Tag: celiac

What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’? (Adventures in Cooking)

Spoiler alert: It’s me!  I’m cookin’!  I’m also good lookin’… and apparently talking to myself and answering my own questions.  Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  Or is it genius?  Eh, that’s fodder for another blog on another day.  Pushing the A.D.D. aside and moving along…

We learned in my last blog that I am newly on a gluten free diet and since this new development has confused my poor father beyond all belief, I am left with no choice but to cook for myself.  (Disclaimer: I used to attempt to cook for myself but it typically ended with my father standing over my shoulder telling me that I’m doing everything wrong until he swiped the spatula from my hand and shoved me out of the kitchen.  Needless to say, I gave up trying rather quickly.  Ah, the pitfalls of living at home. Pro: Mo’ money.  Con: Mo’ parents).  I am now forced to learn the old fashioned way: Trial by Fire.  Literally.

Luckily, I have not yet burned the house down so I’m counting that as a win.

I started slowly, with boxed gluten free/dairy free brownies by King Arthur Flour (did I mention that I can’t have dairy either?  Clearly, I killed someone in a past life). Surprisingly, these brownies turned out amazing (thanks to the chefs/engineers who figured out how to make that flour so bangin’) considering the lack of skill needed on my part!  I have been eating them non-stop for the last three days.  Actually, it’s become a bit of an addiction and I may have a problem.  This is going to be a once in a blue moon kind of treat otherwise I will blow up like Violet in Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Factory, minus the awesome violet hue.


The next day I made my own soup…from scratch!  Thanks to my new favorite app, Yummly, I was able to find a bunch of really great gluten free/dairy free recipes.  It even generates a shopping list for you, making grocery shopping that much easier!  (I’m not even getting paid to advertise for these people- I just think it’s an awesome app.  And if you struggle with the culinary things in life as much as I do, it may come in handy)*

Here’s the recipe for the soup if you want to try it out:  Cream of Broccoli

What I learned from making this soup:


  1.  The estimated cook time is total bull.  It took me twice as long to get to the final product as predicted.
  2. Chopping broccoli is frustrating and not nearly as fun without Dana Carvey singing to you as you go.
  3. Blenders sound really scary.  Even the counter trembles in fear.
  4. Dancing to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons while you cook is the ONLY way to cook.

I am rather happy with the way it turned out.  It was totally edible!  I would go so far as to say I enjoyed it!  Shocking, I know.

Today, I went all out and made a gluten free/dairy free shrimp scampi.  Again, here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out: Shrimp Scampi12711194_10106009590259829_6851101468767847583_o

What I learned from making this scampi:

  1.  When you heat oil and then attempt to toss garlic in the pan, it will jump out of the pan and try to kill you.  Oil hates you.  And your mother.
  2. When you don’t reduce the wine enough, you can get drunk from scampi.  (Well, if you have tolerance as low as mine which is, to be fair, pitifully non-existent).
  3. Don’t add too much lemon.  You’ll make really weird faces while you eat which is not ideal for date night (I would assume.  I slurp my s’ghetti alone, thank you very much).

Overall, I am ridiculously proud of myself for adulting so hard this week.  I took my first steps toward culinary greatness.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be the next Giada.

I’m just kidding.  My cooking show would be me cursing every five seconds because I knocked over the pepper AGAIN and spilled the olive oil on my scarf (because yes, I am that genius who cooks with a scarf on.  I also get said scarf caught on the kitchen drawer and almost choke myself mid-sautee).

Thinking about it now…this would be a BRILLIANT YouTube show. ::Makes a mental note::

Well, that’s enough of that.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my slightly (scampi induced) drunken ramblings.

gina cooking


*However, if Yummly wanted to pay me to advertise for them, I would be totally game for that too….


I’m Rubber, You’re Gluten

I have been through enough break ups this year to last me a life time.

First, it was dairy. Second, it was gluten.  Third, it was the boy.  And now, well now it’s gluten…again.

ryan gosling gf.jpg

You know how sometimes you get back with an ex and your friends give you a ton of shit for it?  That’s basically what happened with my doctor when he found out that I’d returned to gluten.  (But the bread was just So0o0o0o amazing and we all know that it’s really hard to say no to amazing bread…)

Maybe a little back story is necessary –

I have had a long history of health issues that doctors seemed determined to dismiss, some being so bold as to tell me “I don’t know [what that is] but good luck with that.”  Understandably, I developed an aversion to doctors.  Finally, way back in June of 2015, I broke, went to an allergist and had a bunch of blood tests done, including a Celiac Panel.  Shortly thereafter I ran away to Jamaica where I ate exclusively bread and pasta and gained at least 5lbs in bloat and discomfort.  It was super.  (Actually, Jamaica is really amazing, the “super” sarcasm should be applied only to the bloat and discomfort).  Mere hours on home soil and I was then back in the doctor’s office getting the results of my blood work.  The doctor came in and rather bluntly told me “So, it looks like you have Celiac Disease.  On the upside, you’ll be thin for the rest of your life.”


It didn’t make sense.  I’m Italian.  Bread and pasta are my life.  How could I possibly have Celiac Disease?  My IgA numbers were above average but lower than most Celiacs. Something’s not right.  Jeeze, I’m even below average as a Celiac.  Pitiful.

Step 1. Denial.

Actually, I didn’t get very far past the denial stage, to be honest.  I did my best to eat gluten free for about a month or so (and even then, I kept screwing it up- How was I supposed to know that a California Roll had gluten in it?  WHO SAW THAT COMING??)

I knew that I needed a biopsy to confirm the Celiac Disease but by that time, I had lost my insurance coverage.  So naturally, I deemed myself healthy and told myself it was silly to be on a gluten free diet.  My numbers were low, I couldn’t possibly be a real Celiac (this sentiment was confirmed by real Celiac sufferers).

I’ve been back on gluten for a few months and feeling beyond miserable.  I explained away my struggles because I’d heard so many complaints from Celiac sufferers that gluten intolerance is not real.  There are articles upon articles claiming that it’s just a fad diet, that gluten intolerance is just a scam.  Yet there are others claiming that gluten intolerance DOES exist; the Celiac Foundation included.  Somehow, I still felt like a fraud; like I was just crying wolf.

gene wilder gf.jpg

I looked for other reasons.  I blamed it on my thyroid.  Maybe that was causing all of my symptoms (CD and hypothyroidism can have similar symptoms).  In January, I was able to attain insurance coverage and decided to go all out and test for EVERYTHING.  (Hypochondriac style!  Rock on).  I found a great gastroenterologist and got the endoscopy that I should have gotten months earlier.  I found a PCP and asked her to run a million tests, including TSH and T4.

That long-winded explanation brings us to today.  –

I met with my doctors again to review my results.  Apparently, my thyroid and hormone levels are perfect. (Okay, ruled that out.)  I don’t have Celiac Disease (Okay, that’s out..) but my doctor seemed uncomfortable ruling it out entirely. (Just kidding?)

Fun facts: I carry the Celiac gene.  I’m at “moderate risk” for developing CD.  I show signs of reflux.  All of my symptoms can be a result of CD.

What does all of that mean?  “I can’t say for sure that you do have Celiac Disease.  Biopsies aren’t always a perfect indicator.  It may just be a gluten sensitivity.  I’d like to treat it as if you do have Celiac disease.  I think you should go on a completely gluten free diet and see if it makes a difference.”  (I’m paraphrasing because my memory is horrific and my doctor lingo is not so hot but that was certainly the general jist).

Once again, I feel like I hack.  I can’t even be a GOOD Celiac?!  Does gluten sensitivity/intolerance exist?  If it does, can everyone stop making me feel bad about it?  My doctors seem to think it exists.  Maybe my insides aren’t dying a slow death when they come in contact with gluten but they certainly aren’t welcoming it with open arms(tubes?).

celiac tucan.jpg

It’s hard enough knowing that I have to give up my favorite foods.  MY COMFORT FOODS. But to be shamed for it on top of everything?  I don’t mind the stigma so much as I am genuinely confused as to what’s happening.

So here I am, at 10 o’clock at night, drinking my tea and snacking on gluten free fruit roll ups (because #adulthood) feeling very confused.  And bloated.  And cranky.  And bloated.

Good lord I hope the bloating, the confusion and the crankiness tag along with the gluten.  I will happily say farewell if so.

I know that this is one of my whinier posts but if there is anyone else out there struggling with celiac, gluten intolerance/sensitity, confusion- feel free to reach out!

If you think you might have CD or a Gluten Intolerance, please see a doctor that you trust. Check out the links below for some more info.


Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity