November 22, 2014

Give the Gift of Beauty with Red Apple Lipstick!

There are just a couple days left of Red Apple Lipstick's HUGE Christmas Collection 2014 sale! Everything is 5% off and if you are on their mailing list, you'll have another coupon for an additional 10% off! (psst...use Celiac in the City's super duper code, CITC, you'll get 22% off instead of 10%!)

The new collection is gorgeous!! There are six new lipsticks, two minty glosses, and five eye-shadows. Last week I was checking out the annual Christmas Look Book and loving everything. I couldn't decide which colors to pick, they looked great on all of their models. Click on the book below to flip through and see the colors in action!

Much to my surprise, Jay and Andrea from Red Apple Lipstick sent me the ENTIRE collection to review and share with you! I didn't get this until just this week because it was sent to my old work address. (Oh, did I tell you I got a new job?! More on that in a future post!) Jay and Andrea are sweet and generous they are with their bloggers. They truly are amazing!

Naturally I had to try on everything. Some of the colors I loved but didn't think would work with my coloring actually look great! Hollypeño really popped! Oh Schnapp! glimmered on my eyes. I'm really looking forward to all of the holiday parties and events so I can get all dolled up with these new colors. 

Just like the all the other Red Apple lipsticks, they are paraben free and gluten free and go on smoothly and stay on long. 

If you love Red Apple Lipstick makeup as much as I do, you have to take advantage of this sale! This is the very last sale of 2014. If you order by 10pm on November 24th, you'll get your order in time for Christmas. The busy Red Apple team will be taking two weeks off to spend the holidays with their friends and family, so you have to shop soon!

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Planning on buying beauty products for yourself or others?

October 14, 2014

Gluten Free Week at Wildfire Returns!

The 5th Annual Gluten Free Week at Wildfire Restaurants returns this November 3rd through the 7th. This annual event is a delicious way to support the University of Chicago Celiac Center, as a portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales is donated to the Celiac Center.

Throughout the week of November 3rd, each Illinois Wildfire location will be hosting a five-course Gluten Free Dinner with optional cider and wine pairings.  The menu includes Mini Crab Cakes, Classic Bacon Wrapped Horseradish Crusted Filet Mignon served with truffle macaroni & cheese, Door County Cherry Hand Pie with vanilla ice cream, and more.

Resident gluten free expert, Ruth Hayden, will be on hand to share her insight into our extensive gluten free menu and training. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with passed appetizers, followed by the seated dinner at 7:00 p.m. and is priced at $60.00 without wine pairings and $80.00 with wine pairings, plus tax (gratuity not included).

The schedule of dinners is as follows:

Reservations are required. Please contact the restaurant you'd like to attend for reservations.

September 10, 2014

Tips from Coach Terra Castro!

Tips from Coach Terra Castro
As I mentioned several times before, I had the best coach throughout my training process. Terra Castro offered me tons of great advice to help me get back into my fitness game. I picked Terra's brain to get some health and fitness tips I thought might help my readers.

Gluten Free Betsy: What advice do you have for someone who is just getting back into fitness, has a lot of weight to lose, or has trouble with joint pain, etc.?

Terra Castro: Set a realistic GOAL; define what motivates and inspires you. POST THAT GOAL and make an inspiration board that has key words, cool pictures, etc. that you can put somewhere you will see daily to remind you of what you are working for.  BREAK THE GOAL INTO SMALL PIECES - FOCUS ON PROCESS not end result and you will get there. Tackle one day at a time.

GFB:  I know we chatted about this in my sessions, but what foods do you recommend for pre and post workout fuel? (gluten free, of course)  

TC: An hour before a workout I love peanut butter on a gluten free bagel. I'll have Clif Shot BLOKS if it's right before a workout. Post workout, a LUNA protein bar or smoothie with protein in it.

GFB:  What tips or advice to you have for staying active in the fall/winter when all we want to do is stay in and hit up our Netflix queue?

TC: Join a gym with fun classes, group up with friends and hit up a Zumba class or spin class.  Get out of your comfort zone and have fun!  It will help erase the weary snow blues.

GFB:  You told me you don't do gluten, dairy, and a bunch of other allergens, do you want to share your story?  

TC: I found out I was allergic to gluten, dairy, eggs, etc. when I was away at ITU Triathlon World Championship 2000 in Perth Australia. I was getting really sick on that trip from the hotel food and had a poor race. Something wasn't right in my gut.  I went to get blood work and the doctor found my allergies. Six weeks after eliminating those foods, I was back to feeling rested, strong and focused. The allergens affect my fatigue levels and cause extreme bloating and weight gain.  My immune system had to rebuild, but I am grateful to have found out early in my career what was going on. It is common in endurance racing due to the stress we put on our gut/body.

GFB:  What are some good ways to stay motivated?  

TC: GOALS!  Have accountability partners or hire a coach to help you lay out a plan. Sign up for a race so it gets you out the door to run when you don't feel up to it.

GFB:  What fitness tools are essential in your life? (This could be anything from a website, heart rate monitor, shoe, app, etc.)  

TC: I use to coach my athletes or Google docs, my Garmin Forerunner 220 in purple for my training, Saucony Kinvara 5 and Saucony A6.

Such great advice, eh? The advantage of setting a fitness goal is that is seriously works. If I didn't commit to the race she helped me train for, I wouldn't have done the work that got me in slightly better shape. I still have a long way to go, so it looks like I need to set another goal. To keep these legs runnin', I decided to get totally Chicago and sign up for the 2014 Ditka Dash. Let's do this!

Have a question for Terra that I didn't ask? Hit her up on Twitter @terracastro 

Have you set a fall fitness goal? Share it below and let's motivate each other!

September 2, 2014

Magnificent Mile Chicago 5K is DONE! Let's Have a LUNA Bar to Celebrate!

We did it! Me and Tahnee after the race.

Well everyone, I did it. I ran a 5K this past weekend. During the few hours of the event I probably felt every single emotion ever.  I never really felt that runner's high everyone raves about, but I definitely felt a lot of things. I felt nervous, excited, happy, determined, tired, inspired, defeated, empowered, blessed, sore, and grateful. Phew, right?

I was nervous that I would do horribly. That I wouldn't be able to complete the race. That I would let myself, my coach, and Team LUNA Chix down. Luckily that didn't happen.

I was happy, because I was in beautiful downtown Chicago running along the Mag Mile. It couldn't have been a prettier day and the skyline was breath-taking, as always.

I was determined to finish. I didn't care if it took me forever or if I was dead last - I just wanted to finish.

Like that capless Jawbone UP?
Am I the only one who loses the caps constantly?

Tired...oh so tired. I woke up at 4am to get ready and catch a ride downtown. Normally I'm dead to the world at that hour.

I was inspired by all of the ladies who came out to run. Women of all ages, body types, and speed were representing. Knowing I was not the only one who wasn't a track star eased my nerves. Don't even get me stared on the marathon runners...those women are amazing!

About halfway through the race, my lungs were on fire. My legs felt fine, but the humidity was soaring and it was hard for me to get catch my breath. I slowed down and walked a bit. I felt defeated, because I really wanted to run the entire course. I didn't worry about it too much and I walked/ran the last 1.25 miles of the race.

I'm a music lover and I need my jams to get my through my workouts. I made an insanely awesome (and super long) playlist for the race and threw it on shuffle. When one of my favorite songs came on, I felt incredibly empowered. If I was in my walk/run part of the race, I definitely picked up the pace and started running again. This jam always gets me going...

As much as I just wanted to reach the finish line, I felt incredibly blessed to be doing what I was doing right at that very minute. Blessed that I am healthy enough to be a part of that race and that my body can run. Hooray, legs!

Free stretching?! YES, PLEASE!!
All of these people were awesome! THANK YOU!

Sore...after the race my legs and feet were definitely sore. Thankfully, the wonderful physical therapists from Accelerated Physical Therapy were there to stretch our legs.  And it was glorious.

I couldn't be more grateful for all of the support I've received from so many people. My family, my friends, my coach, and all of the wonderful ladies at LUNA who made this all possible for me. I would have never had the courage or motivation to sign up for anything involved with running if it weren't for them.

When picking up my race packet I met Ashley from LUNA who was so sweet!
(my hair though...yikes!)

Probably one of the best parts of the race was when my friend, Tahnee, came back for me after she finished. She ran me through the final quarter of a mile and as tired and feeling like I was going to die, she encouraged me the entire way and wouldn't let me give up or slow down. I'm so grateful to have done this race with her and her mom! There is a beautiful picture of her running with me, but I cannot justify spending $25 on one photo and can't post it here due to copyright reasons, but here it is if you care to see how fabulous T was to help me finish. Bless her heart.

Not only did I finish, but I didn't finish last! :)

If you haven't heard, LUNA recently released two new protein bar flavors, Chocolate Coconut Almond and Lemon Vanilla. LUNA protein bars are gluten free, contain 12 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, are high in calcium and folic acid, and provide a good source of iron and vitamin D.

They are great for post-workout fuel or a snack between meals. They've been my saving grace after my training sessions and I honestly can't chose which flavor I prefer since they are both so good!

August 28, 2014

It’s Almost Race Time!

With just a couple of days away from The Magnificent Mile Half Marathon and 5K, it’s obvious things didn't go as planned when I had hoped to write weekly updates on my 5K training. With running almost every day and still trying to enjoy the summer, I haven’t had time to write any updates.

My training has been a love/hate adventure, but overall I’m really happy I committed to running this 5K. I know 5Ks can be no big deal to many people. I felt that way years ago when I was at the peak of my fitness game, but since I fell out of running it was hard to get back into the groove.  I can definitely see the difference in my endurance and stamina now than when I started training for this race six weeks ago.

My gym where I've been doing all my training!

Since I’m back to square one with running, I looked for a beginners training schedule and found a great guide Fitness magazine’s website. I have the C25K app, but their training schedule is for nine weeks out and I need a 6-week program. My wonderful coach, Terra Castro, tweaked what I found a little bit so I wasn't running too much too soon. Terra has been instrumental in my training and I’m so thankful for Team LUNA for pairing me with her. I've had weekly check-in phone calls with her, maintained a spreadsheet with my notes on each training session, and received meal advice, recovery advice, and motivational support from Terra. Without her, I probably would have given up weeks ago!

Another fabulous cheerleader has been my good friend and funny lady, Tahnee Lacey. After Tahnee's dad suddenly passed away last year, Tahnee saw how years of not taking care of his health added up and she didn't want to be next. I have watched her transform into a superhero athlete who loves her gym, is continuously challenging herself and is a huge inspiration to me and countless others. I’m so very lucky to have her as a friend and even luckier that she and her mom are also doing the race with me on Sunday!

This is Tahnee and all of her fitness adventures!

As the race weekend approaches, Fleet Feet Sports have put together the first ever Fitness Meets Fashion Market takes place at their South Loop location and includes several exciting events, sponsors, running celebrities and more!  You’ll get a sneak peek of fall apparel from popular brands like Oiselle, Lole and Saucony, plus enjoy live music, prizes and games from all of the Magnificent sponsors including LUNA protein bars!  The market is free to the public, so you don’t have to be registered for the race to check it out.

Some of the great free fitness events that are available will take place on Saturday including a Morning Shake-Out Run and Yoga for Runners class. Here are the details:

Saturday, August 30th

Official Magnificent Shakeout Run led by Professional Oiselle Runner Lauren Fleshman and Jenny Hadfield, featuring Fellow Flowers.
Fleet Feet Sports – South Loop
Register here!
LUNA bars for all athletes and Bridgeport Coffee will be providing complimentary coffee and breakfast post run!


Complimentary Yoga for Runners class presented by Yoga Six Studio.
Fleet Feet Sports – South Loop
LUNA bars will be provided for this event too!

The 5K is first thing Sunday morning and all kinds of excited, nervous, scared, and pumped for this race! I’ll fill you in on how it all went down as well as share some great fitness tips next week.

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

August 21, 2014

I Did the #IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeOutALS

Whelp! I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last night. I thought I would get away scot-free, but I'm pretty sure everyone and their brother will be nominated sooner or later. Either way, I didn't mind. I'm actually pretty jazzed that ALS is gaining attention and awareness.

Learning about ALS isn't anything new to me. For many years, I've been walking for life with the Les Turner ALS Foundation to raise money for researching a cure for ALS. This all started in 2006 when family friends learned their mother/grandmother/mother-in-law, Betty Ciurej, had the disease. This was such a heart-breaking time since Betty was so active, so talkative, and so involved in her family's lives.

Betty by Ciurej & Lochman

It was very difficult for everyone to watch her wither away into a shell of the vivacious person she once was. Since there is no cure for this disease and the average ALS patient's lifespan continues for only three to five years after diagnosis, her family and friends decided to get involved in the fundraising efforts for researching a cure. Betty was too sick to participate in the first walk we did in 2006 and sadly she was never able to cheer us on for the future walks since she passed away from this horrible disease in March 2007. We continue to walk to remember her and all of the others with a loved one battling ALS. 

We'll be doing it again this September and our team, Betty's Bunch, would love your support! Donate to our fundraising efforts at

Speaking of Ice Buckets...

I know there is a lot of controversy out there about wasting water. Also why can't we just donate and skip the whole bucket thing?  I can only imagine the bucket and bagged iced industries are also booming as well as the ALS charities.

The thing's working. Ice or not, donations are skyrocketing, which is amazing. ALS charities aren't the only ones benefiting. Many people are also donating to Charity:Water and other charitable organizations. 

How did this all start you ask? Friends and supporters of Pete Frates, a college baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS in his late 20s. Watch his story here:


Other Ice Bucket Challenge videos of note? 

Buzz Feed's The 22 People Who Should Definitely Not Taken the Ice Bucket Challenge
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
Foo Fighters's Carrie
Bill Gates
Chris Pratt
Stephanie Izard's Flashdance
This really funny/sad one from Anthony Carbajal

Have you done the Ice Bucket Challenge? 

August 14, 2014

Easy Herb Butter

One of those hidden gluten spots can sometimes be in your spice cabinet. Whether those dried herbs were sharing the same line as wheat or your spice mix contains flour, it's always important to check the ingredient label every single time.

I typically use McCormick spices or Spice Island, but for this recipe I used Outer Spice seasoning. (2017 Edit: this company is no longer around)

This "fancy" butter was inspired by the Food Network Star season 10 finalist, Chef Chris Kyler, when he created truffle butter coins for a challenge. After watching him easily whip up butter blended with truffles and spread it on a beautiful baguette, I was craving herbed butter! Sadly lacking truffles (cuz, hi. who i iz?), I turned to the next flavorful thing in my pantry - Outer Spice!

It couldn't be easier! Just soften the butter, add the seasoning, whip it up, and voilà! You have a delicious, flavorful, buttery spread in minutes!

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

nom nom on a Schar Roll!

What food would use with herbed butter?

Outer Spice provided me with this product to use in my recipe; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own. 

August 2, 2014

Summer and Runnin' With the LUNA Chix

How's everyone's summer been? Good? Good! I know it's been ages since my last post, but I've been super busy checking things off my summer bucket list that I haven't even turned on my computer in months! In fact I wasn't quite sure if I even wanted to continue gluten free blogging. As much as I love the GF community and all the news and excitement it brings, sitting down to craft a blog entry after a long day of sitting at a desk (for my full time job) has lost its luster and appeal to me. I try to keep up with all of the happenings on Twitter and Facebook, but sometimes it's too much and I just want to be Regular Betsy again who just happens to eat gluten free because of Celiac Disease.

I told you I wanted to incorporate more of my life into my blog and I really thought I was going to, but again, I was too busy living in the moment and not documenting those experiences to recap for ya. My bad?

Earlier this month, as my blog lay slowing dying, I received a very unexpected and much welcomed email from someone working with Team LUNA Chix offering me an opportunity I couldn't pass up. An opportunity I knew I would want to blog about. That opportunity? To be trained by a professional athlete for the LUNA sponsored The Magnificent Mile Women's Half Marathon & 5K!!

Now the email originally said "Chicago Women's Half Marathon" and I did a

Half Marathon? Yikes! I'm so not ready for that. When I clicked on the link and saw that it was also a 5K, I felt a lot better. I can do that. It would be hard, but I have done several 5K races in the past, and I could train and do it again.

I was thrilled when I was told "of course you can do the 5K!" I knew being coached by a pro athlete is not something that happens everyday. I never gave up on my "resolution" to find my fitness groove, but my workouts really haven't gotten beyond yoga and Leslie Sansone DVDs. This commitment to LUNA, my coach, and myself would kick my workout routine up several notches.

I'm one and a half weeks into my training and lemme tell ya, it hasn't been easy, but it feels great. I haven't been running in a long time. I used to love/hate it and then I didn't do it so it didn't matter. It was only recently that I have been thinking about how I would love to "get back into running". A couple weeks later, I got the sign in the form of that email that I knew the time was right.

The ladies and my coach at Team LUNA couldn't be nicer. Their support and encouragement has been a godsend. On one of my conference calls with them, I asked what I could do for them in return for everything they're doing for me. They said that their number one priority is to support me and make sure I'm taken care of and that they don't need anything in return (other than my participation). If I'd like to blog about it and share my experience, that's great and definitely appreciated, but not required.

I knew since I was so lucky to be chosen for this experience I couldn't keep quiet about it. I know there are so many people that are back at square one with their fitness routine/goals and have no idea where to start. I'm pretty much right there along with them and would love to share the advice of Team Luna Chix with them.

Over the course of the next month I'll be here to share my training experience, introduce you to my A-M-A-Z-I-N-G coach, and share fitness tips and healthy recipes as I prepare for Race Day!

Have you ever had a personal trainer or fitness coach? How do you prepare for athletic events?

May 24, 2014

Flavor Hacking With Massel Bouillon - Recipe Roundup

Massel bouillon and seasoning sponsored this post and provided me with products to use in the recipes; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own

One of my favorite ways to kick up a recipe is to add a little extra flavoring. Instead of using just water when cooking rice or quinoa, I'll add Massel bouillon cubes. When sautéing veggies, I sprinkle in a little Massel's powdered bouillon. When simmering leafy greens, I'll add a bit of Massel liquid stock. I'll poach chicken or fish in broth made from Massel bouillon. You get the idea. A simple little addition or swap can really enhance the taste of your recipe.

Here are some of my favorite recipes where I've kicked up the flavor using Massel:

Kale and Butternut Squash Sauté

I sprinkle in Massel bouillon granules

Coconut Curried Tofu and Spinach

I use Massel 7's Bouillon Vegetable Cubes to make the broth the recipe calls for

Greek Chicken Quinoa Salad

I add Massel's 7's Bouillon Chicken Cubes to the quinoa

Spinach and Feta Brown Rice

I use Massel's Chicken Ultracubes when cooking the rice

Forbidden Rice with Sauteéd Onions, Tomato, and Spinach

This one is a simple creation all my own. An easy dish to throw together in a hurry.

A serving of Lotus Foods Organic Forbidden Rice cooked according to package with Massel 7's vegetable or chicken cube,
1 medium yellow onion sliced
a couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach
a few quartered campari tomatoes
goat cheese.

Sauté the onion in olive oil and Massel's bouillon granules
Once onion is nicely caramelized, add fresh spinach and tomatoes until wilted and soft
Serve veggies over the rice and top with goat cheese

Massel bouillon and seasoning sponsored this post and provided me with products to use in the recipes; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own

May 14, 2014

2014 Summer Bucket List

The view from Northerly Island

Last week Chicago was glorious in the weather department and I couldn't help but start thinking about the summer. The summers in Chicago make up for all of the horribleness of winter. Neighborhood fests, outdoor concerts, movies in the park, farmers markets are just some of the great things going on. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this summer:

Spring Flours - Kickin' it off with volunteering for the University of Chicago Celiac Center's annual benefit gala.
Wanderlust Festival - an outdoor yoga fest? Yes! 

Movies in the Park – Millennium Park alone has a great film series. I don’t even know where to begin. Ghostbusters? The Wizard of Oz? This is Spinal Tap? Woo!

Grab a Rainbow Cone (in a bowl, obv) 

Workouts in the Park – Once again Millennium Park is the place to be this summer.  For the past six or so years I've been telling myself that I’m going to do the Saturday morning workouts. This year for sure!

Logan Square Farmers' Market – Daley Plaza is usually my farmers market of choice, but now that I’m so close to Logan Square, I’m definitely going to check it out. Maybe even take a yoga class or two.

Downtown Sound - Really looking forward to My Brightest Diamond.

Dining al fresco - So many restaurants, so many patios.

Grant Park Music Festival - Basically I'm going to be hanging out at Millennium Park all summer.

Dining Out Gluten Free with Bruce - Da Luciano's dinner on the patio!

Hot Doug’s – Since word that Hot Doug’s is closing came, everyone in Chicago has been in hysterics over it. I've never been. I’ll have to BYOB and check it out before they close up shop for good.

#TECHmunch Chicago - Food Blogger's Conference.

Vintage Garage Sale – For the love of all things retro and vintage.
Magritte's "Time Transfixed"

Brunch at Tweet.

Eat ice cream sandwiches at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.

The Northman – Chicago’s first cider bar. Hopefully it will be open very soon!

Veruca Salt (circa 1994)
Chicago Jazz Fest  

VERUCA SALT! One of my favorite 90s bands has reunited and you bet I'll be hitting up a few of their shows.

Robyn and Röyksopp - Once again, I'll be at Millennium Park.

Head to the lake front. Beach? Biking? Just chillin'?

Support my awesomely talented friends - The Kates. Stardust Showcase. She's Crafty

Arcade Fire - You can never go to too many good concerts, right?

What are your plans for summer?

May 10, 2014

Cooking With Massel

Massel bouillon and seasoning sponsored this post and provided me with products to use in the recipes; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own.

I haven't shared any recipes here on the blog in quite some time; mainly because I haven't been creating anything original. I've still been whipping up fantastic meals using a bunch of really wonderful recipes. In my last post, I showed you the some of the things I ate while doing the 10-Day Detox. All of those meals were very flavorful since they used lots of fresh herbs, spices, and very little salt.

During the detox, every day for lunch I had a bowl of soup with a side of protein. Instead of spending oodles of money buying boxes of broth, I made my own broth using Massel bouillons. Not only was it cheaper, but it really kicked up the flavor since Massel uses premium vegetables and herbs, extra virgin olive oil and pure sea salt from the Great Southern Ocean, the cleanest ocean in the world.

I didn't stop with the soups. I sprinkled some of the Massel powdered bouillon over vegetables sautéing and used the liquid stock while simmering stir-fry since it's so incredibly versatile. What I really love about Massel is that you can use it as a seasoning while cooking. It will boost the flavor of your dish without adding a loads of sodium since Massel does not add MSG to their products.

Besides being gluten free, check out the other great qualities of Massel products:
  • Suitable for people with Celiac Disease
  • Vegan
  • Lactose-free
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Trans fat-free
  • Preservative-free
  • No added MSG
  • Made using GMO free ingredients 
  • Kosher certified
To top that all off, Massel is pretty active in the health and wellness community. They are a sponsor for the Celiac Disease Foundation and are celebrating Celiac Disease and Awareness Month. 

Together with Erica from Celiac and the Beast they are hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, May 14th at 8pm (Eastern). Follow @masselbouillon, @celiacbeast and hashtag #CATB to join the conversation.

Additionally they are partnering with Tess Masters aka The Blender Girl, for her upcoming book tour. Tess had loads of recipes for gluten free and vegan soups, smoothies, and more!

Have you tried Massel bouillon? How did you use them?

Massel bouillon and seasoning sponsored this post and provided me with products to use in the recipes; however, the opinions I share in this post are my own.

May 6, 2014

Gluten Free Betsy Book Club - The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox by Mark Hyman, MD

Whelp! I did it. I actually followed through with a detox. For the past ten days I've been detoxing to help with some health issues I've been experiencing. For months my body has been a mess. Constant exhaustion and achiness were the norm. It took some serious motivation just to get myself up and going each day. You could say I had a huge case of FLC.  It could have been the horrible winter we finally just came out of or my fibromyalgia could be flaring up again (nonstop), but whatever was causing me to feel like crap, I wanted out.

Why the 10-Day Detox?

One morning I was watching PBS and caught Dr. Hyman’s presentation of the 10-Day Detox program. I was instantly drawn in to discussion about battling cravings, inflammation, and weight gain. I ordered the book right away.

Since we all know how healing food is for us gluten free folks, I knew this was probably the best way to get well again. If anything, it could help get me back on track with planning my meals so I’m eating healthier, since that had fallen to the wayside.

To be honest, I bought the book back in March and I took my sweet time preparing myself to give it a go. There were a lot of events in April that I knew I couldn't be detoxing from (I’m looking at you Gluten Free Expo). By the time the expo, Easter, and a gluten free meetup dinner were over, I was ready to give it my all.

The Detox Details

Prior to starting the detox, you are to prepare yourself by doing some detox prep work such as ridding your pantry of junk, taking your measurements, and completing a few quizzes about the intensity of your symptoms. Dr. Hyman recommends slowly weening yourself off caffeine, alcohol, and starches. 

The next step is to gather all your food and supplies needed for the next ten days. While not everything is essential, I did break down and buy a blood glucose monitor and blood pressure monitor. I told you I was in it to win it, right?

I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of the detox, but I will highlight the key points and routines that the detox entails:

  • Diet – The diet eliminates all grains (even gluten free grains), dairy, sugar or sweeteners (including stevia, agave, and honey), and alcohol
  • Vitamins – A daily vitamin, fish oil, and a few other supplements are suggested daily
  • Exercise – 30 minutes of “brisk” walking is encouraged daily
  • Meditation – 15 minutes of a peaceful meditation or Take Five break are encouraged daily
  • Detox Baths – A hot bath with Epsom salts, baking soda, and lavender oil are suggested daily
  • Measuring – Recording weight, waist, hips, thigh, (blood pressure and blood sugar optional) daily
  •  Journaling – Each day has a theme and questions are posed for you to reflect on your daily struggles and accomplishments during the detox
  • Media Fast – Unplug from the TV, internet, etc.

It seems like quite a lot of rules, but it was structured enough to keep me motivated and on track. I fully admit that I did not do a media fast. I cannot disconnect from the world while I’m still working and not on a tropical island soaking in the rays.

How Did I do?

Great!  There were some days where I did not get a set 30-minute exercise routine in (Sorry, Leslie!) or the detox baths, but overall I completed all steps of the detox. The diet was probably the easiest part, which is good, because it’s what the rest of the program centers around. All of the recipes I chose (minus a few smoothie recipes) were delicious! They were very flavorful and filling. I plan to incorporate them into my regular ol' way of eating since they were so tasty.

Asian Flavored Chicken with Wilted Leafy Greens
Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw with Turkey Meatballs
Chicken Breast with Ratatouille and Steamed Broccoli
Stir-Fry Vegetables with Almonds (and chicken breast)
Herb Crusted Chicken Breast with Roasted Garlic
Spiced Turkey Wrap with Watercress and Avocado
Chicken Breast Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto with Sauteed Kale, Onions, Mushrooms, and Cherry Tomatoes
Almond-Flax Crusted Chicken with Sauteed Asparagus, Garlic, and Cherry Tomatoes and Salad Greens
Beef with Bok Choy and Carrots

I did experience withdrawals from sugar and dairy. For the first few days I was having dull headaches and was a bit achy.  I would also daydream about certain off limit foods a lot. You know, tacos, pizza, nachos, cupcakes….

As the days drew on, I had a lot more energy and pep in my step, if you will. I was able to get out of bed in the morning, which is huge, since normally wild horses couldn't drag me out of bed. Eventually my aches and pains diminished and I no longer had cravings for a dessert after my meals. I was able to resist temptations easily when I was out socializing and junk food was right in front of me. 

Finally, in addition to gaining energy, sleeping better, and feeling less achy, in the ten short days I also:
  • lowered my fasting blood sugar by 8 points (it was already in the normal range to begin with)
  • went from hypertension stage 1 to prehypertension (high blood pressure also runs in my family)
  • shrunk 8 inches (waist, hips, and thighs combined)
  • shed 8.8 pounds 

What’s Next?

All of the positives of the detox definitely outweighed the minor detox symptoms. Towards the end of the detox, I didn't know how I wanted to continue. Obviously I’m not going to dive right into a gluten free pizza or raid Swirlz (although I couldn't stop thinking about them in the beginning of the detox), but I questioned if I even wanted to stop it. I feel A LOT better, so why end it here? I also worried about what would happen if I did start eating dairy and sugar again. Would I completely unravel? Would I become completely exhausted again? Would I gain ten pounds instantly?

As much as I enjoyed the detox (never thought I’d say that), I know that there are a lot of upcoming events where I’m going to want to have a piece of pizza, one of everything at Spring Flours, and partake in the social events that involve food. I know some people have to avoid grains, dairy, and sugar all the of time, and I’m very grateful I can handle them and not go into anaphylactic shock or have other serious reactions other than being tired and achy.   

Ironically I read an article the other day about the mistakes people make when trying to lose weight. The final point, detox regularly, struck a chord with me. The doctor recommends doing a ten day detox four times a year. While I will try my best to continue to eat healthy with little splurges here and there, I think doing this 10 Day Detox four times a year would work for me. In between I will enjoy all of the seasonal produce and limit my dairy, sugar, and alcohol to special occasions.

Have you ever done a detox? How’d it go?

April 27, 2014

The Long Awaited Gluten Free Expo Recap + New Gluten Free Finds

The Chicago Gluten and Allergen Free Expo wrapped up a few weeks ago, but just because I hadn't had the chance to fill you in on all of the happening doesn't mean it wasn't great. It totally was!

This year at the Expo I doubled as an Official Expo Blogger and an Ambassador for Boulder Brands (Udi's, Glutino, Earth Balance, evol., and Level). If you remember, I've been an ambassador for Udi's since back in the day and was excited to work the expo with them again. I spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday sampling so many great things such as Glutino Toaster Pastries, Glutino Pretzels, Udi's Brownie Bites and Cookies, Udi's Ancient Grain Crisps, Quesadillas on Udi's Flour Tortillas, Earth Balance PB Popps, and Level Protein Shakes.

Angela and Alissa

Simone sampling Glutino Pretzels

Glutino Toaster Pastries

Alissa, Simone, and Colleen sampling Level Protein Shakes

Udi's Ancient Grain Crisps

Jason making quesadillas

The Boulder Brands Crew! (Minus Alissa, Jason, and me)
It's always so rewarding hearing people stop by and tell you how much they love the Boulder Brand products. They tell us how their lives were changed when they discovered they had to be gluten free, but are so grateful to find the perfect replacements in the Udi's and Glutino brands.

New Discoveries

Since I only worked at the booth half of the day on Sunday, I spent the afternoon walking around and discovering new products. My favorite discovery:

Kiki's Gluten Free Dish Dish Cheese Pizza
Kiki's Deep Dish Pizza. WHAT?! Seriously the best gluten free pizza I've ever had. Luckily for all of us, they will soon be available on Artizone.

The sweets from Ethel's Edibles were divine, Pamela's new Figgies & Jammies were amazing, and Mikey's Muffins were incredible.  Bigfat's Hot Sauces were kickin', Leo's Pasta was delicious, the Chicago Vegan Foods vegan marshmallows and nachos were quite tasty, and treats from ginnybakes were so good! I found out about Grab the Gold bars and well as Lia P Gluten Free's brownies. My friends at Lil's Dietary Shop had a display of the products they carry in their store, including Mi-Del's new Gluten Free Pie Crusts. I also got to see the new products which are being rolled out by Schar and Rudi's Gluten Free.

Ethel's Edibles. The Hot Blondies and Pecan Dandies are so good!
Say what?! The new figgie cookies from Pamela's are just like I remember Fig Newton's tasting!

Mikey's Muffins are going to blow up the paleo and grain free world! Only 6 ingredients!

Bigfat's sauces are seriously hot! I could only handle the mild Peach Serrano.

I love Leo's Gluten Free Pasta! The ravioli is to die for!

Dandies Vegan Marshmallows!

The Teese vegan nachos were perfect, you'd never know they were dairy free!

ginnybakes's cookies and bars were great!

Grab the Gold protein bars are stellar. Taste just like cookies!

A seriously yummy brownie from Lia P Gluten Free!

The girls from Lil's Dietary Shop, my favorite place to shop for gluten free products!

Coming Soon...Rudi's Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls and Deli-Style Bread.

Whoa, Schar! New products include pancake mix, entertainment crackers, croutons, and marble cake!

Not new, but the perfect pairing with San-J sauce.

Red Apple Lipstick

Any expo wouldn't be complete without Red Apple Lipstick gluten free makeup. I always love seeing Jay and Andrea every year and getting makeup crazy. And I literally did. I bought 7 lipsticks. I love wearing a different shade each day. All of the colors are so pretty, I can't stick with just one!

Lots o' Lipstick!
Long day for Andrea. Like my Hot Pants lips? 

Andrea, Alissa, and Mary Fran

Alissa getting a makeover

Mel selling lipstick.
Gluten Free bloggers UNITE! End of expo craziness!

Did you go to the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo this year? What was your favorite discovery?