Happy Thursday!

It's a really gorgeous day today in Grove City.
(I looooove when the temps are in the low 70's)

And while I'm currently at work, in a few short hours I will be...
For one of my favorite places.... 
Traverse City, Michigan!

Yaaaay. :)

We will be staying with my uncle and going to all kinds of fun places like Torch Lake and Petosky.
But the best part...
I will hardly have to worry about what I'm going to eat!

We eat a lot of meals at my uncle's and he is awesome about my gluten free diet!
Last year he had gluten free cookies waiting for me when I got there. What a guy!

I can't wait to play with his pups, either!

Buddy :)
But... back to food. :)

I know for people with gluten intolerances traveling seems a bit scary and overwhelming. 

Especially when you're in a car for eight hours trying to live off gas station snacks. 

You do not want to get stuck in that situation so here are some easy-to-pack snack suggestions for the road!

Homemade almond butter and bananas/apples
I know, you're thinking, homemade?! That doesn't sound easy at all! But it really is. Grab a bag of almonds, throw 'em into a food processor and watch them turn into creamy almond butter all on their own. It really is that easy and it's so delicious. Pack a few bananas and a jar of this and I'll promise you'll be satisfied!
Trail Mix -
Another favorite of mine, especially when I want something sweet. You can make your own with almonds, dark chocolate, cranberries and coconut or you can simply buy a packaged bag! A really great snack that will keep you full and satisfied (just be sure to read labels very carefully as many of these products may contain trace amounts of gluten).

Dried fruit, Larabars or fresh fruit/veggies - 
It's scary how much I love Larabars. Soooo many choices that are ALL gluten free and absolutely wonderful.  My favorites are chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter cookie. Pack a few of these along with some either dried or fresh fruit and you'll be good to go!
And if you must stop for food I recommend Wendys. They have some of the best offerings in the way of gluten free so if you must stop for a fast food type meal I highly recommend it. I always get a chili and baked potato or a BLT cobb salad. Check out their gluten free menu here.

In less than 24 hours I will be on the road to Michigan enjoying these very same gluten free snacks. :)

I'll see you all in a few weeks.

Hi hi hi. :)

So, in an attempt to stop myself from falling asleep at my desk I'm giving you another blog post. 

After yesterdays post I had people asking me exactly what gluten and Celiac Disease are. I thought I'd let my fellow Celiac friend Kevin Niemann explain that to you!

Kevin is awesome! He started his own website for all things "g-free" and also his own internet show which is now featured on ifood.tv. You definitely need to check out his webpage and follow him on Twitter. :)

The video I'm posting here is awesome because it gives an overview of Celiac Disease and it makes me laugh. I know when I first tell someone about my diet the questions always go: 
"So you can't have bread?" 
"Wait! That means you can't have pasta!" 
"You can't have donuts! Pizza! Oh my gosh you can't have cake!"
And you just feel like shouting, "I KNOW, I LIVE WITH IT!"
But instead you say nothing or laugh and say "Right" really knowing that you can enjoy all of those things - just without gluten! 
(Sometimes it's just too much to explain or you don't feel like it.)


You're back.
I'd like to tell you about my journey with Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet.

But first, here's an adorable childhood picture that will hopefully get you to read on ;)
That's me. :)

When I was a baby I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. That was almost 20 years ago and what was once a very rare disease is now gaining all kinds of awareness! Today you'll find many gluten free products strewn throughout the aisles of your grocery store (even if you don't notice them - they're there!) 

But this has not always been the case. 

There were few known gluten free brands and substitutes when I was first forced to eat gluten free. Up until I was in the 5th grade I followed the diet very strictly. I remember Pamela's cookies being my absolute favorite!! But somewhere along the way I started eating gluten again. It (appeared) to no longer make me sick and my family and I assumed that everything was back to normal and I could eat gluten again. We obviously did not have a very good understanding of Celiac Disease. 

So, for many years I ate everything with no remorse or even a thought of how gluten was affecting me!
and eating,
and eating
But I didn't really know I was sick and tired. 
I felt happy and normal. I enjoyed much of my high school career while consuming gluten. I'd eat pizza with friends, donuts for breakfast in the mornings, way too many of the rolls they give you at restaurants and I did all this simply ignoring the fact that I had a serious allergy to the protein in wheat, barley and rye. 

Well, my senior year of high school my parents decided that I needed to visit my gastroenterologist and see how things were going with my Celiac. Can you guess how things were going? You're right, horrible. 

So there I was. Eighteen years old and ready for all the big changes that come with college. The only thing that lied between Miami University and I was senior prom and graduation. Oh, and I had to completely change my diet. No big deal

It was kind of rough.

And I'm not sure many people understood that. I was so used to going out with my friends and eating "normally", but now I was having to explain to my waiters (and everyone else for that matter) that if they "could please substitute the roll for some fruit because I have a gluten allergy" I would really appreciate it. 

But I got through it and made it to Miami University in the fall. As if going to college weren't enough change already, I had the added responsibility of maintaining my gluten free diet by meeting with dietitians and cooks at the school to accommodate my special needs. The staff at Miami was wonderful. Every Saturday I would have gluten free pancakes or waffles waiting for me in the kitchen. It was awesome! 

For many reasons though, I decided to come home and attend THE Ohio State University (Go Bucks!).
And if we're going to get really honest I was venturing into eating gluten again. It still did not make me feel (immediately) sick and that was reason enough for me to have a bite of pasta off my moms plate or have just one slice of pizza at work. 

It wasn't a lot. But it was more than enough. 

I'm not really sure what flipped the switch but for the last year I've been 100% gluten free! And I will never go back to eating gluten again! G-free is the life for me. Being off of gluten now for so long has shown me just how awful I was feeling before when I thought I felt perfectly fine.

So there it is - my (somewhat shameful) story of my struggle with Celiac Disease. While I regret the food choices I made in the past I hope that I can take those experiences and encourage others to not make the same mistakes I did. If you have any sort of gluten intolerance or allergy, let me assure you that it is not worth it to eat gluten.

What's YOUR story? I know I, and many others, are interested in hearing it so please leave a comment! :)

If you have any questions please send me an email. 
I'm Janelle.

Welcome to my blog...
(my random thoughts)...
(my outlook on life)...
(my words that very few people will read)....

Here you will (mainly) find my thoughts and opinions on gluten free living and celiac disease. I am not a dietitian (yet!). But, if you have any questions about anything that I talk about on the blog please do not hesitate to send me an email and hopefully I can offer some guidance!

Happy 4th of July weekend!!