Saturday, November 27, 2010

I made it through Thanksgiving!

Okay, Thanksgiving is of course a holiday centered around FOOD. It was my first real holiday since being diagnosed so I was feeling a little down about the whole thing. I knew that I could eat most Thanksgiving food...BUT only if it was modified with all of the special ingredients that I can have. Therefore, I didn't want to put anyone out or their family for that matter because let's face it, having me sit next to the cooks all day watching over their shoulders is not anyone's idea of a relaxing holiday.

My parents came in town the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and my mom as wonderful as she is went ahead and cooked a gluten-free turkey in the oven while I was at work on Wednesday, yay! Just so everyone knows, most turkeys in the grocery store are not gluten-free because of the additives, etc. that are in them...but there are certain brands such as Perdue, Jennie-O, Applegate Farms and Boar's Head that are safe to eat. She could only find about a 5 lb. turkey that was gluten-free at HEB but that was plenty!

So, now I had my tupperware of turkey and an invite to my friend Katherine's family's home. I was so excited to spend the day with a family but at the same time still trying to think ahead of what I could eat and how I could stay out of the way. I ended up finding some microwave mashed potatoes at the store as well so I brought those with me. And...don't forget there is always wine.

Of course, with a holiday of 20 people it is chaos anyway, but they were so accomadating of my special meal. Everyone asked me what snacks I could have (cheese) and if I needed anything to prepare my dish. I was able to safely and quickly microwave my turkey and mashed potatoes and plate them just in time for the toasts. I finished off the meal with a Hershey chocolate bar (no pie or cookies for me). Still sounds a little sad but it was amazing to not feel left out on such a family-oriented and traditional holiday.

The day is over now and I've overcome the worry of my first big holiday. Next comes Christmas with the cookies, parties and big meals...I'm working on my cooler list now :)

Off the Menu: P. Terry's

I reached out to P. Terry's to find out if anything what I could eat there (I know they offer burgers in lettuce wraps) and I received the following email from Patrick Terry himself!

Hi Jaime,

You can get a bunless burger and you can also bring in your own bun and we will toast and prepare it with your burger. Our meat is gluten free as well as our fries. I believe our cheese is gluten free (We use Land o Lakes) but researching the web it sounded like a lawyer’s response which always makes me worry.  Everything else should be ok. I hope this helps and I’m sorry that the response took so long to get to you.


Patrick Terry

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Off the Menu: Benihana

To a Celiac, a place where all of the food is cooked on one big griddle, with soy sauce and multiple courses sounds like a disaster...BUT Benihana was even more accommodating than I thought they could be. It was Mike's birthday and that is his ideal birthday spot - how could it not be? Entertainment AND great food all in one place. I wanted to make sure that we could go there and I could order something so I called ahead of time.

Without even needing to consult the kitchen staff, the hostess had all of the answers. She said that even if we had a big group they would be able to cook all of my food first after the hibachi had been cleaned so that there was no mixing of ingredients. On top of that she mentioned that if I brought my own soy sauce (they have g-free tamari at Whole Foods) that they could use it to cook with and everything would hardly need any substitutions. WHOO.

I learned that they could make almost all dishes on their menu ( g-free and that all of the chefs were familiar with the special diet. What a relief, I ended up ordering:

No soup - although I could have without the crunchies in the onion soup
Salad - brought my own little dressing packet
All veggies included were fine (olive oil was used to cook)
Fried rice using the G-free soy sauce
Hibachi Chicken (no substitutions needed!)
Strawberry ice cream (for the birthday boy!)

It sounds like a lot but it was wonderful to have such variety in one meal. If you need or want to eat gluten-free this is probably not your first instinct for Asian food but it was great and I would definitely suggest it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thundercloud Subs Releases G-Free Bread

So...they haven't been doing much publicity about this, but through an email with Thundercloud Subs they informed me that this Wednesday they are introducing the gluten-free sub bread at their Lake Austin location ONLY.

The address is:
2308 Lake Austin Blvd.
512.479-0440 Mon-Fri 10a-9:30p, Sat 10:30a-9:30p, Sun 11a-8:30p

I personally am thrilled because it is fast, and that is hard to come by.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flu Season :(

I completely jinxed myself and said that I haven't taken a sick day from work in 2 years...well I still haven't taken a sick day but the flu has definitely gotten to me. I hate to say it, but I still prefer this over the flu shot...although that is not the point of my post today :)

On the right hand side of my blog I have a link to menus - well this includes a "drug menu" for occasions just like this. Although, drugs aren't the only thing you need when you are sick; you also need warm and cold comfort food to take the aches and pains away. I have now come up with a complete 24-hour concoction of medicines, etc. to make me feel better, ALL gluten-free:

DayQuil and NyQuil around the clock - thank goodness
Halls Cough Drops
Hot Lemon Tea
Amy's Rice Mac 'n' Cheese
McDonalds Triple Thick Milkshakes and Wendy's Frostys (I know!!! awesome!!)
Boston Market Mashed Potatoes (I think there are others but haven't found any fast ones yet) - and Whole Foods mashed potatoes ready-to-go
Raspberries (well all fruit)
** Please note  I WAS WRONG Emergen-C is gluten-free, yay!
So, it is possible to be sick and not completely miserable in more ways than one. I'm very much hoping that I feel better ASAP. I think it's time for another dose of DayQuil....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Three months and public outings are still enemy #1!

So, this post is kind of a downer, but for anyone who reads along and is going through a similar situation maybe it'll help you realize that you aren't alone feeling this way!

From the beginning the hardest thing for me has been going out for the day in public places. It forces me to get outside of my comfort zone and live with the uncertainty of when and what I will eat next. I've done my best in situations where I've prepared ahead of time, for example, bringing my own food to ACL and for out of town gymnastics judging trips, but others such as festivals and tailgating for games are another story. Unfortunately, this preparedness also only solves one of the problems...the food, the other is my feelings and frustrations and those continue to be very present.

I love all of my friends and want to say yes to all social events, but it is very hard to do so when I know it will be a mental challenge for me to be around them in a setting where food is the center of attention. For example, last night we went to Wurstfest. Alea and Brett rented a van that was leaving Austin at 3pm and returning around 10pm - to someone who constantly must think ahead this makes you feel quite trapped!!

Anyway, I came prepared with some snacks, but there was no way to heat anything up, so dinner was kind of a bust. Wurstfest, for those of you who aren't familiar, is a festival celebrating German food and drink (beer). Everyone was eating brats, snacks, fried foods, etc. none of which were safe for me. I hate being a downer in front of my friends so I put on a brave face, but when everyone is enjoying their yummy food it's very hard!! I struggle with the balance between wanting to have fun with my friends and do what's best for myself. I will admit it HAS gotten easier but is still not comfortable.

So, I share this because it's been over 3 months and this is the very hardest thing about my lifestyle change to gluten-free so far. Other Celiac friends please let me know if you have any other hints as to how to make this easier!!! To all MY friends, please know that I'm doing my best and don't be offended if I say no to attending the next food festival :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gluten-Free Living Seminar - Saturday November 13th

The Natural Grocers (a grocery store with 2 locations in Austin/newest one just opened in the Shops at Arbor Walk in the Arboretum) offers classes and includes interesting articles in the Sunday paper.  You can go online and check it out( but there is a Healthy Gluten -Free Living seminar on November 13th at 11a.m at the Guadalupe location - 3901 Guadalupe Street.  It is presented by Trevida Trevino, BSNF, Nutritional health coach.  She is going to talk about the basics for the healthiest approach to gluten free living including meal planning, shopping tips and dietary supplements for nutritional support.  There will be a complimentary gluten free health fair that will accompany the seminar as well as free samples and door prizes! 

For anyone who is interested I'll be there!