Sincerely Carolina

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Ask Questions.

by caroline

Day 1 of the Gluten-Free Sugar Cleanse (GFSC) has been great so far!

I started off my morning with some Yogi Detox Tea (NOTE: Not all teas are gluten-free; be sure to check with the manufacturer) and an early morning class with my friend, Lauren. You know I must love her a lot because I was definitely feelin’ last night’s yoga workshop. But it felt good to stretch it out and it’s always easier to get to class when you know you have a friend waiting for you.

Breakfast was a two egg omelette seasoned with sea salt and served with a rather large portion of veggies stir-fried in olive oil.

For the rest of the morning, I worked on several freelance projects that I have going on, and then met my mom for lunch to discuss/plan some things for my sister’s upcoming wedding in June. I stuck with a veggie salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar  drizzled on top. There were also a few cheddar cheese cubes on the side that a mixed in.

Naturally, I picked out many of the tomatoes as a result of my issues. The salad was good, but not exactly filling, so I knew I would probably need to eat something else when I got home. Nevertheless, it was wonderful as always to spend a few hours with my mom and, of course, to talk about my sister’s big day!

By the time I returned home, I was already hungry again, so I toasted 2 small slices of gluten-free bread and spread a little almond butter on it. I munched on that while sipping on some very toasty peppermint tea.

And that about brings me to right now. There have been a couple of moments today where I almost “slipped” and added unnecessary sugar into my diet (e.g. jelly on my toast, a bite of brownie when I saw Dan cutting the last one take to work). Overall, those moments make me realize how often I probably do just that — sneak “little bits” of sugar into my daily routine that add up to something big.

As for the GFSC, I am not following the prescribed menu 100 percent. Instead, I have taken Jennifer’s ultra-cool guidelines and suggestions, and I am making them work for my life. For example, the bread that I had today had about 5 grams of sugar in it. Should I have technically had it? No. But while I wholeheartedly believe in sticking to something and seeing what one’s body can accomplish, I also believe in listening to what each individual requires. I have spent so much time in the past restricting what I ate — I know better than to take it too far. (By the way, that doesn’t mean I’m going to find an excuse to work brownies into the cleanse.)

So, that being said: I had some toast. I know Jennifer would agree with the notion that this cleanse is not meant to be ridiculously regimented — it’s meant to get the participants feeling healthy and GREAT about their lives.

And that toast made me feel oh-so-good. ;)

Dan’s going to be home rather late tonight, so I am thinking about having some fish and leftover potatoes for dinner. We’ll see!


I want to take a few minutes to share a recent dining out experience that I had. A couple of weeks ago, we ventured to a local Pittsburgh restaurant to check out their dinner menu. I had been there before for breakfast and fresh juice, but never for dinner and we thought it would be fun.

The restaurant is big on pointing out their attention to allergies and intolerances directly on their menus, and I was reassured that everything on the menu was gluten-free with the exception of any dishes that were served on bread (you have to request the gluten-free option).

I was set on ordering a dish that contained temeph, but I was a little nervous being that I had only heard of one or two brands of gluten-free tempeh. After explaining to the server that I have Celiac disease and pointing out my concerns about the tempeh, I was reassured that it was gluten-free. I asked him if he could please check with the chef.

When he returned he said the chef said the tempeh was gluten-free and, in fact, that the chef suffered from a gluten intolerance and was OK to eat it.

I ordered the dish.

Within 45 minutes of leaving the restaurant, I felt dizzy, nauseous and like I was going to be sick. When I returned home, I vomited and then spent most of the night having a personal relationship with the toilet (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN). By the morning, I was dehydrated and had a severe migraine that lasted for three days thereafter.

It was miserable. And I was positive I had somehow eaten gluten.

I wrote the restaurant an email expressing how much I loved their food and asking if they could please help me identify what might have went wrong. I listed the menu items I had eaten and hoped they could provide me with some sort of answers. I received no response.

I sent the email two more times (with no luck) before deciding that I would just stop into the restaurant and ask to speak to a manager/chef.

When I did, I was directed to the chef and I explained the situation to her. She informed me that she was not sure who my server was that night, but there tempeh did in fact contain barley. “It’s wheat-free,” she said. “I know that because I’m wheat intolerant.”

My guess is that she was also the chef who told our server that night that the tempeh was gluten-free because she too was “gluten intolerant”. I might be wrong, but it sounds like the chef from the night we visited and the one I spoke to are one in the same.

Anyway, she apologized profusely and, quite honestly, was very nice about the whole situation. I told her how sick I was that night and explained to her that — given the fact that I am now OK — my concern was not for myself, but for the people who eat at the restaurant in the future. I wanted her to understand just how harmful it is for someone with a gluten intolerance/Celiac disease to ingest barley. I explained to her that eating tempeh that evening was no different than me eating half a loaf of bread. It was hands down the worst contamination experience I have had since being gluten-free.

Again, she apologized and was very kind. I asked that she please change the menu, so that future guests would not run into the same problem.

OK, so my point: When you think you’ve asked enough questions, ask one more time. Don’t be afraid to be THAT girl or guy. If it was the difference between asking one more question or hugging a toilet for an evening, then which would you choose?

I know it’s hard sometimes, but educating these servers and chefs is our only hope of finding restaurants where we can safely enjoy a meal. I’m not saying you have to be a jerk about it. Ask nicely and do it with a smile. Explain that you are not trying to be pushy, but rather that you are asking questions to avoid becoming extremely ill.

Your body will thank you.