So here’s what I am going to do…

I have always felt that If I was going to write something that it had to be long and drawn out and had to have perfect grammar and had to be looked at and checked by a million people. That I had to make sure it was funny and interesting and that it should take a fair amount of time to write a post.

But that is not why I wanted to do this blog. I wanted to share my experiences with people so that I could help people that are in the same boat as I am. People who struggle everyday trying to live a gluten free life.

Now on top of it; I now have been diagnosed withType 1 Diabetes so it makes life even that harder. So I plan on writing more often; even if the grammar sucks and even if it is two lines that basically say I had a good day, I had a bad day, I ate something good or I ate something horrible.

So if we have any readers left and hopefully some new readers will be ok with866730_thank_you that. Talk to you soon…GFBill

Big City….Little City

I had an interesting time last week when I was travelling to Jefferson City MO.  I have traveled since my diagnosis,  I have been to Washington D.C. and a few other places; most of them bigger cities.  Jefferson City was my first trip to somewhere a little more out of the way and definitely a lot smaller.  I wish I could say that this trip was successful from a food stand-point but I ran into more problems than I have anywhere I have traveled.   I can count three times that I was “glutened” in one week; I know that you may say that that is not much but when you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease you are told that you need to be careful because even a small amount of gluten can start the damage to my finally healed intestines all over again.  A few of the things that I ran in to:

  • A restaurant that put flour in their mashed potatoes
  • A few restaurants that didn’t even know what a gluten free diet
  • The hotel where we (GFBill and GFJason) stayed did a great job of getting gluten free deserts but when it came to lunch it was salad for the first couple of days.  If you are going to say that you cater to the GF, then you need to understand that it has to be more than salad.

You know that you are in trouble when people start asking the “well can you have cheese?”  It really shows how much more education is needed for places where food is served.  With so many people (1 in 133) who suffer from Celiac Disease, I think it is very important that restaurants seek out allergen education.  I think it will take time for smaller cities to catch up but I think it is important that they do, in the meantime I think the next time I fly there or to any small city, I will stick to chain restaurants where I can be sure I will be safe.

But not all was bad…see this thing below.  This was a pork steak that I had from a small shack in Warrenton MO called Two Dudes BBQ; the owner’s wife spent time with me and Jason telling us all the ingredients and how things were cooked.  It was so amazingly good and made my week.

pork steak

 

 

We are coming back!!

We know that it has been a while and that we owe our readers a big apology…work has been killing both of us. But we are getting back to business starting the week after Christmas. I promise.

So stay tuned and look back here soon!!

 

GFBill

So much to say so little time…

I have so much to say in this post that I will call this a mish mash of stuff…here we go!

Gluten Free Fenway Part II – Sorry to say that I have been to couple of more games this year and the one cart that said Gluten Free and lived in the healthy selections area of the concessions now sells candy. First, they still do carry a GF cookie and Brownie, but if someone didn’t tell you that they were there you are not going to find it. Second, not sure how Swedish Fish can be termed healthy (don’t get me wrong, downright my favorite candy).  There is still concessions though that you can get a hamburger or hot dog without a bun and that only cook French Fries in their fryers so just ask around and you will find them.  But needless to say I am a little disappointed that they took down the sign…

FDA on Their Way – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reopened the comment period for its 2007 proposal on labeling    foods as “gluten-free” on August 2nd.   The agency is also making available a safety assessment of exposure to gluten for people with celiac disease (CD) and invites comment on these additional data.  For more information and to make a comment go to http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm265838.htm

On a Personal Note:  Had an appointment at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel the other day (it’s Bill by the way) and the Dr. is very happy with my progress.  The only problem is that now I have to lose some weight.  So not only am I on a Gluten Free diet but now I have to be on a Gluten Free diet diet.  I guess I could be in a worse place than gaining weight and having my body absorb nutrients again.  So I will cut down on the bread,  the rice and the chocolate chip cookies and start to eat a little healthier.

 

That’s what I have for today…I will try to be more focused next time (if that is at all possible!!)

 

 

Finally on my way back…its about time!!

 

1111976_retro_clockSo for those who have been following my trials and tribulations since the start; of out blog, you know that for a while I was feeling really good and then kind of went downhill for a little bit.  When I say downhill;  what I mean is that I was not feeling as good as I was when I started the Gluten Free diet.  My vitamin/mineral levels were way down and for some crazy reason my gluten numbers were way up.  There was even talk of Refractory Celiac Disease, a fairly rare and fairly serious condition which requires treatment other than a gluten free diet.  This could include taking medicines such as prednisone and possibly even some chemotherapy drugs.   My Doctor even questioned if I was cheating…which by the way I was  not and have not even once. “I don’t eat it …if I don’t read it” another thing I should put on a T-Shirt along with the infamous “People don’t eat grass, Cow’s Do.”

So I had to buckle down and eat only things that I could be certain did not contain gluten, which meant that I had to give up two of my favorite things.  Just because  these things said they were  gluten free  didn’t  mean they are safe to eat (at least for me anyway). 

I found that out the hard way. 

I will save my thoughts on that for another post. 

Well I found out the other day that my vitamin/mineral levels are heading back up (still fighting with my iron levels and vitamin D levels).  But the best news is my IGa and IGg numbers are heading down.  My IGa went from 17.71 to 13.01, which means that I found the hidden gluten and have pretty much eliminated it from my diet.  My IGg level went from 29.25 to 20.33, which indicates that my villi are actually starting to do what they are supposed to be doing.  That level is still a little high, but it takes some time to heal (I can wait).    I am in a good place now and if I can just get my other vitamin levels to play nice, I think I will start feeling a whole lot better.  So the morale of the story is keep at it, you will find the answers you need if you just keep looking. 

I hope you had a Happy 4th!!

Hitting a Wall– So soon?

My story is a little different than Jason’s.  As I mentioned in my last post, Jason has been living gluten free for quite a while.   I, on the other hand, am just approaching my third month.  I have definitely gotten used to eating gluten free, the texture of the food doesn’t really bother me anymore, and the taste of most things is fine.  I have found a pasta I like, Bi-Aglut corn pasta.  Udi’s makes bread and plain bagels that I love.  I am now a big fan of Mi-Del Chocolate chip cookies.  These are just some of my absolute favorites; of course I could list many more things, but most of them are on Jason’s list from one of our first posts.    So what would I have to complain about?

To be quite honest with you, I feel like I am hitting a wall.  I am starting to miss some of the stuff that I ate before I was diagnosed.  I now understand why people cheat.  Those Pillsbury Bunny cookies for Easter look and smell really, really good.  Worst of all, Twinkies are now in three packs for a limited time only.   We have been so busy that we have not really had the time to try to cook new things.  Being a creature of habit, I find myself eating a lot of the same stuff and right now I am kind of feeling like “how much longer can I keep this up?”  My brain and stomach are screaming “no mas!” We want something different and we want what we used to eat.  Remember the Twinkies, remember the #9 with Crab Rangoon and fried rice, remember (and this hurts the most) the chicken teriyaki from the mall food court.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past week or so that I have almost mistakenly bit into things that were not gluten free, in fact I almost just ate a piece of a Bunny cookie that was stuck on my finger a few minutes ago.

Oh how easy it would be to just say to myself “come on, what is one non-gluten free meal going to do to you?  Really Bill, just go ahead and have just one Twinkie”….STOP!!!!

A few things that you should know about this yoda:

  1. I knew that I would hit a wall sooner or later- I didn’t think it was going to be this soon, but I fully expected it to happen.
  2. I am not going to cheat- I have Celiac disease, even the littlest bit of gluten can make me very sick and could reverse the healing of the villi in my intestines (I know, TMI)
  3. I am not even going to be less diligent about cross contamination; I will still ask all the questions that I need to ask to maintain my strict diet.

I am looking at this “Wall Hitting” as a challenge. I am challenging myself to find the time to cook different things, find new recipes to try, look for different restaurants that I can try, and keep on the course that I have been undertaking successfully for the last three months.

So, if you find yourself careening towards that wall at a great rate of speed, step on the brakes and make sure that you remember why you are taking this course of action in the first place.  Take a breath and realize how much better you feel.

I have a personal Gluten Free Chef…and it isn’t my wife????

…And to be honest with you she’s OK with it.

Time is just not something that I think anyone has a lot of these days.  Especially with two teenage boys who go to school miles away from our home and a wife who works full-time.  So when I was diagnosed I thought OK, I will go out and buy whatever I can get my hands on and my wife and I can start baking/cooking gluten free, WRONG!!!

With limited time, there never seems to be those few extra minutes to try to figure out how to make the best GFree brownies, or how to work with GFree flour, never mind sit down and create a gluten free meal plan for the week.  Therefore, I have relied on a lot of gluten free prepackaged food from one of my favorite local places Allcaneat Foods.  (I promise to review them sometime in the near future-they’re awesome and if you’re in the area you need to check them out).  I must also confess that I believed that once I was diagnosed that we (my wife and boys) were in this alone. I thought we would deal with this as a family, much like we did when our youngest son was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy as a baby and a red dye allergy as a toddler.  We weren’t thinking about all the supporting cast members in our journey.

In my case, people like my sister who saw GFree bread and boxed Mac & Cheese; and picked them up for me.  Or my mother-in-law who instantly started thinking about how my favorite meals at her house could be adjusted to make them GFree.  And, of course, my Mom (you may remember from an earlier post I told you I am kind of a mama’s boy) who immediately went online to look for GFree cookbooks and magazines.  She even spent a whole afternoon watching GFree day on QVC and was texting me the whole time asking if I wanted her to buy this or that!

apple-pie-ck-709820-l But I think everyone (yup that includes my wife and my Mother!) pales in comparison to who I now refer to as “my personal gluten free chef.”  For the sake of protecting the innocent we’ll just call her Eliot.  Eliot is one of our family’s closest friends and she has been more “into” my diet than me.  On one of my first visits to her house, I was greeted with boneless chicken breaded with mash potato flakes accompanied with white rice, so yummy.  Another time it was GFree risotto and for dessert GFree brownies made with sour cream to make them super moist.  Most recently it was a homemade apple pie, completely gluten free!  This put me right over the top and provided the muse to write this post.  On top of all this, she has a list of items containing gluten on her refrigerator so that when we are planning our next “pizza night” she can make sure there is always something there just for me-and yes she even found a local place that has GFree pizza!  She always has a new type of cracker for me to try along with her homemade hummus that is gluten free for me to snack on.

You are probably saying to yourself, you are so lucky to have an Eliot in your life, and how I wish I had an Eliot too.  And that is exactly my point-I had no idea when I was diagnosed that I would have the supporting cast members I now have to help me figure my way through this new GFree world in which I now find myself.  But, as I am learning to navigate my new GFree existence; I have found that the people who love me really are willing to go the extra mile so that I continue happily on my “crazy” diet.

Just take a good look around and you will find that you too have this support system waiting to help you in any way they can.  And lastly my hope for you is that you too will find yourself an Eliot in your life.

 

 

One of these things is not like the other…

Not sure if everyone remembers the song from Sesame Street where they had three things that were alike and one that was different. If not, here’s a link to see it…

This is a bit like what I feel like living gluten free in a predominantly gluten world (don’t get me wrong, things are much easier for me than they were for Jason when he began his diet, starting with the fact that I had a personal Yoda to guide me through what was good and what was not so great). There are still many challenges that I, as a GF-er have to contend with on a day to day basis in all areas of of my life:

Home: I am the only GF person in my home, so I have to think about my own dinner and sometimes what my family is going to have for dinner too. My bride will eat GF with me most of the time, but my boys have to be tricked into it. We don’t do that too often, but it is a little easier with pancakes or PF Changs takeout. Children also don’t have the bandwidth to understand that your life is different. For example, I recently purchased a bunch of ready to heat and eat food that I use primarily for lunch and dinner. When I asked one of my boys (I don’t remember which one, and they aren’t confessing) to put the food in the freezer for me, well…it never got there instead it was sitting on the floor – defrosted and wrecked. I was livid, not just ecause it was a waste of money, but I had to rethink my menu for the rest of the week because I had just lost three days of food. It is more expensive to eat this way and more time consuming as there are two parts of the family to buy for.

But you know what…it’s ok!!

Work: Recently I was told that I have killed the “going out for lunch trips” in my office. I know they were kidding and I wanted to know how “I”, who now brings his lunch everyday, killed this. They told me it was because they felt bad that I couldn’t go. I told them I could go but it just required a little prior notice and planning. So I think they understand a little better now. Jason has told me countless stories of traveling at work as well. He finds himself eating Subway salads when everyone else is getting a nice big sub. While there is nothing wrong with Subway salads (they are tasty), there’s more to life than salad. As a side note, Subway is testing GF bread at some of their locations in Texas, unfortunately a far trip for either of us.

But you know what…it’s ok!!

Friends: Recently I received an invitation to a friend’s house for dinner, which never affected me before, but now it is a little different. You ask yourself so many questions:

  • Do I tell them about my diet and expect them to cook for me?randy2
  • Do I bring my own, and if I do will that offend them?
  • Do I show up with no prior notification and play with my food?

This is very different from what I used to be like, and very different from most of the people in my life.

But you know what…it’s ok!!

Why do I keep saying that, because it is Ok that I am different, it is ok that I have these different needs than my family, friends and co-workers. Why, because the other option is NOT OK. The other option is being sick, malnourished, and in my case having 20-30 apthous ulcers (canker sores) in my mouth at any given time. This was my reaction to Celiacs…Not fun, trust me!!

So one of these things may not be like the other, but that thing (ME) is finally healthy!!! So, what I am trying to let people know, is not to spend time feeling isolated, take the time to plan and enjoy your new found health. Don’t be afraid to tell people about the new you and don’t be afraid if they don’t know what to do. You can’t control other’s reactions, but you can control your diet and yourself.

It’s Well Worth It!!

Shhh!, please don’t tell anyone that I am reading the Elisabeth Hasselbeck book!!

So you’re not sure who Elisabeth Hasselbeck is…well I will tell you. She was on Survivor, Australian Outback, went to Boston College where she met her husband, retired quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. But she is best known for her hosting duties on the daily talk show the View, where she has had numerous spats with many guests. I am not going to tell you them all here, but go ahead and YouTube them and you will find them all.

So when I was diagnosed I wanted a good book, well there are many, many, many books pertaining to Celiac Disease, Gluten Free cooking and Gluten Free Living. So you ask how did I end up with the Elisabeth Hasselbeck book, I blame my mother. She mentioned it to me and being a little bit of a momma’s boy (which guy isn’t) I told her I would look at it. Well when I did I found that it was pretty good and answered a bunch of questions that I had.

The G-Free Diet, A Gluten Free Survival Guide is written by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Dr. Peter Green is a great book for someone who has no idea what gluten even is. Through her own story she talks about how she found out about her diagnosis and how she was not listened to at first until she found someone who dug deep enough to find the correct diagnosis (which I can sympathize with because the same thing happened to me).

I like the way that the authors explain what the allergy is and let people know that it is not a death sentence, even with the fact that you can’t eat bread, and that there are many great things to make and eat. The book calls itself a survival guide and it is just that - with information about, traveling, going to parties, living with a family that is not gluten free among other topics. The one part of the book that was a little lost on me, was a whole chapter on makeup (not sure this Yoda needs makeup, could use some hair but a good foundation…not so much). The book also contains recipes for some easy to make dishes, I have not made anything yet, I am still negotiating a second Gluten Free shelf in the kitchen cabinets.

So if you are newly diagnosed or just want to know a little bit more about Celiac Disease of living a Gluten Free the G-Free Diet is a pretty great book. So you know what, tell everyone that I am reading the Elisabeth Hasselbeck book and in fact go buy one for yourself.

welcome to gluten free yodas!

Here at Gluten Free Yodas (GFY), we want offer a different perspective on living gluten free.  Whether you have lived gluten free since birth or have  just learned that you need to live gluten free, there is an entire world of reviews, testimonials, recipes, and other GF blogs out there.  Our mission is to provide advice and experience from an honest and forthright perspective.  While our focus may take more of a male slant, our sentiments cross gender boundaries.

Living gluten free in today’s world is far less complicated than it was 10 years ago.  Now, most supermarkets have a small corner dedicated to ‘natural foods’ and often label a section of an aisle as ‘gluten free’.  Have you ever noticed the prices on some of the items?  Yikes!  Compared to their gluten-filled cousins, these products can sometimes be double (or more) the cost.  Allow our product reviews and our lists of GF favorites to be your guide, and to help save you a dollar or two.  Living gluten free all these years, we have learned a thing or two about products, on-the-go tricks, and general “What the heck am I going to eat at the game tonight? – I can’t drink beer and I can’t have pizza!” quandaries.

We hope our blog breaks down misconceptions of living gluten free and offers new perspectives from two dudes who live gluten free.  (And still drink beer too!)

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