Gluten-Free Expo

expo

The Gluten-Free Expo is coming to Phoenix on November 12th and 13th!

I am excited to finally be able to attend a gluten-free expo. The last expo was right around the time I was diagnosed and I found out too late to attend. But this November I will be in Glendale finding all kinds of yummy gluten-free goodies! The expo main sponsors are Glutino and Udi’s, who have many products that I love! A full list of sponsors is available here.

The expo will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, you know, the big one in Westgate. If you are traveling a distance, the expo has reserved a block of rooms. Click here to check it out.

I cannot wait to see all the vendors and find new brands and foods I can enjoy. I also plan to share all my new found knowledge with my readers and social media followers. I am all about raising awareness and sharing resources with fellow gluten-free friends. I think it is important people know that gluten-free is not a fad diet or lifestyle choice. For some of us, it is medically necessary to follow a gluten-free diet.

What all does a gluten-free expo entail? Well, samples obviously, but what else? There will be a ton of exhibitors, check out the full list here. I saw a cupcake vendor on that list so that will probably be my first stop! There are also classes you can attend. I have my eye on two classes, one each day. Saturday I’d like attend Gluten: Beyond the Gut and Sunday I want to hit up Simple, Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Desserts. I am always down to learning more gluten-free desserts!

As an official expo blogger, I will be posting from the expo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so be sure to follow along!

You can also follow the gluten-free expo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well!

expo-winAnd now… some fun stuff for those that have stuck around!

I have five tickets to give away! I will give one away to one random person who comments on this blog posts. The other four will be given to a random person that comments on a specific post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (so be sure to follow my accounts and watch out for those posts.

But… that’s only four tickets. What about the fifth? Sign up for my monthly newsletter and I will select one random subscriber for the last ticket!

I will be selecting all five winners on October 9th!

If you don’t receive on the of the free tickets, you can receive 30% off your tickets through October 11th with code EARLYBIRD and 20% off through November 11th with code ADVANCE. Just use my affiliate link and enter the code at checkout!

expo-blogger

What vendors and classes are you most interested in? Let me know in the comments and you could win a free ticket!

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Book Corner: Harry Potter

Harry Potter has always been popular.

And I was a Potter virgin.

Somehow I avoided it all these years. Not because I wasn’t interested but when the first movie came out I was 21 and in college. I hadn’t read the books and during college didn’t have much time to read for fun. I refused to watch the movie. I wanted to read the books first.

I am weird like that… I always want to read the book first. More often than not it never happens. I would never watch movies if I waited to read all the books.

harry potterBut I refused to watch the first Harry Potter movie, which meant I couldn’t watch any subsequent movie. I would look at the book box set at least once a year, but never bought them. Then it seemed *most* of the hype died down. I’d still check the price on Amazon but never ordered them (although, the box set ended up in my cart a few times but never purchased).

I bought the movies for Justin one year, as a present. He wanted the DVDs for the collection. He loved the movie. I still refused to watch. I wanted to read the books. When Potterland opened at Universal in California, he said we had to go.

Recently Harry Potter was everywhere again. A new book was out and so were some Hogwarts books. The Coyotes schedule came out and there was a game in Anaheim in January Justin wanted to go to, which meant going to Universal. To Potterland.

I was on Amazon one day and saw the box set. I hemmed. I hawed. I gave in. The books were in my cart. I just had to press the button. I had to read the books before going to Potterland. It didn’t make any sense to go and have no clue what any of it meant. Thank god for Amazon Prime. I had those books in just a two days.

I started reading immediately. I was hooked.

Why didn’t I read these sooner?

Then the other debate happened. Do I watch the movie as I finish each book or read all the books then watch all the movies?

It was a conundrum. I debated with myself for days and weighted pros and cons on Facebook with others.

After I finished The Sorcerer’s Stone I watched the movie. I had to.

I am still working my way through. I just started The Half-Blood Prince on Friday. But I will have all the books and movies done when we go to Anaheim. I have already checked…. Butterbeer is gluten-free (as are many items at Universal so YAY!). I haven’t even finished the series yet and I am looking forward to this trip and Potterland so much!

I don’t know if I would say I wish I read these sooner. I kind of like that I waited and avoided spoilers. I mean, how often does that happen?!? And it’s been fun to work through them and discuss them with people who read them previously.

I cannot wait to finish the series!

Do you follow me on Instagram? I post my workouts, current books, and yummy food so you don’t miss out!

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Marathon Training: Week 1 & 2

This year is different. I will complete my first marathon.

How do I know this after only two weeks of training? It is all completely mental. I am in a much better space mentally this year than last year. I have good and bad days. I have doubts but it is so much different than a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think I would ever run again. I was still struggling to accept my celiac diagnosis and figure out how to fuel my body without gluten.

I have now been gluten-free for about a year and a half. It is almost second nature to me. I still miss certain foods and the freedom to order anything but I am used to it now. I know what is safe and where I can eat. This has been a huge help in my mental running game.

I do struggle a bit with the heat and the early wake-up calls. I have been getting up at 4 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 5 AM on Saturdays. It’s tough but I actually enjoy getting my runs done and not having to worry about it after work. I might even keep this up after the marathon.

training

I am trying a new approach to training this year. I have written my entire training plan on a calendar but am not looking too far ahead. I did an overview and have an idea of dates I need to adjust and plan for but I am taking it a month and a week at a time. At the start of September, I looked at the schedule but I only start planning on Sunday for the coming week. I make adjustments as needed for the week. If things come up during the week, I change it accordingly.

For example, I didn’t take a full rest day this week but instead of doing 30-45 minutes of cross training on two days I did three days of 20 minutes each. It was what felt right and fit with my schedule. I also swapped my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I got home late Friday and knew running on less than 6 hours of sleep was not optimal. I could have slept in Saturday and then ran but it would have been hot and there wasn’t much cloud cover. Sunday morning before sunrise was much better.

Two weeks are done and just 18 more to go! I know I can do this. I am ready.

Do you want to see more on my journey to 26.2? If so, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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Flying While Celiac

celiacCeliac disease can be tough. Flying can be a pain. Combine the two and it can be a whole lot of joy.

I flew twice in July and was reminded of how difficult flying with celiac disease can be. Luckily, this time, I didn’t have any peanut free flights and was able to enjoy the free peanuts (and my trail mix). I have been on flights with a peanut allergy, which limits what I can eat even more. Most of my snacks involve nuts or nut butter because they are portable and have protein but I also have to make sure to bring something without nuts.

I am glad the airlines take nut allergies so seriously. I wish they could do a bit more for those of us that require a gluten-free diet.

Besides the peanuts, there is little I can get on a plane. Most airlines don’t have a meal I can purchase. They are all wraps or sandwiches.  The snack packs have some gluten-free items in them but no pack can I eat ALL the treats. Why would I pay $8.99 when I can’t eat everything?

Then there are the airports. I had a layover in Minneapolis. I tried to find options for lunch before I left. I got nowhere on the airport’s website or google. Maybe if I had more time I could have researched more. I walked from one gate to another (no shuttle or moving sidewalk) in order to look for something I could eat. I stopped a few times to check out some restaurants. I saw a Pei Wei but they had a limited menu and none of their gluten-free dishes.

And then…

A Chik-Fil-A just before my departure gate. I was never so happy to see a Chik-Fil-A.

There were almost tears of joy.

Whenever I fly as a celiac, I take snacks with me. It seems every other time I fly, my bag gets flagged by TSA. Food apparently sets off the red flags because people use food to sneak in things. The agent didn’t specify but I would assume drugs mostly. Maybe some weapons. It’s always fun to hear, “Is this your bag ma’am?”

You can’t help but laugh about it. I talked with the agent while she checked my bad and let her know that traveling with food intolerances was always exciting.

What is your biggest hassle when traveling?

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July Wrap Up

My goal for July was to get back into an exercise routine and start eating better.

Did I smash both goals?

Nope. Not even close.

July ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for me. It started with the death of a family member and a quick trip home and ended with a vacation, back home. We had planned the trip back home months ago so I had two trips in one month. Needless to say between travel and work I struggled a bit this month.

The first and last week I ate pretty badly but those two-and-a-half in the middle? I rocked them! I followed my calorie goals. I aimed to keep my protein intake up and tried to get fruits and/or vegetables at each meal. I stayed away from sweets. Now I am back on track after vacation. More water. More protein. Fewer sweets.

I worked out the first two weeks of the month and then life got busy. I tried to get in my 10k steps at least but even that was difficult. I was busy at work catching up after my first trip and trying to complete everything before my second. Yup, I got tired. I got stressed and I let my workouts fall away.

I’m human. I’m not perfect.

I am not going to let my July get me down. I came back from vacation and started right back at it. I restarted food tracking. I went for a walk yesterday and a run today. I’ve got big plans and I can’t let the bad dwell. August is a new month. I will keep trying to hit my goals, to eat better and fit in workouts.

I am in pre-marathon prep. I start actual marathon training on August 29th. Yikes! I hope to have more posts about training once I actually get into it more. Hopefully, this is my year. I really want to say I’ve run 26.2 miles.

How was your July? Did you smash any goals? What did you struggle with?

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2016 Firecracker 4 Mile

Last Fourth of July I ran the inaugural Firecracker 4 Mile in my hometown.

I was home for a happy time, a family reunion with relatives from Norway. I was able to run with my dad. I love running races in my hometown because I get to see it from a new point of view. When I lived there I only ran in my neighborhood. Races allow me to run by the Mississippi, my college and downtown. Downtown definitely looks different while running than it did while drinking. 😉

I wasn’t planning to run this year and neither was my dad. I wasn’t supposed to be home for a visit until the end of July, well after the race was done. Unfortunately, I had to go back early due to a death in the family. Once I knew I would be home my dad asked if I wanted to run. I said, of course! He signed us up and that was that.

I was so out of it after I forgot to take a selfie! This was on the way to coffee (and breakfast).
I was so out of it after I forgot to take a selfie! This was on the way to coffee (and breakfast).

For this year they updated the course a bit. I liked both routes but this year was a tad nicer. The start and finish were in the park, instead of the access road. The start both years included up a hill, but this year was through the river trail instead of downtown. I was worried about how narrow the trail was with all the people going through but, surprisingly, people were incredibly polite. I was a bit shocked. In Phoenix, people make rude comments rather than just saying excuse me or on your left.

The loop through town was a bit different but it was still residential streets. The ending came through downtown, into the park and then down the pier. The bad thing about running down the pier was having to go back up. I was hitting the wall and not sure I would make it and then had to run up the pier. I would have given up had I not seen the finish line coming up. As I ran through the park, my dad was waiting and had his phone ready to capture my run past. I made it through the finish line and had never been so happy to stop running.

I learned an important lesson or two this race. One: you need your inhaler when running somewhere with humidity. And two: food and nutrition do make a huge difference. I might make this a separate post as I have already gone on quite a but here! Overall, though, the race was great and I didn’t do too bad, especially considering my sporadic summer running.

2015: 40:52 total, 10:13 pace

2016: 41:20 total, 10:20 pace

My dad did much better than me:
2015: 34:59 total, 8:45 pace

2016: 31:39 total, 7:55 pace

He has gotten so fast! I definitely do not take after him here but I do try. I’d love to be that fast.

Have you done any summer races? Let me know how you did in the comments!

Are you following me on Instagram? Follow all my fitness adventures there!

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Are you happy and healthy?

“If you don’t take care of your body where are you going to live?”

I don’t care if you are a healthy weight, overweight or obese… are you happy with your body?

If not, you need to figure out why and what makes you unhappy and take steps to change it. People of all sizes can be happy with their body, or unhappy. The above quote puts it well, you are the only one who can take care of your body. You are the one that has to live in your body every day. Why wouldn’t you want to take care of it?

happy
I used my leave time to jump start my running.

I have struggled with being happy and taking care of myself. I think we all do. I’ve talked about my celiac diagnosis before. I’ve mentioned I have gained weight since my diagnosis (a common occurrence when celiacs go gluten free). Before my diagnosis, I was losing fairly quickly and was down to 140. I was happy there and wanted to work on building strength. I am now 157 and miserable. I feel flabby. My clothes are too tight (and a few pants no longer fit). I am struggling to lose weight.

I also went through a period of stuffing my face with all those gluten free cookies and cupcakes. I wasn’t happy. I was stressed. I ate my feelings. I was caught in a cycle of feeling stressed and unhappy, stuffing my face to feel better, and then feeling more unhappy because I just ate a million calories.

I know what I need to do. I think most of us know what we need to do. The struggle is to actually follow through and do it. I keep starting, giving up and starting over. It’s time to end that cycle. I am not sure who the following quote is attributed to as I’ve never seen a name attached to it but it is something I keep telling myself…

“If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

I need to tell myself this every day. I am tired of starting over, of not changing, not moving forward. I want to feel healthy and happy. I am the only one who can keep going. I am the only one that can change my actions.

As of last Thursday (who needs Mondays or the first of the month), I have been working hard to make sure I track my food. I know tracking my calories helps me lose weight. It’s worked before and every time I stop I overeat. I also know I can get obsessive so I have adopted a more loose style of tracking food. I’m not worrying if I go over calories. It is what it is. But I might think, was I really hungry? Was I stressed? Reflect and move forward.

I am trying to hit my 10k steps each day and workout. I am currently doing a Nike Training Club program, which includes running. But being back in Phoenix heat I am struggling to run but am trying to do cardio on those days if I don’t run. I feel better when I workout. I am also working on shoulder and hip mobility so when my 6 weeks rest is up I can get back to New Rules of Lifting for Women. I enjoy lifting weights. It gives me a different level of satisfaction than running. I need both.

July 7th was my new year. I am starting over but this time, I am sticking with it. I want to happy. I deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. It will be hard. There will be struggles, but I am ready for the challenge.

Yes, taking care of yourself is hard work. Everything worth fighting for is hard work.

You are worth fighting for.

What quote gets you through the difficult times?

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Glukos Energy Tabs

Do you remember eating the giant sweet tarts as a kid?

All the sugar.

All the sour.

All the yum.

How would you feel about an adult version? A giant sweet tart that gives you a nice energy boost?

glukos energy tabsGlukos energy tabs do just that. I use them before an evening run or weight lifting session, after a long, tiring day at work. The tabs give you a good energy boost fairly quickly but it is subtle. There’s no jolt. No shaking. Just a quick boost. I also haven’t had a crash from Glukos energy tabs. I usually end up feeling just as good at the end of a run or weight lifting session, if not better.

The positives:

  • Easily dissolves in mouth
  • Easy to chew
  • Good flavor
    • I had fruit punch and it was a bit on the tart side, which I love. If you aren’t a huge tart person it might deter you
  • Local company
    • They are based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Gluten free

The negatives:

  • Wouldn’t dissolve in water
    • The package claims you can dissolve it in water. I tried. I waited about 5 minutes and nothing. I chewed it instead. I use Nuun a lot, which starts dissolving immediately and only takes about a minute.
  • Not enough of an energy boost to use first thing in the morning
    • I need more to get me going. Maybe this would be better for others.

glukos energy tabsI really wish the tabs would have dissolved in water. I would have loved to taste it as a drink. The tabs come in fruit punch, orange, and lemon. I was given the fruit punch to try.

Bottom line: I will continue to use the Glukos energy tabs I have and will purchase them when I’m out. I think the flavor is on point and I like the energy it gives me.

They do offer an energy powder as well and I will give that a try as well.

If you have run a Rock N Roll event you have probably used or at least seen Glukos. Glukos gels and gummies are available on the course.

I will be reviewing additional Glukos products as I gear up and train for my first marathon. I am currently in what I am calling “pre-training” (basically getting myself back on a workout schedule) and will be officially in training on August 29th. EEK!

I was given the Glukos products by my local running store, Fleet Feet Scottsdale to review. Everything in this review is my opinion. If I didn’t like the product I would tell you.

What is your favorite pre-workout energy product? Let me know in the comments.

Are you following me on Instagram? Be sure to head over and follow to see my journey to my very first marathon!

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Korean Beef

I like to think of myself as someone that likes to cook and try new recipes.

In reality, I’m lazy.

I have a stack of recipe books, and keep buying more, all of which I have made one or two recipes from. I like quick and easy. I like things I can just throw together with stuff I have on hand. I like recipes I can easily remember and pull together in a short time after a long day at work.

One night I was looking for something quick, yet different to do with our ground beef. I was tired of tacos and hamburgers, which are pretty much our go tos. I love hamburgers and tacos but I was in the mood for something new. I googled and eventually stumbled upon a Korean beef bowl on Damn Delicious. I have since made this recipe several times and tweak it each time.

korean beef

We are a gluten free house thanks to my celiac disease which means no soy sauce. I substituted tamari for the soy sauce. We like our food to bite us back so I added more crushed red pepper flakes and more ginger. I also toasted sesame seeds and tossed in the sauce. I did not have garlic or onions on hand and used garlic and onion powder to flavor the meat. We also use avocado oil instead of olive and brown rice instead of rice. Lastly, I cooked some fresh broccoli and tossed it with the beef. I used only one cup but it wasn’t enough. I would recommend going to at least two cups broccoli.

Korean beef

My modified Korean beef:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 tsp garlic and onion powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and ginger. Toast sesame seeds for approximately 5 minutes then add to sauce.

Boil water and add broccoli. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until tender. Drain. Set aside.

Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and season with garlic and onion powder. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Mix in broccoli. Stir in sauce mixture until combined, allowing to simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa. I’ve also used ramen or rice noodles. If you are grain-free I am sure cauliflower rice would work just as well.

What is one of your easy go-to recipes? Leave it in the comments.

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Earn those booty shorts

I have a problem.

I can’t stop buying workout clothes, gadgets, shoes, and gear. My dresser is exploding with compression shorts, tech t’s, and sports bras. My gear box is spilling out visors, headphones, and sunglasses. I am always going to want new gear so I needed to find a way to reign in my spending. I also thought it might be motivating to know I have to earn booty shorts and can’t just grab a cute pair when I’m at the Under Armour outlet.

I also thought this might be a good solution to get and keep me motivated to work out. I go through stages when I do really well, work out every day, and then I fall off the horse and completely stop working out.

I am trying to find some consistency.

At the beginning of this year, I started a reward program for myself. I decided for each yoga session and weight lifting session I would receive $1. For every mile I run I earn $1. For the first quarter, I gave myself $1 for each pound I lost but that became complicated if I lost .4 one week, gained .2 the next, then lost .6 the next. I dropped that when I started the second quarter.

I also was taking away $1 for every missed workout but decided not to do that for the month of June. It wasn’t really a deterrent for me. I still skipped my workout and justified it as “if I’m not working out I don’t need new clothes”. For June, I have just paid myself accordingly for each workout. I think it is best to just keep it as simple as possible.

I track it on a Google doc sheets. I have a tab for each quarter and track three months on each sheet. I have four columns for each month. The first is the day of the week, the next column is the date, then the amount, and finally a column for notes. In the notes, I indicate which workout I did or if it was a scheduled rest day. If I didn’t work out I may fill in the reason. Most recently I noted the days with high temperatures and high pollution advisory.

Here are screenshots of the spreadsheet I put together. It is not advanced or fancy but it does the job. I have them separated into weeks but now that I am not using my weight I could take the row out. I weigh myself on Sundays and left a gap to enter my weight. As you can see, I have spent some of the money. After I made the screenshots I moved the quarter 1 balance to quarter 2 and then subtracted the new headphones I bought.

I need to get in a few more workouts, my balance is down to $29!

Do you reward yourself for working out? How do you stay motivated?

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