Monday, November 25, 2013

Celiac and the Beast

While at the GFAF Expo in Dallas, I was really excited to meet Erica of Celiac and the Beast. I knew her book had just come out and I wanted to snag one up really quick! To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect from it. I figured it would have a little bit of humor thrown in with a lot of gluten-free talk. 

Turns out I was pretty close, it was a lot of good gluten free talk and advice, plus quite a bit of humor. I think Erica should teach a writing course to text book creators. I would have been much more interested in grad school if the books were educational and entertaining! 

I'm sure most of you who are reading this post are familiar with Erica and follow her on twitter and instagram and whatever the cool new social media outlet I haven't figured out yet. The book was a closer look at her journey, where she was kind enough to share her mistakes and lessons along the way in hopes that the rest of us can learn from them instead of making the same ones.

This book just reinforces how awesome Erica is as well as the gluten free community as a whole. It reminds you how accepting and supportive everyone is in the community. I know for a while I felt like a fraud because I don't have a Celiac diagnosis. I did not want to come across as one of those gluten-free dieters who don't even know why they are gluten free. I also felt kinda ashamed at the expo while meeting people who had Celiac diagnoses. I felt like, I shouldn't complain about my intolerance when these poor people probably deal with much more on a daily basis. But, now I feel like its ok, we are all going though our fight against gluten differently and as long as we are supportive of each other its all good. 

Reading about Erica's struggle to finally figure out what was going on was actually really fun to read. Not in the, "I loved hearing about how shitty that was for you!" kinda way. But, in the "Its fun to learn" way. I learned so much more about what it means to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease and realize that the "testing" my doctor did what a complete waist of time. I'm still on the fence when it comes to deciding if I want to know if I am indeed a Celiac or if it is "just" a gluten intolerance, but I now feel like when I make that decision I can take charge and make sure the right tests are done in the right way. 

Another thing I learned from the ever so wise Erica, is that cross contamination is EVERYWHERE! There have been so many times after a meal that I am complaining to my boyfriend and playing detective to figure out what it is I ate that made me feel sick. Whelp, turns out it was probably everything. This new knowledge doesn't exactly make going out to eat easier, but it sure does help me make some better choices. 

I particularly LOVED the chapter about "food bullies" there have been so many times I have wanted to use some not so nice language when people poke fun at what I'm eating. It was bad enough back when I stopped eating meat. Boy of boy do the meat and potato type of people have the best jokes for that. For the most part, I think most people got their jokes out of the way back then. I think people have been pretty supportive about my new lifestyle. It may also be that I stopped caring as much and have mastered the art of the silent "go F&^% yourself" smile. 

Not only do I highly recommend anyone with any sort of food allergy, special diet, or special circumstance read this book, but I think anyone who doesn't have to deal with this stuff should read it too. It would be a great perspective for those who tell me I can't have the veggie burger because quinoa is gluten. (just in case you are skimming and not reading carefully, quinoa is not gluten). I think it will also help to share the awareness and maybe stop some of that cross contamination that ruins my nights every time I get home from bar trivia.

One last tid-bit, since Erica talks about the importance of helping out the community, I want to address 2 of Erica's wishes from the book. 

Wish #1 Girl Scout Cookies-  The fabulous ladies at Girl Scouts of America have created a gluten free chocolate chip cookie! Bam your wish has been granted! This year when those sweet and not so sweet little girls and popping up around every corner you can snag a bag and eat the whole thing before you get home. Maybe snag two and put one in the freezer.

Wish #2 The Perfect Gluten Free Restaurant- I'm sure there are some other great completely gluten free restaurants out there, but I just experienced the best I have ever been to. Gluten free or not, probably the best restaurant ever. It is called Senza and if you want to experience eating without fear this is the place. They don't even allow outside food in the restaurant just to prevent cross contamination. It's like if gluten was a vampire and need to be invited in, its super safe! 

Oh, I'd also like to begin a gluten free Instagram photo challenge in honor of something Erica said in the book that made me laugh out loud in a public place. I know Trader Joe's has some tasty gluten free "Oreos,"  so I say post a photo of how many you can fit in your mouth and hashtag  #CATBOREO! If you have read the book you may know why, if you haven't arn't you curious now!!!


Thanks Erica! 

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