Thursday, September 22, 2011

I tried the moose and I like it....

So this morning I ventured out quite early to try out the new Smiling Moose Deli in Evansville.  I got a breakfast sandwich with cream cheese, tomatoes, black pepper, cheese, added a little turkey, and put it on their GF bread and let me just was so delicious!  I was prepared for the food to taste like cardboard but was pleasantly surprised by it's fantastic flavor and taste. 

They also have a large selection of other GF sandwiches and they have loaves of GF bread that you can purchase.  The lady at the counter told me that the deli gets all of their bread from a mother who has two sons who are affected by Celiac's Disease and was tired of their bread tasting like sawdust.  Eventually the mother decided to start baking her own bread and now sells it to the deli.  The deli gets the bread in frozen; they thaw it and it lasts in-home for about a week.  I am so excited to go home tonight and try some grilled cheese sandwiches with it (and I'm sure my boys will be even more excited!). 

Don't like sandwiches?  They also have soups and salads that are GF, complete with a variety of dressings.  Check out their menu online.  Although their environment is not totally GF and airborne contact may occur, for those who can risk it I definitely recommend checking it out.

Have you been to the Smiling Moose Deli?  What was your impression?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Moose are here...

So excited to see growth in Evansville's Gluten-free market!!

Welcome Moose Fans!!  Please go out and help support the deli.  Not only do they offer items that are Gluten-free, but they are sell loaves of bread which are gf too. 

Check out the link below for information:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Power of Food

The power of food is exponential.  When you eat food that is processed and full of dyes and chemicals, your body essentially does not know what to do with it.  Our bodies are made to break down food, foods that we grow, foods that grow naturally, foods that are not injected with chemicals and fertilizers and poisons.  

How many times have you or someone you've known began taking a medication only to eventually switch or begin another medication because of the side effects?  Now, how many people do you know have ever had to switch or begin taking a medication because of a reaction to apples?  Or water?  Or lettuce?  Not very many I would bet.

If you go to a restaurant and overeat, most likely within a short time period you will begin to feel the effects of your "food coma".  Now I'm not sure why we choose as a society to eat ourselves into such a state, but nevertheless many of us have found ourselves so engorged that we are uncomfortable, maybe even nauseous, and on the brink of just lying down in the restaurant booth and taking a nap then and there.  I wonder how many times you have ever eaten raw fruit or veggies and felt the same way......

Watch the following trailer and really keep your mind open to the possibilities.  Imagine, you could be in control of your body and your health.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So long...

Wow, it's been almost a full month since I last posted!!  So sorry for the long break but my college classes have started back up and it has been very hectic at our house.

The hecticness was good in a way though, it has brought about some important crossroads for our family.  It was very easy to stay on our diet when everyone was home because of snow days, or to fix a full meal because I was off from college classes, or to make sure the boys were eating successfully when their sports were on break.  To stay on our path, however, when everything started again full swing was a little bit more of a challenge.

Our weeks aren't overly busy, but they are full.  Oliver attends full day Kindergarten which requires him needing a full lunch packed (and for a picky eater it gets challenging) and a snack.  Parker attends PreK, half day-three days a week--meaning that I must remember to put a snack in his backpack and a juice those days.  The other two days I work at his school and he stays with either my husband or my mother-in-law, which still requires a lunch packed for him.  I also attend college two nights a week and the boys participate in Taekwondo four days a week.  Needless to say, we are a little bit everywhere everyday.

On Wednesday's we also attend a Bible study.  Usually when the boys finish with Taekwondo that evening, they are starving, and we would normally hit up the closest McDonald's to satisfy them.  Not anymore.  It does take more planning on the diet, but I have found that I able to keep them fed and still stay clear of any fast food.  Normally I will make Oliver and Parker a snack around 3:30, and then I will pack up whatever I fed them, put it into a cooler, and feed them the same thing when they get out of class.  Often times I fry some chicken in bean flour and then simply put it into baggies and they eat it cold on the way to the study.

The first few weeks that we tried this they balked at eating cold chicken.  It didn't take too long, however, for both boys to realize that they could either eat the chicken or be hungry.  (Needless to say they eat the chicken now!) 

I also try to always plan ahead and keep juice boxes in my vehicle at all times.  It is hard when we go to a family function or a church event and the boys aren't allowed to drink the juice offered.  I always let the boys have a helping hand in picking out their flavors though, so they often don't feel like they are missing out on anything (and if anything, their friends always want a juice box too!).

Looking back there are few things I would change about the way we eat now, except I would have started it earlier.  My boys are healthier and happiness than I can ever remember them being, and I have more energy and feel better about myself than I have in years.  I have also found that I don't crave the foods that I used to like McD's, Taco Bell (especially since I heard their meat only has like 33% real meat!!), and other places like that.

I do recommended that if you are thinking of trying a food elimination diet for yourself or your children that you do a little research on your own.  Different things work for different people.  My friend Jennifer tried the gluten free but found that corn-free actually works better for her child.  Whatever you decide to try, give it time and give it a fair go.  I've heard different research on how long it takes for the gluten to completely be gone from your body, and the consensus seems to be anywhere from two weeks to one month for a number of individuals.  Remember that when you first start a new diet, your body is going to go through withdrawals from the fast foods and the junk foods that you have been eating.  Symptoms vary but include crankiness, irritability, headaches and possible worse.  Push through, continue on your path, and see how you feel in two weeks or even 21 days. 

I also suggest keeping a journal to record the changes you see in your body, your attitude, in your life.  Then reevaluate...maybe this particular thing worked for you, maybe it didn't.  But don't give up...a healthier lifestyle is only step away.  Go ahead and take that step and secure your place in the future!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Almost 2 full months in....

When my husband and I first decided to embark on the gfcfsf diet, I was nervous I would be unable to properly feed my family.  I attend school full-time, work part-time, am active in our church, and the boys play sports.  Where would I fit in all of the cooking and preparing, and cooking and preparing, and cooking and preparing (well, you get the point) that was required to live the diet fully.

The first few weeks really were a struggle.  It was difficult to not only prepare all of the meals (I really liked to microwave things or use packages to cook with), but it was also extremely difficult to get my boys to eat any of the food.

Both boys were addicted to grainy foods such as crackers, breads, pasta with no sauce, and chips.  They did like milk, as long as it was mixed half and half with chocolate.  The first few weeks invoked a lot of tears, a lot struggles, and even more trips to the bathroom to throw up whatever I just made them eat. 

I did some research on ways to "trick" my children into eating the food.  Well guess didn't work.  I couldn't successfully get them to eat a pea even if it was drenched in chocolate syrup and rolled in sugar.  Many sites insisted that if I just kept trying, they would learn to like it.

I made supper tonight.  It consisted of turkey, steamed carrots (with a little bit of agave nectar on them), and applesauce.  My boys crawled up to the table, looked at their plate, asked how much I wanted them to eat (I always put extra so that I can tell them half or almost all), and then began eating.  No tears.  No fuss.  No throwing up or gagging or screaming or "falling" off the stool.  Nothing.  Just prayer and eating. 

Now if I'm being honest, there are still some things they won't eat.  It really doesn't bother me though.  If I can get them to eat most veggies but they still don't like cabbage or asparagus, I'm ok with that.  I will live with it.  I will continue to try to get them to like it.  But after a couple of bites per night I let them choose one thing they can skip eating. 

With all of the cooking and struggles I have learned a few tips.  We normally cook a large turkey every other week, then divide it into bags.  Some of the meat we store.  Some of the meat we immediately eat.  Most of the meat however is used for casseroles, mixed in with eggs, bell peppers, and onions for a morning omelet, or used to make soups.  It really cuts down on the amount of cooking I have to do.  Most casseroles are easy to prepare and are one dish recipes. 

The rest of the week we have chicken or fish (which is still called "chicken" in our house--what they don't know won't hurt them).  We bake lemon pepper chicken, fry up chicken bites, grill chicken, and any other ways we can figure out how to use chicken.  The fish is always baked with a little something extra on it like lemon juice or orange juice.  The boys never know the difference.

This week I am going to be trying some new recipes.  As I find yummy things to eat I will post them on my facebook page under "discussions".  Check us out on Facebook at "Evansville Gluten Free".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Banana Blueberry Muffins

This morning I made my family some delicious morning muffins.  I simply took an old recipe for blueberry muffins and "tweaked" it to fit our GFCFSF diet. 

1 c. Almond flour
1/2 c. All-purpose GFCFSF flour
1/4 c. Fresh ground flaxseed
1/8 t. Sea salt
3/4 t. Baking soda
2 T. Grapeseed oil
1/4 c. Agave nectar
2 Eggs
1 Large mashed ripe banana
1/2 c. Frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. 

In a large bowl, combine both flours, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda.  Mix in the grapesee oil, agave necter, and eggs.  Mix well.

Stir in the banana, then fold the blueberries into the batter.  Pour the batter into 12 lined muffin cups.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until the muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the middle comes out clean.


**BTW, tweaked is a technical baking term :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Some of my new "go-to" products

The hardest thing when we initially decided to switch over to gluten free was not knowing which products contained gluten, what secret words gluten was hidden under, and honestly, not really knowing what exactly gluten was.

After some research on the gluten, I found it is a protein composite that appears in foods processed from wheat and other related species such as barley and rye (not corn or rice).  Gluten helps to give elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and keep its shape.  Gluten is also in many products to enhance texture or add protein where none is naturally found such as imitation meats, malt vinegars, flavor cubes, ketchup and even most vitamins.  With gluten in so many daily products, at first I though I would never get the hang of shopping for my family.

Then, just when I was almost comfortable choosing products that were gluten free, we got stricter, adding in more things to see if we could improve what responses we had experienced already with the boys.  With my list of no-no's almost longer than my shopping list, I was very confused and intimidated when I set out to start shopping.  So how did I do it?  With a little book from Cecelia's Marketplace (

I initially ordered the Gluten Free book which lists thousands of products that are gluten free.  After using my book for a few weeks and deciding to move on to a stricter diet plan, I then ordered the gluten free/casein free/soy free book.  These books have truly been a time and sanity saver. 

I carry the gfcfsf book in my purse (and keep the other one in my van in case I forget my purse) and pull it out anytime I am the store.  The books list alphabetically the item and then manufacturer so that finding what you need is a snap.  Need jelly?  Look under "J" from jelly/jam, then find the name of the product you are looking for such as Smucker's.  It is so simple to use that even my husband can go shopping for me now.

Another product that I am completely in love with is Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread Soy Free.  I have so far only found it at my local Walmart stores in the butter aisle in a tub.  I have made cookies and brownies, topped waffles and muffins, and sauteed mushrooms and onions in it so far and everything has turned out perfect.  My picky boys haven't even noticed that I switched them yet!

As our my research gets more in depth, my list of exclusions continues to grow.  We are lucky as we have had some testing done before and we have that list of what our children are sensitive to.  In order to allow our boys some guilty pleasures, a few of our rules are allowed to occasionally be broken.  For instance, today at church my boys told the youth minister they were not allowed any candy, even though the other children were eating theirs.  I wasn't in the youth room; they could have eaten it and I probably wouldn't have ever know, but they didn't.  I was so proud of them!  I decided to let them have a special treat for being so honest. 

Skittles are on the gfcfsf list, but they have food coloring in them (which I normally forbid).  I did, however, because of their awesomeness today, allow them to split a small bag of skittles.  They were so excited!  To me, it's all about priority.  Gluten is at the top of our list for no, followed by artificial sugar, casein and soy, then preservatives and food colorings.  Our big rules are if it comes in a cellophane package, don't eat it.  I always tell my boys for when they are out at a grandparent's house that if it grows on a vine, in the ground, or on a tree it is ok to eat.  If you have to take it to a factory to make it, then just say no.  It really has helped them feel more confident in deciding what they are and are not allowed to eat.

I was asked today what I typically fix for my children to eat since I don't let them go out to eat and I don't buy anything premade.  On a typical day our family meals consist of a high protein breakfast: a piece of gluten free bread (which I make in my bread machine every Sunday) with peanut butter, some scrambled eggs, a couple small pieces of baked chicken (normally left over from the night before) and then two small pancakes (which are made in large batches and then frozen so that I don't have to make that mess every morning).  Lunch primarily is a vegetable in the steamer and a chicken breast.  Supper is normally either baked fish or lemon pepper chicken, a veggie, a baked potato (either regular or sweet), and a small dessert of some kind finishes off the night. 

We also try to include two or three small snacks throughout the day also so that the boys learn healthy eating habits and don't have to eat huge meals.  My boys' favorite snacks are apples or bananas with peanut butter, raisins, homemade gfcfsf cookies, or a gfcfsf chocolate piece.  When I pack my oldest's lunch for school, I try to include a variety of things so that he can pick and choose what he wants that day.  I never want my boys to feel as though it is a burden to eat healthy. 

So far, with a little preparation and a lot of luck, I have been able to find substitutes for almost everything their friends have...thank goodness for my book and google!