Celiac Disease

3 Annoying Things About Living Gluten Free

My ONE YEAR anniversary of getting sick is coming up in December.  Since going gluten free in April, I have never felt better than I do now.  I will NEVER go back to eating wheat because of how sick I was and how amazing the benefits have been to my body.  That being said, living gluten free has its annoyances.  I want to take the time to share and vent about the daily battles living gluten free has.

gluten free

1. Our uneducated society. Due to our country’s diet trends a fads, “gluten free” has become at the top of the list. Many fad dieters eat gluten free because they believe it is better for you than products with gluten, which is true, but there’s a catch. Your diet needs to be full of gluten free foods without eating a diet full of “gluten free” foods. Here’s what I mean: I like to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast, homemade chicken, veggie and brown rice soup for lunch, and salmon with asparagus for dinner…all of which are NATURALLY gluten free; whereas others have the misconception that eating a gluten free diet should look like this: gluten free cereal for breakfast, a grilled cheese on gluten free bread and gluten free chips for lunch, and gluten free pasta with gluten free alfredo sauce for dinner. Just because some SAYS “gluten free” on a package does not mean that is not refined and processed like any other packaged food. Many do not understand that gluten is a protein that wreaks havoc in a gluten intolerant persons’ gut. I would be sick for days if I consumed something with gluten, which is why those packaged gluten free foods are a treat for me. Just like any dieter should occasionally treat themselves to a cupcake, donut, or salty snack, I like to do the same when it comes to “gluten free” foods. I will take my own gf pretzels or cupcakes to a party that I know I will need a snack or dessert. I go through phases (especially during pregnancy) where I get tired of eating eggs every morning so I will throw in a GF chia waffle. It’s all about give and take like any other diet. But just because it says “gluten free” does NOT mean it is healthy for you.

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click on the pic to see some of the different symptoms you could be experiencing!

2. Going out to dinner. This ties into the first one of our society being uneducated about gluten and its effect on the body. Going out is ROUGH…especially when the restaurant everyone wants to go to is just not a good fit for the health conscious. The part that many restaurants do not understand is that cross contamination is what GF people worry about most (unless you are doing this for the fad). I can have potato skins and French fries and salads and a lot of other things on the menu. But I can’t have French fries that are fried in the same fryer as your BREADED chicken strips. And I can’t have that salad that the cook just “removed” the croutons off the top. The trace amounts of gluten will make me sick…and this is why I have issues with the “FAD.”  The fad dieters, who do not get the same reaction, say they are gluten free but are actually getting a lot of gluten and don’t even know it. It’s just a lack of understanding on WHY someone should be gluten free or not. I think EVERYONE would benefit from a gluten free diet, but our society does not understand WHY and that’s where the problems come into play when going out.

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3. “The (snobby) Fad.” I can’t tell you how many looks and stares and eye rolls I get when someone hears me say that I have to be gluten free. I do my best to not let it bother me, because that person has NO IDEA how sick I could get from the smallest amount of gluten, but in all honesty, it does bother me. I didn’t CHOOSE to be this way. People don’t get eye rolls for having a peanut allergy! But I again, blame it on the FAD. Gluten has gotten so much publicity over the past year that many people who don’t know my background don’t truly get it and will place a stereotype on the type of person who might live gluten free by choice (which isn’t right either). Some of my coworkers (although joking) make comments at me and poke fun because I brought my own lunch to our staff meeting while everyone else eats 4 slices of Papa John’s pizza (yes a blessing in disguise, I know). But the truth is, people just don’t get it! They don’t understand what the disease is all about. I have a good relationship with my coworkers now where I don’t care if they poke fun, but it’s so interesting to me that they make jokes about me one moment and then a moment later, ask for peanut free candy bar options for one of our coworkers with a peanut allergy. LACK. OF. KNOWLEDGE. Because of the fad, people think that I choose to live a gluten free lifestyle. I’m NOT blaming any of them. It’s nobody’s fault! It’s just SO interesting to me the reactions of our society to different intolerances.

Like I said before, I don’t have a problem with people who choose to be GF without having Celiac or Gluten Sensitivities. In fact, I think it’s great! I think it would benefit every type of person…if done CORRECTLY. People need to understand the reasons and science behind it before living this lifestyle.

What do YOU think? Be brutally honest! Do you put a stereotype on people who choose to be gluten free vs. need to be gluten free? How do you know if they are CHOOSING or not? Would you ever try living a GF life?

Signature Maggie

Grandma Vee’s Stuffed Peppers

peppers

As most of you have noticed, my family is EXTREMELY close. We’re talking invite our 88 year old grandma to our Costume Karaoke Halloween party close. My dad still goes over to her house every day for his lunch break. She makes AMAZING meals and I’m so thankful that I get to go over to her place a couple of days a week and visit with her. It makes me a little sad to know that I won’t be able to do this when I get a full time job…hmmm. 😉
She makes yummy meals for us (after always checking with me if it’s “gluten free” of course) like meatloaf, soups, salads, chili, and recently STUFFED PEPPERS. They are so delicious that I had to get the recipe from her. I asked her how she made them and she told me all the ingredients and said “I don’t really measure anything,” in her high pitched grandma voice that I love. She explained that her mother used to make them and she just “threw everything together.” Such a grandma thing, right?! So I snooped through her things to get an idea of how I could make the same yummy peppers ASAP! Here’s the ingredient list:
• 4 green bell peppers
• 1.5 lbs of ground beef or other ground meat
• 1 small-medium onion chopped
• 2 eggs
• 48 oz. can of tomato juice
• Brown rice
• Spices to taste

Directions:

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1. Cut the tops off of the green peppers and clean out seeds. Set aside.

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2. In a large bowl, mix together raw beef, onion, eggs, any spices you would like, along with a couple handfuls of brown rice. Get your hands dirty and make a giant meatloaf mixture. Set aside.

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3. In a large sauce pan or pot (I used a chili pot), empty about 1/3 of the can of tomato juice and start heating over medium heat.

4. Using your hands, stuff the peppers with the meat mixture. Place them into the heating juice.

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5. Any extra meat can be used as meat balls around the peppers. Grandma also explained how she sprinkled some rice around in the juice as well. The more rice you add, the less soupy it will be. Brown rice especially soaks up a lot of moisture so if you want it juicy, use less rice.

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6. Pour the remainder of the tomato juice into the pot and over the peppers. It’s okay if they are submerged.
7. Cover and bring to a bubble. As soon as it bubbles, turn down the heat to medium-low or low and slow cook for about an hour.

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*I turned the peppers on their sides and turned them every once in a while to make sure the juice was getting in and cooking the meat evenly.

It took me about 10 minutes to mix everything together and throw it into the pot. It’s so easy and DELICIOUS! It’s a total grandma meal :)
When they are ready, I just scooped a pepper and juice with rice into my bowl and scarfed it down. If you want just a little bit of seconds, the meatballs and rice on the sides are PERFECT! You HAVE to try this ASAP and let us know what you think!
Happy Pepper Stuffing!

Signature Maggie

It’s a…

The day finally came!  The big reveal was this Saturday!  I can’t tell you how excited we are about our baby.

First, I want to talk a little bit about balance…we’ve posted a lot about living a well rounded life in the past and how important it is to ENJOY your life.  We were able to have a completely gluten free party while splurging on some of our favorite snacks, desserts, and beverages.  We had 3 different types of chili:  my mom’s famous original chili, turkey chili, and my white chicken chili.  We had Fritos, cheddar cheese, and sour cream available for toppings.  Haley made some awesome cornbread bake.  Adie made DELICIOUS “caramelitas” for dessert.  And Marta brought lots of hotdogs to mix in with the chili and for the kids to enjoy.

Fall fun with sisters

Fall fun with sisters

 

After our reveal (which I will get to in a bit), the night was spent enjoying beverages by the bonfire.  I bought GF graham crackers for some yummy s’mores!  Everyone was mingling, chatting, and snacking while the kids were running around and playing games with each other.  Later in the night there might even have been a dance off competition :)  My family is CRAZY and knows how to have a good time!

I have an amazing family and group of friends that I am so lucky and blessed to have.  We had THE MOST fun on Saturday…all because we live a well rounded life.  We don’t eat and drink like this everyday which allows us to enjoy ourselves when we do have get-togethers and not feel guilty about it.  None of us worry about eating 2 or 3 cookies throughout the night or drinking that extra glass of wine because we know our EVERYDAY lifestyles make it easy to get rid of those extra calories we splurged on at the party.  Our bodies are so used to functioning at the highest level, working hard in workouts, and eating “easy to burn” calories from clean foods, that a night like this doesn’t phase us.  You can be that way too!  Live every day clean with lots of movement, and your body will be able to respond quickly and efficiently when you have a cheat meal.

bundled up by the fire...after s'mores!

bundled up by the fire…after s’mores!

 

Now to the big reveal!  It was amazing!  We had a blast celebrating and sharing this surprise with the people we love.

We picked up the balloons (in a box) from our party store that morning.  About an hour into the party it was time to open and celebrate!

What's it gonna bee?

What’s it gonna bee?

Everyone gathered around us with cameras and watched as we cut open the box!

surprise!  BLUE!

surprise! BLUE!

It's a BOY!  I love Austin's cheering in this pic!

It’s a BOY! I love Austin’s cheering in this pic!

If you look at the bottom of our balloon strings, they had the ultrasound pic attached...with NO weight.  There is goes...

If you look at the bottom of our balloon strings, they had the ultrasound pic attached…with NO weight. There is goes…

 

I was MAD that they didn’t follow our directions about putting a weight so the balloons didn’t fly off.

And they're gone.

And they’re gone.

But it made for a good story…of course my family improvised and grabbed my dad’s BB gun.  The boys were shooting at the balloons trying to pop them in hopes it would fall out of the tree they were stuck in.  They popped the balloons, but the strings and picture never fell :(

I will definitely be asking for another pic at my appointment this week!

I hope you had a great weekend!  Don’t forget to live a clean and active lifestyle so splurging and having fun isn’t a big deal to your guilt or your body.

Thanks for stopping by,

Signature Maggie