New to Gluten-Free

More and more people are being diagnosed with Celiac Disease each day.  In addition to Celiac Disease, there is also Non-Celiac gluten intolerance/gluten-sensitivity.  I don’t really care what you call it, if you eat it and it makes you feel bad, don’t eat it.  If you are new to the gluten-free diet, please make sure to visit my “Tips for Gluten-Free Newbies” page.

Starting the diet can be a daunting task.  I wish I could have found something like what I am about to share with you when I first started the gluten-free diet.  Jules Gluten Free has put together an amazing New-To-Gluten-Free Pack complete with some pretty amazing stuff:

* The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free by Jules Shepard
* 5 lb. bag Jules All Purpose Flour
* Jules Cookie Mix
* Jules Cake Mix
* Jules Nearly Normal Cooking eBook
* Jules Cookie-Mix eBook
* Jules Dinner-A-Day eBook
* Jules New-to-Gluten-Free eBook

Contents from Jules’ Product Partners:
* Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
* Gluten Free Pasta from BiAglut – 17.6 ounces (500g)
* GoPicnic Meal
* Enjoy Life Mini Chips Coupons
* Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels – 2.6 ounces
* PopCorners – Kettle flavor – 5 ounces
* Living Without Magazine
* Conrad Rice Mill – Konriko Wild Pecan Rice
* Hol-Grain Rice Starch
* Hol-Grain Chili Seasoning Mix
* Hol-Grain Chicken Coating Mix
* University of Maryland Center for Celiac Disease Support Bracelet
* Gluten Intolerance Group Information

This awesome package is available for $59 (normally $130) for a limited time.  Don’t pass this deal up! It is so great to have such a wonderful package of hand-picked tried and true products.

How did you survive the first few months of the gluten-free diet?

Review: NOW Snack Bar Manuka Newtons

I can’t remember where I first heard about NOW Energy Bars  and Snack Bar Manuka Newtons, but I knew that they sounded like something I would like.  I was fortunate enough to receive some samples to review and I have fallen in love!


In an effort to make smarter food choices, I have been using some energy bars as snacks and/or desserts.  If my sweet tooth is calling, I found that satisfying it with an energy bar (or half) or fruit and nut bar has kept me just as happy as my beloved jelly beans were and with a lot less sugar.

More about NOW Energy Bars/Newtons:

For adventure TV personality Phil Keoghan, “energy” is something that you can never fall short on when you live every day of your life to the fullest. Actually, one may say that by looking at Phil’s globetrotting endeavors over these past twenty years that he’s somewhat an authority on “energy,” or the need for it.

Nutritionally speaking, a demanding schedule like Phil’s can also provide its share of pitfalls. That’s why Phil turned to the leading authority in Sport’s Nutrition Product Development, Shubox Inc. to develop what they are collectively considering The World’s Best Energy Bar – The NOW Energy Bar – an All-Natural, Great Tasting, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free Nutrition Bar.

“NOW stands for No Opportunity Wasted, my personal philosophy for living each day as if it were your last,” says Phil Keoghan. He adds, “I’ve been traveling around the world for more than 20 years, working in over 100 countries, and one of the biggest challenges I face is making sure I get the right nutrition. After searching the planet for the perfect bar, I found the answer in an all-natural great tasting bar made with MANUKA HONEY, a natural preservative found in my homeland New Zealand, with special medicinal properties and jam-packed with high-potency energy that will power any adventure.”

The NOW Snack Bar Manuka Newtons come in two different varieties:

Manuka Honey



I loved both of these snack bars!  They reminded me of the Fig Newtons that I loved to eat as a child!  Of course these weren’t fig, but you get the point.  The snack bars were moist and had a great texture and flavor.  They won’t melt in the heat, which makes them a great choice to keep on hand during the summer months.  I still have the White Chocolate Fruit & Nut bar to sample – perhaps after my run this morning!  I’ll make sure to let you know what I think!

The NOW bars are certified gluten-free by the GFCO (Gluten-free Certification Organization).  NOW Snack bars can be found in stores across the US or online.

**These bars were sent to me free of charge for review purposes.  The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.


You knew it was coming after the Wordless Wednesday post, right?  How can I not talk about bacon after that?  While bacon doesn’t really sound good to me while I am running (not much does), there is nothing wrong with refueling with a little bacon. 

I started to think of the ways that I like to eat bacon.  Of course I like to eat it by itself, but I also like it in the following:

  • BALT (bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato) on gluten-free bread or bagel
  • Topping on salad
  • Topping on baked potato
  • On a burger
  • On chicken breast, topped with cheese and mushrooms – similar to the Alice Springs Chicken at Outback Steakhouse

There are a plethora of gluten-free bacon options.  In fact, I am not sure that I have ever found bacon that did have gluten in it.  If you have found bacon that has gluten, please share!

Some of my favorite brands of bacon include:

Have you heard the newest craze?  Bacon sundaes? 



I just can’t get into bacon in a sundae.  But, chocolate and bacon?  That actually sounds pretty darn good!!   


Hannah is a girl after my own heart – she loves her bacon!  Anytime bacon is cooking in our house she comes running into the kitchen. She doesn’t need anything else for breakfast – just bacon.

What about you?  Do you like bacon?  What is your favorite way to eat bacon?

Olympics Excitement

Three days.  I am so excited for the start of the 2012 Olympics that I can’t even put it into words!  I have always loved to watch gymnastics – Mary Lou Retton was my hero back in 1984 when I was 11 years old.  I remember getting up each morning and being glued to the TV to find out when we could see gymnastics.  Now that I am mostly grown up I find that I love watching most of the Olympic sports.

Having competed in numerous road races and trying to learn to swim efficiently for exercise has given me a whole new appreciation for these athletes.  Keep in mind that I don’t run or swim anywhere near as fast as these athletes, even in my dreams, but watching some of these Olympians realize their life-long dreams sends chills right up my spine!

My favorite events to watch are:

  • Gymnastics
  • Diving
  • Marathon – Go Kara!
  • Other track races/jumps
  • Swimming – Dana Vollmer just so happens to be a gluten-free athlete!  Go Dana!!
  • Volleyball

Which Olympic events are your favorites to watch?  My DVR will be busy for the next couple of weeks and I will have plenty of content to watch while stretching and foam rolling. 

Weekly Menu Plan–July 22, 2012

Welcome to the last full week of July!  This upcoming week the weather forecast looks to be a little kinder than some of the previous weeks.  Temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s are much better than upper 90s – low 100s.  There is also some much-needed rain in the forecast!  Hopefully that will help our lawn – I don’t think we have mowed since mid-June!

I had a hard time getting up this morning thanks to staying up late watching The Blind Side with Hannah.  I can’t believe I had never watched this movie before!  I am trying to wake up and my new favorite coffee is helping!


Island Coconut is reason enough to get out of bed!  I hear the Mocha Coconut is also amazing – I see a trip to Kohl’s or Bed, Bath & Beyond in my future.  The Caramel Vanilla Cream is also very good, but my heart belong to the Island Coconut. 

Sunday – Chipotle (long day at the pool with friends = one unmotivated mom)

Monday – Brown rice pasta with marinutta sauce and roasted vegetables, salad

Tuesday – Italian grilled chicken, Simply Potatoes mashed sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and salad

Wednesday – Mexican pizzas using leftover grilled chicken, corn and salad

Thursday – Sweet Thai chile salmon, coconut baked brown rice, sugar snap peas and salad

Friday – Make your own bagel pizzas and large salad

Saturday – Take-out

Week in Review:

Last day to enter to win the “Summer Simply-fied Giveaway

Sunny Street Café expands menu adding vegan options

It’s restaurant week in Columbus – Spagio offering gluten-free options!

We sampled some products from Mrs. Crimble’s

Sign up now for the next NFCA webinar on cross-contamination

Review: Dry Lavender Soda

Katz adds chocolate frosted donuts to line-up

Review: Allergy Talk by Fooducate – the newest app for those with food allergies/Celiac Disease

Zing Bars adds new flavors to line-up – my thoughts

Confessions of a recovering anorexic

Review: Honey Stinger organic gels

Confessions of a Recovering Anorexic

I learn something new about myself on a regular basis.  Something that may have worked for me in the past may not work for me now.  I have mentioned in the past that I have struggled on and off with anorexia a couple of times in my life.  There are days when I can’t fathom restricting food and then there are those tougher days when I scrutinize every morsel that crosses my lips. 


Being a long distance runner isn’t as simple as putting on some running shoes and heading out the door.  Running long distances not only requires you to gradually introduce your body to more time on your feet, but fueling properly before, during and after the run as well.  For some people this is easy, as their stomachs easily accept whatever food travels passed the lips.  For others this is a delicate balance.  I am one of the others. 

I have been running since 2008 and with a full marathon, 7 half marathons and numerous other races under my belt, I thought I had this all figured out.  Guess what?  I was wrong.  I really began to struggle this summer when we were hit with a heat wave.  Every run exhausted me.  I had daily headaches that wouldn’t go away no matter what I did.  One day my head hurt so bad that nothing sounded good to eat and I just wanted to sleep.  I went to the store and while I was there I picked up a Gatorade because it usually makes me feel better when I am sick.  It turns out that this simple thing made me feel so much better.  Finding this out was the major key to why I had been feeling so bad. 


Part of the reason that I had never used Gatorade in the past was the extra calories.  I know, I am doing all kinds of exercise and that shouldn’t worry me, but deep down, it did.  The G2 lower calorie version is out due to artificial sweeteners, so traditional Gatorade was it.  I have a hard time drinking my calories, unless it is wine, of course.  Not quite sure why my brain works the way it does – I can just tell you what I think.  I am going to share below some recent changes I have made that have made all the difference in the way that I feel, yet have had zero impact on my weight – the thing I was most afraid of:

1.  Adding in a glass of So Delicious Plus Protein after every workout

2.  16-24 oz of Gatorade a day, even on days off during the summer.  I alternate with water. 

3.  Honey Stingers gel during runs over 8 miles in addition to the Gatorade. 

It turns out that the way I had been doing things was actually more detrimental than helpful.  Clearly my body was trying to tell me something.  I wasn’t getting what I needed and the result was not having the energy to do much of anything else and having a killer headache, to boot!   I thought I had covered all of the bases because I was eating plenty to fuel my body and drinking more than enough water.  This just goes to show you that the brain is not always right – my thoughts were not leading me down the right path.  My body was telling me that it needed more.  More calories, more electrolytes, more hydration in another form than water.  I am just thankful that I listened. 

As I sit here and read over what I just wrote, I wonder how I could have let something so trivial as a couple hundred calories have such a profound effect on how I felt.  I went back to something that I read earlier this year and should read daily:


Review: Honey Stinger Organic Gels

In my quest to find fuel that agrees with my stomach during my runs, I made the switch to Honey Stinger gels.  I have tried the chews before, but not the gels.  The first one I tried was the classic Chocolate.  To be honest, I was not a fan.  I didn’t let that deter me, though, I like that there are less ingredients in the Honey Stinger gels than some of the other products on the market.

A friend gave me a sample of the new Organic Honey Stinger Gels Acai Pomegranate and Vanilla to try.


These were much better than the Chocolate Honey Stinger Gel that I tried.  I particularly like the Acai Pomegranate and it agreed with my stomach making this a win!

There are three varieties of the new Organic Honey Stinger Gels:

Acai Pomegranate – It’s as good for you as it sounds!  With organic tapioca syrup, organic honey and natural flavors, this organic energy gel will keep you fueled for any athletic endeavor.  Resembling our hugely popular Pomegranate Passion Fruit Organic Energy Chews, the delicious, healthy flavor of Acai & Pomegranate will not disappoint!

Vanilla – Vanilla is already a popular flavor in the gel ‘world’, but our unique and organic take on this gel makes it stand apart from the rest!  With organic tapioca syrup, organic honey and a smooth Vanilla flavor, we are expecting this gel to quickly become a consumer favorite!  Try it out for yourself…

Fruit Smoothie – Just imagine our top-selling Fruit Smoothie Organic Energy Chews in gel form!  It’s even tastier than it sounds!  With organic tapioca syrup, organic honey and the great-tasting Fruit Smoothie flavor, this gel will keep your taste buds satisfied, but more importantly, it will keep you fueled for any athletic endeavor.

Organic Honey Stinger Gels can be purchased online or found in select stores.  Columbus residents – Fleet Feet Columbus should have these in stock!

Have you tried the new Organic Honey Stinger Gels?  Do you use gels when you run or workout? 


Summer Simply-fied Giveaway!

Summer = grilling.  It is ridiculously hot across most of the country and one way to keep the house cooled down is to grill outside.  I am a huge fan of grilled chicken, steak and ribs, which can all be easily prepped inside and grilled outside.  But what about sides?  To avoid heating up the house, I have been using Simply Potatoes side dishes!



Normally making mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes involves peeling potatoes, boiling water/potatoes and heating up the kitchen.  With these side dishes, I can have potatoes on the table to go with our grilled items in less than 10 minutes.  All of the gluten-free Simply Potatoes products are clearly labeled “gluten-free” on the back.  The sweet potatoes were the perfect complement to BBQ Baby Back Ribs!  The kids loved the traditional mashed potatoes “loaded”.  Here is a picture of the most recent pairing along with gluten-free Chicken Fingers.


The Simply Potatoes website has many great recipes (not all of the recipes are gluten-free), including the ones listed below:


Sweet Potatoes

Diced Potatoes with Onion

Simply Potatoes has graciously offered to give one lucky reader a coupon for a free product!  All you have to do to enter is follow the directions in the Rafflecopter box below.  Good luck!  Giveaway runs until Monday, July 23, 2012 at midnight EST.

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