Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Being a pain in the arse...

Several weekends ago, my schedule was outlined by two trips to the North Shore for dinner with Capt. Spaulding's family. Saturday night was at his eldest brother's house, celebrating a confirmation. Sunday was dinner at his parent's house since his mother was in town for said confirmation.

Both times the family made sure that I had plenty of food to eat. There were a lot of inquiries about what was GF and what wasn't.

More and more, events have to be planned with my food restrictions in mind. I hate this. I hate being a pain in the ass about changing a group situation.

This past weekend, Easter weekend, I had a similar experience. Something set off my stomach and I started to feel bad during a four-hour Easter Vigil marathon. My friend was being confirmed and receiving the eucharist (side note- if I knew it could be done as one-stop shopping, I would have totally gone this route). Having received the sacrament of confirmation as an adult, I wanted to support my friend and be there for her as she did the same. I think it's different as an adult- you're CHOOSING to do this

(did I mention it was four hours?)

Towards the end, I started to clutch Capt. Spaulding's hand as waves of cramps pulsated. I wanted to a) watch her receive her first communion and b) receive communion myself- after four hours I figured I deserved that. Finally, after the final blessing, I said quick goodbyes and my entorage left. I felt bad, because we were supposed to go out and have drinks, but all I wanted to do was go home and lay down. Unfortunately any time I get sick, the only cure seems to be time.

The momma was in town, so we ate out a lot and it;s hard to exactly say what made me ill. Overall it's very frustrating. How much my diet has to be centered around things, and how much it can effect plans. At what point does this become easier?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I needed a little mid-afternoon snack, so I had some sprouts (from our veggie box at Newleaf Grocery) mixed with a little vinegar and mustard. Simple, low-cal, and filling.

Way better than a snickers bar, right?

My former roomate once told me that sprouts are REALLY good for you, because they're living energy. She was also a dirty hippie, but I kind of think she may be on to something. 20 minutes after eating, I'm finding myself with a huge surge of energy- more than I'd have with just eating a candy bar.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I totally lied....

This post isn't a review of any brunch places. It's more of an update.

See, I've been very, very busy lately. And not much opportunity to sit down and think about this blog. In all honesty, I've been avoiding getting back to posting. It gives me anxiety. What is the voice of this blog? Is it all reviews? What if I fuck up?

And then I realized, IT DOESN'T MATTER.

I need to just keep writing. The voice will find itself.

SO- here's what I've been up to.

  • Due to an upcoming trip to Jamaica (JAMAICA! HOLLA!), I've been more motivated to exercise and eat healthy. I even joined Weight Watchers and I'm losing weight. I'm down about 10 pounds so far and feeling better every day!
  • I've started Bikram Yoga in the past three weeks and I've already noticed changes to my body. I know a lot of people complain about the heat, but I find it very cleansing. Not only does my heart rate go up, but I notice other benefits as well. My anxiety is WAY down, and I find myself craving "cleaner" food.
  • I'm more and more motivated to be particular about living a gluten-free diet.
The last one I find the most important. I've been struggling with leading a GF diet. About once a month I've "fallen off the wagon" and had a scone, cupcake, etc. And then I feel TERRIBLE. A couple of weeks ago when I ate something at a restaurant that I had a reaction to (didn't realize there was gluten), I became even more insistent about knowing what was in my food.

There you have it. I will start to write more, and thank you to those who have been kicking my arse to keep posting.

Mr. T demands that I post more often!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Family Connections...

The thing I've struggled with for the past year is: Why Me? Why this weird disease? I don't really understand how I could go from eating perfectly normal foods to all of a suddenly dealing with massive sickness and other ugly things from eating even a tiny bit of gluten. The worst is when I think I'm being "good" and find out shortly later that there was some hidden gluten somewhere. Such a drag.

I may not ever get all of the answers, but I think I came to at least a bit more understanding. The other day I posted that I wanted a cupcake on Facebook. My new comfort food- Swirlz Cupcakes. They have the most amazing AMAZING (seriously good) Gluten Free Cupcakes. Why do they taste good? BECAUSE THEY DON'T TASTE LIKE THEY'RE GLUTEN FREE. For once, I can feel like a normal human being eating a G*D D*MN cupcake. It's my privledge or something as an American, right?

Back to the story. Having a bad day, craving a cupcake. My aunt sees me on FB today and asks if I got my cupcake. We get into a conversation about how amazing they are, and I like them because they're gluten-free. She mentions that my cousin's son is going to a lot of doctors right now and he can't eat gluten either.


I don't wish this on anyone, let alone a little kid. But, this does make me feel better that there is *someone* I'm related to with a similar condition. Kind of establishing the fact that I'm not crazy. Well, I am crazy, but not crazy in that manner. Maybe my symptoms are medically real after all...

Next post is a real-deal brunch evaluation. You've been promised this, I shall deliver!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How I became a Gluten Free Vegetarian....

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess.....

Every Princess needs a crown.

She was quite happy.

Well, mostly happy.

Ok. Not happy at all. She just didn't realize how unhappy she was. But, we'll get to that in a minute.

See, a mean and nasty troll disguised himself as a prince and swept her away to his big dark cavern. She loved being treated as a princess even though there was a huge price to pay. More and more she wasn't being treated like a princess at all- in fact, you could have called her a modern-day Cindrella, except instead of the prince finding the glass slipper he was stealing it from her.

One day, she took all of the bravery she could muster and escaped. Her best friend, the Queen, sent her own King to help the Princess pack up much of her belongings and hide in another part of the kingdom. She cried many tears, but knew this was for the best.

During this time, the Princess' long-lost father returned only to inform her that he was dying. He, in fact, died the following week with the Princess and her siblings by his side.

Distraught over so much sadness, the Princess stopped eating. She couldn't stomach anything and became very gaunt. But, as all sadness does, this went away. It really is true when they say that time heals all wounds.

As the Princess started to heal, she realized that the feasts she used to enjoy were now making her very, very ill. At first she thought it was meat. But by the time she realized that it was in fact, gluten, not meat, it was too late and her body could not tolerate either.

The Princess also had some self-discovery, of loving oneself as much as loving others. She had always failed at this, and now everything was clicking. The Princess had gone through so much in such a short amount of time, she could only survive by learning self-care. And so it began.

Her health improved dramatically with each bite of healthy food she consumed. She no longer had the horrible illnesses and other maladies when she was gluten free. Her face cleared up and she wasn't sick all of the time.

And she did more research. Her vegetarian diet left a better impact on the earth. Ethically, she was no longer killing another creature for her gain. After going through so much pain, the Princess had resolved to not harm others, as she had been harmed. She sought more of a karmic balance in life.

The Princess runs into challenges from time to time, but the more she discovers her own beliefs and the impact of poor diets, the more she is resolved to love herself and love the planet. And hopefully that will make everything happily ever after....

Monday, December 7, 2009


“If you are a dreamer,come in.

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer.

If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,

for we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in! Come in!”

-Shel Silverstein

So, my boyfriend (hereby named Capt. Spaulding) and I are sitting at my favorite meal of the week (hereby named brunch) and we start talking/conspiring/plotting. Not to take over the world, but to start a blog: a brunch blog about brunching in Chicago. And so it begins.

Why brunch, you ask?

Because it is, in my humble opinion, the very best meal of the week.

Sunday brunch is the absolute best brunch, followed by a Saturday brunch.

The ultimate triple cup? A three day weekend filled with brunches. My first date with Capt. Spaulding was a three-hour brunch. I knew he was a keeper after that. I secretly judge people based on their reaction to brunch. I don’t care what time it is on Sunday- it is still brunch if it’s at 8 am or 2 pm or anywhere in-between. No, it’s not breakfast, it’s BRUNCH. Got it?

I digress.

Of course there has to be an interesting twist, otherwise this wouldn’t be an interesting blog. In short (which will be expanded on a later posting), I now live a vegetarian, gluten-free lifestyle. Partly because of the environment/animal issues (veggie), but mainly because of my own health (veggie and GF), I’ve made this transition over the past year. Which brings us to the name of the blog; people find out about my diet and ask me “What do you eat?!?!” My response is always “Sticks and Twigs.” In reality, I actually eat some pretty amazing food- WAY more interesting than the foods I ate before. But it wouldn’t be fun without some humor mixed in, now would it?

So, Capt. Spaulding and I will be venturing out to our favorite places as well as some restaurants we’ve never tried. We’ve built a rating system based on service, food (and choices I have to fit in my crazy diet), coffee, and house potatoes. Because what good brunch place DOESN’T have good potatoes? Capt. will give his input on meat products (to appease some of the crowd) while I’ll give the lowdown on good vegetarian foods.

We may even expand this to other culinary adventures- namely my cooking (quiet from the peanut gallery!). There are a lot of challenges in being a vegetarian celiac. Either I find vegetarian products/recipes that relay on gluten-based products or I find GF recipes that have meat as a prominent ingredient. Adding an omnivore significant other to the mix makes things even harder. Capt. Spaulding is luckily very open to eating vegetarian dishes, but I’m always trying to find recipes that are so good, he doesn’t miss the fact that there isn’t any meat. I think for the most part, I achieve that, but it still remains a challenge.

Please feel free to give feedback, and don’t judge my use of parenthesis. Enjoy!