Browsing Category Daily Living

So Long Cheerios… it was fun while it lasted.

So you may have been following our gluten free Cheerios saga.  I couldn’t do it — I lasted two days before I got bubble guts and was pretty convinced that it was low enough to cause problems in a cumulative fashion.

My husband, on the other hand?  He was convinced Cheerios were the next best thing to sliced gluten free bread.  It brought back childhood memories, childhood flavors and he started eating it every day.  Every day.

In the course of the time that he was eating them so regularly, he got sick twice.  Two pretty aggressive colds — one possibly being a flu.  He complained of more stomach pain during this time than he usually did and complained of diarrhea.  He kept telling me it was because he ate something at work or maybe he has other food allergies.  I’d been suspicious.

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When diagnosis becomes personality…

Food is inseparable from us.  We need it.  We could do without it for some time but our bodies know better; they stop functioning, they slow down processes, they limit their activity so they can survive minimally.  Our bodies do that without us.  It requires no cognition, no forethought, planning.  It just does.

With an over-abundance of accessible food in this country (poverty and homelessness excluded), we have grown to associate living with eating.  What’s thanksgiving without turkey and pie?  What’s a potluck at work without food?  What’s dinner without dessert?  We bond over meals.  We sit down at the dinner table and regroup about each others lives.  My husband and I chat about our days over dinner every night; we connect over food.  We’re having friends over for dinner tonight.

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Why Are We Celebrating Gluten Free Cheerios? – A response to Gluten Dude’s Post

First and foremost, I love Gluten Dude.  His blog and representation in the celiac community is huge and invaluable.  He’s an asset in the blogger community and is a great support for those navigating their disease.  This isn’t about disagreeing with him.  It’s simply my perspective.

Three days ago, Gluten Dude posted a exhort to the blogging community in relation to why people are celebrating Gluten Free Cheerios.  Many of the gluten free bloggers received free samples and some may even have gotten paid for their articles. See Gluten Dude’s original post here: Why Are We Celebrating Gluten Free Cheerios?

He continues his exhort by mentioning that we should not stand for subpar processing and an organization’s unwillingness to take a full step in the direction of gluten free.  We should matter more.  And while I agree with him, my MBA education kicks in and I can see the General Mills side of things.  The celiac percentage of the gluten free market is likely small in comparison with the market of gluten free fad dieters that care nothing for FDA guidelines, care nothing for ppm requirements, and care nothing for how things are processed – just that the title of “gluten free” is there.  For General Mills, celiacs were already not buying Cheerios and adding us into the market may simply not have been economically worth the extra effort when they could more easily get a “piece of the pie” so to speak.  The value of the Gluten Free Market is only expected to grow… in some ways, we knew that hurt us already.  It’s made our market more convoluted. In some ways, it’s helped us in it’s addition of a plethora of products we never would have been able to find in the grocery store even 5-10 years ago.

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Recovery Bread – Pamela’s Sweet Honey Bread

As a nurse, recovery from a gluten exposure is not naturally intuitive.  Proper care of any stomach bug, stomach issue, et cetera, includes these steps: Bowel rest –> clear liquids –> full liquids –> BRAT diet.  If you’ve heard of the BRAT diet, for the celiac… it’s an expensive one — if you focus on the T in Brat. The T is often the easiest for non-celiacs.  BRAT breaks down to: Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast.  These are high starchy foods that are more readily digestible in an angry environment.  “If you’re nauseated, try saltines!”  Where the heck do you get saltines without hitting every single grocery store looking for them?  Gluten free saltines?  Medically, we don’t think about our recovering celiacs when we think BRAT diet.

During this pregnancy, I’ve craved starches.  Bread, pizza (basically bread with toppings on it), potatoes, and rice.  So it seems even more natural that, after being exposed to gluten on Monday, that I would just crave starches.  Unfortunately, the last few the mornings – I’m not tolerating food.  Bread, however? As a nurse, I know that’s a go to… so when I started craving bread last night I decided I was going to do something about it — and not run to the store to do so.

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The Celiac Kryptonite: Unexpected Exposures

You could say things were going so well.  I don’t remember the last time I was really glutened.  By “really” glutened, I mean with symptoms more than just the little head rush from something small.  I’m 25 weeks pregnant and hadn’t thrown up once this pregnancy.

My biggest gluten worry at this point had been the gluten free Cheerios we were trialing in the house (more on that in another post to come!).

This past Saturday, we found out about Han’s German Deli and went to check it out.  My husband, being in the states for the last 5 years now, squealed like a kid finding out about Christmas for the first time.  Apfelschole, Mettwurst, Butter kase, pommes sauce, Apfel Wein, imported Haribo flavors… german chocolates…

It’s amazing that we didn’t spend more.  We spent a little time in Germany since being gluten free and are quite familiar with the German words for wheat.  Germans seem to hide wheat into their chocolates.  He said he was reading all the ingredients… and I trusted him.

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The Gluten Free Cheerios Saga – Part One

The first dance has started.  Gluten free Cheerios are staring at me from across the counter.  ‘Eat me,’ I hear the quiet calling…

My husband is the more risk taking celiac in our household.  Work events, questionable items… he’s more inclined to take a gamble.  I can always tell when he’s come home glutened.  He turns white and loses his color.  He spends extra time near the bathroom.  It can be pretty significant.

So when it came to gambling… I thought, well, why not?  He’s been asking about the gluten free Cheerios for some time and I don’t think he’s been privy to all the community drama surrounding them.  Let’s experiment.  He knows this is happening.  He’s okay with it.  He was more bummed that I didn’t find the Lucky Charms ones for him to try.

In case you aren’t familiar with the drama, General Mills is using a proprietary way of “cleaning” the oats.  Oats are naturally gluten free but typically cross contaminated with wheat and barley in the harvesting process.  General Mills is not using certified gluten free oats but rather sorting and cleaning up the cross contamination.  This can definitely be intimidating for those of us with gluten problems.

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Change and the Interference of Choice

I wish I could describe change like a babbling brook.  Water flows gently, quietly, relaxingly down the water bed and disrupts the whole environment around it.  The rocks cannot hold on, the fish continue to swim, and all the creatures around the water come there for a drink.  It is nature; it is natural.  It is the change that keeps the ground renewed.

Change in our own lives, however, is not particularly gentle, quiet, or relaxing.  The subtle disruptions of the water do not extend to our own lives and we are often left with a large feeling of disruption, of chaos.  Why is this?

Enter choice.  Unlike the river of water that has no choice other than to be what it is – we’ve been given this beautiful yet fundamentally frustrating option to be whatever we want to be.  To choose whatever we want to choose.  Choice.

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Gluten Free Fad – Is it Hurting or Helping?

Walk into most grocery stores these days and you will find a whole (albeit small) section dedicated to “Gluten Free Foods.”  Not only this – but you will also find gluten free foods still scattered throughout the store.  Maybe strategically done by the grocer so you’ll buy more.

You’ll find cookies, and flours, and breads, and brownie mixes.  You’ll find cereal, cereal bars, and sweets galore.  Forget the fruits and vegetables.  You have your own aisle dedicated to replacing all the things you haven’t been able to eat on this new celiac buzz.

A research paper done by Lee, Ng, Zivin & Green reviewed the costs and variety of gluten free products available in several types of grocery stores and noted that (what we all know) gluten free products were twice as expensive as other wheat-filled products and was impacted by type of venue.

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Raspberry Lemon Morning Yogurt Muffins – Gluten free, of course!

I am always looking for an excuse to bake something.  My husband will eat one or two pieces or items at most and I’ll balloon up too fast if I eat a whole batch.  This recipe was simple, quick, tasty, and enough that I can save a few and send him to work with the rest.  I also think these make perfect breakfast muffins and can be heated up in the morning for 15-20 seconds to get a nice soft out of them.  Hope you enjoy!

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It’s part of dinner! Naturally Gluten Free Homemade French Fries.

We love these fries!  We put together this recipe after doing some research on how to make french fries on a budget; without spending the cash on a pre-packaged bag and in how to get the flavors that we wanted.  I love the french fries at Five Guys Burger & Fries but can no longer do the peanut / peanut oil that it is cooked in — so while we have been able to safely get burgers there, I can’t justify the aftermath of the peanut oil on the fries.  These come as close as I can imagine getting to the texture / taste of their french fries with some new flavor in the seasoning.  They’re baked, and since most of us will have these seasonings and the olive oil already in home – it’s super cost effective!  A 10lb bag of russet potatoes costs us less than $2 at Fred Meyer here in Seattle.

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