27 08 2014

Gluten Free in Pittsburgh

17 04 2014

I was very anxious about eating gluten free while on vacation. This was my first ever trip away since making the big change in October. A few weeks before the trip I intentionally ate real pizza and totally suffered for it… So just throwing caution to the wind would not be an option on this vacation. For any new-comers to the blog, I do not have celiac disease and it seems like I can tolerate small amounts of gluten, but large amounts make me really ill.

In my previous post I talked about my plans for the travel part of my trip. Of course I had to throw out my pepperoni and fruit before going through customs. My “bagel sandwich” held up well and was delicious! The waffles…. Not so much. They still tasted fine mid-morning but by afternoon they were kind of soggy and stale. Live and learn I guess.

My perspective going in to this trip was that I should be able to eat omelettes for breakfast and that most places should serve steak and baked potato which are pretty safe bets. Of course, there are also the multitude of other allergies to think about (fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, avocado and apple). This means I have to double check ingredients for a lot of gluten free products such as breads and buns as some do use almond flour or coconut flour. Surprisingly most places had an “allergy menu” or a “gluten free menu”! The places that didn’t have one had servers who were well aware of which items were safe and who didn’t hesitate to double check with the chef. It was super awesome!

Some restaurant chains that we had great experiences at included TGIFridays (the steak, mashed potato and veggies were to die for!), Cheesecake Factory (gluten free pastas, GF burgers, fries that weren’t contaminated due to a shared deep fryer and even a GF cheesecake which I unfortunately couldn’t eat due to potential contamination with nuts), and Hard Rock Cafe (GF burgers and fries…. I stopped looking after that!). We made the mistake of trying Eat n Park the day that we went outlet shopping. They had a GF menu but man the food hurt my stomach so much so I am doubtful and the food was not that good.

We found a few local gems as well. Waffles IncCaffeinated was the first place we went for breakfast. Too bad that they didn’t have GF waffles, but they did make an amazing omelette! Most of our breakfasts and a few dinners we ate at the restaurant in our hotel. We stayed at the Cambria hotel, right next to the Consol Energy Centre. The Reflect Bistro were awesome at accommodating my food restrictions. I had omelettes and pan-fried hashbrowns for breakfast. So damn tasty!!!! Another amazing local restaurant we discovered was Red Oak Cafe. So many things to love about this diamond of a place. I was able to have a club sandwich!!!! They also use all local produce so the veggies were so fresh.

On the way back, I discovered a GF section at Toronto airport in the air canada side next to Extreme pita. I bought a turkey sandwich and some amazing GF shortbread cookies, as well as some fresh fruit. We then had supper in Edmonton Airport at Belgian Waffle Cafe. When I listed off my allergies, our servers response was “oh that’s not bad”, so they are obviously used to people with food restrictions eating there.

It was great to have this experience because now I will be less anxious to travel in the future. It helped a lot that my sister-in-law was there as she has been diagnosed as having celiac disease and has been GF for 2 years.

Gluten free Travel

8 04 2014

Well it’s my first time really travelling since discovering my gluten/wheat intolerance. Combined with my other allergies, I am more than just a little bit nervous about it. Here is what I packed for the plane travel…. GF waffles (had it last night for supper and packed the leftovers), a GF bagel sandwich made with Udi’s GF bagel, cream cheese and egg (had one for breakfast before I left my house and packed one), pepperoni sticks (from a local meat shop), banana and 2 oranges. Ah, shit! Totally forgot to pack my carrots. We will see if it’s enough to get me through the 10+ hours of travelling or if there is anything I can find at Toronto airport to meet all my food restrictions.


A synopsis of my running & other fitness endeavours in the past 4 months

20 03 2014

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve talked about much but even longer since I’ve talked about running or anything else fitness related for that matter!

November and half of December had me continue to run 3-4 times a week with my long run around 12 km. I was enjoying just getting out there and not stressing too much about time or distance. Knowing I would be starting to build a base in January for marathon training, I just wanted to have fun! In December, our running club hosts a Christmas run and I did the 12 km in 1:09. This was a fast run for me considering my pace had slowed considerably since my knee injury. The great part was that even though it was a push, I was smiling the whole time! It was a cold day and they changed the route to be four loops instead of two out and backs. It would have been really easy to call it a day at 6 or 9 km but I am so glad I didn’t!!!

I did lots of yoga in November and December as well, including a 2 hour holiday detox flow in a hot studio. It was incredible!!’

With all the snow we had in November and December, I got out to the ski trails a few times for some classic skiing. Unfortunately, a few times I got there before track was laid and it was challenging to ski in such deep snow without backcountry skis. I was tempted to buy some. I went in mid-December when it was a little icy but the trails weren’t bad. I came across a sign saying there were fallen trees ahead so I took a detour. I hit ice and started falling, caught myself and hyperextended my back in the process. I jerked my knee in a bizarre manner too. I did a full body scan though and everything seemed ok. I cautiously skied back to my car. I was terrified I had injured my knee and sure enough, it did have some swelling that night. I stretched well and iced it and was thankful for a chiro appt the next day.

The next day, my knee felt fine. I went to the chiropractor and he worked on my knee a bit and my right trapezius. For once my lower back and hip felt great. I had some work stuff to do in the afternoon and felt some twinges in my lower back, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I went home and sat down for a while to read my book. When I stood up, I froze in place…. It felt like someone had stabbed me in the lower back and it started to spasm. I couldn’t stand up straight. I took some ibuprofen and suffered through the evening. It was bad. I had to crawl up my stairs in order to get to my room. Finally at midnight I had enough and my husband drove me to emerg. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced. Luckily, ER wasn’t too busy and I was seen and discharged within 2 hours but not before a shot of morphine, a prescription for codeine and naproxen and a sick note for one week off work. The ER doctor told me I might need more and to follow up with my family doctor if needed. The next three days were torture. I tried to do so,e stretches but all I could do was curl and uncurl (not completely) from the fetal position in bed. By the 4th day I could miraculously stand up straight without unbearable pain and spasming and I walked to my mailbox and back!!! Although I looked like a hunchback by the time I made it home. By day 6 I was walking my dog and able to clean my house a little. Yay! I went back to work the next night…. Which was the same day I found out I was pregnant.

I totally planned to have a pregnancy in which I ate super healthy and ran right up to my delivery date with no problems. A week later I felt like it was time to get back to running. Given the severity of my back injury, I returned to activities slowly. That first week back I did a couple short runs and some weight training. I did yoga classes as well. I hung up my skis since I have a propensity to fall when not pregnant and while I would have loved to keep skiing, it wasn’t worth the anxiety of worrying about falling and miscarrying my baby. Then the morning sickness started. At first I was just super exhausted with intermittent nausea but it quickly progressed to vomiting several times a day with nausea all day long. I missed some work and developed aversions to some of my favourite things (coffee and sweet potato!). At the end of January, I started diclectin and while it helped, I was still nauseated all day, every day… Thankfully the vomiting had deceased to 2-3 times a week. I pretty much worked, ate, puked and slept for 7 weeks straight. Then it went away! Thank goodness!!!!

So now, I have been back to running for a couple of weeks but I’m only doing short runs since it had basically been 3 months with no consistent running. I’m way slower than I’m used to, but I am okay with that. Each time I run I know it might be my last run until October. I have to accept that and be okay with it.

I’m also back to doing yoga. Regular yoga classes weren’t making me feel well… I was feeling dizzy and faint…. So I’m planning to only do prenatal classes now until I pop this kid out.

My dog is super happy I’m feeling better too because she is now getting walked regularly again and life is good.

I want to get back to swimming in the pool but my bathing suit no longer fits. Even before I got a baby bump, it just wasn’t fitting right so I need to find a maternity suit so I can swim a little as well.

So after that novel, while things have changed, my hiatus from exercise has only made me more thankful for the things I am able to do when I feel well. Every day I am able to be active, I plan to appreciate what I can do and the limits of my body right now. What’s going on in my uterus and my body right now really llis extraordinary, so I have to accept where I am each day. Obviously my marathon plans are on hold, but I am hoping that maybe in 2015 I can run one… It will largely depend on how well this baby sleeps at night! For now, I am counting down to a whole other type of endurance event!

Food Challenge Results

11 03 2014

Well I completed the food challenge part of my elimination diet back in December. I was in denial about he results for a long time and although I’m still in mourning, I’m beginning to accept what it all means. I reacted badly to both wheat and dairy products. When I introduced these I had severe abdominal bloating, gas, pain and nausea… Not to mention diarrhea. I tried on a few different occasions to reintroduce these foods…. As recently as a couple weeks ago when I thought I was doing fine with wheat until around day 5 when my morning sickness got dramatically worse and my husband pointed out that it was probably the wheat. He was right.

I’m not sure about the other “gluten” grains because I just don’t eat those on a regular basis.

It’s really hard to adjust to this new way of eating, especially with all of my other food allergies and especially since most of my pregnancy cravings seem to be for foods that I can no longer eat!!! We have made some pretty awesome food at home, but eating out has been very challenging. I am pretty nervous for our trip to Pittsburgh… Afraid I won’t be able to eat anything and I’ll be hangry for the whole week I am on vacation.

2014 is off to a surprising start!

5 03 2014

I’ve been MIA for way too long. Life got busy and then I injured my back and then I was feeling unwell for several weeks. I’m planning to write a post soon but for now, here is some big news in the world of me lately…..


Food Challenge Results Weeks 3&4

4 12 2013

It’s getting hard over here! As a recap, so far oranges, eggs, corn, soy and potatoes are good to go! Bell peppers I tried last week and that also went well. I had stomach issues after eating processed foods (McCain sweet potatoe and McCain regular fries baked in the oven). It’s weird because all the ingredients together I’ve had before, except not the preservative they use (sodium phosphate)…. So maybe my body is not appreciative of that.

At the end of last week I wanted to try tomatoes. Corey knew this and made our steaks with BBQ sauce that had tomatoes… Seemed to be ok. However then last night, he made goulash… At first I was going to use a gluten free pasta and at the last minute he noticed that the tomato soup had wheat in it. By then we were low on options and I was hungry, so I said whatever! I ate it. Today I feel miserable. My stomach hurts, I have the big D and I’m nauseated. But is it the wheat or the tomatoes? Also, I inadvertently had something with wheat in in on Sunday night…. 2 hours later I was nauseated beyond belief… But was it the wheat or because this meal was a little on the fatty side (pork roast)?

So annoying!!! So the plan is to retry tomato and wheat seperately in a few weeks time. In the meantime, I’m waiting three days to introduce anything else. I don’t know what will be next. It’s boring to have such a limited diet and nearly impossible to eat out. I will be pretty sad if it’s wheat…. I think I need to start looking for a gluten free beer.