Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Ponder about this Disease ...

Seriously ...  Sometimes I think that those who have Celiac Disease or some sort of Gluten Intolerance or Sensitivity are their own worse advocators ... if the people who actually have the disease or intolerance can not get it right, and don't understand the seriousness of their own actions, and those who have Celiac their own disease ... what hope do we have with everyone else being able to understand? It's a bit alarming.

I caught a show a couple nights ago called "Two Broke Girls" - which had a negative joke/comment made about Gluten Free - which set me off on a deluge of reading - one to first read what others thought of the comment made on the show.  The version - one of the girls comes up to the other and says "There is a woman needing to eat gluten free in my section - what do I do?"  the other flippantly replies "Tell her she is not allergic to gluten ... she is masking an eating disorder".  Now I am aware that I was watching a sitcom and they are notorious for making light of serious issues, making jokes about race, color and cultures ~ but I was still a bit shocked and taken a back.  And surprisingly quite angry ... because even though it is just a sitcom ... It breeds laughter and contempt for a serious matter, and makes light of a subject that in this time period is a wash with controversy, misinformation and one that has become a real struggle for anyone who is living with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity to be taken seriously.  It just frankly pissed me off because I have a hard time just helping family and friends to understand a smidgen of what I go through on a daily basis without another misinformed show or person "tumbling my cards" - so to speak.  That's my vent ...

And then I went in and started to read the forums and comments that people were making about this show, and that lead me to forums and blogs about people who were commenting on others misrepresentation or misinformation about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance ... and I just felt well mildly alarmed and a bit disheartened, because like I started - if those who have Celiac Disease do not understand it and misrepresent it ~ what hope do we have for others?  It has left me thinking - how can we get proper information out about what Celiac Disease is?  How do we educate the world?  Especially ourselves?  How do we properly inform family, friends, others with the disease or intolerance of what it means to be gluten free?  How do we not closet ourselves up in our homes - be
afraid to go out with the fear that we will run into prejudice, ignorance, rudeness?  How do we grab life and live it to the fullest without constantly battling with "the world" (I know maybe an over exaggeration) about our health and safety? 

And then I took a big breath ... I guess it has to start with each one of us individually. 

I also read of everyone's struggle ~ Celiac Disease is not a simple disease ~ there is a host of symptoms that people may or may not have, sensitivity can range from mild to severe and everything inbetween and this has caused a huge gap in the learning curve out there - medical, personal, commercial ~ debates, talks, shows, article after article you can listen, watch, research ... it is mind boggling and often overwhelming.  

Again I breath ... I think one of the number one aspects we all need to learn - (that would be us living with the Disease or Intolerance, those who have family members or friends doing so ... and even the general public who are often irritated that this has become a highly talked about issue - but then again folks look at those numbers - 1 in 133 - pretty high odds and makes for a lot, a lot, a lot  of people) is that it is a huge learning curve for everyone ~ so much is known, so much is not yet known, so much is out there yet to be learned ... need to read and give each other the praise of making efforts where we see them, and try to help those that don't ~ and at the same time figure out our own path.  

I know myself - that when first diagnosed about three and a half years ago - well then I didn't know what Celiac Disease was, what an auto immune disease was, what even gluten was ~ I am learning.  I know that after diagnosed and going on a gluten free way of eating - I felt like I had been given a new lease on life ... but now I am struggling to find a balance, to figure out what other intolerance I have and to what ... words and issues I never knew come to the for front to research and learn about - lactose intolerance, leaky gut, probiotics, intestinal flora and on and on ... so I need to take a breath - give myself a break and yes ... give the same to others ... 

It starts with ourselves ... and then we can learn ... and we can pay forward ... and others will too.
One day at a time ... 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Keg ...

Invited out by an old friend for supper this week and one of her favorite places to go is The Keg ~ I haven't eaten at The Keg since diagnosed but as I am always up to expand my list of places "safe" or "accommodating" to eat out - especially with friends who are not Celiacs - I said yes ok to her and then did what I needed to do to start "the process" of checking and re-checking a restaurant where I am going to put my health in their hands.  :)  So I called the restaurant and was encouraged by the gentleman that answered the phone - that he was familiar with the term "Celiac" and "Gluten free" and the words "Cross Contamination"  - yeah off to to great start.  My dear friend also grilled the staff when she made our reservations - stressing that she does not want her friend sick and also "checking" with them on their knowledge and ability to serve me a "safe" meal.  I was also touched and encouraged by this step ~ as we all know the struggles at points where those who are our friends or family may not understand the serious "issues" we have when putting our trust in an establishment to eat out.  And how though we have to go through these steps - time and time again - they acknowledge the importance and so when they (our friends) actually take on some of that responsibility - well it is truly touching.

I know The Keg does not have a dedicated Gluten Free menu - but I have to say I was impressed by the staff - waiter / manager on duty - to check with the kitchen, give me options of what I could and could not eat, and then provide me with a tasty well seasoned meal - and tasty it was.

We had the shrimp cocktail and the bacon wrapped scallops to start - they served both with a spicy sweet ginger garlic sauce (she said they ran out of the cocktail sauce without the Worcestershire sauce) and she felt this was a great alternative - for the hot appetizer, wasn't sure how it would go with the cold ~ well it went well with the bacon wrapped scallops but I wouldn't suggest it with the shrimp cocktail - that really needed a cocktail sauce.

For my entree I chose the Filet Mignon - Tenderloin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon - with a side of the oven roasted beets, steamed fresh asparagus, and a side of the cremini mushrooms.  The Keg knows how to grill a steak, it was delicious ~ the vegetables passable.  All in all I had a lovely meal and the dining experience was one I would repeat ~ as the staff were knowledgeable (meaning they went directly and talked to the chefs with all questions and then came back with answers) and pleasant ~ they made my dining experience with them comfortable and we had an enjoyable evening.

The atmosphere at the Skyview Keg is also a huge plus to a dining experience ~ the way the tables are set up makes for a restaurant where you can enjoy a private conversation and meal, and the decor is warm and inviting.  I am definitely putting this location on my list and thumbs up to the whole dining experience.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Feeling not well ... and hoping it's the Flu ...

I am at home from work today ... that does not happen often ... but today when waking up and still feeling my stomach roll, groan and pitch ~ knowing I will need to be near the facilities all day, and feeling the horrid fatigue and headache ... I just was not up to the challenge to even get showered and dressed.  Seriously.  And I am hoping it's the flu ... why?  The main reason being ... the flu passes a lot quicker than trying to get over a bout of eating something that has not agreed with my system, that has once again reminded me full force I have Celiac Disease ... that I have to watch, and check, and double check foods that I even have been eating all along.  Days like this make me realize my life has indeed changed since being diagnosed ~ we all want to feel like it has changed for the better right?!  That we are over joyed that we are not silently destroying our bodies, that we have a chance to feel healthy, vibrant, full of energy once again (I do believe way back there was a time when I was a child I felt that way haha) ~ well much like the feeling when I was first diagnosed - man I thought then I could take on the world - when I first started eating gluten free I could not believe the change in my body, mind and spirit - it was like a weight had been lifted off my "life" - I had energy, I felt crazy wonderful - I felt like I had been freed from whatever "hell" had possessed my body and I could really live.  At first. 

Now I struggle daily it seems ~ struggle with finding my way back there, struggle not to make mistakes that now effect my body in different ways, struggle to find out what else among the food groups that I think I can eat - I can't, what else out there I need to change.  Struggle with the viewpoints, criticism, and often ignorance of those around us who do not understand, or just plainly condemn the issues of having to live life gluten free.  And I know I am no different from the thousands and thousands that are living with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance, or the many also living with dairy/casien/lactose intolerance ~ I read their struggles too - we all read each others paths to find insight on our own - a glimpse here and there - thinking "hhmmm maybe that will work" or nodding in understanding the frustration and weariness that comes along with this disease.  

Today I am struggling to stay positive ... and hope I have the flu ... so that it will pass, and it won't be something I ate, something I enjoy, another thing to put on the ever growing list.  So that it truly passes so that I can once again pick up the energy to find ways to make the foods I love, to build on what I am learning about Celiac Disease, to pass on my little "bit of insight" to inspire myself and hopefully inspire others ... 

I want to learn to love and live and eat and enjoy life ... Being a Celiac ... showing others by my own example that it can be done, like those women and men who inspire me so much ... that I read daily for encouragement and tips and yes too their disappointments and struggles ... but that it can be done, we can educate others, we may or may not change the world ... but we certainly can change "our world, our space" ... I want to do that ~ 

So Today I hope I have the flu.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Udi's inspiration ...

I have to give a big hand of applause to Udi's for figuring out how to make a delicious gluten free and dairy free bun - whether they come in their hamburger or hotdog (as above) I have not found a more tasty gluten free option out there.  I love the crust and the slightly chewy texture you get ~ we have all had buns that when you bit into them not only were they white like a piece of copy paper (truly that actually turns my appetite off) but then crumbled at a touch or first bite.  Udi's buns not only stand the aesthetic test - but when you add all the goodies that should go into one of these buns - they stay together and taste divine.  As you can see I am a real fan ~ :)  I love how because these buns are so tasty you have so many options, below is a picture of my own take on a philly cheese steak sandwich (minus the cheese haha) - and with the help of the one of the new products from M&M Meat Shops it is a meal that is delicious and quick to put together.  
It's a quick pull together - I used the pre-formed patties (Philly style beef steaks) from M&M Meat Shops and the classic Hot Dog buns from Udi's Gluten Free  Products -

Placed the beef steaks in their patty form in a pan (frozen) and started to cook them at a medium heat - adding some spices and peppers as it cooks - once you can see it is starting to brown then a quick flip over - let the patty cook almost all the way through and then lightly separate all the layers.

I saute and caramelize some white onions and peppers in a separate pan.

We leave the Udi's buns frozen until just before serving - defrost them in the microwave from 45-60 seconds - they are the best just freshly defrosted - still warm and moist - add the philly beef steak and then the onions and peppers on top - use a little mustard and wow - it's a quick and simple sandwich - to make into a fuller meal, add a salad or some gf fries and you have a very tasty meal.

I love the texture and the taste of the Udi's buns - and have found so many more combinations of sandwiches that they have inspired.

mmmmmmmm ... good eats :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's been a while ...

Wow looking at the last date I posted I realized it  has been a while since I have been on my site ~ life has made a few dramatic changes in the last couple months ~ the largest change and adjustment is that my guy and I decided to combine our living spaces ~ so it meant selling condos, buying a house, packing and moving two places and now the huge job of combining two households, two family units - me and my son with my guy, and being busy with all the hundreds of things that come up, need repair, or just need changing.  It has been chaotic ... but seriously one of the best decisions I have made in my life to date.  :)

So it is time though for me to get back at blogging, back at creating a site that still is in a large part part of a dream.  I know how much inspiration and insight I find from reading blogs and I truly feel the only way we can pay amazing bloggers back is by paying it forward ~ to make the most of our experiences, our mistakes and our successes, our sickness and our health ~ to share with each other.   On facebook I am part of the "Celiac Disease Support Group" and I was touched and inspired by a young woman - Cecilia who posted a video that she made up for a class and has also now posted to You Tube so that more people can view it - it really strikes a cord with some of the struggles (emotionally) to being an individual with Celiac Disease:

Cecilia's video:

It is worth the watch.

Cheers :)