Austin City Limits…

Nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile.
~ Grateful Dead

Did you know that “writers block” is a real thing? I mean you won’t find it in the DSM-5, but I know it’s real because it is what has kept me away for a few months. I trusted that I would get back to my story telling in due time, and trusted that you’d still be waiting here for me when I returned. Thank you for that.

So, where were we?

Back in April, we traveled to Austin, Texas to spend a long weekend with some of our favorite people. My first smile came when I accomplished arriving at the airport with just one carry-on bag. Packing light has never been a strong suit. My motto has always been: if you need 3 outfits, pack 25 just to be safe. And of course, save space for extra food for the trip. Anyone with celiac understands that. But after packing and repacking and packing again, a victory dance ensued.

As we drove into Austin, my food research told me that our first stop had to be to a little place called Picnik.  (Can I tell you how long it took my MacBook to accept that spelling?) Anyway, this charming little place is owned by a woman who also has celiac and saw the need for safe places to eat.  You can read about Naomi here.  Eating anywhere other than the safety of the confines of my own kitchen has proved to be a bit daunting, but this place was different.  From the moment we walked into the restaurant and were welcomed by the menu, I was instantly at ease:


First thing I ordered was something my nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic has been telling me about:  Butter coffee.  (Otherwise known as Bulletproof coffee which is a brand name.)  Butter coffee is made with grass-fed butter and is a frothy, oily, fatty coffee and it is delicious.  Why grass-fed butter you ask?   This is because grass-fed butter is high in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K and it’s much easier to digest than pasteurized milk. Butter coffee is loaded with the benefits of healthy fats and is also known to boost cognitive function, support fat burn, balance mood and hormone levels, and reduce hunger.  The MCT oil — medium-chain triglycerides — plus the high omega-3 content create a satisfying and nourishing combination.  This brought another smile to my face:


After agonizing over wanting one of everything, I settled on the Harvest Hash which was a plate full of vegetables topped with the freshest egg I’ve ever seen in a restaurant.  Get a load of that orange yolk:



My meal didn’t come with toast, but I immediately snatched a piece from my guy.  Toast in a restaurant for those of us with celiac is unheard of.  Even if they offer gluten free bread, we know not to partake, that is unless they have a dedicated gluten free toaster.  Yes, I have learned in these two years since my diagnosis that cross contamination is very real.  Knowing that I was completely safe here, I went ahead and ordered toast of my own before my hand got shooed away:


And finally, dessert.  You can’t not eat dessert when you’re in a culinary safe haven.  So a Blondie Ice Cream Sandwich (plus two spoons please) it was:


I have never been so happy (or more full) in a restaurant.  It was the perfect kick off to a beautiful weekend.

We ate a lot (our friends and hosts were so gracious and kind with my food needs) and laughed and got out on Lake Travis. And I got the full Austin experience by taking in some music:


While I’ve been called a major bed head thanks to my baby-fine hair, I’ve never really been a major Dead Head.  But I sure did enjoy the show that Bob Weir put on:


Austin is way ahead of the curve when it comes to accommodating health issues and food sensitivities. Not everywhere we went was like Picnik, but every single restaurant we went to had a gluten free menu.  One place even asked when we made the reservation if any one in our party had special food requirements.  The Odd Duck went above and beyond to accommodate me by always bringing my plate out separately and specifying that it was a “celiac plate”.



And it wasn’t just the food and the company that made for a great weekend.  Austin treated me to views that made me feel like I was on a European getaway:



Collectively, you can see why there was nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.




11 thoughts on “Austin City Limits…

  1. Awww, your presence in our part of the world always makes things sunnier!!! Love that you love our town! Just wish you were here more often!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. very nice – this made me hungry!!- my BFF has Celiac and I am always on the look out for a good food blog or recommendations. If you are in Atlanta our favorite “safe place” is The Iberian Pig in Decatur. They are very sensitive to Celiac or food allergy concerns and we love their food!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Aunt Kathy! I am just starting the elimination portion of the FODMAP diet to see if we can figure out what is happening with my gut. Not only is my MS related to my gut health, but they think I have some underlying issues which may include Celiac (surprised? anyone?) or a Gluten intolerance. I’ve been following your journey off and on, but I will be going thru your blog from the begging closely to find meals that I can make for my little family. Much love to you!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Emma, so nice to see you here! Good for you for taking charge and making some changes! It’s a journey, that’s for sure. But for me, the effort has been worth it 100%. The biggest turning point for me was finding a Functional Medicine doctor and nutritionist to work with. However, knowing that they’re not readily available everywhere, and often don’t take insurance, there are many other places to go right in the comfort of your own home to learn about taking charge of your health. The biggest lesson for me has been that our “gut” is really at the epicenter of our health and well being. As soon as I started to understand that, and act accordingly, things started to turn around for me. It has left zero doubt in my mind that Food Is Medicine. I have experimented time and time again with how what I eat has an effect on how I feel, and time and time again, the results are the same: when I consume processed garbage, I feel like garbage. When I eat real, minimally processed, whole food, I feel good. And the head scratcher for me is that the average primary care physician will poo-poo this idea. Why? Because my research has shown that only a very small portion of their medical training is spent on nutrition. And with healthcare the way it is now (get ’em in and get ’em out) doctors don’t have the time to look at us as a whole. Therefore, we have to become our own best advocate. In doing so, I have learned that “The foods you eat can either be the safest & most powerful form of medicine OR the slowest form of poison.” The elimination diet, while brutally difficult, will help you get in touch with what is causing you problems and provide a road map for calming the inflammation that is undoubtedly at the root of your feeling unwell. I have so many resources for you. Books. Articles. Blogs written by people whose bodies have been ravaged with pain, inflammation and illness, but who took charge of their health by what they put on their fork. I will be more than happy to provide you with as many articles, book recommendations and blog links as you’d like. I started slow, but found that the better I felt, the more momentum I gained in learning how to live a healthier life. Email me at kathybruton2 at gmail dot com so that I can send you names of my go-to cookbooks and websites. Good luck on this journey my beautiful niece. I will be here for you every step of the way. ❤


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