Category Archives: Life

Living My Best Gluten-free Life!

A few weeks ago, I went on a school retreat. I was nervous, and did not know what to expect, but told myself I was going to remain open about the whole experience. For those of you that know me, I am a very reflective person and know a lot about myself. Before I went on the retreat I thought, “what possibly more could I learn about myself”, but again remained open for what the weekend would bring.

The weekend I had on the retreat seriously changed my life. It made me realized things that I didn’t realize were effecting me, and allowed me to lift so many of the burdens that I had been carrying on my shoulders for years. There are still some things that I am trying to sort through, but one thing I realized is I don’t want life to pass me by.

To understand this more I need to share a bit more of my story. We all have dreams about what high school will look like as a freshman. For me those dreams and visions did not come true, since I was sick all four years. As I crossed the stage and graduated, I thought “things are going to be different, when I went to college.” That statement was wrong again too. I spent freshman year away from home and sicker then ever. Then between the summer between freshman and sophomore year came the diagnosis. My world was turned upside down, I had to learn so much. The first semester was great, but then towards the end of the semester I got really sick again. Six months of searching and we finally determined I was getting sick because I was using mouth wash that contained gluten. That finding did not happen until 2 weeks before I headed back to school for junior year. That semester was pretty good, and my body was beginning to heal, until I was hit with the foot injury (same one I am currently dealing with). I was home every other weekend of second semester junior year to go to doctors or have tests done.

Now I am finally recovering from things, and seem to be finally moving in the right direction.I don’t share this to make you feel bad for me, I only share this to give you insight on where I am coming from. Many people look at everything I am doing and are amazed at what I do, but to me it’s what has to be done. However, as I was reflecting during the weekend, and since then, I have realized I haven’t been living my best life.

Though I have embraced the g-free lifestyle I feel at times I looked at certain situations, and feel held back because I am GF. Even after reading Allergic Girl, I was still putting up walls. They are walls I am ready to take down! No longer do I want to be afraid of new situations because I don’t know what to expect. One of my dreams in life is to travel to europe, and though I still want to do it, I feel that for the past 2 and 1/2 years I have been doubting if that dream will every come true. I worry about dating and work situations, but through having two internships it has helped me deal with particular situations. I have realized that I can no longer have expectations, and just need to start living

As I am approaching my final semester at college, it saddens me that because of particular situations I have missed out on a lot.Some were because of walls I had up, and others were because of outside circumstances that I have had to deal with.  However, we can’t go back nor do I want to. I realized I was living my life, being prepared for “what was going to happen next”, with my guard up at all times. I have accepted things are going to come up; just like I have always done, I will deal with them. However, no longer will they hold me back.From this day forward, I am truly ready to live my best gluten-free life!

Tired of Planning…

With the gluten-free diet comes A LOT of planning. No longer are the days were I can just pick something  up “on the go.” This was tough when I first was diagnosed, but it’s something I have since accepted. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t times were it gets tiring. Today is one of those days!

Not only do I have to plan what I am going to cook this week, but I must think ahead to next weekend. Next weekend I will be going on a retreat. Though I am so excited to spend a weekend away from technology and school, this opptunity to has come with a bit of nervousness. I haven’t spent many weekends away where I don’t have access to a supermarket if I run out of food. My plan is to pack EXTRA food, because we all know there is nothing worse then not having something to eat!!

Sunday: Leftovers!
Monday: Happy Halloween – Lemon Seasoned Flounder, Quinoa
Tuesday: Oven baked chicken fingers, homemade Fries
Wednesday: Late Night of Classes – Egg Sandwich
Thursday: Zucchini Quiche, Salad
Friday: (Retreat) Bell and Evan Chicken with Apple and Salad
Saturday: (Retreat) Zucchini Quiche, Salad

Always Remember, Person First!

As many of you may know at school I am majoring in counseling. Last week, we were having a conversation about the use of language in my Psychosocial Aspects of Medical Disabilities class. Having this conversation made me think of how sometimes people are referred to as “suffers” or “victims” of celiac or gluten-sensitivity. There are so many things wrong with these choice of words. First of all, a person is not a “victim” or “suffer” of a disease. Our conditions are part of who we are, but they do not define our whole identity. Instead people should say, “person who has celiac disease.” Not only does this statement sound so much better, but it eliminates  the negative association that the words “victim” and “suffer” hold.

On a more personal note, I don’t feel like I am a “victim” or “suffer” of any condition. Before my diagnosis I may have suffered from horrible symptoms due to a lack of diagnosis, but I surely don’t feel like a victim! How could I? I now can live my BEST LIFE. We are people first, and should not be defined by any condition! Rather then being referred to as “suffers” or “victims” I would love others to focus on what a positive impact a gluten-free diet can have on someone who has celiac or gluten sensitivity.What’s your thoughts on this topic of conversation?

Enough about my thoughts, and onto my weekly meal plan. This week is all about leftovers, and using what’s in the freezer! Since I made pizza last week and had extra marinara sauce and href=”http://www.daiyafoods.com/”>Daiyacheese, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to make chicken parm. I haven’t had this dish in a really long time, so I’m kinda excited!! Sure hope it comes out good!

Sunday: DF/GF (baked) chicken parm, Broccoli
Monday:Leftover Peas and Pasta
Tuesday: Lime Chicken over salad
Wednesday:Late Class – Breakfast for dinner!
Thursday: Lemon, garlic and herbs Salmon, Quinoa, Grilled red peppers
Friday: Kettle Cuisine Chicken Noodle Soup, Joan’s corn toaster muffin

My First Support Group Meeting

Back in February I blogged about the when you go GF. When I went GF I knew of the Suffolk County Celiac support group, but never considered going since I’m up at school when many of the meetings take place. Hence why I turned to the Internet.

However, as time went on the more I thought about it, and the more I wanted to attend a meeting. Yet I was nervous, felt funny, and kept putting it off. However, after I read Erin Smith’s article that appeared in the Easy Eats magazine “Gluten-free Support Groups: Finding your Flock”, and talked to her about support groups when I met her at Food Fete, I told myself I was going to go to the next Suffolk Celiac meeting.

Leading up to the meeting I was nervous, but knew I needed to step “out of the box” and go. Not only would it be helpful for myself, but being that I am going to be a future counselor I wanted to be able to know how my clients may feel when they first attend a support group.

I was planning on attending the meeting on my own, but as I was about to leave my mom saw that I was nervous. I wanted to be able to do it on my own and show her that I would be fine, so I told her that she did not have to come. However deep down I knew that I would feel more comfortable if she came with me, since it was my first time going. I just did not want to admit it. Thankfully (I have the best mom in the world) and she came.

When we got to the meeting there was so many people there. At this point I was so relieved that I had my mom to lean on. Before the meeting started it was nice to see a familiar face. I bumped into Joan of Joan’s GF Great Bakes and she told me how wonderful the group was. During the meeting Everybody Eatswas at the meeting sampling and selling their products and Dr.Malahiasspoke about Celiac Disease and dental enamel. It was a really interesting discussion. Overall, I am really happy I attended and hope that I will be able to attend again when I am home from school.

So what did I learn from this experience? I learned that going to your first support group meeting can be a little intimidating, but if you ask someone to come with you, it can be a lot less overwhelming. I learned that support groups can be filled with valuable information and it is a great way for you to come together with people that have similar experiences.

I am sure if I was able to attend these support group meetings more frequently it would be a great benefit. It would also be another great way to strengthen my support system. If you have a local support group by you I would recommend checking it out.

Below are the links to some support groups that are in the NY area:
Suffolk County Celiacs 
NYC Celiac Disease Meet-up

NYNJ R.O.C.K Rockland/Bergen Chapter of (Raising Our Celiac Kids)