Thursday, December 31, 2009

new year's resolution

i've always preferred birthdays for the whole taking stock of your life and yearly accomplishments thing, but i can't help but get caught up in the annual enthusiasm for resolutions and their promise of a clean slate. i've been known to write pages categorizing everything i hope to accomplish in the new year. needless to say, i rarely complete even a fraction of what's on those lists.

this year i'm going to try something different. i am going to make just one resolution: to take better care of myself in 2010. and yes, there are about a million different ways this can manifest (starting with eating better, sleeping better, exercising more...) but i am not going to go there. because i really believe that one of the best ways for me to take better care of myself is to stop putting so much pressure on myself to achieve.

happy new year everyone.

simplify your morning routine

i don't know about you, but i take a lot of pills. two medications here, a few vitamins and supplements there... they all add up to a lot of time spent opening and closing bottles and doling out doses every morning. my solution? the detach n' go AM/PM detachable pill box.

not only does it have ample space for both morning and evening pills, it also pulls apart so you can easily grab just what you need for an overnight. you can also remove the flip-lids for cleaning (or if you'd rather start your week on a different day).

this way i can do all my sorting once a week and spend the saved weekday morning minutes on something more productive -- like five minutes more exercise, meditation, or, best of all, sleep. an added bonus: i know in advance if i'm running low on something making it much easier for me to keep on top of my refills.

you can also get ones like the apex medi chest that let you organize four daily doses.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

whole foods gluten free prairie bread

okay i promise this won't turn into the all gluten-free all the time blog, but i must rave about this amazing bread.

actually, i'm going to start with an anti-rave. a couple of nights ago we were having burgers and because i just couldn't face another slippery meat patty swaddled in limp, slimy lettuce, i went against my better judgement and bought myself a four-pack of ener-g tapioca hamburger buns. they smelled as icky as they tasted and were slimy after only moments touching the burger. (so yeah, thumbs down for that one.)

Gluten Free Bakehouse Logoenter whole foods gluten-free bakehouse prairie bread. the antithesis of the gummy burger buns, this bread was caky and moist and delicious and chock-full of chewy nuts and seeds. it was almost like eating a multi-seed pound cake. even better, it stood up just fine under the juiciest of burgers (complete with cheese, tomato and lettuce).

i won't tell you how much i paid for that delectable loaf of grainy and seedy goodness because i really don't want to admit i could ever spend that much on one loaf of bread, but at this point, i'm just happy to know that gluten-, potato-free bread this tasty does exist.

Monday, December 28, 2009

trader joe's gluten-free pancake & waffle mix

i'm sure it's completely psychological, but ever since i was diagnosed with a gluten allergy i have been craving pancakes. sure, i like pancakes as much as the next girl, but they usually aren't something i'd cross the street for unless i was having a serious carb crave and there was no serious oncoming traffic to dodge. but in an effort to help ease my transition to a gluten-free life, i've decided to indulge myself here and there.

lucky for me, trader joe's had just the ticket for this particular indulgence: a pancake mix that was not only gluten-free, but also free of potato derivatives (another newly identified food allergy). so i picked up a bag and whipped some up for breakfast the morning after christmas.

- simple to use: just whip up some eggs, oil and water, mix in the mix and you're ready to go
- inexpensive (which is a huge boon in the premium price world of gluten-free products)
- also free of peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy and corn
- contains only 9 ingredients, all of which i recognized

- so-so flavor (bland with a ricey aftertaste)
- prone to dryness
- not as springey as their gluten-rich counterparts

one thing i have noticed about substitutes made with rice flour: for me, at least, i find their texture a lot better the next day. this is especially true for pastas, but even the pancakes were firmer and tastier. (especially if you don't over-cook them in the toaster oven).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

comfort food

When it comes to food, I'm a simple girl. I like bread. I like cheese. I like just about any combination of the two -- especially the mac & cheese variety. And I liked it that way. That is until the whole gluten allergy thing. Lucky for me, yesterday a friend came to my rescue with a sweet little book called the wheat-free cook.

Now, I have to be honest, I am a novice in the kitchen, so I am easily intimidated by creating food from scratch. Not so with this book. Each recipe has a reasonable number of everyday ingredients and clear, easy to follow steps to help you transform a pinch of this and a cup of that into a dish tasty enough to please even the staunchest gluten-lover. I tried the featured cover dish: Corn Macaroni & Cheese, which I managed to pull together for today's lunch in under an hour. And it tasted just like mac & cheese.

Having already pleased my well-honed mac & cheese-loving palate, I can hardly wait to try the next recipe... perhaps Quick Flaxseed and Chickpea Baguette, Goat Cheese Pizza, Spinach and Zucchini Frittata or Almond-Plum Rice Flour Coffee Cake. With nearly 200 pages of recipes, I'll have plenty chose from.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

changes afoot

there's nothing like two bouts with the flu, a sinus infection, a brutal case of pneumonia and being diagnosed with a gluten allergy to help a girl hit her target weight. and then some.

but it isn't just my pants size that has been impacted. when you've spent your life eating nothing but grilled cheese, pasta and pizza, losing gluten is a life-altering proposition. no longer can i call for pizza when i get home tired from work. or anything else for that matter because gluten is in practically everything these days (soy sauce for example, and certain brands of canned water-packed tuna — who knew?). which means my dieting has changed into a completely new diet. and in fact, a whole new lifestyle. because now, in my fourth decade, i am finally going to have to learn how to cook. and not only learn but do it. every day.

which leads me to the second bit of health news: i have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

over the past 6 months, this chronic pain disorder has forced me to completely remake the way i look at fashion. why? because many of the clothes and accessories i used to wear every day (especially the shoes) now hurt. and not in an amusing "suffering for fashion" kind of way. in a crippling i can't walk kind of way.

but rather than let myself succumb to sweats and shearling boots, i've decide to revise my previous challenge. it's no longer just about reclaiming my sense of style, it's about looking and FEELING great. from the clothes and jewelry i wear to the foods i eat to the way i live my life. so buckle up, and let's get back on the road.