An Emotional Transformation Tuesday + Learning to Take Selfies

Taking selfies is not as easy as Kim Kardashian makes it look. The struggle for me is real.

Taking selfies is not as easy as Kim Kardashian makes it look. The struggle for me is real.

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and chat about everything from easy DIY projects to handmade goodness. I like to keep it random around here because sometimes I misplace my to-do lists, reading glasses, and blog calendar…and my phone….

Today on the blog, we are going to take a look at my transformation since Summer 2013 + my struggle with taking selfies. This is not an easy thing for me to share with y’all because it was a very unhealthy and unhappy time of my life. Looking back over the photos from that period reminds me that my Celiac diagnosis was a blessing in disguise and that God had plans for me and my struggles.

This is not easy for me to show y'all...my blood sugars were all over the place, my stomach hurt all the time, my skin was flushed all the time, and no matter how much I tried to be healthy...my health kept declining...

This is very difficult for me to show y’all…my blood sugars were all over the place, my stomach hurt all the time, my skin was flushed all the time, and no matter how much I tried to be healthy…my health kept declining…

It was the summer of 2013, and I was trying my best to eat healthy and exercise. I was frustrated and felt doomed because the harder I tried to eat my whole grains and salads, the worse I felt. My doctors were not listening to me, and I felt trapped….

I hid most of my symptoms and complaints...I joked about my (unexplainable) weight gain and round face...but inside, I was unhappy and depressed about my not only my health, but also my body.

I hid most of my symptoms and complaints…I joked about my (unexplainable) weight gain and round face…but inside, I was unhappy and depressed about not only my health, but also my body.

I admit that I have had my ups and downs with my weight–who hasn’t! Elementary school–no problems. Middle School–I really don’t want to talk about this period of my life because there is not enough wine in my house to get me through if I do. High School–well, it’s complicated. From an eating disorder to dressing inappropriately to showcase my tiny self. It was a nightmare. But not like the teasing of Middle School. Some kids are mean, and their parents are meaner. *Deep breath + glass of wine*

Fall 2013--posing with my favorite VIP

Fall 2013–posing with my favorite VIP

Fall 2013–I was at my wits end. I was exercising and eating my whole grains and salads–but the weight was still creeping on and the health was still going down. Ugh. I didn’t want to get dressed or look in a mirror. I forced myself to look presentable for Abby’s events, and I did my best to hide in corners during them. This was not me because I love dressing up, people, and parties. Where do y’all think Abby gets her love of fashion *wink*

I would look in the mirror and not know the person looking back--and why was she so sick and tired all the time?

I would look in the mirror and not know the person looking back–and I would wonder why she was so sick and tired all the time?

It was a bad time in my life. I know that I was making the hubby miserable with my unhappiness, and he was truly concerned about my health. He was doing everything he knew to do to help me, but no matter how much either of us tried–no improvement. It was discouraging. And I even stopped praying for God to help me. I wasn’t angry with Him–I just felt like it was my lot in life. Then…something happened.

My endocrinologist moved, and I had to get another one. God knew I was in a bad place. He knew that I had things to do. Time for answers and a healing. Not a cure, but a healing.

In October 2013, my new doctor asked me if I had ever been tested for Celiac. What? Celiac? No. Why? Long story short. The doctor was spot on–and I have Celiac Disease. And I am totally cool with it because the diagnosis explained everything. I wasn’t crazy or dying or destined to be miserable. Everything I was doing to be healthy–like eating my whole grains–was actually making me sick.

After leaving the doctor’s office, I immediately researched Celiac and went on the gluten-free survival plan. To me and thousands like me–it is not a fad diet–it is the rest of our lives!

February 2014--just a few months after my diagnosis. I bought a this outfit because I had lost 15 lbs, and none of my clothes fit. Not a bad problem to have *smile*

February 2014–just a few months after my diagnosis. I bought a new outfit to wear to one of Abby’s happenings because I had lost 15 lbs and none of my clothes fit. Not a bad problem to have *smile*

December 2014--So far, I have lost about 30 pounds, and I have just a few pounds to go to be where I want to be.

December 2014–So far, I have lost about 30 pounds, and I have just a few pounds to go to be where I want to be. My skin is brighter, my eyes have their twinkle back, and my energy level is way up.

Whew! I am an emotional wreck right now. *deep breath* Enough of that! It is time to laugh, so let’s take a look at something a little lighter in topic–my learning to take selfies because all the cool bloggers are doing it *wink*

Mirror selfie--where to look, where to look????

Mirror selfie–where to look, where to look????

20141022_154118_resized

Looking in the wrong place + my serious face = mirror selfie fail

20141022_154056_resized

Less serious face + looking in same exact place (apparently I learned nothing from the other photos) = fail–just not an epic one…Wow! My hair looks fabulous *wink*

Steady hands...back up a little...snap...and...

Steady hands…back up a little…snap…and…no.

How hard can this be? Babies can do this.

How hard can this be? Babies can do this!!!

This is as good as it is going to get. Mirror selfie–done.

Selfie--take one...I look stunned.

Selfie–take one…I look stunned…and what is up with my eye??

Relax the face. Look straight ahead. Think happy thoughts. Snap. And no.

Relax the face. Look straight ahead. Think happy thoughts. Snap. And no. Seriously, what is up with my one eye–all wide. Third time is the charm…

Well, almost the charm. I don't understand what to do with my arms...

Well, almost the charm. I don’t understand what to do with my arms…I should have put on some lipstick.

Good enough!

Good enough! I am calling an end to this madness *wink*

Taking selfies is just not my thing (wearing oversized sweaters and leggings is *wink*) It is hard + I really don’t know where to look. The struggle is real, so I have decided to leave selfies to babies and the Kardashians.

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as I took an emotional journey. I could not have gotten to where I am today without all the love, support, and prayers of my family and friends. A very special shout out to the hubby for always being here for me–for all the sleepless nights, for the pep talks, and for all the label reading. I love the hubby bunches *smile*

 

 

 

Advertisements

SSL’s Gluten-free Top Picks of the Week: Pizza, Soft Pretzels, Banana Bites and Macaroons

Just a shopping buggy full of gluten-free goodness from The Whole Foods in Asheville, North Carolina

Just a shopping buggy full of gluten-free goodness from The Whole Foods in Asheville, North Carolina

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee or nice glass of wine and chat about everything from gluten-free goodies to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, we are going to check out a few of my gluten-free favorites . I am always searching for new foods to try–especially easy-to-fix ones because we all have busy lives and being able to grab a good, healthy snack or lunch is very important.

I was super pumped to discover that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten-free menu.

I was super pumped to discover that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten-free menu.

My name is Chasidy, and I am a pizzaholic. It has been three days since my last piece of gluten-free pizza….Yes, I absolutely love pizza. I like cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, Hawaiian BBQ chicken pizza, House Special pizza….pretty much all pizza *smile* I have mentioned Mellow Mushroom’s gluten-free pizza before, and since that post, I have been a few more times…working my way through the menu *wink* The staff at Mellow Mushroom has been extremely sweet and understanding of my gluten allergy, and so far, I have suffered no ill effects from eating my all-time favorite food.

House Special

So far, I have tried the House Special, Mighty Meat, and Cheese pizzas. I have had the Mighty Meat several times because it is just so good *smile*

The perfect afternoon snack.

The perfect afternoon snack.

I am a huge fan of pretzels. Before being diagnosed with Celiac, I enjoyed soft pretzels with salt and with cinnamon + sugar. It was a warm and comforting snack. Once my Celiac lifestyle began, I never imagined that I would get to enjoy a soft, yummy pretzel again! Can y’all imagine how thrilled I was when I spied Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels at The Whole Foods Market!!! To be honest, I teared up a little *wink*

Nutritional Facts

I know it seems like I am a junk food junkie…and in one way, I am. It is not that I don’t enjoy a good salad–I do love a good salad–especially spinach + strawberries + feta…it is just that I am a grazer…a snacker. But that doesn’t mean that I sit around munching on gluten-free chips and cupcakes *wink* My newest snack addiction is organic chocolate chewy banana bites by barnana. They are deliciously sweet and filling + perfect with a good cup of coffee *smile*

20141117_161206_resized20141117_161219_resized

A serving is about 6 of the bites, but I only eat about three because they are so filing + they satisfy that chocolate, sweet craving.

A serving is about six of the bites, but I only eat three because they are so filing + three is all I need to satisfy that chocolate, sweet craving *smile*

These bites are giant!

These bites are big on size and taste.

The last gluten-free top pick of the week is gluten-free macaroons from Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee. I am totally crushing on Cakes in a Cup’s gluten-free treats! It is so great having a local place where I can get fresh-baked, gluten-free goodies. If you are in or around the Johnson City area, stop by Cakes in a Cup–you won’t regret it *smile*

Vanilla and Pistachio gluten-free macaroons from Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee

Vanilla and Pistachio gluten-free macaroons from Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee

Look how adorable this lemon, gluten-free macaroon is + it is scrumptious *smile*

Look how adorable this lemon, gluten-free macaroon is + it’s scrumptious *smile*

Are y’all hungry yet? I know I am! I think I will go have a few banana bites before I go to the art studio to work on my latest project. Don’t fret. I will be sharing it with y’all soon + the Hathorn Hall Christmas tour. My goodness! So much to do and so little time!! And that is why I snack *wink*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about the gluten-free top picks of the week. Be sure to check out the Facebook page and Instagram for all kinds of randomness *smile*

*Please remember that what doesn’t bother me might bother you–so please read all labels carefully + be cautious when trying new foods.*

SSL’S Gluten-free Top Picks of the Week: Meat and Cheese

image

Hey,y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living. Today on the blog, we are chatting about SSL’s top gluten-free picks of the week. All about meat and cheese. Now, I’m not talking about fresh meat…or going to the butcher shop…because I really don’t like handling raw meat…or cooking. We are discussing the basics like bacon, ham, and American cheese. No fancy, schmancy recipes here *smile*

image

Bacon. It’s a food group. A staple item. A legend. But finding a gluten-free version is a bit tricky. I am not a trusting person. And just because a product doesn’t list a gluten culprit doesn’t mean it is sans gluten. I am a cautious person. So, I read labels. I read labels on items that clearly have GLUTEN-FREE printed on them. One can never be too careful nowadays.

Any who…Smithfield has an all-natural, uncured bacon that is made with sea salt and has no MSG or gluten.

This bacon is perfect for a BLT…I totally recommend Udi’s bread and fresh produce from local farmers *smile*

I discovered this bacon on a recent and rare trip to Walmart. I was needing a few miscellaneous items that I can only find there because our Target in Johnson City is rather small and doesn’t contain a fully stocked market. Oh, it makes me miss Target in Trussville and Hoover. I digress.

image

Turkey bacon. It will never have the fame of its cousin. It won’t have festivals dedicated to it. But I personally like it. And I buy it more than “real” bacon because it has less calories and fat…and I’m not getting any younger and the odds of my starting a serious exercise regimen is slim to none. So, I eat turkey bacon as a way to stay fit. It makes perfect sense…

image

Plainville makes one of the best turkey bacon…turkey bacons?? Is there a plural to bacon? I guess it always needs a friend like “I bought two packages of turkey bacon.” or “Five slices of bacon is really a serving.” Anyway…I’m all over the place today.

Back to turkey bacon…Plainville has a delicious, uncured turkey bacon that contains no gluten or casein. According to the package and some research I did, “Plainville’s turkeys are humanely raised on family-owned farms in a stress-free environment. They are never, ever administered antibiotics and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet free of any animal by-products.”

I get mine at Earth Fare in Johnson City.  It’s great cooked, chopped, and tossed in a gluten-free pasta salad. Great on ham sandwiches and by itself as a snack.

image

I love this ham. So much so, that I bought like 8 packages a couple of days ago because Earth Fare had it on sale. No, I will not be freezing these packages. There’s no need because the little family and I love ham and cheese sandwiches. Hot ones…cold ones. Is there anything better for lunch?

image

Udderly my favorite cheese ever. It is buttery…creamy…yummy. Once you experience Andrew & Everett cheeses, you will never go back to the big brands. It is amazing!

image

Y’all know I am a huge fan of pizza. It’s an easy dinner, and leftover slices are perfect for breakfast. When making my own gluten-free pizza, I use Applegate Uncured Pepperoni. These slices are also great by themselves as a snack or baked in the oven for “pepperoni chips”–I’ve no idea how long I bake them. I just place them on a cookie sheet and bake on 350 degrees until they begin to curl up and look crispy. *smile*

image

Fiorucci is my go-to salame for pizza and snack meat trays. It’s gluten-free and 100% natural. Which is sad that we have to look for and demand 100% natural foods. When a long time ago, food was all natural. Chemicals help us preserve food for extended periods and create more food faster…blah…blah. Personally, I like my meat 100% natural and not full of antibiotics and ingredients that I can’t pronounce without using my “Hooked on Phonics”…

image

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as we toured my meat and cheese drawer. Now, I’m off to make a BLT and dine on the front porch.

SSL’S Gluten-free Top Picks: On-the-go Breakfast

image

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living. Today on the blog, we are chatting about SSL’s top gluten-free picks of the week–which are all about making breakfast gluten-free, easy, and healthy. Now, grab a good cup of coffee or nice glass of wine and sit a spell with me.

If y’all are like me, there is little time for a fancy breakfast. I’ve tried making the casserole the night before, popping it in the oven the next morning, and cooking it while getting dressed. Yes, dancing around the kitchen with birds chirping outside…serving my family a delcious, homemade breakfast dish made with wholesome ingredients and love.  Haha! Not in this lifetime *wink* Yes, I tried the cooking while getting dressed breakfast ideas…let me just say that we ate cereal instead of a fancy casserole.

image

My favorite go-to breakfast item is Pamela’s Whenever Bars.  They are super delicious, gluten-free, and non-dairy with 150 mg of OMEGA 3 Fatty Acids and a good source of fiber. Most contain gluten-free oats, coconut,  eggs, and almonds–so, if you are sensitive to these ingredients, you might want to avoid the snack bars. My personal favorite is the Oat Blueberry Lemon…yummy for the tummy! I keep a nice variety of these in a basket in my snack drawer. Easy to grab and go.

image

Who wants muffins for breakfast? Well, ginnybakes has the perfect gluten-free muffin mix. All you need is the mix, one egg, butter, Greek yogurt, and flavoring of your choice (like vanilla). The ingredients are simple and preparation is fast. I usually bake mine the night before because I’m not a morning person…and cooking is not what I want to be doing at the crack of dawn!

image

The “peace love & crumble” muffin mix is certified gluten-free and kosher. It contains organic shredded coconut, organic dried apples, and organic Medjool dates. I give ginnybakes muffins five stars *smile*

image

Cookies for breakfast?!? Absolutely!! The “coconut oatmeal bliss” cookie mix by ginnybakes is not only easy to make, but also healthy and hardy enough to eat for breakfast. Make the cookies the night before, pop one in the microwave for about ten seconds, and pour yourself a glass of milk or cup of coffee for a quick breakfast that makes you feel like a kid again + the kids will think you’re the greatest for giving them cookies for breakfast!

image

image

A great on-the-go breakfast is trail mix. I make my own because of all my crazy diet restrictions + it’s fun *smile* My best advice is to read the ingredients of everything carefully. If you are adding dried fruit(s), check for added wheat or gluten. See examples below.

P.S. I learned this lesson the hard way!

image

image

image

Just read those labels carefully and give yourself extra time to shop so you can read labels and ask questions. It’s your health…your life…don’t take chances or make guesses *smile*

image

Once I’ve mixed up my trail mix, I put it in either sandwich bags (because I can never remember to buy the snack size) or cute containers.  Those are then placed in my trail mix/snack food drawer. Yes, I’m that dedicated to my trail mixes and on-the-go snacks *wink*

Where did I shop for my gluten-free items?

Pamela’s Whenever Bars–Publix in Trussville, Alabama (also available on Pamela’s website)

ginnybakes–The Fresh Market in Johnson City, Tennessee

trail mix items–Earth Fare and The Fresh Market in Johnson City, Tennessee

image

Please keep in mind that what doesn’t bother me–might bother you–so be extra careful when trying new foods. Read those labels! *smile*

Now that you have super easy and delicious breakfast ideas, you can hit the snooze button a few extra times *wink*

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today. I’m off to walk the girls…Bless their sweetness! They’ve been so patient while I chatted with y’all *smile*

image

SSL’s Top Gluten-free Picks

 

wpid-20140722_144856.jpgHey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living.  Today on the blog we are chatting about SSL’s top gluten-free picks of the week. So let’s grab a good cup of coffee and sit a spell while we chat about delicious foods.

The VIP and I visited Cakes in a Cup in Johnson City, Tennessee in search of gluten-free cupcakes that were moist and delicious.  Believe me–we have had our share of not-so-edible GF baked goods…so we went knowing that it could be a flop…but it wasn’t!

image

I had the Chocolate Lava Cheesecake + Diet Dr. Pepper, and Abby feasted on Chocolate + Diet Pepsi. We were pleasantly surprised with not only the moistness of the little cakes,  but also the rich chocolate flavor. Two thumbs up and five stars!!

image

It was a busy day of running errands and searching for gluten-free top picks. It was so much fun having Abby along to help me sample and critic.

image

One of my favorite places to shop. I love the atmosphere, friendly service, and top-notch produce.

After our cupcake break, we ventured to Walmart because I needed lancets…because I’ve been in a struggle with my insurance company’s prescription provider…long story…but I’m not seeing where Express Scripts has saved me time…made me cry…yes…stressed me beyond my limits…yes…I digress.

Back to eating healthy and delicious 🙂

After surviving Walmart, we ventured to a happy place–The Fresh Market–which has a nice selection of gluten-free items + the prettiest fresh flowers.

image

Breakfast of Champions. Warning: This cereal is so addictive and so yummy that the hubby requests it!

image

Chips fromThe Fresh Market + Hummus from Earth Fare = yummy for the tummy snacks that are good for us!

image

image

Super easy dinner–just add a side salad. Now, this is a bit spicy and will make you miss NOLA.

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about yummy snacks and an easy dinner–all sans gluten. As a person with Celiac these above items do not bother me, but they might bother you. I’m no expert…I’m just trying my best to eat healthy and delicious all while living with Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes.

image

Another reason to shop at The Fresh Market in Johnson City–the gorgeous view 🙂