gluten free needs, why even continue to date them? Nobody got time for that!

 

Non-stomach Symptoms of Celiac Disease

When people think about the symptoms of Celiac Disease, they usually think about diarreha, vomitting, gas and other stomach problems. However, there are more symptoms to Celiac Disease other than just those relating to the GI tract. Celiac Disease can affect the entire body.

Before I was diagnosed, I never had stomach problems. I did have a lot of other issues that go overlooked in a lot of Celiac patient cases. Here are some of them:

  • Neurological Issues: People with Celiac Disease, and many other autoimmune disorders, often say they feel like they are in a constant fog. Its like you can’t focus on anything or even remember simple things. One time before I knew about the disease, I got lost driving home in my own town. Who does that? It was like I didn’t even remember what I was doing or where I was going.
  • Joint Pains: Usually these pains occur in the knees and hips, but can be experienced in any part of the body. They are a pain, literally and figuratively.
  • Imbalance: This goes along with neurological issues. I experienced this symptom before being diagnosed. Its like I couldn’t even stand up straight sometimes.
  • Acne: Although this has never been scientifically proven, there are many studies that suggest acne can be linked to Celiac Disease. However, once you go on a gluten free diet, it usually subsides.
  • Mouth Ulcers: These are the WORST! Many people with any autoimmune disorder suffer from these buggers. Those with Celiac who stick to a strict gluten free diets usually see an improvement.
  • Yeast Infections: Yes, I went there. Sorry, ladies. If you have Celiac Disease, you are more prone to yeast infections. Its a sad truth.

I am not a doctor. The above symptoms are just ones I have found through my research and have even experienced myself. I hope that maybe someone else with these same issues could find a solution to their problems.

Did you suffer from any other weird symptoms before being diagnosed? Let me know, I’m curious!