1 Year Blogiversary!

1-year-blogiversary

45 posts, 3,763 views, 151 followers, 1 Gold Award, and 1 year later…

I can’t believe it’s officially been one year since my first blog post! It feels so weird that it’s only been a year; I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. If only I knew then how much I would love blogging. I just wanted to write a little post to say how much I appreciate everyone who’s supported me this year and everyone who’s followed, commented, liked, or even just checked out my blog. I’m so proud of everything I’ve been able to do, and I’m so happy to have help others with my experiences! I can’t wait for the next year to be just as good. 🙂

Life Update!

Hey everyone! Since the last time I posted, I have officially become a Blue Hen (complete with cool, yet slightly culty, induction ceremony)!

udel induction ceremony

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but college has been keeping’ me pretty busy. I’ve been at the University of Delaware for about 5 weeks, and it’s been awesome! I’ve met a whole bunch of great new people, and I’m enjoying all my classes. It took quite a bit of adjustment in the beginning (it was weird to think that I live here now), but I’m mostly used to it! I still miss my family (and my cat) a lot though.

As for the food, I’ve been doing pretty well. Most of the time I eat at Caesar Rodney Dining Hall (I talked a little bit about it in this post), since it’s the most convenient because of the gluten free station. I can also order a meal ahead of time from Russell Dining Hall, which is literally 5 steps from my dorm room, but I either always forget to do it in time or nothing in there is any better than what’s in Rodney. I have ordered from Russell a couple times, but I’ve found that I like the food in Rodney better. One day I ordered pasta with meat sauce from Russell (which I was really excited about, since we all know I love pasta and I hadn’t eaten any since I moved in), but when I got it, the pasta had all completely fallen apart. I had a bowl of pasta mush. But that has been my only bad experience here with food! The quesadillas from Rodney are literally fantastic. How can you go wrong with a good ol’ gluten free tortilla filled with chicken,  black beans, and melty cheese??? Answer: you can’t. I’ve also eaten at a couple restaurants on Main Street, like California Tortilla, Honeygrow, Home Grown, Panera, and more (there’s literally so many options on Main Street). All have been great; maybe if I get some time soon I’ll write a full review on a couple of them. Also, for the times I just don’t feel like leaving my room or I don’t like anything in the dining halls, I just eat a frozen meal or a can of soup in the comfort of my own room.

Overall, college is pretty fantastic so far. I can’t wait to share some exciting college stories with you all soon. 🙂

College Decision!!!

Big news!! After months of back and forth between the University of Delaware and The College of New Jersey, I’ve finally made a decision on where I will be going to college! I have decided to go to…

University of Delaware! 😀

university of delaware

The campus is sooo beautiful! I love it so much. In the end, picking UDel just felt right. I’m so excited to go already! I would start tomorrow if I could. I’m already buying things for my dorm, and I still have four months until move in day. One of my favorite parts of this school is all the gluten free options! They just built a new freshman housing complex, which included a brand new dining hall, called Rodney Dining Hall. And it has a designated gluten free station! Meaning they only cook gluten free food here. Meaning very very little chance of cross contamination (I can’t say no chance for sure since there are other gluten foods in the hall). When we visited in March, we tried out Rodney.  Once we walked into the hall, the first person we ran into was the chef from the gluten free station! She was so ridiculously nice. I loved her. I’m so annoyed at myself for not asking her name, but I’m sure now I’ll get to know her very well since I’m going to see her all the time for all my meals! We visited at a weird off-time, around 3 o’clock, so they didn’t have the full range of options that they usually would since they were in the transition between lunch and dinner. At this time, they had cheese pizza, chipotle chicken BLT wraps, and salad. So what did I do? I tried them all!

udel rodney dining hall gluten free

Considering the dining hall horror stories I’ve heard, this meal was pretty great. Let’s go from left to right. So the salad was good; it was a salad. Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, italian dressing. Pretty basic, but good. The pizza was so much better than I thought it would be. I thought it was going to taste like icky frozen pizza with not-so-great ingredients, but it wasn’t that at all! The crust was really nice, and the sauce and cheese tasted like pretty good quality stuff. I really enjoyed it. The chipotle chicken BLT wrap was tasty too! The wrap itself was one of the better ones I’ve tasted. The stuff inside was really good, but I wish there was more of it! The chipotle chicken had great flavor, and a great little spiciness to it. I just really wanted a good stuffed wrap, and the filling was a little sparse. Overall, this food completely exceeded my expectations!

So the dining hall has a little online portal where you can see the menu for the next couple weeks. I’ve seen some really good looking lunches and dinners, but there’s no gluten free options listed in the breakfasts. So of course, that was my first question to ask. Super nice gluten free lady told me that she always has some breakfast options for “her kids” at the gluten free station, like muffins and cereal.

But Rodney isn’t the only place to eat gluten free on campus. There are plenty of off campus restaurants that I will be able to stop in and grab something to eat, whether it be a meal or a snack.

Here are some places that I’ve already tried that I know are wonderful:

And some that I plan to try:

I can’t wait for August to come. I’m so excited to try all the new gluten free food in Newark. And even more excited to be a Blue Hen!! 💙💛

My (Accidental) Celiac Diagnosis & More

I just realized that I never really talked about my diagnosis story yet on my blog. My story is a lot different than most that I’ve heard, largely because I never really had any symptoms at all, but one day in 2012 I got an endoscopy, and there it was.

Flashback to August 22, 2012: I woke up feeling super nauseous, too sick to go to my tennis practice. The next day? Still super nauseous, and getting on a plane to California—which came along with the pleasant experience of throwing up in an airport bathroom (I know, ew). The next day, and the next day, and the next day…still consistently feeling terrible. This went on for about two weeks, which was when we decided something was wrong and I went to the doctor. I was admitted to the hospital to figure out what was going on. This lovely hospital visit also made me miss my first days of high school (sad face). I think I was there for about a week, undergoing plenty of tests to find the problem. What was difficult about my situation was that my only symptom was nausea, and that was so broad that it really could’ve been anything. I was even getting my head scanned to see if it was a brain tumor. Literally, it could’ve been anything. I was getting shoved into big scary machines like this one:

machine

Then came the endoscopy. They found damage that was consistent with celiac disease. And they said “you’ve got celiac, don’t eat gluten and you’ll be all better, bye!” Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what they said, but that’s what I heard.

Well then I had to figure out what the heck gluten is. I found out it’s in wheat, barley, rye, and malt. That was fine, I could manage. Then I found out that stuff is in pasta, bread, pizza, cake, cookies…I think my exact thinking was, “what the hell CAN I eat??????” At first I didn’t really understand the full extent of what I had to do. I specifically remember one day that I went to a friend’s house, and they were serving something like loaded potato skins and pizza bites. Obviously I knew I couldn’t have the pizza bites, but I thought, “hey, potato skins are probably fine.” So I ate them. A bunch of them. Current Anna is violently yelling at Past Anna for not asking to see the package to check if they had gluten in them. Because it may sound like something is gluten free, but now I know that doesn’t mean it is gluten free. I don’t remember if I had any reaction, but I still think about that day sometimes and remember how I ate those stupid potato skins and knew as I ate them that I should’ve asked.

Enough about potato skins now. So after I was diagnosed, nothing got better. I still had the nausea everyday. That’s when we went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

children's hospital of philadelphia

I’ll give you the short version of this part. There, I was also diagnosed with gastroparesis, which means my stomach was working really slowly, and went on to try many different medications (13 to be exact) to attempt to make it better for about a year and a half with no luck. Eventually, in April of 2014, I was also diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (aka POTS), a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that causes symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, migraines, and, guess what else, nausea. I got all those other symptoms later along with the nausea which is what lead to this diagnosis, and I’m still dealing with this condition today (which was most likely causing my problems all along). And to be honest, celiac is nothing—it’s like a walk in the park—compared to POTS.

So in comes the (Accidental) part of my post’s title. I’m 98% sure that if I hadn’t started to have other medical issues in 2012, I wouldn’t have been diagnosed with celiac. Not then, at least, probably not for a long time. I get annoyed sometimes because that means I probably could’ve been eating delicious gluten for so much longer, but then I remember that would’ve just caused more damage in the long run. I think because being gluten free never made me feel any different, in the beginning I didn’t get the point of it. This is where I think my situation differs from most; I feel like a lot of the stories I hear go something like, “I was feeling really bad, I got diagnosed with celiac, and I feel so much better now!!” This wasn’t me. Of course now, whenever I accidentally get glutened, I feel it. But yet I’m still compiling a list in my head of gluten foods that I will one day maybe use for a gigantic eat-whatever-I-want day that will make my small intestine very angry at me…

Anyways, that’s me. What’s your diagnosis story? Tell me about it in the comments. 🙂

Europe!

gluten free deliciously europe

Gluten Free Deliciously is going to Europe!!!

Yes, this summer my family and I are going on a European cruise!! We’ll be sailing with Carnival Cruise Lines in July, on the Carnival Vista. I’ve sailed with Carnival before since being gluten free, so I know that the dining staff on the ship is very knowledgable and helpful when it comes to finding GF food, and there’s always so many options at dinner. The ship leaves from Barcelona, Spain, and goes to Italy (Sicily, Capri & Pompeii, Rome, and Florence & Pisa), France (Marseille), and back to Spain (Palma de Mallorca). I cannot wait! I’m so excited, especially for the food experience. That’s the most important experience anywhere right?? I’m interested to see how they do gluten free over there. I was a little sad that I will be surrounded by gluten-filled pizza and pasta and bread in Italy, but I’m sure their gluten free options are still better than what we’ve got here! It’s gonna be awesome.

I will be excited to share my experiences on and off the ship with you!! 🙂