Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gluten issue diagnosis

Is it Celiac disease? Gluten intolerance?  Gluten sensitivity?  Read here for an easy to understand overview of the three and testing to determine what one may have.

I have not been tested for Celiac disease and the reason is two-fold:
First, I'm still kind of disgusted at my GI doc for letting me go for TEN YEARS undiagnosed but they've been sending me postcards to come in and get tested.
Secondly, my GP says why bother, when a GF diet fixes things for me?
Which of these two MDs do I trust?

I've read conflicting opinions about the diagnosis and here's the thing that keeps me most from not getting diagnosed.  To do so, you have to be actively eating gluten.  I have been gluten free for an entire year this month.  In two days, as a matter of fact.  And I have no intention of harming my body and making myself sick just to get a diagnosis.  Let me reiterate.  I was sick for TEN YEARS and I have absolutely no desire to go through a minute of what I went through during that time.


There is no guarantee that the test results will even show me to be positive.  Most of my tummy troubles went away just days after going gluten free which leads me to believe that I am gluten sensitive rather than a Celiac.

I do not have children nor do I plan to have any so I don't have to worry about passing it down through my bloodline.  I have talked to my entire family about my condition and since they are all adults, I hope that if any of it resonates with them, they will do what they need to get healthy.

I do not need the tax write-off for food with what having a diagnosed predisposition would do to my insurance in future years.

Most importantly, I know that if I don't ingest gluten, life is good.  If I'm cross-contaminated, I get sick.  I have not purposefully eaten any gluten in the past 363 days.  And I do not intend to do so now just so a doctor who could have spared me a lot of pain and misery can make money and give his seal of approval that yes, I have gluten issues.  I figured that out all by myself.

What about you?  Were you diagnosed?

As a side note: The 2011-2012 Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide has been released.  I know they get them at my local grocery store which is where I will buy mine.  But if you don't have access to one locally, you can buy it here. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gluten Free Rice Krispies make this girl very happy!

So, I was doing some grocery shopping on Saturday and the local grocery store in Evansdale had a display of gluten free Rice Krispies on sale 2/$5 with a $1 off coupon and a free bag of marshmallows if purchasing two.

Yep, I bought two, got my free bag of marshmallows and skipped home gleefully to make Rice Krispie treats.  And my husband and I proceeded to eat 1/3 of the pan the first night.

So yummy!

I was talking to a couple of friends who I ran into at the grocery store and was declaring my excitement.  As I told them, I never really cared much about Rice Krispie treats before going gluten free.  Sure, I'd have one now and then but when I could no longer have them, I craved them!  Therefore, I was very happy to see my grocery store ahead of the game by getting these in and even happier that I took the initiative to buy the stuff needed and make them.  So very happy!

On another note, I want to share a link to a website that I came across today.  It is for the website Gluten Free Hot Products.  It now resides in my blogroll, but I wanted to highlight it.  It is brought by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness but I've been scouring blogs for nearly a year and this is the first time I've come across it so I'm not sure if it doesn't get a lot of play or people just don't know about it.  It will become one of my go-to websites.   I love blogs that share information about products without overloading me, because my time is so limited.

They even have a review of the Let's Eat Gluten Free cookbook put out by the New Hampton and Waverly Celiac support groups which I found to be pretty cool!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let's talk apps!

I love my iPod Touch (although I'm not so crazy about the battery life of the 4th generation!) and I'm rarely without it; I am a techno-geek and my family and friends know it! 

One of the things I love best about my iPod is the apps that I have and one of them is fabulous for gluten free living!

My favorite app is "Is that gluten free?" for groceries. There is another app called "Is that gluten free?" for eating out that I don't have but only because I don't eat out much on the road, don't do fast food anymore and I know where I can eat locally. If I have to travel, I do extensive research so I decided to forgo that one.

Currently the grocery app is $7.99 and the eating out app is $3.99 in the app store, and in my opinion, well worth every penny. I whip it out at least once every time I'm in the grocery store to check on something and have bought things with their verification.  Of course, I do a read through of the ingredients just to double check but it makes things quicker and easier.

According to their website, they are in the process of making an app for the Android and Blackberry platforms as well.

This was the last thing I bought by verifying with my app.

And the angels sang, "Hallelujah!"

So, what about you?  Have any apps that make living gluten free easier?  Talk to me.  I'm always looking for something, ANYTHING, to help me along with this thing!  I need all the help I can get!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gluten Free BBQ Beef Patties

I think a love (or hate) relationship of meatloaf is born in the Midwest. In my household, it's always been a favorite dish. Going gluten free scared me because I've eaten meatloaf often and bread crumbs are an ingredient of any good meatloaf. I've learned to overcome and adapt that one and make a rockin' meatloaf without ANY bread crumbs now.

This is a recipe that I had found on the Internet here and I so wanted to make them before going gluten free but never got around to it.  Since I had it in my stable of recipes, I decided that I could so make these just by changing the bread crumbs to a gluten free bread crumb and Voila!  I was able to make and eat these bad boys.  They're not beautiful or gourmet. They're very dense, almost like meatloaf but in burger form, and when you can't eat a bun and eat burger on a plate, a heavier version is a nice substitution.  We eat these with a side of Ore-Ida french fries that are gluten free or some kind of potato chip. I haven't made them for a while, but they permanently reside in my gluten free cookbook when I need something to fall back on, because we really like them.

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup BBQ sauce, divided
3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt

Combine egg, 1/4 c. BBQ sauce, gluten free bread crumbs and salt. Add beef and mix well. Shape into 5 oval patties that are about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick. Place in greased baking pan. Spread with remaining sauce. Bake at 375 degrees for 25- 30 minutes. Drain and serve.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The first product that kept me sane

When I went gluten free back in August of last year, I had no idea, ZERO, what I was doing.  As a librarian, I have resources at my fingertips and I'm an expert researcher.  But I was getting cross-contaminated, I was getting sick eating out of my own kitchen, I was getting sick eating out, although not nearly as much as I had been.  I didn't really know how I was going to manage this but I knew I felt better than I had in a very long time and I was going to keep at it.

And then I had to go to a professional conference.  It was the Iowa Library Association conference in Coralville, Iowa and I was frustrated because the food that they were providing to me with my dietary restrictions left a lot to be desired.  But then, I had always been able to eat whatever and whenever I wanted, albeit with repercussions.  So, by the end of day two, I was tired of salads and boring fruit.

The Coralville Public Library held a reception for all attendees and again they had food there, but none of which I felt comfortable eating.  But then, a miracle.  I was chatting with the woman at the counter of their little cafe just off the lobby of the library, Cafe del Sol, and was explaining that I was recently gluten free and having a lot of difficulties finding food to eat during the conference.  She tells me that one of the librarians on staff cooks gluten free and that she has blueberry muffins and macaroons in the back if I was interested.  

Was I interested?  Heck, yeah!  So, I bought several for the next day and a half of the conference.  I was happy and so was my belly, and knew that I would be able to do this.

The macaroons were regular coconut but she had one that was dipped in chocolate and it was heaven.  So when I returned to Waterloo, I had to find something to curb the cravings that I had for these little morsels, something I had never ever eaten in my life before going gluten free.  And I love them! I would probably pass up a chocolate chip cookie for a good looking macaroon!

Since I did not have the little Cafe' del Sol locally to make macaroons for me,  I went in search of the next best thing and found these in my local grocery store's health market.  They come in regular coconut and the chocolate.  I prefer the chocolate best.

These made those next couple of weeks bearable as I figured out what I was doing and where I was going with this whole thing.

I don't eat them as regularly as I did during the first couple of months being gluten free, but I love having a good friend to turn to in my time of need and Jennie's chocolate macaroons are that friend.  There is a container on my counter as I write this.  I think I'll go eat one.

You can check out all of their products here.