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

CHARLOTTE NC GLUTEN & ALLERGEN FREE WELLNESS EVENT 2014 ~

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!!! 🙂

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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 ~

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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:

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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:

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

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. 🙂

Recipes:

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!
http://spoonful.com/recipes/st-patricks-day-homemade-limeade

Irish Soda Bread with fun history facts behind it:
http://www.riddlelove.com/2012/03/gluten-free-real-food-for-st-pattys-day.html

Gluten free Shamrock cupcakes: don’t use Guinness beer. Use either a gluten free variety or coffee.
http://www.allthecooks.com/vickys-st-patricks-day-guinness-cupcakes-dairy-egg-soy-free.html

Good Ole’ Fashioned Corned Beef and Cabbage (A little challenging for those going Paleo or Autoimmune).
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/beef/corned-beef-and-cabbage/

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

Finally…

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!
~Christa~

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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;
http://glutenfreelife247.com/
http://www.thepaleomom.com/
http://aiplifestyle.com/
http://tasterie.com/blog/health-nutrition/gluten-dairy-allergy/
http://againstallgrain.com/
http://www.glutenfreeschool.com/

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,
~Christa~
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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!
~Christa~

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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!
~Christa~

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Rants, Recipes, Reviews

“The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way.” Seth Godin ~ Going Gluten Free in the World Of Sports.

“The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way.” Seth Godin

~ Going Gluten Free in the World Of Sports.~

With so many people going gluten free, and in trying to find my own path through this new maze, I have discovered the challenge of balancing act of carb content in my diet and exercise or sports… But what about the effect of such challenges in a “growing” body? How do athletes maintain their competitive edge?

Everyone knows that in order to maintain a healthy level of energy, you MUST add carbs, whole grains, and the like… right? Of course rightUh.. not according to this interesting article!!

To put a name and a face to very well known gluten-free atheletes, you may simply look to the MTA… Novak Djokovic.

I’ve noticed the difference in my own body when I exert myself… how my body reacts to “stresses” either intentional or not, but what about those stresses faced by professional athletes? How can this influence or help the youth athletes striving for competitive edge, stronger skills and a better life hopefully through scholarships?

In this very detailed article by Gary Morley, for CNN, he goes into great detail about how gluten-free diets are taking the professional tennis world by storm! It’s a very interesting read.

The fact that Novak Djokovic was dealing with issues within his lungs caused by gluten amazed me! As stated ”It was his sensitivity to gluten that was compromising his lungs,” he adds, citing that in Chinese medicine there’s believed to be a relationship between the large intestines and the lungs.

So, what isn’t affected by our gut? Seriously!

Tennis Coach, Pete McGraw stated that “Cutting out wheat-based foods such as bread and pasta could be the best thing you ever do… Athletes would be complaining of excessive tiredness, even after light sessions. During a normal daily activity it was fine but then as soon as they began to exercise their blood sugar levels would drop significantly, and that causes concentration-behavior issues, (problems with) focus, emotional control.”

The article also stated that, “McCraw says he has also seen “life-changing” results in his clients. ‘Personalities changed, they were much calmer, had more clarity, better grades at school, their relationships with parents have improved, my relationship with them has matured,’ he said.”

The article greatly warns that no one should try this gluten free approach without the consent of their doctor!!! Please follow this advice from the original author accordingly!

You may find the full article here to print out and take with you to your physician for further discussion. Perhaps there may be an underlying cause never before considered in both physical and emotional status linked to gluten! It is definitely worth investigating!
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/28/sport/tennis/gluten-free-diet-djokovic-murray-tennis/

As for some gluten-free energy boosting snacks, I of course LOVE my LARABARS, but here are a few posts I’d found on Pinterest with some very interesting looking recipes! ~ Enjoy~

Here are some Chia seed energy bars: http://wellnessmama.com/5475/chia-seed-energy-bars/

Some Almond Power Bars: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/07/01/recipe-connection-almond-power-bars/

Easy 3 ingredient Energy Bars: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-3-ingredient-energy-bars-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-184306#

There are more posted on my Pinterest board if you’d like to search, pin and share!

So what are YOUR favorite energy boosters? Please share! I’m sure there are many great ideas out there!

Until Next time,
Happy Reading and Eating!
~Christa~
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Rants

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” Francois de la Rouchefoucauld ~ Savoring what is and not mourning what is not.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ― François de La Rochefoucauld

~ Savoring what is and not mourning what is not.~

As I have approached the purpose and result of my eating in a new light, I think of things that I’d never really thought of before.
My mother, being the creative individual that she is, is also a foodie. When preparing to entertain, she will pour over recipes. Think of the flavors to savor and the intermixing of each ingredient of one dish and how it will meld or play off of another. For her, her language of love is food.

She loves to entertain, to try new things and to work freely with ingredients. My new necessity of going gluten-free has been a challenge to her as I must also be dairy, soy, egg, GMO, and nightshade free as well as other things. This has been her greatest challenge. The traditional family favorites and cultural norms can no longer be consumed and new discoveries must be found.

I did not realize the impact of my dietary changes until last week, when at a dinner party all of the foods set before me had ingredients that I could not consume. As the salad of kale, tomatoes and mozzarella, healthy as it may have been, was passed around with the garlic bread, (a very respectable start to a wonderful meal of pasta and finished off with a wonderful dessert), I quickly realized that I must prepare my own foods.

My health, my nutrition is my responsibility. Others need not be subject to it!

I simply prepared a salad that I could eat and sat to enjoy the company. Yes, there were bits of awkwardness as I’d finished far ahead of everyone, but that’s okay. Accept yourself and others will accept you for who you are.

In the future, when invited to dinner, my advice is to be gracious about it. Prepare ahead. When invited, explain to the host or hostess that you would love to attend, but bring your own food. Remove that burden from their shoulders as it is not theirs to carry.

Rather than feel awkward, offer no apologies, as there is nothing to apologize for! This is a necessity and not a fad! Briefly explain your situation (if you choose to), concentrate on the conversation, and enjoy the company! After all, we must eat intelligently. For those who must eat gluten and wheat free, this must be a science as well as an art.

In all of your study, however, do not forget to enjoy what it is you are eating as it is not only a source of nutrition, and a necessity, but also can be a source of enjoyment.

Rather than mourn the loss of the foods you once loved, think about it through the perspective of Karl Lagerfeld who said, “I never touch sugar, cheese, bread… I only like what I’m allowed to like. I’m beyond temptation. There is no weakness. When I see tons of food in the studio, for us and for everybody, for me it’s as if this stuff was made out of plastic. The idea doesn’t even enter my mind that a human being could put that into their mouth. I’m like the animals in the forest. They don’t touch what they cannot eat.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

Enjoy the positives, such as the way you feel now as opposed to the way that you used to feel. Only you can discern the difference you feel, and those around you will eventually realize the difference that they see, such as the healthier person that now stands before them.

Know that you are doing your body good and not harm, enjoy the things that you can eat!! Savor the flavors and try new things. Search the gluten-free foodie blogs for they, the bloggers, are the true talent behind eating gluten-free.

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.” Kahlil Gibran

You are no longer eating for just the “now” but also for your future!
Be glad, be healthy, and be free from guilt! There is nothing to feel guilty about. Just enjoy.

Happy Reading and Eating!
~Christa~

Be Strong! Carry on!

Be Strong! Carry on!

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