Natural Products Expo East 2013 Giveaway!!!

Expo East Giveaway
Expo East Giveaway

Natural Products Expo East 2013 Giveaway!!!

This blog post is embarrassing for me!

I went to Natural Products Expo East in September and have been meaning to get around to do this giveaway for you for weeks now. It seems like a day turned into a week, which turned into a month went way too quickly and time has certainly gotten away from me.

We are finally feeling like home in our new apartment. The walls are painted and we actually have a couch! Living on outdoor furniture for 3 weeks was taking a toll on us…

I’ll admit, I haven’t been very motivated to blog. I haven’t been motivated to do much of anything since we moved away from Columbus. I miss my friends, my clients and my business. I miss the familiarity of knowing how to get places and where everything is in the city. But, while a large part of me misses my old life, an even bigger piece of me loves my new life.

I’m getting out, meeting people, joining organizations and applying for part-time jobs. I started playing tennis, I joined a yoga studio and I’m working on lots of new projects with Andrew Cordova over at GF Magazine! Things are great and I’m starting to crawl out of my cave.

I feel I owe it to all of you, my loyal readers, to give you a fantastic giveaway filled with goodies and that is exactly what I am going to do…

So, how do you enter this amazing giveaway? Simple! Follow the instructions below in the Rafflecopter prize program and then see if you win on Sunday!

What’s in the prize pack? Tons of samples, information, goodies and PLC gear!!!!

International Celiac Disease Symposium 2013: Recap Day 1

International Celiac Disease Symposium September 23-25, 2013
International Celiac Disease Symposium September 23-25, 2013

Wow. Just wow. That is all I can say right now after my first day at the ICDS 2013.

I am forever grateful and thrilled I was able to attend this monumental event in Chicago. The information I learned already is so incredibly valuable and helps wade through much of the misinformation you find on the internet or hear through the grapevine.

The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is not to trust information found on the internet, even studies! They are filled with inaccuracies, small sample sizes or inconclusive information that can spread like wildfire. There are world-renowned celiac experts at this conference, sharing their findings, beliefs and information about celiac disease.

If you aren’t sure what the heck I’m talking about yet, the International Celiac Disease Symposium is a 3 day event held every 2 years in cities all over the world. Here is what the conference is all about directly from the ICDS2013 website,

“While the 15th ICDS meeting will continue to build upon the successes of 40 years of past ICDS scientific programs, the Chicago meeting is designed to address the interests of all of those affected by celiac disease and gluten-related disorders – from physicians and researchers to patients and clinicians to family and friends. The ICDS Chicago will present two distinct interactive educational tracks. The meeting will bring together the world’s top scientists and physicians to discuss the most recent scientific advances in managing and treating celiac disease and gluten-related disorders while a separate clinical forum will be held to further educate dietitians, clinicians, and patients.“

It’s impossible for me to share all the information I learned today into one blog post so I am going provide some information based on the major points of the discussions. If you head over to Twitter and do a #ICDS2013 search, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tweets from the event that will blow your mind!

Here are some great things I learned today:

  1. We are not born with celiac disease. Genes, yes but the actual disease can develop at any age or stage of life.
  2. Women are diagnosed 2-3 times more frequently than men.
  3. When a biopsy is done, advocate and ask for 4-6 biopsy samples to be taken during the procedure. 2 is simply not enough.
  4. There is a major lack of follow-up with doctors and celiac patients – patients must advocate for their health and not only see their doctor for follow-up appointments, but work with a registered dietitian to ensure proper nutrition is being received by the celiac patient. There are inadequate follow-up visits, no assessment of compliance with diet, no follow-up biopsies are being done and inadequate f/u serology testing.
  5. Gluten alters bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome if they are positive for the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 gene but do not have celiac disease.
  6. Just because you have the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 genes, it does not mean you have celiac disease.
  7. Celiac disease is seriously under diagnosed in men.
  8. There is not enough information to diagnose non celiac gluten sensitivity and no reliable information is available to determine how many people may be affected by this because screening is unknown as well.
  9. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth may be a problem in people who have similar symptoms as IBS or Celiac but aren’t diagnosed. There isn’t a lot of research on this but a hydrogen test is available. (Actually, this test is something I have at my house to take next week when I get back from the conference)
  10. A gluten-free diet should never be started prior to ruling out or being diagnosed with celiac disease.
  11. Doctors are still recommending a gluten challenge for people who have been gluten-free on their own merit or for other reasons and then need to be tested for celiac disease.
  12. If you have a first degree relative diagnosed with celiac disease, you should be tested.
  13. Support groups for children and adolescents are the best way to help them cope with their diagnosis. If you can’t find one, create one yourself. Sometimes we need to take these matters into our own hands in order to help the kids.
  14. Osteoporosis normalizes within 3 years of following a gluten-free diet of people with celiac disease.
  15. Failure to adhere to a gluten-free diet will cause continued bone density loss and contribute to osteoporosis.

The 4 out of 5 Signs Rule for having celiac disease – you should have 4 of 5 of these done in order to diagnosed celiac disease:

  1. Presence of signs and/or symptoms compatible with celiac disease
  2. Positive serology testing (TTG +/- EMA)
  3. Compatible HLA genes (DQ2 e/0 DQ8 positive)
  4. Positive internal biopsy with enteropathy (damage) typical of celiac disease
  5. Resolution of symptoms with a strict compliance with a gluten free diet

In total, my mind was filled with information and excitement to not only learn about celiac disease, but also to have safe foods to snack on and enjoy for 3 full days. Stay tuned for more information from tomorrow and Wednesday!

 

Dear Diary: I Think I’m Having a Tri-Life Crisis!

It’s a late night on our second full day of vacation and I’m sitting on our balcony, in the peaceful darkness, listening to the crashing of the waves with the sweet sound of cicadas chirping in the background. There’s a lot on my mind and keeping me awake.

When I think about the last few years of my life, the memories are filled with highs and lows, which seem like a never-ending roller coaster. Many of you may also think of your life in this manner too! I guess part of life is dealing the ebbs and flows as they come and developing the skills necessary to stand tall during the times of adversity. I’m proud to say I’ve gone through a ton of stuff and am still smiling and pushing forward to this day.

My first book coming out this fall is a self-help memoir about using these negative events, the lows as I would call them, to help propel you to the next chapter of your life. Looking back on all of the adversity throughout my lifetime, I realize that each one of these moments were life lessons to be used for the future. Sometimes though, you just want things to be easy.

I don’t want life to be easy, because I think frankly that would be pretty boring.

But, as I sit on a beautiful vacation, with my wonderful husband, in tears over all the changes we have going on in our life it really makes me wonder.. Am I doing something wrong?

Major life changes typically provoke thoughts and conversations that you didn’t even expect. I’m struggling with my sense of identity once we move to Washington DC next month. Who will I be there? What will I do? How will I fill my days?

Of course I will worry about my business in Columbus and our house we can’t sell. I’m sure I will have health issues to address and aches and pains to mend. The first few months will be filled with getting things settled in our new place, exploring the new city and making new friends. But, what happens after that?

I have an exciting opportunity to be whoever I want to be in a new town with new friends and create our new life, so why is this so stressful? Is it because I have too many options or am I having an identity crisis?

A Tri-Life Crisis? (I am in my 30′s so this is the term I’ve coined for struggling with your identity 30 years into life)

I know. I know. That’s ridiculous. (or is it?)

I will figure things out but right now I have a lot of things going on pushing me into panic mode! Never one to sit still, I will find things to fill my time. In a few months, my posts will be exciting and provide you will my fun gluten-free finds in the new city and some new opportunity that I found through my innate ability to network and connect with people.

But, I still can’t shake that feeling. The feeling of being the new girl in town and answering the question, “So, what do you do?”

I’m usually great at making major decisions and horrible at the small ones like, “where should we go for dinner?” or “What movie should we see tonight?”

In the end, it will all work out but for this moment I find myself questioning everything.

Gluten and Dairy Free Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe Guest Post

Well, I’m off to Hilton Head on vacation and have some wonderful guest posts lined up for you this week while I’m gone. The first comes from Tiffany Hinton with her fabulous gluten and dairy free ice cream sandwiches!
Enjoy!

Gluten and Dairy Free Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe Guest Post

Tiffany Hinton bio 
Tiffany Hinton is a Super Mom, Business Owner, Best Selling Author, and Gluten-free lifestyle expert!  Tiffany started writing several years ago, while going through treatments for infertility. Tiffany learned in 2009 she was gluten intolerant along with being lactose intolerant, turning her life up side down. Not know where to start and pre-made gluten-free items being too pricey. She started to experiment and explore cooking and baking; still wanting family favors to eat. With research and practice Tiffany can now turn any desirable recipe into gluten and dairy free, without sacrificing the taste.

Do you remember those hot summer days as a child where an ice cream sandwich brought the taste of chocolate and cold ice cream in an easy to hold treat… This was the first time my girls got to experience this wonderful memory from my childhood. As a Mom with 2 little girls who have gluten allergies and one who can not have dairy, it is always an adventure.

Do you remember those hot summer days as a child where an ice cream sandwich brought the taste of chocolate and cold ice cream in an easy to hold treat…
This was the first time my girls got to experience this wonderful memory from my childhood. As a Mom with 2 little girls who have gluten allergies and one who can not have dairy, it is always an adventure.

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Nummy, Nummy and Franki’s new word tasty!  The repeated request for chocolate and I knew these were a huge hit.
To make your own you will need the Brownie Bite Recipe from Gluten Free Mom Certified and the Dairy Free Ice Cream from Summer Thyme.  (both are fabulous cookbooks of mine)
Here is a link to the Ice Cream Recipe
and a short video with instructions

Tips for Handling a Bad Gluten-Free Dining Experience

What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?
What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?

What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?

I travel frequently and love to try new places, despite living a gluten-free life. I put my health in the hands of strangers all the time but it never gets easier. The language barriers seem to be one of the hardest situations I encounter when explaining that I can’t consume gluten.

But through all the experiences, some are wonderful, positive and delicious and others leave little to be desired.

So, you had a bad gluten-free restaurant experience? Now what?

Anyone who lives a gluten-free lifestyle has survived a less than enjoyable experience in a dining establishment. Whether you deal with an agitated waiter or an uneducated kitchen staff, the experience still leaves a salty taste in your mouth. No one wants to go out to eat and have a great time, only to leave there a feel a gluten poisoning coming on to ruin the next few days of your week.

Most recently I entered into a dispute with a manager from a place I’ve eaten at before and received wonderful service from the girls working there, over their gluten-free menu. He told me it didn’t exist and when I asked for the orange menu from behind the bar with the gluten filled items scratched out on it, he told me the menu was exactly the same as the regular one. No kidding, I know it’s the same, but this one very clearly has it blacked out the items they can’t make safe for me and giant warnings about their chips not cooked in a dedicated fryer. He literally argued with me for 5 minutes about it before I just sat down and talked to my server about it.

I’ve been poisoned before and had a bad experience. Here are my tips on how to handle an unpleasant gluten-free restaurant experience.

  1. Try not to fly into an immediate rage or hysterics. While certainly you are emotional and for all the right reasons, now isn’t the time to go into antics. Compose yourself and ask to speak to the manager.
  2. Hopefully, the manager will offer to make it right or at least take care of your bill since they made you sick and it will end with them. But, sometimes you need to take it up the chain. One time I suffered from a horrible experience at an Asian themed restaurant where they served me an entire plate of regular sauced food and I was sick immediately. I barely made it out of there without changing my pants. The manager was less than sympathetic and assured me I received the correct meal. Clearly by my dash to the restroom before I even finished eating was a sign he didn’t know what he was talking about. I had no choice but to take it up a level.
  3. I wrote an email to the corporate office of the restaurant. I explained the situation in a calm, descriptive manner. When they didn’t respond within 48 hours, I wrote a blog post about my experience.
  4. The blog post was shared with their Facebook and Twitter pages and sure enough within 12 hours of the post, I received a message from them and spoke with their communications director who offered me a gift card in exchange for my experience.
  5. Then I wrote a review on Yelp and copied it to other sites with the corrected information about how they made the situation better and finally responded to the problem.

I am NEVER quick to write a bad review. I believe the business has the right to remedy the situation prior to it escalating to a negative review or blog post. When I write the review, I will mention the problem and then clearly explain how they decided to make the situation better.

If the manager and/or owner fail to respond to my attempts to get them to remedy the situation, then I will make it known very publicly about the situation and my attempts to offer them the opportunity to make things better.

Have I gone back to a restaurant after having a negative experience? Yes. But, if I have a problem on the second time, I can tell you it will be my last time eating there.

There are also times where I’ve gone to places that I loved because I always felt safe and they failed me. It happens everywhere and we need to always have our guard up.

 

It’s okay to be in a funk!

Funk.

I. Am. In. A. Funk.

I’ve  been traveling a lot lately and I think it is starting to take a toll on my body. There is this funky feeling I haven’t had for quite some time now and I don’t know exactly how to put my finger on it.

I just feel off. Not on my A game.

Am I worried something might be going on with my body? Absolutely.

Do I think it’s probably a combination of stress, anxiety, traveling, how busy I’ve been and just generally trying to keep my head above water? Yes.

If you are reading my blog, you know all about feeling “off.” That feeling you get when something isn’t right and you aren’t quite sure if it was the food you ate, how you are sleeping or something internal. Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac disease and endometriosis, I think I am much more in tune to my body than every before. I pick up on patterns now and realize things much faster than before. But even now, I still get stumped by things.

My weight keeps on increasing despite attempts to get back on the fitness program. I know I’ve been snacking more lately and drinking alcohol more than normal but not to the point of where my weight is now. I recommitted to myself 4 days ago and am on the right track. I’m motivated and ready to go. So, then why have I had a migraine for 3 days? It’s like there is always something to get in the way lately and I haven’t been in the mood to push through it.

Sometimes I am hard on myself. I’m in the fitness industry, I own a gym and I write fitness articles so I assume I should look the part. But, on the flip side, I have a few chronic diseases that people can’t see which control my body in more ways than one. It’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. Actually, my therapist last year said that “frustrated” is just a nicer word for anger. Which is true, I am mad at myself and my body today.

I think it’s important to share my feelings on good days and bad days for all of you to know I’m not perfect (as much as I’d like to think I am though lol). I go through those periods where it just seems like everything goes wrong and you just want to watch TV all day. I’m trying now to pull myself out of it and it’s tough but I can do it. Last night the last thing I wanted to do with a headache was do a workout, so instead I took the dog for a walk. He enjoyed it and his happy tail wagging helped me with my mood. Aaron even came out with us last night and did a tour of the neighborhood. It was nice.

I’ll get through this! I know I will. I want you to know you will too. If you feel like you’re in a funk and just can’t get out of it, that’s okay.

Sometimes, we just need to hit the restart button.

I have a ton of stuff going on in my personal life that I can’t talk about publicly yet (all good stuff!) but they are major life changes (no I’m not pregnant) and have consumed a lot of my time and life the last few months. I need to pay attention to everything wonderful in my life and just keep treading water until things get better!

Conquering Self Doubt

decisiontotry

Self doubt. I’m not immune to it. Some days it completely fills my thoughts.

Tackling a major project can seem so difficult. The goal looks so far in the distance and completely out of reach. It feels like you are never going to get to where you want to go. I started writing my book about 2 months ago and finally submitted it to my editor today!

Talk about time-consuming and feeling like you are never going to get something done. I’m celebrating at the park where I’ve been writing my book for the last few weeks and just enjoying blogging without feeling guilty for not allocating this time to writing my book. I apologize for the sporadic blog posts the last 2 months, but when you take on the project of writing 60,000 words for a book, its tough to keep going for a blog post. But, I didn’t forget about you, I promise!

When I took on this book writing project, I knew it was going to be difficult. It was doing to be hard. I went deep into my own life to share my rock bottom stories with you and how I moved on to see another day. A better, more positive day. I can’t wait to get this book to print!

Everything I read said “write every day.” And, I did. Even if it was 300 words, I added to my book every. single. day. The days added up and so did the words. I submitted the book a week later than planned. But had I turned it in last week, I would have been sub par at best. I needed more days and more time to fine tune it. I’m so glad I took that time. Although it’s just my rough draft, I’m happy with the first result.

I honestly doubted myself the entire way through this process.

Could I write this book?

Who will read this book?

Who cares?

I started Pretty Little Celiac with the same doubts and look where it’s grown to this day. If I gave up a year ago, we wouldn’t know each other and you wouldn’t be reading this blog! I’m writing my story to tell how I overcome adversity to live a happy and full live. I share my deepest and darkest secrets from my life to help you heal and move on – I swear, I am sharing EVERYTHING.

Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on the status of the book. It’s set to come out mid-October, just in time for my speaking engagement at the Food Allergy Blogger Conference in Las Vegas November 2-5.

Of course, I’m already planning my celiac book for summer 2014!

Thank you for sticking with me and sharing your stories! It pushes me to work harder and help even more than I already do

 

Recipe: Clean and Gluten Free Rotisserie Chicken

chickendinner
Clean Rotisserie Chicken

Maybe I should have called this Fauxtisserie Chicken because it tastes like it but without cooking it the same way!

I’ve been pretty bored with our options lately at home and feel a rut coming on with dinners. In order to stop it, I found some ideas for clean gluten-free dinners and I’ll post them as we go each week. The first one was a home run and I’m thrilled to tell you about it!

I wanted to get a rotisserie chicken but I think we need to open our eyes to the hormones in those chickens and fillers to make them so cheap at the grocery stores. I guess technically this is a baked chicken but it looked and tasted just like a rotisserie so I’m going to call it that!

So, I ran over to Trader Joe’s to see what they had in the store that day. I found a small, organic, young chicken which weighed about 4.5 pounds. A little big for Aaron and I but I figured it would make great left overs.

Here’s how I made it

Ingredients

-Small Chicken – preferable hormone free and organic
-4 Tablespoons of coconut oil
-2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary
-2 Garlic pieces – chopped or minced
-3 Tablespoons of unsalted grassfed butter – we use Kerrygold
-2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean the chicken with water and then put it in an oven save dish or roasting pan. I used a clear pyrex baking dish because that’s all I have to work with.
  3. In a small saute pan – I threw it on low heat and mixed the coconut oil, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and butter for about 5 minutes to let the flavors mix together
  4. Once the chicken was clean I put it in the glass pan and grabbed a marinade brush to rub the dressing all over the chicken making sure it covered the whole surface and I poured the rest inside the chicken.
  5. Cook the chicken for 25-30 minutes per pound. My 4.5 pound chicken was done in about 75 minutes
  6. We let it cool for about 1o minutes prior to cutting
  7. It was served with broccolini that I baked and threw some kerrygold butter on after taking it out

I was delightfully giddy when my husband cut into the chicken and the juices streamed into the pan. I don’t care for the skin but it was crispy as you can see from the picture! It was amazing. It’s  very rare I venture out to try new things like this but I must say this was a home run. Something I will make in the future. It only took about 15 minutes to get ready so the cooking time took the longest.

Gluten Free Sausage and Wild Rice Recipe

Gluten Free Sausage and Wild Rice Recipe
Gluten Free Sausage and Wild Rice Recipe

Gluten Free Sausage and Wild Rice Recipe

Last night I made a random gluten-free version of a jambalaya with a few things we had in our kitchen and it turned out very clean and tasty! Who knew whole foods could taste this good and be this easy?

Ingredients:

1 cup Wild Rice
3 Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Chicken Sausage (yup they are gluten-free!)
1 cup Mushrooms
3 cloves Garlic
6  total of small red, yellow & orange Sweet Peppers
4 tablespoons grass-fed Butter
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 cups Spinach
1 can Cannellini Beans

 

How to make:

  1. Make 1 cup (dry) wild rice. I mixed it with water but you can also mix with gluten-free broth to add some additional taste.  It takes about 45 minutes to cook so make sure you get in on the stove in advance.
  2. About 30 minutes after you put on the rice – Grab a sauté pan and put 4 tablespoons of butter, 3 cloves of fresh garlic, 2 cups of fresh spinach, 6 small sweet peppers chopped into bit size pieces, 1 can of navy beans, 1 cup of mushrooms and 3 sausages cut up into bite size pieces. Mix them all together really well and throw the lid on it for about 10 minutes.
  3. When the rice is done, make sure all the liquid is drained and mix the rice in the sauté pan. Be sure to mix all the ingredients in very well. I threw in a little bit of garlic salt to add some extra flavor.
  4. Perfect for lunch leftovers! Enjoy
Trader Joe’s Spicy Chicken Sausage
Trader Joe’s Spicy Chicken Sausage