Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why Do We Chose to "Not Be Our Best Selves?"

I have wondered what it would take for me to find my way back to my blog. I have loved spending the last few years writing but found myself suffering from what can best be described as "writer's block." Often,I would experience something and imagine what I would write but didn't follow through and for that I apologize.

I have been aware of my need to go beyond gluten issues and it has taken all this time to find what speaks to me. I plan to expand on this blog and write about various health related issues. 

It sometimes take a tragedy to open our eyes and say enough. My husband and I are lucky that last October's life event landed just short of a tragedy.

Richard has ulcerated colitis. He was diagnosed 6 years ago. After being diagnosed by a Gastrointestinal (GI)  doctor and given medicine we found ourselves on our own as far as foods were concerned. The GI doctor went as far as to say that Richard could eat whatever he wanted because it would "run" no matter what he eat. 

Thankfully, I had seen the healing powers of food and food eliminations.  My daughter went from having migraines, for most of her life, to not having migraines at all, when Dr. Cynthia Costa discovered she was reacting to foods, specifically dairy. The miraculous change in my daughter is why I am so passionate about using food as a way to heal ourselves. 

It took 7 months to convince Richard that he needed to take further steps to healing his gut and he finally went to Dr. Costa. Under Dr. Costa care, Richard enjoyed 5 symptom free years. His colonoscopy, in 2015, confirmed he had "No Active Colitis."  For Richard, that signaled a "I am cured" sign and he decided to eat foods he had been told to avoid, drink coffee, and stop all his colitis medicine. He also decided he didn't need to dothe bi annual cleanses Dr. Costa recommended. 

Lo and Behold, 6 months later, he was hospitalized with a severe blockage of his colon, due to an acute attack of colitis. He spent the last 8 days in the hospital. The 1st 4 days he was not allowed to eat or drink anything because he was on surgery watch. They pumped him full of antibiotics to reduce the infection that had occurred. The doctors feared that his colon what perforate due to the extensive bloating and severe blockage.  We were told he could lose his entire colon, if that happened. On day 5, they felt it was safe enough to due some additional testing and ruled out cancer. Thank God. They started him on steroids and the inflammation went down enough for him to finally pass "all that was being blocked."  

Day 8, today, they released him from the hospital with instruction to see his GI doctor asap, follow a liquid only diet and take a series of medications. 

Why as human beings do we chose to live in denial about of health issues. It only leads to us sabotaging our health. I am as guilty as anyone. Though I would never stray from my diet restrictions, I have not found my way back to the gym since I injured myself - a long time ago. I went from being very strong and flexible to not being so strong and flexible. I loved feeling at my best, so why have I chosen to not be my best self. A mystery for another day. BUT I am back at the gym asap.

Piccolino's, in Mission Viejo, is by far one of the best Italian restaurants I have been to in years. And They serve wonderful GLUTEN_FREE pasta. In addition, the owner, Sal, came to the table to be sure my food allergies were addressed correctly.

        The ambiance is fabulous, the food amazing, and the service excellent!
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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Arizona: Gluten-Free Good Eats: Part 2

I love when I find a small, privately owed gluten-free restaurant that makes good on their promises. Cafe 8 is one such restaurant.

I went online to find a gluten-free breakfast place, I felt safe eating at in Mesa. As many of you know, that can be a difficult task. I read some great reviews about Cafe 8, so I checked out their menu. We were meeting my brother there, who does not have food restrictions, so I wanted to be sure he would also enjoy his meal. And I am glad I did, the food is excellent!! Check out the menu. 

Cafe 8 is tucked away in the corner of a strip center in Mesa, Arizona.  We got there soon after it opened, so we were able to visit with Alex and Tracey, the owners, for a while. As you might guess, I had lots of questions, and they were happy to answers them all.

They opened Cafe 8 in 2013, after moving from San Francisco.  As they were remodeling  the place, people would stop by to talk with them. They soon discovered the need for a gluten-free menu in the area. They already used organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, and excellent quality food so taking the next step to including gluten-free food seemed logical. Tracey was well aware of celiac disease, as her aunt suffers from it, so she began exploring the best way to include gluten-free food in their menu.
Cafe 8: Gluten-Free Breakfast

During her research, she began to put 2 and 2 together, and realized that her young son, might also be suffering from celiac disease. He had been suffering from bully distention, brain fog and some of the classical symptoms of celiac disease. After 4 months of eating gluten-free, her son went from straight D's in school to straight A's and he physically felt much better.

Cafe 8: Gluten-Free
Tracey converted her home to a gluten-free zone and soon did the same for the restaurant. They carry regular bread but don't make it in the restaurant so that there is no cross contamination. The only flour used in the restaurant is gluten-free.

Tracey bakes all the desserts and on Saturday's she makes gluten-free and dairy-free desserts.
Cafe 8 Gluten-Free Desserts

This restaurant is a "must visit" if you are in or near Mesa,  Arizona.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Picazzo's in Arizona: Great Gluten-Free Eats

The car ride to Arizona is a continuous view of desert scenery. A stunning blue sky goes endless forward and so does the dry, arid desert. The desert is sprinkled with cactus and other burly looking growth with a few occasional mountains.  At first the view is interesting but after a few hours it becomes hypnotic, which can be a problem when you are driving.

It is the occasional oddity that makes the drive fun.

On the road to Arizona

These "ladies" traveled along side us for a few hundred miles. They must have been wearing a lot of sunscreen to stay so pale.

What made the drive even more tolerable was the knowledge that Picazzo's was awaiting our arrival.
Picazzo's: Gluten-Free and Allergen Free
We eat at Picazzo's both nights we were in Arizona, even though it was 25 minutes from our hotel.
95% of the food at the restaurant is gluten-free. They offer a  choice of gluten-free pizza crust or regular. Everything else including all the pasta is gluten-free. 

My favorite thing was the Apple Cobbler with Coconut Ice Cream - Amazing!!!!!!!

Picazzo's Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Apple Cobbler

The first night we had Spicy Thai Peanut Fusilli and  Spicy Uncle Louie Linguine,  which were both delicious. After 6 1/2 hours of driving, I was very hungry and forgot to take a photo before devouring 1/2 th plate.

The second night I had Bianca, (Linguine, Chicken and Vegan Alfredo Sauce). Richard (who eats dairy occasionally) decided to order the Baked Mac's and Cheese.  He was in heaven.

Picazzo's is always a great gluten-free oasis.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What's New at the Expo

Here are some of the headlines from the 2016 Natural Products Expo West:

New Products are on the way. 

Enjoy Life: Always Gluten-Free    
                                                         ProBurst Bars:
Enjoy Life
    Cinnamon Spice Chocolate
    Cranberry Pomegranate
       Cocoa & Roasted Sunseed Butter
       Mango Habanera
Crunchy Cookie Mini Cookies:
  Chocolate Chip
Double Chocolate
Vanilla Honey Graham
Sugar Crisp
      Soft Baked Mini Cookies:
Chocolate Chip
Double Chocolate Brownie


Gluten-Free Organic Tempura Style Sweet Potato Sticks
Gluten-Free Organic Tempura Style Green Beans
Gluten-Free Organic Crispy Potato Puffs
Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Bread Crumbs

King Arthur: Recap

King Arthur 

King Arthur is changing its gluten-free packaging this year so be on the lookout for a blue box with bold white lettering saying. “GLUTEN-FREE”.

Gluten-Free New Products:
Measure-For-Measure Flour
Sugar Cookie Mix
Cornbread Mix
Pumpkin Bread Mix
Pie Crust Mix


Gluten-Free Soft Donuts with Vanilla Icing
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Snyder's Gluten Free

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bite Size Sandwich Cookies

Pamela’s: All products are Gluten-Free

Nut Flour Blend
Grain-Free Pancake Mix
Buckwheat Pancake Mix
Protein Pancake Mix
Buttermilk Pancake Mix
Non-Dairy Pancake Mix
6 Grain Pancake Mix


Gramwich: Chocolate and Graham-Style Sandwich Bars (Gluten-Free)
Banana Bread: Chewy Baked Whole Grain Snack Bars  (Gluten-Free)

Check out for information of some of Marian’s favorite up and coming new gluten-free products.

Monday, March 21, 2016

King Arthur: New Set Of Clothes

King Arthur's New Look
King Arthur not only had new gluten-free products at the Expo, they had a whole new look. Coming in the Summer of 2016.

The boxes for their gluten-free products will soon look that boxes in the photo. Personally, I liked the old look better but change is inevitable and as long as they haven't changed their cake and pancake recipes, I am happy. 

Unfortunately these are the only pictures of the new products I have, so let me tell  you what's new.

Gluten-Free New Products:
Top item: Measure-For-Measure  Flour
Left Top: Sugar Cookie Mix
Left Bottom: Cornbread Mix
Right Top: Pumpkin Bread Mix
Right Bottom: Pie Crust Mix

I am very excited about the Measure-For-Measure Flour, if it is as good as King Arthur's other Gluten-Free products, it could save us a lot of time using individual flours and starches.

I tried the pie crust at the Expo and I was impressed. It was light, buttery and flaky 

I look forward to trying all the new gluten-free products when they hit the stores.

Friday, March 18, 2016

BraziBites- Yum

Cameron and Junea found a way to share their favorite food memories from their homeland, Brazil and share it with us. 
Cameron and Junea Founders of BraziBites

Junea shares:    The Family Recipe

It’d been four years since I’d moved to the U.S. to be with my husband Cameron, so I called my mother in Brazil and asked for our family recipe. She was excited and quick to share the family secrets that made “the perfect cheese bread.” Cameron and I made our first batch in our home kitchen that summer.

BraziBites: Gluten-Free

My husband came with me to the Expo one day. We had been there for several hours and it was hot and crowded. He had begun to regret his decision to come see what all the fuss was about, when we stopped at the BraziBites booth. One "bite" of these amazing treats and all doubt was gone. He turned to me and said, "These made the whole day worth while."

Go to the website at Find Us to see if BraziBites are selling near you. 

BraziBites are naturally gluten-free, non-GMO , sugar-free,100% natural, no trans fat but do contain dairy. They can be found at Whole Foods, so next time you are there, give then a try.

You may have seen this product on Shark Tank last November, I know I did.