Everyday Eating with Celiac Disease

Living with Celiac Disease

Thinking about Writing a Different Kind of Celiac Book– Gauging Interest October 3, 2014

Filed under: Everyday Living with Celiac Disease — Michelle @ 9:46 pm
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Before I dive into this blog post, I want to give you a quick follow up on my health issue.  I came back from Mayo with a little uncertainty.  However, after all my tests were done and the Mayo team consulted, it appears I was having a serious, rare side effect with one of my Lupus medications– Plaquenil.  It has caused a eosinophilic disease (white blood cell) resulting in abdominal pain and inability to eat.  I lost close to 20 pounds in 2 months.  So, I discontinued it and after a few weeks, my eosinophils are back to normal.  I’ve stopped loosing weight and I’m starting to eat a little more.  Yeah!!!

 

So, now on to my blog post… Being a Celiac is more than a diet-controlled disease.  When Celiac involves the family (like my 2 Celiac daughters), it’s a lifestyle.  I’ve come across my share of Celiac peers and I really think we have our own culture. With kids, we have to address Celiac in schools and with friends. As a professional, I’m always thinking about what I can eat and drink at lunch meetings, after work happy hour meetings, conferences, business trips, etc.  There is never a day when we don’t have “gluten-free” or Celiac in mind.

 

I love food and I love to cook. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book about living with Celiac.  It would be a cookbook and a basic guide of how to manage Celiac Disease.  It would also address the everyday issues of Celiac, such as working with schools and preparing lunches.  But, I think the market is a little saturated with Celiac cookbooks.  So, I was thinking of something different.

 

Last year, my husband and I spent 10 days in Germany and Austria. I love learning about other cultures! It made me start thinking about what Celiac life is like in other countries.  Is there a Celiac “culture” that is common in different countries? I’m interested in your feedback on this theme for a book.  If I pursue this, I’ll go to Kickstarter with a plan and seek funding to support this project.

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Traveling and fun– all gluten free (almost!) February 3, 2012

Filed under: Everyday Living with Celiac Disease — Michelle @ 10:42 pm
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For the last couple weeks I traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida and DC for work.  As I mentioned in my gluten free frustrations post, traveling can be difficult.  I did my homework-  identified gluten-free friendly restaurants using my GF Find Me app.  I also used Urbanspoon.com- great website!  In St. Petersburg, I highly recommend The Moon Under Water!!!  This place offers a great Indian cuisine– and, a fabulous gluten free menu!!!!!!!  Yummy!  It was such a great place, I went their twice- curry and then, Tikka Masala.  Great atmosphere and great experience!

However, I can’t say the same for lunch on my final day. I ate at  an organic cafe and had a GF wrap with salad.  I don’t know if it was food poisoning or if I got glutened, but I got horribly sick a couple hours after I ate. Yuck!

I had a great time in DC!  I was fortunate to have dinner with my closest college friends.  I didn’t get glutened in DC, that’s for sure!

But, I did get glutened last week while on my date with my hubby.  Sip Wine Tasting and Tapas Restaurant in Alpharetta is a great restaurant, except… they don’t factor in cross-contamination.  They advertise for a gluten free selection, and I must admit, it was a nice selection.  However, they have an open kitchen flor plan, and they was no consideration to cross contamination.  So, although they offer a variety of gluten free selections, the food is prepared in the same space, grills, and fryers as all the other menu items.  Boo!  😦  Needless to say, I was not feeling well that night.

This weekend is Superbowl Sunday!!!  Woohoo!!!!  I’m going to have a little party with some friends.  It’ll be a gluten free party- so stay tuned for the recipes!  I do plan on making some gluten free chicken wings!!!!!!

 

Cruisin’ sans Gluten November 30, 2011

Last week I went on my first cruise– Norwegian Cruise Line to the Bahamas!!!!!  My husband and I took advantage of free airline tickets and flew to Miami to embark onto the Norwegian Sky.  Because food just has to be a necessity in life, of course, I thought about what my meal options will be on the cruise.  I was hoping for the best (a variety of options), but accepting to plain steam veggies.  To my surprise, the cruise line (well, the chef) was very accommodating!!! I was able to pre-order pretty much whatever I wanted on the menu, and the cooking staff would prepare it gluten free.  So during my stay, I ate great toast and English Muffins, pizza and even Chocolate birthday cake!!!!!

When we got off the Boat, even the restaurants we ate at were aware of gluten intolerance.  When I travel, I do prefer to eat local cuisine.  Having raw conch was WONDERFUL!  I wish I can remember the name of the restaurant in Freeport, Bahamas but I will credit them for fixing a fabulous fresh conch salad (loaded with chunks of conch)!!!!  I also had the luxury of drinking daiquiris from coconuts and pineapple!

The staff at Norwegian Sky were great and highly recommend my Celiac friends to go cruisin’ sans gluten!!!!

 

Traveling on a Gluten Free Diet June 28, 2011

Sometimes, I’m required to travel for my job.  I also travel to see friends and family.  Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, going outside the gluten free comfort zone of your home can be challenging.  However, the one thing I’ve come to rely on is my Gluten Free Find Me app on my Droid.  You can find GF restaurants in any area that you’re in.   Be cautious– 1) not all places have GF-friendly restaurants (When I traveled to Arkansas, this was a big issue) and 2) Some chain restaurants may be listed, but when you actually go, the staff is unfamiliar with the term gluten (this presents a lot of red flags!).  My advice- Be familiar with the place you are going in what is available- grocery stores, restaurants, etc. and always bring a stash of GF snacks.

In the car:

Going long distances or short distances, I do depend on my app.  Now if you’re traveling in a rural area, forget the app!  I’ve made a few long distance trips along the East Coast and into the Midwest.  I’ve traveled in Arkansas and in my experience, this state is the least GF-friendly!  The app was absolutely useless when I traveled in Arkansas (but, I was in a rural area)!

I often do not like to stop to eat anywhere.  So, I like to pack a good amount of food and put them in the cooler.  Sandwiches, fruit, snacks, etc. I load them up and I’m good to go.  This seems like simple advice, but when you travel more than 10 hours, you definitely want to be sure you have enough.   If you prefer to take advantage of a sit down dining place to allow time to rest, the app can be helpful.  I suggest being familiar with your route and use the app to plan your meal breaks based on gf availability.  On my way back from Kansas, I was pleasantly surprised to find a a great GF-friendly deli restaurant (McAlister’s Deli) right off a main highway in Marion, Illinois.  When I was traveling north from Georgia, I took the time to have a picnic lunch at one of the rest stops in southern Virginia.

Before you travel, be sure to be familiar to what is available at your destination.  Take into consideration whether you are staying at a hotel or with friends/family.  Continental breakfasts are generally not GF-friendly.  I’ve learned to ALWAYS pack some GF cereal when I travel.  Not only is cereal great for breakfast, but it is a great late night snack!  Talking to your friends/family ahead of time may help.  But, if they are not familiar with the diet, then their good intentions may cause some painful consequences later. Do not forget about possible cross-contamination.  Do not use other individual’ s toaster to toast your GF muffins, bagels, or breads.  Allow yourself time to go to a local grocery store or natural foods store to get your necessary food items.  And, pull out the app to find local restaurants that all can enjoy.

Traveling by plane presents its own challenges.  The biggest challenge is packing what you can for the trip to consider security.  As mentioned before, I always pack some kind of GF snacks.  However, this may not be enough during your flight and/or layover.  Some airports are more GF-friendly then others.  For example, I found GF snack options in the newstands at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport.  At Reagan National in DC, there are a couple of sit-down dining options, in addition to the gf snacks at various kiosks.  However, many airports do not offer the convenience of GF options.  So, the general rule of thumb is Plan, plan, and plan.  I depend on my app again!!  Knowing what’s available at the airport may help you plan what to pack during your wait and flight.

So, here are my simple rules when traveling:

  • Download a Gluten Free Find Me app for your phone, if you can.
  • Be familiar with what’s available at your destination and along your route before traveling.
  • Always pack GF items for the trip and, if needed, for your stay.
  • Plan meal/travel breaks around available GF dining options along your route.
  • Remember, another person’s kitchen is not likely to be GF-friendly.
  • When a server or staff person says, “what’s gluten free?”, say thank you and move on to another restaurant.  It’s just not worth the chance and there’s only so much salad (without dressing) you can eat.
  • While at your destination, find a local a grocery store and pick up a few prepared GF items during your stay.
 

 
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