Thoughts on Being Gluten Free

When I became gluten free, it was a long and bumpy process. It isn’t hard especially now to find gluten free food for the most part. My struggles were centered about being diagnosed later in life and giving up foods that were comfortable and familiar. As I became more consistent being gluten free my reactions when “cheating” became more severe. After having my youngest son (The Bear) who is also gluten intolerant, I became very strict because I was nursing and he would get sores that would bleed when he was exposed. Talk about a way to stay on track!

I  think of gluten free people in the following two groups:

1. Diagnosed early in life
2. Diagnosed in late teens/adult

*There is also a difference between people who have been gluten free for two years vs. twenty years when it comes to taste in food. It is much harder to please taste/texture of some one who has had gluten more recently but we will save that for another day.

I think that both categories have challenges. I am in the second category, raising a child in the first. One of my main challenges is traditions attached with food. Figuring out how to make my favorite meals gluten free and learning to deal with replacement foods not tasting as good as the originals (oh bagels how I miss you) is more of a struggle than I would have imagined.

While The Bear doesn’t have anything to compare gluten free food to, he has to navigate events such as birthday parties where he can’t eat what everyone else has and he is not old enough to fully understand why. I am very blessed that he is sweet about it when I say it is not gluten free.

Both groups deal with people’s lack of knowledge about being gluten free and also the indifference some people have because gluten free eating is very trendy right now. We have run in to multiple situations when people think it is a choice rather than a serious health issue including my brother being “glutened” a few weeks ago at a local restaurant.

If you sit and think about the things you normally do – grab donuts, go for ice cream cones, eat cookies your great grandma made, those are all things that involve gluten. It is not just the actual food itself but the memories made while doing those things. Memories my husband I have from growing up that we want to pass on to our children. We have chosen to create new traditions for The Muskrat and The Bear centered around things we can have. It is not a bad thing, just different.

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I think I have a produce problem…..

I have been teaching a few classes lately, “Going Gluten Free” and “Clean Eating 101”. It is a good excuse for me to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes, buying ridiculous amounts of produce. Topic research, right? I don’t mean filing up my cart at the grocery store – I mean going down to River City Produce and buying 100lbs of fruits and vegetables.

Yes, you heard right and no I did not magically have 20 more children to eat it all. On my last visit an employee suggested I start my own coop which I might eventually have to do. Awesome and amazing hubs eyes about popped out of his head this last time when he peeked into the back of my Tahoe but he didn’t say a word. He was overheard telling someone later that most women like to shop and spend money on things, I just happened to like produce over jewelry. Isn’t he patient? Plus he got me bling for Valentine’s Day.

Back to the produce, I share with my parents and sister and the rest I cook, freeze and now dehydrate! Using the Excalibur dehydrator Rob and my parent’s got me for Christmas I am trying new things and this week it was celery. I forgot to take a before photo of the celery on the tray but they were full with the pieces partially touching each other and cut in 1/4 in strips. Here is the after photo.

dehydrated celery

My dehydrator can hold a lot, it has 9 trays and I was able to cut up 4 bags of celery which dehydrated down to four mason jars worth in one load.


Four bags down, 24 to go! I may have over done it with the organic celery this time. Hopefully I can make plenty of soups and casseroles to use it up.

I might start a series because I have organic squash, organic zucchini, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe and apples next. Do you buy fruits or veggies in large quantities?

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Happiness Is…

Mom sending me the perfect photo for “Throwback Thursday” and a trip down memory lane of my first pony, I love you Halfpint!

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Dirty Girl Mud Run 2014 Edition

Last year I decided to do something fun and motivate myself to work out. I joined a group of local blogging ladies and signed up to run the Dirty Girl Mud Run. I was so nervous and out of shape, but ended up having the most amazing time and the obstacles were a blast. If you have ever wanted to do a run like this, go for it! This is a good entry run in my opinion and so enjoyable. I am so excited that this year Dirty Girl has chosen me to be a blog ambassador and given me free entry to the run on December 7th so I can share my experience with you.

Dirty Girl is the nation’s largest women’s-only mud run. It’s a non-competitive muddy obstacle course that’s open to women of all ages and athletic abilities. Cancer survivors run at all Dirty Girl events for free, and Dirty Girl will give $250,000 in 2013 to breast cancer charity Bright Pink. This is especially meaningful for me this year as my 2nd mom Maggie is currently battling breast cancer so this year I am running for her.

The following are a  few things I learned along the way last year:

1. Go with friends who have the same goal, having fun and finishing. If you want to be competitive and are concerned about finishing times this is not the race for you.

2. Don’t stress about the running. There were lots of breaks while waiting for your turn to complete obstacles.

3. You can wear your contacts. I took my glasses, eyewash, etc. as backups just in case but left them in the car.

4. Pay attention to what you wear. Last year I wore a cotton V neck shirt and it did not work well at all. Once it was wet and muddy it stretched out badly. Wear fitting clothing and a padded bra in dark colors. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable and exposed when you are trying to have fun. Running shorts or fitted capri’s are fine.

5. Getting your muddy self home. The line for the showers, aka water hoses was long. Hubs helped me wrap in a plastic paint cloth so I could sit in the car and not get the seat or seat belt muddy. I should have taken a photo it must have looked really funny, but it worked well.

6. I saw a variety of shoes, I wore my vibrams five finger shoes and they worked excellent. The mud and water drained out so quickly and did not weigh me down.

7. Bring someone to hold you things and take photos. Glad we had a few husbands who came to cheer us on and take fun photos during the run and at the finish line.

Are you ready to run yet? Dirty Girl Mud Run is giving my blog readers 20% off registration! The run will be Saturday, December 7th and there are different start times you can sign up for. The discount code is DGSANANTONIO. For more information and to sign up please visit their website.

Here are some of the photos from our run last year.


Before the run (2 runners were missing!)


I look ridiculous but hey I was running and smiling!



This is one of my favorites from the finish line.

Want to see more? Visit Blood, Sweat and Minivans post event blog with lots of photos from last year.

Here is a are posts from Morena of Morena’s Corner on DG. I look forward to running with them both this year again.

Have you ever done a fun 5K? Are you planning on doing the DG Mud Run? Please join me!!


(Psst. Don’t forget – use the discount code DGSANANTONIO for 20% off registration!)

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Happiness Is….

Toddlers and drum sets.

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Memorial Day: Remembering the Fallen


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