Archive for August, 2013

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations

The following guest post is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer, Candice Clifford of Embrace G-Free.

What does, “expect the unexpected,” mean to you? This was an exact interview question, which was given to me during my international service trip (ISP) interview.   As I heard these words I felt both fear and a thrill of excitement.  However, as I thought more about this central ISP theme, I began to realize this phrase could describe my life for the past eight years.

I don’t understand why certain events have happened in my life, but I certainly know that each hardship has taught me valuable life lessons. While dwelling on the “why question” was a part of my grief process when I was first diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’), I quickly realized this was not going to help me live my best life.

As Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” says, “make your mess your message.” Whether big or small, we all have our own challenges.  In the end I truly feel that you will not be defined by your “something,” rather people will remember you for what you did with your life after you faced adversity.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations: Meeting the Group

That’s me starting my journey of empowerment (Keep reading, I’ll explain).

After I was diagnosed, I was full of fear. Food, going out to eat and getting sick again were fears hat controlled my life. However, in 2011 I made a choice to make a change by starting my blog, Embrace G-Free. Not only did this help get me back cooking in the kitchen, but it also empowered me.

Empowerment is one of the words which is continually tossed around in my counseling classes. However, I truly believe empowerment is a concept that you can’t fully understand until you personally experience it.   As a future counselor I feel blessed that I will have the opportunity to help my clients become empowered. However, it is possible to discover self-empowerment without the guidance of a professional.

One of the best things you can do to achieve self-empowerment is set a goal; big or small, size doesn’t matter. What makes the difference is your attitude. Throw the self-doubt out the door. “I can’t” isn’t an option. By no means am I saying you will achieve all your goals. I for sure haven’t; failing is part of life.  It is possible you may discover a barrier which prevents you from achieving your goal. However if you take all the proper steps and know you did everything in your power to try and achieve your goal, consider it a success. In taking action rather than letting your dreams pass you by, you will begin to feel more empowered.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, self-empowerment is something I am so passionate about because becoming empowered has moved my life in such a positive direction and has provided me with experiences which I am forever grateful for. Finding empowerment through my diagnosis was one of life’s “unexpected” moments, eventually leading me to achieving a goal which I was ready to give up on. However, a long-term college dream was achieved this past May when I was blessed to go on an international service trip to El Salvador.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations:  ISP Group

Me and my fellow students in the El Salvador ISP group

It was a long process to see if this goal could even be achieved. I started back in April 2012 and continued when I returned to school in September to make sure the sites could accommodate my needs. It was one thing to want to go on an ISP trip, but I needed to ensure I could do it safely. Patience, diligence, determination and an incredible program director helped me get through step one. Once I got the green light, it was onto getting over the hurdles of application selections and an interview process.

I will never forget the day I received the e-mail notifying me that I was selected to travel to El Salvador. I cried and would have screamed if I wasn’t at work. The planning process was incredible and in May 2013, my group and I were ready to head off to El Salvador.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations: Candice Clifford

How amazing is that view?

While many people see a service trip as a way to serve others, I can honestly say that the people and experiences I had taught me more than I could ever give to the people I served. Although I felt empowered prior to ISP, this experience truly allowed me to take my feeling of empowerment to a new level.  Not only was I faced with the challenge of new food allergy diagnoses a month before the trip, but while in El Salvador all my fears that I had prior to leaving happened. Despite this, I was OK.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations:  Building

I can honestly say that the people and experiences I had taught me more than I could ever give the people I served.

I truly believe it was my individual choices, which helped me overcome the challenges I faced. For example, rather then crying when I walked in the first night and realized I couldn’t eat the main meal, I took a deep breath to calm myself down, told myself it was going to be OK, and made an almond butter sandwich.  Overall that was one of the only meals I couldn’t eat and when I was unsure, I did without and turned to a safe option I brought with me.

After going on this trip I really began to realize even though food is our medicine, it doesn’t have to make or break our experiences. Of course enjoying some of the cultural dishes was wonderful and delicious, however, when I look back 20 years from now, I will not remember the foods I ate. Rather my memories will be of all the wonderful relationships I built during those 7 special days in El Salvador.

Food is our medicine, but don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals.  Become Empowered!

– Candice

About Candice Clifford & Embrace G-Free

Visit Embrace G-Free where you can find empowering tools to live your happiest and healthiest gluten-free life! Browse through great recipes, product reviews and helpful resources. Candice Clifford started Embrace G-free in January 2011, after being diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Follow her journey as she rediscovers her passions for baking and cooking. Candice shares her story with others to spare them from years of misdiagnoses and to inspire hope.

Follow Candice on Twitter (@CandiceRose90) and like Embrace G-Free on Facebook.

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August 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm 2 comments

Gluten Free Cranberry-Orange Scones

The following post is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

I had no desserts or snacks on hand today, and for me, that’s a horrible situation! I have a tremendous sweet tooth. So…out came the measuring spoons, cups, and other essentials.

There are certain flavors that go so well together…and these two are a perfect example: Cranberry and Orange.

I had a Cranberry-Orange Scone that was commercially made, gluten-free of course, and loved those tastes together. So, rather than spend $5.00 on one (“gulp!”), I decided to experiment on a recipe at home.  And you know what? It didn’t involve that much work or even that much time.

So, if you have the desire, and a little bit of time, try my scone recipe. And I’ll bet you can even change up the flavors once you’ve made this recipe and come up with something special that you’ll like just as much as I love these.

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (such as Arrowhead Mill), plus additional for dusting your board or surface.
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (Omit if already added to flour blend)
  • 1 stick cold sweet butter (8 Tbsp.) cut into small pieces. Keep cold until ready to begin adding.
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (If you like, use ¾ cup Half &Half instead of milk & cream)
  • 1 egg1 tsp. gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange juice- from a fresh orange
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest – from same orange of course.
  •  1/3 cup cranberries – dried
  • Small amount Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper. No need to grease or spray.
  2. In large bowl, place all dry ingredients. Mix by hand just to make sure they are all incorporated together. Add the zest and combine.
  3. Take out the cold butter and “cut in” to the dry ingredients with pastry cutter tool or forks. Don’t use mixer here.
  4. In another smaller bowl, hand blend the wet ingredients including the egg and orange juice.
  5. Add the wet to the bowl with the dry. If you use a hand mixer, don’t beat too much. Once it gets a little stiff, stop and use clean hands. Form 2 balls. It should be easy to do this, since the batter will stick. If you feel it’s really too dry and doesn’t “stick together,” add a drop or two more milk. But not a lot of additional milk.
  6. On the dusted surface, place the two balls and flatten into 2 discs. They should be about 7-8 inches wide.
  7. Brush top with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
  8. Cut with a sharp knife into triangles and using a flat spatula, gently lift off board and place on the parchment paper on your baking sheet.
  9. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden in color.
  10. Cool on the paper, and store in air-tight container when cooled. (Don’t cover while warm or moisture beads will form inside.)

This is really easy to do, and makes a great breakfast treat on a weekend morning! Actually, it’s a nice treat at any time of day!

– Annette

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free


Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

August 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm 1 comment


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