Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where do you put all your flour?

I have to buy a bigger freezer! A friend lent me her freezer when she heard i was looking, its this really cute little thing that is the size of a bar fridge. But 4 months ago it was perfect, fit all my extra frozen stuff nicely.
Enter being Celiac..... As i have mentioned in the past i now own more types of flour than any sane person and in order to keep them for any length of time you should freeze it. At the price of this stuff, you really do want to freeze it believe me. My fridge upstairs is packed and I have to make room for my roommate. The little freezer downstairs is full of flour, pasta sauce and other goodies. I need more room! I would love to make some meals big enough to freeze some for later but right now I don't even have room for the pizza I want. So I'm on a mission to find a bigger freezer. Questions: how big do you go and do you get a chest or up right? I don't want huge but it has to be bigger than what I have. I'm thinking up right if I can find a good used deal.
Wish me luck in my quest!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Power Balls - recipe

I have this recipe that i was making before I knew I was celiac and it is GF & LF... yeah.
I only had to make sure that some of the ingredients were GF which wasn't hard at all.
These are great little morsels and easy to make. If you can have Pure Oats then you can have these.

1 cup of Pure Oats (Only Oats)
5 brown rice cakes, crumbled
1 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, raisins, dates)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds chopped or pulsed in food processor
1/4 cup ground flax seed and/or sunflower seeds
pinch salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup soy milk or regular milk

In large bowl, toss together the oats, rice cakes, dried fruit, coconut, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and salt. In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa, peanut butter and maple syrup and set over medium heat. Cook until melted and smooth, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the soy milk until well blended and smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Put bowl in the fridge until the mixture is cool. Shape into balls. Store them covered, in the fridge.
They are great frozen too!

BP - never again

December is also Birthday month, I have a lot of friends with birthdays in December. Of course we try and get together. First party was being held at the Rose & Crown and I did the smart thing and ate before going. We didn't need to be there until after 7 so it was easy. Party #2, a different story, we were meeting for 6 so I did not have time to eat. The birthday girl chose Boston Pizza and when I looked at the menu on line first it looked like I could possibly get something GF. I even had my handy gluten info card with me! When I talked to the server she said all she could do was give me a book that told all the allergy alerts for there food. That would have taken a week to read. Then when I asked her to talk to the the chef's, well BP only has cooks and none of them spoke english! So I did the safe thing and just ordered a garden salad... :0( Im pretty sick of salads. So I now will never go to BP ever again with the thought of eating and will try and discourage my friends from going there too if inviting me.
There are lots of other places

Friday, December 19, 2008


So Im now pretty sure that I do have a reaction when I have taken in gluten. We went to the Peking Garden for Chinese on Wednesday night. I had heard that they do GF chinese food.
I picked out items and the server said that yes they could do it GF so our food came and we ate.... it was very good. Plus lots of left overs.
I had a bit of a stomach ache that night but it really wasn't too bad so ignored it and had the left overs for dinner last night. Well, later that evening it was a disaster, pain and the old symptoms back. Im pretty sure their was gluten in there somewhere. Cause I was pretty bad last night. I feel fine today. In one way though Im glad that I have reactions as it makes it easier to figure out if you are eating gluten or not. Im also happy cause that meant that my trip to Mexico was a GF success..... have passport, can travel!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mexico - GF?

First I have to say.....what happened to calgary chinooks? I came from +28 to -32.....crazy
I just spent a week in Mexico, Riviera Maya at the Grand Sirenis Mayan Beach Hotel. The place was fabulous. Big enough to have lots of interesting stuff but small enough to easily get around.
As for food, it did take me a while to get things figured out as far as my diet went. I tried just talking to them, some got it other didn't. The buffet, I stuck to a lot of salads and chicken/fish that they grilled in front of you with oil. Oh and white rice with peas. So not really that appetizing. Finally I got someone at the hotel to add to my Spanish card that tells about celiac and gluten a bit about lactose as well. Once I started to use the card, things got better, the main restaurants were great, either made me my own dinner or helped me order. Most of the time they really went out of their way to help me. I won't say it was easy, the first day was very hard and I had a major breakdown. Not sure if the rainbow of drinks I had drank that day helped much. But it did get better.
We also went into Playa de Carmen for the day and went out for lunch. Using my handy little card, it went really well, better than I thought. Unfortunately at this point I really am not sure if I have been poisoned or not so please take my encounters with a grain of salt for more sensitive celiacs.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Greek Anyone?

Part of my job is to organize fun stuff for our group to do and every christmas we go out for lunch. This is just not 10 people no I have to organize 40+ people. Finding a good restaurant that will accommodate that many people can be a challenge as well.
I found out about this fabulous Greek Taverna from a co-worker. She is also an admin like me but her parents own Santorin's Greek Taverna - Center Street North.
I booked our group for a 10 course meal and then there was me! I called the owner who is also the Chef, Andreas and talked to him about my diet restrictions. He was so pleasant to work with and he assured me I would not go hungry.
The food was absolutely amazing, rave review from everyone. They brought out the dishes on platters so everyone served themselves with how much they wanted. I think most people were full about 1/2 way thru. 3 1/2 hrs of eating... could you ask for more!!!
As for me they really did take my diet serious and brought me my own plates of things I could eat. Starting while everyone was eating peta bread and dips, I got raw veggies with Hummus...yummy. Then my greek salad had no feta, and while the rest were eating calamari and shrimp with scallops in butter and garlic, I was given the same but no breading and cooked with olive oil and lemon. I don't know about the others by mine was so delicious.
The main course was lamb, chicken and roasted potatoes. Even though it was the same as everyone else, they still gave me my own plate so I didn't have to share. I wasn't sure if it really was different or not...it looked the same.
I really give this place a 10 of 10, we all had such a great time and we weren't rushed out which was really nice.
I will definitely go back on my own - Andreas kept telling me, come back to us and I will make sure you have a great dinner you can eat. Can't get much better than that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tengo una enfermedad que se lama celiaqua

I have an illness called Celiac Disease........
Hey Im going to mexico and just found the Restaurant card in spanish.
I am having a few anxious moments about this trip. I have felt like I am on a roller coaster, trying to figure out what i should take and all the legistics of traveling with a CF & LF diet.
We are travelling with 2 other couples, my sister and her husband and friends. Very exciting, I haven't been on a sun vacation in ages, I think its been 5 or 6 years now. My fears....unfortunately are very real. I am thankful we are staying at a 5 star resort as I'm hoping that I will get better service because of that fact to start with. I did contact the hotel and got a really fast response and I was very happy when they stated they have had celiac's stay with them before and my name will be given to the chef at each place we are eating that morning to help prepare for the evening meal. My fears went away a little at that point, I was feeling much better about the trip. Then last week I emailed again just to confirm my arrival and to ask if they had soy milk at the hotel. I haven't heard back from them and now Im nervous again.
Lots of emotions and stuff are going through my head...Ive even thought about just saying screw it and not doing the diet. I do have to be off the diet for 2 months before I have the biopsy anyway. But then that won't help me in the future when we take another trip, maybe at a non resort style or not 5 star.
I have come up with some ideas of what to bring. Lots of Lara and Fruit bars, tetra pak of soy milk, crackers and some other snacking type foods. Oh and cereal. Ive been reading a few blogs and such about travelling but there really is not much out there on that topic. Lets hope I get through customs with my suitecase full of food!!!

We leave on sunday...whoo hoo!!! Margarita anyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Breakie Boycott

Im sure if you are celiac or know someone close to you who is, you will relate to this story. A few weeks ago, Don came up with a great idea, lets go out for breakfast. I had been avoiding this and had been pretty successful cause he suggests it every weekend. But finally knowing I really can't put this off anymore agreed. *News Flash* ...I like my coffee people and can get a little grumpy without it.... We head out and thought, lets try Nellies in Kensington.... big line up and we both aren't great with lineups. Im also really hungry, so we decide Phils in Motel Village, cause we couldn't think of anywhere else close by. So we get seated and I ask if they have soy milk.... no and the strangest look, honestly I don't think the server even knew what soy milk was!!!! So right off the bat, Im having a grumpy moment and I order Tea... I like tea, tea is good but I don't drink tea in the morning, for me tea is that evening drink. COFFEE is for the mornings and unfortunately I have to have cream in my coffee, black just doesn't work for me yet. So on to the menu..... Im already a smidgen close to having a temper tantrum and after looking at the menu the only thing on it that I could have was Eggs, Hashbrowns and bacon (pray the bacon is GF). Well, I just look at Don and say, I can make all of this at home and HAVE COFFEE!!!! Yup I was losing it!!!
The meal was only OK, it was just plain old eggs, which is the only thing I can really have at a restaurant for Breakfast, so I have now put a ban on all going out for breakfasts.... nope won't do it. I can make a great breakfast at home and have my fabulous coffee with soy!!!
On a side note, since the ban, I have gotten French Toast at home - Don made it using the bread from my favourite Bakery in Cochrane - GF Patisserie. Next time we'll try it with the raisin bread. I had gone to heaven, it was so good. French Toast was one of my favorite things to order in the old days. See, staying home can have its benefits.
Oh and yes I could just bring my own soy milk but who remembers that or really wants to be lugging every condiment you have in your fridge to the restaurant.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cheese you say?

Ok, the whole reason to have this blog is to help me vent so I don't drive my family and friends away from me.
Cheese, lets say...I love cheese and miss it more than any glutenized item on earth. So being Lactose intolerant is hell... So we had decided to have a little mexican night with friends to help us get excited about our pending trip to mexico on Dec 7th.. more on that later.
What is a taco without cheese??? Not a taco!!!!!! So in my wisdom I decided to try an alternative cheese product that the Vegan group can use. Tofu - well I don't really mind tofu, have had great tofu so thought, hey the cheese may taste ok and then I will once again be a happy girl.
I could not get it out of my mouth quick enough, it was the most foul tasting thing I have ever in my 44 years of life experienced. I thought the brown rice bread I first tried was bad but no, that was like a cupcake compared to this. Spit it out and the whole thing went into the garbage. So if you are also lactose intolerant, save yourself the bad taste and money...just don't do it.
Anyone find a good non-cheese make sure you let me know!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Support - good, bad or just plain silly

When I finally made the decision to go GF I found out that the Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association was holding an info session for newly diagnosed Celiacs. So thinking that my sister and boyfriend may be interested in coming with me, made the invitation. They both agreed to come with me for support and to learn more themselves since my change was also going to affect them in a big way too.
On the way there the jokes started, "is this like an AA meeting... hello my name is karen and Im addicted to gluten"... Ha ha...yes I have heard many jokes from my love ones. Anyway we go to the meeting and (no disrespect for the Association) but it really was like that....having to listen endlessly to other people descriptive history and health problems, I could see outta the corner of my eye Don and Brenda trying really hard not to laugh, and to be honest with you I could not look at them cause I would have lost it. Anyway when it was my turn, I kept it really brief and then Don & Brenda made the joke of being there for support and after the meeting we were going for pizza!!! The jokes between the 2 of them kept on coming and I was starting to wonder why did I invite them!!!! Anyway, all in all it was good, we were given some great information and the Association is a real asset to Celiacs and I strongly encourage anyone to join your local chapter.
Support, not sure if I got it, but Im still thankful for them for having gone through a very long evening with me. In fact we still have laughs over that night.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Feeling Normal - for a moment

Last night Don and I went to dinner, as all Celiacs know this is one of the most frustrating of times, you have to ask a million questions and still its a crap shoot as to whether you get a GF meal.
I had heard about a Chinese Restaurant that has GF items so we decided to try it out. Oriental Palace. They are located in Parkdale, that little shopping plaza where Lics Icecream and the Lazy Loaf reside. Very old fashioned family run place, you instantly like the place when you walk in. As soon as we sat down and they brought the menus I told her that I had heard they have GF items... she got this big smile and said of course, on the menu anything with a red star can be made Gluten Free. I thought this is it...I love this place and haven't even eaten a thing yet. We made 4 choices, Sizzling Rice dish, Beef mushroom & baby corn, Dried Salt & Pepper Squid & Lemon Chicken.
As Im chowing down on the food, all I could think was how normal I felt. We went to a place, we both ordered items we wanted and eating together with no worries. I really felt normal for the first time since Oct 15th.

The sizzling rice was amazing, I could have just eaten that and been blissfully happy. The beef dish also was excellent. The Squid and Lemon Chicken was good but the batter was different, not sure what they use. It was definitely OK and no complaints from me, just different.

We both gave it a thumbs up and will go again...or take out..... Im already thinking of that cold day with Sizzling Rice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Catch Up

I'm trying to Catch up on all the stuff that has happened since I was first diagnosed so you have to read my past.

So after the summer was over and I was seriously contemplating my future as Gulten Free, and of course you are feeling sorry for yourself big time. So what does someone do to cheer themselves up? When, most people would go shopping or to a spa, do something special for themselves....what do I do....... I go and get another dog...yup I got it into my head I wanted a small snuggle dog (Rocky is the not best snuggler) So after much searching...enters Kracker - yup a Terrier X that has lots of spunk and is only about 23lbs... I got him from the Canmore SPCA and took him home on October 15th... wow this day has a lot of significance to me now..... 1st day GF and a new dog with a new birthdate of Oct 15.

I have questioned my sanity and my family & friends really question my sanity...but he is great and hopefully once he gets over this chewing stage, everything will be wonderful.... wouldn't change a thing now that I have him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shopping is Evil

When I finally decided after months of denial that I should start the GF & LF diet I picked a day where I had the week off of work. I figured my first shopping experience should be during a none busy day like the weekend.

With a very supportive Boyfriend (Don) who also had the day off. We had just come home from visiting my parents for Thanksgiving.....kinda my last glueten filled weekend of all my favourites that my Mom could cook and me shovel down.

Tuesday, Oct 14th was going to be Shopping Day. I had lists and lists of every conceivable flour that I could eat and armed with my little ingrediant handbook off we set.

Ok, I shoud tell you something right here...I hate shopping at the best of times. Im a get in get out as quick as you can kinda girl. 6 stores, 6 hours later, I am exhausted, very grumpy but have more types of flour than any sane person should have in their pantry.

Was it a success, well it depends on who you talk to... it took me 4 days to get up the courage to actually put all that flour away into the freezer. My bank account went into cardiac arrest at the prices of stuff, but Don still drags me out shopping.

Shopping is still a major chore but it has gotten better, I only go to Safeway (its in the hood) and Planet Organic. Keep it simple and Im happy.

Who Am I?

Well, my name is Karen and I was diagnosed in July 2008 by a blood test as Celiac and Lactose Intolerant. My doctor says that I may reverse the lactose part if Im lucky...hmmmm am i lucky? The day my doctor dropped the bomb I certainly didn't think so.
I went home in shock, called my sister and then proceeded to start throwing things out of my cupboards and fridge. It was all very reactive and impulsive but I didn't know what else to do.
The full impact had not even come close to sinking in and I was already in a state. I didn't know what to do, where to start. Luckly my sister has a friend who is Celiac as well as her daughter and she called me. We talked and she helped stop some of the fears but then she convinced me I should get the Biopsy to confirm that I really am Celiac.
Comes in our "wonderful" health system. I called my doctor and told her I had changed my mind and wanted the biopsy. Ok, did not hear anything for weeks, left message after message in the office..finally someone talked to me only for me to find out my appointment was for June 2009. I also thought this was just to see the specialist not the biopsy....lack of communication...many months later again I finally get the number to the specialist and call them. This is when I find out that that date was actually for the biopsy...well that is better I guess!!!
I then decide that I want to go on the Gluten Free diet and then i will go off it as I get close to my appointment.

So on October 15th, 2008 I officially start the GF & LF diet.