2 Food Allergies, Etc. Bloggers to Follow! Celiac and Allergy Adventures + The Allergista

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Originally, I introduced Amanda & The Allergista through a different post (don’t bother to go looking for it. By the time you read this post, the original would have self-destructed). In that original post, I attempted the unthinkable … a reblog of a reblog of a guest post. Surprisingly, it seemed to have worked … for the most part. When you reblog something it takes a snapshot of the post and you can add comments to it. Your post (or reblog) assumes the title of the original post, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. When you reblog a reblog … you are taking a snapshot of the comment which was a part of the original reblog so there is no title for your post (or reblog) to assume. So you end up with a post without a name … or a titleless post. This is what happened to me when I reblogged Amanda’s reblog of her guest post on The Allergista’s blog. And as a result, I was left with a post titled “919” as you can see in this screenshot:

My original post (or, reblog of a reblog of a guest post) which since self-destructed

My original post (or, reblog of a reblog of a guest post) which since self-destructed

And the fact that those 3 little numbers were there instead of an actual title that actually had meaning for people, drove me absolutely crazy. I may be a little OCD. Maybe.

It was also brought to my attention that people wouldn’t be able to “Like”, “Tweet”, “Pin”, “Press”, “Submit”, “Tumbl”, Email, Print, etc. etc. the reblog. The idea that people wouldn’t be able to easily share with the world the blogs of these two fantastical ladies seemed like an epic fail. Both Amanda and The Allergista have incredibly informative blogs which deserve to be passed around the internet for all to enjoy.

If you’re still confused at this point, forget everything I said. I’ll now jump into the important segment of this post:

Say hello to Amanda of Celiac and Allergy Adventures. She recently did a guest post on The Allergista blog. I’ve been following Amanda’s blog now for several months and I thought that she had some excellent tips for the recently diagnosed Celiac in this guest post. In addition to Celiac Disease, Amanda also suffers from food allergies (some severe enough to cause anaphylaxis), asthma and eczema. If you find yourself in the same boat as Amanda …. or simple just suffer from one or two of the above ailments …. then I definitely recommend that you follow her blog!

Amanda’s reblog also introduced me to The Allergista … who suffers from a long list of food and skin allergies. I’ve only been following The Allergista for a few days so my knowledge of her posts are still a bit limited … but according to Amanda’s reblog, The Allergista has very informative posts … especially when it comes to Allergic Contact Dermatitis. She also has a passion for fashion, which actually gets interesting considering her skin allergies.

And get this: The Allergista did a guest post on Amanda’s blog. Which can only mean one thing … They are internet friends!

I really enjoy these two bloggers and their associated blogs. If you aren’t already following them, you’re missing out! Head over to their blogs and check them out! 🙂

How to “Treat” your Pooch’s food intolerance …

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I’ve read somewhere that dogs often imitate their owners. I can completely agree with this. My dog, Jax, a Lakeland Terrier, has assumed a quirky personality not unlike myself. Another common trait? He seems to have some mild food intolerances/sensitivities that we are still trying to iron out. He was having some gastro issues and was regularly having ear infections in addition to gnawing on his front paws a lot …. things that may be an indication of a food intolerance (so Google researching has told me). I’ve definitely noticed a big improvement since we stopped giving him store bought treats and making natural treats from scratch. We also give him a hypoallergenic kibble, which originally was supposed to be a short term thing while we ironed out what his sensitivity was, but he seemed to be happy enough with it, and I enjoyed the fact that it contained no wheat, so we continued with this particular kibble.

When we first made the switch, we struggled with what to do in terms of rewarding him with a treat. Our vet suggested making treats out of the wet food version of the hypoallergenic kibble. We scoop out small spoonfuls of the wet food onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375 deg° F for about an hour. We store them in the fridge and use them within a week of being baked. Jax absolutely loves them!

While Christmas shopping this past Fall, my guy discovered this:

Snoopy's Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook Kit

Knowing how much I enjoy accommodating dietary restrictions and trying to use organic ingredients where possible, he picked this up so that I could make organic, allergen-friendly treats for Jax. I enjoy that the recipes are wheat-, corn- and soy-free. The recipes seem to have a base of oat flour (I blended gluten-free oats to make it into a flour), brown rice flour, an egg and water, while the individual recipes dictate the additional ingredients.  The first few pages are explanatory and even give substitutions if your dog has an egg allergy.

Tonight, I had some leftover pumpkin from making some Pumpkin Corn Muffins, so I used the leftovers to make “The Great Pumpkin” treats for Jax. One of our friends who was visiting at the time said that the dog biscuits smelled amazing.

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I think Jax thought so too!

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Want to make your own organic allergen friendly dog treats? You can purchase online from Chapters: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Snoopys-Organic-Dog-Biscuit-Kit-Snoopy-Snoopy-Bubba-Rose-Biscuit-Company/9781604332896-item.html

Do you have a pet with food allergies/intolerances? If so, how do you deal with them?

How To Add More Passion Into Your Life, Today!

Hot off the press: How To Add More Passion Into Your Life, Today!.

This is a great blog post from Around & About with NLOWE. You may be wondering what this has to do with Food Allergies …. ? Well, nothing actually. Mental health and wellbeing is an important topic to me and I thought this was a great post on finding more passion in your life. For me personally, exploring my passion in life is one of the key factors that has allowed me to regain control of my emotions and thoughts … it’s helped me to become more mentally fit. And most importantly, happy.

I added the term et cetera to the title of my blog so that it wouldn’t just restrict me to food allergies and dietary restrictions, so that I could explore other topics and share my life experiences and what I’ve learned along the way. Sneaky, huh? If you want to understand a little better about what my hopes and goals are for this blog, you can find various posts under the “Origins” category which will help paint a better picture.

If you feel like your life has been lacking passion lately, check out the above blog post link 🙂

Bell Let’s Talk Day: Shrinking The Mental Illness Stigma

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It’s February 12. Let’s talk.

Today, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives across Canada for every:

  1. Text message sent*
  2. Long distance call made*
  3. Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  4. Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image

* By a Bell or Bell Aliant customer.

So how exactly did Bell’s Let’s Talk Day come about? It was an initiative that was started in 2010 when the company announced that it would be contributing $50 million over the next 5 years to support mental health initiatives in Canada. There are four areas of focus for this initiative and include:

  1. workplace mental health
  2. research
  3. community care and access
  4. anti-stigma

Recognizing that simply talking makes a significant impact in breaking down the barriers to mental health, the campaign encourages people to “start the conversation” about mental health and engage in dialogue with friends, family and co-workers.

Last year during Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, I was just getting ready to return to work after a 2 month sick leave period for depression. I thought that the campaign was a great way to just let it all loose, and announce to friends and family (who weren’t in the loop) why exactly I was on leave. I decided to make a post on my Facebook Page and link it to the Let’s Talk Campaign website. I shared my story about my battle with depression and was very open and honnest about it. Many people later commented to me saying how brave I was to just put it all out there on Facebook … for everyone to see.

To me, it didn’t seem like an act of bravery. In fact, it seemed to be quite the opposite in my head. I had been so secretive of my battle with the disease for so long that I was tired of keeping it a secret anymore. To announce it to everyone, was like a release. It was a weight that I no longer had to carry. Energy that would no longer be lost.

I know what it feels like to be depressed. I once heard the expression “Depression Lies” … and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had several battles with depression throughout my life and each time I was in denial of how big the situation really was. I wasn’t ready to accept it. I wasn’t ready to deal with it. … So I tried to suppress it as much as I could in an attempt to hide it from family and friends. In high school my depression convinced me that I didn’t fit in, that everyone was laughing at me behind my back and that I couldn’t trust anyone. It was this paranoia that convinced me that I wasn’t, nor ever would be, accepted. I felt so lonely during those years …. and in hindsight, I only had my depression to blame. If I had the courage back then to work through my paranoias, perhaps I’d have a happier outlook on those years.

In University, these negative thoughts started to go away as I met new friends through my degree. It was like a fresh start. But this only lasted a few years before the negative self talk and paranoia started to bubble up again. But this time, my depression started to lie to me in different ways. It realized that telling me that I would never fit in was no longer applicable as I had clearly integrated myself into a tight-knit social circle as I went through my degree. This time my depression was more clever. It started attacking me with the idea that I was no longer an intelligent person. These paranoias started getting worse over time and soon it started to affect my study habits and my grades. By the end of my degree I was an emotional wreck on the inside and was regularly breaking down behind shut doors. I was so careful to keep this battle a secret that none of my closest friends had any idea. Nor did my family. It was a heavy burden to carry.

When I started my full time job following graduation, I was convinced that I obviously must have just “lucked” into my position. I was convinced that people were talking about me behind my back. I was convinced that the water-cooler conversations were about how everything that I was doing was wrong and how worthless my work was. I was so paranoid, in fact, that there were certain co-workers who I would actively avoid passing in the corridor because just the mere sight of them would switch on, with full force, the negative self-talk that I just wished would go away. If this meant taking the long way to get to the meeting room to do it, or prolonging going to their floor until I knew they were in the middle of a meeting, that’s what I would do.

This paranoia was getting so much worse that I started to notice a trend of mini-meltdowns that would begin in the Fall and end around the end of January. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve locked myself in my office, and just cried from merely being overwhelmed by all the negative emotion. And the worst part was that my employer had only good things to say about my work. Never had anyone complained about my work and many saw me as a great resource to our team. But my depression wouldn’t let me hear this. My depression would filter this information and irrationally convince me that my superiors were just being polite.

So I can totally agree with the statement: depression lies.

Eventually, I had the biggest meltdown of all time and as a result, I gave in as I accepted that my doctor was writing me off of work for an extended period. You can read about the particular events that finally pushed me over the edge and inevitably led to my big breakdown in my post entitled “How Our Wedding Indirectly Inspired Food Allergies Etcetera“, as well as the actual positives that I took away from the whole experience.

I am sharing my story in hopes that people understand that depression does lie, and to reassure that it feels fantastic to let go of all the heaviness. I hope that if you are going through something even remotely similar that you can find someone to talk about it with. A family member, a friend, or simply an acquaintance. The biggest thing that I realized when I accepted and started opening up about my depression is that everyone can relate. Nearly everyone who I’ve spoken with has mentioned some point in their lives that they’ve had a bout of depression …. some to the point where it required medication. In other cases, they’ve mentioned that they have had a close family member or friend battle it. But you’ll never find those connections if you don’t talk. 

So what are you waiting for, Canada? Let’s talk and shrink the stigma associated with mental illness! 😀

xo

Krista

50% Off: Allergic Solutions Mixes – This Weekend Only!

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Although I’ve only been a member of the CCA-NL since June of 2012, at every meeting that I’ve attended thus far, there’s been freebies to take home. At our meeting this past week, Allergic Solution had sent the Chapter samples of their various mixes, and there were enough packages for each member who attended to bring home multiple packs.

Allergen-Friendly Mixes, http://allergicsolution.com

Allergen-Friendly Mixes, http://allergicsolution.com

According to their website, they claim that having food allergies doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a delicious treat. They say that many people possess multiple allergies or sensitivities and that their mixes were created with this in mind. Allergic Solution mixes are free of: corn, dairy/casein, eggs, gluten/wheat, peanuts, tree-nuts and soy.

This morning we decided to make the Pancake & Waffle Mix. I topped my pancakes with  some vanilla greek yogurt, our Aunt M’s homemade raspberry jam, and a little drizzle of maple syrup. Because the toppings were so flavourful, it was hard to judge on the taste of the pancake itself,  but it seemed like a good pancake to me. They appeared to be slightly denser than non-GF pancakes but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They reminded me of a crepe consistency which I enjoyed because I’ve yet to have a crepe since going gluten-free. When it comes to pancakes, for me personally, it’s the toppings that make the pancake. So, if you share in my philosophy in pancakes, have one or more dietary restrictions, and are looking to try out a new pancake mix, you’ll likely find that you enjoy Allergic Solution’s Waffle & Pancake Mix as well.

Allergic Solution Pancakes, vanilla yogurt, raspberry jam, & maple syrup

Allergic Solution Pancakes, vanilla yogurt, raspberry jam, & maple syrup

Best of all, for this weekend only, Allergic Solution’s mixes are 50% off, or 2 for 1 (however you wish to look at it). You can find the mixes at various stores as listed here on their website, however, I think the deal applies only to their online store. They also sell their mixes in bulk, and also sell several gift baskets which include various pans, waffle iron, or additional ingredients (depending on the particular type of basket chosen) which I thought would make a nice gift for someone who is a multiple food allergy sufferer. Keep in mind though, if you are buying online that you also have to consider shipping costs as well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this mix, considering that they are egg-free, but I have to say that I enjoyed the crepe-like texture of this mix! I also like that they vegan-friendly and diabetic-friendly. Due to the fact that there is no sugar added, are dairy-free and gluten-free, the mixes would be a great option for those with strict dietary restrictions as a means to control disruptive digestion issues (much like my aunt who has to be gluten-free, dairy-free and consume minimum amounts of sugar in order to keep her collagenous colitis symptoms under control).

They also have a Facebook Page if you want to stay in the loop on similar deals.

Have you tried this mix? If so, what did you think?

“Quack! Quack! Naturopath Attack!”

Good. Now that I have your attention, I’d like to talk about my experience with Naturopaths.

The title of this post might mislead you to think that I’m making fun of naturopaths. This is absolutely not the case – there is a story behind the title.

First of all, I enjoy the word Quack. Its on my Favourite Words List (yes, I have a list, and Quack just happens to be on it … along with squirrel (as in to “squirrel away” money), kerchief, marjoram, epiphany and shenanigans).

Secondly, the title is related to an email from my friend, Sharon.

In 2012, about a year after I visited a naturopath for the first time, Sharon was asking about the experience. She was very interested in the test that the naturopath performed and decided to get the contact details from me. She later made an appointment for herself and was extremely excited about her assessment. A few weeks went by and in the same afternoon as her appointment, she sent me an email.

Now, there are two thing that you need to know about Sharon:

  1. she can get excitably enthusiastic about things that interest her
  2. she has a love of rhyming.

So when her email came in describing her excitement of her naturopath experience and her results, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had titled the email “Quack! Quack! Naturopath Attack!” (she said had she had more time, she would have come up with a better title).

Like myself, Sharon loved “the quack”. She had planned on asking her thoughts about a book that she had read called “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” but the naturopath actually brought it up before Sharon had a change to mention it. She also asked if she was tired when checking her adrenals and when Sharon mentioned feeling like she could have a nap in the middle of the day and just attributed it to hating her job, the naturopath went on a long (but positive) rant on how Sharon should quit her job and find something that she loved. Sharon left the appointment feeling incredibly inspired 🙂

So how did I decide that I should try out a naturopath? I told the story in my previous post “I started a what!?!“. During my initial visit, I was a little skeptical of the apparatus that she used. Perhaps it’s the engineer in me. But I think I’m a little more right-brained than the typical engineer and as a result, I was able to let that out of my mind and just go with the flow. And as I explained in my previous post, she hit the nail on the head with a lot of her results.

I went back to this naturopath several times, and even had my aunt and my guy try them out. My aunt followed her advice for a month or so, but found the restrictions a little hard due to living in a small town and found the remedies that she had to purchase to be expensive. My guy felt similarly about the cost of the remedies and just didn’t have the motivation to avoid all of the things that he had been instructed on. We all left the appointments with a list of all of the things to avoid. And it was a very long list of things. With no real indication of how much these foods affected us. Just a list instructing us to not eat this, this, … and this.

When I was on sick leave from work for depression the first two months of 2012 (see How Our Wedding Indirectly Inspired Food Allergies Etcetera post), I was seeing my psychologist once a week. During this time, I started talking about what I was passionate about and I started talking about my restaurant ideas for a restaurant that caters to people with food allergies and other dietary restrictions. My psychologist found this idea to be extremely interesting and shared with me that she would love if such a place were to open in St. John’s because she is vegetarian but also has extreme chemical sensitivities and can only eat organic foods. Knowing that I was keen on naturopaths, she recommended the naturopath that has treated her. She told me that I would LOVE her because of her emphasis on the foods that we eat to treat our ailments versus expensive remedies. She gave me her contact info but it was months before I actually made an appointment to see her.

I’d like to introduce to you Dr. Eddi Kenny, ND, PhD, RN. Dr. Eddi has over 25 years experience in the health care field and you can find out more about her background on her About Page on her company website Innergy – Center for Health & Stress Management. According to the Innergy website, Dr. Eddi covers:

  • nutritional guidance
  • meridian stress assessment
  • integrative lifestyle
  • whole body & mind balance
  • health management & lifestyle
  • stress management & techniques
  • preventative medicine, and
  • innovative approaches to energy

I think this list should be revised to include “life coach”. Dr. Eddi seems interested in helping you figure out what you need to do when you’ve lost that “spark”.  Not sure what I’m talking about? I’ll give you an example.

Immediately after my first session with Dr. Eddi I immediately thought of two people who would totally benefit from a session with Dr. Eddi. One of which was a work colleague …. lets just call her “Jocelyn”. Jocelyn used to have a lot of pep. But over the years her energy and spirit just seemed to have dissipated. Jocelyn was having a lot of issues and it sounded like they may have been diet related. I used this as a way to weasel in the idea of her making an appointment with Dr. Eddi. And she took the bait! It was some number of weeks before she was able to see Dr. Eddi but when Jocelyn returned to work the next day she seemed very enthusiastic about what Dr. Eddi had recommended. The biggest chance that Jocelyn made based on Dr. Eddi’s advice was to cut out chocolate and dairy as her testing indicated that Jocelyn did not react well to those two particular items. Within a few weeks of following Dr. Eddi’s advice, I noticed that the old “Jocelyn” was finally starting to emerge. Her energy was returning, she didn’t appear to be as negative in her thoughts, she was getting more easily excited. She was so happy about the positive results and there was a sudden influx of energy. On times it seemed like she was hyper, there were so many things bouncing around in her head. I really knew that the old Jocelyn was back when she came into my office and told me that she was taking drum lessons. And was loving it! It was great to finally see Jocelyn feeling happy again because the old Jocelyn had been away for far too long. Dr. Eddi was instrumental in helping Jocelyn find her spark again! 🙂

I also made an appointment recently for my guy to see Dr. Eddi for an assessment. He’s been complaining of digestive issues for months, has had very little energy, trouble sleeping, and just didn’t feel balanced in life. I wasn’t too sure about how he was going to find the session, but he actually came out of it very positively and was ready to do what Dr. Eddi suggested and actually has carried through with making those necessary changes. He’s starting out slow but so far has been able to stick to the first few changes that he made. He also felt like Dr. Eddi was coaching him more than directing him like he felt like with the previous naturopath.

The assessment that is performed is a Meridian Stress Assessment. It’s also known as a bio-energetic/electro dermal screening. Basically it uses acupressure points on the body and the results are inputted into a computer analysis in order to give a detailed evaluation of your body’s imbalances, according to Dr. Eddi’s webpage. I like that you can see the testing as it is happening, which was different from the session with the previous naturopath where it was all performed behind your back. At the end, Dr. Eddi prints out a report and goes through it in detail with you. It also gives you a visual to help you quickly see the areas in which your body is balanced, weakened or stressed, which I really liked because you get a feel for how much the items actually affect you. With the other naturopath, we were simply instructed to stay away without a real sense for how much it negatively affected us.

Partial view shown for an indication of the results generated from my Meridian Stress Assessment

Partial view shown for an indication of the results generated from my Meridian Stress Assessment

Above is a partial snapshot of each page of the report. The left hand of each page is cut off but I more or less included it to give an indication of the possible number of readings versus showing the particular items that were tested for me, personally. One thing that I noticed was that there were differences between what was reported on my report versus my guy’s report. This is because the analysis is catered to the individual based on her initial conversations with the patient. The first thing that the report displays is your base point readings. It’s basically an indication of how the various systems in your body (e.g. Endocrine system, nervous system, lungs, intestines, skin, pancreas, kidneys, joints, etc.) are functioning. The report then lists your “holds” readings. The categories tested will vary from person to person, but in my case it included various hormones, acids, minerals, food groups/categories,  vertebrae stresses, and fungual readings. Apparently right now I have an issue with yeast and acidity and she recommended that I do a cleanse to help clear it up. I’m actually starting Renew Life Cleanse Smart this week, which I recently picked up from Whole Health, so I’ll be interested in seeing how well the product worked when I return for a follow-up session.

The other thing that I really liked was instead of prescribing certain supplements or remedies, she just advised us how to eat better so that we could compensate in the areas that our body was weakened. For example, the results showed that my circulation was weakened so she advised me to eat more “warming” foods such as using cumin, curry, cayenne, cardamom, turmeric, etc. in our meals. She also advised me to incorporate more avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, chia seeds and hemp hearts into my diet in order to boost up my Omega fatty acids. My iron was also low so she suggested foods to incorporate to boost my iron levels.

Dr. Eddi was also talked a lot with me about finding passion in my life and was thrilled when I told her of my recent meltdown and (well, it wasn’t necessarily the meltdown that she was thrilled about, but) how I had used that experience to become more in tune with what my mind and body need and that I’ve become more self-aware. She also enjoyed my ideas for my future restaurant that caters to people with food allergies and dietary restrictions. Like I said earlier, I feel like Dr. Eddi is not just a naturopath, but a life coach to boot!

The sessions can be quite expensive so check with your health insurance to see if naturopathic/homeopathic assessments are covered. If your insurance covers it, and you can afford it, I highly recommend setting up an appointment with Dr. Eddi …. especially if you’re feeling a bit lost, out of sorts, and not quite sure what else to do to get your life back on track. I’m more than positive that she’ll be able to get your health and stress back on track!!

Cheers to our physical & mental health!

Krista.

Dear Toronto: Did You Really Gluten Me, Again??

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The last time I was in Toronto, I (naively and unintentionally) glutened myself. Ironically, it was the same weekend that I was there to attend the Gluten Free Expo. You can get that story in my Glutened, Days After Attending the Gluten Free Expo … and No. It was Unrelated post.

This time, I was super cautious about what I put into my mouth. “When in doubt, go without” was my motto for the weekend (as it is any other weekend that I don’t have a serious lapse in judgement). However, I did a spa day for my BFF’s birthday and although it was a fantastically relaxing and detoxifying day, about 20 minutes after we left, my stomach had swollen to the point that it appeared as though I was 5 months pregnant.

The spa that we went to was Body Blitz. We did an afternoon in the therapeutic waters while a few of us had spa treatments done before returning to my friend’s apartment for a party involving a slightly larger audience. The therapeutic waters were AMAZING!! I’ve never felt so relaxed and detoxed at the same time. It was fantastic! I’d highly recommend it if you live in, or will be visiting, the Toronto area.

Body Blitz Therapeutic Waters. Source: http://bodyblitzspa.com/index.php/blitz-gallery

Body Blitz Therapeutic Waters. Source: http://bodyblitzspa.com/index.php/blitz-gallery

Body Blitz Therapeutic Waters. Source: http://bodyblitzspa.com/index.php/blitz-gallery

Following the Therapeutic Waters, I had a session booked for a Winter Warming Mud Basic Body Bake. It was ultimate pampering! As good as the day at Body Blitz was, as we were travelling back to my friend’s apartment, I noticed that I could feel gas bubbling up in my colon (sorry if this is a little TMI). This is usually a sign of me having a reaction to something. As we drove back to the apartment, I could feel my belly swelling, and within 20 minutes my stomach was swollen to the point that I looked like I was 5 months pregnant. When we got inside to the Party Room which my friend had booked out for her party, I had mentioned, to the girls who came back to the condo building a little early, that it felt like I had reacted to the moisturizer that was applied at the end of the treatment. When they said “Really?” …. as it was obvious that I didn’t have any hives or obvious skin reactions. When I said “Huh uh. My belly is swollen”, they looked down to my belly, and I immediately seen all of their eyes widen, as their jaws dropped, and they simultaneously expelled a “Whhooooaaaaa …..” They said that, had they not seen me a few hours previously in a teeny bikini with an obviously flat belly, they would have seriously thought that I was 5 months pregnant. There was so much pressure in my belly that I was incapable of sitting upright and spent most of the night stretched out on the couch. It was the most bizarre feeling to walk around “stomach-first”. Getting up out of the chair was also a struggle as I couldn’t really bend properly at the waist. When I would get up, it was in the same manner as someone who is severely pregnant would move into a standing position. Throughout the night the girls were still flabbergasted at my swollen state. They even asked “Did gluten really do that to you?” and my only response was that I could only assume so.

I had assumed that the moisturizer would have absorbed into my skin and that’s what caused the reaction. However, in talking with my Celiac friends at our Celiac Association meeting last night, they said that you need to actually ingest gluten in order to have a reaction. Did I accidentally have moisturizer residue on my hands and accidentally put my hands in my mouth? Or was it something else in the moisturizer that absorbed through my skin and reacted to? I’m not quite sure. I had a similar experience a few years ago at a local spa but at the time assumed that it was perhaps related to residue on the jug of water or the glass that I had drank out of immediately following my massage. In that instance my stomach had also swollen within a span of 20 minutes.

So, Toronto. Did you really gluten me, again? Or have you allowed me to discover that I may have another intolerance or sensitivity?

To answer this question, I’ve contacted both spas to see what ingredients are in both moisturizers in hopes that I can find the common link. Stay tuned!!

Updated: Go Go Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies: Converting Cookie Lovers, Everywhere!

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Ok, so I can’t guarantee that they are converting cookie lovers every where. However …

I’ve always thought of myself as a chewy cookie lover rather than a crunchy cookie lover …. that is, until I discovered Go Go Quinoa’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had seen these cookies a dozen times on the grocery shelf and thought “meh” as I passed on by in hopes that I might score some chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by Udi’s in my local grocery store (I find that they sell out fast at my regular store so when I do find them, it’s like winning the jackpot!). Every year for Christmas Aunt M makes us a FANTASTIC Christmas basket filled with various goodies, and since I’ve discovered my gluten intolerance, she now includes gluten free goodies for me. This year, one of the items that she included in the basket, as you can see in my They Love Me, They Really Love Me post, was a box of the Go Go Quinoa Chocolate Chip cookies. I’ve had an abundance of GF treats in my pantry for quite some time so I was holding on to these new (to me) cookies until my stash diminished somewhat. As I was travelling out of province for the weekend, I decided that it would be an excellent time to break out the new cookies.

When I opened the box, I was noticed that they were individually wrapped. I guess the reason is to avoid cross-contamination or to preserve freshness of the cookies once the box is opened. Some people would consider the additional packaging wasteful, however it came in handy while travelling to/in/from Toronto. Without quick access to a container or ziploc bag, I could quickly throw a couple of cookies into my purse before heading out to do some shopping, so that I could ensure that I would be “with cookie” in the event that I needed a GF snack to tie me over until our next meal.

Despite not being a lover of crunchy cookies, I did enjoy that the cookies were not overly sweet but enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Just one cookie would seem to do the trick. Normally when I need an after dinner sweet to satisfy my cravings, I would eat a piece of 85% dark chocolate. But lately I’ve been finding myself returning to the pantry throughout the night to eat more chocolate and thus fuel my sweet tooth cravings. After eating just one of these cookies, I didn’t feel the need to go back for another. I was quite satisfied with just the one. It could have something to do with the low amount of sugar and the high amount of protein.

Initially, I was under the impression that there was only 1 g of fat and 2 g of sugar, and 5 g of protein in 2 cookies according to the nutritional labelling on the box that I had picked up, however … when I pulled up the Go Go Quinoa website to pull a picture of their cookies, I noticed that they had a notice stating that there had been an error on the nutritional labelling.

I knew this nutritional info was too good to be true! Source: http://well.ca/products/gogo-quinoa-chocolate-chip-cookies_30766.html

The correct amounts are 9 g of fat, 8 g of sugar and 6 g of protein in 2 cookies according to the updated nutritional information on their website. When you compare this to the nutritional information of other gluten-containing chocolate chip cookies such as Chips Ahoy! (for example), the Go Go Quinoa cookies are slightly better in comparison with the sugar content, not a lot different in fat content, but fair much better when it comes to the protein content.

So, although they aren’t the “super-cookie” that I had originally pegged them out to be, they are still pretty fantastic. I love that I don’t feel like I need to eat the entire box like I do after having just one of the “other guys” due to sugar spikes and lows. They taste good, are a nice little healthier alternative and are very satisfying.

I now regret passing on them all of those times that I perused past them in the GF cookie aisle at the grocery store. Thanks Aunt M for adding this pack to our Chirstmas gift this year!!

Have you tried these cookies? If so, what did you think?

So here’s the update:

It came to my attention after Brian made the following comment:

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 8.30.14 PM

At first I thought “Aren’t all cookies technically evil, Brian?” I know that I need a lot of self-control when it comes to sweets and don’t exactly possess a lot of it. In the original post I had done a rough estimate in my head, so this time I wanted to confirm that I had done my head-math correctly, and also to visually explain to Brian why I thought these cookies were “pretty good”. I did a little spreadsheet comparison to see how these cookies compared to non-GF Chips Ahoy and several different brands of crunchy GF chocolate chip cookies. I started working on this during my lunch break at work. Tonight when I ate one of the cookies after supper I noticed on the side of the box that the nutrition label was now saying that there was only 2 g of protein in 2 cookies …. and I was positive that earlier today that the image that I included in my post (that I had pasted from their site) said 6 g of protein. So I pulled up their website and sure enough, the nutritional info had been revised once again. I decided to revisit my cookie analysis from earlier today…

The amended (x2) nutritional content info. Source: http://www.gogoquinoa.com/products/cookies/quinoa-cookies-chocolate-chips/

The amended (x2) nutritional content info.
Source: http://www.gogoquinoa.com/products/cookies/quinoa-cookies-chocolate-chips/

If it wasn’t for Brian’s questioning of their “goodness”, I likely would not have picked up on the fact that the nutritional info had once again been amended. Now I was even more curious as to how these cookies stacked up to the rest. I started out by creating a table of the nutritional data that I was interested in (originally I personally wasn’t really concerned with the sodium content, but seeing how Brian had brought it up I thought I’d consider this factor as well). Kinnikinnick labeled it’s serving as “1 cookie” so I googled, and according to this site, one cookie is about 8.1 g.

Collection of nutritional information for various crunchy chocolate chip cookies

Collection of nutritional information for various crunchy chocolate chip cookies

I then wanted to compare each GF cookie and the non-GF Chips Ahoy cookies to the Go-Go Quinoa version so I figured out the multiplication factor necessary to apply to each group of nutritional info. This is how it turned out:

Comparison of other cookies to Go-Go Quinoa

Comparison of other cookies to Go-Go Quinoa

It turns out that the Go-Go Quinoa cookies are the best in terms of sodium, sugar and protein content. In terms of fat content and calories, they appeared to be on par with the others.Originally I was under the impression that the amount of protein was 6 g, and for me personally this gave them brownie points and compensated for the fact that they are slightly higher in fat and calorie content compared to the others.

Although the nutritional information had several hiccups, they seem to be on par with the rest of the GF crunchy chocolate chip cookies (or at least the ones that I’ve tried, personally). As I mentioned above, with the Go-Go Quinoa cookies I seem to be quite satisfied with one, whereas the other brands I tend to keep going back to the package and the next thing you know I’ve emptied the first tier of cookies in the package. The serving size for the Go-Go Quinoa cookies is listed as 2 cookies. If I only eat one, I’m only taking in 85 calories, 4.5 g of fat, 32.5 mg of sodium , 4 g of sugar and get 1 g of protein. So considering all this, the Go-Go Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookie is not the super-cookie that I thought I had found, and they might not necessarily be converting cookie lovers everywhere … but I still personally maintain that they are a “pretty good” cookie.

Care to join the are they / aren’t they “good” debate?