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gluten free

Gluten Full…On Crazy

By food, gluten free, hazards to my well-being, not ruling at life No Comments


I think gluten makes me a certifiably crazy person. Because lately, I’ve been eating all kinds of delicious breads and cookies and cakes and pastas and such things. And I’ve also been worried and freaking out and randomly crying and acting like a complete loon and seriously contemplating whether I need a mental health professional in my life. And while it seems like suddenly everything in my life has been falling apart for the last 2.5 weeks…March 12 is coincidentally when I started eating gluten again. I remember it quite clearly because I took a picture of this meal I made an “exception” for. Those up there, my friends, are Swedish pancakes. And they were delicious. And you know what else was delicious? Pizza. Lasagna. Cheez-Its. Veal parmesan. Italian bread. Birthday cake. Chicken strips. Chocolate chip cookies. Macaroni and cheese. Sandwiches. Multiple, multiple sandwiches on real bread. Toast. Pretzels. More chicken strips. Ranch dressing. Real soy sauce. Chinese food. Fortune cookies. I think you get the point.

So tonight I’m going to have one more pizza dinner, and then tomorrow it’s back on the gluten-free wagon. And I’m not looking for sympathy or attention or whatever else people on the Internet assume people who post stupid crap like this on the Internet are looking for. I’m just posting this here because I know if I put it on the Internet, I’ll actually do it. And because last night I said this to myself and DIDN’T post it on the internet, and this morning I ate a fucking donut for breakfast.

So note to self (and no one else, really): Get it together.

Pineapple Passion

By boat drinks, food, gluten free, holiday fun, jimmy buffett is my hero, lifestyle, pineapples and palm trees, product reviews, recipes, summer, tropical fruits, videos 7 Comments

Tomorrow is National Rum Day, which was brought to my attention by my lovely friends at Cruzan when they offered to send me a sample of their new Passion Fruit Rum to celebrate the occasion. While I’m all about random spirit-inspired holidays, you know I don’t need a reason to swirl up a tropical beverage any day of the week. I’ve been especially partial to rum ever since last month’s pina colada-making vacation days at my parents’ pool, where I read Jack and Di Rum Song (and all three of Anthony Bjorklund’s other Jimmy Buffett-inspired tales). Also, since my adoption of a gluten-free diet has limited my beer drinking to a few here and there hardly any ever, I decided to finally splurge on this Margaritaville Frozen Concotion Maker I’ve been wanting for eight years. (I figured I’d register for it when I got married, but who wants to wait around for that?) =)

This particular recipe was inspired by the official Cruzan Pineapple Passion — I just tweaked it to make do with the ingredients I had on hand. (Slackers don’t serve drinks in hollowed-out pineapples, sorry.) Pineapple and passion fruit are two of all-time favorite fruity flavors (remember?), and blended with fresh lime juice and simple syrup, this frozen concoction is sweet, tart, refreshing perfection. =)

P.S. This is my first attempt at video editing. I hope you enjoy it!

Super Simple Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

By food, gluten free, recipes 2 Comments

turkey & wild rice soup

In my continued efforts to eat better and cook more, I managed to throw together this soup last week with some turkey tenderloins and a few other ingredients I already had on hand. I know it’s hot as sh*t outside, but it’s freezing in my house and my office. Plus, this was so easy to make, and I had a bunch left over, which I froze in single-serving containers for future lazy lunches. =)

1 medium to large Vidalia onion, chopped
8 oz. baby carrots (about half a small bag), cut in half
2 turkey tenderloins (about 1 lb.), cut into 1-inch cubes
64 oz. all natural chicken broth (2 cartons)
1 cup water
1 cup organic wild rice (I used the 365 Everyday Value Organic Wild Rice Blend Basmati & Wild Rice from Whole Foods)
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Black pepper
Parsley (for garnishing)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a large stock pot, combine onion, carrots, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Season turkey by sprinkling with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add to boiling broth.

3. Bring broth back to a boil, then let simmer for about 20 minutes.

4. Bring broth back to a boil. Add 1 cup wild rice. Let simmer 30-35 minutes.

5. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

P.S. This recipe is gluten-free!

Gluten-Free, Part 2

By food, gluten free, hazards to my well-being 2 Comments


It’s been a little more than five months since I posted about my gluten-free experiment, and I thought perhaps I’d report back with a status update. I’ve been (mostly) sticking to a gluten-free diet since about January 2, which was the day I decided to try changing my eating habits to help with my headaches. I wasn’t medically diagnosed with any kind of gluten sensitivity — I just thought it would be worth giving it a try. Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

In the beginning, I replaced most of my gluten-filled foods with fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, eggs and dairy. I steered clear of bread, snack foods, beer and almost everything else that didn’t specifically say “gluten free” on the label. I inadvertently cut out almost all processed foods. My sinus congestion cleared up, my headaches disappeared, and I had lots and lots of energy.

After the first 30 days were up, I let myself slip up here and there — never very much. I had two hot dogs and some beer in Nashville. I had a slice of pizza and some pastries in NYC in February. I had two slices of pizza on my birthday. Those kinds of things. Never more than a serving or two in a one-week period. I noticed feeling a little groggy a few hours after I ate those things, and a little congested the next day, but nothing major. I always went back to my gluten-free diet immediately the next day, and I still felt pretty good.

In early May, I went all out and drank a bunch of beer, ate a bunch of pizza, and even had a piece of chocolate cake. That night, I kept waking up in the middle of the night, heart racing, sweating. I felt awful! I did the same thing a few weeks ago in New Jersey — splurged on a bunch of pastries and cookies at my brother’s party. I wasn’t drunk, but that’s how I felt again when I woke up a few times in the middle of the night. Almost like I was having an anxiety attack. It was weird.

Ever since then, I’ve been back on strictly gluten-free foods, and I even decided to experiment with some gluten-free cookies and snack foods. However, lately, I’ve been feeling kind of lethargic and gaining a little bit of weight. I think the gluten-free processed snacks need to go. I also started to notice this past week how many vitamins and minerals I’m not getting anymore, due to the lack of enriched and fortified grain products in my diet. Starting tonight, I’ll be working a multivitamin into my diet — something I probably should have done from the beginning.

And that’s about it. Most importantly, the headaches are still pretty non-existent, which is amazing. I’m not sure if I can entirely attribute the headaches to gluten or some combination of caffeine, soda and/or artificial sweeteners, which I also gave up back in January. I’ve also noticed that the chronic little canker sores I used to get in my mouth and blame on orange juice and stress have disappeared completely (and I’ve had lots of orange juice lately), so I’m going to keep going with the gluten-free thing because it seems to be working for me.

I’d love to know…have you ever tried a gluten-free diet or some kind of elimination diet? Did you learn anything? Did it work for you?

P.S. I haven’t had a bagel in five months. Whoa. 🙂

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and edited with Alex Beadon‘s Like a Painting Photoshop action.


By food, gluten free, hazards to my well-being 6 Comments


Confession #1: I’m completely addicted to carbohydrates, and I find it extremely difficult to eat a balanced diet because I almost always choose carbs over fruits and vegetables. My favorite foods include bagels, pasta, Cheez-Its, French bread, and pastries.

Confession #2: I’ve suffered from headaches and migraines since, well…since so long ago I can’t even remember when. I hardly ever take Advil or medication for them. I’m just used to them.

Confession #3: I hate fad diets. The only diet I’ve ever tried and stuck to was Weight Watchers. (And even on Weight Watchers, I was a major carb addict.)

Confession #4: Lately, I’ve been tired all the time.

Confession #5: I am not a nutritionist, so take this entire post with a grain of salt.

All that being said, I’m ridiculously surprised to report to you that for the last six days, I’ve been experimenting with a gluten-free diet. That means no wheat, and no other grains that contain gluten. It wasn’t something I planned to do, but after having a headache for a solid three weeks (Christmas and New Year’s included), I finally caved and started Googling headaches. Just as I suspected, headaches and migraines in women are often linked to three things: hormones, food, and/or stress. I also did some research on food and hormones (a potential cause of my anxiety?), and I read some articles on food and sinus congestion (another potential cause of my headaches).

As a result of all this research, I’ve decided to try an elimination diet, and the first food I’m experimenting with is gluten. I’m going to try to go 30 to 60 days without gluten, document my symptoms, and then see what happens when I gradually reintroduce it back into my diet. I’ve also cut out coffee, soda, and artificial sweeteners for the time being (just because three coffees a day probably isn’t that good for me either). I figure if I cut all these things out for a short time, I might be able to pinpoint what (if anything) is triggering my headaches. It could be gluten, wheat, caffeine, Splenda…or it could be none of those things, and I might be totally wasting my energy with this. Either way, I’m going to give it a shot.

Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

1. Going without gluten forces me to eat a lot more fresh foods, fruits, and vegetables by default. Without wheat, there just isn’t as much to choose from. Cutting out gluten inadvertently means cutting out a lot of processed foods, which is kind of an added benefit to this experiment.

2. I’ve been eating rice, corn tortillas, potatoes and popcorn in place of my favorite carbs. These foods aren’t quite as addicting to me as pastas and breads — I seem to be much more able to eat them in moderation. I eat until I’m full, and that’s it.

3. I’ve been noticeably less congested for the last two days. I woke up this morning (even with a cat near my face), and I thought, “Whoa! I can breathe!”

4. I forgot how empowering it feels to exercise some self-control over my diet. I went to a birthday party Saturday night, and I was so proud of myself for avoiding bread, crackers, and especially birthday cake.

5. Eating this way as an experiment for my headaches is a lot easier than doing it to lose weight. I think it’s because I can’t say, “Oh, I’ll just eat this and then go to the gym later…” It doesn’t work that way. =)

6. Hot water with lemon is my new favorite drink. And it’s a lot cheaper than Starbucks.

7. I haven’t had a headache since the day I started this experiment. That’s six days with no headache. Six days. That makes me happy.

Hopefully, I can follow through with this experiment. I’m posting this here because it’ll keep me accountable for what I’m trying to do. I’ve got an upcoming girls’ trip to Nashville that might be kind of difficult (no beer!), but I’m going to do my best. Perhaps I’ll post an update next week.

Got any advice for me? Have you ever tried an elimination diet? Do you get a lot of headaches? Got any other suggestions? Would love to hear whatever you’ve got.

P.S. Just because I’ve made it this long without a bagel doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t catch me dipping a corn chip in a tub of cream cheese sometime soon. It’s the cream cheese I’m really addicted to… =)

P.P.S Did you vote in my poll? Please go take a look if you didn’t! =)

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and edited with Alex Beadon‘s Like a Painting Photoshop action.