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!~

The Importance of Taking Time for Yourself

I’ll admit, I’m a workaholic. Often times I find myself working off and on for 12-14 hours straight. I love being busy, creating projects, working on new stuff and finding new opportunities. It’s my nature, it’s in my blood. Despite owning Bexa Body Fitness, my world has been turned upside down by celiac disease and creating Pretty Little Celiac.

But, I will also admit that I know when I need a break or when it’s time to just take a moment and breathe.

Today is one of those days. I’m writing this post and then I’m spending time by myself today. Taking my beloved chocolate lab, Coach, to the park for a walk, run the stairs and some fresh air is always on the top of my list. I need some serenity and some peacefulness after an insanely busy few weeks.

Coach
Coach

When I worked for children services, I found myself running my mental state into the ground just to get things done and be more efficient, only to realize it made me less efficient. I made more mistakes on paperwork and found myself working in circles. That’s when I started picking up on my body’s signals for needing time to take a break.

Whether it’s just spending time with yourself or getting out there to do something fun, it’s essential to clear your mind for new things to enter. Everyone lives a busy life but if you don’t stop to smell the flowers, you won’t even  notice them after a while.

Today I’m stopping to smell the flowers and taking a break. I just know this little mini break will make me stronger for all the exciting projects I have coming up in the next couple of weeks. Don’t ever feel guilty about taking time for yourself. It’s very similar to being on a place when they tell you to place your oxygen mask on first and then help others around you! If you aren’t healthy and well, you can’t help anyone else. This situation applies to everyday living as well. In order to be your best for yourself and others, you have to feel your best. Being run down, exhausted and mentally unstable makes you unable to help others. So, make yourself strong! Take a few hours or days to yourself to recover! It. Will. Be. Okay.

Hopefully, this little mini post can help inspire you to do the same! And, until tomorrow – I’m off to spend some time alone!

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Listen to my first Pretty Little Celiac podcast episode!!!

If you have celiac disease or are living gluten-free, you know how tough it can be emotionally in your life. From food choices to random health ailments, this can be one of the most difficult times of your life. Let me guide you though this challenging component with stories of my own struggles and a question and answer session with you!

I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression and sadness which I’ve been blogging about for a while now. It’s time to take it a step further and engage with everyone on a more personal level.

I can help you make the transition to a happy gluten-free lifestyle.

Go Lo Foods Product Review

Go Lo Flatbread Recipe
Go Lo Flatbread Recipe

Go Lo Foods Product Review

Last week I posted this picture on Facebook and said if we got 100 likes, I would post the recipe on the blog. Well, we got over 100 likes which tells me you really want to know what all those delicious ingredients are on the cheeseburger veggie pizza I made last week.

Well, Go Lo Foods sent me a few products to try to review so this recipe is one that came from a product they sent me. I’ll post the recipe at the end of this post.

Go Lo Foods sent me their gluten-free flat bread, gluten-free pita and dark chocolate hazelnut spread to try out.

Go Lo Hazelnut Spread
Go Lo Hazelnut Spread

The Go Lo Dark Hazelnut Spread was great. Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Kosher are some of the great qualities about the product. It’s loaded with fiber in this 11oz jar and only 1.3 net carbs per 1.2 oz serving. No maltitol or sorbitol and no stomach ache after I tried it. I will say I’m always hesitant to do the sugar-free products because I think they taste weird but this did not! I melted about a tablespoon of it and dipped raspberries in it for an after dinner treat. It also was a nice change of pace from my usual almond butter on my rice cakes. You can find it online for $7.99-$9.99/jar depending on what website you find it on. HealthyLifeSeasons.com has it for $8.99.

Go Lo Gluten Free Pita Bread
Go Lo Gluten Free Pita Bread

The Go Lo Pita Bread is gluten-free, low-carb and low-sugar. Right off the bat I didn’t like the way the product cut open. The top part was very flimsy and it make it difficult to stuff or eat like a pita. I did eventually and slowly peel off the top part and put my fillings in it to throw in the George Foreman Grill. It cooked just fine and the most important part is that it tasted great. It is soft and was a delicious lunch addition for me. I will be buying this product again. It retails for $5.99 online.

My next project with them is pita chips!

Go Lo Flat bread is the biggest winner of all 3 of these products. I was amazed when I opened the container to find them flexible, not cracking and smooth. Just like a normal, gluten-filled flat bread would be. They are also low-carb and low-sugar along with gluten-free. We baked them for about 5 minutes first and then put the toppings on them.

My recipe for the cheeseburger pizza

1/2 cup grass-fed ground beef 1/4 cup low sugar and gluten-free marinara sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese – hormone free
Spinach
Mushrooms
Sweet Peppers

Layer accordingly on the flat bread after baking for about 5 minutes. Put back into the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. The meat should be cooked prior to going on the pizza.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Foods I’m Loving This Week

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A typical Earth Fare Score

Each week, I go to different stores and look for new and exciting gluten free foods to try. I post many of them as a picture on my Pretty Little Celiac Facebook page and write “awesome” or “gross” and then call it a day. But, there isn’t a way to search for those so I decided to start a Sunday night ritual of picking a few favorite gluten free things from the week and posting them here so that way you can see all the wonderful thing I am digging each week.

We recently had a Cabela’s store open right next to my precious Earth Fare so we decided to skip our favorite store for something new this weekend. A new Whole Foods opened in a neighboring suburb of Columbus, so we decided to go and check it out. While it was busy, it certainly wasn’t as insane as trying to get to Earth Fare with the grand opening traffic of Cabela’s. I’m glad we mixed it up because I found some cool things there this week!

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1. Lesser Evil Chia Chips
There is nothing I love more than a great crunchy chip and it seems to be one of my favorite things to try lately. I’ve had my fair share of lentil chips these last few months so I was excited to see something completely different.

Lesser Evil Chia Chips come in 4 different flavors – Crunchy Dill Pickle, Jalapeno White Cheddar, Feta and Black Olive and Southern Barbeque. We opted for the Jalapeno chips.

I really liked the consistency and the texture of the chips, they remind me a little of my favorite PopChips but a harder crunch factor. They were a little spicy for me and the powdered flavoring would sometimes breathe into your lungs causing me to cough while eating. Although the punch of the spice did prevent me from eating the whole bag in one sitting, so that’s a plus right?

They also donate 10% of their sales to Autism Speaks. That’s great! I love to see companies that give back to causes they believe in.

Lesser Evil also offers Kettlecorn that is gluten free and then their Krinkle Sticks, which are not gluten free.

Overall, I’m really looking forward to trying all these different flavors. I found these at Whole Foods. *Not an affiliate link or paid promotional product. I bought these with my own cold hard cash.

For several months now I’ve been trying to find something to help me add protein into my diet without having to cook meat and eggs all the time. If I’m in a jam, I will run in the grocery and get some preboiled eggs but they are expensive and I hate running into the store all the time.

Since I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 5 years now, I’ve tried and seen a million different products, but there is one I’ve always wanted to try. The Egg Whites International 100% pure liquid egg whites is that product.

Egg White International 100% pure liquid egg whites
Egg White International 100% pure liquid egg whites

2. Egg Whites International – 100% Pure Liquid Egg Whites
Every year the Arnold Classic Sports Festival is held in Columbus, Ohio the first weekend in March. Typically it is insanely busy but if you go right when the expo opens Friday at 10am, you are escaping the major crowds.

This year I finally decided to buy some egg whites because they had a great deal. 2 half gallon egg containers, 1 pump and free shipping for $42. I know you think that sounds expensive but if you’ve ever bought egg whites in the carton for $5 or more, you know that it quickly adds up.

They are shipped frozen and kept in the refrigerator after opening. You can find all the faq’s on their website here.

I’ve actually tasted them just plain and they don’t really taste like anything. You can cook with them, add them to your morning coffee or breakfast, put them in your shake or make protein snacks with them.

Today I mixed them with lactose free milk, berries, ice, water for a lactose free protein shake. You don’t even have to worry about all the chemicals in protein powders. But obviously if you can’t handle eggs, this  isn’t the protein for you! They have plenty of Recipes on their website.

If you choose to buy them, please use my affiliate link below. This helps me continue to try new products and then share all my gluten free goodies with you each week. As you all know, gluten free is expensive and using the affiliate link is not any more expensive for you!

Speaking of dairy, I’ve noticed that my belly will handle small amounts of lactose as long as they contain a large amount of probiotics. Milk is still out of the question but I was using the Kefir brand to help me get my vitamin’s down in the mornings. Well, we came upon another product at Whole Foods this weekend that I was excited to try. It didn’t hurt that the packaging was just so darn cute I couldn’t contain myself. (I tend to get excited over little things)

3. Siggi’s
These adorable little probiotic shots come in 3.7 oz drinkable yogurt containers. It truly is the perfect amount for me to take my 10 vitamins each morning. I purchased the blueberry flavor but it looks like from their website they have other flavors as well.

They also have non-fat yogurt, which I will be trying on our next trip to the store!

Have I mentioned I love Lactobacillus Acidophilus lately? Sounds like a dinosaur.

The parent company is called skyr – (which I love!) It is the traditional yogurt of Iceland and it has 2-3 times the protein count of standard yogurt (which I also love).

It not only tasted delicious, but was the perfect consistency for pill popping. Just enough to coat my belly and not let the cinnamon and fish oil create a steamy stomach bath of discomfort.

Basically, I haven’t found anything not to love about the Siggi’s pro-biotic drinks and I’m looking forward to trying their other products. *again not an affiliate – all on my own pretty little dime and opinion*

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve been searching for a great gluten free tortilla since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I think I finally found the answer.

Rudi’s Tortilla
Rudi’s Tortilla

4. Rudi’s Tortialla‘s
Pretty excited about these! They have a much better texture than other gluten free tortilla’s we’ve tried in the past. The biggest complaint I always have with the gluten free ones is that they always seem to crack at the seems and then your ingredients fall out.

I made a tuna salad melt with tuna, mayo, shredded cabbage & carrots and black olives with just a touch of cheese as a topping. Stuffed it in the tortilla and then threw it in the George Foreman grill to make it into a delicious melt. Argh until it started cracking again!

I’d definitely recommend these though over the other brands!

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Gluten Free Recipe: Lasagna Stuffed Flank Steak

Lasagna Stuffed Flank Steak – Gluten Free
Lasagna Stuffed Flank Steak – Gluten Free

Now this is a delightful gluten free recipe I can stand behind. The title is a little misleading because there are no noodles in this version of lasagna, just meat and the fillings!

I’m getting pretty good at stuffing meat with things and the flank steak is really easy to roll and stuff. Now that I have the hang of cutting the meat and getting it to open like a book, I can pretty much stuff it with anything! For the next few weeks, I will be focused on eating clean and getting lean so I want some items that are low or no carbs to help me hit my goal. For dinners, I rotate a small amount of carbs one night like sweet potatoes with another night of no carbs like this recipe here. The carb dinners are saved for the days I work really hard at the gym.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds of grass fed flank steak

3/4-1 cup of ricotta cheese – we used organic (shown below)

2 cups of spinach

1/2 cup of thinly sliced peppers (shown below)

3/4 cup of frozen, shelled edamame

1/4 cup of artichokes from a jar marinated (we used Trader Joe’s)

1 tablespoon of chopped garlic

1 tablespoon of onion powder

2 cups of gluten free marinara sauce (shown below)

Olive Oil and Parmasean Cheese

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, onion powder, spinach, peppers and edamame in a skillet to sautee

3. While this is cooking, get the flank steak out and cut open. You want to be sure not to cut it all the way through, you want it to open up like a book, as you can see in the top and bottom pictures. Cut the twine into pieces so you can get it tied all the way around and you will need 3 or 4 pieces.

4. Brush the meat with olive oil and add any other seasonings you might want to add. Italian seasonings would be a nice addition to this recipe. Put the ricotta cheese down leaving a nice edge around the meat. You don’t want it to spill out all over when you try to roll it.

5. Mix the spinach mixture with 1 cup of marinara sauce and then lay that on top of the ricotta cheese.

6.. Have the twine ready to slide under the meat when you roll it. It’s a good idea if you pick it up a bit and try to almost fold it over instead of rolling because it will smush the ingredients and push them forward instead of rolling. Tie it all up and cut off the extra twine at the top.

7.  I brushed a little more of the olive oil on the meat to prevent it from drying out.

8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how you like your meat.

9. We heated the extra sauce and put it on top of the meat when cut along with a little parmesan cheese.

I never finish my meal like this! It was that good. I would make this every week (actually I might;)

 

Celiac Disease and the Phoenix: Have you Reinvented Yourself Yet?

Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease

It’s funny how symbols we find important show up in every part of our life. For me, the Phoenix is a very important and symbolic thing because it is all about being reborn and reinventing yourself. It is a reminder that most things aren’t finite and we can at any time change our lives to something completely different. Accepting the consequences of those changes are often what people find discouraging about major decisions and avoid the opportunity to explore life to its fullest.

These changes can be something as simple as quitting your job, moving to somewhere different or as challenging as leaving an unhappy marriage or divorcing negative friends in your life. But regardless, these options are choices we make because they might better our lives.

It’s funny because when I opened Bexa Body Fitness, I wanted our logo to represent being reborn. I wanted it to be about finding that inner fire inside of you to drive you to where you want to go without looking back. Now I need to figure out how to incorporate that same theme into my Pretty Little Celiac world.

There are changes in our life that we don’t have the option of choosing like celiac disease, cancer, other physical ailments or death. It’s how people handle these horrific life events that make us all very different. For me, celiac disease was a heart breaking and devastating life event but not as terrible as watching my uncle suffer from pancreatic cancer  or sitting at the Cleveland Clinic on Christmas waiting for my grandfather to come out of surgery. There are people that fight this diagnosis and continue to eat gluten knowing it could cause them the more serious ailments like cancer but that’s their choice. They are choosing to ignore the easiest disease to take care of because you only need food.

Celiac disease is something we should be grateful for when caught early enough. All we have to do to cure celiac disease is eat gluten free. This gives us the ultimate opportunity to become a phoenix and reinvent our lives. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve been telling people I can’t cook and don’t like cooking. Primarily it was because in the past I never really had to and if I were hungry, I went out to eat.

I don’t have that luxury anymore. As much as I’ve been fighting it, I’m learning to cook. Turns out, I’m not too shabby.

I thought I would live my life in Columbus, become an awesome fitness personality and help people lose weight, get fit and love themselves. After my diagnosis with celiac and then endometriosis, I realized I have a higher calling than just fitness. I love coaching, training, teaching, consulting and all those things so I am thrilled I can incorporate my passion in so many different areas. I am reinventing myself. I am in every aspect of the word a Phoenix.

How have you reinvented yourself or become a Phoenix in your own world?

 

Gluten Free Open Face Burger Recipe with Chebe Breadstick Mix

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Gluten Free Open Face Burger

I love Chebe. I mean it, I really love Chebe products. It has become a staple in our house when we are craving pizza, bread sticks, cheese balls or whatever other doughy need we might have one night. Imagine my delight when I came home from a long day at the gym to find Aaron made these little treats for dinner!

I know its a lot of carbs but sometimes you just need a little carby indulgence after a long day of work.

So, you want to try to make these for dinner?

Here’s what you are going to need for my Gluten Free Open Face Burger

Ingredients:

1lb of Grass Fed Beef

1 Egg

3/4 Cup of gluten free bread crumbs (we use Tall Papa’s)

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 minced garlic cloves

1 Box of Chebe Breadstick Mix

1-2 cups of marinara sauce

4 slices of cheese (we used mozzarella)

How to assemble!

1. Follow Chebe directions on box to get the dough ready and then flatten into round pods. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. You want them to be about the same size as the burger patties. So however large your burgers are, that’s the size of the bread bottom. Brush the dough with some coconut oil before baking and putting on a nonstick pan in the oven.

2. Mix the ground grassfed beef, egg, breadcrumbs into a bowl. Shape into 4 patties and cook on low heat with coconut oil in a skillet or other frying pan on the stove. Cook to your desired temperature.

3. You want the burgers and the bread to be done at the same time!

4. Take the roll out of the oven – top with the burger patty, slice of cheese to your liking  (we used mozzarella) and some red sauce on top. Cook for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese and heat up the marinara sauce.

5. Take out and enjoy!

Gluten Free Open Face Burger
Gluten Free Open Face Burger

**I am not sponsored, paid or given product by Chebe. I genuinely love their products. They are the greatest thing we’ve found since going gluten free.**

 

I’m a WeGo Health Activist Finalist for Rookie of the Year Award 2012!!!

I’m a finalist for the Rookie of the Year Award!
I’m a finalist for the Rookie of the Year Award!

I am SO excited that I’m just smiling ear to ear today after hearing I am a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award by the WeGo Health website! Click on the link to see the other finalists and share or comment on the post!

What does the WeGo Health program do?

WEGO Health is a different kind of social network, built from the ground up for the community leaders, bloggers and tweeters who are actively involved in health online. WEGO Health is a platform for committed health advocates to foster new relationships, gain access to helpful resources, and to grow their communities. And it’s free.

Our goal is to equip our network with opportunities designed for the active contributor, relevant content, powerful educational resources and shareable interactive media. We hope that the bloggers, tweeters, and community leaders that we call Health Activists will find inspiration, strength and support here.

All I can say is THANK YOU to my followers and the gluten free and celiac community for opening your arms to me and bringing me into your world.

 

xo

Rebecca

A love letter to my dreamy husband Aaron – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day and I spent last night making Aaron a delicious gluten free meal that was completely different for us and outside the box. You see my husband is a simple man. And not stupid simple but basic simple. He just wants the basics to live debt free (which will never happen because I owe my life to the student loan industry), well fed, well rested and happy. He doesn’t need or want fancy things or to go on fancy trips to make him happy. I make him happy. He makes me happy. It’s amazing how time, life events and maturity can make life that simple.

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Valentine’s Day Roses dipped in Gold so they would last forever.

When I had a full time job making a good salary, I loved buying things. Nice and expensive things. I had Coach bags, designer clothes and shoes and we went on vacation a lot. But in life priority changes and situations change making you adapt or struggle. While I loved having a steady paycheck, I stopped loving my job. I was miserable and unhappy. Looking for ways to go out on my own. Aaron was and is my number one cheerleader. It’s funny how when the money went away, so did my desire to buy stuff all the time. Opening a business of my own was what I wanted to do and I couldn’t do the things we did before. We both made sacrifices for my business and Aaron did it with open arms (ok well with a few battles here and there).

I’m not going to say our life is perfect because it’s not. In the past 5.5 years of marriage we’ve certainly been tested. There have been fights, nights slept on the couch, trips to my mom’s house (alone), yelling, swearing but there have been many more times of laughter, love and joy. To say Aaron is my soul mate would be cliche but true. He makes me want to be a better person and perform at the top of my game. He also eats gluten free with me and makes me gluten free foods without complaints. I’d say that’s love right there…

In the past year and a half, I opened Bexa Body Fitness, was diagnosed with celiac disease, hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, a latex allergy, endometriosis and starting Pretty Little Celiac. It’s certainly been quite the journey. Aaron has always been there. I never had to question his love, dedication or happiness in our marriage. We accept each other for our strengths and flaws but I obviously have fewer flaws! (ha jk I’m a hot mess)

He tried acupuncture with me even though he never has anything wrong.
He tried acupuncture with me even though he never has anything wrong.

So for this Valentine’s Day, I listened to him and tried to make him a great dinner. Aaron usually cooks for us every night so I think he enjoyed coming home to a delicious dinner and gluten free desserts! Although whenever I make dinner it usually starts with , “Now I’m not so sure about this, I just made it up.” He did end up doing the rest of the dishes.

To my dearest Aaron:

You are the love of my life, my best friend and partner in crime. I couldn’t imagine my life without you. The last 8 years have been such a growing experience and I’m glad we could grow together. I really can’t wait to see what the next 50 years have in store for us, but I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. Now, let’s see if you actually read my blog.

I love you,

Your Pretty Little Wife