When a tragedy strikes I believe we have the innate sense to help. However, when the tragedy happens far from home or when it's an overwhelming disaster we can feel so small and helpless in a world so big. I believe though, that even any tiny little thing we can do when we put our heart in the right place can help. Even if it's just one person or clean up one yard, or make a day a little easier on someone who is scared, lost or hurting. That's Gods purpose for it. I believe our inner health and happiness grows and flourishes when we are able to help our fellow man. Which brings me to my post. When I heard of the tornadoes in Oklahoma, like most of you, I felt like I should do something. These people lost their homes, some of them lost family members, friends, pets. It's unfathomable to imagine. And I felt at a loss of what I could do to help. Then one day as I was pinning and perusing recipes I was brought to a site that specializes in gluten-free packaged meals and a blogger was talking about the gluten-free crisis that takes place when disaster hits.
And that's when I realized what I wanted to do to contribute. It's hard enough when you have access to clean water, organic food, and a working kitchen to make sure we eat clean and healthy so our bodies don't break down. But think about being someone with food allergies, sensitivities, celiac, leaky gut, etc without access to these things? They are saying that even with the Red Cross, as amazing as they are, bringing in food a lot of isn't Gluten Free and celiac's are living on fruit :( While they are greatful to have food, A church in OK teamed up with GoPicnic.com to supply safe food to those who need it!
Today, June 10th, is the last day they are matching your order to double what is given but I believe they are accepting donations longer, shipping is FREE and the blog tells you where to send the food.
All the information can be found here. http://glutendude.com/gluten/gluten-free-donations/
You may visit www.gopicnic.com if you have any questions. I spoke to an awesome rep there to verify all the details and it's wonderful what they are doing in conjunction with the church in OK.
If you have already helped in others ways, don't feel pressured by this blog to do anything more. I just wanted to share my story and that I felt I was called to help in this way. Blessings! - Mandi
Our last full day on island was spent sleeping in, visiting Icarus once more (PENGUIN OBESSION. I want one now by the way.) Another trip to Fresco for lunch (seriously, pasta that tasted THAT good without wheat or cheese? Are you kidding. Of COURSE I went back.)
We decided to visit Iolani Palace on our trip and though we didn't have time to tour the inside this trip (a definite must if you go, and if we go again!) The grounds were amazing and the expanse of the palace on the outside was just breathtaking. When we arrived at the airport we had to walk further than I feel like I've EVER walked before to get to a terminal. And I've had to walk to A LOT of them when I was touring back in the day. This was ridiculous. Tip number eight: Get to the airport EARLY. We did, thankfully and didn't have to rush at all. But had we gotten to the airport without the two hour window we would have been running to our gate. Not cool. And I realize that tip wasn't about healthy eating, travel. It's just good sense. And a warning that Oahu Airport is HUGE. Once we finally made it to our gate, I became hungry. I had a six hour flight ahead of us and my travel 3 oz. applesauce that was plane-approved had merged with the lavender oil for my head to relax me on the flight rendering it inedible. Sad. Mr. Charming spoke with the airline and I found out if you order ahead of time you can get a gluten-free meal! But they were out. Sad, again. BUT! The normal meal they were serving was a side salad, gluten free white rice, peas and carrots and bottled water with teriyaki chicken. HAPPY DAY! I didn't have to starve on the plane. I gave Mr. Charming my chicken, it wasn't dairy free, and I got to eat. But a reminder! Tip number nine: Certain airlines will accommodate food issues if you ask ahead of time! We flew Hawaiian, and they are one of the few that still include a free meal. Mahalo to them for that! It was an amazing trip and I thank you for sharing in the memories of it with us! I hope my travel/food tips helped you. If you are traveling and have any questions or need help finding places to eat don't hesitate to contact me!
Day three in Hawaii was amazing. Tip number six: Take time to RELAX. Sometimes when Mr. Charming and I travel we want to make sure we pack in as much fun and activity as we can. By day three of the trip I had a little mini-meltdown. I needed to just BE. To just relax. That was why we got away in the first place.
He was very sweet and let me plan our morning. First we went to the penguin habitat because i LOVE penguins. Like, LOVE them. They are my favorite animal. I met a little penguin named Icarus and I got to pet him. At that point my day was made but we had a whole day of exploring Hawaii left, so on we went. We made our way down to the beach and the lagoon that was at our hotel. I have always dreamed of doing a few things in my lifetime, "bucketlist" if you will, but I dislike that word. I just don't like the word "bucket" very much. So, anyways. Stand-up board (a larger surf board that you stand on and paddle or row yourself around) always looked like it'd be pretty awesome. Approaching the surf shack though, I saw how large the board was, and how much larger the body of water was. So I almost opted for those little paddle boat things. But alas, I was in Hawaii standing just 5 feet from something I'd dreamed of doing for years. So fear-schmear. We rented one, got a two second "lesson" from a surf instructor that didn't even involve water and made our way to the shoreline. We didn't do it for very long, it was WINDY, but WE DIDN'T FALL OFF! So I count it a huge success.
After stand-up board, we went and lounged on the beach for a while and then we ate at an AMAZING little Italian Cafe at the village by our hotel. It was called Fresco. I recommend it if you ever visit Oahu. Great salads, (i got a pear and avocado spring mix salad) and AMAZING gluten-free pasta dishes. I ordered the grilled chicken penne with marinara. It tasted SO authentic Italian (I grew up in an Italian household so I'm picky.) Tip number 7: Visit cafes where you can order multiple courses if you can to stay fuller. Fresco had wonderful salads, Gluten/Dairy free entrees AND a dairy-free/gluten-free sorbet selection for dessert! It felt so decadent to be able to order MULTIPLE courses that I could eat. The afternoon/evening was spent at the International Marketplace, shopping, shopping and MORE shopping. For dinner we were invited to join Mr. Charmings work staff at dinner at Roy's. Roy's is also in Arizona and the waiters were SUPER accommodating They offered to make me any meat dish gluten-free/dairy-free. I unfortunately had eaten SO much of that amazing pasta dish and snacked on leftovers during hair and make-up that I wasn't even hungry when we went. But it was kind nonetheless. Tip number 8: Group outings can be a tough one. I have gotten used to not really going out to eat. Which does impede social engagements. A lot of my family/friends understand now what I am going through with food challenges, however a lot of people won't understand. To avoid awkward situations you can handle it a few different ways.
1. Offer to choose the restaurant. If you choose you'll be able to call ahead or search out menus online for something that is "you-approved".
2. Bring your own dish/sides. If you are eating somewhere casual, or a cafe' it's easy to discreetly bring your own dish, or sides/dressing etc. When my friends eat at places like Paradise Bakery, Chipotle etc, I can pack a little lunchbox that looks like a purse. I can bring my own salad or wrap. I usually match the type of cafe food everyone else is ordering so it kind of fits in. I also will bring my own small ziploc container of my own dressing, and many times I've carried an avocado in my purse to add healthy fat to a basic lettuce salad.
3. It's ok to say no thank-you. If you are put in an uncomfortable situation or you feel its a restaurant where you won't be safe, if you can't bring your own food along decline the invitation. Friends and family will understand. This was really hard for at first. I had friends get mad at me for "not hanging out" when all they did was socialize over food. The friends who do understand, we try to do other things to spend time together. We go on hikes, go play pool, or we get together at each others houses for "healthy pot-lucks".
Day two in Paradise we got up early so that we could beat the rush to go snorkeling at Haunama Bay. I of course grumbled a bit about getting up early, really early, on vacation but I'm so glad I did. It was so worth it. Tip Number Four: A healthy way to detox is excercise. Hiking down a volcano and snorkeling for four hours is the coolest excercise ever.
After snorkeling we made our way back to Waikiki since we had worked up quite an appetite and I went to my maps to search for a good gluten free locale to have some lunch. Cheeseburger Waikiki, while it sounds super-offensive for my careful diet they actually had a complete allergen menu! I ordered a plain burger patty, white rice, side salad with olive oil and fresh avocado. It was delicious and super filling!
After lunch we went and visited an old cemetery where my husbands great-grandparents were laid to rest. It was cool to see a connection between him and the island. We spent the rest of the day driving up close to the North Shore to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and learning about all of the different cultures. (Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, etc.) We picked up some awesome souvenirs and captured some breathtaking scenery on the drive up there. Remember Jurassic Park?
We again were having such a great time checking out the island we didn't make it to a steakhouse for dinner as planned. We stopped by a little cafe at our hotel and grabbed salads and water and had a midnight dinner picture on the shore (I brought an avacado in my bag I had picked up a whole foods, and grabbed a dairy-free dark chocolate and almond bar for dessert to share). An amazing way to end an amazing day. Tip number 5: Don't stress. Bring light snacks with you such as fruit, nuts or jerky in case you come across a place that's closed, such as we did, or to supplement a light salad if it's the only safe eat you can find. :)
So, we've arrived in paradise. It is absolutely beautiful here. A little humid, but who cares about humidity when you get to look at this:
Tip number one for traveling with food sensitivities, allergies, etc. Plan Ahead.
I did have some anxiety about traveling so far from home to an island where I don't know the stores, restaurants etc. I have been to Hawaii before, but that was four years ago, and though I remember the local fresh farmers markets and whole food, I didn't have the restrictions I have now so I wanted to be prepared so I didn't go hungry. We had a lot of fun excursions planned so I wanted to make sure I had fuel. So to plan ahead my husband pulled up Google Maps and we typed in our hotel and found it in Oahu, he then proceeded to show me that you can type just about anything in if you click "search nearby". I ended up finding a Whole Foods within 3 miles of our hotel, and 10 gluten free restaurants that ALSO had a dairy-free menu! I was so much more relaxed and was able to plan my trip and pack with excitement instead of hesitation due to food.
Tip number two: If you are traveling to a place where you are not finding the correct restaurants and you don't have the option of a Whole Foods, Sprouts, or to bring your own along, call ahead. Speak to chefs and restaurant owners/managers about your issues. If they are clueless or don't seem to care, MOVE ON. It's not worth getting sick on your vacation. Find a chef who will speak to you and who is knowledgeable about your needs.
Which brings me to Day 1 in Oahu: We left for our flight REALLY early in the morning (it was still dark out, so to me it was still the middle of the night) and though sometimes it's hard for me to eat that early I ate two organic hard-boiled eggs for protein since I didn't know what the plane would be serving. (Turns out it was NOTHING I could eat.) I also didn't take any food with me because of security. So I tried to sleep/entertain myself for six hours until we landed. Luckily, those eggs lasted a long time. So we have always DREAMED of visiting Aulani (The Hawaiian Disney Resort) because my husband and I are such HUGE Disney fans. I had looked up restaurants there ahead of time. MAKAHIKI at AULANI had a gluten-free menu listed on their website. The chef was so nice (Ask for Pu'u) and came out to my table to personally take my order and let me know that he would prepare my dish carefully as his daughter is celiac. (Disney chefs are THE BEST. I had a personal chef almost my entire trip to Disneyland last year, but more on Disney in another post.) At Makahiki I ordered a grilled chicken salad, with avocado, fresh tomato and olive oil for dressing and I DID cheat (just a little), they had gluten-free garlic fries that were AMAZING. I'm not suppose to have too much starch in my diet, but I decided to splurge since I had all fresh veggies and chicken. And I made my hubs take the bowl away half-way through because I would have scarfed them all. They were THAT GOOD.
After visiting Aulani for a couple of hours we actually went back to our hotel room and slept for a few hours (oops, stupid jet lag) and by the time we woke up almost all of the restaurants were closed! We went to Whole Foods and stocked up on groceries because our room had a fridge! Tip number 3. If you can't get a hotel room with a full kitchen or kitchenette, at least ALWAYS get a fridge! I was able to buy my natural lunch meat, hummus, fresh fruit and veggies which ended up being our dinner in the room the first night because even room service had closed. :( All in all a beautiful first day in Oahu!
Loving the energy levels of this weekend and I think my protein-packed organic eggs are due some thank you's! Yesterday I worked a half-day at the massage studio and finished up the day Spring Cleaning some of my home. I started my day with my wonderful Mr. Charming cooking me scrambled eggs and green bell pepper, to stay full a little longer I added a piece of coconut flour Paleo bread toasted and topped with almond butter. And because I still miss the comfort of a hot latte, I heated some unsweetened chocolate almond milk in one of my favorite "coffee mugs" and enjoyed breakfast before I had to be out the door.
The glorious deliciousness below was our pre-gym breakfast this morning. I wanted to make a variation of a breakfast burrito using gluten-free tapioca starch/rice flour tortillas, however, they fall apart easily so this tostada was born. Atop the yummy tortilla is organic eggs, avocado, cabbage and Trader Joe's peach salsa.
Spent the rest of the morning at the gym doing cardio and arms. I WILL be sore tomorrow. :D
Living in America we are told that it's normal to eat copious amounts of red meat. Fried potatoes. Drink our Venti and larger coffees. To eat on plates the size of frying pans. This is simply NOT right. It's NOT healthy and I hope that over time more people can see that in fact it's the cause of so many diseases and the obesity problem, or should I say epidemic, in our country.
I walk into a general grocery store, or peruse the menus at local eateries and I just simply shake my head. I support local markets with organic, GOOD food. I support restaurants who take it upon themselves to be educated and watch out for our health. Sadly, there are VERY few eateries that value health over the dollar. Which is why I simply try to eat at home AS MUCH as possible.
Now that's off my chest, I wanted to share that Mr. Charming and I sat down the other night, popped in a flick and enjoyed a delicious burger, fries and shake date night. "But Mandi, you just ranted about how bad that was!". And, now I was guilty of having this craving. I've been eating GF/DF for about a year now and I will tell you because of the way most of us grew up sometimes a girl just craves a burger.
But without giving into something that could be harmful to my health, or waistline as I count down to Hawaii/bikini season, I made a variation at home so I could know exactly what was on my plate.
We don't eat red meat often because I know a lot of what has been said about red meat and digestive health, however, with how much food I had to cut from my diet I do include it in my diet. I buy grass-fed, antibiotic free beef when I do. I also usually make my patties from natural turkey meat. I also have cut potatoes from my diet due to starch, as it feeds candida, but like I said, once in a while a girl needs to give in, if even just a little.
So during this food change, I will admit breakfast has been the hardest for me to have real creativity. It's easiest when I just stick to my InflammaCORE protein shake and not have to think about it too much. However, now with regaining energy and wanting more fuel to work-out and get through my workday I needed to find more things to eat since I can't have eggs everyday. This morning I took time before heading to the spa (for work, not play) to chop up some organic apples and pears and top with a gluten free granola and some plain coconut milk yogurt. It was good and surprisingly kept me really full and energized until the afternoon.
I know. I was bad. I always take lunch, and eat around 11:30.. however I was super-busy with new staff today so I didn't get to eat until three :( Boo!
I will posting a lot of my recipes here soon. I would love to hear some of your favorite breakfast recipes as well! The ones I love most are:
- Hard boiled eggs with sea salt and dill
- Gluten free granola & yogurt. (& now organic fruit!)
- Apple baked GF oatmeal
- Turkey bacon and avocado for healthy fats!!
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.