Ginger Pumpkin Bars – Snack Food for My Next Hike

1 Sep

In yesterday’s post, I complained about being unable to find good food to bring hiking. An hour or so later, I got an email from a friend with this link to portable, allergy-friendly snacks. I searched through them to find something that might appeal to me and found these pumpkin gingerbread snack bars.

I bought the ingredients today (spent $46 to do so! Shows how much I cook or bake with any of these ingredients) to try it out. I obviously can’t try things too close to hikes, since I don’t want to experiment with my stomach.



The only changes I made to the recipe were using gluten-free steel cut oats because it was all I could find.  I also used crystallized ginger chips in place of the dried cranberries.  Ginger helps my stomach and I love the flavor.  Plus, dried fruit never sits well in my stomach as mentioned yesterday.

crystallized ginger chips

Here are the approximate nutrition facts, with the recipe modifications I made.  So far, I’ve let them cool and tried one.  They’re pretty good – the molasses flavor is quite strong though, but I’ll definitely bring one on my next hike (assuming these give me no stomach issues).

Nutrition Info

Check out Oh She Glow’s blog for the full recipe!

Hiking (a 14er) with Food Allergies, Celiac Disease, Asthma and Eczema

31 Aug

Lucky me, I have all 4 – food allergies, Celiac Disease, Eczema and Asthma  I should be living in a bubble but instead, I’m usually pushing my limits.

I have been hiking a lot this summer and one of the most frustrating things for me is finding food that will stay good (regardless of the weather) and doesn’t have nuts, sesame or gluten. Finding gluten-free energy/granola bar type things is EASY. There’s Kind bars, LÄRABARS and other brands. Most of them have nuts. The other thing a lot of them have is dried fruit or raisins. which often seems to bother my stomach too (due to fructose malabsorption, in my unprofessional medical opinion)

Anyway, I’m still struggling this. At the higher elevations, the temperatures are cooler so I don’t have to worry about food going bad. In those cases, I usually make a sandwich with Udi’s bread and Applegate turkey lunch meat A lot of times, I’ll bring some snack size York Peppermint patties, marshmallows, plantain chips and/or a banana. As long as I get SOME food in me, I’m not too worried YET about how healthy it is – as long as it won’t make me sick on an 8 hour hike without a bathroom.

Here’s a picture of the final scramble to the summit of Mt Bierstadt (our first 14er!) from last weekend!

And here’s a picture of us at the summit. We made it!


A 14er is a mountain having an elevation of at least 14,000 feet.  There are some other criteria too, regarding the prominence of the peak, for it o qualify as a 14er.  Anyway, Colorado has 53 of them and since the beginning of the summer, it’s been my goal to hike one.  One of my biggest concerns was whether I would have issues at that high of an altitude with my asthma.  My understanding is that anyone, regardless of age and fitness level, can experience altitude sickness, but “they” say that people with pulmonary or cardiac issues should obviously proceed with caution.

In any case, I obviously brought my rescue inhaler.  My two biggest asthma triggers are allergens and cold weather.  Luckily, when you’re at that altitude, you’re above treeline, so allergens aren’t much of a problem.  It was very cold and windy at times, especially as we got closer to the summit, but the balaclava helped with that immensely. (If you’re wondering whether your asthma will prevent you from doing this, check with your doctor first!)

Once I started hiking more, I also read that regular socks weren’t very good (they don’t wick away moisture, they can cause blisters, etc.). Almost everywhere I read recommended merino wool. Since my eczema is pretty much ONLY on my feet, I was a little nervous it would make my feet itchy. They were already itchy enough after a hike in regular socks because my feet would be sweating and hot. Anyway, I bought a few pairs of Merino wool socks for hiking and they are AMAZING. They don’t bother my feet at all, there’s far less friction in my shoes and I also feel they help moisturizer absorb better.

Here are some more pictures to make this more interesting ;)

Here’s a picture of the most beautiful hike I’ve been on … where my boyfriend happened to propose! and I said yes, of course!

If you’re in the Denver/Boulder area, I highly recommend a hike here. There are gorgeous views right away and it’s very easy hiking.

(As always, if you want to see more pictures specifically about our hiking, Eric blogs about all of them)

If any of you have any tips for good snacks to bring on hikes that meet all my criteria (no nuts, no seeds, no fruit), please recommend :)  I need all the help I can get.  Plus, hiking and nature is super addictive and I’d like to go on a backpacking trip next year.  I have not found any dehydrated or freeze-dried meals that would be safe for me :(  And you need your energy on long hikes!

Chinese Lessons, Hikes and Trips

3 Aug

I have not blogged in FOREVER. It’s seriously been 8 months. I didn’t mean to stop but life got in the way.  I plan to start posting more regularly.

Since I last posted:

  • I started taking Chinese lessons in January, which I LOVE.
  • I went to Breckenridge, CO for my birthday. I basically ate nothing because there wasn’t much gluten-free stuff and we went snowshoeing which was awesome.
  • I changed jobs in early May and now work in the food & beverage industry again.  I get weekly massages at my job!
  • Eric got a new schedule which gives us weekends off together.
  • We started hiking a lot since we finally have weekends off (which you can read about on Eric’s blog.) We decided we’re going to try to hike a 14er toward the end of August.  I am scared.
  • I’ve been having serious issues trying to find foods to bring on longer hikes. There are loads of gluten-free things out there, but they usually have nuts. The nut-free ones I find have fructose, which bothers my stomach. Lately, I’ve been bringing these plantain chips, a banana, some rice crackers or a cheese stick.  The last thing I want on a long, long hike is to be sick.
  • We’ve had 3 sets of guests and have 2 more (so far) coming this fall.
  • We just got back from our summer vacation (which you can also read about on Eric’s blog. We flew into San Francisco, stayed there for one night, drove up to Eureka via the Pacific Coast Highway to visit family, drove into Portland OR and finally drove to Seattle, WA. A large number of meals were had at Chipotle or just food from a grocery store or Whole Foods, but it was an epic trip nevertheless.

Here are some pictures.

Gluten Free Chicken at Proposition Chickenin San Francisco

Lighthouse on the Pacific Coast Highway

Marin Highlands

On the ferry to Bainbridge Island (great Italian restaurant with gluten free pizza called Bene but it’s kind of a long walk from the ferry terminal.

At Lan Su Chinese Gardens which is quite possibly my favorite place in the United States.

Personal size pies at Back to Eden Bakery in Portland, OR. Everything was gluten-free and amazing!! In this picture, you can see my picture of my pie posted on Facebook, haha.


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.

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