Pretty Little Celiac 30-Day Gluten Free Fitness Challenge!!

30 Day Gluten Free Challenge
30 Day Gluten Free Challenge

Since I started blogging on September 1st, I realized I wanted to share my experiences with the world. I wanted to build a community around the celiac/gluten free stigma and let people know they aren’t alone.

My experiences are no different than anyone else, I’m just okay with sharing them online for all to see!!

Fast forward to October 17th – my website has had over 13,000 hits and thousands of engaged people looking for answers and help to their gluten related problems and support for what was happening.

During this time, I’ve also allowed blogging get the best of me. Sure, I’ll eat that! Sure, I’ll try this! Why yes, I would love to try this dessert because I can blog about it.

I love you guys and this community, but I’ve gotta take this slower because I’m starting to really feel gross. I’m not eating whole foods or the things I preach to my personal training clients, but I am trying endless amounts of processed gluten free foods to share with you and let you know what’s worth the money and what isn’t.

I will still do these things but not quite to the extent I’ve allowed myself!! I’m out of control.

And, thus the 30-day challenge begins.

October 22 will be 30 days from Thanksgiving.

The day we all eat, eat, eat until our stomach hurts.

October 1st I wrote a blog post saying it would start and it did (ok a little).

October 22nd I will get back into healthy habits and make wonderful changes to my body. I’ve done it before and I’ve done it again.

If you read my bio, you already know I went through my own transformation in 2009 and ended up a fitness expert and entrepreneur.

When I asked my husband if he thought I looked fat, his response was “no, but your body composition is different.”

I used to be a lean, mean, strong machine.

Now I’m a mediocre, fluffy, weakling.

The funny thing about this is that I haven’t gained any weight but my body looks completely different.

Fitness Tip: If you aren’t doing measurements along with weight tracking – you will be extremely frustrated.

Many of you said on social media you were with me and I’m going to hold you to that – so here is what we are going to do!

What is the 30 Day Challenge?

You will get from me a gluten free menu for the next 30 days. There will be whole foods and very limited processed snacks. It is not designed to be a culinary dream menu, it is designed to fuel your body. That’s what we have to remember, food is fuel. We are basically going to do a whole food detox. No junk. No pop. No artificial sweeteners. No fast food. Just whole foods.

You will also get a 30 day workout plan that can be done anywhere. Outside. Inside. The Gym.

I am going to make a Facebook Group that we can all use to talk to each other, post comments and be supportive to one another. People can post recipes and things they learned along the way and I might even throw in some bonus workouts and video workouts too!

**There are dairy and nut options on the plan, modify as you may**

On October 21st – I will send out the plan to everyone that follows the directions below!

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If you want to enter the 30-day challenge, here is what needs to happen:

  1. You send me an email by Saturday October 20th
  • Pictures in fitness clothes with something dated – like a newspaper or magazine – front, back and side
  • Height and Weight
  • Measurements: Chest below your breasts, waist at your belly button, hips at the widest part

At the end of the 30 days, you are going to send me an email with the exact same information as the first one!!

The person that loses the most weight and inches will be the winner of the Pretty Little Celiac 30 day challenge!!

What will you win?

1 year subscription to 11Athletics Magazine

An entry to a Celiac Awareness Tour that will be in or around your area in 2013

The Essential Gluten Free Grocery Guide by Triumph Books

A Pretty Little Celiac T-Shirt

2 Bags of Udi’s granola

Gluten Free Food Labels by Sweet Ali’s Bakery

And a 1 on 1 Skype or Phone Call Session for 30 minutes with Me!!!

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My Celiac Rant of the Month – Be Strong my PLC’s!

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I’m working away today at Starbucks and am writing a wonderful little eBook for you guys about getting started going gluten free and I started thinking more and more about what a negative social stigma there is associated with a gluten allergy.

When we tell restaurants Aaron suffers from a tree nut allergy, the go above and beyond to make sure he is safe. But when I tell people I have a gluten allergy, it isn’t taken as seriously. Do they think just because I don’t get hives and my symptoms are different, the allergy isn’t as important?

Why are people afraid to tell the waiter or chef they suffer from a FOOD ALLERGY? It is the restaurants responsibility to ensure people dining in their establishment have a safe meal. I’m not embarrassed explaining my needs because I don’t want to get sick or have continued long term damage due to this illness.

It’s not a diet just because Miley Cyrus said she got skinny when she went gluten free. It is a lifestyle and a lifelong disease for many people struggling with celiac and gluten intolerance’s around the world.

Dining at places like Wildfire in Chicago really made me believe there is hope out there for other establishments to follow suit and make everyone feel welcome.

YOU ARE NOT AN OUTSIDER just because you have a food allergy. You are a human being.

Would you feel guilty if you had any other “normalized” allergy or handicap where you needed extra assistance?

If you broke you leg and needed special seating arrangements, would you feel bad asking for them?

It is our right as a consumer to be safe.

It is our right as a human being to be able to go out to eat with ridicule or feeling like no one understands.

If I want to go somewhere that is educated on gluten over and over again – that is my choice. And I usually end up spending a lot of money there AND recommending them to everyone I know along with writing a positive review on here for all of you to see. But restaurants and food establishments need to know there is a need, there is a desire that their clients want these things or they will never change.

There are times where I don’t have the best experience. That is OK too if after they were notified of the problem, they apologized and made up for it.

Don’t let these places or your friends/family steam roll you into thinking you are weird, a hypochondriac or shouldn’t be treated like anyone else.

We all have to take a united stand to let people know this isn’t a fad, it’s not a celebrity diet and it is a serious, life threatening food allergy and auto-immune disease.

Stand up for yourself. Stand up for those around you suffering from the same problems!

Share sites like this that promote positivity and confidence.

Don’t let other people think they are alone in this journey, because they aren’t!

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Moving Forward! New Content! New Ideas! Help Me!!

It’s 2am and I’m wide awake working on a million different things. As a business owner and fitness expert, I’m often pulled in different directions. This blog and community is something I’ve become very passionate about and is important to me. The Pretty Little Celiac community is near and dear to my heart and I’ve always been one to help others, share information and educate. My favorite job I ever held was a Training Coordinator position in child welfare. I designed my own trainings, taught new staff and provided advanced training for long term employees.

Then I fell in love with fitness and now my personal journey with gluten free living and celiac disease!

Help me help you…

I want to know what you need.

Tell me…

If I created different types of media would this be beneficial to you??

Podcasts

Webinars

Video Blogs (I admit I hate the video camera)

What kind of written content can I create in free downloads that would benefit you?

How to get started on  gluten free living?

Living gluten free in college

Clearly we’ve all established this need and desire for me to share my story, hear about yours and get fat trying all these gluten free foodie products for you!!! I want to broaden my horizons and methods to help you but I want some feedback before I spend hours making podcasts only to have no one listen in!

Any other ideas?

I’ve got 1 big, brownie cake from Rose’s Bakery for a random giveaway to someone who posts on this blog post and gives me ideas….

Celiac and Your Sex Life: Are they Related? I say Absolutely…

I’ve toyed with writing this post for weeks and I decided to finally do it! What everyone seems to love about Pretty Little Celiac is how refreshingly candid and personal I am about my own journey so it wouldn’t be fair for me to avoid this subject.

Celiac and your sex life – how are they connected?

I obviously am not going to go into detail about my sex life – but I think the subject does need to be discussed. Why is this such a taboo subject when we all know there are problems everywhere when it comes to sex!

I know this is true for many of you, but when I’m suffering from a horrible stomach ache the last thing I am interested in is someone pushing on my belly! Most women are worried about what their bodies look like – but I’m always worried about what it sounds like – I’m sure one toot would ruin the mood…

Over the years, Aaron has come to accept that our sex life revolves almost entirely around my bowel habits and celiac disease. Most of my symptoms directly affect it and it plays such a huge role in our life. From our wedding night to romantic dinners and vacations, all it takes is 1 meal to send me over the edge and ruin everything.

Complaining about a bathroom incident or talking about how bloated your belly is after your meal isn’t really the best aphrodisiac… But, I’m sure you already know that!

But I do believe all of the other things associated with the celiac disease: the depression, anxiety, exhaustion, fatigue, joint pain and all the other symptoms and signs run concurrent with sexual dysfunction. Not to mention when I was on anti-depressants and anxiety medication, I often felt like a zombie with no emotions or feelings of arousal.

Fortunately for me, I married an amazing man who has been my biggest cheerleader and support system for the past 8 years. He is understanding, patient and wants me to be healthy & happy no matter what. My health and happiness are his #1 concern – all of the other things come secondary. This must be a huge struggle for those of you without the support from your significant others.

I’ve yet to find a celiac or gluten intolerance study regarding sex drives, arousal and those things but there are countless studies on depression, anxiety and those symptoms in how they correlate but nothing on celiac. Maybe because most of the research on celiac is focused on they why’s and how’s and not necessarily the secondary problems associated with the disease.

Going gluten free has helped my mood significantly! But also, resolving all the other problems associated with the celiac disease contributes greatly. Finding out my blood levels and hormones were completely whacked out and being able to correct that problem with the thyroid and testosterone also helped me feel better!

I don’t expect anyone to write about their sex life in the comments section! This post is just to let people know it’s ok, you aren’t crazy and there are other people out there suffering from the same things. I find it hard to believe as I write this post that there aren’t many of you dealing with the same things. You can feel better just reading this post to know you aren’t alone.

Super Sunday Spectacular Gluten Free Giveaway – Chebe Bread!!

Chebe Bread Giveaway!
Chebe Bread Giveaway!

I’ll admit I buy a lot of stuff that ends up sitting in my cupboards and I forget about it – Chebe pizza crust is one of those things. Until I met them at the Celiac Awareness Tour in Chicago this weekend. Probably the most delicious stuff ever.

he best part?? They gave me 5 boxes to give away on the Pretty Little Celiac blog!!!

Have you been using their products? Which one is your favorite? Do you have a special recipe to use? I want to hear about it!!

How to Enter this Chebe Bread Giveaway!!!

1. LIKE my Facebook page – Pretty Little Celiac –

(If you already like my page – Leave a comment about why you love my site!)

2. LIKE Chebe’s Facebook page

3. Follow me on Twitter

(Send me a nice tweet if you already follow :)

4. Follow Chebe on Twitter

5. Write a comment below including the following information:

What you love about Pretty Little Celiac…

What product you would like to see Chebe come out with next… (A product I would love to see Chebe Bread create is a soft pretzel)

What Chebe product you already love…

I will select the winner on Wednesday October 17th!

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Celiac and Infertility: Is there a connection? My personal story…

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In 2010, my husband and I decided we would start trying to have a baby. After only 2 months of trying, I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks before Christmas. I remember missing my period by 1 day and taking a pregnancy test right before leaving for a trip to Ikea, a 2 hour drive to meet my in-laws to do some holiday shopping. After taking the test and seeing it was positive, I ran downstairs to tell Aaron and he was thrilled. The entire way to Ikea, I couldn’t wait to tell his parents. I knew they were going to be excited to be grandparents.

I went back and forth on if I was going to tell people but I decided to blab to everyone. I’m the worst secret keeper in the universe. People asked if I was nervous about sharing the news so soon after getting pregnant due to the risk of a miscarriage. “No, I’m healthy so I’m sure it will be fine” was my answer to comments like this. Boy was I wrong.

January 8th was our first sonogram appointment and I was 10-11 weeks pregnant. Aaron was late getting to the appointment and I got so mad at him in the lobby waiting for him! We went in the room and after a few minutes the technician broke the horrible news, “I’m not finding a heart beat.” All I remember from that moment forward was Aaron holding my hand and tears streaming down my cheeks. How could this be? How could this be happening? I’m healthy and fit – why was this happening to me?

For 7 years I worked in child welfare, watching mothers use drugs and neglecting their bodies only to have babies repeatedly with seemingly no complications. It just wasn’t fair I kept saying to myself, I take care of my body. I’m healthy, I’m fit and I can’t even have a baby? It just didn’t make sense to me. Something had to be wrong.

The doctor thought I would naturally miscarry on my own from the stress of finding out the news so she let me go home and call in a few days to update her. I went from buying baby things to a miscarriage in the blink of an eye.

Nothing was easy of course… I didn’t naturally miscarry on my own and had to spend a weekend taking pills to induce labor. They didn’t work and after 2 weeks I ended up having a D&C done to remove the gestational sack.

After 6 months with ovulation problems, cysts and cramping, the doctor finally put me back on birth control to regulate my system in the fall of 2011. Little did I know, this was going to open the door my celiac disease diagnosis.

Dr. Aukerman explained women with undiagnosed celiac disease struggle with pregnancies because their bodies are so  malnourished and depleted of vitamins and minerals, they can’t grow a fetus. If your body is exhausted from constantly fighting itself, I’m not sure how it is even feasible. He did say that the majority of his patients once they are diagnosed go on to have healthy pregnancies if they wait until their levels are normal and the body has healed.
Of course I was relieved to find this out but frustrated that no one ever explained that to me in the past and no one ever found my celiac. Right now we aren’t actively trying to have a baby but we will in the future and it’s reassuring to know I’m dealing with the main health problem and can help my fertility when we do try again.

I tell this story to give other women hope and encouragement. If you aren’t happy with what your doctor is telling you or you aren’t sure – get a second opinion. Trust your gut, trust your instincts. I knew something was wrong but no one else caught it. I might not have understood or knew why I had a problem, but I just knew something wasn’t right.
I found great information on the Celiac Central website about infertility and celiac disease:

Celiac Disease and Infertility Link:
Over the last 10 years, several studies have examined the link between celiac disease and infertility and found that women suffering from unexplained infertility may have clinically silent celiac disease.

  • One study conducted by physicians at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia found that the rate of recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSAB) and infertility in celiac disease patients is at least four times higher than the general population. They suggested that patients who experience unexplained infertility or RSAB should be screened for celiac.
  • Another study from the Department of Medicine at Tampere University Hospital and Medical School at the University of Tampere Finland found that the rate of celiac disease among women reporting infertility was 4.1%. Although the exact reason for the increased risk remains unknown, the researchers suggested that female celiac patients who are not adhering to a gluten-free diet have a shortened reproductive period and early menopause. Males with celiac disease have shown gonadal dysfunction, which could also contribute to fertility complications.
  • The link between celiac disease and infertility is currently being evaluated by researchers at Molinette Hospital in Turin Italy. Early reports from their research suggest that the prevalence of celiac disease among women with unexplained infertility is 2.5% to 3.5% higher than the control population. They suggest that celiac disease represents a risk for abortion, low birth weight babies and short-breast feeding periods, all of which can be corrected with a gluten-free diet.

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  • I definitely believe there is a link between infertility and Celiac. I found out in July 2011 that I have premature ovarian failure…the following December they finally diagnosed me with Celiac disease. I had been sick for quite awhile before they caught it and the doctors say it is not reversible. I am post-menopausal at 36 and on hormone replacement therapy and a gluten free diet.

     

  •  Laura Chang

    There is hope! I was diagnosed with celiac in 2008, and told (incorrectly) by my OB at the time that I may experience trouble becoming pregnant…was she ever wrong! Both my boys (ages two and three months) were conceived on the first try(!!!) and other than morning sickness, I had no complications.

     

    •  PrettyLittleCeliac

      Laura-

      Were you already diagnosed celiac prior to trying to get pregnant? Did you already eliminate gluten?

       

      •  Laura Chang

        I was gluten-free for nearly two years before I became pregnant in late 2009. It was quite a surprise how easily it happened–guess my body healed quickly once I went GF. (Cautionary tale, if you’re planning on it taking a while to get pregnant! I was mentally prepared to wait for months, and it was the shock of a lifetime when I got a positive result after two weeks.)

        PrettyLittleCeliac
      • My doctor said I would likely have no problems now that I went gluten free and take vitamins to supplement my deficiencies. That’s wonderful to know!

 

 

Check out the WEGO Health Activist Speakers Bureau!

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I just applied to the WEGO Health Activist Speakers Bureau and I thought some of you might be interested in learning more about it as well – it’s a great way for Health Activists to share our stories, raise awareness and get the word out about the work we’re doing.

Members of the WEGO Health Activist Speakers Bureau receive exclusive invitations to present at conferences, speak to members of the media, and be featured on WEGO Health.

Interested in joining the WEGO Health Activist Speakers Bureau? Apply today! It only takes a few minutes and they’ll email you as soon as they have opportunities relevant to you and your interests

Celiac and Ear Wax: Is there a connection?

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Ear Wax and Celiac?

My entire life I’ve been accused of “yelling” or speaking too loudly. I never understood what anyone was talking about because I spoke in my normal voice. Regardless, I seemed to always get hushed. I’ve always found myself asking people to repeat themselves or saying “what.”

In 2005, I jumped in a pool and it caused my ear drum to pop leaving me in the emergency room with my new boyfriend. Talk about embarrassing. Aaron sat there while I laid in agony on the table as the nurse pulled ear wax balls out of my ear canal. The doctor said I must have had an ear infection for a long time and it finally had enough with the pool water. I left the emergency room with a ton of medication and a wonderful boyfriend who later became my husband.

I know you aren’t supposed to use Qtips – but they feel SO good. Every single time I use them, I get so much junk out of my ear. I realize I’m pushing more probably into my ear canals but I don’t think what comes out of them is normal.

The ER doc referred me to an ENT specialist that I went to off and on for a few years. He always seemed to have the same reason for the wax and pain in my ears – “seasonal allergies.” I honestly think that’s the generic term for everything and can just be cured with allergy meds.

It wasn’t until this year when I started putting all the pieces together. I recently found this article on the Livestrong website about Histamine and ear pain with celiac disease:

“During an allergic reaction to gluten, various chemicals are released that cause your blood vessels to dilate and irritate soft tissues. Histamine is the primary chemical in your body that causes inflammation and swelling to occur in soft tissues. As histamine levels increase in the soft tissues in your ears, swelling causes blockage in your inner ear that can lead to congestion. The congestion may also cause fluid to build up within the ear, causing temporary hearing loss.”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/542914-gluten-ear-problems/#ixzz28WfLkMDJ

Ear wax is 20 to 50 percent fat, and it coats the ear canal to moisturize it, fight off infection, and help keep dust, dirt, and other debris from getting deep inside your ear. Maybe it is also a protector against other things your body doesn’t want too and it’s a response from having the gluten poison.
I did notice when I stopped eating gluten, my ear pain went away and my “seasonal allergies” seemed to disappear. There are occasions when I think I’ve got a little ear pressure or runny nose but sometimes that’s just normal life.
Again, I’m not a doctor! Just one gal describing her symptoms and signs wondering out loud if they are all related. Sometimes it takes a while to put all the pieces together… With over 200 symptoms of Celiac disease… how could anyone piece all this stuff together??

 

 

Review: Tall Papa’s Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

Tall Papa's Breadcrumbs
Tall Papa’s Breadcrumbs

Since being diagnosed, I really haven’t found a good gluten free breadcrumb that still maintains its integrity after being coated on our fish. I was thrilled when Tall Papa’s reached out to me to try and review their gluten free breadcrumbs!

Last night, my husband made fish tacos. We love Mahi Mahi to put in our tacos and it’s also a really great fish to make breaded. We used the citrus lime flavored ones and they are amazing!

Nutritional Facts:

Brown rice flour, water, tapioca flour, egg whites, evaporated cane sugar, organic canola oil, xanthan gum, yeast, sea salt, enzymes, maltodextrin, lime juice, lime oil

After coating the Mahi is egg whites, we rolled the fish in the bread crumbs and baked it for about 25 minutes on 350 degrees. When we took the fish out of the oven, I was thrilled to see how crispy and thick the breading still looked after baking!

Next up for these little delicious treats – Meatballs!!!

Tall Papa’s Citrus Lime Breadcrumbs
Tall Papa’s Citrus Lime Breadcrumbs

We still have 1/2 the bag left and another bag of the cajun spice also to try out in the next few weeks. I’ll update this post after trying them too!

You can find Tall Papa’s Online – http://www.tallpapa.com/Tall_Papa/Home.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tall_Papa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TallPapaGoods?ref=ts&fref=ts