31 Days of Gluten-Free Life: Landing Page


31 Days of Gluten-Free

As usual, I tend to find out about things like 31 Days of Writing at the last minute and hop on the bandwagon, adding yet another thing to my nightly to-do list for that time between when I get Daniel to sleep and when I can finally go to bed. This time, however, I had a topic around which I could build it, so this monthly challenge actually *benefits* me.

For those not in the know, I have IBS and have had ulcers in the past. In late July, I started getting really sharp stomach pain and we thought that it might be another ulcer. Add on my diminished appetite and the increasing number of foods that just make me feel nauseated and we had a distinct possibility. Well… after nasty and invasive tests (endoscopy/colonoscopy), we learned that my digestive tract is fine with no ulcers and I’ve tested negative for celiac disease both in my bloodwork and in the biopsy. So what exactly is going on? After doing extensive research (also known as “Ask Facebook”), I decided to try going gluten-free for a month to see if it made any difference with my stomach. The whole 31 Days of Writing thing came along at the right time because now I have an excuse to be whiny and let people know how this is all going for me! Aren’t you lucky people? 😉

I’ll put a link to each day’s post on this page so please check back for new content. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy my musings!

Day 01: Smoothie Queen
Day 02: Pesto Quinoa
Day 03: It’s My Blog and I’ll Whine If I Want To
Day 04: Rice Pasta with Cheddar
Day 05: Coffee Klatch
Day 06: Snacking

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life: Snacking

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life

Given that the amount of food I can eat has diminished due to either wheat, contamination with wheat products, or it contains barley and rye (the other two gluten troublemakers), I’m focusing on eating 4-5 small meals a day in order to keep full. For snacking purposes (two of those meals), I have discovered:

-carrots dipped in hummus. It’s not pita but it works with the hummus.
-apple slices dipped in peanut butter.
-fresh fruit
-fruit snacks (not ideal but they also don’t have dye issues like other ones do)

Hope this helps those who are trying to come up with meal plans that work around gluten.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: October 6, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY October 6, 2015

Outside my window… sunny and brisk. We had two days of rain and it seems like fall-ish weather might be here. I’m giddy to not have temps in the 90’s in October.

I am thinking… about some things going on in my life.

I am thankful… for the neurology appointment yesterday where the neurologist handed me a prescription for Adderall for Daniel. I’d been hedging on medicating him to calm him down but he doesn’t have an off-switch and he’s getting a little too big to be bouncing off walls and out of control. Now to figure out how to get him to take it…

In the kitchen… making pesto quinoa again tonight.

I am wearing… burgundy long-sleeved shirt and jeans.

I am going… to San Jose for the weekend with Daniel. He has a long weekend and I thought it might be nice to go see my parents and have a coffee/church date with Rebecca, Daniel’s godmother.

I am wondering… what I’ll do with Daniel for the next two afternoons. Wednesday is a compact day as usual (he gets out at 12:25) but Thursday is also one which means I have to keep him occupied for an entire afternoon. IKEA may be involved.

I am reading… Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. If you deal with depression, anxiety, or self-injury in any form, you need to read the book. The off-the-wall stuff she does during her lucid moments is funny but she also writes some pretty accurate stuff on her normal life.

I am hoping… to get to work out in some form every day this week even if it’s just a walk with Daniel or kicking soccer balls at the park.

I am looking forward to… seeing my parents.

I am hearing… the washer, dryer, and various tools outside.

A Daniel story for today… Little boy was so tired when he climbed onto my bed at 11 p.m. on Saturday that he had forgotten his blankie. (This kid is Linus when it comes to blankies.) I went to his room, retrieved his mommy blankie and his Dodgers fleece (my mother-in-law’s creation — he also has a Giants fleece from me) and made him a little boy nest on Jon’s side of the bed because Jon wasn’t going to be home until super late and I figured Jon would probably do better in Daniel’s bed.

Around the house… machines doing, mother-in-law cooking, cat on the table. (My in-laws’ cats have very bad table manners.)

A favorite quote for today… “When depression sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark … ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness … afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.” — Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy

One of my favorite things… sleep. I’m not getting enough right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Bible study tomorrow, date night and choir tomorrow, soccer practice with my kiddo on Thursday, and driving up to San Jose on Friday.

A peek into my day… A meme I sometimes feel like posting…

Apology to the tree.

Post Script…

We took Daniel to a pediatric neurologist yesterday to talk about ADHD meds for him. I think within 30 seconds of being in the room with him, the neurologist had made up his mind to prescribe them. :) Anyway, I was handing him all of the neurology notes that were present in Daniel’s Medical Binder of Fun and he stopped in the middle of reading the genetic testing report from 4 1/2 years ago and looked at me. Apparently, there was one paragraph in there that contained information about genetic mutations on several chromosomes that are frequently found in kids with autism and developmental delays. In other words, kiddo was born this way and this is not the result of the MMR vaccine or aliens messing with his brain waves, or any of the other crackpot theories out there. So please, for the love of God, STOP BELIEVING MORONS LIKE JENNY McCARTHY WHO HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND OR OTHER PSEUDOSCIENTISTS!!!!

I would be willing to wager serious money that if you did genetic testing on all of the kids who “suddenly” had autism around the time of their first MMR vaccine, you would find similar results.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life: Coffee Klatch

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life

If you’re like me, you consider coffee a necessary evil but you can only drink it iced and if it tastes like ice cream. So how do you do this? Well…

My standard order at a coffee chain: iced vanilla latté made with whole milk.

My standard way of drinking it at home: iced coffee with whole milk and Torani vanilla syrup. (Avoid the sugar-free stuff — it tastes horrible and is a chemical _____storm.)

Why do I not do the commercial coffee creamers? Many of them have gluten in them as a thickener. The vanilla soy milk creamer my mom uses says gluten-free on the label and we were laughing at it until I found out *WHY* they very clearly state that. (It was actually pretty good too.)

So how about baked goods? Well, it’s all about labelling and knowing who made things and how they were made. I know that It’s A Grind frequently had locally-made goodies and some of them were gluten-free or egg-free (my other dietary restriction). $tarbux has marshmellow dream bars which are effectively rice krispies treats, except not as sweet at as the Kellogg commercial ones, and that’s my go-to order if I order food there.

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life: Rice Pasta and Cheese

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life

One of my guilty pleasures is Kraft Mac n’ Cheese in the thin blue box which I had to abandon due to their unethical use of dyes prohibited outside the USA. (The Kraft Deluxe Mac n’ Cheese with squeezable cheese is a close second.) Of course, I can’t have tyat now due to the whole “wheat pasta = gluten” thing but I’ve found an alternative at Trader Joe’s and Target:

Rice pasta and cheese.

You prepare it the same way you would prepare the stuff in the blue box. The only difference is that the macaroni is made of rice flour instead of wheat. Unfortunately, this means that it tastes better right after it is cooked than it does the next day after being refrigerated. (It’s kind of like how rice is coarser the second day you eat it.)

I mention this for all my mac n’cheese loving readers so that some of you can find something that you can eat that isn’t going to mess with your stomach (or Texas).

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life: It’s My Blog and I’ll Whine If I Want To

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life

It has been a tough day with Daniel waking me up at 5:30 a.m. by using me as a trampoline, dealing with an AYSO coach who was being a jerk (thankfully *NOT* Daniel’s coach), Daniel being a pill all day… Since this is my blog and my whining place (though I don’t do this TOO often), I thought I’d list what I’m craving right now:

-chocolate bars (most use dextrose which is a wheat derivative)
Arby’s roast beef sandwiches
Maruchan oriental-flavored ramen
In N’Out burgers that are not “protein style”
Round Table Hawaiian pizza
-any of the bistro boxes from $tarbux (without having to pass the crackers on to someone else)
-chocolate chip cookies (my in-laws brought some home from Panera yesterday and I almost cried)
-bread bowls with clam chowder from Panera
-pumpkin cream cheese muffins

Gah. Time for me to try and sleep. (Thankfully, I got a nap this afternoon.)

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life: Pesto Quinoa

31 Days of Gluten-Free Life

I thought I’d share recipes that I’ve altered to make them gluten-free so that people have some options for feeding their families who have people with gluten sensitivities. In this recipe, we’re substituting quinoa in place of orzo.

Pesto Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1 block thawed pesto. (This works out to 1/4 – 1/3 cup.)
1 4 oz. container feta cheese. (I used Athenos which is the only brand I like.)
1 jar pitted Kalamata olives. (I used Mezzetta.)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (optional)

Place the 1 cup of quinoa in a fine strainer and run cold water over it to rinse off any powder. (Rinse untile the water runs clear and make sure it drains well.) Boil the quinoa in 2 cups water, and then turn down to let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This is important or the quinoa will start burning on the bottom.) It will be done when the grains are translucent and the perm has spiraled out. Combine the quinoa with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and toss together so that the pesto coats all of the quinoa evenly and the rest of the ingredients are distributed evenly throughout the dish.

This works well as a side dish though I’ve eaten it as my main course most of the time.

For those who want my family’s pesto recipe (which makes a lot so be prepared to freeze it), here it is:

8 cups basil leaves packed into food processor
1 head garlic or more Peeled and separated.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup walnuts or pine nuts.

Pack the basil leaves into the food processor. Pulse 8-10 times so that the level starts to drop. Place the garlic cloves in the food processor and press into the basil leaves. Add some of the olive oil and pulse several more times. Repeat adding oil and garlic until oil is completely added and the mixture is a paste. Add the walnuts/pine nuts and pulse several times, just enough to chop and mix. Add the shredded parmesan and pulse several times, just enough to mix. Press into a container and refrigerate for several hours.

Divide into the portion sizes you expect to need, and package in Press’n Seal or Saran Wrap. Put the individual packages into a ziplock bag and freeze.

7 Quick Takes: 31 Days of Writing, the Pope Meeting with Kim Davis, and Cat Piles

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

31 Days of Writing. Because I obviously have nothing better to do with my life, I’m taking part in 31 Days of Writing. I happened to see the button on Bobbi’s blog and spontaneously decided to go for it. My topic: a month of gluten-free life. Keep checking the sticky post at the top of this blog every day this month for my ruminations on my experiment of giving up gluten.

— 2 —

It’s about freaking time! Fibromyalgia is now recognized as a legit diagnosis in ICD-10 codes for healthcare billing. It’s so nice that the medical community finally realizes that I’m not making all of this up and have a legit reason for how crappy I feel much of the time.

— 3 —

Why I do not stand with Planned Parenthood. 10 years ago, I would have been horrified that people were trying to defund Planned Parenthood. Now, I say, “do it.” Why is this? I wholeheartedly believe that if government funding was cut, Planned Parenthood could survive. All those services they claim to do that aren’t abortions are ones the community health clinics provide… for free. No Planned Parenthood site owns a mammogram machine so the claim that they do breast cancer screenings is pretty much shot there.

The largest reason that I fail to stand with Planned Parenthood is that I believe abortion is murder, pure and simple. I have friends who have had them and every one of them (and I’m talking a very diverse group of women that covers multiple ethnic groups and religions) regrets it. I’ve had people tell me that they believe in abortion in the event that the mother’s life is at risk and as someone who was in that situation 6 1/2 years ago, I want to smack those people upside the head. If the mother’s life is at risk, they do an emergency c-section to deliver the baby but they don’t intentionally kill it in the process. If it’s below 24 weeks gestation, it will probably live for only a few minutes but they still give the kid a chance at life.

One thing that causes me chills is the fact that when blood tests came back elevated for Down Syndrome, everyone jumped into action to get me a 3-D ultrasound as fast as possible so that they could do amnio and abort because, OMG, why should I be saddled with a kid with Down Syndrome? I made it very clear that I was in favor of the ultrasound but that I’d be keeping Daniel regardless of what they saw. Obviously, he doesn’t have Down Syndrome but he’s got a bunch of other things and I know there are people out there who would comment on how it’s too bad that I couldn’t abort him. Those people simultaneously enrage me and make me sad. It is insanely hard to have a kid with special needs like Daniel and yes, it has meant the death of some of the plans I’ve had for my life. Guess what? Those plans needed to die because my life is a far better place with Daniel in it.

— 4 —

Pope Francis and Kim Davis. The Vatican is not denying that the Pope met with Kim Davis while he was in the States last week and I’m thinking that someone brought her to DC, Washington, or Philly because he sure as heck did not go to some podunk place in Kentucky. I highly doubt he knew who she was and while he told her to keep on keeping on, I’m pretty sure it was because he was told on the spot about her “conscientious objecting” and it being a matter of “religious freedom”. (Both claims are loads of bull feces but none of it surprises me.) I find this piece from America Magazine as a good source for interpreting this alleged event.

And for the morons who are making this into the Pope supporting Kim Davis and going off about how this legitimizes her case, I have this to say to you:

Just stop talking.

— 5 —

More on Kim Davis. Someone told me that the Family Research Council gave her an award. Here’s the story. My thoughts on the matter: people do realize that this is the group that employed child molester and adulterer Josh Duggar as their spokesperson, right? I kind of doubt their qualifications to make decent judgements.

— 6 —

Why has nobody bought this for me?!?!?!?!? This game is like Jenga but has you stacking wooden cats instead of blocks. I think I seriously need this.

— 7 —

Because Simcha. Here’s another fabulous piece from Simcha Fisher on how your family is not your brand. Perfect people with perfect families are utterly boring. In fact, people documenting their perfect family meals and perfect family celebrations kind of make me suspect that the blogger is hiding something. I understand the need to put one’s best self forward (and there are a number of punches I pull on this blog) but people who try to make themselves look like “mother of the year” are people whose blogs I’m liable to skip over in the small amount of time I have to read blogs every day.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.