Guest Blog by Gluten Away – I Am… Cards!

Celiac
Gluten Away – I Am…Cards

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of Taylor Miller’s since the first time I virtually met him. This 16-year old is so inspiring and I love what he’s done with his brand and promoting awareness for living the gluten-free lifestyle. He is just amazing.

When I saw his I Am… Cards – I thought – “What an ingenious idea!”

But, I’ll let him explain more…

Even though I’m 16 years old and you may be much older than me, I always found that there was one thing that everyone with a food allergy had in common … dining out. Every time I’d dine out I would either be paranoid that my food is somehow going to contain gluten or the staff may not understand the seriousness of my allergies. Every time, I would go out to eat I would have to explain my issues and ask many questions to assure that my meal is free of gluten and dairy since that is what I’m allergic to. But even after explaining all this there would still be times where I would end up getting sick anyways. I’m sure you’ve all dealt with this before and that’s why I created these cards to hopefully make your dining experience easier and safer again.

These cards are to be given to the waiter and kitchen staff as a visual representation of what allergies your meal should be free of. These cards clearly state what your allergies are and have spaces for your name and table number along with multiple allergies if you are more than gluten-free. I’m hopeful that this can shorten the time it takes to explain your allergies to the waiter, since I know how much it can feel like a hassle. For now I am selling these to individuals but I one day hope to have these in restaurants everywhere so there can be a system already in place to keep people with food allergies safe once and for all.

If you are interested in picking up some cards, you can do so over at Taylor’s Shop.

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.

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;)

 

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

13 Reasons Living Gluten-Free will make this the best year yet

I finally met Laura in person at the Celiac Awareness Tour in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012 and I just simply adore her! We have similar stories and passion for sharing information and awareness about celiac and gluten free living. I thought what a better way to do this than by cross promoting our blogs. So here is her guest blog!

Enjoy…

Rebecca

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13 Reasons Living Gluten-Free will make this the best year yet

If I could describe the month of January in three words it would be motivated, success, and failure. Yeah, you didn’t read the last word incorrectly, I meant to say failure. Why? Because two weeks in to this wintry month, resolutions turn into dreams, and results turn into that thing you will never obtain. Well folks, it’s time to change your failures into life changes! It’s time to be happy, healthy, and no longer support your bad habits and so-called addictions.

Have you been toying with the idea of going gluten-free? Did you doctor recommend this diet for you, but it seems so…difficult? Were you recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease and you just can’t seem to pull the final gluten plug?

Throw all of the things holding you back out the gosh darn window people!

Here are 13 reasons why going gluten-free in 2013 will make this the BEST year yet:

1. Stop being so tired!
Many suffer extreme fatigue as a symptom of Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. Think of all the times you say, “If I only had more energy I would be able to do more”, well here’s your chance! Going gluten-free can help you feel less sluggish so you will have the ability to do more of the things you love.

2. No more gas
Yuck, I know. But it’s reality, isn’t it? I tooted my own horn way too often before I went gluten-free, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Just days after going gluten-free my flatulence subsided. I no longer had deadly gas brewing, but instead I felt, dare I say, normal!

3. Sayonara, Bloated Stomach!
Do you ever feel like you’re a hot air balloon on the verge of popping? The culprit may be gluten. Before I went gluten-free, I would eat a slice of bread and look 6 months preggers just an hour later. The bloating side-effect may not seem like a huge deal, but once you no longer have to experience it, it is truly a wonderful thing!

4. See ya, Constipation!
Yeah, no one likes to talk about it, but it happens. One of the most uncomfortable things to experience is constipation. Some people that should be on a gluten-free diet experience constipation as a side-effect (while others experience the opposite). Both can be horrible. But, going gluten-free may take away all of your toilet troubles.

5. Vominos, Vomitting!
Although I didn’t personally experience this symptom, my sister did. She seemed to constantly be vomiting. What was mistaken in college for “drinking too much” has since been diagnosed as a side-effect of the gluten she was ingesting. If you experience the vomiting symptom regularly, think of how good life would be without it…

6. Stop being so Irritable
Tell your husband/wife/sister/friend that it’s not your fault you’re so irritable (well, to a certain extent). Many experience extreme irritability as a result of gluten in their diet. Imagine a life in which you aren’t so…wound up. Now go achieve it!

7. Get your ‘bean-stalk’ on
Many children suffering from Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance experience delayed growth before going on a gluten-free diet. If your child seems like they aren’t growing as they should be, gluten could be the common denominator. See what happens to your child’s height when they go on a gluten-free diet. You might have a weed on your hands after that!

8. Finally Gain the Weight
Some may call you crazy for explaining your weight loss as ‘unwanted’, but we understand. If you’re on a gluten-filled diet that doesn’t agree with your body, the result could be unexplained and unwanted weight loss. You simply are not absorbing the nutrients you need. Going gluten-free might be the answer to your problems.

9. Itchy Skin Resolution!
One of the most annoying things that can come from eating gluten is dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy skin rash that looks like eczema or poison ivy. This is one symptom that everyone can see. People can hide stomach pain, diarrhea, and flatulence, but you can’t hide unattractive skin rashes. Think of how beautiful life would be if you didn’t have to deal with this issue!

10. Feelings of Depression may Subside
There might be a reason you always feel down in the dumps. What could be better than testing out a gluten-free diet and seeing not only a change in your body, but also change in your mood?! By going gluten-free this year, you just might change a lot of negatives into positives!

11. Finally Hitting Puberty
All you teenagers and parents reading this – there may be an explanation for you or your child’s delayed puberty. I personally experienced delayed puberty that I attribute to my gluten-filled diet growing up. This is a symptom of Celiac Disease and could be remedied with a gluten-free diet.

12. Become ‘Regular’
Ladies, some women experience erratic menstrual periods as a result from their gluten-filled diet. This may seem trivial to some, but I know it can be mighty annoying when you’re the one dealing with it. Imagine a world where you become regular. Maybe a gluten-free diet can help you achieve that!

13. Be Healthy!
The number one thing a gluten-free diet can do for you in 2013 is help you to become healthy. Being healthy isn’t achieving just one thing; it is an all-encompassing term. A gluten-free diet may help you to alleviate several symptoms, enabling you to be healthy in your mind, spirit, and body. All three of these contribute to a happy life.

If you’re struggling to start a gluten-free diet this year, remember the above reasons why it can help you. You can also join the online gluten-free community for help and support through this confusing time.
It is also important to consult your doctor before going on a gluten-free diet.