Thursday, May 7, 2015

Celiac Awareness Month and a Reflection on 3 Years Gluten Free

Where has the time gone?!? It is May already which means it is Celiac Awareness month! 

No, I do not have celiac disease, but I do have non celiac gluten sensitivity.  I tested negative for Celiac three years ago, but after still having symptoms after eating gluten, my doctor recommended that I go gluten free.  You can read more about my story with gluten sensitivity here.   The past three years have been quite the journey.  After first going gluten free, I noticed a significant improvement in my symptoms, but after about 6 months, I started to get glutened more often because of cross contamination.  At this point, I realized that I had to be much more careful with certain foods and how I was preparing them.  My freshman year of college was definitely a challenge eating gluten free in the cafeteria, but by the time sophomore year rolled around, I had finally mastered eating gluten free in the cafeteria.  My junior year, I cooked for myself, which was a relief to not have to rely on the cafeteria.  

Now that I have been gluten free for three years, I wouldn't say that I have completely mastered it; heck I will probably never master it, but I can proudly say that being gluten free is no longer a big stresser in my life.  It is no longer consuming my thoughts on a daily basis.  Right now, being gluten free is just a normal part of my life, and I don't stress about every single thing I put in my mouth.  I am no longer that "gluten free girl."   I am a young woman, athlete, daughter, friend, sister, and much more who has gluten sensitivity.  Having this feeling of freedom from my gluten sensitivity is a wonderful feeling.  In addition to feeling strong mentally, I have gained physical strength that my gluten sensitivity stripped from me for the first two years. I have always been thin, but after going gluten free, I lost a significant amount of weight, especially after I returned from my trip to Spain.  I never gained back much of the weight that I lost the year after Spain, and being at a low weight took a toll on my health; (for example I lost my period for eight months). 

                                                              after returning from Spain

Finally, last summer I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to start gaining weight back.  After I injured my foot in July, I was upset that I couldn't run anymore, but instead, I started lifting weights.  Lifting weights was such a great stress reliever for me, and I fell in love with lifting in no time.  I also started eating more, and now, about 8 months later, I am at a healthy weight again and have gained more muscle.  It has been quite the journey the past three years, but I couldn't be happier and healthier right now.  

2 year transformation

If I am not blogging, you can find me taking food and nature pics on my instagram!   

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Overnight Oats Recipe

Who doesn't love a warm bowl of oats in the morning? Especially living in Minnesota during the winter, oatmeal is all I crave for breakfast.  Oats are easy to make, which makes mornings much more bearable.  I always make my oats at night as overnight oats in tupperware, for easy go-to access in the morning.  The best thing about oats is that the flavor combinations are endless. You can make everything from chocolatey oats to pumpkin oats to plain oats.  

To make my overnight oats here is the basic recipe:
1.  In a tupperware container combine:
-1/2 cup of gluten free rolled oats
-about 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk or normal milk
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-other desired ingredients such as nut butters, frozen berries, or banana slices
-other flavor additions (optional): 2 tbsp. cocoa powder or pumpkin puree 
2.  You can eat the oats cold OR microwave for 1.5 minutes 
3.  After cooking, add other desired toppings such as nuts, seeds, or chocolate chips!
4.  Enjoy!

Berry oats

Chocolatey oats

Peanut butter chocolate chip oats

Monday, December 29, 2014

Wrapping up 2014

Hey everyone! I'm alive. I'm back. And yes, I know it has been a while.  Taking time off from blogging has been great, but I do miss it.  I got really wrapped up in everything this fall. College, work, volunteering, night class, working out, social activities, and more.  I let things get out of control for a while, but eventually I got back on my horse and said no more.  Sometimes a break from reality is all you need to start over with certain aspects of life.  If you follow me on Instagram then you would know what I'm talking about.

Being gluten free has almost gone on the back burner of my life lately.  And I mean this in the best way.  I have gotten to the point in my gluten free life where it is second nature to me, whether it be cooking at home or going out to eat at a restaurant.  As humans, we are creatures of habit, so I tend to stick to the same meals.  When it comes to cooking at college, I tend to make meals as quickly as possible, but I still like them to be delicious.  I stick to oats for breakfast, protein shakes and lunch meat/crackers for lunch, and some type of protein and carb for dinner. 

oats for breakfast

lunch on a busy day

salmon, quinoa, and veggies for dinner

Besides good eats, I have also started to get into fitness more.  Since my foot inury, I have cut back on running, and have started to lift weights more.  It has not been an easy transition since I have always been a cardio junkie.  Lifting weights has made me a whole new person. For once, I feel strong.  I feel empowered.  I feel good.  Yes, I am more sore than usual, but it's a good kind of sore.  I have also started skiing again now that we finally have snow here in MinneSNOWta.  I guess my point is that working out is a major outlet for me.  Somehow completely exhausting myself is one of the most relaxing parts of my day.  

So what's in store for 2014? Lots of things!  I will keep that update for another post.  Hope everyone is having a happy and healthy holiday season!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Homemade Banana Ice Cream: "Nice Cream"

All I have been craving lately is ice cream.  I mean, it is the middle of summer, so it makes sense.  Being lactose intolerant, finding inexpensive and delicious ice cream is not always an option.  Plus, I love making my own desserts.  They are less expensive and usually healthier.  Over the past few months, I have been making my own homemade ice cream concoctions, or "nice cream" which I discovered on pinterest and instagram nearly a year ago.  Naner ice cream = "nice cream."  Is this starting to make sense yet?  Basically, it is ice cream made from frozen bananas and whatever else your heart desires.  The recipe is so so SO simple you will be jumping up and down with excitement!  Get ready for a delicious recipe that will blow your mind:  

Step 1:  Stock up on ripe bananas.  Having patience while you wait for them to ripen is the hardest part.  Your bananas should have brown spots like this one.

Step 2: Slice the banana and place in a plastic zip lock bag. I usually slice up about 4-5 bananas.  Freeze the bananas overnight.

Into the freezer they go!

Step 3: Take the bananas out of the freezer.  Blend half of the frozen bananas with a splash of milk depending on how strong your blender is. (I use vanilla unsweetened almond milk).  Stir.  Add the rest of the bananas and blend more.

Step 4:  Add a second ingredient of choice (optional). I love adding peanut butter, cinnamon, a handful of frozen berries, or cocoa powder.  The best part about making nice cream is that there are so many tasty variations.  I never get bored of it!   Top with more fruit, chocolate, or granola if you want even more flavor!  Enjoy for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!  It's that simple, healthy, and beyond delicious!

Raspberry nice cream

Strawberry nice cream

Blueberry nice cream

Chocolate nice cream

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Post: College Student with Celiac

Hi everyone! I want to share with you a guest post that I wrote for Chynna from College Student with Celiac about my experience as a gluten free college student and how I am raising Celiac awareness. I hope this post helps other gluten free college students.  Living gluten free in college is not always easy, but it has gotten much easier over the past two years as a result of awareness and increased gluten free cafeteria options.  You can read my post here!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Awesome Avocado Recipes

Summer is finally starting to make an appearance here after a long cold winter, and with summer comes more fresh fruit and vegetables!  That is one of the best parts about being home for the summer.  I no longer have to live off of bananas, apples, carrots, cucumbers, and zucchini from the cafeteria.  This past spring, I took multiple trips to the co-op near campus to get a few gluten free treats, but I also got in the habit of picking up one of my favorite fruits, avocado!  I have always thought of avocado as a vegetable, but it is indeed a fruit, and a very tasty fruit.  There are so many ways to eat an avocado, whether it is on toast, as guacamole, or eating it plain like you would eat an apple.  When my dad returned from Costco the other day with a bag of six ripe avocados, I was giddy with excitement!  I wanted to make more than just my usual homemade guacamole, so I headed to pinterest  to look up some new avocado recipes.  I stumbled across a handful of recipes, and I ended up making two new recipes that looked absolutely delicious. 

Recipe #1: Blueberry & Raspberry Chocolate Chip Avocado Muffins

I was a bit skeptical before I made these muffins, but after tasting them, I was blown away by their deliciousness, and plus, I could not even taste the avocado.  In fact, one my friends tried a muffin before she even knew there was avocado in it, and she had absolutely no idea it included this secret ingredient!  I used this recipe, but I modified it to include an egg and greek yogurt because I am not vegan.  I also added raspberries and enjoy life chocolate chips to the batter, which was the perfect combination!  My friend and fellow blogger Candice was inspired to make her own version of these muffins for a graduation treat, and she gave them a double thumbs up as well!

Recipe #2: Avocado Fries

I made avocado fries using a non gluten free recipe, but I modified it by making my own breadcrumbs.  I did this by blending four pieces of Udi's bread in my blender until they reached breadcrumb consistency.  I also refrigerated the avocado before slicing it so that it would be firmer and easier to divide into equal pieces.  Although I did not make the cilantro lime dipping sauce, these avocado fries turned out amazing and were the perfect dinner appetizer! Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blog Your Heart Out

I was nominated by my friend and fellow gluten free blogger Casey for the Blog Your Heart Out chain letter  (Thanks Casey!!).  I am going to answer a few questions where I talk more about the girl behind my blog and the inspiration behind why I started my blog in the first place.  After answering these questions, I will pass on the torch to five of my favorite bloggers.  So, let's get to know more about Allie, aka, the gluten free Bennie (my school mascot).

1.  Who/What encouraged you to start blogging?

The amazing gluten free community and bloggers are the people who truly encouraged me to start blogging.  When I went gluten free a few months before I started college, I felt so lost and confused, and many of the blogs about being gluten free in college gave me hope that I would actually be able to survive.  After reading so many amazing blogs, I wanted to give back to the community and reach out to other gluten free college students.  I also started blogging because I love to write, and it is a great stress relief.  I have not always been the best cook, but after going gluten free, I started trying out more and more recipes, and now I love baking and cooking!  Although I do not post many recipes, it is a goal of mine to create more recipes in the future.  I can't believe that I have already been gluten free for two years and have been blogging for over a year.  Time truly flies!

2.  How did you choose what to blog about?

I usually blog about whatever comes to mind first.  I have an ongoing list on my phone with blog ideas, which vary frequently.  I tend to focus my posts around tips for gluten free college students, updates about my own gluten free finds and adventures (including study abroad adventures!), and I occasionally create new gluten free recipes.  

3.  What is something most people don't know about you?

I love photography!  This has been a recent hobby of mine over the past few years.  I love being outdoors and taking pictures of nature, in addition to food, of course.  There is something about photography that makes me feel so relaxed and carefree.  

I love taking picture of my school!

4. What are three words that describe your style/blog?

Personal:  I always write from my heart, and I want my readers to be able to see what life is truly like as a gluten free college student.

Positive:  As many of you know, being gluten free is not always easy or fun, but staying positive definitely helps! I admit that I can be downright negative some days, but then I look at the big picture and think of all of the blessings in my life.  Positivity is definitely one of the best forms of medicine! 

Creative:  I try to make my blog as creative as possible because reading a boring post is no fun!  I am a creative person myself, so that usually is reflected throughout my blog.

5.  What do you love to do when you are not blogging?

A lot of things!  When I am not busy with class or work, I love being active.  This includes running, nordic skiing, biking, walking my dogs, and more.  When I need a break from running around, I love reading other blogs, spending time with family and friends, embarking on gluten free adventures, experimenting in the kitchen, playing the piano, and taking pictures.  I also love traveling! I am a going to become a high school Spanish teacher after I graduate in two years from now, so I have had wonderful opportunities to study abroad.  I am even more thrilled to live in Guatemala for the Spring 2015 semester!

Spain, 2013!

And now for the fun part!  It was so hard for me to choose just five bloggers because I love and follow so many amazing blogs, but here are the bloggers I would like to nominate:

Candice from Embrace Gfree

Colie from The Curse of Gluten

Amanda from Eating Out…Without!

Again, thanks to Casey for the nomination.  I hope you five have fun writing a post answering the same questions or by commenting below!