Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm back...State Fair style

Well it has been a while since I have written but I figure that I should come back with a bang! I went to the NC State Fair today and survived! I ate so much food and I wanted to spread my gluten free wisdom with you.

When I was diagnosed back in December 2009, one of the first things that I realized I would no longer be able to do was eat at the State Fair. I wallowed in self-pity for a long time and even threatening my family with death by deep fried snickers. BUT after doing some long thinking and researching, I decided I would take on the impossible task (or what seemed to be) of eating gluten free at the North Carolina State Fair. Actually, I ate so much and did not feel deprived at all.

So normally I would start the morning off with an apple turnover or applejacks. Today I opted for apple chips covered in caramel and peanuts! I licked the bowl!

I also shared some apple slushie with my sisters!

Next we decided to get a little more substance. While my sister tried the new Krispie Kreme burger, I had a GIANT roasted turkey leg! I couldn't finish it all. But since the vendor only sold turkey legs, he assured me they were safe! I wasn't even upset about missing out on the new addition to fair food!

My side item was a new addition to the fair though! YAY for Koolickles (dill pickles soaked in kool-aid)! This is a must try for everyone! I hope this one stays around!

Next we ventured to the NC State cow milking area and drank some NCSU milk! We took a short break and visited the crafts, animals, and did some people watching! It didn't take long for us to get hungry for some more fair food. So we decided on some potato ribbons. I happened upon Anderson and Daughters.

After speaking to them, I quickly learned that the father has Celiac Disease! So they had dedicated fryers for their potato ribbons and fries plus he assured me that they used fresh oil today so there was no cause for concern. These people were amazing. I walked away from them a very happy Celiac! Please visit them and thank them for being Gluten Free friendly!

To wash down the delicious ribbons, we found pineapple lemonade and muscadine slushies! Both were delicious! We continued our eating with a staple at the NC State Fair, Silver Queen Corn on the Cob! mmmm my personal favorite! Butter and a little salt, not much better than that!

Then while my sisters enjoyed deep fried cookie dough and deep fried reese cups, I opted for a chocolate covered frozen banana with sprinkles. Now I know for sure that there was cross contamination with this. I chose a vendor who was only selling that and ice cream cones. They dipped the ice cream while on the cone but it did not touch the cone the majority of the time. I definitely took a gluten-eze pill after this one but I have not had any problems! I really wanted some NC State ice cream for dessert but they listed a warning about wheat so I decided not to risk that. Thank you NCSU for being concerned about people with allergies! The banana was a good option though. Be careful though if you do not have any gluten-eze around!

To top it all off, I found my favorite soft drinks! Since I have also eliminated fructose from my diet, the throwback drinks have been a dream come true and they taste better than the originals! I found multiple vendors selling these drinks today! Thank you and I hope this means they are here to stay!

So while I was sad to miss out on the free hushpuppies, I was way too full to eat them by the time we came by the mill. Thank you NC State Fair for making my first gluten free fair experience an incredibly positive one! If you are G-free, don't be afraid of it! Embrace it, there are tons of items I didn't eat that would be safe as well! Don't be afraid to ask either. Everyone I spoke to was more than willing to answer my questions! But most importantly, have fun! I can't wait until next year. Hopefully the NC State fair will create a guide to eating gluten free. One can dream! YAY for NC State Fair G-Free Style!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Surgery, Nutritionist, Restaurants

Well it has been a while since I have updated my blog and a lot has happened. I stayed sick even though I followed the G-Free life. I went back to the doctor and they decided that they should try removing my gallbladder despite all of the tests being normal. It was a tough road but it has been almost two weeks since my surgery and I am feeling much better. We found out that even though the tests came back normal, the pathology report showed that it was abnormal. YAY for science showing that I didn't do this all for nothing.

During all of the doctors' appointments and sickness, I did have quite a few interesting gluten free adventures. The most prominent was my visit to the nutritionist. Now let me put this in context before I explain. I have never met a nutritionist who was not fantastic. One of my good friends is pursuing this career and has already given me some great advice and I visited one during college who gave me amazing information. I have spoken to many people who have had wonderful experiences as well. I guess there is a reason why people say I should never say never, because I met the ONE and only nutritionist in the world who was awful (I do not use that word lightly). The first thing she said to me was "Are you sure you have Celiac, you don't look like you have it. You know that this is a drastic life change and you don't want to take this on if you are not sure." So after being insulted by her calling me fat, I was pretty mad that she would start this meeting with telling me how hard my life would be. Now I had spent the last few weeks researching and reading about my disease so I know that I went in there with a lot of information but I was depressed sitting in there. She also told me that I would not be able to go out to eat or go over to friends' houses to eat. I was to become a shut in apparently. The thing that bothered me the most was the she knew absolutely nothing. She read directly from papers which she copied from a book. Now I can pick out when someone is reading something for the first time...come on I am a teacher! She was reading from a list of things I could eat but apparently thought it was a list of foods to stay away from. She told me I could not eat corn starch...what? Every book says its made from corn...goodness! Then I asked her some questions and she would say "I don't know. Let me know if you find out!". I did however realize that there is not a support group for Celiacs in Cabarrus County and I can't find one in Charlotte either. She suggested that I form one, which I actually wouldn't mind doing. I just don't know how to go about doing it. Suggestions?

Ok so on to the amazing things of the week!
1. My local chinese place told me that the will cook all of my stuff separate for me and they use gluten free soy sauce anyway! YAY!!!
2. I have a G-Free partner at work. She has been doing this for 7 years! I so excited for the support system.
3. My favorite Asian place ENoodles was extremely helpful. They already use rice noodles and they have gluten free soy sauce!
4. Outback has a HUGE gluten free menu! They not only use gluten free spices and marinades for their steaks but... my favorite dessert was already gluten free... Chocolate Thunder From Down Under!

5. My Mom made some amazing G-Free bread. I swear it is better than wheat bread!

Well I am sure that I have not explained all of the crazy things that have happened over the last 3 weeks but it is a start!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tough week so far

So far this week has been pretty trying. I was feeling much better over the break and I was adapting well to the new diet. I had some pain New Years day but it did not last long. This past Sunday evening was a different story though. I began feeling pain after eating dinner (which was all G-free...we checked everything multiple times). I went to bed early but did not sleep much at all. I woke up with the same feeling I had a month ago when this all started. I went to work but had to come home during the day to rest during my planning period. I made it through the rest of the day and thought I made it over the hump. Well, you guessed it, I was in more severe pain today than yesterday. I tried going to work but made I couldn't make it out of the parking lot before bending over in pain. So I took the day off and went to the doctor and called all of the other doctors (I feel like I talk to them more than I talk to anyone else these days). Soon the consensus was made that this was not a Celiac Sprue problem. So back to the drawing board. I meet with a surgeon tomorrow to see what they can do. Basically, they all think it is my gallbladder :( At this point, I just want to be pain free.

Ok so besides that...I will find positives from this week so far.

1. Great G-Free stir fry and beef tips over rice made by my Aunt Beth and Uncle Frank!! Thanks!
2. Trader Joes is AMAZING! The people there are so helpful and caring. Plus they have a huge selection of G-Free goodies! Everyone should shop there!
3. Smoke free dining this week (I know that has nothing to do with my diet but it was fantastic!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day Traditions

New Years Day includes making resolutions and eating great food. Like other families we eat Black Eyed Peas, Cabbage, Streak of Lean, Fat Back, and Cornbread. I was worried that I would not get to enjoy all of my favorite traditional foods. But of course my Mom and Dad triple checked every ingredient and even made some other great sides. Yay for New Years food and thanks to my Mom and Dad I will hopefully have good luck, money, and more than I need even in the "lean" times this year.

1st week down...Happy New Year

It is 1am Jan. 1 2010 and I have decided to start my New Year's Resolution now. I decided I would keep a blog about my first year being G-Free.

Wednesday December 24 2009, I was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. I found out while sitting in the parking lot of an Italian restaurant...ironic? My doctor called to me to let me know the results of my blood work. The two weeks prior to the fateful day, I had been sick and out of work for the majority of the time. I had horrible pains in my stomach and was unable to eat. I forced myself to eat dry toast and at times I was able to eat some macaroni (soon I will find out that was a horrible idea). I ended up visiting 5 doctors 7 times during those two weeks. I was diagnosed with acid reflux, gallstones, and appendicitis. My family simply thought I was stressed and depressed, which I guess I was seeing that I was sick and did not know what was happening. But finally, thanks to some amazing doctors I had a diagnoses.

So back to the story. I found out and was devastated. I actually yelled at my doctor in disbelief. I mean, who wants to be told that everything you love is being taken away from you...ok I admit it was a little over dramatic but that is how I felt at the time. I cried, complained, and made a list of everything I could never eat again. Oh and did I mention that my loving sister was sitting right beside me laughing at the thought of me eating salsa and drinking wine for the rest of my life. (At that point we decided those were the only two things I could ever taste again.) But I made the decision to start right then and there with my new life.

Of course this week has been fairly hard. There has been a lot of crying and stressing about what I can and can't eat. But I already have much more energy and have laughed more in this week than I have a long time.

So I am going to end this post with a list of positive things about being G-Free this week.
1. Having my own separate set of food that my brother can't touch!
2. Sleeping better
3. When I have pain, I know why
4. Drinking wine with my family...Yay for wine being G-Free
5. Grocery of my favorite things
6. Spending lots of time with my family, especially my mom and aunt!
7. Chili's and Chic-fil-a are very accommodating...I will be back to eat there and you should too!
8. Finding an alternative to some of my favorite foods such as cupcakes, waffles, devil's food cake with cream cheese icing, and sausage balls.
9. Sunny Side Oyster Bar is G-Free...minus the saltines and beer of course
10. I am beginning to see a little bit of me come back to life!