Wednesday, January 30, 2013

mind -> lips -> heart

I feel like writing & sharing today, words I've read that touch the heart. Saying are gluten-free too, unless they have the word gluten in them. ;] So today, I'll be the giving tree. If sayings are too young for you, be young again. If they're too old, learn for those days yet to come. Tomorrow is a new day, a bright new start. You can never go back but only push forward. Here's some gluten-free food, for the heart :]

"Travel light. Live light. Spread light. Be the light."

"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, & dreams are forever." - Walt Disney

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” - Barbara De Angelis

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned for us as to have the life that is waiting for us" - Joseph Campbell

“Life is about doing things that don’t suck with people who don’t suck.” - John Green

“Think of how many people have sat next to you on a bus, train, whatever. Now think how many people have sat next to you on purpose with their fingers crossed in hope that you’ll talk to them. I’m sure somebody has. There’s plenty of times when somebody’s seen you and hoped that you spoke to them, but you never did because you don’t have the guts and neither do they. Don’t go around thinking nobody likes you and that you’re not loved. There’s been plenty of times when a stranger has spotted you and thought “Oh, they’re just my type” but haven’t had the courage or confidence to open their mouth and initiate a conversation. The funny thing is, neither have you.”

“Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.” - J.D. Salinger

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” - Kurt Vonnegut

“Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.” - The Winter of the Air

“If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness, don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes; because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again.”

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is." - Kurt Vonnegut

“That’s what real love amounts to—letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending, performing. You get to love your pretence. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act—and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.” - Jim Morrison

"When you meet the other half of your soul, you will understand why all the other lovers had to let you go. When you meet the one who deserves your heart, you'll understand, why you and all the other have to be apart." - Why You’re Single by Amanda Crute

"Above all else, guard your heart; for everything you do flows from it." - Proverbs 4:23

"If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody.  Open your mind, get up off the couch, move." - Anthony Bourdain

"As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." - Andrew Carnegie

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” - Mark Twain

“It’s just funny, the things you don’t let go of..” - Arlen

"Personally, the worst thing a boy can do to a girl is to ignore her while she's loving him with all her heart." - Liam Payne

"You’re single because you’re single. It’s not because you texted too much or too little or waited 33 minutes to respond because he took 23. It’s not because you met up with your ex that night at 5 a.m. that no one knows about, or because you kissed another boy after a date with a loser.
You’re not single because you spit food on that date or tripped coming out the the movie theatre. You’re not single because you hurt your first boyfriend really badly when you were 15 or because you have yet, to this day, to apologize. It’s not because you were secretly jealous when your friend got a boyfriend or that a guy you dated for two months now has a really cute girlfriend and looks really happy. And you’re happy for him. But still ill that he found someone before you.
You’re not single because you slept with your ex boyfriend. You’re not single because half the world found out when you didn’t even want to remember it yourself. You’re not single because you think the guy your friend wants to hook you up with is ugly or not tall enough. It’s not because you’re not willing to put up with someone who doesn’t brush their teeth on a regular basis.
You’re not single because your standards are too high. Good for you for having standards. It’s not because you didn’t like that really, really good guy who wanted to take you on a date and you just weren’t feeling it. And it’s not because you like to wear pajama pants as soon as you get home and wash all the makeup off your face. You’re not single because you didn’t learn enough from the past or would rather chill on a Friday night with your blanket and a cold beer than shower, get ready, and go out. You’re not single because something is wrong with you.
You are single because you are single. It’s really as simple as that. You haven’t made the connection with another heart yet. You can get dolled up, dress cute, cut your hair, dye your hair, tweeze your eyebrows, put on lipstick and you may still. be. single. You can go out to a bar hoping to meet the love of your life and not find a damn one in the place attractive. And it’s going to remain that way until it’s time for you to find one. Stop hoping for it. Start living the life that you do have instead of wishing for things that you don’t have. There will come a time you’ll meet a boy and you’ll have to give up some of this single freedom you currently have. Start being more thankful. Start doing that now." - Anon

"Love as if a blind man could see how much you love" - melissa renee`

“A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.” - Joseph Joubert

"Be yourself. Everybody else is taken." - Anon

"A simple hello could lead to a million things." - Anon

"A certain darkness is needed to see all of the stars." - Anon

"If you never try, then you'll never know." - Coldplay; Speed of Sound

“Someday you’ll find the right person, and you’ll learn to have a lot more confidence in yourself. That’s what I think. So don’t settle for anything less. In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.” - Haruki Murakami

"You don't drive in reverse, so don't look that way" - melissa renee`

"Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair." - Mumford & Sons

"You were given 5 senses, use them all." - melissa renee`

"A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor."

"When things aren't adding up in your life, start subtracting."

“Sometimes you tell someone to never call you again, and then the phone rings and you hope it’s them. It’s the most twisted logic of all time.” - John Mayer

"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." - C.S. Lewis

"You are what you listen to."

"No one is in charge of your happiness except you."

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11

"Today is the oldest you've been and the youngest you'll ever be again"

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

and my favorite...

"The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do - they’ll also be the things that happen to you… now, I’m not saying you can’t take action, to affect the outcome of your life, you have to take action, and you will… but never forget that on any day you can step out the front door and your whole life can change forever. You see, the universe has a plan kids and that plan is always in motion… a butterfly flaps its wings and it starts to rain. It’s a scary thought, but it’s also kind of wonderful… all these little parts of the machine constantly working… making sure that you end up exactly where you’re supposed to be exactly when you’re supposed to be there… the right place at the right time." – Ted Mosby [How I Met Your Mother Season 4]

hope you enjoyed! - mel

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hidden Sources of Gluten

There are hidden sources of gluten all around us.  Here is some food for thought...

Around the home: Food & Prep
  • Use a different toaster than the rest of the family who toasts gluten bread
  • Have your own strainers for pasta & GF food so no gluten residue remains to contaminate your GF food
  • Grilling on the same grill as those that toasted their buns on can contaminate your GF food
  • Baking sheets can have gluten traces
  • Be sure to use different knives than those that use theirs on food containing gluten
  • Have your own GF cutting board
  • Waffle makers can have gluten residue, be sure to wash well or have your own
  • The oven can have flour remnants, be sure to clean it well!
  • Using the same knife/utensil as those that use it on their food containing gluten [think Thanksgiving dinner & the butter knife]
  • Oats 
    • This has caused much debate, I purchase GF oats
  • Nuts
    • They can be on shared equipment when packaged [wheat]
    • Wheat [and other ingredients] may be added, always read the packaging!
  • Butter
    • Have a separate stick of butter for yourself
  • Peanut Butter jar
    • Have a separate peanut butter for yourself just incase someone double dips when spreading on their bread
  • Medicines/Vitamins 
    • Look on the back and see if they have an allergen
    • I use Target brand vitamins and I've found them to be gluten-free!
  • Look out for the words "modified", "hydrogenated", "natural flavorings", "MSG", "binders", "stabilizers", and more.  These could contain gluten.
  • Salad dressings often contain gluten
  • Soy sauce
  • Chicken broth
    • I use Swanson; Cottage Inn has gluten in it
  • Deli meat
  • Seasonings/Spices
  • Beer
    • I recommend Michelob Ultra or a hard cider - I've been okay with these myself

Around the home: Products
  • Some latex gloves are dusted with wheat flour
  • Glue on envelopes
    • This has been a great debate, sources say it is made of corn starch, just be aware
  • Art supplies
  • Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, soap, shave gel, tooth paste, hair products, makeup, sunblock, lotion/cream...
  • Washing machine detergent

Out & About
  • Make sure your waiter/waitress knows you are gluten-free, don't be embarrassed to tell them!  They can make sure your food is prepared separate from others.  Always ask if the restaurant has a gluten-free menu and if not, what can be made GF for you.  Cross-contamination can happen any time you are eating out, so be aware.  Not everyone understand what a gluten-free diet is.  Shopping at the mall and trying to find gluten-free food in the food court is very hard - I recommend bringing along snacks instead of risking it.  You are probably safer at a restaurant.  When I was at the mall & asked if a station had something gluten-free they pointed to the NO MSG sign... [here's my sign!... ok bad joke :)]
  • Restaurants and eateries often have allergy lists - I've found Panera Bread and Moe's have all of their items listed out and if they contain major allergens.  Sometimes these can be found on the restaurant's website - so you can do your research before you go!
The safest way to be gluten-free is to look for products/food that contain the GF symbol above.  That way, you know there won't be any gluten in your food/product.  To be safe, if you can't read an ingredient on the food you are to eat, don't eat it!  Eat as natural and unprocessed as possible, your body will thank you!  :]


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reducing Inflammation: Probiotics

As you may know, if you are sensitive to gluten and/or have Celiac disease, your body attacks your small intestine when you consume gluten.  This prevents you from absorbing nutrients that are essential to your body.  Often times, your stomach begins to bloat and you feel terrible.  In fact, your gut microflora plays a big role in developing the disease.  It has been found that probiotics may help heal the intestinal barrier function in those that have Celiac disease.  It is important to keep a healthy ratio of good to bad bacteria in your intestine [85% good to 15% bad].  Taking anti-biotics knocks out your system of bacteria, and in order to help your body replenish the "good" bacteria, it is important to take a probiotic.  Another inflammatory culprit to your intestines is... SUGAR!  Eating sugar actually feeds the bad bacteria, causing your gut to become inflamed.  So, even if you eat a gluten-free diet, it is important to limit your sugar intake.  When you need that sugar fix - think natural sugars, like those in fruits.  Fruits are naturally gluten free.  To help restore your flora in your intestines no matter where you are in your gluten walk, I recommend taking a probiotic.  This helped me GREATLY, especially when I started becoming gluten free.  My stomach reduced in size as I started fighting off the bad bacteria growing in my intestines.  I've tried many probiotics and the best I've found yet is: Florastor [as pictured].  I take one capsule in the morning and one before I eat dinner.  Another way to help keep your flora in balance is to eat yogurt.  But beware!  There is hidden sugar in yogurt and not all yogurt is gluten free!  I am partial to Chobani's and love eating them.  They are high in protein and provide live active cultures to help fight the pesky bad flora in my intestines.  I checked out their website and all Chobani's are gluten free [except their Flip line].  I prefer the apple cinnamon myself!

From my happy tummy to yours :]  - mel

Further reading: 

Monday, January 21, 2013

pasta pasta pasta!

I LOVE pasta. In fact, it's one of my favorite meals of all time. I remember telling people I wouldn't know what to do if I couldn't ever have pasta. I had a love|hurt relationship with it... every time I'd indulge in my favorite penne vodka, I'd soon feel my stomach hurt, yet it was so delicious to me.

I'm so glad I'll never have to experience that pain again & can actually enjoy my favorite meal!
To all my pasta lovers - I recently found an AMAZING alternative to eating "pasta"... spaghetti squash!

It is healthy for you, low in calories, and is actually filling. Here's some nutrition facts:
Nutrition Value According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
"1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash provides 42 calories, 0.4 gram of fat, 1 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrate (4 g as sugar) and 2.2 g of fiber."

I got Chris on board and we decided to make a healthier pasta dish for our Sunday night dinner!

Here's what you'll need:

1. 2-4 pound spaghetti squash
2. 2 TBSP (+) extra virgin olive oil
3. A baking pan [I used a cake pan - it worked best]
4. 1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded almonds
5. Handfull of fresh celantro
6. 1-2 TBSP parsley
7. 1 tomato

8. Pinch of salt

Here's what to do...
*Cut the spaghetti squash long ways and remove the seeds. Place the squash in a baking sheet - add olive oil and salt, bake in the oven for 45 min - 1 hour
*While the squash is baking, cut up 1 small tomato, handful of fresh cilantro leaves, toast almond slices, and add freshly grated parmesan cheese, parsley, & salt to taste
*Once the squash is done baking, take it out of the oven and let cool - once it is cool, pull apart with a fork - [you'll see little spaghetti strands!]
*Add the squash, any additional olive oil to your liking, and enjoy :)

When I cook, I eye-ball everything; So, when you use measurements, add more or less - to your own tasting preferences!

I'm totally full... and satisfied :) - mel

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

beautiful inside & out

Happy Wednesday! I'm so excited the weekend is almost here! Many people aren't familiar Celiac's Disease and being Gluten-intolerant so here are some facts:
Celiac disease is: a digestive disorder where your body has a toxic reaction to gluten [gluten is a protein found in certain grains: wheat, barley, & rye]. It is hereditary & chronic auto-immune disorder. So that means, it causes your body to attack itself which doesn't allow your body to properly fight off infections and other diseases. In fact, 1/133 people have the disease.
Many people have different symptoms and don't even know they have it. [Just as in my case, I probably had it my whole life but never knew until I was tested.] Some common symptoms are: abdominal pain & bloating after eating, low energy, anemia, unexplained weight loss/weight gain, diarrhea or constipation, along with a host of other symptoms. For my case, I would have stomach pain shortly after eating bread or pasta [which I absolutely love!]. My stomach would grow and I would gain weight and keep it on for a few days. I thought this was normal. Another symptom I experienced was stomach pain, which I thought meant I was "full", when I would eat. If I would go to an Italian restaurant, I would eat a few pieces of bread then was only able to take a few bites of my penne with vodka sauce, until my stomach was telling me I was "full". I noticed and remembered growing up, when my mom would make chicken with a vegetable that my stomach felt fine, but never knew it was because it didn't contain gluten.
Some people can have a gluten sensitivity, and do not have Celiac disease. In fact, 8% of the US population has a gluten sensitivity. In order to find out if your body has a gluten issue, talk to your doctor and tell him/her your symptoms. A blood test will help you know if your gliadin anti-bodies are up [which happened in my case]. To learn more about these antibodies: This is your body's response to fight the gluten present your body from what you have eaten [hense, an auto-immune response]. Your test may come back negative if you have been gluten-free for a while, which will show a false-negitive*.
[*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or in the medical profession, I am just writing what I know and have learned so far in my gf walk]
More GF info and recipes to come :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

new year, new you!

Happy New Year!

Everyone has new year resolutions.  Some want to lose weight, some want to start something completely new, whatever it is, be sure to keep it!  "They" say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit.  Getting into the 3rd week of January, I hope you all are keeping up with yours! [that includes being gluten-free! :)]

In 2013, my new year's resolution is to be happy & laugh more...  to not sweat the small stuff & to enjoy.  It's amazing to just take a moment, where ever you are - in the grocery store or at work and just look around you.  I did this at a recent trip to Giant Eagle Market District - I saw couples getting groceries together, kids running around, and a teenage boy walk in to pick up a single rose for some lucky gal.  It's the little things in life that mean the most :)

Here's some positivity for the day and some "food for thought":

::The trick is to enjoy life.  Don't wish your days away waiting for better ones ahead::

::"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”:: - Audrey Hepburn

[& you should know, you are never alone in your gluten-free walk :)]

For more positivity check out my pinterest page - words to live by:

I also started a gluten-free mel board [disclaimer - not all recipes on there are gluten free - you can substitute ingredients] that you can check out as well!

I'm currently reading a gluten-free book and will share my findings with you all soon :)