Tuesday, December 27, 2011

January dairy-free challenge!

Who else is in??

I have said it, I have put it in words and now I must stick with it. My husband thinks I am crazy, asking 1) why would I go dairy-free if I don't have to; and 2) if I say it now, why don't I just start now. My friends ask why would I do this to myself when I already can't have gluten.

He is right, I do not need to be dairy-free, dairy is one of my vices, and since being gluten-free, I have always thought how giving up dairy would be so much more difficult that gluten. I have been 100% gluten-free for almost three years now, minus a few unfortunate glutening episodes, which were not planned. I love dairy, and could live on smelly, soft French cheeses, aged Parmesan and Greek yogurt. So why the heck am I going to restrict myself of something I love, and that seemingly makes my body happy?

I suppose I just want to try it out. I probably eat more than I should, actually I am sure I do. I can go through some pretty big chunks of cheese in a small period of time. Way too many of my hurried lunches during the week consist of cheese and crackers, which would probably be good, if I had like two crackers, but when I have 20 it is probably a little too much. I figured cutting out the dairy couldn't hurt, and maybe I would even feel changes. I would love to loose weight as a result, but I am not holding out for that, nor doing it for that reason.

After going gluten-free, and doing it cold turkey, I know anything is possible. It takes strong will power, but it can be done. And because I am only going to do it for a month, I know it is just a finite period of time with an end-date, so I know I can have it again. And maybe on February 1st, I will appreciate eating dairy again so much, that I will be able to restrict how much I have - we can hope, right?

My husband asks why I just don't do it now if that is what I want to do, and my response.....well, I have to be able to enjoy the holidays, and my creamy mashed potatoes, my brother in law's cheese ball, and whipped cream topped pear pie. In my mind, going dairy-free in January is a sort of cleanse to all the holiday indulgence and culinary debauchery.

I don't know if I have even gone 24-hours without dairy, so 31 days will definitely be a challenge. What will I use to top my pasta??

I hope to learn new recipes and to use other, less fattening items to flavor my food. M said he is on board with me, except for his morning tea. Being a Brit, they need their milk in their tea, and replacements just don't do it for him. But for me, I will be 100% dairy-free (and gluten-free, of course!) for 31 days. I would love to learn how those who are dairy-free curb the craving.

Anyone else want to join me in the challenge??

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mexican hot fudge chocolate sauce

Yesterday, I wrote about my current holiday gift endeavor, peppermint bark. Another favorite of mine, which is also very easy, and gives great results is Mexican hot fudge chocolate sauce. So good, you can use it on ice cream, cookies, cake or just eat it straight from the jar with a spoon.

I like to recycle jars that I collect through the year from jelly, jam, tomato sauce, salsa, glass water bottles. When you think about it, you probably go through many, many glass jars a year and what a great way to put them to use instead of putting them in the trash. I then take some card stock, ribbon and holiday paper to dress up the outside.

1 package of unsweetened baking chocolate squares (I use Baker's)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring constantly.

Add sugar, stir until dissolved.

Add milk, stirring constantly until blended and heated, for 2 minutes. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and cinnamon.

Pour into glass jar, or container, cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. A funnel may help with this depending on jar size.

Decorate the glass container, and voila, it becomes a very gorgeous holiday gift. Make sure to make some extra for yourself, because it is nice to be able to grab a spoonful when the craving hits.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Peppermint Bark

For the holidays I love to give edible gifts, but of course being gluten-free can throw a wrench into it. Doesn't it always? Thankfully, there are lots of fun things you can do that are naturally gluten-free, and you don't need to spend lots of dough on gluten-free flours.

For the past two years, I gave chocolate fudge sauce, which was simple and easy (recipe to follow). But this year, I decided to try something different, and make peppermint bark. I tried it for the first time last year during my baking frenzy on xmas eve, and realized how simple and easy it was. It takes minimal ingredients and there is no baking involved, this is easy peasy, people! And you get to take out all your holidays stress, the best part, see how.....

8 candy canes, crushed (I use Bobs)
12 oz. bag of milk chocolate chips (I use Nestlé)
12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips (again, Nestlé)

First, crush the candy canes. This will be the most labor intensive of this recipe. For this, I unwrap the candy canes and place them in a ziplock freezer bag. I actually double bag it, because the sharp ends of the candy canes will poke through and make a mess. And for the best part....I take a hammer and bang away until I get small candy canes crumbs. See, a great holiday stress reliever!

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the milk chocolate chips in a glass bowl and place in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir, and heat for another 15 seconds or until you can stir smooth with no lumps.

Spread chocolate onto the cookie sheet to about 1/8-inch thick. It does not need to cover the entire cookie sheet.

Chill in the fridge until completely cooled.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a clean glass bowl the same was as the milk chocolate chips.

Stir in 1/2 of the crushed peppermint crumbs into the white chocolate.

Spread evenly over the cooled milk chocolate.

Sprinkle the remaining candy cane crumbs on top of the white chocolate and gently press lightly into the white chocolate.

Chill in the fridge until completely cooled.

When completely cool and set, peel the foil off the bottom of the bark and break into random-sized pieces.

Serve to guests, or place in a decorative container for a festive holiday gift.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And the winner is....

...of last week's giveaway of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen cookbook is...

Nicole of Nicole's Special Diet Creations. Congratulations!! Nicole, please email me at anne@glutenfreemusings.com, so I can get your contact details and have your new cookbook mailed to you! I think you will love it.

Thank you everyone for entering, and reading my blog!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giveaway: The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen

Recently, I wrote about how much I loved The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen cookbook by Laura B. Russell. I was so excited about this cookbook that I contacted the publisher and they have generously offered a copy of the book for me to giveaway. I know others will be excited by this book too.

To enter this giveaway*:

1. Leave a comment, with your name, on this post and tell us what Asian dish you miss most being gluten-free. Or an Asian dish that you have never been able to try, but would like to if you could make it gluten-free.

2. Retweet this giveaway on Twitter, and mention me @gfreemusings.

3. Follow cookbook author, Laura B. Russell on Twitter.

The winner will be chosen at random next Saturday, November 26th, and announced Sunday, November 27th.

Good luck!

*Open to US residents only.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chatting with President Clinton....as one does....

...on a Thursday morning.

If someone told me I was going to meet former President Bill Clinton, I would never have believed it. Especially while dressed impeccably in my walking morning sweats, sporting messy pig tails, and completely make-up free.

Though, something tells me that no one who knows me would be surprised that when I did get the chance to meet the former leader of the free world, I used my two minutes to ask him about eating gluten-free. I probably even received a few eye rolls. But, this is exactly what I did!

I found out yesterday morning, as soon as I returned from my morning walk, that he was doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble just down the street. It took me about 5 minutes of debating whether to brave the crowds until I bolted out the door. I knew I would regret this opportunity if I let it slip.

I really had no clue what to expect, I wasn't dressed for it, and was honestly a bit grateful when I learned cameras and phones were not allowed in the store. But then I guess it would be über cool to have a picture with a President even if I was in a potato sack.

While waiting in line, on a very chilly Atlanta November morning for 3 hours and trying to stay warm with my Starbucks, that I vowed to stay away from...but hey, I needed the warmth, I had lots of time to think of what would say when I finally got the chance to shake President Clinton's hand and be in his personal space.

3 hours passed, and we were finally able to enter the building and regain feeling in our hands and feet, and I was getting closer and closer, I just knew I was going to stutter, and probably pass out when it was my turn. I tried to soak him in, since cameras weren't allowed so I could remember him clearly in my mind. He was tall, slim and looked to be in good health, and had on good shoes.

Most of the people in front of me grabbed the book, shook his hand, said thank you and walked on their way. When it was my turn.....

I did not pass out!

I did not spontaneously combust!

I did not throw up!

He was very sweet and smiled as he shook my hand. But, I didn't want to just walk away. I asked him if I could "ask you an off the wall question?"

He said sure, I bet he was a bit worried what it would be, as I am sure he has heard it all. I explained that I read his daughter had a gluten-free wedding cake, and was wondering if he ate gluten-free as well. Was he going to look at me like I was crazy? Was he going to give a signal to his secret service to remove me? Was he going to just refuse to answer me?

No, he actually seemed very engaged and wanted to talk about it. He explained that while he does have a wheat allergy, he does try to eat wheat-free all of the time, and to eat gluten-free when he can. He added that he is dairy-free, and vegetarian, but that he does eat fish sometimes. (Note: he is not vegan). He also emphasized that his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, is very "vigilant" about being gluten-free. The frustrating part was that he was just about to tell me more, and started to tell me something... but the people behind me were getting antsy and I had to move forward. D*mn those people! (I kid, I kid).

I may not have had the chance to ask more questions, but it was thrilling just to be able to ask what I did. I left with a huge smile on my face, and was getting looks from people who were amazed I got as much time with him as I did.

I love how when people have an increased awareness of what they eat, and how it affects their bodies, they just love to talk about it.

Now, I must read my signed copy of his book!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin pancakes with caramelized bananas

What is better during the season of pumpkins, colorful falling leaves and hot chocolate than pumpkin pancakes, or pumpkin anything, for that matter. There is something about pumpkin that is so hearty and warming, and putting that into a pancake is the perfect package.

Pancakes are something that are so fun to experiment with, especially throughout the seasons. My favorites are my eggnog pancakes, oatmeal pancakes with balsamic strawberries or juicy peaches, and buttermilk buckwheat blueberry pancakes. These rich pumpkin pancakes will definitely become a part of my new favorites collection. One ingredient I always use in my pancakes is buttermilk, I just find it gives them a rich texture. If I don't have buttermilk on hand, I will send M out to the neighborhood market, or we will just not have pancakes, that is how serious I am about my lait de buerre.

And the caramelized bananas just seem like the perfect topping for this hearty pancake, and definitely takes the place of any syrup you could use. You can just leave your syrup in the fridge where it belongs.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 T grapeseed oil
2 T sugar

2 cups favorite pancake mix (I use Pamela's for this recipe)
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
2 T flaxseed meal (optional)

1 cup canned, or fresh roasted and pureed pumpkin

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl, add the pancake mix, spice and flaxseed, if using, and mix until just smooth.

Fold in the pumpkin. Stir until combined.

Let batter sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat an oiled griddle on medium heat.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.

Keep pancakes warmed in stove until you are finished with all the batter.

When about halfway done with pancakes, start on the bananas......

Caramelized bananas

3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
3 T butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar

Melt butter in shallow pan, add brown sugar and stir until combined on medium heat.

Add banana slices and stir to coat and cook until the bananas reduce and become saucy, about 5 minutes.

Spoon banana mixture onto warmed pumpkin pancakes and serve.

Serves 4-5 people.

(the photo below is how they should look just before they start to break down and get saucy.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen & Laura B. Russell

I recently received this most fabulous cookbook written by food writer, Laura B. Russell. I was so in awe of the photography and the recipes, it has really given me some new inspiration. I really do miss eating out at Asian restaurants. And while it may still be possible, the availability of safe items can be seriously lacking. Some seem to be easier...Vietnamese seems a bit easier to me than Chinese, sushi seems easier than other types of Japanese cuisines, but this book clearly guides us how to make these necessary, and easy changes so that we can enjoy these once again in our homes.

For a full gushing review, please read my article on Celiac-Disease.com.

After exploring, author, Laura B. Russell's website, Notes from a Gluten-Free Kitchen and her bio, I am even more in awe with her, and will definitely be following her on Twitter, Facebook, her website, whatever social media outlet I can read her ideas. I am not stalking... I swear!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A sore recovery

I decided to document my glutening yesterday, because not only was it the first time since going gluten-free that I knew exactly what the offending gluten-filled item was, but I haven't eaten this much gluten since before I knew I had celiac, so I had no clue how my body would react.

Typically when I get glutened, I will feel it within 30 minutes of the offending crumb or cross-contamination, I get very bloated, and I get what feels like slowly creeping heartburn that turns into full stomach burn, cramps and discomfort. I always have Pepto on me in such emergencies, and I will take this and drink a couple of cups of hot chamomile tea.

So, what I have learned is in this type of situation where I ate like 1000+ times of the usual gluten if I get glutened, it was a game changer, and my body reacted completely different.

Actually it took over 2 hours before I felt anything at all. The heartburn, stomach cramps never happened....I kept waiting, and after 2 hours thought maybe my body was in such shock, nothing would happen. Maybe I didn't even have celiac??!! <-------Insert hysterical laughter here. If only I could be so lucky. After about 5 cups of hot chamomile tea trying to flush the poison out of my system, I started feeling nauseous. I figured this was because I was getting sick and tired injecting this dang tea down my throat.

I was getting bored, so I thought I would take a nap...as soon as my head hit the sheets I felt like I was on a slow moving, very wobbly boat. I could not lie horizontal. I got up, paced around, tried again, same deal. No dice, no sleep. And then the waves got worse, and then the toilet became my best friend. I had no clue I could throw up so much. Finally, when I had a few minutes of calm, I took some Pepto hoping that would do the trick...nope, instead, I received a lovely pink reminder. I felt utterly miserable, I just wanted to hide in a corner and for it to stop. I was literally poisoned. Finally when I did get relief the migraine came, and at that point, I was scared to take medicine worrying that, that would not stay down. When the pain got too bad, and I was blinded by the vision crappiness that comes with a migraine, I gave in, took the pills and got some sleep.

I struggled to get up in the afternoon to get to a meeting and then came home and crashed. I woke up today feeling very sore from all the upchuck, and still a bit fragile.

I hope this post doesn't make me out to be a whiner, but this was an entirely new experience for me, and definitely one I do not wish to repeat. I find it curious that in all of that, I never had the stomach ache, cramping, or bloating. Now, I just worry, the next time I do get accidentally glutened by a crumb, which way will my body react?

I am also very grateful that I feel so much better today. I imagine, my stupid mistake caused some damage to my interior. But I am very appreciate of not having to be in bed today, and being able to help out in my daughter's art class, pick her up from school, and run to Whole Foods to pick up some yogurt. I am very thankful for those things.

Let's just say, I won't be making that mistake again.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The awful waffle!

By complete accident, I ate a gluten-filled waffle this morning. How does that happen you ask. Because I am an idiot.

Friends will comment how extreme I am when checking ingredients, asking questions at restaurants, asking friends about cooking methods when they cook for me, so for this to happen to me makes it even more ironic.

I typically buy gluten-free waffles for Z for her to have a quick breakfast, it is not ideal, and full of empty carbs, but sometimes it is all I can get her to eat in the morning. I usually stay away from them, because I know in an hour I will be starving, and they are just not the best nutritional choice. And I buy gluten-free, because our house is gluten-free, end of story. So it is not like I grabbed the wrong one out of our own freezer.

The other day on my day of running errands...Target, Publix, Whole Foods, Old Navy, H&M, and finally Trader Joe's, before running home to eat quickly and pick up Z from school, I got to the frozen section at Trader Joe's and I just picked up the waffles quickly from where they always are, next to the gluten-free pancakes, I didn't even think about it. Typically, I look the box over to be sure I picked up gluten-free instead of gluten waffles, but this time, I just took it for granted.

M is the one who makes Z's breakfast and gets her lunch ready while I get her and I dressed and out the door to get her to school. I usually eat nothing, but this morning, since I was planning on going for a long walk, and am avoiding Starbucks, I knew I needed calories to get through the next hour or so. I yell at him, from the bedroom, to make me a waffle too.

I grab the waffle and my tea as I run out the door. I take a bite of the waffle in the car, and it has a strange texture, a bit drier and grainier, maybe flax seed. Maybe Trader Joe's is using a new waffle manufacturer? I call M to ask him to check to make sure I got the right waffles. He doesn't answer, so the idiot that I am, I eat the rest...thinking why in the world would I have bought gluten-filled waffles, when it is just second nature for me to check everything that comes into the house. He calls me back, and goes to check in the freezer....and I get the horrible news "they are not gluten-free". ARGH!!!!!! All the sudden I had major anxiety and wondered if I should hurl on the side of the road to get it out of me. The kids walking to school would love that! I felt extremely violated, and the worst part, I did it to myself! I was in tears. In almost three years I have not accidentally had more than a crumb, and I am pretty sensitive. And now I just had a full waffle!!

I got Z to class, raced home, and now I am on my 3rd cup of chamomile tea, and took 2 probiotics. I am full of anxiety, because I am not sure what to expect with ingesting this much. I usually feel sick within 30 minutes, but now it has been 2 hours, and I am waiting on pins and needles when it is going to hit. I mentally feel as if I swallowed poison.

I was joking that since I had this much gluten, I might as well go all the way and get that slice of Fellini's pizza that I drool over, or a baguette, or matzo ball soup, since I am getting sick anyway <-----but let me be clear, this is just a joke, I would NEVER intentionally eat gluten, this was purely a joke. I am full of such anxiety of how this is going to affect me, I am just trying to be humorous about it, or I will cry.

I thought since this is the first time I actually know when I ate the gluten, and it was such a large amount, relatively speaking, I would document it, for my knowledge as well as for others. I will come back periodically throughout the day to revise.

7:45 - ate offending gluten-filled waffle

8:30 - took 2 probiotics, drink 2 cups of tea

8:30 - perhaps the start of a headache way under the surface. very anxious, is it from the gluten or from my own nerves?

9:20 - getting chills

10:00 - feeling a bit nauseous, but it could be from the endless stream of tea that is getting hard to swallow now.

10:20 - throwing up..so not fun :( Won't get into details here, let's just say nothing helped. Nothing stayed down. Continues for a good hour.

11:30 - migraine.

12:00 (noon) - nap

1:00 - woke up groggy and had to start my day.

Part 2: the waffle conclusion.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Starbucks Anonymous

I am writing this, because one, I have an addiction; and two, I kind of want to see if my husband really reads what I write, because this post would probably thrill him, since he rolls his eyes every time I step foot in Starbucks.

I admit, I have become addicted, like seriously (what do they put in this stuff?)...and I don't even drink coffee. Actually it would probably be better if I did since it has much less calories. I just love having the warm goodness of a chai tea latte in the mornings. I have gotten into this daily routine of going for a nice 4-mile morning walk, taking a pit-stop after 2 miles for a favorite chai. There is just something so warm and fuzzy about holding it in my hands as it warms my body on an early morning walk with friends. It seems to make everything all good, and give a jump start to the day.

And as it seems I could walk 10 miles a morning, and it would still not change the arrow on the scale, last night I had an a-ha moment.....so I looked up the calorie count of Starbuck drinks and think I found at least one of the obstacles in my way....my grande chai latte is 262 calories a cup!! (So if hypothetically one would drink one daily during the week that is an extra 1300 calories! Not to mention $20 a week.) What horrified me even more was when I looked up the hot chocolate, and the salted caramel hot chocolate is 360 calories, and a white hot chocolate is 420 calories!! If only I could like coffee!

Usually I feel like I am realistic about what I eat, but with my Starbucks crack, I guess I was just in denial. I guess for some reason it is easier to overlook calories when it is in a glass and in liquid form.

It was a definite eye opener, and no matter how much M would tell me I was spending too much money indulging in this habit, it was the calorie count that has really hit me hard.

I guess the next time I feel an urge to go to Starbucks, it will be for a shaken iced green tea lemonade at 45 calories (and cheaper with free refills if you have a gold card, which I must embarrassingly admit that I do), or maybe I should just stick to plain H..2..0.

So M, if you are reading this, and let's hope you are.....I am going to try and steer clear from my addiction, save some money and calories. I need to make water and lemon slices my best friend.

I would love to hear of the indulgent addiction of others, anyone?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Winner of Green Beaver Giveaway

The winner of the Green Beaver giveaway is Diane M!!

Diane, please email me. If you go to the About Me page, there is a link on the right-hand side to email me and I will get you the details.

Thank you to everyone for entering!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick-Fix Gluten Free: Spinach and ricotta cheese eggplant roulades

Today I wrote a review on this very pretty cookbook, Quick-Fix Gluten Free, by chef Robert M. Landolphi. But for my blog, this is where I put the book into practice. My sister was coming over for dinner, and being that I have been in a slump lately on my dinner repertoire, I decided to open the book to a random page, and that is what I would make. And I choose Spinach and ricotta cheese eggplant roulades, from the Tasty Comforts section of the book. First choice, and it had all the parts that I liked...vegetarian, eggplant and cheese...how can it go wrong?

The ingredients were pretty simple...but I am going to be honest here, it was very labor intensive. Preparation is something that must be planned ahead of time. Baking time is listed as 35-40 minutes, but I would give yourself a good 2 hours. This recipe reminded me of my eggplant parmesan, but a bit less fried and a bit more healthy. But a whole lot to clean up afterwards.

I am not going to reprint the recipe, but I will give you the gist....I made my own marinara..so right there, I probably added some time - maybe 10 minutes, but I just love the taste of my sauce compared to a jar. You then make the cheese mixture with spinach, egg and cheeses. You slice the eggplant, flour and lightly fry it. Once the eggplant slices are done, you place the cheese mixture inside and roll it up, place it in a baking dish lined with a light layer of sauce and top with more sauce. Bake and viola...pure fabulousness!!

Now, unfortunately, my daughter got a hold of my camera after my mini photo shoot in the kitchen and deleted my photo of the finished product. D'oh! But you can get the idea with the above picture, of how much it makes and how it can be placed in a 9 x13 baking dish. Now, just imagine it topped with red sauce, mozzarella cheese and a light covering of gluten-free bread crumbs.

This dinner was a huge hit with my family+sister. We all had seconds and would of had thirds if we had any room to put it. I will definitely make this again. It also makes me excited to try more recipes in the cookbook. I definitely want to hit the "International Flavors" section next!

I love how it uses eggplant instead of pasta, and next time, I may layer the eggplant rather than roll it, just to save some time. I may also leave out the sprinkling of gluten-free bread crumbs that it calls for on top. I don't think it was really needed, plus gluten-free bread crumbs, if you buy them, are not cheap, so that will save money too, and calories!

Lastly, I feel the chef left out one important step in this recipe....which I always use when working with eggplant. After it is sliced, I salt it, place it in a strainer, cover it with paper towel, and put something heavy on it to drain all the bitter juices and mositure. Sometimes you will get an eggplant that is not bitter, but if you do get a bitter one...it is not good. So, when I know I am going to be making an eggplant dish, I try to get it prepped a couple of hours in advance so it has some times to sit.

Other than the draining-the-eggplant step, this dish was delicious!!

To read more about the cookbook, visit my review.

Monday, August 29, 2011

GFIW: Wallaby European-Style Sour Cream, Aug 29, 2011


As I was walking through Whole Foods the other day, they were sampling Wallaby European-Style Sour Cream. And usually, as many of us with celiac, turn away samples, because of possible cross-contamination. But this table seemed pretty safe...it was just..sour cream. I already love their yogurt, so I looked through the ingredients and it looked safe. It just contains cream and the good bacteria found in yogurt. It tastes very decadent, more like creme fraiche. This is definitely not low-fat.

At the time they were offering a $1 coupon, so it ended up being $1, I couldn't pass it up.

I have enjoyed it in potato salad and mashed potatoes. Very rich and yummy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Green Beaver personal care products and giveaway!

I love getting samples for new gluten-free items. And this time was definitely no exception. The people at Green Beaver sent me some personal care products to try out.

They have an extensive catalogue of products that include shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser, eye-make-up remover, exfoliant, lip gloss, body lotion, bath oil, deodorant, toothpaste and more. They also carry a line specifically formulated for children, which includes...bubble bath, shampoo, detangler, lip balm and hand wash. They are based in Ontario, Canada, hence the French writing on their packaging.

All of their products are:
  • Certified organic
  • Contain no GMOs
  • Contain no synthetic chemicals
  • Biodegradable
  • Not tested on animals
  • Paraben-free
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
As we know, when we are gluten-free, especially in the beginning, we immediately think of food and drink, but we don't typically realize the extent of just what needs to be gluten-free, like lip stick, toothpaste, even shampoo and face wash that we would use on our face/head and may drip in our mouths. Since being diagnosed I check all of these products carefully, and call the company if I can't find the answer easily on the packaging or website.

These products are right up my alley, because I try to be extremely careful about what personal care products we use as a family. I tend to stay away from conventional products and stick with organic. It may not be as easy on the bank account, but the piece of mind that we are using something natural and safe is worth it!

Green Beaver sent me a lovely package of their shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion all in lavender rosemary scent, deodorant in lavender, and frosty mint toothpaste. As soon as I received the package, I put everything in the bathroom and used it the next time I showered. I love the scent and the clean feeling from all of the products. They all felt very high quality and left me feeling refreshed.

And it gets better...I get to offer a care package of their products to one of my readers. The care package they are giving away will include a shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion, in either lavender rosemary, fresh mint or cranberry delight.

To enter this giveaway*, comment below, and:

1. Tell us what personal care product you are willing to spend that little bit of extra money on;

2. Like Green Beaver on Facebook;

3. Follow Green Beaver on Twitter; and

4. Retweet this giveaway on Twitter, and tag @gfreemusings.

The contest will end Wednesday, August 31st at midnight EST, and be announced September 1.

*open to US residents only.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Winner: Joy Bauer's Food Cures giveaway

Last week, I posted about my giveaway for Joy Bauer's new book, Food Cures.

And, I have the winners to receive a copy of her book...

1. Missy Mutchnik

2. Laura Bosak

Please email me at anne@glutenfreemusings.com, with your address so we can get a book out to you.

Thank you for entering!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

GFIW: True Lemon/Lime, Aug. 1, 2011

This is my favorite thing to add to my water, after real fruit. I first discovered these from the dietician at the University of Chicago Celiac Center. True Lemon makes these packets one can add to water to make water more interesting, and not so boring. The best part is that they contain nothing artificial, or sweeteners...unlike so many other ones I see on grocery store shelves. This is just dried citrus fruit, and that's it! These packets come in lemon, lime, orange and now grapefruit and they are all gluten-free..whoo hoo!!

I always add these to my water, even my water I bring to the gym, when I get myself there. Lime is my favorite.

Please note...these can be tough to find at the grocery store. I usually find them in the baking aisle or near Jell-o. I have also seen them with the tea and coffee. Maybe because these can be used in recipes and flavorings. But if you go in the aisle with beverages and you see the countless other packets that artificially flavored and sweetened and you do not see these, do not despair, check the baking aisle, tea/coffee, or ask someone who works at the store.

Monday, July 25, 2011

GFIW: Wellshire Farms uncured pepperoni, July 24

I am not much of a meat eater, but my daughter loves her pepperoni pizza, so this is what we use, since I try to think of it as "happy" meat. And I definitely have my share of pepperoni slices as I make her pizza (oops, and yum). Wellshire Farms has loads of gluten-free items. For a complete list, check out this page on their web site.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Giveaway: Joy Bauer's Food Cures

Recently, Joy Bauer's people contacted my people (meaning me), and asked me if I would like to review her new book and offer 2 copies as a giveaway. How fun! Getting food, in a giveaway. is always nice, but it is also nice and a much longer-lasting gift when it is something that can help us with that food we are eating.

As many of us can agree, being gluten-free does not necessarily mean that we are eating healthier. I am the first to admit, that since eating gluten-free, I am eating many more refined grains and probably more processed foods. Bad me. But I have been trying hard to fix that.

This books spells it out in simple terms how we can not only reach our weight-loss goals but how to eat in order to feel better and look great. This book also has sections addressing readers who have certain conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, cataracts and macular degeneration, celiac and PMS among others. With recipes, shopping lists and helpful tips particular to each condition, she approaches each of these in easy-to-follow 4-step programs.
Step 1 - Learning the basics of the specific condition/issue

Step 2 - Making a grocery list

Step 3 - Going above and beyond with extra tips

Step 4 - Suggested meal plans
Of course, I flipped straight to the celiac section. I thought it had a nice general overview for someone getting started, or for someone to learn about it because of friends and family members. She also lists easy to follow recipes and snack ideas which I love.

The one thing that stuck out at me was that she tackles the issue of oats and the issue of cross-contamination and also how some people who are new to being gluten-free can not yet handle oats. Great. But then she goes on to say that McCann's Irish Oats are safe. I was surprised when I read this, so I looked on their website, and sure enough they say they cannot guarantee they are 100% gluten-free due to the possible risk of cross-contamination in the supply chain with other grains. Personally, I love oats, but stick with Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oats.

Ok, now for the fun part...I have 2 books to giveaway.

In order to enter the giveaway, please:

1. Leave a comment to this post about what healthy change you would most like to make;

2. "Like" Gluten-Free Musings on Facebook;

3. Follow me on Twitter;

4. Post a tweet announcing this giveaway including the tag @gfreemusings, with a link to this post.

I will randomly choose two winners on Monday, August 1, at midnight, and announce the winner on Tuesday, August 2nd.

The contest is only open to US residents.

Good luck!

Joy Bauer, is the nutrition expert for the Today Show and Yahoo.com, and monthly weight loss columnist for SELF magazine. She has built one of the largest nutrition centers in the country, with office in Manhattan and Westchester County, New York. Her clientele includes high-profile professionals, celebrities, Olympics gold medalists, and the New York City Ballet.

Small disclaimer

I just wanted to interrupt my regular musings with a small disclaimer. I don't normally do many reviews on my blog. Usually, I will write reviews on celiac-disease.com, but the same disclaimer stands there as well. I am always thrilled to receive samples from companies of their new products, and am happy to review them. With that being said, I feel it is important to say it like it is. I want to be honest about my opinions, because that is what I would want to read of a review.

I know some who try products to review and if they don't like it, they just don't review it, but then, what is the point? I understand every product comes from the love and passion of an individual, a company wanting to help out the gluten-free community, and I get that. But I also feel it is important to improve the quality of gluten-free offerings and not just settle, and that is why it is important to be honest and credible. Products and services won't improve unless we say what we really think.

When I come across something new and I search online for reviews, I want to know what people really thought. I don't want to spend $10 for a cookie to find out it is really hard and tasteless.

Basically, the point if this post is to say I will always be honest. If I like, if I love something I will be happy to shout it out. If I am not feeling it, I will say that too. Everyone has different tastes, so one thing I may love, someone else may not and visa versa. I just wanted to point out I will always be honest about my opinions whether I purchase the item myself, or it is given to me for free.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Genius has landed, but.......

...there's a catch, read on...

Having friends and family in England, I hear lots about what gluten-free goodies they get to indulge in, and it can sometimes make me extremely envious (mince pies, people!!). I kept hearing about this gluten-free Genius bread, and how delicious it was, and how even the Starbucks across the pond was providing gluten-free sandwiches with it in their shops. Why doesn't our Starbucks carry gluten-free sandwiches????? (ok, that is a whole other topic which I won't get started on right now.)

When my mother-in-law came to visit in May, I begged her to bring me a loaf of this hyped-up bread, and it definitely lived up to its name. Before my mother-in-law had her bags unpacked, I was scarfing down a slice..and another, and....

So, when I found out shortly after that, Genius was coming to grace us yankees with their fabulousness, I was ecstatic!

The Genius people over here were nice enough to send me a loaf to try out, and as soon as that sucker arrived on my door-step, I was knocking out sandwiches for a pool picnic that afternoon.

I happened to also have a loaf of Udi's on hand, so let's compare....


And... (Genius is on the right)

I loved how Genius was bigger, and fluffier, and there was more bread per loaf than my current love, Udi's. I hate to admit, but Udi's had been disappointing me lately with bread that just seems dry. I still buy it, but I have felt the need to try other breads for the past few months. Though, I am still a very loyal fan of their bagels and pizza crusts!

I loved that with Genius, I could have a normal size sandwich! Making sandwiches with Udi's sometimes feels like I am eating a mini sandwich...and if you cut the crusts off for a little one...well, then they are really mini.

But....look what happens when I spread the Nutella on my bread (see below)....the bread came off with the Nutella! Total disappointment. The bread would not stay together. It was light and fluffy, but I think it was actually too light and fluffy. It is as if it was too airy. I guess too much of a good thing, can be a not so good thing. M and I also tried to make grilled cheese and egg sandwiches with it, thinking maybe if it is toasted it will work better. Well, that didn't really help either. It still fell apart when we tried to flip it.

My excitement over the US launch of Genius bread has been brought down a bit. I have contacted their people and will let you know when their people get back to me. Let's hope it is just a glitch in the system that needs to be worked out. The US Genius is being made, and distributed, on this side of the pond by Glutino.

I really wished it was the same as the UK version. That one did not fall apart, and made perfect grilled cheese sandwiches.

Genius bread will be available nationwide in the freezer section in August. For a more complete breakdown of the new US Genius bread, and how it compares to Udi's, see my review here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yeah! Burger: Where's the bun??

**update 7/25/11**

I heard back from Yeah! Burger's marketing person today, after following up on the new bun. She had said the other week that she would bring this up at the next management meeting. She responded saying that they owners decided to stick with Rudi's for now.

I found this really disappointing, as 1) it is not local; and 2) frankly, I just don't like it. the bun does absolutely nothing for me. The Pure Knead bun made the whole burger taste fabulous, but the Rudi's bun tastes like a burger on a once frozen, dry bun. Blech. It was great while it lasted though.

If I go back I will definitely go bunless. Though I think it is time to check out Farm Burger where they still use Pure Knead.

C'est dommage :(


Most locals in Atlanta have heard of Yeah! Burger, and if not, they should. This is the place that basically transformed me back into a meat eater. The first time I had one of their burgers I was giddy. I forgot how good a hamburger could be. And the best part...they serve gluten-free buns, French fries and onion rings!!! They are very conscious about the gluten-free diet, super friendly and love to show them my support. I can't say enough about them.

This month their special is a lamb burger, so I had to go and try it, and I know I shouldn't, especially being a previous non-meat eater, but it was so good! However, what totally caught me by surprise is that their tasty gluten-free bun, has been switched to something not nearly as good. What happened?? Where was the good gluten-free bun, I had come to love, which was baked by local gluten-free bakery Pure Knead?? Unfortunately, I wasn't crazy about the fries this time either..they were thicker, which I did like, but tasted really bland compared to previous times, like someone forgot to season them.

I asked them what happened, and it seems they have switched to Rudi's multigrain buns. I am extremely disappointed to say the least. The Rudi's bun was tough and just tasted blah. Ema Carr, Yeah! Burger's marketing and communications manager said that the owners thought the Rudi's bun tasted more "authentic". I am not sure what this means, but I just don't like it. And for a place that is very into sourcing local foods, Rudi's is definitely not local. Others may think it's great, but I definitely miss my Pure Knead bun. And I am definitely not going to pay an extra $1.25 for the pleasure of the Rudi's bun next time.

I have heard lots of great things about Farm Burger in Decatur, which is probably even closer to me. But for some reason I haven't gone there yet because I know they don't offer GF fries, but really...do I need fries, when I heard they have boiled peanuts! And, they do carry Pure Knead buns. I think I may have to give in, and finally give them a try!

I don't mean to diss Yeah! Burger...my daughter and I really do heart them, but without loving the entire burger package, I am just not craving it like I used to.

Fellow Atlantans...who do you prefer...Yeah! Burger or Farm Burger, and why?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

American Pie, part 1 & 2

"One time at band camp...."

Mmmm......pie. So tasty, so simple. I love baking when having friends over, but I don't like to do the same thing over, and over and over again. Not that I don't love my strawberry (oat)short cakes or peach cobbler, because I do! I just love trying something new. And the great thing I learned about pie is how easy it is. You make whatever goodness goes inside and just pour it into a pie crust. Viola! And while I love making my baked goods from scratch, I cheat with the crust. I admit it. I buy frozen. I need to get motivated and make my own, but for now, this is how I roll.

I was a huge fan of Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse gluten-free crusts...until I went to buy some for Father's Day the other week...and they were out! I kept staring at the freezer shelf in desperation, hoping one would magically appear. Next, I looked behind everything in that section, hoping I would find one. Thankfully, as I was walking away in sulking defeat, I saw Gillian's had a pie crust in a different part of the freezer section - score! I was skeptical, but in the end, I really liked Gillian's crust and may go for that one first next time. Rich buttery flavor.

And when you buys crusts they come in sets of two, so of course I couldn't use just one!

So what was I going to put in my pies...well, I had a desire to work with rhubarb, which I had never done before. I never even touched it, so this would be a total first. I decided to do a strawberry rhubarb pie, and as I was picking up blueberries on sale, Whole Foods had a recipe for blueberry sour cream pie next to the blueberries (how clever you are WF!), so that decided it!

I admit, it is pretty risky to try something new on guests, but I decided to go for it. And thankfully it resulted in some mighty tasty pies!! Two very distinct flavors, but equally as delicious. I kept asking which one my guests like best, but no one could decide.

I posted my strawberry rhubarb pie on the celiac-disease web site. Below is a fabulous photo of the pie in progress before the crumble topping was put on and it was baked.

The blueberry sour cream pie was not a recipe I put together myself, so I have Whole Foods to thank for it. I will copy it below with my change of using a gluten-free pie crust, and leaving out the powdered sugar sprinkled on top, which I just felt it didn't need.

Blueberry sour cream pie

1 cup sour cream

½ cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pint blueberries

1 frozen gluten-free pie shell, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gently stir in blueberries.

Pour mixture into pie crust and bake 55 to 65 minutes or until custard is slightly puffed and just set in the middle. Allow pie to cool to room temperature. If desired, chill before sprinkling with powdered sugar and serving.

Enjoy, and get ready to feel the love!

Gluten-free dining at Disney World, deconstructed

This picture really says it all. Freshly made, gluten-free Mickey Waffles (not a freezer in site)! On a recent trip to Disney...ok, well, not too recent, more like mid-March for Z's 6th birthday....but I have been beyond slack..so let's just pretend. Ok, so on a recent trip to the haven of many a children, we went to Disney World in Orlando, FL. Of course, before any trip, I do tons of reading and research about what I am going to be able to eat, what I should take, snacks available, etc... I spend way too much time searching food options it can seem. So, I came to the conclusion that Disney was going to be pretty easy, especially if you let them know beforehand, and I was going to be able to get through it just fine.

Well, it was better than fine, it was downright enjoyable and made our trip much better than I could have imagined.

We had been putting off Disney until our daughter was the right age to really enjoy it, and well, let's face it, when we had the $$ to go, and not have to sleep on the side of the road. So with our passes we won at our daughter's silent auction, and airlines miles we used to stay the Swan, research, dining reservations, a cooler full of snacks and Disney books in hand, we were on our way.

I can honestly say every eating experience I had was enjoyable. The best feeling is to be able to feel like everyone else and enjoy stress-free tasty meals during three extremely fun-filled days when I just can't afford to be sick. I mean, how awful would it be, to have to return to the hotel while in line for Pirates of the Caribbean....or after an hour waiting for Soarin', and only to have to go fetal in bed for hours waiting for the pain to pass? Definitely not what I wanted to happen on our trip.

Now, I can't wait to go back...time to start filling that piggy bank!

I wrote a series of in-depth articles for Celiac-Disease.com, where I have been a writer for almost year years, and will link them below so that I can share my experience and help others who are about to venture on this wonderland. It really can be easy!

Willy's expands gluten-free options!

Last May, I wrote about how most items at Willy's Mexicana Grill were gluten-free, with the exception of many of the salsas and cheese dip which used a wheat-based thickener. At the time, I was told they were moving to make these items gluten-free in the near future.

Well, I am excited to announce that finally...NOW... Willy's salsas and cheese dip are gluten-free! The only thing off limits at my absolute favorite fast-food Mexican joint are the cookies and flour tortillas. Personally, I can easily deal with that.

The wheat-based thickener used in the chili d’arbol sauce, which is the base to many of Willy's other salsas and cheese dip, is now corn-based. Whoo hoo!! I was excited a year ago when I learned I could still enjoy Willy's, including the chips (which as we know are usually fried with gluten-containing foods at many places - but not here)...I am even more excited now!

So, with that news, my daughter and I enjoyed a warm cup of cheese dip with our chips this week on our mommy/daughter night out! Indulgent cheesy yumminess.

But remember, there is always a risk of cross-contamination anywhere where gluten-filled foods are served. For my own personal preference at Willy's, I ask if they can change their gloves when they make my food. So far, I have not had any problems.

Buen provecho!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy 2-year gluten-free anniversary to me!!

2 years ago today, I cut gluten out of my life completely, cold turkey. It was gone, like a bad boyfriend. The day before this momentous break-up, it was Z's birthday party and I feasted on pizza and a wheat-filled pound cake shaped as Barbie's skirt, that we had worked on through the night the night before. It was a great way to send off my gluten eating lifestyle and enter a new phase of my life. I made sure everyone at the party took home the leftover cake and pizza so there would be none left in the house. I knew I could not cheat once I started, so I wanted a clean slate.

I spent the next week scrubbing out kitchen cabinets, drawers and my toiletries to be sure no traces of gluten remained.

Thankfully, M was on board so he kept his gluten eating to outside the house.

A year ago, I couldn't believe how much I had learned, but I can say the same of this year. Everyday make it a little bit easier and even sometimes fun. Sure, I still miss certain foods, but most of all I miss the ease of going to a dinner party or restaurant and just being able to eat whatever I want, but this is my life and I know what will happen if I do get accidental gluten, so I will NEVER intentionally cheat. That pain and discomfort is not worth it. Not to mention the damage it is doing to my health.

We recently returned from a fabulous trip in Disney World where eating gluten-free was easy-peasy. More on that in the next post.

I want to send a huge heartfelt thank you to all who have helped me along the way on this gluten-free journey and shown me patience and guidance....un grand Merci!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011


I have the pleasure of being quoted in this month's Woman's World magazine about my love for Glutino gluten-free pretzels...how fun!

Udi's introduces.......COOKIES!!

Oh yeah....look at the latest and greatest from Udi's!! I know, this doesn't exactly jive with my desire to loose weight, but is nice to see more items available for the gluten-free community. Yes, I did taste them, I had to review them, but next time, I am going to resist.

I found this nifty display at my local Kroger in the deli section, complete with Udi's breads, pizza crusts, bagels, muffins, granola and cookies in chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and snickerdoodle. Kroger is rolling out this display nationwide, so keep your eye peeled.

To read more about, read my review here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thyroid Schmyroid, part deux

I apologize I have been totally MIA, somehow life seems to be moving way too fast. Z is going to be six, and I am just shocked that it was six years ago I had my daughter.

Ok.....got that out....anyway...I finally saw a doctor. I was going to just go to my girlie doctor, since that is the only doctor I have down here so far, but decided I should go straight to the type of doctor that specializes in this, so I made an appointment with an endocrinologist. I must admit, I have not read obsessively about underactive thryoid stuff online, because I know me, and I know I can't handle medical stuff and the more I stay away from medical research online, the better.

I must admit first....since going gluten-free my anxiety level has tremendously dropped, except when it comes to going to a doctor. Once I get ten miles from the doctor office, my heart starts racing, and I desperately need a bathroom. Yes, I said it...I get the most nervous tummy, and usually the first thing I have to do when I walk in the building, even before checking, is go to the bathroom. Am I crazy, or what?

Since this is a new doctor, I am extra nervous, and probably loose 5 pounds before I even get into the examining room. A good weight loss program for me....having to regularly go to a doctor. Major white coat syndrome.

I told the doctor what my thyroid numbers were for the last couple of years and all the sudden she breaks out an ultrasound machine....cue, my need to go potty! I wasn't expecting this, I don't like the idea of there even being a need for someone to have to look at my insides even if it is my fingertip. And honestly, if I have to have an ultrasound, I would rather it be to look for a baby and heartbeat....not some mystery thing in my throat. I thought I was going to hyperventilate and pass out when she was looking at my throat, I couldn't even look at the screen.

Thankfully, everything was fine there and then she ran a bunch of bloodwork.

The result, my TSH is 4.62, and she has me started on 25 mg Synthroid. It seems like a small amount, but I go back in, in six weeks to see how my TSH is liking it. I don't love that I have to take it first thing in the morning, an hour before food, but I am very curious how it will change how I feel. I always thought I was pretty energetic, but maybe I am not as energetic as I could be. And if I could loose weight once again, I would be more than thrilled!

And as I try to step cautiously into maybe, possibly TTC, well then I know my thyroid needs to be in good shape, and at almost 39, I don't have much time to mess around.

Other than my thyroid number, I also learned I am a little low in vitamin D, which was 28 and should be between 30-100. Hmmm...well I have taken a gel cap of 1,000 iu D3 daily for 2 years...do I need more? Do I need to lay out?

I did not yet find out if I have thyroid antibodies, but I will save finding out that bit of info until my follow-up visit.

I had spoke to some friends about Armour, the natural form of thyroid hormone, which comes from pig thyroid, and they love it, but somehow I am not in love with that idea right now.

Again, I would love to hear from people who have experience with underactive thyroid and Synthroid.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thyroid Schmyroid

Why is it every time I make an effort to loose weight, I gain? Seriously, this sh*t is getting old, and fast! I admit, I was much better about it last year....I would not miss a Zumba class for anything, and if Zumba wasn't so fun, I would have quit after 2 months of not seeing any weight loss, but it was just so fun and made me feel so good.

So, if you remember last year, I had my doctor run all the tests to see why I am not loosing like I should be - regardless of Zumba, the gym, walking and how much I eat. I thought there has to be something going on with my thyroid or blood sugar, because this just isn't right. Granted, I have a weakness for baked gluten-free goodies, but I am not scarfing them down daily (ok, well maybe once in a while). My doctor had told me everything was normal, and I accepted that and never looked back. I figured this is the doctor who discovered out I had celiac, when I thought there was no way in h*ll I could have it, so I assumed she covered all the bases and I took her word on it.

However, the other day, a friend mentioned that sometimes thyroid numbers may seem normal, but may really be borderline and need to be treated. And that some doctors actually use different ranges as to what qualifies as "normal". I just couldn't get that out of my mind, so I called my doctor, who did the tests, and asked for the exact numbers. And funny enough, the nurse called me back with the information as I was in a bookstore looking at a book called the "The Thyroid Diet" which I just happened to walk by a minute beforehand. I was actually at the store buying I'm with the Band for my next book group meeting, not obsessing about my health, believe it or not. Sure enough the numbers looked very borderlike (according to the thyroid book I had in hand) with hypothyroid.

I called my new doctor here, and asked her opinion. She said that indeed if she ran those numbers, she would have been treating me. So now I have an appointment to get the numbers rerun and to go from there.

And of course me being the paranoid freak that I am, and who hates taking meds of any kind, am now wondering...great..what kind of side effects will I have from this? And after a brief search online, I saw some people said "weight gain"...and my jaw dropped. I will not do something that will make me gain weight! I just want my "normal" metabolism back! Also, an underactive thyroid is also not good for TTC...which is a whole other issue.

I don't feel like I have many of the symptoms except for my inability to loose weight, and I do feel pretty energetic most of the time.

Doing some more research, I see that it is very common for an underactive thyroid to go hand-in-hand with celiac, but one would think that eating gluten-free would help that out. And then I see how there are actually certain foods to avoid, which are called goitrogen foods....how nasty does that sound? And of course, most foods on this list are my favorite fruit and veg! So, let me get this....because of celiac, I can no longer eat fiber-rich whole grain bread as I used to, and with an underactive thyroid, I can no longer eat most healthy veg and "super foods"?

I may have an answer to one thing, but that just leads to so many questions. Do I really have to give up brussels sprouts, bok choy, tofu and strawberries, or is it just when they are raw? Soy, I have been trying to cut down anyway, because I think too much is not good of anything, but I do like my tofu and veggies.

I would love to hear from people who also have celiac and hypothyroid, and your experience with it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Keep calm and carry on, in 2011

Apologies for being MIA. During the holidays I set my laptop aside and kept busy running around, visiting friends and enjoying one of my favorite pastimes...reading actual paper books! But now it is a new year and that means new beginnings...or at least I am trying to make it mean that for me.

2010 was a great year full of major changes. Selling a house, moving across the country, M with a new job, Z in full-time school, new friends. I love where we are now, but I feel I need to really settle into a routine and slow down. I am always rushing around and trying to take on too much. Especially when it comes to eating.

Thanks to one of my good friends, I have come to the self-realization that I have eatlikeamanitis. I eat the way a man, with no will power eats, and that is just no good for my 5'3" self who has a diminishing metabolism. I have tasted and baked so many wonderful gluten-free baked goods this past year, that proved gluten-free can be even better, but it also proved to my waist-line, that I don't need to constantly prove this to myself. One bite will do. Keep calm and carry on....no need to scarf the whole packet of Swedish Fish in one sitting!

I spoke to a good friend and fellow-celiac how when we encounter something that is labeled 'gluten-free', we feel we just have to try it, because we may never see it again. That in today's world it is such a rarity (it is really not, this is just what we are telling ourselves) to see something gluten-free, we have to grab it before it disappears never to find another gluten-free treat on this planet ever again. I mean, before being gluten-free, I could easily walk into a cafe and say no to all the baked goods. But now if something is labeled 'gluten-free' I feel like I must have it. It is irrational I know. And to think back to over the holidays with how much butter, flour, sugar and eggs I used...well, let's just say....it would have been a French patisserie's dream!

I also realize the horrible cliché of starting new things for the new year and most of the time they fail. But I have to think, if I could go gluten-free cold turkey after I was diagnosed in early 2009, I could do anything! Since that day in March I have not (intentionally) had a crumb of gluten, and I survived (knock on plastic cup)..so I know I can stop eating like a man!

I am not trying to be unrealistic and say I am going to cut out all carbs, sugar and fat.....but I am certainly going to cut down. I am going to avoid most processed gluten-free baked goods, save for some crackers, corn tortillas and chips. I want to start baking my own bread, so that at least the bread I do have can be full of high-fiber carbs like gluten-free oats, millet and buckwheat and avoid items heavy with empty carbs like rice flour and potato starch.

The thing is, I never felt I ate a lot of processed foods, I cook all our meals from scratch and use fresh fruit and veg, but when I look at what I really use, I do add a lot of processed gluten-free items into the mix...especially dessert treats. I am going to swap the donut for a grapefruit! Breakfast will no longer be that quick frozen gluten-free pancake, from Trader Joe's, for breakfast, but a smoothie full of yogurt, fruit and flax. And apples will be back in style at snack time!

I know my body handles dairy fine, but that is where I am an addict and need to cut down as well. I could devour a nice wedge of brie or a huge block of sharp cheddar and that just has to slow down. I am not going to deny myself of it completely, but I need to only have a slice at a time, rather than a week's worth.

Last year, I became obsessed with Zumba. I had a wonderful instructor where I used to live, and she opened me up to a world where working out felt great and it totally transformed me in the 6 months I took it with her. There is nothing I didn't love about Zumba, it is the best mood booster there is! But when I moved I became so caught up in unpacking, new routines that I have totally neglected this. I also used to walk 2-4 miles, 4-5 days a week, have I done this since moving here? Simply put, no.

And since I am no longer in the Arctic midwest, I really have no excuse for not walking during the day. And we have hills here, making it even a better workout! I am going to start back up, while Z is in school, and get back in a Zumba class.

So less maneating, and more moving!

Is anyone else cutting down on processed gluten-free processed foods this year? What are some other resolutions/changes you are starting in 2011?

Happy New Year!