Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Foodsavers are awesome!

FoodSavers. Are. Awesome.

Half of my battles in being gluten free are because of the huge batch sizes of the really good recipes I keep finding. I just can't eat that much food all on my own. Luckily, I remembered I had a little-used FoodSaver sitting in my cabinet. DUH!

I broke it out this weekend after buying 8 chicken breasts when Henry's had a sale on some organic chicken. It's awesome. I froze most of the breasts individually, but froze some in pairs for larger recipes. No freezer burn, and it lasts months longer than if I had just placed them in a Ziplock. Buying bulk is the way to go if you like saving money over the long run and the FoodSaver is helping me do that. Totally worth the purchase price!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix

I love pancakes and was really excited to try this pancake mix when I saw it. I've heard good things about Bob's Red Mill and their products.

The pancake mix definitely lives up to the hype. Its delicious. The pancakes are fluffy, moist and taste just like whole wheat pancakes. Do keep in mind that you need to use an egg and milk when whipping up the mix, though I used water instead of milk and it worked just fine. The package also says you can use egg white substitute if needed.

This pancake mix gets a big thumbs up from me!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Costochondritis and gluten

Costochondritis. Its an icky, icky thing to have. Basically its an inflammation of the cartilage between your ribs. Sounds like no biggie, right? WRONG.

Costo is EXTREMELY painful. It feels like a heart attack all the time. Its very panic-inducing which makes it worse. IT SUCKS.

I got costo back in October, when I was really ramping up training for a half marathon. I thought I was dying but my doc diagnosed the costo and put me on some pain meds & anti inflammatories. I was miserable. I couldn't run anymore, I couldn't do any exercise really. I couldn't lift a gallon of milk and I needed help grocery shopping. Heck, I got sore after sitting in my chair at work all day or sleeping in a weird position. It was the worst.

Anyways, one of the places I found that brought me comfort, hope and reassurance that I wasn't alone was Lucy's costochondritis blog. Poor girl has been suffering for over 3 YEARS with costo.

What does this have to do with gluten? Well a few weeks ago, she came across a possible reason for her costo. Yup, Celiac. Lucy went gluten free and is the original reason I even suspected I had Celiac. The good news today is that she got her test results back and she DOES have Celiac-and a reason for all her pain. Bloggers know that you get attached to someone who writes a blog you follow regularly. I'm so happy for her. :)

Hopefully this helps anyone out there who has costochondritis and is looking for help or a cure. Go to your doc and get a Celiac test! You never know, you might just find a cure!

Review: Glutino Harvest Corn Bread

This stuff is NASTY. lol I'm sorry Glutino, but EWW. For one thing, I can't wrap my mind around the frozen bread thing. For another, this stuff tastes like a cardboard box that was left out in a muddy rain puddle. hehe This was another one of my impulse purchases, and from what I hear just about every new celiac goes out and buys this bread at first because they don't know any better. Oh well...mistake made.

I hear very good things about Udi's breads and I just need to convince myself that its worth making a trip out to Whole Foods for.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Going to the doctor is frustrating sometimes. As I've mentioned before, I had gone to 2 different doctors last year and they weren't the least bit interested in helping me aside from telling me I had a "virus." Well I went to another doctor today just to check some dizziness I've been having with the gluten withdrawal and he basically wrote me off. I asked for some food allergy/intolerance testing and he flat out refused.

I'm so sick of the "big box" doctors writing off food allergies. And my research on celiac forums shows much of the same. So many people are having huge issues getting diagnosed and are being pumped full of all kinds of other drugs that the doctors are prescribing for conditions the patients don't really have.

Please don't misunderstand me...I love and appreciate doctors and have all the respect for them. Heck, chances are in my life I'll need them to save my life. But there seems to be some sort of huge disconnect between doctors and recognizing food sensitivities.

SO. I will be conducting my own elimination diet to figure out anything else I'm having issues with. I have a feeling it may be eggs, and perhaps dairy. We'll see. A friend recommended the Center for Health & Wellbeing in Hillcrest for food intolerance testing, but as they don't take my insurance, I'm going to have to wait a little bit before I can go.

Again, I'm not trying to diss doctors but more wishing they had a better understanding of food issues than they seem to. Seems good celiac doctors are hard to find!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review: Better Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

Hmmm.....I'm not too sure about this stuff. Totally bummed because I loved the brownies, but there's just something a little off about this mix. This cake has a weird aftertaste to it and is a little heavy. I think this would be fine to use in a more elaborate cake, maybe one with fillings or fruit or something where there are more flavors interacting. Or maybe cupcakes with a lot of frosting. lol

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weddings and being gluten free

If you missed my first post, I am a wedding photographer in San Diego. I was thinking today about the vendor meals we usually get. How can I know if they are gluten free? Do I ask the bride and groom to go through a hassle to make sure my meal is GF? Can I really trust the food I'm given? SO many questions!

At weddings I'm on my feet anywhere from 6-10 or more hours at a time with one food break...a Lara Bar just won't do the trick. lol I need a full meal to sustain myself and I'm confused and overwhelmed with how to make sure I get a good GF menu.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm glad to hear them! In the meantime, I'm going to try out Betty Crocker's gluten free yellow cake mix later today...I'll post a review afterwards. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010


My goodness, this gluten free thing is a roller coaster, isn't it?

I hit my 2 week gluten free mark yesterday. Awesome, right? Well, not if you're addicted to gluten!

About a week and a half in, I started noticing some of my symptoms were coming back at random times. WHHHAAAATTTTT???? I freaked out and wondered if this whole gluten free experiment was doomed to fail and if I should just stuff my face with yummy gluten filled treats again.

Turns out, there's such a thing as gluten withdrawal. Yes, I'm serious! It sounds silly but according to my research gluten can sometimes act as an opiate as far as how it affects your mind, and can be as strong as heroin or morphine! Whoa! So naturally, when you eliminate the gluten from your diet, you take away the opiate effect it has on your brain and withdrawal symptoms begin.

An article I found about withdrawal symptoms says, "Withdrawal after stopping wheat or milk products can be painful, exhausting, and depressing, with weakness, anger, and brain fog."

Dangerous Grain by Ron Hoggan says, "The addictive nature of gluten is often overlooked. For some, the first days and weeks of following a gluten-free diet are characterized by food cravings, disorientation, irritability, sleepiness, depression, mental fogginess, fatigue, and/or shortness of breath."

Isn't this what I was trying to avoid in the first place by going gluten free? lol

The conclusion I've come to is that if this gluten stuff is bad enough to cause such crazy withdrawal symptoms, it sure as heck can't be good for you, celiac or not. So while I'm glad I'm getting this out of my system, this still sucks in the meantime!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mexican food and the candy sitting on my desk

As I sat at my parents' kitchen table on Tuesday for my brother's birthday dinner I found myself jealous....and a little angry. Apparently anger is one of the 5 stages of grief. And boy am I ever grieving about my lost food. I can't say how badly I wanted to chomp into the burrito sitting across from me while on my plate lay a skimpy home made bean and cheese burrito on a white corn tortilla. Not the same, I tell you. Not the same.

Fast forward to today and my boss dropping a huge box of fundraiser candy on my desk just waiting for people to purchase and consume. Aside from the fact that they cost money I don't have/want to spend, I got to thinking about how not being able to eat them was actually a blessing. I'm not able to put that nasty high fructose corn syrup-filled, sugar laden, calorie packed junk in my body thanks to being gluten free. Sure, there's tons of gluten free food that is bad for you, but that's not in my immediate circle right now and this candy is.

All of a sudden I'm happy to be gluten free. All it takes is a simple change in attitude! :)

Does anyone else have any similar stories?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: Glutino Apple & Cinnamon Cereal

Almost every morning I eat cereal and milk for breakfast. Exotic, I know. But its quick, easy and usually nutritious and filling.

When I went gluten free, much like with the Mexican food, I freaked out a little bit, wondering what on earth I was going to eat for breakfast on those days when I hit the snooze button on my alarm one too many times and needed something quick.

Enter gluten free cereals.

Some cereals (Rice Chex, Corn Chex, etc) are gluten free anyways, but there are some special gluten free cereals on the market, like this Apple & Cinnamon variety by Glutino.

It looks (and tastes) pretty much like apple cinnamon Cheerios, with one caveat:that gluten free aftertaste I've discovered so many of these kinds of things have. Plus, they're a little sticky. When you chew them they kind of get stuck to your teeth and you need a big gulp of milk to loosen them.

All in all though, they're pretty good and I'd definitely buy them again!

Review: My-Del Gluten Free All Natural Chocolate Chip Cookies

I might be very new at this but even I have already found out that its darn hard to find a good gluten free store bought cookie.

The other day I just happened to walk by some cookies while I was at Henry's and made an impulse purchase. (Wouldn't recommend that for GF living...I've already been burned. lol) Anyways, they caught my eye and I'm really glad they did because they're good!

The cookies remind me a lot of the little chocolate chip firmer cookies that Mother's Cookies makes. There's no yucky aftertaste and they have great texture. I'd definitely buy them again in a heartbeat! Yum!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My first thought: AHHHHH!!!!!

When I first really looked into what gluten free living was all about, I admit I freaked out a little bit. I live in San Diego, aka: delicious Mexican food capital of the US. I LOVE Mexican food, for reals. I could eat burritos for the rest of my life if I had to. When I realized I would no longer be able to just run to the Mexican food place down the street on a whim because I felt like it, I panicked. I couldn't go pick up a sub sandwich. I couldn't eat much at Sonic. Or any other number of greasy fast food places in and around my immediate work area. What was I going to do???

Fortunately, I regained my sense of composure and thought this through. If I couldn't eat at any of these places, maybe I could finally get over my weight loss hump I've been stuck in as well as generally stay away from all the awful food I was putting in my body. If I felt better too, well that was just a bonus.

Its almost been 2 weeks now and I'm doing okay. Tonight will be a test however: its my brother;s 20th birthday and what does he ask for for dinner? You got it. Mexican food. We'll see how I handle watching my entire family scarf down yummy burritos, rolled tacos and chimmichangas while I sit with my cheese, refried beans and corn tortillas. (Not a corn tortilla fan) that I brought from home. Wish me luck!

Young and going gluten free

Welcome to my new blog about going gluten free! I'm a 25 year old wedding photographer living in San Diego and I just started going gluten free after being ill for awhile and not receiving and help from the doctors. Luckily, I'm a pretty good symptom googler and I came across a Celiac Disease symptom list. BAM! It hit me:I had Celiac. Not so luckily, my doctor/health insurer isn't so big on food allergy testing so I knew I was going to have to go it alone and do my own gluten free eating experiment.

Just as I suspected, cutting gluten out of my diet has proved quite fruitful so far. I won't go into the TMI details, but if you're hear you're probably already familiar with the gastric distress and energy issues. These have been greatly improved in the almost 2 weeks since I've been gluten free. They haven't completely disappeared but I know that complete healing takes time.

I thought I would create this blog to kind of help talk myself through this process of giving up my favorite foods and learning to eat a totally different way. Maybe it will help someone else out there going through the same things. There are plenty of really good blogs I've found from those who have been gluten free for quite some time...this isn't meant to replace those, merely to supplement them, if that. I find I do better when I write things down so this is as much for me as anyone else. :)

In any case, I hope maybe I can be the least bit helpful to someone as I chronicle what its like to be young, single and going gluten free.