A National Bacon Day? YES!

Last week I told you about National French Fry day and how much I love it.

baconWell, now I have to tell you all about my other favorite food, BACON!

Today is National Flitch Day… aka National Slab of Bacon Day. And who doesn’t love a slab of bacon?!? I could eat bacon every day and there have been days where I have eaten bacon at every meal. Yup, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’d say I have a problem but I don’t really consider loving eating bacon to be a problem.

But Jenna… why is it called National Flitch Day? I am glad you asked so my curious googling did not go to waste! A flitch is actually an ancient English measurement, now known as a slab. From Any Day Guide, I learned that a married couple received a flitch of bacon if they make it through the first year and decide this will work. Um, can we continue that tradition? I’d get married if I got free bacon at the end of year one! Could I get remarried every year and get a flitch every year??

Can we also go back to flitch? It’s way more fun than slab!

With a flitch you could add some to french frys. And then throw some cheese on it and you have all of my favorite foods in one dish! You could go traditional and pair some with eggs. For lunch, throw some on a burger. And for dinner? Spaghetti carbonara! I am making myself hungry.

Does anyone have any good recipes to make for National Flitch Day?

Tell me in the comments what you make with this magical, yummy treat!

I celebrated today with some bacon with my breakfast. I mean, that’s pretty much a normal Wednesday for me but we can pretend it was in celebration. Tell me in the comments how you plan to celebrate National Flitch Day!

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National French Fry Day

Tomorrow is National French Fry Day.

french frySo… French fries are one of my favorite things to eat. And that has been and continues to be, one of the hardest parts of going gluten free. I can’t have delicious, crispy, greasy, yummy French fries at most places. I hope to one day make French fries safe for everyone by instilling the importance of separate fryers at restaurants. I want to give you money but you have shared fryers.

I miss McDonald’s fries the most. But Culver’s are a close second. I could list all of the places I miss fries at but that would be a long ass list.  Most restaurants have fries as a side but I can’t have them, so I either have nothing or settle for a salad or fruit. As much as I love fruit… it’s not the same. And don’t even get me started on the side salad, which is just a few tears off an iceberg lettuce leaf, a tomato and cucumber slice. LAME.

Give me ALL THE FRIES!

I am thankful for In and Out (although those are my least favorites), Chick-Fil-A, Red Robin and Five Guys. I can eat fries there and feel like a normal person and have a full meal. I also make Ore-Ida at home but in the oven. I want to get a fryer but can’t decide if I want a traditional fryer or an air fryer. Let me know your thoughts and recommendations if you have either of those!

I also do not discriminate and will eat sweet potato fries. And sometimes a good veggie fry will do. I also mix up how I dip my fries. Sometimes I eat them without any sauce or seasoning but I love dipping them in ketchup, ranch, and…. chocolate shakes (and no, it doesn’t have to be a frosty as some say but for me, it has to be chocolate ice cream). As for seasoning, I don’t like a lot of salt but I will do pepper or Red Robins seasoning. I used to love Pleasoning but it has gluten in it. Booooo. What is your favorite fry and how do you eat it?

How will you celebrate? Tell me in the comments!

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Fourth of July

fourth of july

The Fourth of July is almost here.

fourth of july

I am a little sad that I won’t be in Wisconsin this year and running the Firecracker Four Mile. I’ve run it the last two years with my dad. And Phoenix will never have such a thing because it is just too damn hot. So, what am I doing instead? Most likely sitting around my house in the patriotic tank top I bought to mark the occasion.

J will be working so unless my BFF can hang out, it will be me and the dogs. I will celebrate with a workout, followed by some Justified or Twin Peaks binging (Yes, I just started watching the original Twin Peaks. I am a bit behind). I want to make something on the grill for dinner and a fancy cocktail. I am really into fancy cocktails and want to try my hand at making different ones. So I am thinking watermelon mimosas for breakfast and slushies to keep cool during the day. Oh, and I found these. Yes, please!

What are your plans for the Fourth of July?

I spent the weekend at the gluten free expo in Glendale.

I love having a place to go where I don’t have to think about what I’m eating. Everything was gluten free. I was talking with a few other bloggers before the expo and we all agreed it was great to be amongst people that have the same issues and able to eat EVERYTHING. And I discovered I’m not the only one that hates when the gluten free menu is a salad or vegan dish.

The expo was sponsored by Glutino and Udi’s so of course, they were there. I won a $1 off coupon from them. Last year they had more full-sized products they gave away. I liked that better. LOL Enjoy Life had a huge set up as well. They had a little trail you followed and collected samples at.

Aleia’s Gluten Free Food was a small sponsor who was not there last year. They gave us bloggers a ton of full-sized samples. Their cookies have grat flavor but they are more crunchy cookies. I prefer my cookies to be soft and chewy. Now, their macaroons? To die for. They were so moist and chewy I was all, are these really gluten free?? They gave us a shake n bake type product so I can’t wait to try that. They also asked what we want in products. We all said croissants. I laughed because I had just told someone a few days earlier that I had yet to find a gluten-free croissant.

ProYo was back with their ice cream this time. I sampled the mint chocolate chip and it was amazing! I had previously bought the chocolate so I really wanted to try a new flavor. I have a thing for ProYo.

There were a lot of booths I skipped. I don’t go for home improvements, essential oils, or dairy free cheese. Last year I went to every booth and then got a lot of paper, emails, and phone calls I really didn’t want. I made myself promise to only go to booths I wanted to and was interested in this year.

On the way out they said the expo would be the same time next year. I am not 100% sure if I will attend. I love the expo but it was more enjoyable in November than June. I had to venture out in the heat, good thing I can start my car from an app! I bet when it gets closer to time to apply I will do it again because I know me. I can’t resist free food and new products.

If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you missed out on all the fun stuff at the expo! I posted tons of stuff on my stories. Don’t miss out and go follow me now!

What are your plans for Fourth of July?

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June Dairy Month

dairyI have a problem. I am addicted to dairy products.

I am not worried about this addiction. I love dairy, especially cheese. And Greek yogurt. In my neverending quest for more protein, I tend to reach for those products quite a bit. I have Greek yogurt for breakfast and string cheese for lunch. I drink chocolate milk after runs. My chocolate milk comes in a glass bottle from a local farm. I love buying local and the fact that the glass can be reused in my home or taken back to the farm for them to reuse. Helping the environment one milk at a time.

I am obsessed.

I grew up in Wisconsin, the dairy state. The town I grew up in had June Dairy Days. I vividly remember the parades. The park and downtown became a carnival. Rides, games, friends and fun. These are memories I will cherish. Life revolves around food, memories and bonds are formed over dinners.

If I didn’t grow up surrounded by cheese, would I still love it?

I think so. A girl and her cheese: a love story.

I truly believe that cheese makes almost everything taste better. Cheese improves even the most boring, bland foods.

Lately, I find myself eating more dairy in order to get more protein. I can only eat so much meat and I am not a fan of protein shakes so I depend on a lot of dairy products. Muscles to build. Most days I can fit all the cheese into my fat goals. I try not to go over fat too much, it’s a balancing act.

I am always on the lookout for new products and new ways to get protein. My favorite yogurt? Noosa. I wish the sugar was lower but it’s gluten free and the lemon flavor is fantastic, especially if you add raspberries to it. I also love Siggi’s, which is an Icelandic-style yogurt. Want to know more about what I eat and how I strive to reach my protein goals? Follow me on Instagram! I post images of food… a lot.

How do you make sure you hit your protein goals? Tell me in the comments. I need some suggestions!

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Celiac Awareness & Expo

May is Celiac Awareness Month.

I have been sharing information on my facebook page but have yet to write anything and decided it was time. And stick around because I have some fun stuff regarding the upcoming gluten free expo in Glendale, AZ.

Things I want people to realize about celiac disease:

  1. It’s a disease, not an allergy. Specifically, an autoimmune disease.
  2. I have to eat gluten free. It’s not a choice. It’s not fun and it doesn’t “cure” me. I will always have celiac disease.
  3. There are all kinds of symptoms but you will never see them. All of my symptoms are invisible and not necessarily digestive related. Migraines. Brain fog. Depression.

Things I want restaurants to realize:

  1. I like having choices.
  2. I don’t want a salad. Or a vegan dish.
  3. Labeling something gluten free and then frying it in the same oil/fryer does not make it gluten free. Please do not list it as such.
  4. I like having a menu. Please make a section, separate menu, or even just a symbol is helpful. I don’t feel comfortable when I have to rely on waitstaff to go, “uh, um… well we can make anything gluten free”. No, I want specifics. I want something to look at.
  5. Ice cream is not a go out to eat desert. Creme brulee gets old. Please try for some new desert ideas.

We aren’t being picky. Our health & well-being is on the line.

People with celiac disease just want to be able to go out to eat or on vacation and have choices. We want to order off a menu. We want people to understand this isn’t a choice. I am sure I am missing some points but these are the most common I encounter. What do you want people or restaurants to know? Let me know in the comments!

celiac awarenessThe gluten free expo is coming back to Glendale, Arizona June 24th, and 25th!

And I again have the honor to be an event blogger. I attended last year as a blogger and it was such a great experience. I had not been able to attend a gluten-free expo before and it did not disappoint. I loved being able to sample everything, and boy did I sample it all. I even went back to a few places twice.

If you haven’t been to an expo, I highly suggest going to one. I came home with coupons galore and plenty of food products. I left with an apple and coconut water from Sprouts. I had a loaf of bread, a bag of pretzels, and a box of cookies from Udi’s/Glutino, the main sponsors. Those were just the full-size products. I ended up with a lot more sample/single-serve size goodies.

I discovered new brands. I had eaten at Spinato’s previously but had not tried their grocery story products. I now buy their frozen pizzas at my local Fry’s store. I just wish they had more than three varieties because it is sooooo good! I also discovered the fun brand, ProYo. I pretty much stalked their booth. Their frozen yogurt is tasty and protein, which I always need more of!

If you have not been to an expo, I strongly encourage you to go! And I have several ways for you to go!

First off, I have five free tickets to giveaway! If you want a chance at a free ticket, leave me a comment of why you want to go! Please be local to the Phoenix area or willing to get to the Renaissance in Westgate if you are outside of Phoenix. The free ticket is good for one day of the event. I will select and contact winners with further details at the end of May. 

If you don’t win tickets, you can still get 20-30% off tickets with my affiliate link and code. Please note I do make a small kickback from my affiliate link. Click here to purchase tickets. To receive 30% off purchase between now and May 23rd and use code EARLYBIRD. To receive 20% off purchase between 5/24 and 6/23 and use code ADVANCE.

I look forward to seeing you at the expo. Be sure to say hi if you see me stuffing my face. If you aren’t local or can’t make it to the expo, follow along on social media. The official hashtag is #GFAFExpo. Be sure to like and follow the official expo Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

I will be live posting to my Instagram and Twitter so be sure to follow those accounts!

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Proyo and Getting Strong with a 12 week Challenge

12 weeks to buff and I’m doing it with ProYo.

ProYo

I wasn’t able to complete my marathon this month (I’ll post a separate post about this later) and decided to participate in a strength training challenge instead. I purchased Jessie’s Girls Home Edition before Christmas and had started it as cross training for my marathon. Jessie’s training is basically 6 days a week and I was doing it 2-3 days a week, so I hadn’t gotten very far into the plan by the holidays.

When the 3k challenge was announced I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it since it started the day after my marathon. I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to six days a week right after a marathon. The Jessie’s Girls facebook group (which you get access to when you purchase a program) encouraged me, and others, to sign up even if you couldn’t commit to the exact program. I signed up.

And now I am doing the program as it is written because I did not run 26.2 miles. I just started week two and am feeling pretty good. I am trying to push myself in the workouts and really increase my upper body strength. But how do you keep muscle soreness to a minimum and increase those muscles?

Protein. Lots and lots of protein.

I love meat but there’s only so much meat one can eat before wanting to get protein from a different source. I try protein shakes but they make me incredibly thirsty and therefore I try to avoid them. So how do I get a big hit of protein without meat or protein shakes? I have a ProYo.

WTF is ProYo you ask?

ProYo is a sweet (pun intended) way to get a good dose of protein. ProYo is protein packed frozen yogurt and it is DELICIOUS. ProYo comes in several flavors: banana, chocolate, vanilla, and blueberry pomegranate. My favorites are the banana and vanilla. Each tube has 20g of protein. That’s quite substantial. Trust me. I’ve been trying to get creative in how to up my protein intake.

proyo
ProYo was busy every time I went by at the Gluten Free Expo but I stopped by three times. It was my favorite booth! Not kidding when I say I stalked them

I will be the first to admit I am not very creative in the kitchen. I make pretty basic meals. I follow recipes because I can’t create them on my own. So I eat my ProYo as is. Frozen yogurt. Yup, I am boring. But… so many people get creative with their ProYo. ProYo has an entire collection on their website of fun ways to use their products. I may have to try a few out someday.

My favorite time to enjoy a ProYo? After my long runs when it’s warm out (which is almost always in Phoenix).

ProYo

So while I am over here doing my 3k challenge, trying to get all swole, eating my ProYo, you can enter below to win some of your own! Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win a mixed case of ProYo – four full boxes of ProYo, one of each flavor! I am a little jealous, I’d love to win this sweet prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I did stalk the ProYo booth at the Gluten Free Expo and they reached out after to ask me to work with them on this giveaway. I received product from them but all opinions are my own. I loved ProYo when I tried it, hence me stalking the booth for additional samples. I may have tried all the flavors but chocolate at the Expo alone. I truly believe in this product and hope you will love it as well!

Be sure to comment with what flavor you’d love to try! And use the buttons below to share with others!

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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.

Have you signed up for the Runs on Espresso newsletter? It goes out once a month and I include different content than the blog!

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Gluten free challenge

Eating gluten-free is hard.

gluten free donut
In order to have donuts, I need to make them. Or drive 30-40 miles.

I am not talking about a gluten-free diet, where you avoid gluten. I am talking about eating 100% gluten free. No, “it’s ok, I can have this bread just this one time”. No, “even though the fries are cooked in the same oil as the flour coated chicken I can still have them”. I mean truly no gluten.

People have told me gluten-free is easy, but they are looking at it from the diet point of view, where it is ok if you slip up or cheat or if you don’t realize that salad dressing contains some form of gluten. If I slip up or cheat my insides feel like they are on fire. I want to rip out my digestive system. I want to throw up my insides to stop the pain. If I slip up, there’s bloating, migraines and fatigue.

I want to issue a seven-day gluten-free challenge. Seven days, that’s it. I have to do this for life and am only asking you for seven days. One week. But it has to be truly gluten-free, no slip-ups and no cheating. You will have to read labels. If you eat out, better do some research or ask some questions.

It may be hard and it will probably be more expensive unless you stick to naturally gluten-free foods. Fruits, vegetables, most dairy products (watch those flavored yogurts and cheap cheeses) and most meats (be careful with sausages and processed meats) should be gluten-free.

Baked goods, fast foods, and a lot of packaged foods will be off limits. Want to bring bagels to the office? Good luck finding some on a moments notice and be ready to spend a pretty penny! I have to order my bagels or travel 30-40 miles out of my way to get them.

Maybe a challenge like this will make you think next time you bring food to the office or a party. Maybe there is someone in your office or at the party that would love to feel included but can’t because of celiac, or a peanut allergy, or any number of other allergies. We want to feel a part of the office or the party and our society revolves around food. Not being able to eat can make one feel left out.

Try a gluten free challenge next week. It may just open your eyes.

Here are some guidelines:
Read labels – gluten hides in a lot of things you wouldn’t expect.

Here are some links:
7 day meal plan from Celiac Disease Foundation
Dining out guide from Celiac Disease Foundation
Eating at restaurants from Gluten Free Living
Meal plans & shopping List from $5 Dinners

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments or on twitter and facebook.

Try the challenge and then come back and let me know in the comments how you did. Did you make it all seven days? What was easiest for you? What was most difficult?

 

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Celiac Awareness Month

Celiac Awareness Month is May.

Officially a year has passed since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am not going to sugarcoat it, the past year has been rough. I struggled to adjust to a new diet. Giving up gluten is hard. Gluten is in more than you can even imagine. Things you wouldn’t even think of. I had to spend more time reading every single label in the grocery store. Grocery shopping, a chore I hate, suddenly took twice as long. I had to give up all my favorite fast foods. No more McDonalds. No more french fries almost anywhere. I started stuffing my face with dark chocolate and Talenti. I couldn’t stop shoveling in the sugar trying to appease my loss.

2015-08-06 12.47.00
Gluten free grilled cheese & fries from Jewel’s, a local all gf place.

I gained weight. I saw the scale go up nine pounds by August. Nine pounds in four months. I knew weight gain was probable but I wasn’t mentally prepared to gain so much in such a short time.

I fell into a depression.  Eventually, I stopped working out. It all seemed too much. I didn’t want to run. I just wanted to sink into the couch and never leave. I was wallowing in self-pity. I knew I needed to pull myself out but I couldn’t.

Of course, I was thankful to have finally gotten a diagnosis. I felt better almost instantly. The bloating and brain fog were gone. I stopped getting migraines. I hadn’t felt “right” for many years. I had almost forgotten what it felt like. It was amazing. I didn’t know I could physically feel this good. I just had to get back to feeling mentally “right”.

I went through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order but they all came around. I still get angry now and then but not like I was in the first few months. I have *mostly* accepted it. I have accepted the diagnosis and not having gluten for the rest of my life but I haven’t fully accepted that others don’t have to make gluten free options. I still want McDonalds to be gluten free. I still want places to put the burger on the bun for me. I am slowly accepting that places don’t get celiac and gluten but I am hopeful.

I hope that my voice can bring about change. That restaurants and servers will understand this isn’t an allergy and proper prep is important. Cross contamination is a big deal. You may not see it but I will be affected. Celiac disease is an invisible illness. I won’t go into anaphylactic shock like a peanut allergy. You may never know that your carelessness made me so bloated I had to unbutton my pants at a baseball game. That I woke up the next day with a migraine. That I struggled to stay awake for the rest of the weekend. That I couldn’t get anything done for a few days. Celiac disease does not have a visible reaction. I suffer in silence.

I will speak for those who struggle to speak for themselves. I want to be the voice of celiac disease because it is important for people and places to know it isn’t an allergy. It isn’t being a hipster. It isn’t about a diet. Or trying to lose weight. It is about my health. My life.

May is celiac awareness month and I hope that my blog has made you aware of an often misunderstood auto-immune disease. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I try to be as open as possible about my diagnosis and struggle.

Helpful Links:
What is celiac disease?
Symptoms Checklist
7 Diseases Doctors Miss

I included the last link because for 10+ I thought I had IBS. I was given that diagnosis while I was in college but never had any testing. I finally had enough of the symptoms and wanted to know if it was something more or if I should adjust my diet. My symptoms started long before that but I just thought it was normal. I had no clue about celiac disease or even what gluten was!

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Nutrition Month

March is Nutrition Month.

This actually comes at the perfect time for me. I am going to be completely honest. I feel transparency on the internet is important. I am not perfect, nor do I try to come across as perfect. We need to realize everyone struggles. No matter how happy or fit someone looks, they are struggling with something.

nutrition month

For me, my current struggle is excess pounds. Yes, I’ve mentioned my 8ish pound gain after my initial celiac diagnosis but this is on top of that. I didn’t lose those 8 pounds instead I gained about five more in the two weeks before my vacation. Now instead of a few vanity pounds to go, I am up to nearly 15 pounds.

I have struggled this year and my eating habits have become horrible. Instead of watching my protein I’ve been stuffing my face with dark chocolate. And I’m not talking a serving here and there. I mean eating half the M&Ms in one sitting. It’s not healthy fo my body or mind.

Nutrition month is the perfect time for a reboot. I need to focus on increasing my protein. I want to build muscle and protein is the best way to aid in that. I need to keep adding in fruits and vegetables with each meal. I love fruits and vegetables but I tend to reach for premade snacks. Those snacks tend to be carbs and full of sodium. I get more than enough starch and sodium. I’d rather have fruits and vegetables be my carb source.

Don’t worry, I will continue to eat dark chocolate or ice cream but I will get back to having it in moderation. I can’t pinpoint exactly what made me go off the rails but it is time to get back to moderation and consistent exercise.

I believe in moderation or an 80/20 approach to eating. 80% healthy, 20% of something you want (I try not to use terms like junk food, treats etc). This is what always works for me. When I lose the balance, I gain weight.

So my challenge this month is to get my eating habits under control, eat more nutritious foods and hit all my workouts.

What are your goals for March?

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