I’m a traveling woman…

I typically don’t travel much and when I do, it’s pretty much to the same locations over and over.  Recently, our company was taken over and that means traveling for trainings.  I’m excited about this possibility since I’m getting to go to a few places I haven’t been before and a few that I haven’t been to in a while.

Last week my travel took me to Reno, NV.  I have never been to Reno so I was excited to go there.  We were staying at the Grand Sierra Resort and it looked like a nice place but I am always a little hesitant eating in cities that I’m not familiar with.

My manager and I flew in on Monday and, after quickly unpacking, headed straight to In N Out Burger.  I’m in LOVE with In N Out as I know the fries are straight from the potato and the protein style burger is safe to eat.  It was everything I’d dreamed of…and believe me, I was dreaming of In N Out Burger.

 

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That night we had our first gathering with the new company at Charlie Palmer’s, inside of the Grand Sierra.  I spoke with the server and explained my need to be gluten free.  He was knowledgeable and was able to tell me what was safe to eat from the salads and appetizers to the dessert and everything in between.  He even made the whole table have the creamed spinach without bread crumbs so that I would be able to eat it.

Two nights later I was on my own as my manager had flown home.  I had posted on Twitter that I was looking for places to eat in Reno.  I got a few suggestions from the Reno/Tahoe Visitor’s Bureau and other people in the Twitter-sphere but got a suggestion from one of my co workers that proved to be a gem.  She told me to check out Great Full Gardens and it was amazing.  They are all organic and used to a gluten free lifestyle so it came as no surprise to me that they would be able to accommodate my needs.  I had the best grilled cheese sandwich and amazing homemade tomato soup.  I could have eaten that the rest of my life, I think.

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

As I was waiting for my taxi, I wondered around the area and found a cupcakery two doors down.  This place was super special as Batch Cupcakery bakes only gluten free, paleo and organic cupcakes.  Oh, be still my beating heart!  I LOVE cupcakes.  Sometimes more than I love eggrolls.  So I couldn’t help but walk in there and figure out which of their four, yes four, types of cupcakes I wanted to take back to the the hotel with me. They had lavender, pumpkin, red velvet and one other kind.  I took the red velvet and headed back to the hotel to go for a run so I could earn the deliciousness that I was about to have.  It was as amazing as I imagined!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

The last night I opted to go to PF Chang’s as they have a great gluten free menu and I rarely get to have Chinese fare anymore.  Their lettuce wraps were amazing as usual but I opted to try their GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken with brown rice.  It was so good and had amazing flavor.  I went home fat and happy!

The next day I left Reno after having an amazing experience.  I am looking forward to going there again in the future.

Oh, on my way home through Salt Lake City, I ran across this sign in the B Concourse:

Salt Lake City Airport

Salt Lake City Airport

Awesome!  I didn’t get to eat there on the way back but next time I’m in that airport, you bet I’ll be looking to see where I can eat!

Thanks Reno for a great experience!

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The Road to Health

January 1, 2013 was my changing point.  The week before I had looked in the mirror and was not happy with the person I saw.  I was as heavy as I was when I moved to Colorado in 2005, was making bad food choices and, although I was working out from time to time, I didn’t have a set plan.  With many bad health conditions running in my family, from heart disease to diabetes and so much more, I decided that I wanted to control as much of my health as possible.  I decided to take control of my health and do what I could.

So January 1st, 2013, I took a picture of myself so I could track my progress.  I recommend doing this if you are going to start a weight loss journey, it’s very motivating.  My goal was to work out five times a week and have a certain caloric intake everyday.  I think I drove my parents crazy counting calories.  I also cut out alcohol for the first month, retraining my body.  I kept to my goals and did a workout five times a week, stayed within my calories.

The weight started coming off, slowly, which is the way I prefer it. Every month for the first year, I took a picture and could see the difference which was so very encouraging.  Last year I didn’t take as many pictures, once to show what a difference a year made and that was about it.  I had a few more pounds to lose and did that by doing an Arbonne Detox Bootcamp with which I had huge success.

This morning, for some reason, I decided to take another picture and did a comparison from two year ago.  Totally crazy…I am actually sharing it because I’m pretty proud of where I came from.

The story here is don’t quit.  It’s easy to give in and go back.  It’s easy to say “I’m at a plateau and can’t keep going”  It’s hard to stay the course and keep moving even though it’s tough.  So keep going, move through the tough parts to the parts that will be the huge reward!

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Fighting the good fight

A lot of what I do is education:  education on eating gluten free, education on what Celiac disease is and education on why it’s important for me to remain gluten free.  There have been many people lately that have taken stabs at those eating gluten free (one of my earlier blogs speaks to the ignorant Joy Behar) and the most recent is NBC.

As a news agency, along with an entertainment portion, they have done stories on eating gluten free, on Celiac disease and why the sudden boom in the gluten free food industry.  They have done studies on why the importance and, as someone who once worked for the local NBC affiliate, I was embarrassed and saddened when this Super Bowl ad made an appearance online.

Luckily, a fellow blogger by the name GlutenFreeDude took matters into his own hands and started circulating a petition that would remove this ad from TV.  Kudos to him for doing this as it caused a ruckus and the ad was edited.

For all the education I try to do in my community, it’s things like this that seem to be a set back…or is it?  Maybe, in some weird way it’s actually bringing the topic, the reality, to light and gives me a platform to be able to talk to people about WHY it’s important to be gluten free.  Why it’s not a funny topic, just like other medical condition aren’t.  You wouldn’t joke about cancer so why joke about this?  Celiac disease can be deadly, ask my dad who nearly died before being diagnosed.

As frustrated as I was when I first saw the ad, and as frustrated as I was today reading how those who reacted to the ad were “pansies” among other verbiage, I see an opportunity to give reality to what some people think is “all in my head”.

So I will continue with what I feel has been given to me, a torch to carry.  And I will continue helping people through struggles…this is how I feel, this is only the beginning, just one battle.

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If you can’t say nothin’ nice…

I don’t always keep in tune with what is going on in the world.  I typically do enough so that I can talk intelligently and know the facts.  I don’t like to sound ignorant so I educate myself.

Not everyone does this, which was evident by this interview that included TV talk show host, Joy Behar.  If you haven’t watched it, please do.  Unless you are in a good mood because it will tick you off.

I spend time trying to educate people about being gluten free:  what my reasons are, what it means and how I keep myself healthy.  What irritates me the most is people not educating themselves on why they are eating gluten free.  Admittedly, a lot of people that don’t know why they are eating gluten free are the ones who don’t have a medical diagnosis that requires it.  They do it because they feel better or, in some cases, because it’s the newest thing.  There are those people.

Ms. Behar is a prime example of talking without education.  Of speaking out of ignorance.  We are “needy” because our diet requires it.  Celiac Disease isn’t something in our head, it’s a REAL disease.  In fact, Ms Behar, I invite you to feed me pasta and hang out in the bathroom with me while my not real disease kicks in.

Part of me hopes that this negative publicity is a wake up call to this lady but, who am I kidding?  I have seen her before and she isn’t the brightest bulb so I am highly doubtful that it will change.  I just hope that other people won’t pay attention to her…and we can continue our education and bring positive light to eating gluten free.

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Well, that’s a lovely pair

I may have had people wondering what my topic was for this blog. Pair of what?

Last week Pizza Hut announced that it was introducing a gluten free pizza make with an Udi’s crust at the majority of their locations. Around the same time MillerCoors announced that they are creating a gluten free beer, their Coors Peak Copper Lager.

According to the Pizza Hut website, the patrons who need to eat gluten free will be protected: gluten free area, gluten free utensils and the workers will be required to wear gloves. The pizzas will be made in the same oven as the other pizzas but will be placed on parchment paper to protect the pizza from cross contamination. I’ve asked Pizza Hut which locations will have this pizza but haven’t heard back.

MillerCoors has a little better way of brewing their beer. Make from brown rice and pea protein, it is 100% gluten free. Also, in order for it to be certified gluten free, it has to be made in a separate area and they have made those accommodations. For those of you anxious to try this beer, unless you are in Seattle or Portland, you are out of luck for now. I am curious about this beer but was never a Coors drinker so…yes, I have asked to test it. 🙂 Why not?

Pizza and beer is something that I used to love to have, especially eating out. This pair may create that awesome relationship once again!

coors-gluten-free

Getting rid of the bad

Tomorrow I start a detox. Yup, with the new year, it’s time to get back into line. I had been doing pretty well until the two weeks before Christmas and then it was all bets off. It’s so easy to get into bad habits of eating things that aren’t good for you or having a few more beers a week than you used to. All of a sudden you’ve gone from pretty in shape to having a tire around your middle that wasn’t there just a few short weeks ago.

I know that the New Year typically means that people hit the gym more, make resolutions to eat right or start a diet and just to be healthy overall but why does it take the New Year to push us in that direction? And how many of us stick to our “diets”?

I started with Arbonne almost a year ago. For those that don’t know, Arbonne is a health and wellness company and, through the consultants, we do a 28 Day Detox Bootcamp as I call it. Others call it a Clean Eating Program, it’s all the same.

I did my first one in May of 2014. I sell the products, I should know how they work, right? Boy, was I in for a treat. It’s an amazing program where you eliminate foods that are known allergens (dairy, gluten, soy) as well as other items that are acidic to your body like coffee, alcohol, soda and the like. I’m already gluten free so that part was easy for me. The hard part, I thought, would be giving up soda and coffee since I knew I was addicted to both. What I learned about myself and what I put into my body was amazing!

For one, our bodies store the acidic items in our fat cells and is why we gain weight. Think about a water balloon as a fat cell. As you add acidic items (water) to the cell (balloon), it gets bigger. As you remove acidic items (water) from your diet, the cell (balloon) shrinks. Another thing I learned was that our bodies will go through a withdrawal process when eliminating items but my biggest one wasn’t caffeine, it was sugar. Sugar is in EVERYTHING. It’s crazy. Third, I learned what was important to my body and when to listen. For the first few days I felt like I was in a fog and couldn’t think right. I figured out that I was missing healthy fats and when I incorporated almonds and avacados into my diet almost every day, I was a wiz!

Most people lose weight on this detox but they lose inches and that’s what I was most impressed with. I also felt better and my dad, an almost 40 year diabetic, was able to reduce his insulin to the lowest he’s ever seen.

I’m not trying to sell this product, I’m saying that I’m ready to get back to healthy. I’m ready to get back to feeling good and getting rid of my spare tire I’m developing. It’s not a New Years resolution, it’s a lifestyle change. I’m not saying, after my 28 days, that I won’t have a drink here or there, eat some nachos, or have a cupcake but for the most part I’m going back to healthy and getting rid of the bad that’s lurking out there.

By the way, if you haven’t read the book “Wheat Belly”, I highly recommend it. I am in the midst of reading it and you will be amazed at how food production has changed and will make you rethink what you put in your body!

The Danger Zone

There are times where I just don’t eat.  Yes, I know that that isn’t healthy for me but sometimes it comes down to necessity.  There are other times where I’m limited on what to eat because I KNOW what is safe and what isn’t.

What I’m referring to are the parties that are coming up for the holidays.  If you are Celiac, or gluten intolerant or have any type of food allergy, you know what I’m talking about.  You walk into a party, look at the food and just know that you can’t have any of it.  There are times, like the fundraiser I was at last night, where I don’t even bother to look at the food or ask because it just seems like a waste of time.  I’m not being negative, just realistic.

But there are options, besides starving (like I did last night because of lack of preparation, totally my fault!).  Here are a few of my tried and true tips:

1.  Eat before.  What can it hurt to at least have a snack before you go so if there isn’t anything, you at least don’t want to chew your arm off in hunger.  It nearly happened to me last night, don’t think I won’t do it.

2.  Take a snack.  Yes, you might look odd grabbing crackers out of your purse but at least you know it’s safe and you can eat with the people you are hanging out with.  If you don’t want to be “that person”, sneak away to another room and quickly eat.

3.  Suck it up and eat later.  This is what I did.  Well, not the suck it up part, I did whine a little but I waited and ate after the event.  This was bad because I was so hungry that I didn’t eat anything healthy, it was all junk.

These are things I consider when I go out to someone’s home, to a party and, sometimes, when dining out with friends.  Sometimes I know that all I can have is a plate of veggies which won’t take me far so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  So the lesson is prepare, prepare, prepare!

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Giving Thanks

In two days it will be Thanksgiving and most people think about what they are thankful for just long enough to get to the turkey and stuffing.  Then the day is filled with football, naps and more eating.

Yes, I will be doing some of that, as well as running a race, but the last couple weeks have made me realize how thankful I really am.

You see, I have had multiple friends that have kids in the hospital, have a spouse or family member or close friend with cancer, or surgeries that were complete surprises.  At this time of the year, when we give thanks and move towards the happy holiday that Christmas is, there is so much hurt and heartbreak.

I think of three different families that I know right now that are dealing with cancer in one of their loved ones.  I know that there are more out there but there are the ones that I personally know.  There is much to be thankful for this holiday but I know that they are thinking farther ahead.  I hope that they take in each moment to treasure them in their hearts.

I think of my good friend Shawna who’s daughter is in the hospital fighting a bacteria in her lungs because she has Cystic Fibrosis and may, or may not, be out of the hospital before Thanksgiving.  Each day is precious to them as well…but Courtney is a fighter!

There are more but I’m writing to say this:  be thankful EVERY day.  There is so much to be happy about, to give thanks about on a daily basis.  Remember what they are, write them down, or at least write them on your heart.  Give thanks to God for what He’s given you, even the hard stuff because it grows you.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, hug your friends and family and eat lots!  🙂

The nightmare comes true

As a Celiac, my worst nightmare is being served the wrong food.  When we had a Carino’s here, they served me regular pasta once and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  I complained, the kitchen manager said “we need to train better” and it was a LONG time until I ate there again.  Only then did I tell them I was gluten free when I was seated but when the server came over to get my drink order, when I ordered food, when the food came, etc.  I checked and then triple checked.

Last week I wanted soup for lunch and was going with my mom.  She is also GF and eats at Chili’s a lot and since they had soup there, I thought I’d try it.

Chili’s isn’t my favorite place to eat.  I’ve just never been a fan of their food but I’m willing to step outside my little box and go somewhere that isn’t my favorite.  We were seated, asked for a GF menu and they have a nifty Ipad thing at each table now with allergen menus, games and where you can also pay your tab.  I took a look at the menu, decided on the unlimited soup and salad combo and ordered the soup off of the GF menu, reiterating that I needed to be gluten free and also asking that I not have cheese on either.

Since it was unlimited, I decided to have a second bowl of the soup.  I flagged down another server, who had been assisting ours, and asked for the GF soup, no cheese.  He looked at me, said “that soup doesn’t have cheese on it” and my heart sank.  I had been served the wrong soup.  He was apologetic and brought me the correct soup the second time around.

When our server came back, my mom kinda let her have it.  She told her that we had, several times, told her that we were GF and the soup that was brought wasn’t.  All she said was “I’m sorry” and stood there.  I explained to her how sick I get but it didn’t seem to register.  We asked for a manager and all we got from her was “I’m sorry” and I told her that her staff needed better training.

I can tell you that that may be my last visit to Chili’s…ever.  Not only were they not attentive to my needs but, when a huge issue of negligence came up, no one seemed concerned.  A place like that does not deserve my business.

 

On the road again…

I love traveling, even if it’s day trip or a work trip.  New areas, new people to talk to, gets me really excited because I love adventure!

The thing I don’t love is eating out.  I’m always “that person”.  “Angela, where can you eat?”  Then there is asking the server for a gluten free menu and the disappointment when they don’t have one or say “I think it’s ok”.  Sigh.  I try to do as much research as possible before heading out but when you’re not sure what area of the, let’s say, Denver metro area you’ll be in, it’s hard to plan.

What are your suggestions?  I have apps on my phone but they aren’t always up to date or don’t always have the restaurants that aren’t chains.  I always take snacks along but after two days of eating “snacks”, well, you just can’t keep doing it.

I am grateful that, on this trip, a good friend of mine who is aware of my need to be GF will be along.  He will make sure we have somewhere safe for me to eat but…there is always that chance of me NOT being able to eat.

So, these are my thoughts as I get ready to go on this trip!  Wish me luck!