Rants, Raves, Recipes, Reviews

“Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with.” Robert Staughton Lind ~ The upcoming CHARLOTTE NC GLUTEN & ALLERGEN FREE WELLNESS EVENT 2014

“Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with.” Robert Staughton Lind

~ Arm yourself with helpful knowledge at the upcoming


With So Much information available these days on gluten free diets, its hard to know what is the right thing to do. The upcoming expo will be an EXCELLENT opportunity to come and learn a great deal of helpful information in a short amount of time.

One of my posts last week included links to popular blogs that I have enjoyed! Lo and behold, some of the authors of these blogs will be coming here to the Charlotte, NC area on March 29th, 2014 for the expo!

At the expo, we will have the opportunity to learn from the following people:

Jennifer Fugo of Gluten Free School whose blog can be found here: http://www.glutenfreeschool.com/

“Four Ways to SAVE BIG on a Healthy, Gluten Free Diet”

Jennifer will share top strategies that can save you thousands of dollars each year without making you a slave to your kitchen. Engaging and highly informative…”

and Carol Kicinski, magazine founder & Editor-in-Chief of “Simply Gluten Free” Magazine, TV chef, cookbook author, and gluten-free recipe developer, AND THE CREATOR OF THE GLOBAL GLUTEN FREE COMMUNITY of which I am now a member!!! 🙂


The event will be held:
March 29, 2014 between 10 am – 4 pm

Harris Conference Center
3216 CPCC Harris Campus Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28208

Click Here for the Presentation Schedule.

Sponsors such as Glutino, Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery and Udi will be there as well as many others; •Akea Life •Arbonne •Bakery On Main •Beverly’s Gourmet Foods •Brain Balance of Cornelius •Bumbalooza •Camp Weekaneatit •Candies Delightful Italian Icees •Charlotte Celiac Connection •Chia Co. •Earth Balance •Earth Fare •Elemental Wellness •Enjoy Life Foods •Europa Sports – Nogii & NOW bars •FFARMS •FUEL Pizza •Freedom Foods •Gluten Free Buyer’s Guide •Glutino •Healthy Home Market •Juice Plus •KALO Foods •Kinnikinnick •Maddy’s Fatty’s •Mrs. Poundcake •New Planet Beer •Nourish Charlotte •Quinoa Corporation •Roots Hummus •Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery •Savory Spice Shop •Simply Gluten Free Magazine •Thrive •Tito’s Vodka •Udi’s Gluten Free Foods •Virtuous Living •Viva Raw •YoDish and many more!

So come out, learn about going gluten free economically, get some ideas, recipes, coupons and samples and don’t be afraid to eat the food! How great is that? 🙂

Not near Charlotte? Don’t worry! For other 2014 Gluten and Allergy Free Expo locations throughout the US please click here.

Until next time,
Keep Reading and Eating!
~ Christa ~


PS: Don’t forget about the Fun St. Patrick’s Day recipes for your loved ones and four legged friends on my Pinterest page found here:

Rants, Raves, Recipes

The Luck of the Irish and Other interesting Facts~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

This Monday will be the fun filled day of green beer, green burgers, maybe even green eggs and ham, but what is St. Patty’s day really about anyway?

You know… I didn’t know.

So, I looked it up! 🙂

Here’s a couple of quick little film clips you can watch from the history channel:


and http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/st-patricks-day-facts/videos

Basically, it has to do with the celebration of one man, St. Patrick, in Ireland & now the U.S.

So how did we get into doing all the crazy dying of rivers, drinks and food green?

Well, I guess we are just a little eccentric! It is apparently a U.S. thing.

And why all the pinching?

The answers differ, but…according to Ask.com “One gets pinched on St Patricks day because they are not wearing green. It is a tradition that St. Patrick’s revealers thought wearing green made one invisible to (fairy creatures) leprechauns, who would pinch anyone they could see not wearing green. So people began to do this as reminder that the leprechauns would sneak up and pinch you.” (http://www.ask.com/question/why-do-you-get-pinched-on-st-patricks-day)

What about the “luck of the Irish?”

Well, different sources say different things. Some say it is an ironic statement because of the historically bad times they’ve had. Others say it is because of the ability to bounce back after hard times, and also, the “luck” they had while panning for gold during the gold rush. Interesting thought.

What’s the deal about the four leaf clover?

You know… I don’t know! I found 51 four leaf clovers sitting on the side lines during gym class in my senior year of high school, but it didn’t seem to change my luck any. 🍀

I hope you have enjoyed our little comically influenced, historical aside.

Listen to the funny, somewhat traditional “Unicorn Song”! 🎶 🎶 (to view the pics click on the you tube logo to go to you tube)

Enjoy the festivities, remember that beer does contain gluten unless properly marked, and maybe try some of the suggestions below!

Have FUN!! Wear green or not. And enjoy the food if you can. 🙂


Make a yummy gluten free, non-dairy mint chocolate chip shake using coconut milk, and So Delicious’ Mint Chip Ice Cream. Check your mint flavoring to make sure the alcohol used to make it is gluten free!

Homemade Limeaid with Stevia or Agave (low glycemic) nectar to taste instead of sugar!

Irish Soda Bread with fun history facts behind it:

Gluten free Shamrock cupcakes: don’t use Guinness beer. Use either a gluten free variety or coffee.

Good Ole’ Fashioned Corned Beef and Cabbage (A little challenging for those going Paleo or Autoimmune).

To find more Gluten Free Recipes, please see my pins on Pinterest. Including fun Gluten free pet treats for our four legged friends. 🙂


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
author unknown~

Happy Reading and Eating!


Rants, Raves, Reviews

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich ~ Alone in Illness and Health.

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

~ Feeling Alone in Illness and Health is Not Necessary~

Sometimes, when dealing with illness, and modifying one’s life to accommodate new dietary issues, one can feel alone or discouraged about things.

I think the greatest lesson that I have learned over the past month and a half or so is how great the online community is!

There are so many creative people out there thinking around their problems, sharing resources and recipes and encouraging one and other. For that I am really thankful.

I receive email updates daily from various bloggers who have been incredibly helpful and encouraging.

Some of which will be mentioned below.

I am also a new member of a Gluten Free Global Community!!! Yes my friends, we are NOT alone. 🙂

Gluten Free Global Community

Some of the great bloggers that I have found that are extremely helpful, kind, and empathetic are as follows. I recommend signing up for their newsletters as they also share about other bloggers as well!

The helpful blogs and websites have been;

Pinterest is a wonderful resource!!! You may follow my Pinterest board here:

Here I’ve pinned over 2000 entries and more are soon to follow!

While these are just a few references, I really appreciate all that everyone has done to offer creative solutions to a difficult situation! While everyone may enjoy a little solitude once in a while, we do not have to feel alone! 🙂

Please feel free to share your favorite blogs in response to this post!

Happy Reading and Eating,

Rants, Raves, Reviews

Glutino~ YUM!

Over recent weeks, I have settled for the crunch of celery when I have had massive “crunchy food” cravings.

Then, my mom bought me Glutino!

The skies parted, the rain clouds cleared… low an behold in my hands I held the key to all things crunchy!

glutino cookies

Cautiously (I didn’t want to get my hopes up).. I carefully read the nutrition label and found that it did have some soy and eggs, but it was worth a try.

All I can say is… OH MY GOHHHH…. 🙂 I have found the answer!

The cookie itself is made with confectioner’s sugar and starches in place of wheat, so if you are watching your sugars, you may want to be careful.

Needless to say, after weeks of gluten wheat free eating of no sweets and very limited foods, I was in heaven! I know that as I learn more about my new dietary changes and learn to cook again, things will get better… but until then…

Thank you Glutino for not adding the artificial sweeteners that I cannot have so that I may on occasion indulge. You are my HERO!

There’s cookies, pasta, pretzels and more.

You can get Glutino coupons here and sign up for their newsletter if you are really a fan! 🙂

Just be forewarned, the whole “Bet you can’t eat just one!” principle really applies!

Until next time,
Happy Reading and Eating!

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Rants, Reviews

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Nelson Mandela ~ How Going Gluten Free and Positive Attitudes Can Help!

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Nelson Mandela

~How Going Gluten Free and Positive Attitudes Can Help!~

The one thing that I am discovering more and more is the amazement of how the human body works. How everything is pieced together and wonderfully made. The fact that our body when healthy is a well-oiled machine is amazing. Then, through genetics, external influence, or negligence a body can rapidly change.

What about how a person’s attitude can change based upon how one feels… and how one feels can also be changed based upon one’s attitude! It seems as though it may be a catch 22.

Those dealing with chronic illness may relate more than those who are not…

Apparently, our minds are hard wired to respond to negative stimuli in a way much like that of prey discovering they are in the path of a tiger… At least that is the illustration used in this article about the influence of negative thought within the human mind. As they put it “In each case, your brain closes off from the outside world and focuses on the negative emotions of fear, anger, and stress — just like it did with the tiger. Negative emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you. It’s your survival instinct.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/positive-thinking_b_3512202.html)

Now, imagine dealing with a long term illness in which one’s will to remain positive is eventually worn down… After a while of being locked in a negative situation, we can get caught up into saying “I can’t!” or “It won’t happen!” thus locking ourselves into a negative mind set and if not careful, giving up hope.

In this post, I thought I’d explore two things… the fact of the attitude or psychological influence over a human being, and how the gut may interplay with the wellness of a person.

I think that one of the biggest things I’ve learned is, as David Whyte said, “Without silence we become frightened by what is occurring. There is no room for it to grow inside us, and bereft of that spaciousness, we feel as if the process is about to take us over.” We must have time of peace and reflection in order to cope… To give yourself permission to rest.

I know… I know… who has time for that, right?

But, getting “caught up” in the illness can be easy to do if your body is spiraling out of control. You are not acting, but reacting. Then, in reaction mode, something as common as eating can become a labor intensive negative experience until you act… research it to a point of understanding. With research, you are acting on the problem and not reacting! You are being pro-active! And with that understanding, hopefully peace and better health will arise and your mind reset, changing for the better.

“All choices affect my health in either positive or negative ways.” Paige Bailey.

So what are your choices? Keep plowing forward with the bit in your teeth or, regroup.

What I have most recently learned is that I did need a time of stepping back to regroup, to learn how to eat, to identify with those who are going through similar circumstances and to learn from them. My choice was to take a step back… to learn!

One of the most surprising things I’d learned is that common illnesses aside, wheat and gluten have a strong correlation with the physical and mental well-being of many individuals.

Before going gluten free, I had no idea that simply dropping Wheat from the diet could possibly improve one’s mental function, help eliminate brain fog, help calm autoimmune diseases or provide relief to those suffering from ADHD, Autism, Schizophrenia, or Depression.

While these were not all the reasons that I went gluten/wheat free, I must admit my total outlook on life has been changing for the better. Granted, that is because I am truly feeling better physically… but still, I found the link between the gut, physiology, and psychology fascinating!!!

For instance, in the “Wheat belly” book by William Davis, MD., he describes how the shortage of bread and wheat products during WWII positively affected those hospitalized for Schizophrenia. He also explained how after the war, and diets returned to “normal” there were negative affects! Dr. Davis also goes into the effects of wheat on ADHD, Autism, Diabetes, Heart Disease and other ailments.

To learn more, please go to http://www.wheatbelly.com/

To learn more, please go to http://www.wheatbelly.com/

Here are a few bits and pieces that I’ve gleaned in regard to a few types of gluten free diets. I hope it helps with your own research.

Going Gluten Free:
The website, http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2013/April/considering-a-gluten-free-diet?utm_source=health&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=health0413
goes into how a gluten free diet helps those suffering from Celiac disease. Nothing new there… but what about other autoimmune diseases? Did you know that going gluten free can help just about all of them?

Like Celiac disease, autoimmune diseases occur when your body gets confused and rather than attacking the supposed “virus, disease or illness” that has attacked your body, it targets part of your own. This could be your thyroid, intestines, or other vital organs of the body. Gluten can actually trigger this action! Therefore, autoimmune diseases can be benefited by a gluten-free diet. Read on…

Autoimmune/ Paleo Diet:
A more strict form of diet to observe if you are autoimmune is the Autoimmune Paleo diet! The Paleo Diet is based upon the Paleolithic time period when we, as humans, were hunter/gathers and were not an agrarian society… (stationary, raising and consuming grain and grain fed animals to supplement our diets). Many sources suggest that that was when all of our health problems really began! While our diets changed, our bodies didn’t.

The Paleo diet primarily consists of grass fed beef, free range chickens, and pastured pork as well as lots of green leafies, veggies and fruits. No grains… especially no wheat or gluten and no dairy.

There is a fabulous book that had recently come out called “The Paleo Approach” by Sara Ballantyne, PhD. In her book, she has explored and explained the very core of what the causes Autoimmune Diseases are.

Here is a link to her site where she actually has a video of flipping through the pages and describing the book: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/01/announcing-my-book-the-paleo-approach-reverse-autoimmune-disease-and-heal-your-body.html.
paleo approach book

Both the “Wheat belly” book by William Davis, MD And the “Paleo Approach” by Sara Ballantyne, PhD are excellent resources to understand the “leaky gut syndrome” that people may develop due to gluten and wheat!

The GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome):
The GAPS Diet, also described as SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) is used to both aid in the healing of the gut and also the psychological links between the gut, wheat and grains and the causes or influence on different diseases. The list is quite extensive as to the benefits. An introduction to the Gaps diet and descriptions can be found here: http://www.gapsdiet.com/

Now, as with everything… Rush into nothing! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! And then, speak with your doctor!!!
I hope you find this information helpful as it is just a suggestion. Speak with your doctor about it. Print it out, email it to them, then do your own research and talk to them about it in depth. You are the only YOU that you have, so care of yourself wisely!

Keep your head together and your heart positive! After all, as the old proverb says, “Be careful what you think. Your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4: 23
Until Next time,
Happy Reading and Eating.

For More Gluten Free info, recipes and fun, please follow my Pinterest board:

Rants, Reviews

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way!” Johnny Nash. ~ The proven benefits of going gluten free!

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way! Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day!” Johnny Nash.

~The proven benefits of going Gluten Free~

It has now been about a month since going Gluten/Wheat free and the results has been amazing.

Having dealt with constant aches and pain, headaches, ups and downs with blood sugars, little infections, little illnesses, sleeplessness, and thyroid symptoms, I can happily say that I am much better off now than I was one month ago.

Though I had stomach flu this past week and allergies that triggered due to construction work at work, I have overall been feeling better. I am losing weight. I can see more clearly as my eyes would become quite blurry at times. The ringing in my ears is dissipating. I have been able to reduce or eliminate some of my medicines. My stomach, while still a bit crampy at times, has tamed itself considerably, but best of all, the brain fog is lifting!!!!

For me, that is the best result of all. I still have momentary lapses but the fog that muddled my brain for school last quarter is lifting and I hope to be in tip top shape again before the next quarter starts in April. This is probably one of the greatest benefits of all.

My diet has been further restricted from more than just Gluten and Wheat. I’ve eliminated eggs, all dairy (including butter and yogurt replacing them with coconut oil and kombucha), soy, refined sugars, and all processed foods. I cook everything myself now. I also use organic chicken and grass fed beef when eating animal proteins, so you can imagine how sparingly I must eat that.

My diet consists primarily of good healthy produce, the meats mentioned above in moderation, lots of water to drink, kombucha for probiotics, and grain free (including oats for now).

I’ve cut all caffeine and all sodas replacing them with sparkling mineral water on occasion and herbal teas or hot lemon water when cold. I must say, after the storm of my body last week, it has calmed down considerably as of today.

And for the first time in 5 years, I ate a banana! A real banana! For some of you, it may seem quite trivial, but when you go through the storm and walk out the other side, it’s like seeing that first ray of sunshine! I could not eat them before as they would make my body spike.

I have been reading the book “Wheat belly” by William Davis, MD and I have been amazed by what I have learned. I will review the book more fully once finished, but through this book, he fully describes to the reader the catastrophic condition that wheat puts the human body, leading to diabetes, affecting celiac and autoimmune diseases of all kinds, cancer and worse (life with debilitating diseases).

To learn more, please go to http://www.wheatbelly.com/

To learn more, please go to http://www.wheatbelly.com/

According to Dr. William Davis, both wheat and dairy have addictive qualities, or “morphine-like compounds” that can cross over the blood-brain barrier and even affect mental health triggering an “opiate-like” addiction. On page 49 he even goes into how “opiate-blocking naloxone prevents the binding of wheat-derived exorphins to the brain.” (Davis, 2011) Exorphins give you a “high” of sorts, and there are detox symptoms when you go off of them. This I can attest to after the fact. As a layman, and one who has experienced it, I do recommend doing one at a time if you have to give up both, unless your doctor recommends differently. I actually gave up gluten, wheat, dairy, caffeine, and sodas all at the same time… Quite a challenge.

Anyway, back to the book. According to Dr. Davis, gluten elimination has even been able to help those with all manner of mental issues such as depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, and even Autism. Other affects have been to help in diabetic control, autoimmune diseases, skin issues and more! Wheat is actually addictive. So, the more you eat, the more you want. The more you want, the more you eat. The more you eat, the more you gain! In his opinion, “lose the wheat, lose the weight!”

This has been an amazingly educational book, with scientific fact, genetic information about wheat, and how everything is tied together. Happily, with the brain fog lifted, I can actually remember what I am reading now! 🙂 It has piqued my interest in science again and has my curiosity searching other resources.

After a month of being gluten/wheat free, I am beginning to feel like my old self again… something that I have missed greatly over the past year or two.

I feel as though I am rebuilding again… rediscovering… and recovering! To me, that is priceless!

Perhaps you do not have wheat or dairy allergies or other known medical conditions, but just for educational purposes, I would definitely suggest reading this book. It may explain a different aspect as to why you may feel the way you do, or why a loved one is going through some unexplained “mysterious” illness.

Research… Research… Research!!! It’s worth a shot!! Seriously… You’ll be glad you did!

For more info and ideas, you can follow my Pinterest board here where I am constantly pinning information, benefits of gluten free living, recipes and ideas.

Until next time,
Happy Reading and Eating!


Rants, Recipes, Reviews

What to Do When You Have the Stomach Flu? :p

_What to do when you are gluten free and have the flu!~

No poetic descriptions or quotes this time folks… I’m sorry!

I know I was going to post about my homemade body lotion, but the time has come…

Yes, my friends… the day we all dread has come… Your stomach hurts, you feel horrible, your body aches, you feel feverish… my friends… you have THE STOMACH FLU.

So, this is a totally new experience for someone newly gluten free. What do you eat?

Usually, I would grab a sleeve of Ritz crackers, my diet ginger ale and hit the road (if I could), but this time was not that easy.

Having given up all sodas due to the artificial sweeteners, I have changed to drinking ice cold Pellegrino Mineral Water in the glass jar (so much better than the plastic!). Today, that has been a god-send! Add a touch of fresh ginger root to it and you have “make-believe” Ginger ale.

As for the crackers, I’ve not yet found anything comparable yet.

I know that for my next bout (God, please, NO!), I will have recipes standing tall for gluten free home remedies, but I’ve combed the internet for gluten free stomach flu ideas.

The ideas are as follows:
You can make your own Gluten Free Ginger Tincture (here), just be sure to use gluten free alcohol. (make for future bouts)

Peppermint Tea

Bone broth – the homemade kind made from scratch with 100% grass feed beef… (ordering the bones online now.)

Coconut Water to replace lost electrolites… (on my list for next time… hopefully there won’t be one).

Bananas, applesauce, rice (if your are not paleo), mashed sweet potatoes, or gluten free toast if you can have it. You know, that old saying of “B.R.A.T” still holds true if you can eat the gluten free breads and are not on the Autoimmune protocol or Paleo. If you are, avoid the GF breads.

To help little ones stay hydrated and keep up their strength, try making little homemade popsicles with coconut water mixed with a bit of applesauce for flavor. Avoid too much sugar as this would definitely feed the fire rather than make matters better. 😛 Better yet, try to make these homemade electrolyte popcicles! http://dontmesswithmama.com/homemade-electrolyte-popsicles/

Take a hot bath – One of the things that helped me the most was the detox bath of Epsom salts, baking soda and my beloved Lavender Essential Oils! It seemed to ease the stomach cramps a bit.
I buy my Epsom salts at Sam’s Club in bulk (a 6lb box) and used only 2 scoops of the salts (about a cup). The Essential Oils I usually use are either Lavender, or Frankincense and Myrrh which is very relaxing. As for the Baking soda, I use about a cup. Stay in the tub for as long as you can… I try to stay for at least ½ hr and add more hot water if I get cold. My body temp is normally pretty low, well below the normal 98.6 so I always work my way up to hotter water.

I can no longer do the old standby of Hot black tea with ginger in it, crackers and ginger ale, nor can I indulge in my favorite gingermints (not gluten free), but I hope this helps you should you be greeted with the unfortunate guest of the stomach flu!
Stay well!
Until next time,
Happy Reading and Eating!