Applebee’s Gluten-Free Menu Review

Applebee’s Gluten-Free Review
Applebee’s Gluten-Free Review

We are on day 1 of our road trip to the University of North Carolina for the girl’s basketball camp trip. I am the female chaperone and my husband, the assistant varsity coach and the head coach are chaperones as well. It’s going to be really tough on this trip because there are 17 of us trying to find somewhere to eat while on the road. Fortunately, I’m not the only one with celiac disease so we are making sure we stop places where we can get something to eat. I packed tons of snack foods for the road to be sure Melissa and I were never starving and could have snacks throughout the drive.

Originally, we were going to stop at Outback but the girls were concerned about spending too much on dinner so we ended up at Applebee’s. I did a quick google search to make sure they could accommodate us and it turns out their website was very allergen friendly. They have an extensive, multi-page list of allergens and safe foods for all the different types of food problems.

There are numerous gluten-free options to pick from. Melissa chose the fiesta lime chicken and I had the margarita chicken and shrimp. I explained to our waitress and she assured me she would let the kitchen know of our special dietary needs. I’m always skeptical at chain places so I kept my fingers crossed. One of the other athletes said, “do you get nervous when you eat out?” My reply, “every time.” It’s even more nerve-wracking with a large order of 17 because of the higher risk of a mistake.

The food was just okay. I think I’ve become a food snob since going gluten-free. It’s hard when you focus on eating fresh, whole, yummy foods to go back to eating the quick, fix processed foods. Applebee’s isn’t somewhere I frequented prior to going gluten-free so it really wasn’t a treat to go there tonight.

I didn’t get sick from eating there, my belly felt a little weird but I think it was from the sodium and quality of foods.

Overall, I would say if you are stuck and end up at Applebee’s, you have options. Just make sure you are VERY CLEAR to your server and pay attention to what you order and what shows up on your plate.

I will also say Applebee’s tweeted me right away and said to make sure I informed my server of my dietary needs and were responsive when I said I was going to eat a gluten-free meal there.

But, as always, you can never be 100% safe when eating out. There is always room for human error so it’s critical we keep our guard up, eyes open and stay educated.

Comments

  1.  Karen Simon says:

    I completely understand. I was a bit of a food snob before going gluten-free, but now it is so much worse! I already didn’t eat any meat except chicken. I don’t like processed stuff either. I tried Chili’s recently and won’t go back there. I got a salad and I honestly wouldn’t have given that to my dog. I have the best luck at non-chain holes in the wall that serve some type of international food and just make sure I know the food well and ask LOTS of questions!

    Reply
  2.  Paula says:

    My biggest fear: someone will intentionally contaminate the food, because they don’t think Celiac Disease or any reaction to food will “hurt” you.

     

  3.  Sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Rebecca. I haven’t been to Applebee’s since going GF in 2007 and never expected they could accommodate. I’m glad to know it is an easy option if I’m in a group who wants to go there! I know what you mean about fresh. My family tells me daily my food is better than any restaurant. Not to brag, but cooking fresh, healthy, lean and tasty is always a winner!

     

  4.  Cynthia says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Applebee’s either, but I live in a small town and it is one of the only family friendly restaurants in town. With celiac and IBS, I can’t eat gluten, soy, dairy or fructose. The thing I appreciate is they have a page for each allergen, if you ask for it. I was able to cross compare the 3 pages until I found something I could eat. Kind of a pain, but at least I’m able to eat out once in a while!

     

  5.  Jessica says:

    I love applebees menu :). I like that they have an appetizer and meal an do there two for 20

     

  6.  Amy says:

    The last 2 times that I went to Applebees, even after explaining my Celiac, my food came out with a piece of TX toast on top of it! Haven’t been back since and don’t plan on ever going again

     

    •  Rebecca says:

      Did you write to their corporate office? They have been very responsive on twitter & asked another unhappy guest to send them feedback via their website.

       

  7.  Wil says:

    Thank you for the review of Applebee’s. I am traveling with my family and was needing a safe place to eat. Their web site threw me off a bit with their warnings about cross contamination but that is probably a legal requirment. I am so happy everything worked for you and I’ll let you know how my experience was when I get home in a week.

 

 

 

Super Charge Your Next Pool Workout

Super Charge Your Next Pool Workout
Super Charge Your Next Pool Workout

I absolutely love swimming!

I was the kid that never wanted to go home from the pool. The only person that might be a bigger mermaid is my little sister, Emily. My mom would drop us off for hours and even when the pool closed we weren’t ready to go home. I can remember swimming to the middle of the pool because I knew she wouldn’t come in and get me when it was time to go.

There is something so free about floating and swimming the water. In your own thoughts, it feels so wonderful to get a great workout and not feel the impact on your joints.

In high school, I joined the swim team for a few years and even played around with high diving.

This week, I’ve committed to getting back into the fitness game and putting an end to my whining. So, I joined our local pool and am focused on getting 2-3 times a week in the pool for lap swimming. Of course, I can’t just swim laps so I am creating workouts that will not only get the cardio component but a strength piece as well to really maximize my time in the pool.

Get ready for some amazing workouts this summer because I am more motivated than ever!

The Adventures of Hives and Prednisone

For the last few months, I’ve been feeling much better. My sleep patterns are more consistent and my energy levels are through the roof.

But every once in a while something will hit me and send a reminder through my body that I’m human and have a chronic disease. Most recently it was the mysterious hives which appeared over night on my arms and legs causing me to ferociously itch my body. Imagine the paranoia going on in my mind!

Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Bed Bugs?

Poison Ivy?

Carpet Beetles?

What the heck were these things?? Nothing was working to curb the itching, stinging or them from forming again. They were localized to my ankles/calves and wrist/forearms. I searched in the internet for pictures of different bites and things but nothing seemed to resemble what I experienced. They were much worse than what I captured in this picture.

The mysterious hives
The mysterious hives

I’ve never suffered from poison ivy or any other skin problems like this so I didn’t know what to do or how to narrow it down.

My instant fear of having bed bugs flipped me into over drive. I went through our entire bedroom scouring the carpet, mattress and more for bugs. I even ripped the box spring open to see if they were clustered in the corners like I read online! Bed bugs were not something I wanted to deal with right now.

Then I thought, fleas? But I didn’t see anything resembling that on either of our dogs and my husband didn’t have one mark on him. I made an appointment with the dermatologist and was fortunate they were able to fit me in right away. He determined it was a contact dermatitis from something in our garage or the park where I take our dog swimming and gave me prednisone to take. Within a couple of days they were healing and now a week later, they are almost gone.

The prednisone made me so HUNGRY! One night we went to dinner and I ended up eating 2 dinners. I forced myself to eat as many salads and protein as I could consume to prevent me from over eating on bad foods. I’ve never felt such a tremendous need to eat in my life. I ate a whole meal and then felt compelled to eat more because I didn’t feel full. I advise anyone who is taking prednisone to avoid eating sugar filled processed foods because there is a huge potential for weight gain due to the hunger issues.

I just find new things every once in a while to keep me on my toes. It’s so frustrating at times that nothing is ever wrong with my husband! Can he get a hang nail or something so I feel a little bit better about having stuff always wrong with me!?!?!

Have you ever experienced anything like this?

Do you find since you went gluten-free and were diagnosed you are prone to more things like this?

 

Red Apple Lipstick – Best Pretty in Pink Colors

Today I had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot for the Women’s Book feature in their next edition focusing on health and wellness issues! They are doing a story on me and opening Bexa Body Fitness along with all the things I’m involved with in Columbus, including the female athlete training I do with our local high school, Westerville Central.

Some of my athletes joined me today at the gym to participate in the photo shoot and be part of the group!

Needless to say, my Red Apple Lipstick order came just in time for the photo shoot!

My newest order are basic colors that I would wear every day. I absolutely love a light pink eye shadow for every day wear. It’s pretty and simple without looking dramatic or plain. You can’t go wrong with a pretty in pink shade like TUTU Cute.

I already have some hot pink lip stick colors and gloss so the gorgeous shine to the Pink Martini is the perfect complement to any lipstick and is gorgeous for an every day look. The key with every day make up is that you want it to look fun and fresh without going over board.

I use a brush to gently tap the eye shadow onto my eye. If you brush it back and forth, the shadow will fly all over your face and make a mess. You can use their eye shadows wet or dry. The wet look is more dramatic so for a day look, I would stick with the powder.

On my eyes, I have a light black liner and I use Buxom mascara.

Tomorrow I plan to do a video tutorial on how to get a flawless face with gluten-free make up. If you aren’t already subscribed to my YouTube page, make sure you do it now!

Red Apple Lipstick
100% Gluten Free Lipstick
Lipgloss & Liners.See New Summer Colors!

25 Things I’ve Learned from Celiac Disease

25thingsaboutceliac

It’s been an incredible life long journey for me (and many of you) until I finally got the answers I needed for all my medical problems. It seems as if it were yesterday that I was sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, only to leave disappointed and without any hope or answers for what was wrong.

Another doctor, another prescription and still no relief…

But the last few weeks, I’ve had some time to reflect and really think about what having celiac disease means to me and some of the major things I’ve learned over the last 18 months through my own personal experiences and the last 10 months as a blogger. If you have things you learned about gluten-free living or celiac disease, please feel free to post them in the comments so other readers know they aren’t alone!

  1. My celiac disease is not your celiac disease. I can’t emphasize this one enough! We all have different triggers and ailments so it’s incredibly important to pay attention to your own body versus what you hear from me or others on forums and websites.
  2. Celiac comes with other problems. Endometriosis, thyroid problems, arthritis and vitamin deficiencies for me!
  3. Vitamin & Nutrient levels should be tested on a regular basis to ensure you are supplementing properly to nourish your body with what’s missing.
  4. Gluten will make you feel crazy, act crazy, think you’re crazy and make you paranoid. It consumes you life and there are times when I just have to stop and think… at least it’s managed with food.
  5. It seems to be the only disease people don’t know enough about to tell me how to live my life. Now, gluten-free is another story but celiac disease usually doesn’t get too many unsolicited comments or advice from others.
  6. You have to be incredibly educated about celiac disease, living gluten-free and your body to be safe as much as possible.
  7. It’s essential to learn how to plan accordingly when traveling, dining out or anything out of the norm to prevent you from being stuck.
  8. A gluten-free emergency supply kit is a necessity not an idea.
  9. Poop can tell you so much about your eating habits and health of your body!
  10. I still learn about gluten in things and are surprised by it – tea bags are my most recent discovery!
  11. The gluten-free and celiac community is amazing and I am honored to be a part of it!
  12. I’ve come to realize that packaged gluten-free food is my worst enemy. For my health & my waist line – real foods is where it’s at!
  13. Celiac gave me the opportunity to see who my real friends are and learn the ones who care enough about me to always make me feel safe.
  14. Celiac and fitness is an interesting concept. I’m excited to come out with my program late summer!
  15. I’ve learned to accept the days when my body won’t cooperate and stopped beating myself up about feeling tired, having a headache or achy joints.
  16. Being curvy and healthy is more important than being lean and unhappy.
  17. Living gluten-free doesn’t have to be more expensive – you just have to plan better and eat clean to keep the budget tight.
  18. I’ve learned to look at life as a new adventure, instead of letting it stress me out every day.
  19. My family shouldn’t be burdened by my celiac disease, so I try to bring my own foods to events just to make sure I’m safe and not starving.
  20. Airports are the worst for living gluten-free and with celiac.
  21. Writing and blogging helps keep me sane and warms my heart when I’m able to help you too.
  22. There are no true gluten-free substitutions. Gluten free bread is not soft sourdough bread and it never will be. Gluten-free Oreos are not the ones I’ve learned to love over my lifetime an none can duplicate it either. I’m done trying to find substitutes and instead I’m learning to love new things instead.
  23. I’m proud to take charge of my health and not take no for an answer. I refused to accept that I didn’t have anything wrong with me and I was correct.
  24. I love my husband more now than ever. He has been the most amazing and supportive person through this and I certainly hit the husband lotto.
  25. I love my body more now than ever. All of it. All the problems. All the wonderful things people take for granted, I’ve learned to love and enjoy.

Comments

  1.  Sheryl Rex says:

    I have learned that ‘Gluten Guard’ meds, do NOT work on everything. It is easier just to go without.

     

    •  Rebecca says:

      What are “gluten guards?”

       

  2.  Atherton Baking Co. says:

    I’ve learned the GF is very supportive and generous. During a very low period I found Karen Morgan & Tim Lawson, they taught me how to be strong! The GF fam shares and supports all over the world! When you reach out, someone is always there!

     

    •  Rebecca says:

      I second that with the community! It is so true!!

       

  3.  Charlotte says:

    I’ve learned to be a better and more adventurous cook. I’ve learned that there is MORE to eat as a celiac than I ever ate pre-diagnosis and I was a pretty adventurous eater already even with a ton of allergies. I’ve learned to be my own advocate. I’ve learned that I have some AMAZING friends who support me and my GF life.

     

    •  Rebecca says:

      Those are awesome things! Thank you so much for sharing :)

       

  4.  Mindy says:

    I love the 25 things you have learned! Very inspirational for me! I still struggle with many things related to living with Celiac after almost 5 years of living gluten free.

    I also need to learn how to attend events without feeling so awkward when taking my own food. Right now one of my challenges is attending the service’s at church that offer crackers for the Lord’s supper practice. The preacher told me to just bring my own cracker’s. Still I dealt with a lot of guilt for awhile by not participating in the practice at church.

    I do still have days that I do not feel well mainly due to environmental allergies and other food allergies like dairy, soy, yeast and garlic which makes my eliminating other foods important.

    Am still trying to figure out how to get high protein (which of course helps the energy level) Not easy when I am not a huge meat person.

    Thanks for these wonderful comments!

     

    •  Chessie says:

      Mindy, I was diagnosed with celiac disease about a month ago (quite a shock) and I’m slowly climbing out of the deep hole of fatigue I was in. I hear you about protein, because I’ve been vegan for about a dozen years and most of the vegan “fake meats” out there are made with lots of wheat gluten. So, it’s beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and seeds for me. I think I can get enough protein, but it will take daily thought. It’s too bad you don’t do soy, but there are lots of other beans and legumes out there.

      Oh, how I loved stuff made with “vital wheat gluten” (i.e., deadly wheat gluten). But yeah, turns out there’s a reason why it didn’t agree with me so much.

      Rebecca, thanks for the 25 tips!

       

      •  Rebecca says:

        Chessie-

        Thanks for listing some other sources of protein! I think people automatically assume that you can only get it from meats.

         

    •  Rebecca says:

      Mindy if you eat eggs – Pasturized egg whites are a perfect way to get protein into your diet. They don’t taste like anything and are protein packed. I put them in my juice and shakes. You can buy them in larger packages which are much more affordable through places like Egg Whites International. They come frozen and then you just keep them in the fridge and use them as you wish.

       

  5.  Brittany says:

    Do you have a post somewhere explaining:

    “A gluten-free emergency supply kit is a necessity not an idea.”

    What is that?!

     

    •  Rebecca says:

      An emergency kit is something that you would want to have in case there is a disaster like a hurricane, power outage, tornado or fire. It should filled with gluten-free foods that you can consume in case you don’t have access to anything for a few days.

       

  6.  Angela says:

    Wow I had never thought about tea bags. Thanks for the tips!

     

    •  Rebecca says:

      You’re welcome!

       

  7.  Martin says:

    re12: Great to see more celiacs avoid processed food and look into the real food/paleo diet

     

  8.  Amanda Yoder says:

    Love this! So true and so relatable!

     

  9.  Kay Gaumer says:

    I’ve been gluten free since February of this year. It has be a challenge to adjust my diet. I am also allergic to dairy and most grains. I think your comment about making mew ‘friends’ and not trying to substitute gluten free products for old ‘friends’ is an excellent idea. I lean toward a vegetarian diet and buy organic and GMO free products. I also try to buy local as the products are fresher and tastier that way.

     

  10.  Sherry says:

    I am glad I found this blog. I can relate so much to what you said!

Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act – Interview Congressman Tim Ryan

gluteninmedicine
Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act

I had the pleasure of interviewing U.S. Representative from the 13th District of Ohio, Tim Ryan,

about the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D)
Rep. Tim Ryan (D)

I am from North East Ohio and am proud to say this is Congressman Ryan’s district! Unfortunately, he was called to vote and I only had a brief 10 minutes to talk to him about the Act. But, you can listen to our conversation right here…

According to Congressman Ryan’s website,

The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act has been endorsed by: American Celiac Disease Alliance, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Sprue Association, Gluten Intolerance Group, North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and the American College of Gastroenterology.

So,  what can you do to help?

You can call or write to your local representative and tell them you support this Act! Most of our congressmen have email addresses that you can contact them. This bill was reintroduced this year, after failing last year despite thousands of letters of support to congress. Our letters got this Act reintroduced and it’s up to you to keep the momentum by reaching out and contacting your congressmen!

Click Here to find out who your congressman or woman is to contact regarding the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act!

Click Here if you need help with how to write a letter to congress!

Click Here if you want to contact Congressman Tim Ryan!

If you would like a good guide about the medications, http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/ is a great resource and website for information on gluten in medications.

Do you have a story about gluten in medications?

Do you have tips for other people that struggle with gluten in medicine at the pharmacy or getting answers?

I wanna her about it – post in the comment section below :)

 

 

Ask Rebecca: Do I Need to get Tested for Celiac Disease?

This is a tough one for me. I believe everyone has the right to follow their own route for treatment. There are some people who can eliminate gluten, feel amazing and live on their lives as normal but I don’t think that’s the norm for this disease.

I believe if you can afford the testing or have health insurance, it is essential to get tested for a number of reasons. Hear me out..

1. You may or may not have celiac disease but I can almost guarantee you have some sort of nutrition deficiencies that can only be determined by blood work. This isn’t as simple as just taking a multi vitamin. The only way to adequately determine what vitamins you need is to get the proper blood work done to determine your individual needs.

2. Depending on your blood work, your doctor may order you to have a biopsy done to determine the level of damage caused to your intestines from the undiagnosed celiac disease. This again is something that can only be determined by a doctor.

3. The only way to determine these things is to keep consuming gluten and get your testing done. You cannot have the tests done if you eliminate gluten from your diet before your testing because the results will be skewed. So, it won’t do you any good if you eliminate gluten now and then decide in 3 months you want to get tested.

4. I’ve talked to many of you who say that you may not have taken the gluten-free diet and lifestyle seriously without the celiac disease diagnosis. This may or may not be an issue for you. For me, I can tell you that if I thought I could get away with a little bit once in a while, my situation would be very different right now because I would be eating a soft pretzel every couple of months to satisfy my needs. BUT, because I know I have celiac disease, this is completely out of my mind. I wouldn’t think of is.

5. Fertility problems are a major issue with people who have celiac disease. If you plan on having children or are struggling with fertility now, I would recommend you get tested ASAP for celiac disease. I would hate to see anyone not get tested, go through infertility treatments, only to find out they could have solved the problems strictly by living a gluten-free diet and managing deficiencies.

6. There is potential for undiagnosed celiac disease to cause other major health problems as we grow older and even contribute to bowel and other cancers. This is something for you to be aware of as you get older to monitor your health.

Do you have a different story? Why or why not did you choose to get tested? I want to hear about it!~

Should You Take Digestive Enzymes for Gluten?

digestiveenzyme

Should You Take Digestive Enzymes for Gluten?

No.

I am frequently asked about gluten enzyme supplements and I just wanted to give you my opinion on them.

These so-called enzymes do NOT give you the green light to eat gluten if you have celiac disease. They are not a cure for celiac! There is a false belief out there that it is acceptable to take these pills with a piece of cake and you will be fine. It’s not that simple. There is NO PROOF or medical research showing that these enzymes work. Why? Because they are not FDA approved and the companies can make whatever claims they want about their products except saying it cures and treats disease.

Now, some of you will say “Hey! I use them and they work.”

Do they really? How do you know what they are doing to your intestines and body chemistry? How do you know they aren’t causing internal problems?

I seriously doubt an over the counter supplement that’s $18 from WalMart is the latest and greatest treatment or medication for celiac disease.

There sure seems to be a lot of people saying they “aren’t getting better” or “still feeling sick.” A part of me can’t help but think some of that is due to the false sense of security from taking these medications.

While these “gluten enzymes” may break down some particles of gluten, there is no way for sure to know if they are gone and not causing damage to your body. Why take that risk? Save your money and buy some supplements your body can use effectively and will help you with healing and digestion!!

The ONLY way to manage celiac disease is with a strict, dedicated gluten-free diet. It makes me a little sad when I hear people say they wish they could just take a pill because your body is clearly telling you it doesn’t want gluten and clearly rejects it. We are the only people who can manage their chronic disease with food and in a natural way which should be a blessing to all of us!

Now, there is a company that filed for patents for enzyme use in medication to treat celiac disease. Alvine Pharma is working towards finding medication for all of us suffering from this disease. They are in phase II of clinical trials but nothing has been approved yet.

ImmusanT is a potential vaccine for celiac disease which is showing promise. They are still in the early stages but it is promising to know that there are things in the works for us!

Are you looking for information about gluten poisoning? Check out my post with 47 commons symptoms!

Have you been poisoned and are looking for help on healing faster? Check out my post with 20 tips and ideas for gluten poisoning recovery! 

Ask Rebecca: How do I convince my family to get tested for celiac disease?

askrebecca

This begins my new Monday segment of Ask Rebecca! I will pick one question per week from the Facebook page, messages and email and answer it to the best of my ability! Today’s question comes from Facebook – Judy Grover!!

“How do I convince my family to get tested for celiac disease?

Rebecca: I honestly don’t think there is any good answer for this. Just like anything else, your family has to be on board with thinking they have a problem and be willing to get tested. The testing is expensive and can be challenging to get an accurate diagnosis. If there are no obvious symptoms, the person is also less likely to spend the money on getting the testing done. My mom didn’t end up getting tested until I nagged her for months about asking her doctor. Then when she finally did ask the doctor, he gave her inaccurate information because he was not educated on the disease. He told her because she did not have diarrhea, she didn’t need to get tested. It wasn’t until after I gave her more detailed information about all the possible symptoms and encouraged her to get tested again that she finally completed the test. The doctor (whose results I believe are suspect) told her she did not test positive for celiac disease and she didn’t need to be concerned. Again, I don’t know what tests were run or if they were even checked correctly. So, that’s the only thing I can go on. What I would encourage you to do is the following:

  • Become as educated as you can be on the disease to explain the importance of getting tested. Without being able to explain the importance and why you think they need to be tested, it’s going to be a struggle to get them to do it.
  • Remember that not everyone has it in your family just because you do! We are quick to assume everyone has it or should get tested for it because we are diagnosed, when that’s not always the case.
  • Keep your family updated on your own medical journey. Don’t be overbearing about it or make constant digs because it’s likely to backfire.
  • Don’t forget that as adults, we have the right to get our own testing done. It’s our own health and bodies and we should do what we feel is right for ourselves and not anyone else. Haven’t you ever had someone tell you to get tested for this or that when you were struggling with your symptoms? Sometimes the shoe fit and you asked your doctor, but other times you felt you didn’t have the symptoms so it wasn’t worth getting tested. We should respect our family’s rights to do what they see fit with their bodies. We can’t control how or what they do! The only thing we can be sure of is that we are treating ourselves the way we believe is happy and healthy.

Did you successfully get your family to get tested? Please leave your story below!

 

Celiac and Fitness: Everything You Need to Know Podcast

celiacfitness

This week I address celiac disease and fitness with my podcast – On The Air with Pretty Little Celiac.

I talk about motivation tips, how to get started and discuss the importance of moving when suffering from a chronic auto-immune disease!

Don’t forget you can subscribe on iTunes so you never miss a podcast.