Happy New Year! Here’s a Recap of 2013.

1 Jan


Happy New Year!

2013 was one of the best and most interesting years of my life and I hope 2014 is even better.  I changed my ENTIRE life in 2013.  So many things happened, it’s hard to remember them all but as a quick summary:

  • I took a vacation to Colorado
  • I quit my job of 7 years.
  • I was in one of my best friend’s wedding
  • I moved from Massachusetts to Colorado.
  • I started a new job.
  • I bought a house for the first time.
  • I paid for “adult” things like toilets and hardwood floors.
  • My allergies and eczema got better.

My most read posts in 2013, in case you missed them, were:

  1. My “I Got Glutened” Emergency Kit.
  2. Living with Chronic Allergic Shiners
  3. 4 Reasons You Should Use Gluten-Free Body Products
  4. Guest Post: The Allergista Discusses Being Allergic to Propylene Glycol
  5. Getting Glutened: The Reality

My personal FAVORITE posts of the year, which don’t necessarily overlap with the most read posts, are:

  1. Guest Post: What It’s Like to Date Someone with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease
  2. Cognitive Distortions with Celiac Disease, Food Allergies and Eczema
  3. Gluten and Allergen Free Date Ideas
  4. 5 Goods Things About Celiac Disease
  5. How to Let Celiac Disease Ruin Your Life
  6. What To Do if a Restaurant Doesn’t Have a Gluten Free Menu
  7. Invisible Illness vs. Visible Illnesses

My favorite search terms directing to my blog:

  1. Food babies
  2. Kevin McAllister (Home Alone IS a favorite movie of mine….)
  3. Non-stop eating
  4. Gronk Flakes are they gluten free
  5. Do Girls date guys with food allergies
  6. Would you date someone with food allergies?
  7. Allergies make me ugly
  8. Why does dying feel so terrifying asthma
  9. Do people with Celiac Disease have mental problems

And finally, the top outbound links — you should check these blogs/websites out :)

  1. Gluten Free Makeup Gal
  2. The Allergista
  3. An article on Yoga for Healthy Digestion at Gluten Free Magazine
  4. L’Oreal’s Gluten Free product list
  5. Gluten Dude

Thank you everyone for reading and contributing!

Weird New Allergies

17 Dec

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last wrote here! Life has been so hectic — mostly in a good way though :)  We had a bit of a FRIGID spell in Colorado with subzero temperatures, but the past few days have been in the 60s, which is wonderful especially around Christmas!

I have gone through a million-and-one changes over the past year, from selling my house, changing jobs, moving across the country and more.  I’m now OFFICIALLY a homeowner (before I was just living in my boyfriend’s house), and everything is just completely different than what it was a year ago.  In the past year, I’ve noticed some strange new allergies develop!

  • One of them, mentioned here is alcohol!  It doesn’t appear to be gluten related and I don’t think it’s an actual allergy.  Basically, I drink alcohol, and my face turns BRIGHT red, feels like it’s on fire and is incredibly splotchy or rashy.  Within 15-30 minutes, it completely disappears.  So far, I’ve only experienced this with wine (red and white), hard cider, and rum.  It happens the worst with wine, then cider, and the least with rum.
  • Another reaction seems to be nickel! It’s not nearly as bad as The Allergista’s nickel allergy.  She has poison-ivy type reactions when she comes in contact with nickel.  For me, if I wear earrings, my entire ear turns red and feels like it’s burning.  If I wear a necklace, my neck gets itchy.  I’ve started getting sterling silver earrings, at the recommendation of The Allergista and I seem to be okay with that.  I seem to be okay with limited contact, as well.
  • While I do seem to be able to tolerate most fabrics, I have an issue with wool (which is extremely common).  When I was a kid with severe eczema, I had problems with almost all fabrics except cotton, especially wool. But in the past 10 years or so, I haven’t really had any problems. The other day, I wore a sweater that was 10% wool, andI had a rash on my arms. As soon as I took off the sweater, my rash went away.
  • Ink is another weird one! I wouldn’t call this an allergy — maybe some sort of sensitivity. It’s not ALL ink, either. But recently, I had a big carton of recently printed catalogs in my office. I had an AWFUL headache for an entire week, until I removed them from my office. Also, when I was stuffing them into envelopes, I noticed that where the catalog touched my fingers, I ended up with eczema. Once I was done stuffing them, the eczema went away a day or two later.

I did have most of these issues as a kid, but outgrew many of them… but looks like I’ll have to deal with them again! On a positive note, my stomach has been MUCH better than it had been, and I’m now tolerating many of the foods I’d been able to tolerate before.

Have you developed any allergies or sensitivities as an adult?  What’s the hardest one to deal with?

REVIEW: Brazi Bites Brazilian Cheese Bread

13 Nov

You know what I miss a TON?  Pizza crust.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that gluten-free pizza just isn’t the same, but I really really miss the texture of a good, gluten-filled pizza crust.  I always used to steal my boyfriend’s pizza crust (he didn’t like it!!!).  And have you ever tried those cheese-filled crusts? So delicious.

Brazi Bites Product Line - Original, Jalapeno & bacon

I am super-excited to tell you about a product from Brazi Bites because now us gluten-free people can enjoy the taste of pizza crust again! Brazi Bites launched this product, commonly known as Brazilian cheese bread (or Pão de Queijo which I assume literally means “Bread of Cheese”, based on my knowledge of French and Spanish (but not Portuguese)) a couple years ago. It was developed from a secret family recipe and is amazingly delicious. After quite a bit of growth in the Pacific Northwest area, they are now being sold at Sprouts. (If you’ve never heard of Sprouts, they’re an awesome grocery store, which I wrote about here).

They come in 3 flavors: Original, Fire-Roasted Jalapeno and All-Natural Bacon and are Certified Gluten Free (and manufactured in a completely gluten-free facility).
Baked Cheese Bread

The original and fire-roasted jalapeno are, by far, my favorite.  While the Bacon Cheese Bread Snacks had only a subtle bacon flavor to them, I am not a fan of bacon.  I know, it’s un-American of me, but what can I say?  The other two are amazing, cheesy, crusty goodness though.  It tastes just like I stole them off my boyfriend’s plate.  While I’m too lazy to make a dip for these, I think they’d be great with some sort of sauce or dip.

These come frozen, about 20 to a bag.  A serving size is only 3 pieces (sadface) and they have about 120-140 calories each.  Now, I’m going to tell you the one down side of this product:  They have to bake in the oven for 20 minutes! 20 entire minutes before you can eat them!  (Luckily, ovens vary, and they cook in my oven in about 16 minutes… phew).

If you don’t have a Sprouts near you, you can buy them online and have them shipped to you. I will warn you that shipping is quite expensive. To ship one bag to Colorado was three times the cost of the product … so hopefully you live near a Sprouts!

*I received these products at no cost, in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

REVIEW: Enjoy Life Chewy Bars

12 Nov


Enjoy Life is one of my favorite brands. I love that they cater to people with food allergies and Celiac Disease by avoiding the top 8 allergens AND gluten!  So many people have multiple food allergies so it’s great to have a company who is sensitive to that fact.

This time, I received samples of Enjoy Life’s Chewy Bars. A couple months ago, I also reviewed their Decadent Soft Baked Bars, which were AMAZING.

The Chewy bars come in the following flavors: Cocoa Loco, SunButter Crunch, Mixed Berry and Caramel Apple. They also have a “new and improved taste!” I hadn’t tried them previously, so I can’t speak for how they compare to the older version. ;)

Like the name says, these were very chewy, especially the fruit ones. I did not like the texture of these as much as the Decadent Bars, but the flavors were still quite good. Cocoa Loco was both my and my boyfriend’s favorite.

Mixed Berry and Caramel Apple were both very sweet and tied for second place. I made my boyfriend try the SunButter Crunch, because anything with “butter crunch” in its name makes me think of peanut butter, even if it doesn’t actually have peanut butter in it. He said he really liked it.

For snack bars, they aren’t terribly unhealthy. You can review the nutritional information of each bar, by clicking on the flavor. They all came in around 110-120 calories and around 5-8 grams of sugar which is much better than many of them on the market. They all do have sunflower seed butter in them, so if sunflower seeds are an allergen for you, definitely pay attention to that.

Have any of you tried these? What were your thoughts?

*I received these products in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

5 Lessons Learned From Having Celiac Disease

23 Oct

This is probably an overdone topic but hey, I learned things too!

1) People love to talk about gluten.

It’s weird and illogical and seems to be mostly a Colorado thing.  In Massachusetts, no one cared at all about gluten, whether or not I ate gluten, what gluten was, or whether gluten was healthy.  Here, I can’t go to the hairdresser, the chiropractor or the break room without having a discussion about gluten.

2) Most people have no clue what gluten is or isn’t.

Is it dairy?  Is it in Wheat Thins? Why can’t you have cheesecake with graham cracker crust? We may never know the answers to these mysteries.

3) So many people are convinced that a gluten-free diet is a healthy diet.

Sure, this is true if you go from Oreos and pizza to unprocessed foods like meat, fruits and veggies, etc.  But if you go from Oreos and pizza to gluten-free oreos and gluten-free pizza, you’re probably just as unhealthy as before (at least if you don’t have Celiac Disease).

4) There is still a ridiculous, enormous amount for doctors to learn, and they need to learn that there is a lot for them to learn.

While I would never suggest people use the internet as a doctor, I seriously believe many people with Celiac Disease are far more educated about the disease than the majority of doctors who attempt to treat you.  There is so much misinformation, lack of education, lack of awareness … it’s just as prevalent in doctors as it is among the general public.

5) Going Gluten Free Is NOT a cure-all

A lot of conditions have been associated with Celiac Disease: asthma, psoriasis, eczema, other auto-immune diseases, brain fog, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, etc.   I’m not going to lie – when I found out I had to go gluten-free, I was kind of hoping everything else would improve, too.  It did not.  My headaches went away and my daily nausea went away but I still have asthma, allergies, sinus problems, eczema, anxiety and pretty much everything else I had before.  I’m sure it helps some people more than it helped me, but your mileage may vary.


Rant: Unsolicted Advice and Opinions About What I Eat

22 Oct

I’d like to see you add some eggs into your diet,” the chiropractor said, after I told him briefly about how I was down to eating four or five foods. “If you can’t do eggs, at least try egg whites.”

He also told me I might not make it 10 more years if nothing changed.

This is all based on a form I filled out at my first (and last) appointment. 

I have probably been guilty of giving  out unsolicited health advice before but, you know what?

I am sick of people thinking they know what’s right for my body.

“You should cut out rice, that could be contributing to your problems!” Maybe, but as of now, it’s one of the only foods I can tolerate.  I’m probably getting arsenic poisoning in the process, but at least I’m keeping food in my stomach.

Have you read Wheat Belly? I think you’d like it” No, I don’t think I would. 

“Maybe your diet needs to be more alkaline.” Sure, maybe!

You need to be eating more fruits and veggies.  It’s helped me so much!”  I am in the bathroom all day long (and longer) when I eat nearly any fruit or vegetable.

“Why don’t you try antacids.” No.  Took them for way too long and they probably have contributed to all my stomach problems.

I don’t care what other people eat and I don’t know why other people care what I eat.

I am not the food police.  I am not a doctor.  I might think people’s diet would be better if they changed something, but I believe that for the most part, people know their own bodies better than anyone else and it’s not my business.

I am sick of the fascination with what I eat.  I’m sick of unsolicited medical advice.  I’m sick of unsolicited nutritional advice. I am sick of being able to tolerate only 4 or 5 foods (I’m currently trying the low FODMAP diet, but only with a 1 or 2 foods from each category.)  I’m sick of not being able to successfully add anything back in.  I’m sick of not knowing what’s wrong and knowing there aren’t many answers out there.


Products I use: For me, my cat and my allergic shiners

15 Oct

This is going to be a bit of a random post, as I share some of the products I use on a daily (or almost daily basis).  It seems for the most part, I write about FOOD so I wanted to change it up a little.

Allergic Shiners

First, as you PROBABLY know, I always have allergic shiners. Often, my eyes are not puffy and swollen like the pictures in that post, but they ALWAYS have dark, blueish circles underneath them.  Because this is one of my most benefit-boi-ing-full-coverage-concealerpopular posts, I assume the problem is fairly widespread.  I have tried LOADS of concealers in the past and the one that works best for me is Benefit Boi-ing in medium.   I always thought it would be too thick and cakey for my dry skin, but it’s perfect. While in general, I believe you should use gluten-free cosmetics and beauty products, I have been unable to confirm that this product is gluten-free. Because I don’t have any negative effects from it, I continue to use it.

Here is a BEFORE picture without concealer (keep in mind my allergies have improved since moving to Colorado and so have my allergic shiners). Here is an after picture. It works that well even when the circles are worse. For a more drastic image, here you can see one eye with concealer and one eye without.

100% Cotton Sweatpants

Because I spent a lot of time in PJs or comfy clothes, I try to wear 100% cotton when possible. I LOVE and LIVE IN these Bella 100% cotton sweatpants. They run big, but that’s what sweatpants are for.

wearing cotton sweatpants

Me, wearing the sweatpants, while drinking ALL the caffeine.

Perfect for when you have food babies!  I wear these around the house constantly and sometimes to the gym.   I wish I could wear them to work, too!  They’re super-inexpensive and just ridiculously comfortable.

Grain Free Pet Food

Way before I went gluten-free, there was a big issue with contaminated grains from China en11lb-Cat-1Chickending up in cat and dog food.  Way  back then, I switched Chloe to a grain-free food and she’s since tried a few different ones.  Since our cats lick us or lick themselves before we pet them, it’s important that their food also be gluten-free.  The food I’m currently feeding the beast is Merrick Before Grain Chicken.
As their website says: “Our recipes contain no ingredients from China; no poultry byproducts; no artificial additives or preservatives; no artificial flavors or colors; no corn, wheat or soy; and no glutens. We’ve excluded these ingredients because we believe pet food should be fuel, not filler.”

Nasal Spray

Finally, I wanted to mention my favorite nasal spray ever: NasalCrom.  This product is AMAZING.   It’s actually the same drug that is used in my eye drops, which is how I discovered it. It’s non-prescription, non-steroidal and has RAVE reviews on Amazon.com.  I have had surgery on my sinuses twice, am the annoying office sniffer, buy more Sudafed than a meth cook (just not Walter White!), and have horrific seasonal allergies.  I have tried every prescription nasal spray in existence, as well as Neti-Pots, etc.  THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT WORKS for me.  The only caveat is that you’re supposed to start it before your peak allergy season, and you have to use it 4 times a day.  A small price to pay, in my opinion.

What are some of your favorite products?  Do you feed your pet a grain-free or gluten-free diet?


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