Diary of a Celiac

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Caribbean Princess

Caribbean Princess


June 21, 2014 thru June 28, 2014
Traveling with Celiac disease can be a little overwhelming.  I began this blog as a way to make it a little easier for people to understand how to best protect their health while traveling.  We frequently travel on cruise ships.  This is something we began doing long before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. 
The cruise terminal is about 5 hours from my home, so we left the day before the cruise and we stopped in Port Saint Lucie, FL for the night.  My husband and I sometimes struggle with how to make dining out safe for me.  We argued a little about where to go to eat, and my concern about the restaurant not knowing about gluten.  We ended up eating at Lonestar Steak House in Port Saint Lucie.  They did a great job!  They understood gluten and I had an enjoyable meal.
We began our cruise on the Caribbean Princess on the 21st of June.  I am always a little nervous when we begin a trip.  I personally have nightmares about accidentally eating something that has gluten in it.  Trusting someone else to protect my health is very difficult for me.  Once we got on the cruise ship we went and talked to the dining room head waiter.  We discussed how they would handle my dietary requirements.  It makes me feel more comfortable to know that the staff understands how important not eating gluten is.  I also make sure that when we are making our cruise reservations I make a note about my dietary requirements, this makes it a little easier on the first day.  The first day I tend to select items that are normally gluten free.  I talk to the wait staff and make sure I am comfortable with how they are going to be handling my food.    At dinner time we ate in the Palm Dining Room.  I had roasted pork with vegetables.  After dinner they presented me with the menu for the following evening.  This seems to be standard practice with the cruise lines.  I have to say, our head waiter may possibly be the most attentive head waiter we have ever had on a cruise!    He gave me the menu for the following night and came back twice to talk to me about what my options were and also taking my order for the following night.  I forgot my camera in our stateroom, otherwise there would be a picture of my meal!
June 22nd we were at Princess Cay.  In my opinion, breakfast is one of the easiest meals to eat gluten free.  We went up to the buffet for breakfast.  Be sure to speak to a chef at the buffet.  He advised me which items are gluten free naturally.  It is important to be willing to advocate for yourself if you go to the buffet, as they may not understand that you can NOT have gluten.  Many people are on a gluten free diet and are not celiac.  This sometimes can create an impression that people asking about gluten free foods are not concerned about cross contamination.  I had to ask them to prepare my food from food that has not been out for other guests and explained that I could not have anything with gluten due to health problems.  That is the easiest way to make them understand.  Breakfast was great and the staff handled everything perfectly. 
We had booked a surf fishing excursion at Princess Cay.  The excursion was only a few hours long and we went very early.  I would definitely recommend this excursion!  We had a lot of fun.  Because the excursion was short, we did not have any concerns with how I was going to eat.  I had not asked anyone about what food options would be available on Princess Cay so we just went back to the cruise ship for lunch.    We went back to the buffet and again spoke to the chef who prepared my food separately from the food on the buffet line.
For Dinner we again went to the Palm Dining Room. 
   

These are pictures of my food!
My husband had the regular Fettuccini Alfredo the day before and like it so I figured I would try it gluten free.  I loved everything except the Fettuccini Alfredo.  I would not recommend it.  This was me making a selection that was not tasty.  It was gluten free. 
June 23rd was a day at sea.  We had breakfast at the buffet which I handled the same. . . .ask to see the chef.  We skipped lunch.  There is way to much food on a cruise ship!
  
 Let me say, this was an amazing dinner!  Onion Soup, Beef Tenderloin, Pavlov!  Perfect!
June 24th we arrived in St Thomas.  What a beautiful island!  We had booked a snorkeling excursion at Trunk Bay Beach St Johns.  We both liked the excursion but I would recommend bringing some gluten free snacks on this excursion.  It was about 4 and a half long and the food available was fried food.  I always bring snacks so I had a Larabar!  Upon returning to the ship we decided that we would try the grill or the pizza place to see what options were available.  I watched the food preparation at the grill and did not see that there was a real option of eating there.  I went over to the pizza place and discussed gluten free pizza with the person who was preparing the pizza.  He was willing to talk to me and explain how they prevent cross contamination when they are preparing a gluten free pizza, so I decided to have them make me a Hawaiian pizza.  He cleaned his work space, changed his gloves, he used what appeared to be parchment paper to provide an additional barrier.  I was very happy with the care he took to prepare my pizza!  We made it all the way to the plate and then his helper cut my gluten free pizza with the same pizza cutter that he was actively using to cut all the other pizza.  This was my first time on this cruise that I was disappointed with the care to maintain my food being gluten free.  I need to take the time to go talk to the person in charge of training so that this will not happen to others.  I am very careful and watch to make sure my items stay gluten free.  So if you want pizza, be sure to pay extra attention!
  

These are my dinner pictures!  The eggplant was an appetizer, but I absolutely love eggplant so I ordered it as a main course.  It was delicious!!!  This was one of the most amazing meals!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cobb Salad Recipe from "The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking"

Recipe Review for Cobb Salad 

from "The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking"

by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley


I made this recipe today.  I know. . . it is a salad.  
But I am not very creative with my food without a recipe to follow!
I loved it!  The recipe for salad dressing was perfect!  
The only thing was that it stated that it would serve 2 . . . . I could only eat about 1/2 of my portion.  
This is fine with me, now I have lunch for tomorrow!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Recipe Review - Lemon Brownies

Hello everyone!
I made these Lemon Brownies this morning for my Sunday School Class!  They were absolutely amazing!
Recipe for Lemon Brownies
The recipe was written by Adriana Harlan and her blog is Living Healthy with Chocolate!
I did modify them slightly.
Ingredients were as follows with my modifications in {}
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder {1 Tbsp Tapioca Flour}
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons raw honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted {1/4 Cup plus 2 Tsp Melted Butter}
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk, full fat {1/4 Cup Almond Milk}
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter {3 Tbsp Coconut Butter}
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I did not make this icing recipe but i did add a lemon icing with a raspberry on the top of each piece!
Delicious!!!  They were very moist!  Not crumbly!  Loved them!
Be sure to go to Adrianas' blog for the original recipe and directions!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gluten Free on the Norwegian Dawn

WOW!  That about sums it up!  I just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Norwegian Dawn.  I generally have to educate people about the seriousness of gluten in my food.  Not this time!  It was amazing!
The first night usually is the most difficult since you would not have had the opportunity to pre-order your dinner.

The first night we dined at Teppanyaki, the Japanese Hibachi Restaurant.  I was concerned about this restaurant because the food is prepared on the grill in front of you and everyone's food is prepared at the same time.  As soon as we boarded the room we went to Teppanyaki and advised them of my being gluten free.  I placed my order for dinner at that time.    We had made our reservations at this restaurant for 5:30 so that the grill would be clean and less chances of there being any cross contamination.  The chef came out and confirmed my selection and explained how he would prefer my food first to eliminate any cross contamination.  I did not have to tell him!  It was wonderful!  Twirling knives, food tossed in the air . . . great show, great food and no gluten!  I would liked to have had was some coconut aminos' or gluten free soy sauce, but it was tasty and safe.  I am not sure how they would avoid possibility of cross contamination after the first meal preparation.  If you decide to dine at Teppanyaki I would recommend dining at 5:30.  After dinner we went to Cagney's to pre-order my dinner for the following night.

The second night we dined at Cagney's, this is NCL's steakhouse.  Consider yourself warned. . . . do not eat lunch!  The portions are extremely large!  When I arrived I provided the head waiter with my cabin # and advised him that I had pre-ordered my dinner.  He came back a few minutes later and confirmed what I had ordered and that my meal was gluten free.  The food again was amazing and gluten free!  Just remember after dinner to go to the restaurant that you will be eating at the following day to order you meals ahead.

The third night we dined at Bamboo which is Pan Asian Cuisine.   When my husband was making our dinner reservations I told him that I did not want to eat at Bamboo.  I had serious reservations about anything being gluten free.  Asian food tends to be limited when you are gluten free, at least locally where I live.  I had gone to Bamboo after dinner at Cagney's and had pre-ordered and was surprised at the meals they stated they could prepare for me.  So with obvious skepticism I went to dinner.  Again the head waiter took my cabin # and came back and confirmed the meal I had chosen and that it was gluten free.  This is the one restaurant that I expressed concerns to the waiter.  My food arrived as did the concern that I was going to be sick later or the food was going to be bland.  Well, neither of those happened!  The food was amazing!  We were going to have to go back there on another night!  It had been a very very long time that I had dined out on Asian Cuisine that the food was delicious!  I highly recommend Bamboo if you are gluten free and miss Chinese food!

The fourth night we dined at La Cucina which is Italian.  Again I had pre-ordered my meal the night before and my waiter had confirmed my selection.  The options are a little more limited at this restaurant.  They have gluten free pasta and they do a great job preparing it.  Many restaurants where I live overcook it and it is all mushy.  The pasta at La Cucina was done perfectly.    When you initially are seated at La Cucina they will bring over a basket of bread and some dipping sauces.  Be sure to ask from gluten free bread and an extra plate of dipping sauces.  The waiter thought it odd that I wanted my own dipping sauces so I explained cross contamination to him.  I tend to take the opportunities to educate other people about the importance of not having any gluten if you have Celiac disease.  I had spaghetti and meatballs and it was very good.  My husband loves Chicken Parmigiana and I do not make it at home so this was a great opportunity for him to have a meal that he loves!  I should have asked if they could make Chicken Parmigiana gluten free but did not think of it.  Maybe the next cruise . . . . .

We dined every night at the specialty restaurants, this is a package that we purchased when we made our reservations.  It was $119 per person for the entire week.  We were able to pick the restaurants ahead of time and have private dining the entire week.  I feel the wait staff is better than at main dining.  We had no waits to be seated and the food the entire week was very good!

The other thing we did that made our trip more enjoyable was to stay in a suite.  We were in cabin # 12510.  When you stay in a suite (not a mini suite) you have Concierge and Butler service.  Our Butler (Jennifer Calixto) was advised that I was gluten free and each night we had gluten free snacks, chocolate or canapes brought to our room!  She did an amazing job, we hope to have her as our Butler the next time we sail on the Dawn!  But the biggest benefit is that you can dine at Cagney's for Breakfast and Lunch.  This made being gluten free so much easier!  I had the same wait staff each morning which made it much easier.  Again, be sure to pre-order all your meals the day before.

I hope this review helps you in your decision about sailing on the Norwegian Dawn!  Feel free to ask question and I will do my best to assist!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gluten Free on the Disney Fantasy!

We sailed on the Disney Fantasy August 4th thru the 11th.  As with any travel I always pack up some gluten free snacks for the just in case occasions.  I bring Larabars!  Quick, Easy and always safe!
Day 1
We arrived on the cruise ship on the 4th.  For those of you who have cruised previously, the first thing the cruise lines do is direct everyone to the buffet.  I went up to the buffet and spoke with the one of the chefs and he advised us what our options were.  We selected which foods we would like and he went back and prepared our food for us.  They literally went back to the kitchen and prepared our food!  This definitely reduces the chances of cross contamination.  I then met with the dining staff to confirm that my daughter and I were registered as requiring a gluten free diet.  They confirmed that we were listed as gluten free.
Our dining rotation began at the "Enchanted Garden".  What a beautiful dining room!  Our Server was Gonsalo.  He advised that we could order what we wanted and the kitchen staff would prepare it for us.  After our meal he presented us with the menu for the following night and we selected what we would like to have the following night.  My husband loved this . . . . . he always wanted to know what he could have the following night!  The only disappointments were the gluten free bread and the dessert.  We were not given an option on desserts and the gluten free bread in disgusting.  I have been gluten free since January and the only time I was impressed with the bread was bread from Against the Grain in Vermont.
Day 2
We went to the "Royal Court" for breakfast and just advised our server that we were gluten free and they again prepared our food.  They also had gluten free donuts. . . . this is something we normally do not have at home, but we did try them and were pleasantly surprised!  Also, I have to say . . . .the coffee is the best coffee!  I had seen on a blog that I follow that the Disney Fantasy had gluten free chocolate chip cookies so we asked about them at breakfast and they went and brought us a plate of them!  We did not eat them for breakfast . . . . . not then anyway!
At lunch time we went to the buffet.  I am always nervous going to a buffet, but Disney exceeded all of my expectations!  I just asked for the chef and we had a repeat performance of the previous buffet experience.
At dinner time were wereDinner #2  The dining room was the "Royal Court".  This is their very formal looking dining room.  Again we were served the disgusting bread. . . . my daughter will eat it, but only the crust part.  The meal was amazing!    Desert was delicious!  Creme Brulee'!
Day 3
We arrived at St Marteen!  We went to breakfast at the buffet.  This time we were helped by a Chef  whose name was Levi Bailey.  He prepared our breakfast for us and it was delicious!  My daughter and husband went off on an excursion  "Sea Trek Helmet Dive".  I did not go . . . . . I am absolutely terrified to be under water.  Instead I stayed on the ship and relaxed. . . . and by relaxed, I mean that I went to the spa!  : )
When they returned we went up to the buffet for lunch and again Levi helped us with our food selections.  For dinner we were at the "Animators Palate".  What an amazing restaurant!  It was so exciting to watch the reactions of all the children!  That Crush  "The turtle from Finding Nemo"  actually converses with the guests at the table was so amazing.  The food again was amazing.
Day 4
We arrived at St Thomas!  We again went to the buffet for breakfast.  We had to be ready for our excursion at 9:30, so it was an early day.  Levi again helped us with our breakfast selections.  I tend to stick with omelets because I know that I will always like them.  My daughter tried the pancakes and she was not happy with them.  She makes pancakes at home using gluten free Bisquick with a little vanilla and some chocolate chips and they are very good.
Dinner was back in the "Enchanted Garden"
The cruise ship had Pirate night on this night and fireworks off the back of the ship!  What an amazing site!
Day 5
We were at sea.  The food was great and dinner was again in the "Royal Court"
Day 6
We arrived at Castaway Cay!  This is Disney's private island.  This is the only place that I did not feel handled our gluten free request as well as the other dining venues.  We ate off the same buffet line as others who may or may not be as careful as we are.  The corn on the cob (which we normally would have eaten) was right next to the hamburger buns.  If anyone had picked up a bun and a crumb fell off, we would have had cross contamination.  So we passed on foods that were near the food with gluten in them.  The BBQ'd Ribs were delicious and we did not get glutened!
Dinner was back in the "Animators Palate"  Again we were impressed with the technology that the dining room has!  We drew pictures and they animated them while we were dining.  Our pictures were dancing on the screens!!  Dont misunderstand, our drawings were not that great but we were very impressed with the technology!  Dinner again was amazing!
Day 7
We arrive back in Port Canaveral.

Things I learned about being gluten free on this cruise:
Try to find a chef and stick with that one chef!  If you are on the Disney Fantasy, please ask for Levi!  He did an amazing job meeting all of our dietary needs!  He was super friendly and very helpful!
Confirm that you are registered as gluten free when arriving on the ship.
Get cookies! The cookies are from http://omgitsglutenfree.com/
Relax and know that they are going to take care of your dietary needs!

Disney by far exceeded our expectations on everything . . . . . .except for the gluten free bread . . . . . yukk




  

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is how life should always be!

Happy Monday everyone!
What an amazing day today.  The weather was very hot but we had an evening rain which cooled things off.  Enough that my husband and I were able to go out walking!  It is the first time we have really walked for exercise in a long long time.  It was so nice to have that time together to plan for the future and talk about our concerns with each other. 
I made a new recipe for dinner tonight.   Mia's Domain | Real Food: Slow Roasted Smoked Paprika Molasses Pork Chops

I think it came out pretty good.  I prefer not so sweet so next time I make it I will probably cut down a little on the Molasses or the Honey.  I also think I will shorten the cooking time by 1/2 hour.  It seemed just a tad drier than I prefer.  I made this for my Husband, my daughter and her boyfriend.  They all agreed that they were a little dry.  I used pork chops that were about 1/2 inch thick.  So maybe if they were 1 inch thick the 3 hour cook time would have be better.

I love trying new recipes and look forward to trying more recipes for Mia's Domain!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Traveling paleo and gluten free!

So . . . . I have been traveling lots over the last few months.
We cruised with Princess cruise lines.  After we boarded the ship, I checked for when I could speak to the dining staff.  I went and met with the matride' and reviewed my dietary requirements.  I think it made dinner less worrisome as I knew how they handled special requirements.  They presented me the next nights menu at each dinner and I was able to select what I would like and they prepared it and or modified it so that I would be able to enjoy the meal!  I definitely did not stay on Paleo for the entire trip.  It is pretty unbelievable how quickly how non paleo food affects my digestion!  Princess cruise lines did an amazing job with the wait staff and dining requirements.  I have cruised a lot over my life and this is the first cruise that I have been on that I did not gain weight!  It is sooooo amazing.

In June we sailed with Carnival Cruise lines  and we pretty much handled it the same way.  I was definitely a little more concerned about them meeting my dietary requirements because it was Carnival.  But, I was pleasantly surprised!  I did not have a single meal that made me sick!  I think that it is partially because I am making better personal choices about my foods!  Again, no weight gain!
So we are in July now and I am 7 months into being gluten free and I am now down to 147 pounds!  It is so amazing to me how gluten affected my weight, I am sure poor food choices played a part as well.

I am going to start the 21 Day Total Transformation  by Robb Wolf on August 12th.  I have never been one to exercise much, this will be another big change for me. 

Some of my favorite blogs are
Against All Grain She has an amazing Bread!!!!
Every Day Paleo
Health-Bent
Wheat Belly Wheat Belly is by Dr William Davis.  He has also written a book titled  Wheat Belly.
I definitely recommend this book.  It really will give you some insight into our foods, specifically grains.
I am constantly looking for recipes to try and I will try posting the ones that I really enjoyed!

Thanks for reading.  If anyone reading has any recommendations for the 21 day Total  Transformation please feel free to comment!