Monday, August 5, 2013

3 GF Tips: College Socializing and Parties

College is a time for self discovery, growing up, and figuring out your place in the world. It's also a time you learn how to become your own mother. That's something no one tells you, but you figure it out soon enough. It's different than maturity, and more along the lines of self acceptance. You learn your strengths and weaknesses and how to work with them to help benefit you. It's actually quite marvelous, but also one of the most frustrating life lessons ever. If you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, it can be even more frustrating, and imperative that you learn this lesson as quickly as possible. It took me a couple years to finally realize this, and I became very very ill in the process. School, socializing, and work became more important than my health. I have since reevaluated my priorities and came up with these tips to help maintain them.

Allowing yourself to safely socialize without coming in contact with gluten can be tough, but it is possible! It takes will power to stick to some of these tips since they require some planning ahead, but trust me it is worth it! 

**Disclaimer: One of these tips discusses alcohol. I am not suggesting anyone drink alcohol or condoning underage drinking. It is an important topic to introduce alcohol as a source of gluten, for anyone OVER 21 YEARS OF AGE.** 

So here we go:

1) Late night of classes? Finals week? Friends invite you over for a study sesh or a party? Gluten free frozen dinners and premade frozen pizzas are LIFESAVERS!!! Ever since Udi's Gluten Free came out with premade pizzas, my life has become much easier and more fun. It's not the healthiest choice, but cooking every meal is hardly possible between work and classes. Make sure you bring tin-foil to cook the pizza on if you're going to a friends house! It prevents cross contamination in the oven. Also make sure nothing is cooking with your pizza, and that nothing was cooked in the oven up to 2 hours prior. Gluten becomes airborne when heated. 

2) Day-trips or any type of travel require a packed lunch. This is a preventative for becoming tempted to eat something that may not be safe while out and about. Having a small cooler or lunch box is helpful. I have a frozen bag from Whole Foods that's tall and zips closed. I use it for EVERYTHING. It's awesome. I am a big fan of sandwiches, wraps, or salads for packed lunches. Fruit and nut bars are the gluten free equivalent of fast food, so I usually have a couple on me at all times. There are these amazing non-parishable lunch boxes called Go-Picnics that have gluten free and vegan options as well. 

3) Parties Parties Parties!!! One of the most gluten-filled places are college parties. Beer pong literally means there will be flying beer, and kegs keep it going all night. Hunch-punch contains any type of alcohol the hosts can get their hands on, and most diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance WILL react to alcohol distilled from a grain containing gluten (I do, and have been hospitalized after drinking whiskey because my body couldn't handle it). Your best bet? BYOB. Find some gluten free beer or hard cider to bring with you, or make yourself some margaritas with your favorite tequila. If I'm out at a bar with my friends and I'm not sure if a drink is gluten free, I honestly just google it. If I can't find the answer online, then I'll pass on the drink and order one I know is safe. Tequila and rum are usually the safest alcohols to choose from since they're made from agave and sugar cane, not grain. Look for tequila that's 100% agave to be safe (1800). Vodka made from corn (Tito's), potatoes (Chopin), and grapes (Ciroc) are gluten free, but flavorings may contain gluten so always double check or stick to non-flavored. If you're feeling classy: wine, port, brandy, and champagne are all gluten free!

Those are my top three gluten free college tips regarding socializing. I've learned from making tons of mistakes, and carelessly ending up in compromising situations where I can't keep myself safe from gluten. These tips are like my fail-safe. If I follow these, then I know I can enjoy my time out with my friends instead of constantly being on the lookout for gluten and gluten-free options. 

It takes time to get the hang of a new routine, but learning how to take care of yourself is the real key to success. Keeping yourself healthy and having a good time is possible--I swear. It just takes a little planning. :)

Hope these help!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Disconnected!

I haven't had wifi in my house for well over a week, and I've had some of the worst luck this entire month. Needless to say, that's what accounts for my absence. The G-Free Guide will be up and running soon!

I have a few random informative posts, and one or two recipes to add. My GF-Sunday-Funday-Adventure-Time posts are still being worked on, so hang tight for a little while longer. I'll include a Packed Lunch for one of the recipes, and that can always be used for any type of adventure! :)

Right now I'm utilizing the free wifi at my favorite Starbucks. (I just wish they would put even less ice in my "light ice" iced coffee...#firstworldproblems) Not having wifi has sent me into a whirlwind of disconnect... (also #firstworldproblems) It's not that I rely on the internet or my iPhone. Sometimes, I willingly walk away for weeks on end and have no care in the world that I am not constantly in control, connected, or informed. It's just, this week I had a bunch of stuff to take care of, and I had to put almost everything on hold. Luckily, I used my cell phone data as a wireless hot spot (until I used all the data for the entire family plan...... OOPS) to register for the upcoming fall semester, but the rest of my To-Do list was pushed to the side. Car insurance quotes, budgeting the next two weeks, blog posts.....

I don't even remember what I was going to do last Monday. It's been the most frustrating week of my life. ONE. THING. AFTER. ANOTHER. I ran into my friend Audrey while getting a smoothie, and she said, "Things happen in threes, so now you're good!" But then I started counting. This entire month has been going down hill since the beginning. I've long past hit the magical "Three's the Charm" button. I've pushed it nine times over.

I'm convinced my luck has run out. I've taken it for granted. I think Jupiter left my house of awesome or something. Susan Miller told me Jupiter was going to bring me luck until some month in 2014. What gives?! I rely on this!!! I'll just have to wish twice a day at 11:11 every day. Ensure that somewhere at some point I'm manifesting the right things to move forward in my life. (I tend to dwell and hold myself back...) Regardless, I am going to try and reverse this string of bad luck with as much positivity and sarcastic comments I can muster. My friends always help, since they're pretty awesome.

To cheer myself up I picked up Woodchuck Summer seasonal hard cider. All I have to say is--OMG. The most DELICIOUS thing to ever hit my taste buds!!! I can't get enough of the flavorful bursts of blueberry. It's my newest summer favorite!

I hope everyone had a great week. Now, on to the weekend!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Stir-Friday: Teriyaki Beef, Harusame, and Local Veggies!

IT'S THE WEEKEND and you know what that means! It's time to kickoff the first ever Stir-Friday here at The G-Free Guide!!! Today I present to you harusame, or mung bean noodles. They're a traditional Japanese noodle used for many different dishes. You can add them to stir-fry, soups, and spring rolls. They're usually made from mung bean starch, and are completely translucent when cooked. They're so fun to play with in the kitchen! Now, onward to the good stuff!



Ingredients:
1 lb Beef 
3 c Fresh Veggies 
1 package Harusame (Mung Bean Noodles)
3 tbs San-J Teriyaki Sauce
1 tbs San-J Tamari 
1tsp Rice Vinegar 
Sriracha, Salt, and Pepper (optional/to-taste)

*Disclaimer: I don't measure any spices or sauces when I cook, so everything is a general "ball park" estimate. Add or remove ingredients based on personal preference! :)


Use a LARGE pan or wok to cook this in! First and foremost, brown the beef with 1 tbs each of the teriyaki and tamari sauce. Add sriracha, salt, and pepper as well if you'd like. Cook at med/high heat. Once finished, drain and lower heat to medium. 

Next, add veggies to the drained meat, and boil water for the noodles. DO NOT COOK NOODLES YET!!! They only take 4 minutes to cook, so that's the last thing you do. When you add your veggies, add another tbs or two of the teriyaki, and tamari sauce. Also add 1 tsp rice vinegar. This is when I whip out more sriracha because I like things spicy. I also add a little cumin, and some red pepper flakes during this time. Let veggies and meat simmer in spices and sauces for a few minutes at low/medium heat, until veggies are cooking to your liking.

Now you get to make some harusame!!! I used Eden (wheat free) Mung Bean Noodles for this recipe. Simply add noodles to boiling water for 4 minutes and that's it!

***REMEMBER: when buying any product, always make sure to carefully read the label and call the company to check for any gluten ingredients, hidden gluten, or cross contamination that may not be listed.*** 

Dish out the harusame on a plate, add stir-fried meat and veggies, and drizzle a little bit of the teriyaki sauce over the top--delicious! 

Enjoy!