Hey, it’s been awhile…

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Hello all! I apologize for being MIA the last couple of months..errr…21 months… (sorry I assumed you were all waiting with baited breath for my next random post!) We’ve had some changes in the last several months, which has left me with less energy for blogging.

I’ve run more races (which include a Try-a-Tri, a 10k and a Half-Marathon): some good, some not-so-good. I’ve also made some interesting recipes: again, some good, and some not-so-good.

We’ve turned another 180 degrees regarding our eating. As a refresher, my oldest, Jonathan, was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance on his 3rd birthday in August 2012, so we embarked on eating gluten-free.

In Fall 2012, those ugly tummy troubles reappeared, but this time with different symptoms in my little Cruzy. We had a different type of testing done, and Cruzy was diagnosed with a dairy main intolerance, and a fruit/sugar combination intolerance. We thought, “What the heck?”, why not re-test Jonathan? His results revealed dairy, buckwheat and soy main intolerances and fruit/sugar and potato/grain combination intolerances. WHAT?!

It was explained to us that a genetic intolerance to potatoes/grains can cause digestive reactions to wheat and gluten. So that could explain why he had issues two years ago. However, the main ingredients in gluten-free products, such as tapioca and potato starch, tapioca and potato flour, and xanthan gum, can irritate a potato issue. So maybe a few months of gluten-free might have healed his gut, but the continued diet made it worse?

At first, I experienced a lot of “Mom guilt”, wondering how I didn’t know what was best for my boys to eat. Some days it makes my head spin (there were real tears shed during that first trip to the grocery store after the diagnosis!), but now I’ve come to terms with the extra cooking and baking, if I know that they’re happy and feel good. I’m not perfect though, and allow them ice cream or cheese once in a while. They’re growing up, as they know they can only have a little bit, or too much could cause a tummy ache.

 

My little baker!

 

Saturday morning green monster smoothies! (dairy and sugar-free)

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIBC Run for the Cure

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Wow! What an amazing race and an amazing cause!

I had heard of the Run for the Cure before, but had never participated, so I was pleasantly surprised at the camaraderie, upbeat spirits and of course, the snazzy pink outfits!

I’ve just recently been going to Zumba classes with my co-workers, so I was super excited to participate in the Zumba warm-up…and so was Jonathan!: The video evidence is here. :) (Being married to a Mexican has obviously done nothing for my Latin dancing skills).

We were given the choice between a trail route or an alternate paved route. As we were waiting for the race to start,  I heard a woman say that there was a huge hill at the end of the paved race route so I opted for the trail!

Well, after running up a HUGE hill 2 minutes in, I felt done already. Then, as the majority of the runners turned off to the paved route, I continued on with a handful of people to the trail. I wondered why they all seemed to be going the paved way?

It was really scenic and beautiful; however, instead of the promised hill at the end, the trail route was full of hills! Teaches me to eavesdrop before the beginning of a race!

All in all, I was happy and proud to have participated, and took 4 minutes off the time from my last race. Next year I’d like to start my own team and go all out with fundraising and pinkness. Who’s in?!

Extra fun bonus: the 2013 Run for the Cure falls on my 30th birthday!

My boys!

A sea of pink ready to go!

The Survivors

I was amazed at the age range of the survivors – some women even looked my age. I was also amazed at the male supporters.  Many had the name of their Aunt or Grandmother or Mother on their shirt as the one they were running for, but most had written  <-HER->.  Some had 4 to 6 names on their shirts.

Perhaps the most thought provoking of the shirts was Ange’s from Hol:Fit. She wrote that she was running for “All women that have suffered because of chemicals in their beauty products”.  Food for thought!

The Gluten-Free Gonzalez’s!

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Well, the results are in, and just as our Naturopathic Doctor suspected, Jonathan’s allergy test showed a high reaction to gluten, wheat, rye and spelt. We weren’t overly surprised considering Jonathan has felt A LOT better since we started our gluten-free diet.

We were waiting to see the results because he was still having some minor tummy issues so we thought we’d probably see something else…..and we did. Citrus fruits showed high reactivity as well – more than the wheat and gluten! Total surprise! He doesn’t drink a lot of orange juice but little mandarins are a favourite around our house for dessert. Sugar cane and almond had low reactions as well. Darn! We drink a lot of almond milk!

I use “we” a lot because it’s not just about Jonathan changing his diet. We have decided as a family to give up gluten and now citrus. We felt it would be unfair (and definitely hard to explain to a three year-old!) to eat or drink certain food and beverages in front of him. As well, do I really want to be making our breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks/baked goods and then have to make something alternative for him? No way!

It’s now been over a month since we took gluten out of our diet and I have to say, it hasn’t been super difficult. My Naturopath gave me a lot of recipes to start with and the internet has been a great place to find recipes. I’ve also experimented with gluten-free flours in my favourite recipes that currently call for all-purpose and whole wheat flours.

Here’s a look at some of the food I’ve been making (poor photography, but you get the idea!):

Stampede BBQ Lentil Sandwich (on homemade GF bread of course!)

Sweet Potato, Corn and Black Bean Hash

Pizza with GF crust

Rice Krispie GF Energy Bars

I run like a girl!

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I never thought I would say this, but I am a runner!

After my second son, Cruz, was born in March 2012, I was looking for a new form of exercise to get back into shape (okay, well at least back to how I looked before). We were receiving the Running Room Magazine that was addressed to the previous owners of our house, and I really enjoyed reading all the inspiring stories of people who had started running and how it had changed their lives. In May, I joined a Womens’ Only Learn to Run clinic.

Seriously, during my first “run”, I thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion! It was only 7 reps of 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking, but yet it was HARD.

I never liked running when I was growing up. I always preferred soccer or aerobics, most specifically TAE BO (“Double-time!”) :). Even though my parents started running when I was a teenager, I still had no interest in it. However, I realized that everyone I knew who got past the first hurdle absolutely fell in love with it.

I wouldn’t say now that I completely love it, as each run is still a struggle. It’s more like a very strong like at the moment. I completed my first 5K, Erica’s Wish, on August 12th:

Since then, it’s been a real battle even lacing up my shoes and getting out there. Once I’m able to escape (or bring hubby and kids in the jogging stroller), it’s another battle getting myself to complete the whole 5k. I had stopped running for over a week when Jonathan had his mystery virus symptoms, and since then I haven’t been able to get my groove back.

I saw a picture that totally speaks to me:

It’s all a mind game and I just need to keep pushing myself forward when I feel like I can’t keep going.

I’ve registered for three races so far this fall: CIBC Run for the Cure on September 30th, the Oktoberfest Fun Run on October 8th and the Toronto Lakefront Marathon (5K) on October 14th. I knew that if I committed myself to these races, I would have to keep trying to better my endurance and speed.

I have to say that I could never have done this without my extremely supportive husband. He’s never been a dedicated runner and just ran while playing soccer. He decided to start running when I did and completed Erica’s Wish with an amazing time! When we all go out together, he pushes the kids in the double jogger so I don’t have to.  I’m so proud of him as he has totally left me in the dust, moving onto running 10k!

Eating out while on a gluten-free diet

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Well, we are one week into our gluten-free diet and things seems to be going very well. Jonathan still asks for rainbow goldfish every day but he’s easily distracted by other things. :) We were in the middle of using Smarties as rewards for potty training and thankfully, he doesn’t need them anymore to go because they have wheat in them too – go figure!

This past weekend we decided to go to Port Dover and stay overnight in Simcoe. I’ve always tried to make my children very portable so we would be able to visit people and places without too much of a hassle. I was already planning on bringing some gluten-free snacks and my lovely friend Rose (who is a Registered Dietician) was also bringing gluten-free snacks, but I knew dinner might be difficult to organize while staying in a hotel.  I thought I was being a very smart parent by researching our restaurant options and found a website called Celiac Scene that shows restaurants that have gluten-free items. According to the site, Simcoe has a restaurant that has wheat-free items, but I forgot to check the schedule! We pulled into the parking lot only to discover that it is closed on Sundays. Oh right, small town. I quickly googled and discovered that the Boston Pizza down the street from our hotel had a gluten-free menu!

When we asked about the gluten-free menu, the waitress told us that they had taken the gluten-free items off their menu except for the gluten-free pizza crust. I was puzzled as it seems that more and more people are discovering a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, so why would they take this option away? Well, GF pizza crust was better than nothing!

On a couple of blogs, I’ve seen that the reason behind pulling the gluten-free items was that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there was no way Boston Pizza could guarantee there wouldn’t be cross-contamination. Boston Pizza makes this claim on the Nutrition section of their website as well.

I ordered my pizza with pineapple and it was very tasty. Jonathan and Dave, my husband, also liked it, but were too filled up on GF snacks to want to eat very much.

We are only one week in and still have about two weeks to go until we receive the official allergy test results; however I can already see what a tough time people with allergies have in finding items that accommodate their diet. The items that are available are pricey, so that is why I am determined to make as much as I can from scratch!

Earlier this week, I saw a gluten-free pizza crust mix at Bulk Barn and decided to try it. Jonathan and Dave loved the pizza crust but I thought it was just okay. Sorry, no picture as it was devoured too fast! My Naturopath gave me a a lot of recipes, including a pizza crust recipe, so I will definitely be trying that next. I’ve also been stumbling upon a lot of gluten-free blogs with recipes so I will also be trying those out. Thanks goodness for the internet! I can imagine it must have been much more difficult to search for support and recipes without it.

Several people have asked for my bread recipe, so I will be posting that soon on my recipes tab. I’ve made the bread twice now and although it is very good, I’m having trouble getting it to rise. I think I’m either doing something wrong when adding the yeast to the water at the beginning, or not letting it rise enough before baking in the oven. I will keep tweaking until I get a nice, high loaf.

Ok, I finally made a blog…I am a blogger!

After some requests by friends (I’m very flattered that they suggested this) I have finally started a blog. I am venturing into some new things and I guess they find it interesting enough for me to write about it in more detail than in my Facebook status updates.

I had no idea what to name my blog. I don’t know if I will stick to one topic or several so I didn’t want to name my blog one thing and discuss something completely unrelated. I may or may not have had a crush on Prince William and now that I live in Cambridge, I find it interesting that he and Kate were given the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Humour me, ok?!

Our new diet

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I’ve always loved to write and do research. However, now that I am a mom, I find myself researching and doing things I never thought I would! Since I was on maternity leave with Jonathan from 2009 – 2010, and making his baby food, I started researching childhood nutrition so I could give him the very best. This research has led our family to make a number of changes to our diet.

Since the New Year, we have been eating ‘flexitarian’ style, meaning we may or may not eat meat (but mostly not). We have considered becoming vegan, but we love our cheese and our yogurt. My son started drinking goat’s milk at 12 months of age and just recently switched to almond and soy milk. I was tired of buying such expensive milk and wanted us all drinking the same kind! I don’t usually discuss our milk drinking habits because people get really defensive about their cow’s milk and things have gotten confrontational.

The topic of milk will come up again I’m sure, but this post is about gluten.

For the first two-and-a-half weeks of August, Jonathan, who just turned three, was experiencing some pretty yucky virus-like symptoms. It was really strange, because the symptoms would come and go. However, the one constant symptom was his sore belly. It was very difficult to hear him say “Mommy, my belly hurts.” and not know what was making it hurt! He would barely eat anything and would say he ate too much after eating very little. We started to suspect dairy after he was sick after eating cheese a few times. That’s pretty much the only dairy he eats, so I thought that would do the trick, but it did not.

I took him to the family doctor after a week-and-a-half and she just gave me some tips on keeping him hydrated. She said it was a virus that would eventually go away on its own and gave me a requisition for blood work for three days later if the symptoms did not go away. I called Telehealth at one point and they were only interested in the last 24 hours and didn’t want to hear about the last two weeks of symptoms. I googled like crazy and really didn’t see how Jonathan’s symptoms fit into a virus.

When I went to see my naturopathic doctor, she mentioned gluten almost immediately. THANK YOU FOR NOT SAYING IT’S JUST A VIRUS! A food allergy made sense to me because of the sporadic nature of his symptoms.

Five days ago, Jonathan had blood work done as part of an allergy kit that will be tested against gluten, dairy and 96 different foods! Turns out I wasn’t too far off in suspecting dairy as a gluten allergy can cause lactose intolerance.  We are supposed to receive the results in three weeks, but after the blood test we started eating gluten free to see if it made a difference. It has!

Eating gluten-free doesn’t suck, but it isn’t great either. Gluten, most specifically wheat, is in EVERYTHING! We’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of Jonathan’s favourite foods including Goldfish, bagels and free cookies from Zehrs. I’m fairly new to cooking and complicated baking so I’m venturing into some unchartered territory by making my own gluten-free bread and bagels. I actually used my bread maker for the first time! We all loved the bread and bagels, but they are pretty light so Jonathan keeps wanting more and more (that is a good thing after his lack of appetite!). If I can figure how to do so, I will post the pictures of the bread and bagels straight from the oven!

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