IBS: As Irritating As It Sounds

So as my reader base knows, for several years I thought I was Gluten Intolerant/Celiac and last year discovered that was not the case. I have IBS which means any given day I could eat something that causes me all the issues of before and what triggers me now isn’t the same as what could trigger me a few months from now. So as you could guess Irritable Bowel Syndrome is plain irritating.
This week has been particularly irritating. I’ve been trying to figure out the best diet that is also a healthy one. For awhile giving up all fruits and veggies was what worked. It could probably still work but I love fruits and veggies and I cannot give them up completely. After all I used to eat a head of lettuce plain for a snack, I love my fruits and veggies.
So this morning I had to get up at 4am because my IBS said so. I like to sleep in like anyone and found this to be particularly annoying/irritating this morning. So instead of letting my IBS ruin my day I decided to make a list of the food discovery I have made and I found myself really happy with the results. I found more I could eat than I can’t. I’m going to include my list because I’m so excited but I have to tell any IBS sufferers out there that this is my list. IBS is unique to each person. There is no exhaustive list that will work for everyone which is irritating I know. For me, cutting down on fiber (not removing it completely but choosing low fiber foods) has helped me. So here’s my lists.
Foods my body hates:
Steak and veggie soup

Foods my body loves:
Applesauce-I typically eat this for breakfast and can make it til lunch before IBS attacks
Romaine Lettuce-perfect for lunch wraps
Peeled carrots
Tomatoes without skin or seeds
Ranch dressing
Cucumber without skin or seeds
Tomato soup
Almond milk

This is just the beginning of my lists but I’m really glad that my “foods my body loves” list is longer than my “food my body hates” list.


Playing Catch Up

It’s been 21 days since I posted something and for me that seems like a long time. In that time my younger sister has gotten married. I helped out with VBS, finished a baby blanket, and come to the realization that if I don’t think about Celiac and gluten it always comes to bite me in the ass. ūüôā

Rebecca’s Wedding was Great! It was a lot of fun. She was super stressed and disappointed about things before the wedding but the day of she took things in stride and had a blast. She wiggled her tush when dad pronounced them husband and wife and that’s the kind of attitude she brought to the whole day. It was great!


The daddy daughter dance at the reception was one of my favorite parts. Dad has this way of dancing to make fun of himself (which other men seemed to share as the night went on) so they incorporated that into the dance. They started with “Soul Man” and finished with a sweet “My Girl.” It was great. Rebecca also danced with Grandpa.

The couple finished the night by walking out to the car through sparklers. It was a great night.


My cousin Jj Long was the photographer for the event. Be sure to check out his page: Long Photography

you had me at hello

VBS last week wore me out. I cannot believe how exhausting it was to help out with crafts. I came home at about 1:30 each day and took at least a 2 hour nap. How do parents survive? I guess they don’t have 100+ children running around and they probably don’t work with 20 kids at a time trying to get them excited about a craft.

Ever since I went gluten free I’ve had a sort of¬†blas√© attitude. I mean as long as I don’t eat gluten I’m good right? Not really. The makeup was annoying but so are a lot of other things. We got manicures and pedicures before the wedding and my manicure was basically a polish change. No massage because I couldn’t allow them to use their lotion or oil because I couldn’t read the ingredients. ¬†I got my hair cut recently (the day of the wedding, risky I know but it worked out great) and I went to style my hair and realized I didn’t have any gluten free styling products on hand. You might be thinking, “who cares if your styling products are gluten free?” Let me ask you this question: how many times a day do you touch your hair? Do you then eat something with your hands, like a sandwich? Imagine that the stuff in your hair is covered with poison….do you really want to style your hair with poison? I didn’t think so.

The other day I was thinking about how awesome it would be to get a facial but I bet I can’t do that anymore either. They don’t exactly advertise gluten free facials. And getting a massage…what’s that going to be like? I’m sorry sir, ma’am but you can’t touch me with that lotion or oil unless I can read the ingredients first.

I ate some salsa this week that made me sick. When I went back to the jar I realized that it just said “spices” as one of the ingredients. How the hell am I supposed to know what your “spices” have in them? ¬†I’m of course asking this question because I got very sick that night and the next day.

I miss the days of getting a haircut, going out to eat, or really doing anything without thinking about gluten. I know that Celiac is one of the easier diseases to have but sometimes it really gets me down. I mean I love the weight I’ve lost and how much better I feel when I actually manage to avoid it but I would really love to get a massage without having to bring my own lotion. ūüė¶

In my time away from blogging I’ve also gotten some more rejection letters and these ones hurt a bit more. My first rejection letter was received several weeks ago for a job I don’t even remember applying for, it was one from when I was just applying for anything. Now that I’ve narrowed my focus and only apply for jobs I actually want the rejection letters sting a bit more. They are written nicely and say nice things but they still sting a bit.

I also just this past Sunday was approached by someone with encouraging words from God. It was a great moment but it really deserves it’s own blog.

Alright, that’s all the catch up I’ve got for now. Ta-ta for now, hopefully my next blog won’t take 21 days to be posted ūüôā

Gluten Free Life…after a discouraging week

This past week has been gluten hell for me. I don’t like to complain about being a Celiac. 1) Because I don’t have an offical diagnosis (health insurance purposes) and 2) because as long as I avoid gluten my disease is not a problem.

I have friends and family members that are dealing with chronic illnesses and diseases that are painful and they have no way of getting away from them. They cannot get away from their pain by simply changing their diet.

That being said, I’m gonna complain now. I’m going complain about this stuff because it has been a difficult week for me because I have been unable to avoid gluten and my disease, despite my best efforts.

The first incident happened this week when I was searching for gluten free makeup. If you’re a part of my real world, you know that my sister is getting married this Saturday. Less than a week away. Since going gluten free I haven’t really had a reason to wear makeup and even when I have I haven’t gone all out. Recently (before this week) I put on the lipstick I had without thinking about it. I wore it and was sick. So I knew that I had made a mistake and needed to find gluten free makeup before the wedding.

I got out my trusty guide to gluten free: The G-Free Diet: A Gluten Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. I bought this book as soon as I went gluten free and it really has been a good guide to gluten free living. The best thing about it is that Hasselbeck makes you realize how much of your own research you need to do.

It has my trusty list of ingredients that you should watch out in personal care products (like makeup). It’s an extensive list and if you are just beginning the journey into going gluten free, not for vanity, but for health, it can seem daunting but rest assured once you make a mistake that has you writhing in pain you’ll commit the list to memory or at least have a copy of it in your phone. The list is in the chapter titled, “Gorgeously G-Free” and starts on page 171 and continues on page 172.

The List:

  • Amino peptide complex
  • Amp-isostearoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Avena sativa (oat) flour
  • Avena sativa (oat) flour kernal
  • Barley derived
  • Barley extract
  • Disodium wheatgermamido PEG-2 sulfosuccinate
  • Hordeum vulgare (barley) extract
  • Hydrolyzed wheat gluten
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein PG-propyl silanteriol
  • Hydrolyzed wheat starch
  • Hydroxpropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Oat extract
  • Oat beta glucan
  • Oat derived
  • Oat extract
  • Oat flour
  • Phytophingosine extract
  • Rye derived
  • Sodium lauroyl oat amino acids
  • Triticum vulgare (wheat) flour lipids
  • Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract
  • Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil
  • Tocopherol
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Vitamin E
  • Wheat (triticum vulgare) bran extract
  • Wheat amino acids
  • Wheat bran extract
  • Wheat derived
  • Wheat germ extracts
  • What germ glycerides
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Wheat germamidopropyldimonium hydroxpropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein

It’s an extensive list and can seem scary but I always look for “Wheat” first and then look for “tocopherol” or “tocopheryl acetate.” Most beauty products contain tocopherol acetate. I see those two words (that I’m not actually sure I pronounce correctly) and I put the product back on the shelf.

My problem this week came about when I was shopping for makeup. I was lucky on my first trip and PhysicansFormula had foundation and bronzer that were clearly labeled gluten free and after checking the list of ingredients was glad that it was gluten free. I also found some gluten free eye shadow, the problem came when looking for lipstick.

There is not a lipstick out on the market, even those that claim to be gluten free, that do not contain tocopheryl acetate. Not a one. The chapstick I have been using all year, Burt’s Bees, contains it, as does all other lipsticks on the market.

How can a lipstick company claim to be gluten free and list that ingredient on their box? It’s a frustration of mine, but as the consumer I have to keep a look out for myself.

The problem with that is that lipstick containers are tricky, some of them you cannot read the ingredients in the store without purchasing the product, because the ingredient list is hidden behind the packaging. The other issue is that the ingredients are impossible to read. The print is super small, so small that even my young eyes cannot read them. I needed a lipstick so I went with a couple of brands that I was assured were gluten free (through my research) and they were not. I found this out the hard way. I tried out the lipstick and had a migraine as soon as the lipstick touched my lips. Then came the cramping and by 3 am I was spending every few minutes running to the bathroom. Since I was up anyway I searched for the packing and boxes again, got out a magnifying glass and read the horrifying words, “tocopheryl acetate.” Crap! Luckily I was able to return the products but I was sick all night long and part of the next day because of this oversight on my part and horrible packaging on their part.

In the morning I contacted the customer service people of each company and asked them to make a change in their packaging. I was not asking for money but rather safer consumerism. One company (Bare…) sent me an email stating that they were not at fault for my illness. Okay, that’s not what I wanted. Sure as the consumer it’s my job to do my research, I did and was given false information on websites and forums. I also looked on their website for ingredient information and could find none. I’m not seeking money I just want them to help make my shopping experience easier. Since receiving this email I have been upset with the company whereas before I just wanted to help them make a better product. (But my anger at this company is not what this blog is about).

After returning the items, I went to Natural Grocers and got some lip tint and lip gloss that is gluten free. It said it on the packaging and I read the ingredient list 10 times (and every time I use them) before purchasing the products. I am a better consumer every time something like this happens but I’d rather not learn these lessons, I’d rather just steer clear of gluten.

The second incident happened last night. My sister had her bachelorette party and each of us bridesmaids brought a dish to share. I was about to spoon some meatballs onto my plate and asked the host what she put in them and she said what the sauce was made of. I then proceeded to eat 10 or so of those good meatballs.

Until about 2 am I didn’t think to ask how the meatballs themselves were made. ¬†I didn’t think to ask if she made them herself or if she bought them. I didn’t think to ask if the packaging said gluten free. They were good meatballs but they were not worth the horrific migraine, insane cramping, and hours upon hours of running to the bathroom. They were also not worth the muscle soreness today, the trips to the bathroom, the lethargy, and the overall painful, sucky day that this has been.

I could be mad at this bridesmaid but just like with the lipstick company I’m at fault. I’ve lived with this kind of stuff for about a year now and every mistake I make has two sides. My side as the consumer or partygoer and the side of the company or host. I’m at fault because I didn’t think to ask, I didn’t think to triple check and get out the magnifying glass before trying out the product. I didn’t think to question a so called gluten free company. ¬†I didn’t think to ask what the meatball was made of.

I will never again make these mistakes. I have thoroughly learned my lessons. The pain is horrific and I cannot wait until this passes through my system and I can get back to life. After all there is a wedding to put on!

Before I go, I have one more soap box to get on. I learned something horrifying this week, beauty products including lotions, lipsticks, hair dyes and so forth do not have to list all of their ingredients on the packaging. They can hide ingredients. So my Celiac friends if you are suddenly ill for a reason you cannot fathom consider going beauty product free for a few days and see if that solves your problems. Then reintroduce a product at a time to find the culprit.

Being Celiac is easier than some diseases out there but it has it’s hiccups and issues like anything else. There are days when I wish I could just eat a piece of cake or have a thick crust piece of pizza but then stuff like this happens and I remember that eating gluten is like poison to my system and not worth the pain.

Badger Lip Tint (my lipstick alternative) http://www.badgerbalm.com/p-463-lip-tints-shimmers.aspx
Badger Lip Tint (my lipstick alternative)
Zuzu Luxe lip gloss http://www.natureofbeauty.com/zuzu-luxe-lip-gloss.html
Zuzu Luxe lip gloss

Poison to your system

Some people don’t understand what Gluten does to a system that is gluten intolerant or to a person with celiac disease.

It’s like ingesting poison. You know instantly that what you have taken into your system is no good for you. As soon as it hits my stomach I know I’m in for a rough night.

It’s stomach cramping coupled with chills and headaches (the worst of each of those you can imagine). Imagine the worst stomach flu you have ever had. Now double those symptoms and you might get close to the kinds of pain this is.

It’s been weeks since I’ve felt like this and I can’t believe I lived with this for 6 months. I’ve got shakes and horrible pain and my body woke me up after 4 hrs of sleep to let me know the fun was just beginning.

I’ve been up since 3 and would give anything to go back to sleep. I went to the grocery store to get some fruit and fresh veggies so that later when I can eat I will be able to eat something fresh. I’m actually surprised I was able to be away from a bathroom for the 20 minutes that that took me.

I’ll be staying home today because the pain and so forth is unbearable. There is no position that is comfortable and I just have to ride out the symptoms until the gluten, that is poison to my system, leaves.

Gluten Free Meals and Snacks

This last bit of my schooling has take a lot out of me but I wanted to post some of the meals I have been eating and what I have thought of them:

Meal 1: Frozen mac & cheese ¬†with Ranch Nut Thins, raspberries and grapes. The nut thins are pretty good but they don’t taste like crackers should taste. That’s the first lesson of eating gluten free: nothing tastes as it should. The rice noodles in the mac & cheese were okay but they weren’t the pasta I’m used to. I think once I get used to this diet I won’t care so much that nothing tastes like it should but for now it is annoying.

Meal 2:   Salad. I have been eating a lot of salads. The good thing about this diet is that I like fresh veggies and fruit. My mom loves to tell stories of me eating a head of lettuce and watching TV.  I used to eat it plain but that was when I had the choice. I do miss some of my favorite dressings but you have to do what you have to do and this diet is working so I just go with it.                                                                                             This salad has 1 peach, 1 fuji or gala apple, pomegranate seeds, and raspberries and of course a raspberry vinaigrette. 

Salads are easy. This salad is a chicken and gala apple salad. I loved this one. You get a skillet and put olive oil in it and then you add some garlic powder. Then you add the chicken and brown. While the chicken is browning you cut up the apple and get the bed of spinach ready. Then when the chicken is done you put it on the lettuce and pour the left over oil on top and then add your favorite dressing, mine is a raspberry vinaigrette.

You can really make any kind of salad you like. I usually like a bit of cheese on mine as well. I added a variation to the chicken garlic chicken salad the other day by adding pepper jack cheese. It was amazing!!! ūüôā Be brave. If you like certain kinds of food try adding them to each other and see if they are good. If they aren’t then you have learned your lesson.

Meal 3: A second try at the cauliflower pizza. It was okay. Still nothing like regular pizza and the toppings I chose this time didn’t really go together. I like summer squash but it’s best when other people prepare it ;). I just can’t get it sweet enough. And the artichokes just didn’t taste so great. So see. Sometimes you try something and realize you don’t really like it.

Snack 1: Sweet¬†Potato¬†Chips. I pinned this recipe from my pinterest board. It is originally from¬†a Martha Stewart page. Again they were pretty good but tasted nothing like chips and didn’t look anything like Martha’s. I might try them again to see if I can get the kinks out of the process.

Snack 2:The end resultIngredients for the patties Peppermint Patties. I got these from my pinterest board as well. They are originally from Elana’s Pantry. They weren’t too bad either but you can’t eat them thinking that they will taste like the York kind or that they will look like that or that they will have the same texture. Eating gluten free is about changing your perceptions and your taste buds. Which is probably why I like all the salads. A strawberry is still a strawberry and an apple still tastes like an apple. Eating gluten free is eating in a whole different realm.

Bread: After buying one loaf of gluten free bread I decided to try one of the baking boxes. Store bought gluten free bread tastes a bit like English muffins but worse. I like English muffins once every 3 or 4 years. The bread from the store was rock hard before I put it into the toaster and didn’t improve much once it was toasted. So I bought the box and baked bread on Sunday. It looks like bread, it tastes like bread and it smells amazing. This is what bread should be like. Now it’s not what gluten full bread tastes like but it’s still pretty great. It doesn’t toast very well and I wouldn’t recommend grilling it (I tried to make a grilled peanut butter) but it does pretty great with butter and peanut butter. ¬†And it was pretty awesome today when I toasted it (it toasts but not fully) spread pizza sauce on top, added¬†mozzarella¬†cheese and put it in the microwave for 1 minute. It was like mini pizza and it tasted like the bagel pizza’s mom used to make for us when we were kids.

So that’s all the experimenting I have been doing lately. I have found it is like doing an experiment and have learned to not really care what it’s supposed to taste like and pay more attention to how it actually tastes ūüôā

A banana a day

Depressed? Eat a banana. The article that I linked is an article about a study that a university did with bananas and their affects on depression. Truth is eating a banana won’t cure your depression but it will help.

I’ve been sad quite a bit this week. And each time I have felt sad I have said to myself “Eat a banana.” I’ve been saying it kind of as a joke. Sort of.

Truth is if I just deal with it/cry a little I will be able to lessen the sadness and won’t need the banana. Although bananas are one of the things I can eat now so one a day isn’t a bad idea. ūüôā

I went to the grocery store again last night because I needed some more things. I took my mp3 player hoping that if I listened to some tunes I wouldn’t get as ¬†frustrated. It didn’t really help but I did listen to some good tunes.

Then it took me 30 minutes to go 5 miles (which is what happens when you decide to grocery shop at rush hour, what was I thinking?).

So all in all a very frustrating outing and then I cut my finger on a cheese grater because I was frustrated with the hand guard. It was almost a guarantee that something suck-y was going to happen yesterday. Including my cousin’s kid in the hospital for an extended stay and my aunt going to the ER. Seriously God what is happening?

I’m sad because my grandma has dementia. I’m sad because I can’t eat what I want. I’m anxious because I only have a few weeks to find a job. Shit’s getting deep (excuse my language if it bothers you). I need to deal with it before it gets too high and I drown in it.

I have to write a paper by Tuesday (and read the book for the paper). ¬†I also need to plan what I am going to teach tomorrow and all I really want to do is curl up and watch a movie and then clean my room. I should also venture to Whole Foods to get the things I can’t get anywhere else.

I hate food shopping. I used to like it. I used to like planning out my meals.

I went to my favorite restaurant this week: Green Street. And tried to order my favorite salad but it had blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing and chicken all of which I had to ask to be removed. It was a dry salad and was not worth the trip. The company made it worthwhile but it was just another meal that I cannot enjoy anymore.

It made me so sad but I would have felt ridiculous crying in the restaurant so I didn’t. Although I didn’t feel ridiculous bringing my own tea bag. I should have brought my own dressing too. I tried my own dressing on it when I got home and it was okay but what is the fun of eating out if I have to make the meal myself. I wanted to eat out so that dinner wouldn’t be something I had to make. So that it could be simple. It just made me sad.

After that experience I’m not sure eating out is worth it. I am feeling better which makes all of this worth it. But that’s little succor when I am bereft of ¬†pizza (paraphrasing from The Big Bang Theory “Stale pastry is hollow succor of¬†man¬†who is¬†bereft of ostrich.”).

Gluten is in everything. In things you wouldn’t think of. So shopping is at least an hour process and it is frustrating. But I did learn something this trip that will make my next trip less frustrating. Apparently the manager at Trader Joes has a list of Gluten-Free items that he will let you see when you come in. Maybe someone there can help me shop ūüėČ

Lots to do today and I don’t feel like doing any of it. Maybe I should just eat a banana ūüôā

This is what happens when….

I was just reading about Chelsea Clinton’s Gluten-Free wedding on celiac.com

Anyway they were listing all the things to stay away from and while reading this article I noticed that in my efforts to avoid gluten I was missing a major category. I have been for a few weeks now avoiding: wheat, malt, and barely because on some website they said these were the ones to avoid. However, while reading the article about Chelsea Clinton I realized that I’m also supposed to be avoiding rye and possibly oat as well.

Well crap!

Now as I have been reading labels I have been seeing the word rye and thinking, “hmm I wonder about that one.” Usually rye is in combination with malt or barley so I have inadvertently been avoiding it but I’m guessing that I have missed a few things along the way. Like whatever I had at Souplantation with Denise on Monday. My little mistake has had me sick for the last 2 days.

This is what happens when you search gluten-free and they give you three words that should solve all your problems. Silly me. I do know how to research but somehow I just expected to find good information online. Guess I will have to read some books to really figure this stuff out.

As I was explaining to Denise on Monday the worst part about accidentally eating gluten or cheating and eating some for fun is that it is no fun. I may get sick once or for a few days and the other effects that come with it are horrific. The pain, the lethargy, etc is not worth the few moments of taste-bud bliss.

I guess I need to do more research before I eat something.

Gluten-Free Cooking Meal 2

Tonight I tried a recipe that my gluten-free friend Lisa sent me. It’s actually a Paula Dean Recipe ūüėČ

It’s called Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps. It’s supposed to be an appetizer but I called it dinner.


Broiling pan and rack

Nonstick spray (I used coconut)

You need 4 chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes)

1 pound package of bacon (cut into 3rds). I used Turkey Bacon

2/3 cup of Brown Sugar (although I think 1/3 cup would be okay. I had plenty of the mixture left over. If you change it to 1/3 also change the amount of Chili powder you use.)

2 tablespoons of Chili Powder

Mixture: Combine brown sugar and chili powder in bowl and stir

Wrap bacon around the cubed chicken and stick with a toothpick

Dredge (run the picked chicken and bacon through mixture. I also sprinkled the rest on top.) through mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Spray pan and rack with nonstick spray

Put chicken wraps on pan (optional sprinkle mixture on top)

Put in oven for 30-35 min or whenever bacon is crisp. I checked after 20 minutes.

My thoughts:

Amazing goodness! They were so good! They had just enough sweetness with the smallest bit of kick. I think that even my spicy intolerant sister could handle these.

Go ahead and give them a try for yourself. I bet you are gonna love them ūüėČ

My first Gluten-Free Meal that wasn’t a salad

Today I planned out some meals and then went to Trader Joes to get the stuff.

They had almost everything I was looking for but I got frustrated because there wasn’t a Gluten Free section and from what I could tell the Gluten Free stuff was not clearly labeled. I got one loaf of bread (a brand my cousin Tim told me about). I couldn’t find any of the flours I was looking for and all their broth had wheat in it. The most upsetting thing was my favorite liquorice ¬†(in fact my friends and I call it crack liquorice because it is so good) has malt in it so I can’t have it any more :(.

But I got lots of fruits and veggies and I found almost everything on my list with a few exceptions like chocolate chips for baking and paprika (which I was really surprised they didn’t have) and peppermint oil and coconut oil. I have been told that Trader Joes is really good for these things so maybe I was shopping at the wrong Trader Joes.

Anyway, my shopping woes aside. I did get a lot of stuff.

I decided for dinner tonight I would make the Cauliflower Pizza Crust. I found the recipe on this site: http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-pizza.html .

It was really easy. The hardest part was shredding the cauliflower. If you have a food processor use it!

It was pretty good. I might make a few adjustments though. Make the round on the cookie sheet smaller if you want a thicker crust and bigger if you want a thinner crust. Also expect it to be like a personal pizza and not something you can share with others.

It was good, not really like the real deal but not too bad. My toppings were: chicken, green peppers, and red peppers. I thought about adding the summer squash I bought but didn’t know how that would go with the pizza sauce. Maybe next time I will make artichoke heart and chicken or some other variation that will be good with a red pizza sauce.

Also the recipe calls for cooking spray. I didn’t have any so I used butter. Don’t do that! It made it stickier which is funny because you use butter for other things. Also I didn’t use the garlic salt (because I didn’t have any) and it was still good.

So my first forte into Gluten-free cooking (and my first pizza that I didn’t make at school or with my mom and that I didn’t by frozen) was a success. I didn’t give myself food poisoning and I know some changes I would like to make for next time.
And it actually tastes pretty good.

I encourage you to give this a try and let me know how it goes for you!

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