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Step Beyond Celiac KC5K

18 Oct

While I have been seemingly in hibernation as of late, at least from this blog itself, I have actually been doing all of the things. And by all of the things, I mean SO many great things that involve advocating for my own wellness and the wellness of others.

One of the most recent things that I feel so fortunate to have been a part of was the Beyond Celiac – Step Beyond Celiac KC 5K run/walk. This was the Beyond Celiac’s inaugural event, and it was held in Kansas City, my home town. I could not have been more lucky to have ended up not only volunteering with some of the nicest people. But I also got to sneak in some quality time with one of my favorite Celiac advocates – Erica of Celiac and the Beast.

The event also brought me back in touch with Emily from Food Equality Initiative , and Jill from t.Loft. I also met adorable dogs, courageous kids dealing with a celiac diagnosis, and some extremely generous supporters and volunteers. But more than anything it showed me that we actually have a dedicated group of people whose lives have been touched by food allergies and celiac disease. And so many of them are right here in Kansas City. I have learned so much from all of the people I have been lucky enough to meet. And I look forward to many more opportunities to learn, support, advocate and come together as a community.

Check out Erica from Celiac and the Beast’s recap of the event here:   Beyond Celiac: Step Beyond Celiac KC5K 

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Another autoimmune flare; another reset – The AIP Challenge & the challenges that led me back here

15 Jun

EvolveAIPChallenge2017

First of all, let me back up to 2015 when I my health started slowly declining and my symptoms gradually were increasing in number or intensity. And it was hard to recognize this at the time because I had been learning to accept what IS vs freaking out over my ever-changing state due to the unpredictability and randomness of autoimmune disease. I was telling myself things like:  This is just temporary. Breathe through and endure. Tomorrow is a new day. Healing means one step forward and 10 steps back sometimes. And I was “OK” with it. Until I was gearing up to drive to Denver for the 2015 FABlogCon – Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. It was then, that it really hit me. I was so low in energy that just packing was draining me. And it took everything I had (with a lot of help from my amazing, supportive partner) just to get me to Denver. And once there, as excited as I was to be surrounded by so many like-minded, compassionate people in a place where everyone was advocating for the very things I was passionate about, I could barely muster up the physical energy to get out of the bed in the hotel room, and take the very easy ride down the elevator to the events a few floors below. It could not have been any more easy to navigate. But my physical body was drained. And my mental capacity was not even functional. I had to put on the best face I could to muster through such a wonderful event when I was just not feeling even close to optimal. I had inflammation so bad that I had to borrow boots from a friend that were two sizes bigger than my normal size, and I busted out the maternity /tunic dress options that I had in the pile to give away for my daily attire. Thank goodness I had those still. That swelling wasn’t just inconvenient and unsightly. It was painful. My entire body felt like it weighed a million pounds and had been beaten and bruised repeatedly. I was having to face the fact that this was not just temporary. And it was not something I could tolerate anymore. I had somehow gone backwards, even after my very clean diet (and what I felt was a healthy lifestyle). I had been eating basically paleo (somewhat primal – as I would have something with rice flour in it maybe 1-2 times /month). As I mentioned, my old (& some new) symptoms had surfaced during 2015. And by November, it really was painfully obvious that I was not bouncing back.

Enter the Autoimmune Protocol AIP and Wahls Protocol .  I had this on my back burner of tricks to pull out just in case I ever hit what seemed to be rock bottom again. But I was so convinced (I had to be hopeful and confident) that I would never need to go this route. But alas, as soon as we returned home from the conference I prepared the pantry (gave away all non AIP things), started working on my meal plans, and mental preparation for what I was embarking upon. I went at this process the same way I did with my first few Elimination diets that were suggested to me (& guided by) my functional/integrative MDs. And then how I begrudgingly leaped into the GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome) Diet full force right before what used to be our annual trip to Austin for South By Southwest. I was no stranger to this. So the process itself was not as daunting this time. But the reality that my body clearly was still not healing, and was fighting against me this entire time was emotionally devastating.

It took three months for me to see/ feel any true results with this version of AIP. I felt worse before I felt better. I had to remove caffeine (which I was only a one Chai tea per day drinker). But that was brutal, as I work a very early morning shift for work. So the first month was not pleasant due to that. But then the following two months I had glimmers of feeling a little better, or at least different. But definitely a ton of feeling resentful towards people who were eating stuff I could not. And the fact that I was working SO hard to heal, and yet I was seemingly getting nothing in return. But as I said, around the 90 day mark I finally felt tangible results. I woke up one day, and simply got out of bed. I had not done that in nearly a year. I did not struggle to lift my head. My arms did not feel bruised and weighted down. And my body felt somewhat lighter and more mobile. This was true progress. This type of protocol is not meant to be permanent. But the length of time that it will take for each person to see/feel improvement will vary a lot. We are all at different stages in our illnesses. And we are also so bio-individual in what makes each of our bodies work or shut down. So for me, clearly 90 days was some type of milestone. But it was still not even close to what I remembered as “normal” (whatever that is).  So I soldiered on. And by the 9th month, I was definitely no longer as inflamed. And my headaches were long gone. But I was now feeling other symptoms I was not used to. I could not seem to get enough energy to go to yoga anymore. I was having brain fog and cognitive issues. My days consisted of work, meal prep, and sleep. That was all I could do. I started questioning why I was still not feeling OK. And my Naturopathic Doctor and I both knew the answer once I buckled down and documented my food intake in a food diary. I had gotten too lax in my version of AIP. I was still following the protocol in the sense of removing all of the inflammatory foods. But I had lost my steam on incorporating variety, and making sure that I was getting ALL of the different nutrients. And since I had been doing the protocol for so long, I had also become  deficient in things due to going months without eating things like eggs (which for me personally were a great source of nourishment). So the decision was made to do reintroductions based on my body needing nutrients fast. This helped. And I started feeling better immediately upon adding organic, pastured eggs.

There have been a handful of ups and downs since then, along with various transitions based on my own individual needs for AIP. However, those reintros and adjustments started 11 months ago. And now I am back to having some reversal in progress. I have been careful as always to not immediately jump to the fear of this being a full on flare, or a reason to make a change. But like last time, I am having to admit to myself that inflammation with severe edema and moderate pain has been increasing at such a gradual rate that I now need to address it. This was most obvious the day before we left for Paleo f(x) in Austin when I was hobbling around. It felt like my feet were just crushed with bruises. I had to go shoe shopping at a specialty shoe store the night before our trip, only to find out that I was now at an even bigger shoe size than before. My own shoes had been strangling my feet again. In the past 10 years, I have gone from a 6.5 narrow in some shoes, now all of the way to an 8.5. This swelling is not limited to my feet. It’s pretty much a below the waist only swelling. I had also again had to borrow leggings two sizes up from a friend (thank you to those who help supply my ever-changing wardrobe needs). And I had been smart enough to hold onto my larger sized, soft, flowy mumu tunics from the last time this happened.

So the universe made sure to lead me back to where I needed to be. And this time without the stress of planning my meals. I will not have to go to the grocery store. And I will not risk becoming malnourished this time either. A locally based paleo food delivery company, Evolve Paleo , is launching an AIP Challenge. And I am going to take that challenge. I am not concerned about how to go about the protocol this time. And I am not having to add extra stress to my life (which is another component of why I have been unable to fully heal). With this challenge, someone else is handling all of the details. All I have to do is eat the food. This could not have come around at a better time. I needed a break in the rigor of what it takes to start and stay on a wellness program of any kind. I needed a break from what has now been years of having to mentally concern myself about my next meal. It’s taxing, and not at all conducive to healing. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe making those changes is the best thing you can do for yourself. But it truly is a huge undertaking. And if you are already compromised, it can be counterproductive to your healing process simply due to the stress it can cause, and the energy it takes to persevere.

So my mind, body, and spirit can finally do a safer version of AIP that will be right for where I am today. I tried this on my own last time. And while I reaped so many benefits, I know now that I needed help with this process. I needed to stay on track, and focus on getting three different types of vegetables within the nine servings I was trying to get each day. It became too easy to just eat the same thing over and over. This time I won’t suffer that same fate. I have my AIP Challenge team on board to keep me true to the most healing version of this protocol. I am curious to see how much easier it will be this time around. And most importantly by removing the stress that I was putting on myself with meal planning, preparation, and the constant mental exhaustion of worrying about what my next meal would be, I am hopeful that this AIP Challenge will offer me more longstanding and tangible progress.

For updates on how the challenge is going, follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

PALEO f(x) 2017

24 May

Another long stretch of no time /energy to blog. And I’m still in that state. However, I had to take a brief pause to at least post my current state post PALEO f(x).  I’m still processing most of it. And I think I will be for a while. But my immediate thoughts all go straight to a feeling of renewed energy, inspiration, and the comforting feeling that there are indeed like minded individuals (and entire brands/companies) out there. I tend to forget that, living in the middle of the country, immersed in my own daily struggle to just survive.

But it’s true. There was an entire events center FULL of these people, and I gained something valuable from every single interaction I had. I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this year. And I look forward to hopefully being healthy enough in 2018 to make it back. It took nearly every ounce of energy and compromise I had for us to make it there this year. And I had to put more debt on my credit card so that I could inject my body with much needed vitamins & minerals via the magical cocktail of nourishment the day before leaving & upon returning. But it was worth it. The fact that there were people (and vendor booths) who not only knew what AIP (Autoimmune Protocol / Autoimmune Paleo) was. But they featured products that were safe for AIP was worth the trip there.

I plan to post more of a wrap up style post in the future, including highlights of my favorites, and things we encountered during our stay in beautiful Austin, TX at the Palmer Events Center for PALEO f(x) 2017. I was so programmed to be hashtagging, per usual at any conference – that I still am on autopilot adding #PFX17 #paleofx #paleofx2017 to even my texts. This is definitely a sign that I need some more rest.

I would love to hear about everyone else’s experience at the event. I did meet a lovely blogger – Austin Paleo Girl. She is a former Kansas Citian, now living in Austin who is a much more energetic & accountable blogger than myself. She has already posted her recap, and you can find that here.  Austin Paleo Grrl: Paleo f(x) 17: Weekend Recap

In the mean time I will be gradually posting photos from the event on my Feud With Food Facebook, Feud With Food Instagram, and Feud With Food Twitter.  Back to healing my body with nourishment, rest, and mindfulness. And, of course, missing Austin and all of the wonderful people we met at Paleo f(x).

Dietary restrictions during holidays

6 Dec

It has been a very long time since I managed to post something on the actual blog itself. But here I am again, enduring another holiday season amidst what seems to be loads of people over indulging, obsessing over occasions where everyone must bring very specific dishes. I am happy to say that after many years of having restrictions, the holidays no longer stop me in my tracks or cause horrible feelings of missing out. However, they still can be a struggle. And I do still wish people would stop making excuses for their poor eating habits due to a holiday.

This year is year two of my own version of AIP (Autoimmune Protocol). And it really does stink to be bombarded by so many appetizing options, and so much indulgence when I am working hard to figure out what my next meal will be based on my current AIP as well as managing adrenal fatigue. I eat to live. It’s my survival and my nourishment. And I am OK with that. But some days it does get on my last nerve to hear people around me complaining of the health woes they suffer from while they justify binging on whatever the holiday related food or foods of the day might simply because, you know, it’s a holiday. That falls in the same category of people who have Celiac Disease but intentionally have “cheat” days such as their birthday. I don’t get it. I want to be well SO bad. I want to get better. And I am trying so hard to do everything in my power to make that happen. So it is sometimes hard (especially during an autoimmune flare, or PMS, or a bad day at work) to watch others knowingly sabotaging their own health. I only seem to be the most bothered by this type of thing around PMS, so at least I can take solace in knowing this rage will pass. Like everything, it is indeed only temporary.

So please, tell me your stories of holiday food challenges. How did you handle your Thanksgiving this year? Did you find decent substitutions so that you weren’t forced to derail all of your hard work?  Did any of your family members or dining companions possibly LEARN something by having you at the table this year? I know that is one thing I personally continue to bring to the table. Education on how much what we eat does indeed impact our total wellness – mental and physical. Even if those around you may appear to be uninterested, annoyed, embarrassed (I seem to cause this often when someone has to eat in my presence – How DARE I eat this way?), or just inconvenienced…..please remember that you are slowly chipping away at the stigma, ignorance, and misinformation out there simply by being YOU.  So keep it up. Whatever challenges you are facing. Keep fighting the fight. Keep advocating for yourself. And stick to your guns with your wellness plan. It’s YOUR body and intestines that will be suffering if you make allowances to please other people.

Simple Squares: Eating Clean & Simple

19 Nov

FYI: Long overdue review here. I had the pleasure of stumbling upon a Simple Squares bar over  a year ago. And it could not have filled a void more perfectly.

Being someone who has a host of food allergies and intolerances, it can be super difficult to find quick fix snacks, and options to throw in my purse, backpack, for travel, etc. Keeping my blood sugar balanced is also a constant battle for me, so having something in my bag, like Simple Square Organic Nutrition Bars is a lifesaving thing.
More recently I located the fine folks from Simple Squares at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, and was thrilled to see that in addition to the one flavor I had already tried, which was Coconut, they also offered a variety of other very appealing flavors (including a few that I had to recruit my team of non-allergic test humans to try *for* me).
Simple Squares are organic, certified Paleo, Non GMO, and also gluten, dairy, corn, and soy free. They include only 5 simple ingredients ; whole food, simple ingredients. Each bar has what I would describe as a pleasingly subtle sweet yet savory flavor. I feel like the hints of flavors are subtle enough that they should be appealing to most palates.
Being a spicy spice fan, if I had to pick my favorite, I would be torn between the Cinna-Clove and the Ginger. However, my test tasters have concluded their favorites are the Coffee and the Cho-Coco.  I really would be perfectly content with any of the varieties of Simple Squares, just as long as they maintain their wonderful simplicity that makes them the perfect snack, meal replacement, or sidekick to your morning coffee or tea. I feel that a sampler of Simple Squares should be a staple in every household. I know having at least one Simple Squares bar on my person at all times is essential.
Try them all out. They even offer a sampler, which I highly suggest purchasing.
They come in the following flavors:SimpleSquareHorizontal.jpg
Cho-Coco
Chili-Pep
Cinna-Clove
Coconut
Coffee
Ginger
Rosemary
Sage
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Join us at the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Kansas City – Sunday 9/27

22 Sep

Check out some of the sponsors for the event Sunday, September 27th from 10am-3pm in Overland Park, KS (near Kansas City). This will be a great opportunity to connect, learn, and try gluten free products.  For more information:

Kansas City Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event Blog

canihaveabite? Gluten free business opens new storefront location in Kansas City

19 Jul

Just when I start to get extra frustrated again, with what I feel are limited options locally, something amazing happens to give me hope.  The latest inspiration comes from a local business taking their existing operation of carry out seasonal, organic meals, and expanding it to a storefront (which just happens to be in walking distance of my current residence).

The space itself has so many possibilities with what may evolve, and I am personally so excited about watching the process.  canihaveabite? hosted their soft opening today, and I made sure to take an extended lunch break to attend.  The new location, located in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, houses the kitchen, where all of the delicious food is created, as well as an organic coffee bar featuring items from Red-Headed Philosopher Coffee.

The best part of this new business expanding for me personally is the fact that the menu is GMO free, and always includes gluten free options.  I am delighted to finally see this happening in Kansas City.  We are so far behind the times with so many things.  And I have almost lost my patience with this particular issue too many times to count.  But maybe, just maybe we are catching up to the point that I can consider staying here. It is such an affordable place to live, with many positive characteristics.  However, it is not quite a mecca for safe food that I can enjoy………at least not yet.

Looking forward to trying out more menu items from canihaveabite? Thus far, I have purchased their items from a local coffee shop, or weekly market. I can now order online, and pick up a few blocks from my house.

canihaveabite soft opening 2014 1 canihaveabite soft opening 2014 2 canihaveabite soft opening 2014 3 canihaveabite soft opening 2014 4 canihaveabite soft opening 2014 5

Cultured Caveman: Help out an awesome Kickstarter in Portland

26 Mar

I don’t even live near Portland.  But it is a city that I am very fond of.  I am fond of Portland for many reasons.  But one of the huge reasons is the fact that it is SO easy for me to EAT there.  And not just eat.  But eat healthy, clean, without the constant challenges I face in my own residence in regards to my dietary restrictions.  AND I actually ENJOY the food I am eating.  So our last visit to Portland I stumbled upon the most glorious food truck ever – Cultured Caveman.  I could not believe my eyes when I saw the menu.  How could this be?  A food truck offering bone broth?!?  WHAT?  This was just ridiculous, and amazing.  I felt at home immediately, while standing in line at a food truck.  I could safely order gluten-free (among my other restrictions) without even having to ask a million questions at a food truck.  PERFECT.

http://culturedcavemanpdx.com/

Cultured Caveman, who currently has three trucks in the Portland area serving delicious Paleo food options, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to do something even more awesome – OPEN A RESTAURANT.  I am so thrilled for them, and am hoping that they reach their goal.  This will give me yet another reason to visit Portland even more often.  And yet another restaurant to add to my list of safe places that I can eat.

Take a minute to look at their Kickstarter video (link below).  I don’t have much to offer.  But I am backing this project from the midwest because it is something I believe in.  Best of luck to you Cultured Caveman.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1779007284/cultured-caveman-restaurant-expansion

 

Heading west on another gluten-free adventure

29 Jan

San Francisco here I come.  This is a last minute trip. One that was planned in a rush, and all because (thank goodness), I realized that I still had some un-used travel funds in my account for Southwest Airlines, which are going to expire the first week in February.  So alas, I located the right combination of fares to & from SFO airport, so that I would owe nothing at this time.  Sigh.  I am grateful that I realized this just in the nick of time.  I am not thrilled about the flights we are taking (which have us stopping).  But they don’t look to be tough connections.  LAX and Las Vegas. And enough time to get from plane to the next gate & boarding (or so I hope).  I just don’t like the idea of an entire day being eaten up in airports and en route. I do nonstop flights whenever I can.  This was simply not one of those times (or locations) that lends itself to that luxury.

So where should I go during my very brief stay in San Francisco.  So far, I am hoping to visit the Gluten-Free Grocery Store, along with a handful of restaurants that I have bookmarked on the ever so helpful Yelp.

I am super excited to be leaving the frigid single digit temperatures of Kansas City for a few days.  I know it will be a bit more mild in northern California.  AND we will have the wonderful option of using public transportation to our heart’s content.  THAT is something worth being excited about in my opinion.  I am not even anxious about the possibility of not being able to nourish myself because I KNOW it won’t be a challenge there.  That is a huge relief to me when preparing for a trip.  I usually am spending a great deal of time mapping out, and even packing my own meals. It’s exhausting.

I will report back upon my return.  And I will likely be checking in online, posting some random photos on Instagram, as well as Yelp.  It should be a blast.  I also have a secret, surprise activity that I have planned for my beloved significant other , too.

I do hope this is one of many trips to come to San Francisco.  I am bummed that I missed the gluten-free expo in San Mateo, which was last weekend.  Just need to get on the ball with finances and travel planning better for 2014.

Is it really already November?

18 Nov

What on earth happened to September, and my very favorite October?  I simply don’t know where the time went.  I feel as if I spent the entire two months so focused on a handful of very important things, that I lost sight of some of my traditional fall activities, such as simply enjoying the fall colors, taking photos of the beautiful trees, and going on a few road trips while the weather is mostly mild and sans any type of ice or snow.

I am glad to report that while I did miss out on some of my usual seasonal activities, I was productive.  And I have managed to keep up with my regular yoga practice through all of the obligations and chaos, too.  That has been essential.

I know that LaraBar has released some seasonal flavors as well.  However, these particular flavors have not made it to the Kansas City area, which saddens me.  I have been busy creating my own pumpkin flavored treats and snacks at home.  But nothing earth shattering just yet. If and when that happens, I will be sure to post the recipe here.

Things I am considering on the horizon:

  • Gluten-Free Thanksgiving options
  • Figuring out how to go back to school.  Thus far, it seems that many of my credits are not transferable.  This is frustrating when I paid for my own college, and should be a 2nd year “junior”.  Yet with the way things are transferring, I am basically back to square one if I opt to attend a state university. Even more reason to go the holistic nutrition route I suppose.
  • How to continue to successfully heal my gut without raising my histamine levels to to the point that I break threshold, and have a reaction
  • 2014 — What gluten-free and other wellness related events are going on that I should attend.  I am already looking at the Cider Summit in Chicago in February.

I hope everyone else is busy in a good way, and not allowing stress to sneak in due to the upcoming holidays, and growing obligations on the calendar.   I will check in again soon.  Time to do the meal preparation for the next few days.  Hard baked eggs and chili are on the list for tonight.