*AMBER512   205,359
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Doing What Works For YOU

Friday, January 07, 2011

*This previously scheduled food blog has taken a detour while the author is recovering from an intestinal biopsy and a gluten-full diet* Bear with me ;)

I was recently looking up the calories for a cinnamon roll that I enjoyed while I was eating my ďgluten-fullĒ diet. I noticed that one of the items was listed as a ďcinnamon HOW COULD YOU roll.Ē Or something to that effect.

It got me thinking about how Iíve always said that everyone is different. What works for me isnít necessarily going to be right for you and vice versa.

I do know that one thing that does NOT work for me is getting down on myself for what Iíve eaten. Itís how I have lived my life for entirely too long and I recognized that for awhile now I just refuse to feel guilty anymore.

I wanted a cinnamon roll. I ate a cinnamon roll. I accounted for it, and it was GOOD. However, for some people it might be encouraging to list a food like that so that when you click to record it you are reminded why you probably shouldnít eat it often. But for someone like me, it would just make me not record it in the first place.

Notice how I didnít say it would stop me from eating it, just from recording it! Back before I learned about SparkPeople I had tried writing down what I ate before and I always failed. Even though no one saw my sheet of paper except for me, I lied to that paper a lot. A lot of ďbadĒ foods went unaccounted for and I genuinely was confused when the weight didnít come off.

You have to do whatever it is in your life that will allow you to be honest with yourself. Something about tracking my food online already convinces me to be more honest, even though I donít share my tracker (for many reasons). Something about seeing the exact breakdown of my food convinces me to be completely honest with it, otherwise it is not painting me an honest picture.

And on that note, if you do track here on SparkPeople do you share your tracker? Why or why not? Iím curious to see otherís thoughts!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I didn't share my tracker at first, but once I started losing weight, I decided to start sharing it. I'm not ashamed of my food choices. I always fit them into my calorie count for the day -- even McDonald's. If I am still losing weight (which I am), I should be proud of my food tracker. And I am!

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    I don't share my tracker because I don't want too. I eat well and I make my own decisions and I share a lot of myself on here and I feel like people are too weird about food. What I eat and what anyone else eats is really a personal decision and I have never looked at someone else's food tracker. Ever. I get too neurotic about what I eat to have other people commenting on it.

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FLY0NTHEWAL1 2/7/2011 3:29PM

    I share my tracker but I have to admit that I have (in the past) let things go unaccounted for. Nowadays, I have managed to convince myself that I should track even if I am ashamed or embarrassed of whatever "goodie" I had. I figure almost no one looks at it except for me anyway, and I really do need to know what is going in. So now if I didn't account for something it's because I dont have access to SP for whatever reason and not because I am trying to lie to myself. That's progress, right?

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DNJEN471 1/9/2011 1:52PM

    Hi chickie! I know what you mean. I have been trying to ensure I track everything, even the gum I chew. Holding yourself accountable, starts with being honest about what has gone in your mouth. I actually do share my tracker. I never used to, but another sparkbuddy and I challenged eachother to track daily- so I started sharing it then and never stopped.

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HANNAH_CALM 1/8/2011 2:51AM

    I share mine, just because it's listed as an option. So I figured now and then someone's going to be interested in reading that, and I don't mind. When I had Lindor truffles up on my favorites, I also wrote "Don't you dare" to the 3 truffle serving they have. I wanted to remember to break it down to .33, but also to not buy a lot more and scarf them all down like that, 3 at a time. You don't even taste them all when you eat that many. I sort of like cinnamon rolls, but I want them to be kosher now from the bakery, because of all the ingredients. So I'm thinking of learning how to make my own cinnamon rolls. Because I've been skipping them. If it's certified as kosher, I can be certain that either there is no animal ingredients or that there is just dairy, it depends on the code on the package, if it is kosher.

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MT-MOONCHASER 1/7/2011 9:20PM

    I track occasionally. I need to get back to it, as it does motivate me to eat better. I don't share either my nutritional or exercise trackers. I suppose that it is because I know that I'm not doing my best, and I really don't want everyone to see how badly I am doing.

Lately I haven't been tracking because I'm being lazy. It just takes too long to track my homemade concoctions. I have been trying to watch what I eat and keep it in line, but tracking sure works better.


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Biopsy Tomorrow

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hello! I'm just posting a quick blog since I have to get to bed. My biopsy is bright and early tomorrow morning!

Today was my last gluten-full day. And boy did I enjoy it! I ate a couple of thick slices of pizza and the softest, chewiest cinnamon roll in the entire world at a buffet for dinner (among healthier items, I promise, lol).

I am definitely going to be in pain tomorrow, but then I am DONE with gluten. You can keep it away from me! I hope and pray that everything goes well for me tomorrow. I hope I can come out of the "twilight" sleep without feeling too crazy! ;)

My mom is thankfully driving me there and back since I won't be able to drive and my best friend is going to babysit me at my house so I don't try to take off. I had no idea this was possible, but the nurse said I had to have an eye kept on me. Maybe I just look like a crazy person. It certainly wouldn't be the first time someone has told me that!

Thank you for putting up with my lack of posting new pictures/recipes lately. When I am back to feeling well I promise I'll share some new yummy ideas!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KNMMOMMY 1/6/2011 2:06PM

    I've missed so much over the past two months. I sure hope you get whatever answers you need.

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DNJEN471 1/5/2011 12:58PM

    Best wishes to you today! I hope all went well!

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PAG2809 1/5/2011 12:43AM

    Amber, I'm so glad for you that this is the end of the gluten - I know that eating it in preparation for these tests has been tough! I hope that the tests go well and give you results that help... and that you don't do anything crazy (okay, and that your mom and friend document anything funny for us).

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*AMBER512 1/5/2011 12:35AM

    Thank you soooo much for that advice!!

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HANNAH_CALM 1/5/2011 12:31AM

    I'm glad that it will be over tomorrow, so you can get back to eating the food you prefer, and they can see what's wrong exactly. Good luck on the procedure, and coming out of it okay. If you read this in time, try not to drink too many fluids afterward, because it can make you very nauseous. Just sip a tiny amount of water at a time.

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*AMBER512 1/5/2011 12:27AM

    Well I understand actually at the clinic, but while I'm home and fully awake? Weirdness.

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DJ4HEALTH 1/5/2011 12:20AM

    We will see you when you are done with all of this stuff and yes they do like some one to watch over you when you are put under because not only will you do things that are crazy but you can have breathing problems too or not wake up. Things like that.

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Gluten: The Currently Necessary Devil

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I donít know what you believe, but I have determined that the devil to my insides is gluten. I donít know whether or not I am sensitive, intolerant or have Celiac, but itís not good for me! Unfortunately I have to eat some every single day until January 5th.

Why would I do this to myself? Well I am having blood work, genetic testing, and an intestinal biopsy on the fifth and in order for all of that to be accurate I am on a gluten-full diet until then.

I have been back on gluten for a couple of weeks and it hasnít been fun. I am in a LOT of pain each day and well I wonít bore you or gross you out with all of the details of the rest of the problems.

Basically, I have a dilemma. And Iím curious to get some opinions.

At my consultation yesterday the gastroenterologist (doctor who specializes in the digestive tract) basically told me to eat lots of bread, Christmas cookies, you know: gluten, gluten, gluten.

However, I have been working hard this past month and have lost the five pounds that I had gained over my indulgent summer. I am down to a weight I havenít been at in over a year! So while Iíd love to just eat all kinds of goodies, I really donít feel like putting it all back on.

Itís sort of different, because people usually say ďdonít eat as though itís your last meal, you can always have another cookie tomorrow.Ē And things of that nature. But in reality, I have about two and a half weeks to eat things that I wonít ever get to eat again. I definitely have a problem with gluten, no matter what it is. So this really is my last chance to eat some commercial food items.

Why anyone would want to go on a gluten-free diet unless they have to is beyond me. Seriously, why was this a fad? There are definitely recipes that are good, and some gluten-free foods are alright. But they just canít compare! I really miss super chewy, doughy breads, cookies, and the like.

So my options are:
1. Eat a little gluten every day in the form of crackers or something else I wouldnít normally eat.
2. Use this time to indulge a little in foods Iím never going to get to eat again.

The only problem I see with #1 is that I would feel deprived. If Iím having to feel horrible and be in extreme pain, I might as well get to enjoy the food Iím having to eat, right?

The problem with #2 is that I know that one cookie usually leads to two or three. ESPECIALLY since Iíll have a voice in the back of my head saying ďYou know, this really IS the last time youíll get to eat this.Ē

I think of all of the random goodies I love that I wonít be able to eat at all once Iím gluten-free. Commercial doughnuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cakes, pies, cookiesÖ. There are so many options! I want to eat them all! You might have noticed that all of these things are sweet. I have always had a huge sweet tooth!

Every day this week I have had a vanilla cone from McDonaldís. The cone is definitely not gluten-free and my insides have reminded me of that every day. The problem is, as I am eating more gluten, I am CRAVING more gluten.

I went to bed last night with sweets dancing in my head. I had finally kicked my massive cravings by going gluten-free, and now they are back in full force.

Whatís a girl to do?

I really am looking forward to all of the testing because Iíd love to know what all is going on inside of me. I know gluten is one thing, but I didnít feel 100% better from just cutting it out. So I also wonder if there are other things at play. The genetic testing will really be interesting. I definitely am willing to go through the pain to find some answers. I just wish it wasnít all so confusing.


But, since I donít want to leave you without some pictures, please enjoy these virtual treats.

Gluten-Free Cookies

They are from New Cascadia Traditional a gluten-free bakery here in Portland.

Taste was great, but they crumbled apart when I was trying to break pieces off to share with Aubrey. Ugh!

Non-Gluten-Free Fro-You

For those limbo times when you have to eat gluten for a test. Oh wait, thatís just me!

If it were you, what would you do? To indulge or not to indulge? How do I ignore the sugar fairy on my back?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MDTWEETY 12/30/2010 7:50PM

    Thx for stopping by my page. I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well. :( I was like, "What biopsy?" so I came to your blog. I'm sure I have a blog notification in my e-mail somewhere but I am so behind with everyone's blogs!! Ugh... Anyway, I know this is a late comment and you may or may not still have this dilemma, but if it were me, I would eat the treats I like a LOT. I mean the ones that are truly WORTH IT and not go overboard on all sorts of sweets. Sometimes, what happens is that once you stop eating that kind of stuff, eventually the desire for it goes away and it actually might even seem gross to you. I know when I think about really heavy, greasy food and sweets, I'm like "ick" even though it used to taste good. That said, I totally understand the sweet tooth thing. One cookie leads to another and so on. So...all that is to say is ENJOY but be selective. KWIM?

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CTRAVEL 12/20/2010 11:15PM

    I just read your blog and it is so true to what I am saying. I have been gf for a little over a year. I just did a blog just now - gluten intolerant/celiac, if You have time. please read it and let me know your thoughts on it.

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AINE40 12/20/2010 2:13AM

    I was in the same situation. All of my blood tests came back negative. I have had scopes up and down and blood drawn like you wouldn't believe. Still, no one can explain why I had so much inflamation in my intestines. I have hypothyroidism and and gall stones. It was difficult for me to even function at work. I changed doctors and she made me do the elimination diet. I ate salmon and white rice for 2 weeks. Afterwards, I added one food item that I thouht bothered me.Gluten was the first. It was instant nausea and stomach pain. I have been gluten free for 2 1/2 months now. My head is cleared and I now have no more canker sores, lethargy, joint pain, and stomach pain. It is all gone! My doctor diagnosed me with Celiac based on that. She stated that I had too much damage in my body for it not to be, plus I'm improving on a gluten free diet. She has been studying with one of the best doctors in Ohio. Gluten free is the way to be!

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AUBREYINGMAN 12/19/2010 4:09AM

    I dont know what to tell you. I know that you were excited about losing the weight but I don't want you to regret not eating more things now. I will support you what ever you decide. I love you!

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HANNAH_CALM 12/18/2010 10:35PM

    If it were me, I would eat as many holiday goodies, and fancy breads that I could within my calorie range for that day. If you go beyond your calorie range, you'll definitely gain weight, so if you don't want to, you'd better not. But on the other hand, it will help the test turn out better if you do eat plenty of these things.

I read that if you have Celiac, it takes months and months to heal from all the damage gluten does to your insides. So maybe that's why you haven't felt better from just switching to gluten-free.

Myself, I have problems with leavening in baked goods, they make the dough rise--and they make me really bloated. Some things really bother me, like pizza, cake, and cookies. Brownies seem to be okay, and having 1 or 2 slices of bread a day.

I wish you could enjoy the holiday season more this year, sounds like you're going to be sick though. If your doctor wants you to eat a lot of cookies and bread, then get or buy your favorite kinds, and go for it! You could try to work out a little more to compensate for the extra food. If you're too sick to workout--then just think with the new diagnosis you'll know what's going on, and be able to do something. You'll feel a lot better, and then you can take care of any weight gain after that.

Anyway, I would NOT eat only crackers until the test. I would eat yummy tasting food, and eat enough for this test to work.

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CARRAND 12/18/2010 7:23PM

    Eat what you really want to eat, but in moderation. One really good cookie is better than 3 or 4 mediocre crackers.

I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance about 15 years ago. I just don't crave things like cookies and donuts any more at all. I always missed pizza, but I've found a frozen pizza that's gluten free, and it's really pretty good. Fortunately there is no gluten in chocolate, so I can still indulge in that if I have to have something sweet.

Good luck with your tests. You'll definitely feel better without gluten if you're gluten intolerant.

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PAG2809 12/18/2010 6:11PM

    Oh, this is tough! I'm the same way - have major problems with moderation - so I can certainly understand your worry that allowing yourself to indulge will lead to overindulgence and weight gain. It makes sense to me that just eating some gluten may not be enough for the tests to show the real extent of your problems with it. So, I'd say, see what you can stand and try not to keep too many cookies around... I wonder if its the sweet that you're craving, as that is usually how it works for me.

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MCK0582 12/18/2010 5:03PM

    I think moderation is key. Enjoy the foods you love and may never eat again, but do so without overindulging. The 5th is about 20 days away so if you did a little indulging every day or most days, that should keep you in check if you balance the rest of your diet.

And now, with more and more people being diagnosed with various forms of gluten-intolerance, better tasting gluten-free goodies are coming out on the market all the time. You may have to give up some of your very favorites but I'm sure you'll find substitutions eventually.

Good luck

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ANNE1123 12/18/2010 2:58PM

    Wow, this is a hard choice, Amber, and is it really a choice? You're feeling awful when you eat gluten, so I'd say don't eat it. But you have to for the test, then eat what makes you happy in your head because your tummy isn't going to be happy. If you can, try NOT to think of it as the very last time you will eat gluten full foods. Because, maybe 6 months or two years from now you will nibble on a cookie that your bestest friend wants you to try, just a thought. Forget about the crackers, they'd make me happy, but if they don't make you happy, why bother? Eat the best quality gluten foods you can, this might help your tummy. I don't know. And, since you know how to track your food and you've got wonderful SP support, you won't gain back the weight, don't worry. For now, concentrate on your health and have a good holiday! emoticon

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New Recipe & Picture Time: Black Bean Burgers (gluten-free)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hello! I hope you all have been well! I wish I could say Iím doing well, but I have been back on gluten for awhile until my biopsy. Letís just sayÖ.it has NOT been fun. Only a little bit each day and yet every single horrible symptom is back.

Iím still eating mostly gluten-free and my meat hatred continues. Whatís one to eat? Black bean burgers! I had to switch up my usual recipe as it contained flour.

Old Recipe:

This time around I started with a base of refried black beans. I found this can from Amyís.

Delicious! To that I added some cooked brown rice, salsa, and garlic powder.

I use a burger press to make my burgers and one other essential thing. My husband! I dole out the mix while he presses them into burgers.

We are a great team! Thereís a little parchment paper on the bottom of the container to help get them out when itís time to cook.

The recipe makes four burgers, which is perfect since my burger press has four containers!

They just take a few minutes per side to cook in the pan.

On the side I had a mixture of steamed veggies and roasted sliced potatoes topped with garlic, chives, and parsley.

The flavor was absolutely phenomenal. However, it was missing the crunch factor of my previous burgers. Some diced bell pepper and/or onion would really add something to the texture department.

Gluten-Free Black Bean Burgers

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup refried black beans (about Ĺ a can)
2 tbsp salsa
1 tsp garlic powder
(optional: add any diced veggies you like)

In a small bowl add the rice, beans, salsa and garlic powder and mix until combined. Form into 4 patties (it might make more depending on how many diced veggies you added).

In a large nonstick-skillet add oil or cooking spray and place over medium-heat. Add the patties and flatten if needed. Cook until browned, about five minutes per side.

Iím currently eating a Larabar. I finally found some of these newer flavors.

The first one I tried is the peanut butter chocolate chip, but it wasnít as good as the peanut butter cookie. But then, peanut butter cookie is my favorite! And with only three ingredients (peanuts, dates, salt) you just canít be any better!

Iím also listening to Point of Graceís A Christmas Story. My absolute favorite Christmas album!

What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DS9KIE 1/14/2011 8:13PM

    The Burgers look great.

I really like those new lara bars

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SNUGGLY4U 12/19/2010 7:50AM

    I made these with pasta sauce instead of salsa (peppers are not my friend) and I LOVED them!

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AUBREYINGMAN 12/17/2010 3:12AM

    MMMM we need to have burgers again really soon. They taste great!

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HANNAH_CALM 12/16/2010 12:28AM

    Looks good! I love Larabars too, I don't like complicated lists of ingredients either.

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MOM2ACAT 12/15/2010 4:39PM

    Those look good!
I love beans but I can't eat them anymore with my gastroparesis.
I actually have to stick to low fiber foods now.

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JESSIEJUICE 12/15/2010 4:29PM

    This makes me super hungry. I looooove black beans- I'm definitely testing out that recipe!

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SNUGGLY4U 12/15/2010 2:12PM

    Yum! I will try that for lunch tomorrow!

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MCK0582 12/15/2010 1:53PM

    those burgers look amazing!! thanks for the recipe!

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Recipe & Picture Time: Caitlinís Cheeseless Pasta Bake

Friday, December 10, 2010

If you have been reading my blog for awhile now you might remember that one of my favorite bloggers is Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful.

www.healthytippingpoint.com/ & operationbeautiful.com/

A few of her recipes are on my list of ones to try (which is pretty long at this point). She has a ton on Healthy Tipping Point, but I was most intrigued by her Cheeseless Pasta Bake.


Cheese doesnít always agree with me, and I was curious if the eggs and hummus would really make a cheese-like affect. My best friend happened to be over when I was cooking and she said it smelled wonderfully cheesy. I then got to tell her there wasnít ANY cheese in the recipe. Happily surprised were we!

I changed a few things around based on what I had on hand, and in the future Iíd probably only change one thing. Less pepper! I put one full teaspoon in, and it was just too much. Especially since I made it into two servings instead of three.

First, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees.

Since I need gluten-free pasta, I made some quinoa pasta from Ancient Harvest.

Which I discovered is MUCH better warm than cold. I made a pasta salad with it and the noodles took on a rubbery-texture. But warm, it tastes just like any other pasta Iíve had!

While the pasta cooked I diced a tomato and some green pepper. I grabbed the eggs, some spinach, hummus, and pepper. I added a tiny amount of salt as well, but only about 1/8 of a tsp as Iím not a fan.

Once the pasta was cooked I combined it with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.

I divided it between two oven-safe containers.

Baked them for about 20 minutes.

And again, thereís that patience thing. Yes, you should probably let it cool down a bit before you just dive in. My tongue isnít very happy with me most of the time!

Cheeseless Pasta Bake (adapted from Caitlin @ Healthy Tipping Point)

1.5 cups gluten-free pasta, cooked
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup hummus
ľ bell pepper, diced
Ĺ cup spinach
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
Ĺ tsp pepper
Salt to taste
If desired, top with pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta, if not already done. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the optional topping.

Pour evenly into two oven-safe bowls (ramekins) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until egg is firm.

Remove from oven and drizzle with pasta sauce if desired.

Do you have any experience with gluten-free pasta? Or perhaps, more importantly, do you have any cheese-free tasty recipes to share?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUBREYINGMAN 12/15/2010 12:04AM

    I was very skeptical at cheese less pasta bake but it was very good. We need to have it again!

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DNJEN471 12/14/2010 9:59AM

    I am definitely going to share this recipe with my husband. It looks really good and like something he'd really enjoy. He is back on the Vegan diet so the more dairy free recipes the better!

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MOM2ACAT 12/10/2010 6:27PM

    That looks good!

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