寿司 ; It’s Sushi Time

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Today, I got up, ran, went home, studied, got tired of studying, went on Facebook, got tired of Facebook, got ahead by doing some of next week’s work in my online class, was supposed to be studying for a midterm, got tired of that, and I thought well hey, let’s make some Sushi. One thing I did not have though was the bamboo roller. It just so happens that Bed Bath and Beyond had some so I put 2 of them on hold and I drove about 20 minutes to my neighboring city to get them. Next, I drove to the grocery store. I got all of the ingredients and then decided that I was going to make some vegetable spring rolls and some fruit ones made out of that rice paper stuff as well. Actually, I could not find rice paper anywhere in the store. Finally, a person who worked at the store who knew about my search got some from the sushi station in the store and sold me it for the same price as the seaweed. I appreciated that a lot! It is sometimes hard to find things where I live. Because I live in a small town, there are a limited amount of things that are sold in stores. To get a lot of the gluten free ingredients that I need, I usually have to drive 30 minutes in order to get anything good. Anyways, the sushi and the spring rolls turned out pretty well. I mean, I am no professional or anything, and some people might have better ways of making them, but, I think this was a great first attempt! This little project gave me the opportunity of making something new and cooking something different for a change. It also allowed me the chance to get distracted from my studies. 😉 Here is how they turned out!

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Challenges With Celiac Disease

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Although I have tried to find the positive side of things with having Celiac Disease, I have also gone through many struggles and challenges. For example, I often get sick because of cross contamination. The FDA still allows a certain level of gluten in foods even if the food product is certified gluten free. Also, when going out to eat, which I try and limit, I get sick pretty much every time because of cross contamination. It is very hard for people that don’t have the disease to understand why I can’t have my potatoes fried in the same oil that their breaded chicken is fried in. I ask the waiters, speak to their managers, give their cooks an informational card about the disease and cross contamination, yet, they often don’t follow through with what I need.

Many times, I have had people argue with me about what contains gluten and what doesn’t contain gluten. This sometimes results with them getting very annoyed with me. This pretty much happens whenever I go out. I used to love going out to eat, but now, not so much. I feel awful always having to ask what ingredients are in the meal. I sometimes will bring in my own food to eat, but it can be kind of rude. I still haven’t figured out a better solution.

Going to other peopleshouses can be kind of interesting as well.. I can’t usually eat what everyone else is eating. Sometimes I feel left out at church functions or parties. I can eliminate that by bringing my own food, but sometimes it is just not possible without it spoiling and me having to eat it cold. I am in the process of trying to find gluten free recipes that I can eat cold from a cooler and that won’t spoil. Food only stays cold for so long before it goes bad.

I have also experienced many emotional and physical challenges. Before I was diagnosed, I was constantly sick. It really affected how well I performed in school and work. I would go to class and work very sick, tired and weak. I started to think that I was going crazy. My doctor couldn’t find anything wrong either, so I felt awful for going there all the time and not finding an answer.

Also, I often feel like a burden wherever I go because of diet restrictions. This is even true in my own family sometimes. I don’t like having others going out of their way to get me glutenfree food. There are times I have felt misunderstood by others. It is sad, but I have to remember that they simply don’t understand what it is like to have the disease.

Another struggle that I have is going out of town and traveling. I have to bring food with me everywhere I go. I am not sure how I will manage traveling abroad to developing countries. If you are reading this and you have Celiac Disease or know someone who does and is one that travels to developing countries or is a missionary who travels, I would love to hear from you about how you travel and manage your disease.

Hopefully sharing my story will help others to better understand what this disease is. In sharing, it opens up channels of knowledge which can be used to help others. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. I would love to hear from you!

Celiac..What?

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In April of 2012 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is an autoimmune disorder where the small intestine’s lining gets damaged. This happens because of a reaction to gluten. When one eats gluten with this disease, the body reacts by damaging the villi in the small intestine that absorbs nutrients. When the small intestine is damaged, it is not able to absorb important nutrients that your body needs in order to stay healthy.

For about a year or more, prior to being diagnosed, I was constantly sick and no doctor could figure out why. I was always tired, weak, I couldn’t gain any strength in my muscles, I had anxiety like crazy, and I would become depressed randomly for no good reason. A few months before being diagnosed things got even worse. I randomly dropped about 10-13 pounds in about 1-2 weeks. I would lose weight daily. I got the worst anxiety and was experiencing many other awful issues that I shall spare your reading eyes from. I went back to my doctor quite a bit. Finally, they found a high count of something in my blood (don’t remember what it’s called). They referred me to another doctor to see if I had a certain kind of arthritis. Finally, this doctor figured it out: I had Celiac Disease.

Living with Celiac Disease has changed my life quite a bit. I am no longer on my way to more threatening complications like certain cancers, other autoimmune disorders, and bone diseases such as osteoporosis, which is a good, happy thumbs up. But, it has taken some time to adjust to my new diet. For those of you who don’t know me, I absolutely LOVE food. I used to eat pasta ALL the time. Food makes me very happy and it is a comfort to me. When I got diagnosed, it was kind of a sad day because that meant I couldn’t eat anything that I used to eat, and what I loved to eat. That same day there was a meeting going on about gluten and celiac disease. I went to it and learned a lot about different foods that may contain gluten, including most pastas, crackers, cookies, salad dressings, soy sauce, bread, soups, some cheese, certain meats, and more. To be more specific, I learned that I could not have wheat, barley, or rye. A lot of things don’t say they have wheat, barley, or rye on the labels, but, they do say that they have artificial flavorings, or natural flavors which sometimes will be derived from wheat. Also, many products are made in a facility that also processes wheat. For someone with Celiac Disease, one cannot and should not have anything that is even processed in a facility with wheat because cross contamination can occur. For someone with this disease, the tiniest, littlest spec of wheat will still damage someones small intestinal lining.

It has been approximately 8 months since I have been diagnosed. I have learned A LOT. My diet has improved substantially and I am eating ten times better than what I used to. I have been having to cook pretty much all of the time, so, I am gaining more experience with cooking and baking. Also, I am able to build up my muscle strength again by bouldering and running, which is FANTASTIC.

Traveling, Languages: YES!!

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I desperately want to travel and learn to speak other languages. Since I was a child, I have always dreamed about working in other countries. Diversity intrigues me. I get bored too easily, living in the same place for a long time, going to the same college forever. I find myself getting bored and very unhappy. I need something new. Some excitement, something my town doesn’t offer very much. Now, the cities around me, they are beautiful. I get to hike, see beautiful waterfalls ever so often, and I get to have date nights with my boyfriend on a cliff overlooking the ocean. I should not complain, but, I need to go somewhere..different.

When I was thirteen years old, I got the amazing opportunity to travel to Germany. Minus a few who live in the United States, the rest of my dad’s family live in Germany. So, me and my Oma (grandma) decided to go visit everyone. It was great. I loved being there and meeting all of my family. Also, the country was beautiful. I did not know how to speak German at all, so, I did not really always understand what was being said, but, after a couple of weeks I started to catch on. Of course, after awhile I had to come home. The point is, perhaps my love for travel and languages started when I went to Germany. I was opened up to a whole new, beautiful world over there. Sadly, I could not understand what was going on all the time and I could not even talk with my family because of the language barrier. I mean yeah, we managed, but still, it sucked. I felt like I was cut off from everyone. This annoyed me so badly and because of that, I am totally obsessed with other languages, people, and traveling. Now I want to learn every language that is out there. It is crazy, I am crazy. I love them all and I want to learn all of them.

I have started my journey of learning as many languages as I can by taking Spanish classes in high school and college. Although, when not immersed, it is hard to retain it. To help even more, I just bought a program that will teach me levels 1-5 in Latin American Spanish. I have also been studying German on my own with the help of some workbooks and an online program and am taking classes next semester at my local college. I can’t wait to get started on my journey of learning as many languages as I can. I will feel so much happier and not so cut off from the rest of the world. Also, I can’t wait to travel and actually put those learned languages to action. I hope to travel abroad either through my college, or perhaps on my own whenever I get a break from school or work (rare). I hope opportunities will come my way! Wish me luck. 😉  Image

A picture that I took when I was in Germany.

Bouldering Newbie

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A couple of years ago, I was introduced to an indoor bouldering gym by a friend. I thought it was a lot of fun and kind of interesting. Recently, I was introduced to it again by my boyfriend. He took me a few times and I fell in love with it. 😉 I had a blast! So much fun, but also very hard and challenging. You have to have a lot of patience and you have to be able to problem solve.

Right now I am working three jobs and am in college. My stress level is pretty high. I felt like I have been going crazy these past few months. Being able to start climbing at this gym has been a great outlet for me. It really helps me release my stress and frustration in a healthy way.

There are different levels starting from vb (very beginner) all the way to v8 or higher. There are many people that go who are all at different skill levels. When you go, you feel a real sense of a community of climbers that will talk with you, encourage you, and help guide you on what you can do to improve. It has been a lot of fun for me. It has provided me with a great way to reduce my stress level, and it just has been a great experience all around.

In the picture below, I just conquered one of the v0s (purple tape). Sorry for the poor quality of the picture; it was taken with my cell phone.

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Hello World!

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Hey everyone!

I have been very interested in starting a blog for quite awhile and now I have finally gotten the chance to do so! I wanted to start writing and sharing with others any experiences that were interesting, fun, weird, unique, thoughtful, etc. in my life. I hope you guys enjoy my blog and I would love to hear any thoughts, comments, or questions about my posts!

Talk to you guys soon!