Gluten-Free Pizza Place

gluten-free pizza

I have spent years avoiding pizza, because it caused me upset stomach. Once I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, one of the ONLY things I was excited about was knowing that I would be able to enjoy eating pizza again, as long as it was made with gluten-free crust. I have been looking forward to eating my first pizza since my diagnosis. Recently, I have struggled to find a pizza place that serves gluten-free pizza. I have not found a single chain restaurant that offers gluten-free pizza, which is really disappointing for me. I was hoping to have the opportunity to order gluten-free pizza and get it delivered to my house. However, a friend of mine told me about a pizza place in Springfield, MO, Cravin’ Pizza, that has a gluten-free pizza option. I was thrilled! I could not wait to try it out.

This weekend, one of my girlfriends was in town for Best Friend’s Weekend for one of our other friend’s sorority. She has recently adopted a gluten-free lifestyle to try to regulate her frequent upset stomach, so when she was hungry for lunch, I recommended checking out this pizza place. All four of us girls celebrating Best Friend’s Weekend agreed, and so we were off to try out Cravin’ Pizza.

my gluten-free bestie

Although I had already ate lunch, I was super excited to try a piece of their pizza. This was a great chance for me to see if this restaurant was one I would like to come back to. The girls ordered two pizzas. One was cheese and the other was a tomato, mozzarella and basil. The restaurant only offered gluten-free crust in 9 inch, which was the perfect size for us. Both of my two friends ate her entire 9 inch pizza and was fully satisfied after.

The cheese pizza was 6 dollars, and the tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza was around 8 dollars. Both were affordable and worth the money. The service was fast, considering we were the only customers in the restaurant at the time. I definitely plan to go back, and I recommend anyone else looking for a gluten-free option in the Springfield area to check out Cravin’ Pizza. This restaurant is also great for anyone looking to eat at a local restaurant or searching for a healthier pizza option.

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My First and Last Meet As A Celiac

This past weekend, I had my first meet since my official diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Oddly enough, it was the last meet of my swimming career, since I am a senior in college and my four years of NCAA eligibility are up. I had several concerns going into the meet. What was I going to eat when the team stopped at Jimmy Johns for lunch on the drive to the meet? What was I going to eat for dinner the first night when the team had pasta catered to the hotel? What would I eat during the meet, when I got hungry and the snack tub was full of gluten-filled bars?

my team after winning the conference title

I decided not to stress too much about my concerns, considering this was the last meet of my entire (15 year) swimming career. I wanted to focus, and I was interested to see how eating gluten-free would affect my swimming. I had been feeling stronger leading up to the meet, but I was unsure if that would carry over to the meet.

Lucky for me, my coaches worked hard to make sure I was well-fed during the meet, and I ended up having the best meet of my life! I swam times that I only saw in my dreams. At the end of my races, I felt like a completely different person than how I had felt before my diagnosis. I felt alert and strong throughout my entire races.

I am so thankful that I found out about having Celiac Disease before my last meet, and that I was able to fix the problem. I ended my career on a better note than I could have ever expected. Not only did I have a great meet myself, but my team also had an exceptional meet. We won our fifth conference title in a row! I am thrilled to report that being gluten-free helped me swim fast and exceed any of my expectations.

Team Support At Our Annual Potluck

This weekend, my swim team had our annual pre-conference potluck and tee-shirt decorating party. Everyone brought a dish to share. After my diagnosis of Celiac, events like this have not sounded as exciting as they did in the past. All I can think about is how much of an inconvenience I am to everyone else.

fellow backstrokers decorating t-shirts

Before the potluck, I was certain I would not be able to eat much of anything at the event. As my teammates were writing what they were planning to bring on the Facebook wall for the event, I was realizing that things are just not going to be how they used to be. No pasta, brownies or bread for me.

I knew I would just have to bring my own gluten-free meal, since I would not be able to eat anything else substantial at the potluck. My roommate agreed to bring a chicken-broccoli casserole with me, so I could have at least one gluten-free option. All the ingredients in our dish were gluten-free, minus the topping. My roommate made a good sized portion of our casserole without the gluten-containing topping. I was happy enough with this, because I knew I would at least have something to eat, as long as I was the first one to get my food, because I could not risk cross-contamination.

To my surprise there were lots of gluten-free options for me to eat. My teammates really took care of me. There was salad, baked tomatoes with cheese on top, Frito pie, gluten-free alfredo, gluten-free peanut-butter cookies and Reese’s! I was actually able to eat more than I have since I was diagnosed, because I had so many options.

I am blessed to have a team of girls who went out of their way to ensure I could enjoy the potluck as much as everyone else. That really says a lot about the character of my teammates. You never see what people are willing to do for you, until you have to go through something like this. The support from my teammates has made this transition so much smoother. I appreciate each and every one of my teammates for making this process easier. My team is my family, and this potluck reminded me of that.

Nutritionist Knows Best

Today, after over a week of struggling through my gluten-free diet without any guidance (except for the Internet), I finally got to meet with my school’s athletic nutritionist. Although the Internet taught me a lot of background information, I am happy to report that I have clarified some of the inconsistencies the Internet provided. I also got some great ideas for my everyday life!

The first thing I am thrilled to have learned is that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are gluten-free! Special holiday Reese’s and Reese’s Minis may have gluten-containing products, but the normal Reese’s are perfectly fine for Celiacs.

Second, I confirmed that most lunch meat does contain gluten, because of the way it was processed. However, there are gluten-free lunch meats, you just need to get them from the deli. My nutritionist specifically recommended Boar’s Head Lunch Meat, which is all gluten-free.

Third, I cleared up which types of alcoholic beverages I can drink. Because I have been in dry-season (a period of time where we do not drink before a big swim meet) since I started my gluten-free diet, I have not faced this problem yet, but I wanted to clear it up before I decide to hit the bars after my meet. Beer is a definite no, which I already knew, except for the specific gluten-free brands. Vodka is questionable, and my nutritionist recommended not drinking it at all, but especially not drinking any vodkas with flavoring. This explains the inconsistencies I have been finding on this topic online. Wine is safe, so I guess that is my new go-to beverage when I am out on the town. Classy, I know.

As for the rest of the meeting, I gained some new ideas about what to eat on a daily basis. I am excited about my nutritionist’s suggestion to have smoothies for breakfast. That sounds pretty yummy. I am also excited to buy some True North Nut Clusters. She had a big bag from Sams Club in her office, and they were delicious and gluten-free!

The nutritionist’s main advice to me is that I can pretty much eat most foods I want, I just can not eat them mixed together. No more casserole-type foods for me! She suggested eating 25% meat, 25% carbs (rice, beans or potatoes) and 50% fruits or veggies (because they are ALL gluten-free) for dinner every night.

Gluten-Free Tip: Keep A Sweet With You At All Times!

I am officially one week into my gluten-free diet, and I have made it through with only one major temptation. I have had numerous minor temptations, but they have been easy to overcome. For example, I have three gluten-eating roommates. When I walk upstairs into the kitchen and see a bag of pretzels opened, I have moments when I forget I can no longer eat them. As soon as I start to walk over to the bag and grab a handful, I am reminded by the annoying voice in my head that those pretzels are not gluten-free. I sulk for a moment, and then move on to my trail mix or cheese sticks.

However, I did experience my first strong desire to cheat on my gluten-free diet. It was unbelievable. I got to the office for my internship and went into the conference room for a staff meeting. Sitting in the middle of the table was a half-eaten, decadent double-layer-chocolate-cake with a cherry filled center. It smelled and looked incredible. To make matters worse, I unknowingly picked the chair right in front of the cake, so it was staring at me the entire meeting. Lucky for me, no one in the office was eating the cake at the time, because that would have been too much for me to handle. In the end, I resisted the urge, but I have come to the conclusion that I need to leave some chocolates in my purse for situations like this. I do not want to feel as though I am depriving myself. Nor do I want to seem like ‘that’ girl who always turns down cake!

As for the rest of my week, I have made it through without any major problems, and I have come up with lots of blog topics, so stay tuned for those. Also, I am starting to develop a routine, and I am becoming comfortable with this drastic life change I am undergoing. I understand that I do not really have a choice, so I need to learn to love it.