My very personal story that I imagine is similar to yours…

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We were watching one of my favorite movies tonight, Julie & Julia and it inspired me to pour my soul out. Sorry this is such a long post but I was given good advise once from a blogger to just be yourself so here I am. They were both themselves, real and I want my blog to be real. Not what, “most women” or the, “average person” deals with but what I have dealt with throughout my life.

What came first the chicken or the egg (I laugh at this because I’m allergic to both!)
As you know I have Celiac’s and it’s effects are too many to count. What you don’t know is that I also have Endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which are all auto-immune diseases. So I ask myself which one came first?

Growing up, the youngest of four children, we had a normal life on a farm (apricot orchards) in California. We moved around a lot but the years on the farm are the most memorable for my immune system. Especially because I was always sick with strep throat that would last for months. Ok not a big deal. They also sprayed pesticides around our house at least once a week in the early 80’s and they were still using really bad ones. (not like there are good ones!) These were my pre-teen years which makes me question did the pesticides cause the Endo and then later to follow the PCOS? Or was it the Celiac’s that made me prone to getting Endo and PCOS? From my very first period, which by the way needed help to start at 15 1/2, was horrible! I remember the pain, screaming to my mom just to make it stop! She rushed me to the doctor and he gave me my first of many ultrasounds and said a cyst burst. She will be fine he said and I wanted to strangle him. She will be fine! Well after that everything was not fine. The pain was horrible with every period. I went to doctors after doctors and finally the last one said it was all in my head and to stop asking for pain killers. After one emergency room visit one doctor suspected Endo and the next day I went in for surgery. When my surgeon came out he said he had never seen a case that bad! Finally someone believed me. I wasn’t crazy!

I started researching everything about Endo I could get my hands on. Western and Eastern medicine. For Western, my choices were the pill, forced menopause or hysterectomy. For Eastern there were many including of course diet, exercise, message, acupuncture and a long list of other things. I made a list and tried everything. I am a big believer in natural remedies as much as possible to heal your body but I was desperate to stop the pain. Some things worked, like diet. That’s when I found out about going gluten free. Again my doctor looked at me, just looked at me and said you don’t have that! I thought scientists used tests to determine if you have a disease and not just looking at a person. Fired that doctor and found a good one that works with food allergies. What a box I was about to open, I had no idea!

It’s strange to think that I have spent the last 20 1/2 years in chronic pain. The PCOS started about five years ago and causes extreme pain throughout the entire month. My last surgery my surgeon said he tried to stick a needle in my ovary and it bounced back. He wasn’t kidding. They were so full a needle couldn’t even get through.

This brings me to my latest decision, total hysterectomy. Complete, ovaries, cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. This has taken many years to come to this decision. If you just look at me I don’t look sick, or in pain its really quite the opposite I look pretty healthy. I don’t even like to talk about it with my friends but it’s so hard to live in pain everyday that I was ready for it to stop. I can’t imagine a life without pain and pain killers. It was a big step, especially because we really wanted children, but my husband and I were ready to take that step.

We found a wonderful surgeon, Dr. Camran Nezhat. He asked me if I had tried everything because there is no going back from this and I said yes with confidence. This was it. The surgery went well at O’Connor Surgery Center. When I woke up I was so glad it was over. When they took the catheter out it was hard to pee and I was in pain when they sent me home. When we go home the pain was so bad we went to Stanford’s emergency dept where they admitted me. As soon as the put the catheter back in I had instant relief! I was admitted Thursday night and left Saturday afternoon. Pain was managed, I could eat solid food and could pee!!!!! Stanford was actually pretty good with all of my food allergies. I gave them my allergy list was surprised when they brought me more than just fruit! That’s a first for me in any hospital.

They say 6-8 weeks recovery and I’m well on my way! It was last Saturday I was released and today we went to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Jose. It’s amazing what one week will do!

I’m curious to see if my food allergies improve as I get healthier. We have a trip to Mexico planned this summer and to think that it will be pain free makes me cry:)

Thank you to my hubby, who sees me at my very worst and still thinks I’m beautiful. Thank you to my family and friends who always have a party in the waiting room during my surgeries (hope this is the last!) and who make us food and do all the things we can’t. We love you all so much! And a special thanks to my doctor, you are a very kind and skilled surgeon.

I would love to hear your stories if you would like to share them:)

 

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Smile! When you really want to cry.

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We have all been there. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in awhile and the pantry is slim. And yet I’m craving cookies, peanut butter cookies. So I love raw foods and at the moment that’s a really good thing because my ovens broken. Even on warm it heats up to over 600! That’s a whole other story.

So these came out of a mix and match from my oh-so-slim pantry. Raw, gluten free, peanut butter cookies to say smile to the world! It’s almost Friday!!!!

I threw out the measuring spoons and threw in chunky peanut butter, dates, raisins, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla an shredded coconut. Rolled them into balls and there finished. They are perfect and not too sweet!

Raw Onion Flat Bread, Healthy Gluten Free Bread is Possible!

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There are so many gluten free choices out there for bread. If you’re like me, not just allergic to gluten, this is a great alternative to sliced bread. Think tortilla with flavor minus the corn. It’s also raw so you get the nutrients without it raising your blood sugar like processed flour does. You don’t want to sleep after eating a sandwich with this bread. I pair it with cucumbers, avocados and chipotle cashew cheese. Yummy!

The step-by-step instructions are below. This recipe is easy to change up, so try different things to get the right flavor for you.

Onion Flat Bread:

On1

Blend (chunky not fine) 3 yellow onions

On3

Add 1 C ground flax meal

On4

Add 3/4 C raw sunflower seeds (ground but still a little chunky)

On5

Add 1/4 C chia and 1/4 C hemp seeds

On6

Add 1/3 C olive oil

On7

Add 1/4 C sun dried tomatoes and then mix well

On8

Spread mixture (should be moist) onto parchment paper and dehydrate at 118 degrees for about 10 hours. If you use your oven put it on the lowest setting possible and flip after a couple of hours. If it’s over 118 degrees it won’t be raw but still very tasty!

On9

It should have the consistency of a tortilla. Pliable not hard. If you want to make crackers just dehydrate longer!

Gluten Free & Vegan Russian Tea Cookies

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Contributed by MH

One of the cookies we grew up with, Russian Tea Cakes. It warms my heart just to see them. I have to contain myself because I can’t eat just one! Here is the recipe, make some new traditions in your family and try these!

Gluten Free & Vegan Russian Tea Cakes (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies)
Ingredients:

2 sticks or 1 C butter or butter substitute such as Earth Balance
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 C gluten free all purpose baking mix (if it doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum add 1 tsp)
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 C walnuts, chopped
Confectioner’s sugar

Directions:
Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together until soft and well blended. Add vanilla and flour then blend well. Add nuts and combine.

Using about 1 Tbsp of dough, roll into small balls. Cookies will expand a little in the oven. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cookies are a light golden brown on the bottom. These cookies do better baking at a lower temperature for a longer time. Let rest for 5 minutes And then roll in a bowl of confectioner’s sugar, coating completely.

Adapted from Mary Capone’s Italian Butter Balls

Raw, Vegan & GF Chocolate Cream Pie Step by Step Instructions!

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Oh I couldn’t wait for Saturday! On the menu (all vegan and gluten free) was Chocolate Cream Pie, Onion Bread, and Pumpkin Cheesecake! It was my very first cooking (I use the word cooking loosely because the two pies were raw and the onion bread was dehydrated) demo and I was so nervous! But I was among friends. Thank you Angela, Veronica and Jean. They were great, letting me take pictures every five minutes and providing all the ingredients! We had a ball and made some really good food. This is the first one I’ll feature because I have already posted the recipe but it helps with step-by-step instructions:) The other two will follow so stay tuned….

Blend Crust

For crust: blend 1 1/2 C pecans, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 C dates

Crust 2

Remove from blender and place in 9″ or spring-form pan

crust

Press into pan firmly

For filling: blend 4 avocados (ripe but not too ripe), 1 1/3 C agave

Cocoa powder

and 1 2/3 C cacao or cocoa powder (you can also use dark cocoa powder for richer flavor), 2 Tablespoons vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate cream

Filling will be very thick so blend well

Almost done

Spread over crust

Blend cream

Topping: blend 2 14oz. cans of coconut cream (don’t forget to refrigerate it for 4 hours before hand), 3 Tablespoons agave, 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Cream

Spread over chocolate

Who can resist?

Enjoy!
(don’t forget to keep refrigerated and don’t eat the whole thing!)

Cooks can be born or taught!

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Tell me this doesn’t look good! I have never thought of myself as a chef or even a good cook. That place in my family always went to, first my mom and then to my older sister. Everything they touched turned to yummy goodness! I couldn’t hold a candle to them. But I have to say with the help of some really good recipes from 118 degrees owner Jenny Ross in The Art of Raw Living Food, I am very happy to say these were a hit! We tasted them at her restaurant and they melted in our mouths!

The stuffed mushrooms with pesto and sun dried tomatoes are paired with Roma tomato slices and organic mixed greens tossed with her Caesar dressing. The best part is, there’s no guilt going back for seconds!

Who doesn’t miss beer? Now you don’t have too!

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When I took a newly diagnosed client grocery shopping she had no idea her beloved beer was now off limits. Do you miss beer? I really do! But there are some good gluten free options out there. Take for example New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale. My first thought when I saw it at the GFAF Expo was yuck! Beer and raspberry, why would they put that together??? Then I tried it and much to my surprise it was really good. There was just a hint of raspberry I’m really glad I tired it because I would have never bought it at the store.

Thank you New Planet:)

Which bar is better? Better Batter’s Zion’s Bar or Pamela’s Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Bar?

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Yesterday was amazing! I went to the Gluten Free and Allergy Free Expo in San Francisco and found lots of new products. A huge thanks to Maureen Stanley for all your efforts, what a success! Some vendors I’m familiar with who had new products to try as well as many new vendors! I got lots of samples for my husband and I to try and you will be seeing the reviews as we eat our way through the samples, THANK YOU VENDORS! There was everything from cakes, cookies, chips, beer, pasta, flour mixes and ice cream! I do have to admit I have been going to these for years and by noon I have such a sugar high so be careful and bring plastic bags with you to store goodies for later! I’m not a fan of lots of sugar (although if you look at my post’s you might think I am) I had to come home and devoured a salad for dinner!

First up….

There are so many energy bars out there which one will you choose? I have to be honest, I don’t like most of them!! There are a few exceptions. When you’re on the go and need a quick bite or, if you’re like me and keep them in the car for emergencies Zion’s Bar from Better Batter is the winner!

Better Batter Zion's Bar, Chocolate Mint

I kid you not they taste like the Girls Scouts Thin Mint cookies in a bar form. Not too minty I might add. Packed with 12 grams of protein, 10 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fiber. They are rice based so that is good for all of us who can’t have oats, corn or almonds which are in almost every bar! Try them for yourself, but they are so new call Better Batter to order them!

Pamela's Oat Chocolate Chip Bar

The opponent, Pamela’s Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars, aka oatmeal cookies. They have only 2 grams of protein and 8 grams of sugar. They have a good flavor but this is no energy bar! They also break apart quite a bit. So don’t kid yourself, if you want a cookie reach for this, if you want an energy bar have Zion’s, you won’t be disappointed!

We need feedback:) What is your favorite energy bar?

Welcome to Glutenfreeville

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Our latest client was recently diagnosed with wheat intolerance and was very overwhelmed with changing her diet and her life! She was great during our two hour guided tour of Whole Foods. She learned, much to her dismay, that wheat is in so many of her favorites like beer, sauces, soy sauce and many other things. It’s truly wonderful to help someone like Angela to see what she can eat not just what she can’t! Just look at all the wonderful goodies she left with!

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If you would like to schedule an appointment to have your personal guided tour with recipe suggestions please call Carolina Ihli at 650-868-8952. We help you succeed!

Il Vecchio restaurant review

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If you are in the Pacific Grove (California) area you have to go here! The food and service are consistently good! They have many gluten free and some vegan options. We went out for my brother-in-law’s 20th anniversary and had a great time!

The photos above are of the zuppa di patate porri e verdure (vegan and gluten free) with potatoes, leeks, onions, broccoli. It was good but not great.

Next course was to die for!! Pesce del giorno con scampi with wild caught salmon and scampi in wine, butter, garlic sauce. (Without the butter:) Yummy! They were very happy to take the butter out and I was very happy not to have an allergic reaction from it! Definitely first place!

My husband had the pesce alla pizzaiola with wild rock cod in a tomato sauce, garlic, black olives, capers and fresh spinach. He loved it and so did the whole table!

Next, we were all so full but who could resist, Gelato by Gelato Massimo. Wow the limoncello sorbet (vegan) was amazing!

Thanks again Il Vecchio for a great night! One we didn’t have to worry, will we be sick later??!!