Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{Gluten Free Review - Cafe Carolina}

Today, a coworker and I went to one of our favorite quick lunch spots - Cafe Carolina.  I knew before leaving the office that I was not going to be able to get my old standby - Chicken Fiesta Wrap.  I also knew that I wasn't going to be able to order one of their cupcakes to take back to my office for an afternoon snack.  

As soon as we arrived, I found an employee that I believe is a manager.  He's been there a while and I thought he would know best about allergens, etc.  I asked if they had a gluten-free or allergy menu.  Unfortunately, they do not.  However, he did let me know that they were willing and able to do the best they could with my requests.

Before we arrived, I was thinking that I would order the Chicken Fiesta Salad.  The more I looked at the ingredients and thought about what I could have, I realized the salad would end up being lettuce, chicken, cheese, green onions, and dressing (all their dressings are gluten-free).  So, I tossed that idea out the window.  I looked more closely at their other salads and realized that the House Salad (without croutons) would be a good choice, especially if they could add the southwest-style chicken.  

I placed my order for my salad and was pleased when it came out.  The salad was pretty large and had a variety of greens.  It also included diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and some Parmesan cheese.  The southwest-style chicken was added at my request and it was accompanied by their zesty ranch dressing.


  • Salads always seem to be available
  • Cafe Carolina staff was pretty amenable to my requests
  • All their salad dressings are gluten-free (not sure about my other cross-reactives being ingredients)
  • Cafe Carolina does not have an allergy menu or gluten-free menu.  While I do not work in the restaurant industry, it seems like they could easily provide some options
  • Salads get boring, especially when you can't have them as they are intended (Example: The Chicken Fiesta Salad comes with black beans and corn.  The black beans and corn are mixed together, instead of being added to the salad separately - corn is a "no no" for me)
I have a feeling that salads are going to be my go-to meal in restaurants.  While I know that a lot of franchise/chain restaurants have gluten-free/allergy menus, they aren't really my "style".  So, salads it will be....  since it's kinda hard to screw up a salad.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - Tech Questions}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Tech Questions

1.  PC or Mac?  I prefer PC for work, but I think that's because it is what I have been given.  We have a MacBook Air at home and I love it.
2. When did you get your first computer?  I think we got a computer at home when I was about 7 or 8, give or take.  I remember it was a Commodore 64 and had a weird black and green screen.  I used to try to memorize the Jeopardy game so I could beat my Daddy.
3. Do you use cable, DSL or something else?  We have cable internet.
4. When choosing a laptop, do you think it’s more important to choose the fastest one, or the lightest one?  I tend to go for a middle ground.  I think that with the computer options available today, it is possible to get something that has all the speed and storage you need without being extremely heavy.  I prefer lighter though.
5. What kind of cell phone do you own?  Do you like it? I have an iPhone, of course.  I love, love, love it.  I love it so much that I was able to convince my parents (66 year old father and 58 year old mother) to get them.
6. How do you carry your laptop when you travel?  I have a great Jansport backpack from work that does the trick.  
7. How many e-mails do you send on an average day? Oh, good lord. Who knows. Between work and personal, I have no clue!
8. Do you ever blog using your iPad or similar tablet? I have never blogged from my iPad. I am not that good about blogging!
9. What do you use more often – a desktop or a laptop? We have a desktop at home that is solely used for music and photo management and storage.  My work computer is a laptop.
10.  As a blogger, are there other gadgets that you need to get the job done?  If so, what are they?  I'd say a iPhone (or phone with camera) and/or a "regular" digital camera.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

{Gluten Free Review - Mellow Mushroom}

The hubs and I are normal patrons of our local Mellow Mushroom.  This weekend was our first time venturing to Mellow since my recent gluten sensitivity diagnosis.  We went with some of our World of Beer-North Hills friends, Todd and Michelle.  

I had heard varying opinions about their gluten free dough, and I was looking forward to trying it for myself.  The first question I asked our buddy and server, Monica, was whether or not the pretzels could be made with gluten free dough.  Unfortunately, her answer was no.  (If you haven't had the pretzels at Mellow Mushroom, do it - I promise you will not be disappointed!)

I ordered the House Special pizza on gluten free dough.  The House Special comes with lots of meat and veggies.  Yummy!  When my pizza came out of the kitchen, it didn't look much different than a flatbread style pizza.  The crust was not as "fluffy" as the regular Mellow crust.  I do have to say that it would be virtually impossible to duplicate the regular pizza dough flavor from Mellow Mushroom.  There's just something about their dough that's addicting!

All in all, I enjoyed it.  The best part for me was being able to eat three slices of pizza without feeling terrible!  As soon as we were done with dinner, I texted Margaret and said "Ah hell...  Is this what eating is supposed to feel like?  Ate pizza with no tummy yuckies after!"  Seriously, I ate three pieces and felt full, but not sick-full.  It's hard to explain, but so awesome to not feel gross after eating!

I have to admit that I miss my regular old Mellow Mushroom crust, but this is definitely a fine substitute for those that have to follow a gluten-free diet.


  • It's available!  Mellow Mushroom on Peace Street has recently changed their menu.  They even put in a little gluten free menu insert in all their menus (thanks guys!)
  • The staff at Mellow Mushroom does take precautions to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Tastes pretty damn good!
  • Only comes in a medium (too much for one person for a single sitting)
  • Slightly odd/different flavor than the regular Mellow Mushroom crust - kinda reminds me of a frozen grocery store pizza crust
  • They cannot make pretzels or calzones from the gluten free dough.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

{It's the end of the world as (I) know it...}

And I feel fine...

Last month, I went to see a naturopath.  I was referred to this doctor by my awesome chiropractor, Dr. Molly Hall at Active Chiropractic.  First things first though - they are both fabulous.  If you are looking for a great chiropractor or naturopathic doctor in the Raleigh area, check them out!  

So...where was I?  Last month, I had an appointment with the naturopathic doctor.  During my 1-hour appointment, she reviewed some labs I had submitted from my primary care physician and the implications of some of the functional levels being "off".  We discussed how issues with intestinal flora, food sensitivities, etc. all played into the bigger picture of my health.  During my entire appointment, she was great about answering my questions and providing insight into the "hows" and "whats" (critical for us Type-A folks).  

We came up with a game-plan - I would go have additional labs done to determine intestinal permeability, wheat/gluten reactivity and autoimmunity, and gluten-associated cross-reactive foods and sensitivities.  I would also complete an adrenal panel to assess my adrenal function.  Confused yet?  Yeah, so was I...

So what did I learn today?  Do I have Celiac disease?  No, thank goodness.  However, I do have non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.  (Scratch that kids - as of September 11, I have Celiacs disease.) Eating gluten causes a reaction in my body - stomach pain, bloating, fatique, anemia, and the list goes one.  Even though it is a lot less severe than the reaction of someone with Celiac, it needs to be treated.  How?  Pretty simple, yet not so simple - no gluten/wheat.  

During my appointment, I also got the rest of "the list".  I knew all along that I was probably going to receive a list of foods that I couldn't have, but I wasn't quite prepared for this list.  I cannot have:

  • Wheat/gluten (including: barley, matzo, rye, semolina, etc.) 
  • Coffee 
  • Egg
  • Rice
  • (White) Potato 
  • Sesame 
  • Corn
This list contains the items from gluten-associated cross-reactive foods and food sensitivities tests.  Of the full list of 25 items, only 6 came back as cross-reactive/food sensitivities.   

I stared at the list for a moment and listened as she explained the "hows" and "whats" of the foods, etc.  While listening, I kept thinking "...Well, hell, what in the world can I have?..."  Seriously, coffee? egg? potato?  Think about it for a minute - NO pizza, beer, cake/cookies, bread, etc.

I immediately realized that while all of this was very overwhelming, I am not alone.  I also thought about the positives associated with this...  When I remove these items from my diet, I will have fewer/no issues.  All the "yuckies" I have been experiencing for years will slowly fade and eventually disappear, so long as I stick to foods that are not on the "no no" list.  At that moment, I decided to re-frame my thoughts.

I am going to focus on what I can have.  
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Oats (so long as they don't have gluten; happens in processing)
  • Quinoa
  • Tea
  • Fruits
  • Veggies
  • Meats
  • Wine
  • Cider (since beer has wheat and barley)
This is going to be an interesting change, but I am looking forward to ridding my body of all the "yuckies" that have been caused by these foods.  No, it isn't gonna be easy....But, where there's a will, there is always a way.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

{Crow - "I love when you do stupid stuff"}

Crow (Source)
Since first taking a hot yoga class at Arrichion, I have been obsessed with doing crow.  Crow is a part of the Black Opal class that I have taken many times.  Very early on in my practice of yoga, I couldn't even get my knees close to my elbows, much less get my feet off the ground.   

Last Wednesday at Black Opal, I tried to hold crow.  I didn't get up in the pose for long, but I was able to get both feet off the ground at the same time.  An accomplishment for sure!  I think that the core strengthening associated with CrossFit has helped me improve to at least attempt crow.  

When I told the hubs about this, he jokingly said "no picture...no crow..."  That was a challenge to me.  Anyone that knows me, I am always up for a challenge, especially when someone tells me that I can't do something.

Yesterday, we were hanging out with Mary and Brian at World of Beer for the afternoon.  We were having a good time and at some point discussion of yoga poses came up.  I decided that Mary and I were gonna do crow in front of WOB and Brian was gonna take a picture.  Trying to do a yoga pose where you could (or will probably) fall on your knees probably wasn't a good idea on the concrete, but oh well.  

I was able to hold crow and Jason saw, but no picture.  Both times I was able to hold it, I fell on my left knee.  So, here's the damage...  The first picture of my leg not long after the fall.  It doesn't look too bad, but it got worse...

Last night, when we got home from dinner, I promptly put my behind in bed with ice on my leg.  I knew that if it bruised that badly and that quickly, we were in "trouble."

This morning, I told Margaret about it and she said "I love when you do stupid stuff...especially when you aren't drunk..."  Yep.  She's right, it was stupid - but it was so worth it.  Can't wait until I can actually hold the damn pose without busting my knee though.

<---  This is last night about 10 p.m.  Looks even more "lovely" today :-)  

Monday, August 13, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - Groceries/In the Kitchen}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.  Add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

In the Kitchen

1. How often do you cook at home?  I cook at least 5 nights a week.
2. Do you eat more fresh produce, frozen or canned produce? We eat fresh produce and some frozen produce.  I cannot stand canned.
3. What are a few unusual staples that can always be found in your kitchen?  Hmmm...  I have no idea.  We always have a multitude of Frank's Red Hot sauce.
4. Look in your fridge, then tell us about the healthiest thing in there. Spinach and salad fixin's
5. Now share the most unhealthy thing in it.  In the fridge?  Snapple?  In the pantry the most unhealthy thing would be the hubs' Milano cookies.
6. Do you eat leftovers?  Yep!
7. Do you use coupons at the supermarket?  I use coupons for cleaning products and sandwich baggies, etc.  There aren't a lot of coupons for the foods we eat.
8. How often do you try new recipes? I was doing one new recipe a week.  Unfortunately, that has waned a bit.  I do love to try new recipes though.
9. Do you make grocery lists?  Do you stick to them? I make a very detailed menu and list each week.  I would say we stick to it 95% of the time.  If the hubs goes with me to the grocery store, we usually end up with a few extra items.
10. If you could buy one food item that would magically be calorie-free, which item would you choose? Seriously?  That's a hard question.  Let's go with Angus Barn Chocolate Chess pie - to die for!  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

{Change the Tape}

Several years ago, I spent some time with a therapist.  I started going to therapy to work through some "me" issues and issues that stemmed from that.  All I can say is Thank God for Michelle.  I am not going to go to the length of saying that she saved my life, but she did give me a lot of great perspective on things in my life.  One of the lessons she taught me was to "Change the Tape".  Don't let the negative tape run on and on in your mind - just change it out for a different one.  It sounds a little cliche, but the message is so very true.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded of the need to "change the tape" and it's awesome where that reminder will come from...  

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband to Wilmington.  While he was in class each day, I took some time to go train at CrossFit Wilmington.  Before heading to another CrossFit, I had asked Chennelle about gyms in the Wilmington area - CrossFit Wilmington was one of two that she recommended. I enjoyed my training at CrossFit Wilmington, but I was definitely ready to get back to Raleigh CrossFit!

On Sunday, I went for my first training back in Raleigh.  The WOD looked interesting, hard, but not intolerable.  The WOD was 7 rounds of the following:

  • 7 Hand-stand Push Ups (I did Ring Push Ups)
  • 7 Kettlebell Swings at 26 lbs
  • 7 Burpee Pull Ups
  • 7 Front Squats at 45 lbs
It was going really well, until this happened.  You see that?  That's my right hand and that's a very painful rip in my skin.  I had a feeling I was going to have an issue with one of my hands soon, but I didn't realize it would be like that...  Normally, something like this would make me stop.  I would just quit the workout and/or give up on that particular activity.

After looking at my hand for a minute, I realized I still had 2 rounds to go.  I dumped the Burpee Pull Ups and did regular burpees for the remaining two rounds.  

After CrossFit, I posted the picture to the right on my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with this caption:  "1st hand-tear at #crossfit.  Does this make me look like a bad-ass?"

One of the first responses I got was a definite "Change the Tape" response.  Chennelle (Coach at Raleigh CrossFit) responded on Facebook with "You are not a badass for ripped hands, but the work you did to earn them."

That was what I needed to change my mindset.  It's amazing what will spark that change.  So, from here on out, I am gonna remember that...  "You are not a badass for [whatever reason], but the work you did to earn them."  I am going to revel in every single accomplishment of every single workout, instead of letting my "tape" turn to the negative.

Wanna know what about being a bad-ass?  Look at this post from Raleigh CrossFit.  We could all learn from Chennelle :-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - A Little More Personal}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
  A Little More Personal
  1. Are you a morning person?  Yep! My husband hates it!  I jump out of bed raring to go every morning.
  2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Most would assume that I am an extrovert.  However, I am a mild introvert that works really hard to be more extroverted.  It wears me out!
  3. Are you addicted to anything? If so, what?  Not so much anymore.
  4. How many times have you been in love?  I would say that there were many times that I thought I was in love.  I really think I have only been in love once.
  5. What is your position on politics?  I am a pretty dang opinionated person.  I also appreciate the opportunity to hear the thoughts of others.  Definitely not going to jump into the discussion of politics though - very frustrating is all I will say.
  6.  Are you religious?  I believe in God. I talk to him often. I do not go to church, but I am not opposed to it. 
  7. Would you prefer backpacking or a luxury hotel?  I am most definitely not a backpackin' type of gal.  Give me a cushy robe, a glass of champagne and a big bed with soft sheets and I am set!
  8. Do you have/want pets?  The hubs and I do not have any pets (he says he is my pet).  Sometimes we think about getting a pet, but I doubt we ever will.
  9. Are you a sports fan?  Unfortunately, in my hubs' opinion, no.  I will watch sports and sometimes even pay attention and ask questions.  But, I am not the competitive type and a lot of stuff about sports confuses and annoys me.  Just not my thing.
  10. How often do you brush your teeth?  At least twice a day.
  11. Do you have tattoos and/or piercings?  Standard pierced ears and one tattoo.
  12. What’s your favorite clothing brand?  Right now, I don't really have a favorite brand.  I do like that I am able to wear things from Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, etc.  I am looking forward to doing some real clothes shopping damage after my surgery in November.
  13. Should a man open doors for a woman? Yes
  14. Which season is your favorite?  I love the odd place between spring and summer.  Spring seems to cool and the deep of summer is too hot.  That place in between is just right.
  15. Would you rather eat less or workout more?  That's a hard one. I enjoy working out and eating.  If I had to choose, I would pick eat less.
  16. What’s your idea of romance?  Hmmm... I think I have the perfect romantic marriage.  I love that I go home every day after work to my best friend.  He's perfect for me and embraces all of my faults.
  17. How often do you do things that are outside of your comfort zone? I suck at leaving my comfort zone, but I am beginning to embrace it.
  18. Christmas or Halloween?  I am definitely a Christmas kind of girl.  I love everything about it.
  19. Would you rather live in the country or the city?  City
  20. Share your life philosophy.  Be who you are, without apology. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

{WANT these shoes!}

I recently started following Katelyn's blog. I happened upon something she said on Twitter, then found her blog.  She is a CrossFitter and seems pretty cool.  Well, imagine my excitement when I saw a blog post of hers from last week about custom designed Reebok CrossFit Nanos...  I mean, seriously, this is every girls dream - custom design your own shoes - for real.  Well, maybe not every girls dream, but definitely this girls dream.  

Look at these beauties!

I seriously need these shoes.  So, if anyone has an extra $140 sitting around or are looking for a great gift for me - get these.  

By the way, look - They even have my name on them.