Feed on

Have you ever found yourself wondering exactly what foods you’re supposed to eat?  With all of the conflicting information on diet and nutrition, somehow food has become a confusing subject.


Here are my meals today:


Red and green bell peppers, onion, and eggs scrambled together



Left-over turkey and a few blueberries (I was short on time, and grabbing these out of the fridge was fast)



Spaghetti squash with beef, roasted garlic, and fresh basil…probably drizzled with ghee (also called clarified butter) or maybe coconut or olive oil.  If I’m hungry enough, I might add in some broccoli or a salad.


This isn't tonight's meal, but you can see the spaghetti squash under the veggies and turkey.

You’ll notice that all of it was pretty easy to make, tastes good, and was recognizable.  Some of you may not have had spaghetti squash before, but when it’s made right, it’s a great replacement for pasta.  A bonus is that it takes about the same time to cook if you punch a few holes in it and toss it in the microwave.

Spaghetti squash

If you ate at my house and I avoided telling you, there’s a good bet you wouldn’t realize you were eating gluten-free, low carb meals that would easily fit into Paleo, Primal, and any number of other diets.  You also probably wouldn’t have noticed that there was no corn or soy in my meals and no dairy in anything my hubby eats.


As my guest, you would have seen me cook a turkey one day and use it in several meals over the course of a week.  A lot of times you’d see me pull frozen veggies out of the freezer or throw together a salad because I was running short on time.  The meals may not be the same as what you’re used to at your home, but you probably wouldn’t realize it was a “special” diet at all.  And you wouldn’t think anything of the amount of time I spend in the kitchen.


But if I’d told you that I eat a special diet, you would have analyzed every meal and compared it to what you’re used to eating.  You might have panicked that I might never make a sandwich for you or that it would taste weird if I did because it wasn’t wheat bread (although you’d have seen me make sandwiches for my hubby who doesn’t eat low carb but does eat gluten-free).  You maybe would’ve wondered if we’d ever eat a “real” dessert.  And what about holiday foods?!


(For the record, last Thanksgiving I made a turkey, stuffing, caramel cheesecake, pumpkin chiffon pie, and baked potatoes…and I enjoyed eating them too.  They were all still gluten-free, although certainly not low carb, Primal, or Paleo.  But if you had tried our food, there’s a good chance that you would have loved every bite and never wondered what I used for the bread or the crusts.  The next day I went back to my standard diet.  Within a few days, neither the scales or my health showed any “damage” from my holiday splurge.)


The point I’m making is that food is food.  Once we start analyzing and picking it apart—forcing ourselves to stick to routines and requirements—that’s when confusion hits and fads come into play.


Occasionally fads are actually pretty healthy, but so many people would be massively less stressed and significantly healthier if they stopped trying to eat according to the latest fad or research and just started eating real, unprocessed food.  My meals prove that it doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.


There are certain conditions that require special diets beyond just real, unprocessed/minimally processed food.  Over the next several weeks I’ll give you some tips and guidelines to know if you need a special diet.  Plus, I’ll try to share a few more meal plans along with a few recipes.


But the very next post is for all of you who suffer from shoulder pain….


Catch you soon!









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The squat—how many times have you heard that it’s the secret to a great butt and faster fat loss?  There’s certainly some truth to it.  Squats work your butt and the large muscles of your legs, and working those muscles takes energy that helps you lose fat.


But say you have painful knees or hips?  Is your butt always going to look fat in those jeans?  Fortunately, there are other ways to work our glutes and those big leg muscles that will help us burn a few more calories.  Let’s start with the squat and work our way through a few modifications so that there’s something for all fitness levels.


The Unloaded Squat

Beginning: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

Middle: Push your butt back and toward the floor as though you’re moving to sit on a chair. Your arms are in front of you for balance, but your elbows should sit behind or no greater than even with your knees. If you’re leaning further forward than that, you’re losing form.

End: Exhale as you return to standing by pushing off with your legs, contracting your glutes, and snapping your hips forward.  (For an extra challenge, you can push off enough that you jump at the end of each rep OR you can add weight by holding a sandbag or weighted plate against your chest, just don’t jump with the weight until you’re confident you can keep good form and hang on to the weight throughout the movement.)

Points to consider: You may grip the floor with your toes to help with balance.  Keep your shoulders relaxed and tucked away from your ears and toward your butt.  If you’re able to go lower than 90 degrees with your knees, your pelvis will curl toward the back of your heels and your knees will end up tucked into or very near your arm pits.



If you can’t do a full squat because of knee, hip, or lower back pain, the first modification to try is moving to the shoulder bridge.  A lot of the weight load is removed from the knee and hip because you’re on your back instead of standing, and your back starts supported by the floor.


Shoulder Bridge

Beginning: Begin by lying on your back with your knees as close to your butt as is comfortably possible.

Middle: Push off of mid-foot and drive your hips upward until your weight is balanced between your shoulders and feet. Imagine that you are pushing your knees to opposite corners of the room to allow your hips to open.

End: Return to the starting position with control.

Points to consider: When you are lifted, your weight always stays on your feet and shoulders while your spine is in a straight line. Your weight should never be resting on your neck.



After knee surgery, I couldn’t do a squat or the shoulder bridge.  Instead, I broke the basics of the exercise down even further.  Technically I started with nothing more than leg lifts and then weighted leg lifts.  But after a few weeks, I moved on to the prone scorpion.  This exercise is a great way to get to your glutes while controlling how much weight your hip or knee has to lift.  As a bonus, the prone scorpion also helps with mobility for your back, hips, and shoulders.


Prone Scorpion

Beginning: Begin by lying face down with your arms extended at 90 degrees to your body, palms down.

Middle: Lift your left leg and reach across your body from behind while your right palm rotates upward as though you’re going to set your heel in it. Try to set your foot flat on the floor just as close to your hand as you can get (no sliding your hand toward it!). To the extent that your knee allows, push into the floor with your left foot to open your hips.

End: Return to start. Repeat with the right leg to complete one repetition.

Points to consider: Let your leg lead by actively lifting it so that you’re using it and your core muscles to turn your body sideways instead of just letting it roll over until your foot is on the floor…lifting is what fires the glutes and adds shape to your behind.  If your shoulders are too restricted to allow the movement, just leave your arms at your sides while doing the rest of the exercise.  Matthew’s foot isn’t flat on the floor in the picture, but if you can get yours there and then push without pain, your leg muscles will benefit even more from the exercise.



You may find that after working one exercise for a while, you’ve built up enough strength and mobility to move to a more weighted version.  If you can, that’s great!  If you can’t, doing what you can do is better than doing nothing at all.


We’ve all become used to the idea that exercise has to be an event…the right clothes, the right shoes or no shoes, the right food before and after, etc.  Think about most of the natural wonders of the world; structures of beauty that take your breath away in awe of their magnificence.  They weren’t created instantly.  Instead, very small actions added up over time to create something sculpted and beautiful—no gear or gym required.  😉


Until next time, may the choices you make and the actions you take today, create a healthier ‘you’ tomorrow!


(Special thanks to Matthew Funk for posing for the majority of the pictures and to Ryan Murdock for the use of his photo of a full squat.)

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I Can’t Do That!

We’ve all said those words before.  “I can’t do pushups because it hurts my wrists.  I can’t do squats because of bad hips or knees.  I can’t exercise regularly because I have a demanding job, spouse, and kids.  My shoulder will never let me do that!  I can’t overcome my cravings.”


And yet, you’re reading this blog.  My guess is that you aren’t just window-shopping for something you know you’ll never have.  More than likely, you’re sifting through piles of information on my and other blogs hoping for something you CAN do.


A lot has happened since writing and releasing The Satisfaction Transformation.  There’s now a wheelchair in my home.  I don’t have to use it for day to day stuff, but I’m not supposed to walk for exercise anymore.  Hiking and exploring hidden trails was once second nature, but I can’t do that now.  Hiking isn’t the only thing on what feels like a long list of things I can’t do anymore.


I’m sure there are many of you out there who know what it is to lose something you always took for granted…something that was a part of you even when you didn’t realize that subconsciously you defined part of yourself via that something.


Like most people would, I went through the stages of grief.  I lost muscle and gained fat.  As the results of my hard work trickled away, I became angry about how unfair it is that things are so much harder now.  For a while I did the things on my “can’t do” list anyway, unconsciously punishing my body for not being able to keep up with what the rest of me ached to do.


When I whined to a friend about how hard it is, she said she had a great book I should read—and then she pointed at The Satisfaction Transformation sitting on her coffee table.


I laughed, feeling guilty about how far I’d drifted and frustrated about my limitations, but she reminded me that the author talked about starting where you are and finding your way forward from there.  (That was a nice left hook, Carole, and it was exactly what I needed to hear…thank you!)


My father had just died the week before that conversation, so it’s been a bit of slow process, but I took Carole’s recommendation to follow my own advice.  Thankfully, it turns out that I actually know what I’m talking about. 🙂


So from here on out this blog will be dedicated to all of us who need to find a way to succeed at our health goals despite various limitations, to find our list of what we can do, and to use the tools needed to transform our lives.  Exercise and nutrition will still be at the core of almost every article, but you’re likely to find some very non-traditional approaches presented.


Life is short and even if there are things I can’t do and challenges I face, I want to arrive at the end knowing that I really lived.  To do that, I have to optimize my health, my relationships, and my attitude.  Anyone else share that goal?


Until the next post when we start digging in to specifics, check out this guest post I did over on the Shapeshifter blog.  It’s about an herb that can help squash sweet cravings.


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Do you ever feel like something or someone came out of nowhere and sucker punched you?  You know…those times when your previously peaceful life suddenly gets turned upside down for reasons out of your control?

 Lurking stranger


Stress, and occasionally lots of it, is just part of life.  So what do we do when it happens to us?  The best we can.

My father died right before Christmas and a couple people I love are sick with things like cancer.  Typically I’m pretty involved because not only do I care about them, but I also have knowledge from my past career that is useful when dealing with doctors, hospitals, disease, and disorders.

That knowledge always sounds good, and most of the time it is.  But it also means that I understand things other family members can be blissfully unaware of.  That adds a component of deciding what to tell them and what to leave for the doctors.

At the same time as all of that, I’m also learning the skills needed for a new career.  Because, you know, having money is nice.

To say that there’s a little stress in my life right now is like saying that the sun is a little bright when it shines.

I know that you’ve all been there.  Tests at school, relationships, kids, parents, jobs, interviews, injuries, and illness…we all go through times when we feel overly stressed.

Here’s what helped me:

1.  Eat clean — Having celiac disease made it easier to pass on all the comfort food that was around because most of it had wheat, but staying off the sugar made it easier to handle the extensive amount of emotional events.

2.  Drink water  —  Staying somewhere else and being off your schedule makes it easy to forget simple things like staying hydrated.  Stress is most often an emotional experience.  The more intensive the emotional experience, the less aware we tend to be of our physical needs.

3.  Do mobility — Moving your body is really important when you’re stressed.  If you’re angry, sad, overwhelmed, or any number of other emotions, your posture tends to show it.  That translates to clenched muscles and restricted movement.  You might be surprised how much better you feel emotionally after a session of joint mobility.  Swing your arms and legs, bend in a bunch of different directions, move every part of you that moves in all of the directions possible.

Those were the things I did daily and without compromise.  However, I was serious earlier when I said that we do the best we can.  Sleep eluded me because of things to do, unusual surroundings, and a lot of things my mind wanted to process.  Exercise might have helped, and I did some bodyweight stuff when I couldn’t sleep, but there wasn’t enough hours in the day sometimes.

So more tips include:

4.  Get enough sleep and at least a little exercise.

5.  Know what you will and won’t compromise so that you can roll with it when the situation is short-term.



During the time before, during, and right after my father’s death I did pretty well.  But once all was said and done, the holidays were over, the thank you cards were written and sent, etc., I took a few days off.  I knew I needed down time, but I also caved to comfort food.  I learned a few things, so although I made some poor food choices, I can do things differently next time.


I’ll add:

6.  Know your weaknesses — I can watch friends or complete strangers eat all sorts of junk food and my appetite will only slightly stir.  If family members are eating junk, it’s a completely different experience.  Turkey wrapped in lettuce just doesn’t cut it when your family is eating nacho cheese with corn chips and washing it all down with brownies and pie for dessert.  But a nice Bolognese with some spaghetti squash would have given me enough strong flavors that I’d have been okay.  I didn’t eat any of the junk that day (largely because all of it had gluten or corn), but my lack of planning for a known weakness too strongly influenced my choice to go off my low carb diet the following day.

7.  Get back on track as soon as you can.  We all sometimes make choices that carry us away from our goals.  The best solution is to start making choices that carry us closer to our goals.  Remind yourself why you’re taking care of yourself and the rewards that can bring into your life.

What do you do when stress starts building?


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Shortly after my last post, my father’s health took a turn for the worse.  He was in and out of the hospital for a few weeks before dying in the middle of December.  You can read his obituary here.


My absence here is because I was spending time with my father at the hospital, with my mom at her home, and then taking care of some of the many tasks that need done when someone passes.


There should be some posts coming your way in the next few weeks.  Look for an article on eating and exercising during times of high stress.  And there will be a link to a guest post I wrote for a friend’s site too.


Until then, may the choices you make and the actions you take today, create a healthier you tomorrow!



Running Pain-free


Picture of running feet

"From video in the New York Times article linked below: The Once and Future Way to Run."










Everywhere across the US, people are gearing up for yearly Thanksgiving day runs. Some will run for the pure joy of running while others will run in an attempt to burn some calories that they’ll more than adequately make up for later in the day.

(Personally I’ll be practicing intermittent fasting and some progressive resistance exercise the day before and the day after…but there are many approaches to dealing with the planned carbohydrate feast that is called Thanksgiving.)

If you’re going to run, then knowing how to run in a manner that protects your joints and prevents injury is something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving (and anytime you go for a run).  A recent article in the New York Times talks about the 100-Up running method.  As an anatomy and bio-mechanical geek, I love the info presented and think that there’s a lot of value in it…especially in the video and the graphic.

So without further adieu, here’s a link to the article: The Once and Future Way to Run.  Make sure you check out the instructional video on the first page and the graphic to the right of the article that will pop-out if you click on it.

Take care!







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Batman has Robin, Sherlock Holmes has Watson, Shrek has Donkey, Frodo has Samwise, but celiac disease isn’t as single minded.

Sometimes, regardless of how much we wish celiac disease was a loner, there’s more than one sidekick to accompany it.  And while a sidekick can be thought of as a good thing, some people who experience celiac disease and its sidekick(s) think of them more like The Joker and Poison Ivy.  (Celiac disease is associated with greater risk of Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, diabetes, and other forms of autoimmune diseases—autoimmune means that your body attacks some part of itself as though it were a bacteria or parasite that shouldn’t be there.)

Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom has some great posts, but this one profoundly impacted me.  Heidi’s article talks about the ‘why’ of cheating on a gluten-free diet, but the reasons she lists apply to a lot more than just gluten.

I don’t cheat on my gluten free diet.  Given the choice of eating gluten or not eating at all, I’ll pick not eating at all…even if that means no food all day.  Gluten causes massive hunger for me, so being hungry for a day is nothing compared to feeling like I’m starving for as long as a few months.  However, I have a huge family history of diabetes, and there have been times when I haven’t been as mindful of that as I should.

I’ve been reading Dr. Richard Bernstein’s book The Diabetes Solution and can’t recommend the book enough if diabetes might be a concern for you.  I don’t have diabetes, but the majority of my immediate family members have been diagnosed with it.  I recently learned that one of them is having readings outside of a normal range, despite a healthy body fat percentage, and that made me pause.  For the first time it seemed possible that maybe there is an autoimmune component to the diabetes that “runs in my family” instead of it being entirely diet related.  That’s when I realized that despite eating lower carb most of the time, I might not be able to avoid autoimmune-induced diabetes.  But currently I don’t have it.

Eating gluten-free can be challenging, but my biggest regret is that I wasn’t diagnosed sooner so that the damage it did could have been stopped.  With my fasting glucose readings running around a healthy 80, I have the opportunity to prevent any damage that could be caused by a disease that I might or might not develop.

Maybe by catching the celiac disease and treating it, I prevented the progression of diabetes other family members have experienced.  I’m the youngest by several years, so maybe the progression is happening but hasn’t hit a noticeable level yet because of the diet I eat or just pure time.  Maybe the diabetes in my family is all diet related and there isn’t an autoimmune component.  Regardless, I’ve been trying to decide how I feel about adopting a diet that limits any potential damage future high sugars could bring without knowing if I “need” to eat that way.

Dr. Bernstein, who is currently in his 80’s but was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes at age 12, outlines a way to keep even insulin dependent diabetics in a healthy glucose range.

One of the guidelines of Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution is to have no more than 6 carbs with any meals before noon, and to have 12 carbs or less with any meals after noon—6 carbs is about 2/3 c. of broccoli.  He explains how he arrived at those quantities and why in his book.

When I’m alarmed at my family’s glucose readings, they tell me I don’t understand how hard it is.  They might even feel like I’m being mean to suggest they shouldn’t let their sugars run so far out of the normal range.  I do get it, and it isn’t mean to want them to avoid the long-term damage their short-term food desires will cause.

I understand the power of food, the emotions we associate with it, the social aspect of it, and what it is to know that if I want to be healthy I will never again sink my teeth into certain foods, never share them with friends or family, and never make new memories or continue old traditions with them.  I know what it is to have a disease/illness feel like some undeserved punishment for a crime not committed.  I also know what it is to successfully manage that disease and feel significantly better (and not like a victim) as a result.

The thing is, at the end of the day the fair or unfair of it doesn’t matter.  The simple truth is that we can’t control our family history or the autoimmune diseases we do or don’t have.  But once we know we have a disease that is strongly affected by diet, we’re the only ones who can limit the damage the disease does.

So even though things out of your control are happening, you’re not powerless.  And while I know that it may not feel like it now, eventually you might even be grateful for the lessons learned as you journey towards better health.

Oh, and by the way, I decided that unless (hopefully not until!) I’m diagnosed with diabetes, I’m going to eat according to Dr. Bernstein’s recommendations for 98% of my meals.  It’s not really all that far from the gluten-free diet I’ve been eating, and it stacks the odds in my favor that I’ll avoid ever being diagnosed.  Unlike the damage eating gluten would do if I included it in my diet, there’s a good shot that there will be no ill consequences for eating more than 12 carbs at a meal if kept to just 2% of the meals I eat each month.




Some of you reading this may be thinking that you’re super glad you don’t have to deal with celiac disease, diabetes, or any other autoimmune disease.  I’m sincerely happy for you.  There’s probably even a few of you who felt some contempt toward those who don’t manage their diets. 

But instead of casting this article aside, I challenge you to start tomorrow and eat gluten free and low carb for forty days.  Tomorrow?  Yes.  Pretend you just got diagnosed.  Start gluten-free tomorrow and be following Dr. Bernstein’s diet recommendations within a week (that gives you some time to read about the basics on his website.)  In this world of booming rates of diabetes and increasing numbers of celiac disease, if it isn’t you, one of your friends, family members, or coworkers will be diagnosed (and has probably already been misdiagnosed) in your lifetime. 

But what are you going to do for food at your business meeting?  What if the airplane/hotel/restaurant etc., doesn’t have food that’s on your new safe list?  What are you going to do when your friend invites you over for dinner/a party?  How are you going to handle the weekly gathering of friends/family at the bar/restaurant/church, etc.?  There’s gluten in chewing gum and some meats?  Is there gluten in the tea or coffee you drink every day?  Do I realize how much time it takes to read all the labels and that many restaurants have no clue about how to prevent cross-contamination of food…do you really have to read the label each time and ask the server to make sure your food has no gluten?  Yes, you do.  How do you make meat, veggies, nuts/seeds, and dairy into meals you won’t be bored out of your mind with after a few days?  What about Thanksgiving with stuffing and pumpkin pie…is there anything there you can eat, will you have to bring your own food just to be safe, and what will your family say when you can’t have the food your family eats every year at Thanksgiving and have since you were born or before??? 

40 days…most of you reading the above paragraph told yourself there was no way you could do it.  You might have said maybe you could do gluten-free or low carb, but not both.  But for those who are really diagnosed, we have to find a way to succeed and thrive for the rest of our lives at what you just thought seemed an undoable task for even just 40 days.  We also have to deal with people who think it’s impossible (and therefore think we should just eat their way) because the idea of that much social and emotional change scares the crap out of them.  And then there’s the scariest question that I didn’t include above, ‘what if decide to do the challenge and I feel better at the end of it…what if the skin rash, headaches, mood swings, brain fog, canker sores, stomach problems, constipation, diarrhea, aches, and pains, or other symptoms I’ve had for years go away?’


*You should always check with your doctor before making any diet or exercise changes.  If you are already diabetic and lower your carbs significantly, your insulin is likely to need to be adjusted to prevent you from having a dangerous low.  Therefore, it may not be possible for you to start the challenge tomorrow, should you choose to do it at all.  The point of making the challenge was to get you to think about the issues facing those with diabetes, celiac disease, or both—to get you to understand that changes in diet go way beyond the food itself, and to get you to question why you let your sugars run high if you have diabetes.  Given that currently nearly 27% of people over 65 and 11% of people over 20 have diabetes (and those numbers are expected to rise to an even higher rate in the next 20 years…so 1-3 out of every 10 adults currently with more than that in 20 years!), you or someone you know will be affected by it.  Celiac disease is less prevalent, but as diagnostic tools and awareness improve, the number of people accurately diagnosed with celiac disease is likely to increase significantly.  Awareness now might prevent more disease and damage in the future.  Wouldn’t it be cool if those numbers went down instead of up in the next 20 years?


Useful Links





http://www.diabetes-book.com/ You can read part of Dr. Bernstein’s book online for free there.

http://amzn.to/uzhzwV is Dr. Bernstein’s book on Amazon


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Gluten-free eating can be a large adjustment…not just to your habits and taste buds, but to your wallet too.  The more your diet includes breads, cereal, pastas, and pastries, the more money you’ll spend eating gluten-free.  If you have food allergies in addition to celiac disease (and lots of people do), cost sometimes goes even higher.  Gluten, soy, corn, and dairy are off limits to one or both of us.


When I was extremely ill, my husband took over our finances.  Recently, I took the reins again.  My hubby was using an online budgeting program called Mvelopes — it lets us create a budget and monitor actual spending.  I like Mvelopes; I didn’t like some of what I saw as far as our spending habits.  Not only was our grocery budget larger than we wanted it to be, since being diagnosed with celiac and food allergies, we’ve been going over almost every month!!


The good news is that our grocery spending has now been cut by about 40%, and it happened with just a few changes.


1.  Meat… I now buy all of our meat when it is on sale and store it in our freezer until we’re ready for it.  This even includes buying extra turkeys when they are on sale around the holidays (typically one or more stores have them on sale for 1 day at just 99 cents/pound…and I watch like a hawk for those sales).  I’ve also been creative with eggs.  They’re a pretty cheap source of protein that can be cooked a large variety of ways and easily paired with veggies to be filling and nutritious.


2.  Veggies… if a frozen veggie is on sale, I’ll buy more of it and store it.  But in general, by shopping for food when it is in season, I can save money and give us variety in our diets.  At my local farmers’ market, I can buy 5 large organic tomatoes for 5 dollars instead of paying nearly that much per tomato at the store.


Summer is great for fast veggies that basically need nothing but a quick wash.  Salads are easy because of that and make for a super quick meal.  But I also buy veggies that require my time to clean and cook.  Cabbage and onions have been great when shredded and sautéed.  (I’ve even used steamed cabbage in place of pasta!)  With Fall approaching, things like squash and yams will also be added to that list.

3.  Fruit…  This is an area where I made some significant cuts.  My hubby can eat a lot of fruit, and I find blueberries to be a great treat a couple times each week.  But fruit can be really expensive, so we agreed that when possible, we should reach for veggies instead of fruit.  I make sure he has enough for one serving each day, and I still treat myself to blueberries a couple times a week.  Carrots and cucumbers were nice substitutes…and he eats less of them than he did of the fruit.


4.  Grains, convenience food, and sweets…  Per ounce, grains are a lot more expensive than veggies and not as nutrient dense…quinoa being a possible exception.  I set a limit to 1 convenience food/week.  If that food gets eaten, it’s a reminder that I need to cook something that can be rewarmed quickly if needed.  Sometimes a more expensive food was being eaten in the past just because there would be a wait for a home cooked meal.  I set similar limits to grains and sweets.


I’ve found Chebe to be useful.  You can buy it through Amazon with their “subscribe and save” program.  It takes time to mix it and roll or shape it, but each box makes multiple servings of whatever food I cook using it.  Plus, it can be seasoned in a variety of ways.


Amazon has multiple gluten-free items that can be purchased in bulk such as:

Udi’s gluten-free granola

Tinkyada pasta

Dessert Essence shampoo and conditioner (for those with a contact allergy to wheat)

Ener-G products


If you have friends or family members who also use those items, you can go together to buy something in bulk that you might not be able to use all by yourself.


Those are just a few ideas of ways to save money while eating gluten-free.  To a large degree, it came down to being mindful of what we were eating and how much each food costs.  Simple substitutions cut literally hundreds of dollars from our food bills.


I’m also excited to learn that a new site has formed that will be offering coupons for gluten-free items starting this Fall.  I’m not associated with them in any way, but I’m all for saving a bit more on my grocery bill.  http://www.glutenfreesaver.com/  Hopefully they’ll have coupons for things like SoDelicious Coconut milk and Daiya Cheeze too!

Beyond that, I signed up with Whole Foods to be notified of their 1-day sales.  Most of the time those sales are nothing I’m interested in…but occasionally they are well worth the weekly emails.  I go online and look at Hy-Vee’s natural health sales.  They only show them online and they tend to run for a month at a time.


Do you have any tips for saving money on a gluten-free diet?




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It’s a holiday weekend here which means that I’m trying to figure out what food to make for parties.  There will be four of us on Monday who can’t have gluten, but I’m feeling like avoiding, “What’s that?” and other similar questions.  So even though they’re usually a big hit when people try them, I’m leaving the quinoa salads, roasted yams and brussel sprouts, veggie mixes, etc. at home this time.


BBQ Pork

I picked up a lean pork roast that will be boiled, shredded, and then put in the slow-cooker with Daddy Sam’s BBQ Sauce to let the flavors blend.  (Daddy Sam’s is gluten, dairy, soy, and corn-free!)  I’ve not decided if we’ll eat it on Ener-g Tapioca Buns (they definitely require toasting), Rudi’s original GF-bread (which doesn’t need toasting), or just on our plates.


If there’s any left after the party, I’ll roast peppers and caramelize onions to go with left-overs later next week.


A tray of baby carrots, sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are simple and tasty.  I might even put some of the cucumbers in balsamic vinegar for a little twang.



The forecast says it’s going to be 100 degrees (is it Fall yet??) so while I could bake something that’s gluten-free, having the oven on doesn’t seem like a good idea.


It’s summer and we’ve not yet had a cold, juicy slice of watermelon.  So if the store has a melon that is just perfectly ripe, I’ll be throwing it in a cooler of ice to ensure that every bite is cold and crisp.


If the watermelon doesn’t look good, I’ll probably go for strawberries and blueberries with a can of Rice Whip (dairy-free whipped “cream”).  Frozen grapes will be a last resort.


On a separate note…

I recently published my first novel, Chasing.  It’s available in print and Kindle editions at Amazon.com and in eBook at several other locations.

The life of a Chaser seemed to fit Ottum like well-made armor. She hunted and killed evil without questioning the path her life had taken – until the day evil started hunting her. In that dark moment, Ottum’s past and present collided to shatter what she once believed to be unquestionable truth.

Ottum’s dead mentor begins talking to her in dreams, asking her to come to him. Another Chaser is poisoned and used as bait to lure her into an evil trap. And as she struggles to save her brother from the Avil’s tortuous acts and the other Chaser from the poison, Ottum wonders if she is losing her mind or seeing life as it really is for the first time.


For more information, visit my writing site at www.acomfortablesoul.com.


Happy 4th of July!


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Any time there’s intestinal damage from gluten (or anything else), it’s harder to absorb all the vitamins and minerals we need.  Fortunately for all of us, our vitamin D doesn’t have to come from the food we eat or a supplement, especially in the summer.


According to a US Health article, during the summer, 10 minutes in the midday sun in shorts and a tank top with NO sunscreen will give you 10,000 international units of vitamin D.  Those who have darker skin will need longer.  The rays of ultraviolet you need can’t penetrate glass, so you need to be outside for vitamin D to form…sitting in your car or by a window just won’t work.


Vitamin D helps you use any calcium your body is getting—so does having enough HCl in your stomach.


For those of you who think that you’ll just drink vitamin D fortified milk and get plenty of both, think again.  It would take 10 glasses—not cups—of milk to get anywhere near the vitamin D levels of 10 minutes of sun.  And the reality is that there is more calcium in green leafy foods (along with a lot less calories and carbohydrates!) than there is in milk.  There are also other needed minerals in green leafy veggies.

Minerals are involved in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.  That sounds very technical, but what it means is that it’s hard for your body to give you energy and make hormones if you don’t have enough minerals.


So make yourself a nice salad of greens for lunch and eat it outside in the bright sunshine!  (Just don’t eat it with a soda or you’ll destroy all the calcium and other minerals before you have a chance to absorb them.)

“If it’s hard for me to absorb vitamins and minerals, shouldn’t I take supplements?”

Unfortunately, there isn’t a solid right answer.  Sometimes supplements can help, especially if your diet isn’t rich in veggies with some berries, protein, and fat thrown in for good measure.  But at other times, you can only absorb a limited amount because of the damage, so supplying more with any one meal isn’t going to help.  However, taking something between meals or eating nutrient dense snacks will give more opportunity for the intestines to absorb what they can.


“What do you do?”

Well, I try to get sunshine in the summer, but I have to admit that there are days when I don’t.  I also have American Indian heritage so I tan quickly and need progressively more sun as summer passes.  My hubby and I both got several hours of sun this weekend.  Despite him sailing most weekends and already having more of a base tan, he’s peeling and I’m just darker.  So I need more than 10 minutes, and by the end of an active summer, I need more than an hour or two.  So during the winter and when I’m not outside as much as I’d like, I’ll sometimes supplement with either Standard Process or Pure Encapsulations vitamin D.


For the calcium and other minerals, I eat a diet rich in veggies, take HCl to help digest them, and use Real Salt (brand of sea salt) to get a good supply of calcium and other minerals.  My DEXA (bone density) scan looked great last year which shows that you really don’t need dairy to have healthy bones.  My diet of veggies and my workouts with resistance are getting the job done just fine.


Occasionally I do supplement with calcium lactate (not dairy derived) from Standard Process, but that’s maybe for a week 3-4 times each year—typically when colds and flu are more likely…or several tablets a day for 2-3 days after I drink a Virgil’s Root Beer (gluten-free and really tasty, but not a “health drink” by a long shot) to help counter the effects of the carbonation.  Again, that’s 2-4 times a year.


Someone may have a fit about this, but I’m very picky when it comes to the calcium supplements I swallow—limestone and dead coral don’t cut it for me.  Calcium Lactate from Standard Process is easy for the body to digest and use.  I like it so much that it’s possible that if they stopped making it, I’d stop supplementing with calcium.  Most other things aren’t that way, and there are probably other good quality sources of calcium available, but I’ve not experienced a better source yet.


The next post will dive into other aspects of healing.  Until then, may the choices you make and the actions you take today create a healthier ‘you’ tomorrow!

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