snapshots and highlights

Hello loves!

I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend. I’m sure I sound like a broken record when I say how they seem too short, but it seems like my weekends are a broken weekend as well!

Time seems to be flying and I can’t believe July is almost over, however with the crazy heat we have been having here in Phoenix, I am welcoming August with the hopes that summer will soon be gone. Because seriously, record breaking 116 degree days are getting pretty old pretty quick.

Life other than work has been pretty mundane, but I figured I would give you guys a few snapshots into what has been going on lately.

Something not so new is I have been on a huge sushi kick lately. I swear I never get sick of the stuff!

It started with a dinner out with a friend.

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I love a good classic rainbow roll and we found a sushi spot that just always hits the spot and their rolls are huge, so one roll (plus sashimi and a seaweed salad) fills me up. This girl can eat.

But having good sushi always does one thing to me.

Makes me want more.

So bad that I even settle for grocery store sushi.

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Not once.

But twice.

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Then Friday when you would think I had enough sushi.

No. I asked made Matt meet me at Whole Foods for dinner.

With one thing in mind.

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More sushi.

Last time we went they were out of my favorite roll, which made me super sad, however it did give me the opportunity to discover that they had an amazing sesame glazed tofu that was a pretty tasty substitute.

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The sauce was so amazing that I asked for extra on the side.

Tofu never looks super appetizing, but goodness, this tasted amazing.

More repetitive eats from the week have been amazing salads I have been making lately for lunches.

I use to always have some sort of sandwich for lunch, but in trying to cut some wheat/gluten from my diet I started making salads.  So I didn’t want to admit this, but I really think I was having some sort of reaction to wheat because once I started having salads (making sure to always include a protein and healthy fats) I noticed such a change in my energy level. I use to get the typical 3pm crash, but I noticed I don’t anymore and that I still have plenty of energy. Dun dun dunnn. I loved my sandwiches so even though I welcomed the fact that I no longer had that crash, I was sad to give up my sandwiches. Well, I kind of take that back, I don’t miss them all that much.

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Huge salad with a base of Cruciferous Crunch mix from Trader Joes topped with tons of veggies, pecans and avocado for my healthy fats. For my protein I usually have chicken or turkey on the side. I’m not completely sure if it’s the increased amounts of protein and fat or lack of wheat/gluten that is helping with the energy, but regardless the combination seems to be working for me. And although not completely gone, my bloating has gone down dramatically.

So those have been some highlights on what’s been going on. Sushi, sushi, sushi and a salad. Seriously, that’s my life.

I also have some breakfast highlights to share with you as well, but we’ll save those for another day.

Enjoy your weekend loves.

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Do you get the 3pm crash?

Is there a type of food you crave and could eat endlessly?

 

alive and snacking

I am alive loves I promise!

I am so sorry for my lack of posting, but goodness, have I been busy and tired!

Matt and I went to a baseball game last night and had a great time, however I had to work this morning and let me tell you, the lack of sleep and late night made for a long half day. So other than my manicure that I have scheduled for later today, I have no intentions of leaving my couch.

With that though, it gives me a little time to catch up with you and share some fun stuff.

So speaking of being tired, it should go without saying that I need a little kick start in the morning.

Yes, I love my coffee and have been reliant on it lately, but I have also had another delicious energy boost.

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Insert energems. I mean seriously, chocolate + caffeine? Sign me up.

So what exactly are energems?

They are bite sized supplements made with milk chocolate that also contain caffeine and B vitamins which give you a nice little energy boost when you’re feeling a little sluggish.  A serving is 3 gems which is the equivalent of a cup of coffee.  I have been popping one right before I leave for work and then again in the afternoon when my day starts to get a bit dragging. Not only does it give me a little energy boost, but who doesn’t love chocolate?

They come in three flavors: Milk Chocolate, Mint Chocolate and Peanut Butter.

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I can’t even tell you a favorite because all three are delicious.

So if you’re thinking what makes these different than your average cup of coffee or energy drink, it’s the ingredients.  Energems contain L-theanine, a natural supplement that helps improve with memory, focus and concentration as well as counteracts the jitters associated with caffeine.  Also many energy drinks and shots contain Phenylalanine, a major ingredient in Aspartame. Energems do not. Total plus!

And need I repeat myself when I say chocolate? I am really loving these!

Another snack I have been loving lately are these Dang Foods Coconut Chips.

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I have been on a huge coconut kick lately, so when I saw these coconut chips I basically already knew I would love them. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for how much.

I had plans to incorporate them into meals and snacks, but honestly I ate most of these straight from the bag. They’re like Pringles, once you pop you can’t stop. (except these are good for you!)

And even though they are amazing on their own, they also make my night time desserts a little extra special.

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Brownie + Halo Top strawberry ice cream + Dang coconut chips = one amazing night time treat.

I did not want this to end.

I’m pretty excited to use these in more dishes, they would be amazing in a home made trail mix.

One more delish item to share with you.

It just happens to be something I hold very dear to my heart.

Cheese!

I seriously love cheese.

So I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I heard of Moon Cheese Snacks.

Ok seriously. Crunchy cheese.

And you wanna know the ingredients?

Just Cheese.

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They come in 3 delicious flavors. Cheddar, Pepper Jack and Gouda.

Just like the coconut chips I had all intentions of adding this to dishes (they are amazing in salads) but I will admit a lot of this went straight from the bag into my mouth.

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But I mean seriously, these are crunchy cheesy little puffs of heaven… and they’re just flat out addicting.

So loves, I hope sharing these delicious snacks with you makes up for my absence as of late.

But as you can see, I was clearly busy. Eating delicious foods.

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What’s your favorite go to energy pick me up?

What snack have you been loving lately?

matt’s birthday celebrations

Birthday’s are fun.

Dare I say even marvelous?

When it comes to my own I basically just look at it as another day. Not because I dread getting older, I just don’t think mine is a big deal it just seems like just another day. But when it comes to celebrating others birthdays? Well I just love them!

Especially Matt’s, because let’s be real, I get to benefit from it as well!

We didn’t do a big ole celebration this year. Since last year was his 30th and we went all out with a bar crawl/scavenger hunt, we took it easy this year.

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But as fun as crazy nights are, quiet quality time nights are just as good.

The birthday boy got to choose where we went for dinner and I’d be lying if I said I was disappointed with he chose True Food as his birthday dinner choice.

It had been awhile since we had been there and we have never been disappointed with a dining experience there.

This night was no different.

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We of course started with birthday cocktails.

I ordered the cucumber-citrus margarita which is a favorite of mine.

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For dinner I wanted to try something new, but to be honest, when I know I like something I always have a debate if I should stray from it in fears of not enjoying the new dish I ordered. I usually order the brown rice teriyaki bowl, but the shiitake and  tofu lettuce cups always sounded so good. I actually gushed about my indecision to our server and she offered to order me a half order of the brown rice bowl and then add one lettuce cup on the side. What an amazing solution! I got the best of both worlds.

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I will say the lettuce cup was very good, reminded me a lot of PF Changs lettuce wraps, which I love. But I am also so glad that I also got to enjoy the brown rice bowl which I added chicken to instead of my normal tofu (I am trying to cut as much soy out of my diet as I can).

Both dishes were great and again I was so glad I got to try them both.

Matt ordered the grilled steal-head salmon which was very good as well.

We both have been obsessed with salmon lately and this salmon was cooked and seasoned amazingly.

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 After our entrees when asked if we wanted dessert we quickly said yes! I exclaimed the birthday boy has to have dessert!

Matt also insisted I order my own dessert instead of sharing his.

Who am I to say no to that?

Matt ordered the lemon tart with strawberry and coconut whipped cream.

As dessert was brought out he got another surprise!

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Seriously, how cute is that? A birthday candle and all!

For my dessert I ordered the flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

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Oh my goodness. That cake. It was so delicious and as much as I appreciated the individual size, I did not want it to end!

Overall, it was a very nice intimate birthday and as mentioned before as fun as a crazy night would have been, I think Matt really enjoyed his relaxing dinner out.

So happy 31st birthday  my love! To many more.

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Do you prefer big birthday celebrations or small quiet ones?

bacon binge

Happy Friday loves!

This has been such a long week that I am so glad that Friday is finally here. There still is that simple pleasure of Friday even though I know I work Saturday and I know how crazy our schedule is. But still, there is just something about Friday’s that makes things a little bit better.

What else makes Friday’s great? It’s time for #strangebutgood eats with Laura.

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Sprint 2 the Table

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We all know I have made some interesting food combinations.

This week is no different.

The last few days  I seem to have been on a bacon binge. I know. This past vegetarian now loves her bacon.

Well turkey bacon, but baby steps.

But let’s be honest. I can’t just do you standard typical bacon and eggs. Oh no. I have to make #strangebutgood bacon creations.

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The first strange component: Sweet eggs. I know not too strange in the foodie world, but I love making my eggs sweet.

I took one egg + one egg white added some Growing Naturals vanilla pea protein powder, vanilla stevia and cinnamon and cooked it up in a skillet like an omlette.

I toasted an O’Doughs gluten free bagel and topped half with my sweet eggs and turkey bacon.

The second strange component: Cream cheese + blueberry jam.

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And the strangest part is combining it all together.

I can’t explain it, but it worked.

All with a nectarine on the side.

The bacon #strangebutgood creations didn’t end there.

Next came the waffle bacon sandwich.

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I took a Van’s gluten free waffle and filled it with more sweet eggs and turkey bacon.

And what’s a waffle without maple syrup?

Not a waffle worth eating.

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It was a sweet and salty sandwich of delicious.

Again, another combination that maybe shouldn’t have worked, but it did.

And the cherries on the side completed the meal. I love that it’s cherry season. There is something about when fruit is in season, it just seems to taste better. For obvious reasons I suppose.

So how long will this bacon obsession last? Who knows, but I sure am enjoying it for now.

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Do you like sweet/salty combinations?

What’s your favorite bacon dish?

not so typical

Ugh. I feel like I am so far behind.

I really want to give you an update on Matt’s birthday celebrations, but I still have yet to share my Fourth of July celebrations.

Whoa is the life of I have way too much going on.

So we will save the recap of Matt’s birthday celebrations till a later date and I will share my deliciousness that happened on our Independence Day.

As if we could ever have a standard American celebration.
We started off okay with of course enjoying a few cold ones.

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We decided to venture out this year and go downtown to watch the fireworks, but knew it would be crazy so we headed down early to avoid the traffic. Which left us time for a few brewskies and dinner.

So we of course had the typical American dinner.

Sushi.

I can’t help it, I crave it all the time.

There was only one sushi restaurant in walking distance and we had been to it once before and weren’t impressed, so we really didn’t have high expectations, but that tells you how bad I wanted sushi.

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I’m glad we decided to give it another chance, because everything we ordered this time was great.

Matt was in the go all out mood, so that is what we did.

Yellowtail sashimi and edamame to start.

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Tuna tataki and a spicy tuna roll for Matt.

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Salmon asparagus roll for me.

It may not be your typical burgers and hotdogs (however I would not have been opposed to that!) but it was delicious none the less.

After dinner we still had some time to kill before the fireworks, so we headed to a favorite Irish pub and had another drink.

- insert un-pictured Guinness (I know, again – soooo American) -

Then finally time for fireworks!

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We had quite the adventure getting home after the fireworks.  Let’s just say it took about 2 hours and walking about 3 miles before we finally got a ride home, but we made it!

So your typical Fourth of July? Nope. But would you expect any less from me?

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Did you have a typical Fourth of July?


quick catch up

Hey friends! I know. Long time no talk.

Ironically a lot has been going on, but I have just been so busy that I haven’t had time to actually sit and write a post.

So let’s do a quick catch up on what’s been going on.

First I had a very exciting weekend, which now was a week ago.

Matt’s parents came into town as they both had eye appointments and decided to stay in town over night, so we were actually able to spend more time with them.  We met them for dinner after their appointments and decided to have an early birthday celebration for Matt.

And what’s a birthday dinner without cake?

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We all split a chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream.

Yes this was as good as it looks.

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Yummm. Up close of the warm chocolate deliciousness.

It’s a good thing we were sharing, I could have easily demolished this whole thing myself.

The next day we took Matt’s parents to one of our favorite local breakfast joints The Breakfast Club.

I ordered a 3 egg white omelet with red bell peppers and onions with broccoli, tomatoes, fresh fruit and cottage cheese on the side.

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This was the perfect light breakfast to start the exciting day I had ahead of me.

However, I wasn’t prepared for how exciting it was going to be.

Since Matt’s mom was in town and we actually had more time, we decided to take advantage of it and go wedding dress shopping. Now, I really had no intentions of purchasing a wedding dress in the near future as our wedding is not until April 2015, but I thought it would be a nice opportunity to get an idea of what I liked and was looking for.

Let me tell you, the second dress I tried on.. I fell in love with.

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It fit perfectly, I felt beautiful and I thought it would be perfect for the outdoor ceremony we are having. I thought I found my dress.

But I wanted to try a few others on just to see my options.

Well guess what guys. The fourth dress I tried on. It truly was the one.

I went back and forth between the two just to make sure, and yup. The fourth dress won every time. I knew it was my wedding dress.

So loves. I said yes to a dress and purchased it!!

(I however can not post the real dress as I am traditional in the sense I do not want Matt to see it!)

I can not describe how excited I was! I had texted Matt almost immedietly, but when I got home all I wanted to do was go celebrate.
So that’s what we did.

With fancy drinks!

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We went to a restarant called Pig and Pickle that is known for their unique drinks and meat dishes. Now, since I don’t eat a lot of meat, eating there was never too appealing to me, but the drinks sounded good and I love that they try and source everything local when they can. To drink I ordered the Stonie Bah-Lonie which was made with Hophead vodka, fresh lime, grapefruit juice, hop-grapefruit bitters, with an IPA float.  It was interesting but probably not something I would order again.

Matt got two drinks. His first was called The Landing Strip which was made with Breckenridge bourbon & Breckendridge bitters with cinzano & black cherry. I of course stole the cherry.  As we were drinking out first drinks we saw the bartender prepare this ridiculous looking drink. In asking what it was, it was their house Bloody Mary, but goodness did they know how to garnish!

Loads of pickled veggies and the kicker was a piece of their pork belly. Matt was in heaven.

To continue the celebrations we decided to go out to dinner later that evening.

We decided on a favorite of ours Blanco Tacos and Tequila.

In ordering though I was conflicted. I haven’t talked about it much on here, but I have been doing a mini elimination diet and trying to cut gluten and dairy out of my diet as I have a suspicion I may have an intolerance to one of them.

That makes going out for Mexican a bit challenging.

I did it though.

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We still ordered guacamole, but I resisted on the chips. You better believe I ate the guacamole out of the bowl with the spoon. With no shame.

For dinner instead of my regular chicken burrito (which I missed dearly) I opted for a salmon salad. Ok. Now I will say it was hard going to a Mexican restaurant and not getting my burrito, but this salmon was amazing.  Matt also got salmon, but on top of a potato hash and we both agreed it was some of the best salmon we have had.

So basically that weekend was a really good one and buying my dress really makes the wedding a lot more real. It also made me realize I have a lot more to plan! But it really got Matt and I excited and motivated. And I have my wedding dress! ahh!

Well loves I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! I will be back soon to fill you in on the Fourth of July fun that was had!

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If you’re married did you immediately know your wedding dress was the dress?

 

june foodie pen pal reveal

You know if it wasn’t scorching hot here in Arizona, I don’t think I would have realized that it’s already July. That and we’re closed at work for July 4th, but seriously time is flllyyyyyinnnggg.

The scary thing about time going so quick is now that Matt and I finally picked a wedding date (did I fail to mention that? April 4 2015!!! eeeeee!!)  I know that date is going to be here in a blink of an eye and I just pray that I will  have everything done in time.

Wish me luck.

But on to the present.

Food Pen Pals!

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The Lean Green Bean

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I was paired up with April and she sent me some tasty goodies.

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Nature Valley granola bars, Harvest Nut Mix, Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds, Midwest Spice Rub, Pistachios.

I love pistachios so these went straight into my work bag to snack on.

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Peach Jam!! French Twists and Bare Fruit Apple Chips.

She wrote in her note that the French Twists were for my fiance as I tell all my foodie pen pals that Matt always appreciates when a sweet treat makes it into the packages.  What April didn’t know was that I  had actually had these French Twists before and loved them, so Matt was going to have to share.

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But ssshhh. Don’t tell him that. It’ll be our little secret.

So thank you April for everything!

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Do you feel like the year is flying by?

cinnamon flax seed wraps

Hey loves! I hope your week is treating you well.

Even though it’s only been two days, mine has been a bit challenging.

I don’t talk much about diets on the blog because, well I don’t follow one.

I don’t label myself as a vegan, vegetarian, paleo etc.  I actually don’t believe in labels. What I believe in is eating a whole food, healthy, balanced diet. So if one day I want ice cream, pizza, cookies… I’ll have them. If one day I crave fruit and vegetables… I’ll have them.

Yes I try to lead an overall healthy lifestyle, but to me a healthy lifestyle is balance, honoring our bodies and listening to our cravings.  Never restricting.

With that being said, this is why my week has been a bit challenging.

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I have been having a lot of issues lately with bloating, gas and stomach discomfort. It has kind of always been there, but as of lately it was getting worse. I discussed all my symptoms with my nutritionist and she suggested a few things that she thought could be the issue.

Gluten Intolerance.

Dairy Intolerance.

Or FODMAP sensitivities.

Awesome. Because guess what. I love bread. I love dairy. I love FODMAP containing fruits and vegetables.

(Not sure what FODMAP’s are? Check out this great post for more information)

So what’s a girl to do?

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Experiment and see if she can find the answer.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I can’t say I’m doing a extremely strict elimination diet, but I am making a very big effort to cut most gluten out of my diet and watch my dairy and FODMAP containing foods consumption.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie.

However, Matt was very supportive and took me shopping which got me kind of excited about having to make the effort to make new meals.

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So I stocked up on some gluten free goodies and of course took to Pinterest to find some gluten free recipes.

One of the first things I looked for was some sort of wrap/tortilla. (this was before I purchased the brown rice tortillas)

I wanted something simple, and found a great idea for a flax seed wrap. I of course tweaked it and made it my own and was pleasantly surprised how well they turned out!

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 Cinnamon Flax Wraps

(paleo and gluten free)

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Ingredients

- 2 tbsp ground flax seed

- 8 tbsp liquid egg whites

- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

- 5-7 drops liquid stevia (optional)

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Directions:

- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until mixture is thick

- Heat a greased pan with coconut oil (or spray)

- Pour batter in pan and swirl mixture to cook like crepes/pancakes

- Fill with whatever fillings you desire

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I filled mine with Plant Fusion Phood Chocolate Caramel protein frosting and frozen banana’s and then drizzled it with Click Mocha protein.

I made my wraps the night before and stored them in the fridge overnight which I think helped them stay pretty pliable and didn’t break when folded.

I think I may make a bigger batch of these to have ready when my wrap cravings kick in.

I really am liking trying to find more unique ways to cure my bread cravings and after trying a few gluten free products, I am more determined to just make my own. Not only are gluten free products twice as expensive as regular products, some of them just flat out don’t taste good. Also it’s just more fun to make your own and experiment!

 Hopefully I don’t have a full out gluten, dairy or FODMAP intolerance, but until this elimination diet is over, I’ll be making some changes.

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Are you gluten or dairy intolerant?

How did you find out? How do you avoid it?