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Going Gluten Free Has Changed Everything

The magic word of the day is: transition. My mom recently got hired as a professor at a major Washington State university, meaning she will be leaving her elementary school job that she has had for over 15 years. My sister is graduating from Southern Methodist University, going onto pursue her career in theater. My parents are preparing my childhood house to put it up for sale within the next couple of years. In August, I’m leaving to live in Italy for 3.5 months then returning to complete my 3rd year of college.In light of all these changes, I feel that there is no better time to address that changes that I have gone through in the last few years.  I never really noticed how significant the change in myself has been until I take time to look back on myself and my life before going gluten free. Everything from my body shape, to my personality, to my brain functions, to my social life- it’s all changed for the better. And seeing as my transition from eating gluten to being gluten free occurred at the same time as being in high school in Bothell, Washington transitioned to being a college student in Denver, Colorado, the changes are almost alarming when I look back on who I am now as compared to who I used to be. To commemorate these changes, here is a before/after analysis:

BEFORE: 

{Physically} Strained smile, puffy face, thin form, hollowed and dead eyes, pale, slouched.

Unhealthy hair, dry skin, runny nose, itchy throat, bloating, poor breathing, weak muscles, brittle teeth.

{Mentally} Lost in instruction, forgetful, bad listener, awkward in conversation, weak personality.

Easily frustrated, emotional, unsatisfied, unmotivated.

{Socially} Meek, pessimistic, unsociable, lonely, uncharismatic, internalizing of everything

Shy, quiet, too tired to interact, moody.

{Memories} Stomach aches after every meal

Unable to breath after running

Constant hospitals

Hearing instructions and immediately forgetting what was said

Spending time alone because calling friends took too much effort

Trouble sleeping at night and woken up early with uncontrollable coughing

One word to describe how I always felt: discomfort

NOW: 

{Physically} Genuine smile, skin pigmentation, strong muscles, lively eyes, healthy hair and skin

  Strong, healthy, able to breath, energetic

{Mentally} Happy, motivated, driven. looking forward to the future

  Optimistic, at ease, emotionally stable, proud, confident

{Socially} Sociable, willing to meet new people, open to social events, strong communication skills

 Outgoing, welcoming, seeing humor in everyday life, saying yes more than no.

{Memories-so far!} Running longer and harder every week

                                           Exploring the mountains of Colorado

                                           Performing work that I’m proud of

                                           Spending more time outside

                                           Getting involved at school

                                           Appreciating friends and family more than ever before

                                           Embracing life and all that comes with it.

Here’s to many more years of positive change and healthy, happy living! 

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Review

Raising the Bar; Enjoy Life Food’s Chewy Bars

With a class/work study/gym schedule that has me going from 10 am to 6 pm every day, I all too often find myself with a grumbling tummy when my 4-6 pm Foundations of Communications class rolls along. Every time the same inner monologue happens: “Julie, why did you not take the two seconds to throw a snack in your backpack before leaving today?!” “I don’t know! There wasn’t anything convenient enough to bring!” “Well now look at the state of you- you really should have brought a snack.” On and on, you get the idea. It’s once of my less-fun inner monologues.

Lucky for me and my inner voice, my friends at Enjoy Life Foods sent me some of their Chewy Bars to try out! They are all under 120 calories per bar and as with other Enjoy Life Food products, they are kosher, vegan, free of artificial ingredients, and casein free. They are perfect for when I need that quick pick-me-up but don’t want anything too heavy before a meal. Plus, they are small and discrete for snacking mid-class; bonus!

The four flavors they currently offer include (pictured in order clockwise): “Cocoa Loco”, “Sunbutter Crunch”, “Caramel Apple”, and “Very Berry”.

“Cocoa Loco” is my favorite out of the four. Super chewy and chocolatey, it tastes like a straight-up brownie, at about a third of the calories a real brownie at this size would be. Delish!

“Sunbutter Crunch” is great for those who are sunflower seed lovers. This bar has kind of a peanut-buttery texture/taste, but is, of course, made with sunflower seed butter, so I’m sure peanut butter lovers will love this one as well! 

“Very Berry” doesn’t have as strong of a berry flavor as I’d like, but in similarity to the caramel apple flavor, the slight berry taste comes out in the end, so if you don’t want anything too sweet, then I would recommend it! After all, the base flavor of the bar combined with the chewy texture makes the bar still quite enjoyable. 

“Caramel Apple” is simple and delicious with a subtle, but noticeable apple-carmel flavor. When the caramel flavor really comes out in the immediate aftertaste, it really tastes like a true caramel apple, without all the mess!

Overall, I highly recommend Enjoy Life Food‘s Chewy Bars! I know what with all this running about school, I will be stocking up on some myself!


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Review, Uncategorized

Gimme Pizza! P-I-ZZ-A!

(5 points if you got the Mary Kate & Ashley reference in this post title… yay for being a 90’s kid!)

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To me, pizza has always been one of those foods that I never consider making from scratch. It always ends up being a long, strenuous process that leaves me snacking on the pre-shredded cheese and veggies meant to be ON the pizza, rather than actually making the pizza itself.

However! I was swayed when I so generously received a bag of Namaste’s Pizza Crust Mix in my mail. The first thing I noticed about this was the fool-proof simplicity of the directions needed to follow in order to produce a delicious pizza. Literally, all that you need once you’ve got the mix is some oil and water- doesn’t get much easier than that!

To top my pizza, I chose to use some tomato, zucchini, spinach, monterey jack cheese, and an Applegate apple-feta sausage. Odd combination? Yes. Fantastically delicious? Also yes. Namaste’s Pizza Crust Mix has Italian seasoning already added into the dry mix giving the crust a focaccia bread type of flavor which I LOVE. I love it so much, in fact, that I used the second half of mix to just bake plain with some olive oil brushed on top and eat as bread! Paired that with some hummus, and it was complete heaven. I pretty much ate an entire pizza worth of crust in a span of 12 hours.

I seriously recommend Namaste Foods for the next time you’re wanting to make some quick, easy, and delicious pizza OR some focaccia-like bread OR both!

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