Thursday, May 31, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Rainy Edition

I hate to be the person who always comments on the weather, but geez, Chicago, what the eff? In the upper 90s on Sunday, and today like 45? Bogus. For reals. I have a working air conditioner now! Don't make me turn the heat on!

Today's Three Things brought to you by my soggy shoes. Because walking through puddles? Not as cute as in the movies.

1. National Celiac Awareness Month is over. Does that mean we should stop being aware? No. No it does not. And I intend to keep fightin' the good fight until there is either a cure, or until folks who live la vida GF can get the proper treatment that they need, or at least the simple respect they deserve.

2. If anyone is in the Chicago-land area, the Wilton Industries is starting their annual tent sale this weekend. Since I have to basically re-stock my whole baking arsenal, I hope to snag some great finds. And, as always, I am on a mission to find my white whale, which just happens to be a springform pan. For all the cheesecakes I want to eventually make. Anyway, if you are local, check it out, they have craft stuff too.

3. Every year, summer comes and goes and I feel like I've accomplished nothing. So this year, I am going to come up with a To Do list to force me to do the fun stuff I miss every year. Look for that post coming in the future, too, and pass on any suggestion of things that just scream "Summer Fun!"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What the Kale?

So, until last night kale was a completely foreign substance to me, some exotic greenery I'd only heard legends of from the strolling minstrels of Ye Olde Food Network. But when I was leisurely wandering the market (read: frantically trolling Jewel for dinner ideas) and saw fresh kale, I remembered I had heard that you can toast it up in the oven, and it comes out like chips. Being the incredibly adventurous pseudo-chef I've become (read: I no longer eat cereal for dinner four nights a week), I figured kale chips would go swimmingly with the tilapia and rice I had on the docket (see what I did there? Swimmingly? Fish?).

I took a bundle home, hosed it off, ripped it into smaller pieces and tossed it with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder, then threw it on a (several pieces of parchment paper) lined cookie sheet. It only takes about 15 minutes, total, to cook, you just have to flip your pieces about 7-8 minutes in and let them crisp up.

The fish was new to us, too. We both grew up in households where fish came in stick form and pet form, so getting fresh filets sorta made us feel like grownups with sophisticated palates. As Luke said while I prepped our tilapia, "I always wanted to be the kind of people who ate fish." We are very easily impressed at my house.

Fish recipe is pretty simple, too. Grab a couple sheets of foil and spray them with non-stick spray. Put in the fishies, a filet per piece of foil. Then, douse them with a bit 'o olive oil, some fresh pepper, sea salt, basil and a hint of rosemary. Here comes the fun part: fold up the foil so it's a little pouch, then squeeze in some fresh lemon juice (I used a half of a lemon per filet). If you'd like, slice up some more lemon and throw it on the top before closing. Close up the foil, toss on the grill and cook until flaky and delicious. Serve immediately with rice, more lemon for garnish. And some of those awesome kale chips.

Bonus: Serve with wine. Screw-top moscato is totally okay and no one will judge you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

More Milestones: First BBQ

During the summer, I spend a lot of time at my gram's house with my family. We pool. We sun. We ... BBQ. I'm sure I'm not unusual in that, for me and mine, the summer is a LOT about food. And as the family gathers, and the number of people increases, so do the potential glutenings. I know no one is trying to make me sick, per se, but this lifestyle comes with a lot of stipulations and I hate having to force my difficultness down everyone's throats. The last thing I want to do on a care-free family weekend is cause drama because someone's hot dog buns are touching my chicken.

So this weekend was a test of sorts for me, to see how I fit into things now. Everyone has been really great about trying to help, and I feel really lucky in that way. But the past few meals my mom has cooked me (she is the only non-restaurant person I've let cook for me, thus far, except for Luke) have all been self-contained slowcooker meals with liners and separate utensils and me scrutinizing the ingredients.

Sunday, we grilled. Or rather, my mom and Luke grilled. I just stood there drooling and sniffing the air. We had chicken with some new GF BBQ sauce I found (it's called Stubbs, they carry it at Wal-mart, and it's pretty dang good). Luke kept mine separate by cooking it in foil. Crisis averted.

But you can't have a cookout without sides. My mom and sis went out and got some "safe" chips, cooked up some fresh sweet corn, and I made GF pasta salad (recipe forthcoming) and fruit salad, and brought some of my new addiction, Skinnypop Popcorn.

I couldn't control everything, but by making delicious GF sides that we could all share, I didn't have to feel high-maintenance, and everyone else got to see that my food can still be yummy. And, I was able to keep my shrieks of "don't let that fork touch my salad!" to a minimum.

Anyone have any tips for making summer gatherings GF friendly?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gluten-Free Gluttons: Cheeseburger in Paradise

Letting yourself get too hungry is no good for anyone. But when you have celiac, falling prey to a bad decision because hunger is clouding your judgement can result in days of feeling poopy. Literally and figuratively.

 So when I was starving-starving-starving Friday night after work, and Luke suggested we try out the gluten-free menu at Cheeseburger in Paradise, I agreed, but with hesitation. Usually, before checking out a restaurant, I have to scour the interwebs for reviews, search the discussion forums for other celiacs' experiences, and read the menu to the point that I could recite it by heart. But that wasn't the case Friday. We were both incredibly hungry, and if we wanted to get a table, a decision had to be made ASAP. So we went. I tried once before to go to Cheeseburger in Paradise, a few years ago on a Saturday night. With a big group. Without a reservation. Needless to say, I did not haz cheezburger that time.

We got seated right away, and our server was fantastic - she assured me that there was a special part of the kitchen, with separate utensils and everything, for gluten-free orders. "We take it very seriously," she said. "They almost have us in Hazmat suits." They do mention on the menu that they worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group to develop a menu, and had recently started serving gluten-free buns for burgers and sandwiches. Could have been the staff, could have been the menu, could have been the excellent mango iced tea, but I started feeling better about my meal. And as soon as she set the plate down, I dug in. And it was glorious. Since I have been experiencing a French fry phobia since diagnosis (dedicated fryer? what's in the seasoning? too many variables!?!), I was a little nervous about the fries, but craving them in a mad way for about two weeks now. My gluten-free fries (designated fryer! Yes!) were perfect. The cheddar bacon burger wasn't too shabby, either.

Luke ordered off the regular menu (ribs) and he said his food was spot-on, too. It was really nice to find a place that wasn't super-expensive and had regular people food, and the location we went to is pretty centrally located in terms of family and friends in the area, so it is a great place to meet for dinner or a weekend lunch. I would definitely go back again, if only for the fries alone!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. At the end of last summer, our AC broke. We totally said we'd deal with it in the spring ... and promptly forgot about it until two weeks ago. Being that we (I) like to save money (to spend on not-house stuff), we always try to fix things ourselves ... which is why the air conditioner is still broken. Plus side: We ordered the part we think we need. Minus? It won't be here until at least Tuesday. So seeing as it is going to hit 90 this weekend in Chicago, this should be buckets of fun.

2. After my awesome doctor's appointment yesterday, I went and checked out a natural food store that was only moments away from my house, but that I hadn't ventured to yet. They carried a lot of products I'd tried, but a lot I hadn't. And it's nice to know I don't have to drive 25 minutes anymore to get a GF frozen pizza. The downside is that it is a little pricier than places like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but I love supporting local businesses (even though I also adore Amazon), so I will most likely be back. For anyone in the Chicagoland area interested in checking it out, it's called Natural Choices. They don't have a Web site, but the mom and daughter who run it are pretty friendly and willing to order "any gluten-free product" I wanted.

3. One of my favorite things about summer is grilling, even though I'm not allowed to use the grill (apparently I lack the necessary external equipment to cook with fire? Who knew?). But Luke will cook just about whatever I want on the big red beast, and this week alone we've done kabobs (courtesy my friend Kelly - we added meat to ours though) and chicken, with great sides like quinoa and brown rice and sweet corn. Our local farmer's market starts up in a couple weeks, and I can't wait to check it out for more inspiration.

Finally, I know I posted a dog photo last week, and I don't want to be that guy, but this one cracked me up this morning, so I had to share. Lola likes to get herself wedged in between the screen door and glass door leading out to my porch. Usually, she just grunts and frees herself, but she got good and stuck today:)

(No doggies were harmed in the making of this photo. They only thing she damaged was her pride. And my screen. Note to self - find a re-screener guy.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Huzzah for Progress!


I like good news. I mean, who doesn't right? And there has been a serious lack of good news lately. So I was a little apprehensive about my doctor's appointment today. As much as I make it seem like de-glutening is all puppies and rainbows and sunshine, this has been a hard few months. And I was a tad bit worried that all my OCD-ing and gluten-freeing had been for naught. So when my doc told me that my celiac levels have dropped dramatically, I did a little dance. Granted, they still aren't in the normal range, but it was a big jump from the February tests. Which means? I done quit that gluten good. I won't bore you with the *actual* science of it all, but I am progressing really well, and my good levels (my vitamins and irons and whatnot) are all back into the norms, too. Now I just have a littttttttle bit more bloodwork to do to see why I am paining post-wine and such...


Just a post to say "Hooray! I'm on the right track!" Nothing like celebrating National Celiac Disease Awareness Month by showing that celiac who's boss (sidenote: It's totally the celiac).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Best Things in Life Are Pasta

This is not the first time I have mentioned my (former) deep and abiding love of pasta on this blog. In fact, I am 90% sure that a majority of my newlywed weight gain a few years ago stemmed from the deep bond that God created between my new pasta pot and I.

Obviously, gluten-free pasta was among the first things I found when going g-free, and it quickly became apparent that I had a favorite brand (Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta), and when I discovered my possibly new favorite restaurant used Ancient Harvest in all their GF meals, I knew I had to experiment with more than just the regular ol' Classico jarred sauce.

So Friday night we got creative. And it was freakin' fantastic.

Here's the recipe - sort of.

For the pasta:
1 package of Ancient Harvest pasta, prepped according to instructions (I leave mine a tiny bit al dente) (I also douse the water with salt to add some flavor)
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 c of baby spinach leaves
1 T of minced garlic (or more, your choice)
Splash of olive oil
Parmesan for topping

After you cook and drain the pasta, saute it up in a small pan with the garlic, tomatoes, spinach and olive oil, and toss it to coat. Plate it up and add the fresh grated parm as needed (and you might need a lot. I need a lot:)).

For the chicken:
2 large chicken breasts (the ones we had must have come from the Pamela Andersons of chickens)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 T minced garlic
A few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
2 T of balsamic vinaigrette
Splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 c mozzerella

Make a handy dandy foil pouch for the chicken. You can do 'em separate or together. We did ours together. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and throw it in the pouch. In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, basil, garlic, vinaigrette and a tiny bit of olive oil. Throw this on top of the chicken breasts, then add as much mozz as your little heart desires. Close up the foil and toss it on the grill for 20 minutes or so (depends on the size of the chicken breasts).

Voila. Yummy Italian-ish meal. Totally gluten free. And, bonus points, using some of the basil from my back yard mini herb garden. #winning.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Confession Time

There's something I have to get off my chest. Back in the days B.C. (before celiac, duh), I remember watching a commercial for Rice Chex and listening to the mom talk about how hard it was for her to feed her gluten-free daughter. And I thought, hmmm, here's another control-freak mother trend-dieting her kid to oblivion. I remember seeing things with gluten-free labels in stores (like hard cider, I definitely remember saying this about cider) and asking Luke why the heck I would care that it's gluten free.

Fast forward a few months.

Now, I sorta tear up at the Chex commercial 'cause I'm a dork and I feel so bad for the kid who will NEVER get to experience *real* Chicago deep-dish pizza. And I "you-go-girl" the mom for being so proactive and making sure her kid is healthy and happy.

And I have literally hugged products in the store when I saw they had "gluten free" on the label.

It's all about perspective.

I wasn't a bad person six months ago for not knowing what celiac disease is. I wasn't a bad person for disregarding nutrition information that I didn't think applied to me. I might have slightly been a horrible person for judging the Chex commercial mom. But just slightly.

I don't expect people to have any idea what I am talking about when I tell them I have celiac disease. Why should they? I can't get mad when someone asks if I can have something, or what gluten is in. I can't even get irritated when people think my concern of cross-contamination is full on crazypants central. Because I didn't know, either.

 It is not the world's responsibility to cater to me, any more than it's my responsibility to always have sugar-free candies in my bag for any diabetics that I stumble across. To most people, we're just the outliers, ladies and gents with some funky diet thing who make things awkward or difficult.

But it sure would be nice if more people knew something about this serious disease. And that's why it's important to have National Celiac Awareness Month. Because you never know when it's going to be you reading labels to find something safe. You never know if it's going to be your kid who desperately wants to eat what other kids are eating. And being armed with a little bit of knowledge is better than nothing.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Golly gee, the weeks are just flying by. We're entering busy season at work, so I'm sure that's only adding to the time-warpiness. Anyway.

1. Even though I have killed all the plants I have tried to "garden" without fail for the past four years, I caved again and got some tomatoes and herbs to try my hand at again this year. Bonus: They now sell tomato plants THAT ALREADY HAVE TOMATOES. I feel sort of accomplished, and I didn't do anything. Well played, garden center, well played.

2. Today my fur baby turned 4.Yep. I'm one of those people, who remembers their dog's birthday. What of it? We didn't do much to celebrate except take an extra long W-A-L-K. And she got some of my breakfast this morning. But not because it's her birthday. Just because she is faster than I am.

3. I had a total creeper moment on Monday night, when I met my mom for dinner before going to a reading/signing with hilarious author and queen of fabulousity Jen Lancaster. I had reservations at one of the Francesca's restaurants in the area, and while I'm parking my car out front, who should show up at the restaurant door? Jen Lancaster. It is incredibly hard to eat dinner when one of your writing idols is sitting less than five feet away from you. But less hard when the food is as awesome as Francesca's has proven to be. It's okay, though, because even though I left the lovely Miss Lancaster alone at dinner, I word-vomited all over her at the signing. I guess you just can't take some people out in public.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fab Find: Udi's Pizza Crust

Whenever someone stupidly remarks to me that I'm "going to get so thin from the celiac," I want to punch them. And also show them my (imaginary) food journal from days like today.

Because today? I ate. Well. And copiously.

Like, went out to lunch (and had dessert). And stopped at Sweet Ali's since we were in the neighborhood, which meant salted caramel cupcakes. Plus, on our trip to Whole Foods/The Danger Zone, I found something I've been seeking for weeks - Udi's Pizza Crust.

In my former, wheatier life, I was a big fan of pizza. Like, big fan. Huge. There have been some decent finds since going gluten free, but nothing that will work in a pinch. And then there was that Domino's, ahem, situation last week. But I had heard rumors that Udi's had a ready made crust. And that it was fabulous. And since all of the other Udi's products I've bought have been pretty good, I figured maybe this one would be, too.

It was. Consistency-wise, I'm not sure I am ever going to find a GF crust that is as sturdy, yet delicious, as its gluteny counterpart. But in terms of taste, I think the Udi's crust has had the closest flavor to "real" pizza that I have come across. And, they crisped up enough to actually hear the crust snap when the pizza cutter rolled over it, so that's something. 

After dinner, and polishing off the rest of our Sweet Ali's haul, it was a beautiful night to light the fire pit, sit on the porch and just enjoy some peace and quiet. Not a bad way to end a day, no sir.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hot Potato, Hot Potato

Apparently, when you suddenly have to go cold-turkey on all things gluten-y and delicious, you're supposed to be really sad about the things you can't eat anymore. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the occasional *twinge* over things like real pizza. Or doughnuts. But instead of being all Saddy McDepresserson, I keep finding new foods that I am completely in love with.

This week? It's sweet potatoes. Which is incredibly weird, because I hated them before going GF. But ever since dining at Glen Prairie a few weeks ago, I have been itchin' for some mashed sweet potatoes.

So Friday night, I stopped and grabbed some sweet spuds and tried my hand at making some mashed that would tide me over until my next trip to Glen Prairie. I had no idea how to cook them, but I assumed you just peeled and boiled 'em like their Idaho-y counterparts. I mashed mine with a little honey, a little cinnamon, a little brown sugar and a teeny, tiny bit of nutmeg (precise measurements, of course). It was all I could do to keep from eating them directly out of the bowl.

It helped that they went along with some awesome bacon-wrapped pork chops my husband grilled, and my Red Lobster-inspired cheddar biscuits (thanks, Gluten Free Bisquick!). It was very much delicious.

Anyone have any other tried and true sweet potato recipes? Or any other veggie dishes that would make me want to dance?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Come On, Get Appy

I was a late adopter to the smartphone trend (but it's okay, because I have the currently trendy Celiac disease, so it all works out), but ever since I got my iPhone last year, it is like an appendage.

So needless to say, when I found some gluten-free lifestyle apps, I was all over them like whoa. In the spirit of sharing, here's what I'm using, and why it is awesome.

1. Is That Gluten Free? is probably my favorite and most-used app. It's a little pricey, but really, well worth it. This is PERFECT for grocery shopping. It is essentially a database of companies, products and statements. It's easy to search by category ("bacon"), by brand ("Hormel") or by ingredient. It includes oft-updated information from manufacturers that has been CONFIRMED via e-mail, Web statement or phone. This was a huge help when I first needed to re-stock my fridge and pantry. It's really interesting to see what stores and brands are more accommodating. There is a sister app, Is That Gluten Free? Eating Out, that is pretty good too, and lists menu items and variations you can get at popular chain restaurants.

2. Find Me Gluten Free is a hot pick in the Celiac world, partly because it is so dang easy to use. You can search restaurants either by name, chain or location, and find things that you can eat. It not only lists places that have a dedicated GF menu (hello P.F. Chang's, my lover), but also other places that have items that can be adapted, as well as reviews, maps, the restaurant's phone number and more. It also includes a digital dining card that you can flash at your server. Very handy, indeed.

3. ScanAvert is my newest app. It lets you set up a profile (like that you are avoiding gluten) and then you simply scan the item barcode and it will tell you if foods are safe or not. It doesn't have a lot of store-brands, but if you were looking for info on a national brand (like, Rice Chex, for example), it would be pretty useful. I still have to see if it is worth the $1.99 monthly subscription cost, though.

Like everything, these are not completely fail safe, and it is up to me to make sure I am comfortable with a product. There is no substitute for reading the ingredients. But these certainly help!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Wah-wahhh. No Bon Jovi Friday this week. Not only that, but I have work stuff to do Saturday, too, so it's like the opposite of Bon Jovi Friday (what would that be? A Yanni Friday?).

Anyhuzzle ...
1. I tried rice pudding for the first time today. I know, what? How am I an adult who loves sweet, creamy desserts who has never tried rice pudding? I feel like I should have to award points to Slytherin on that one. I did enjoy the experience, though, which is good because I bought the little pudding cups in a four-pack.

2. After all of the Domino's hullabaloo this week, I have to say I am super impressed with the Celiac community. I realize I've only been a part of the club for a few months, but I was astounded to see how everyone sort of bandied together to spread the word that this was a big bag of "Oh-no-you-didn't".

3. I have figured out the PERFECT iced coffee recipe for myself. Seriously. Better than the D & D days of yore. French Vanilla coffee, plus Vanilla Almond breeze? I want to go to there.

3.5. I couldn't end this without sharing this video. If I had a nickel every time I heard one of these ... I could probably afford a loaf of GF bread.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm Bad at Blogger

So me and technology? We're not really besties. I break lots of things. Including this blog, sort of. My apologies if you have been trying to comment but can't. Turns out my settings went whack. But I really want to hear from you all, so please, comment away. Setting has been changed, and Alissa has slunk off with her tail between her legs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Domino's Is Trying to Kill Me (Again)*

There's a lot of buzz in the Celiac world today because Domino's has just started offering a gluten-free crust.

Sort of.

Because even though the *actual* crust is gluten free, they can't really make their kitchens, or their other ingredients, safe from cross contamination. And it's a lot to ask of their 16-year-old managers, to basically sterilize the kitchen before prepping a GF pizza. So how can they call it gluten free? And who is it aimed toward? The company has the decency to add a disclaimer, and it is a bit more strongly worded than the typical CYA statements that companies use. Domino's flat out says that their pizza isn't safe for Celiacs. Great. But then why bother? Who would willingly eat GF if they didn't absolutely have to? And if they absolutely have to, how can this Domino's deal be safe for them?

Bravo to the company for understanding that gluten free diets are becoming more and more common. Bravo for bringing the issue to the attention of the general public.

But BOOOOOOO to everything else about this. All it is doing is making it harder for Celiacs to make people understand the severity of their situation.

I see it now - well meaning friends surprising their Celiac buddies with a Domino's GF pizza at the next gathering, thinking they've done such a great thing, and the Celiac having to explain - again - that just because something claims to be gluten free doesn't mean it's safe. Then a food fight breaks out, someone gets clocked with an empty Fox Barrel bottle, total anarchy. Do you see what you're doing, Domino's? You are ruining friendships.

* This is not the first time Domino's has gotten on my bad side. I was once rear-ended by a Domino's delivery driver, thus totaling my car and effing up my back pretty good. This just adds insult to injury. Thanks for mocking me, Domino's.

Pro-active Can Be Easy!

You know how May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month? And you know how you haven't sent me a card or flowers or shoes or anything? Well, here's a way to give the Celiac in your life the gift that keeps on giving. There is legislation in the works right now to make it mandatory for pharmaceutical manufacturers to label the sources of their inactive ingredients ... which right now, they don't have to do. So if *someone* is feeling extra sinussy one day, she has to go to the Internet to even find out what pills are safe to take, because some drug companies use wheat-derived products as binders and don't have to label them. This *someone* could end up feeling even worse because of accidental glutening from her meds.

If you take a couple minutes (probably not even) to fill out the form to petition your local legislator, it will go a long way in helping folks like me get the labeling we need. And I will reward you with 500 (imaginary) awesome points.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Hey kids, it's that time again. This week's happy-go-lucky attitude is brought to you by a day off Friday. Huzzah for Fridays off.

1. George R.R. Martin, why can't I quit you? Now that Luke and I are caught up on the HBO Game of Thrones and I am about halfway through book three, I'm feeling sorta GRRM-obsessed. Like, I told someone I was hungry like a direwolf the other day. And joked that my frozen GF bread was harder than Valyrian steel. And I may or may not have gone into full Lannister mode on an army of tiny ants that invaded my house. If I could have mounted their little heads on toothpicks, I probably would have. It might be time for an intervention.

2. Since I have a half day of work today, we are movie-marathoning for the Avengers midnight release tonight. That's right. Watching all the lead-up movies. Gah, I am only halfway through this and there is so much dork I can't even stand it.

3. Something girly. Sparkly shoes! Dresses! Not geeky! ... I don't think that worked. Might as well embrace it. Anyhoooo ... the husband and I are potentially planning a museum trip for tomorrow, barring any weird traffic or security things for the NATO summit. I'm psyched because I love museums, and it's supposed to be a totally gorge day, and it means trying a new restaurant to write about.

Now I need to go find something un-dorky to do. I'm guessing working my job as a librarian isn't it ....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Princess and the Wheat: A Fairy Tale ... Sort Of

Gather 'round children, it's time for a story.

Once upon a time, there was an incredibly awkward beautiful princess. She was witty and funny and charming. And sick. All the time. And no one could tell her why. She avoided going to princess parties and dinners, because inevitably she would end up in Ye Royal Privy, feeling miserable and embarrassed. Her patient husband handsome prince handled the unpleasant task of cancelling plans last minute or avoiding outings all together, because his wife would whine about going he loved the princess so much (it was hard not to, she is quite charming, after all). Soon the princess began to despair. "Oh, woe is me," she sobbed  all the time very rarely and not a lot at all.
The ignorant doctors evil wizards all told her the same thing. "You are crazy/overexerted/anxious/a hypochondriac," they all said. The princess soon lost heart, and she started to believe them. As much as she loved food, she stopped enjoying eating, and felt tired and cranky all the time.
One day, after the princess had an incredibly stressful six months at work experienced more discomfort than usual, she visited a new doctor fairy godmother who insisted on waving her magic wand down the princess's throat over the princess to break the spell. And lo and behold, the new doctor fairy godmother found that the princess was indeed quite sick, in a completely legitimate and not at all mentally unstable way. To feel better, all the princess would have to do is eliminate gluten, which is  super delicious and found in almost everything not great anyway, from her diet. So the princess threw out piles of opened boxes of cereal, oodles of cookies and many other kitcheny type things that made her so happy once that are only just things. She began to write a blog that no one reads a whimsically delightful blog, and most importantly, she began to feel better.

And she lived begrudgingly happily gluten-free ever after.

*This origins fairytale is brought to you as part of my celebration of National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Feel free to share your own story with me in the comments, the Facebook page or via e-mail (

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Get a Month!

Bet you don't have a month. Well, maybe you do. 'Cause there's like a month for everything. Even grilled cheese.

Regardless. May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month (it's also National Cauliflower Month and National Good Car Keeping Month, but I digress).

This month, my job is to make people aware of Celiac, which I kinda try to do on a daily basis anyway. Because knowledge is power. So if you have a few minutes, check out some of the fabulous bloggers I list on my Rad Reads. Or pay a visit to University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Research Center, or the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, or the Gluten Intolerance Group. You don't have to stay long, just check out some of the ways that we can all help make it easier for Celiacs to live healthy. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, make a donation (yay, tax deduction). Or pick up some of the great gluten-free products that are out there, sitting on the shelf of your local Mass Market Retailer (*cough* Wal-Mart *cough*) to support the companies that make them. And if you know someone personally in your life who has been touched by this crazy disease, let them know you get the struggle they go through every. single. day.

And if you are tired of getting the brush-off from doctors about symptoms that just won't go away, or you aren't satisfied with the diagnosis of IBS or "nervous stomach," talk to your doc about Celiac. I'm not saying that everyone who ever has indigestion should run out and order the Celiac lab workup, but be your own advocate, no matter what.

As for me, I will celebrate MY month enjoying all the delish food I've discovered after going gluten free, toasting to the wonderful people who helped me through the difficult first little while of diagnosis and basically just basking in feeling better than I have in ages.