Friday, December 06, 2013
So you have decided to go GLUTEN FREE. Are you prepared to never go out to eat for Italian, Chinese, Thai, Hamburgers, Diners, Breakfast, Mexican, Pizza, Sandwiches, Seafood, Steakhouses, Buffets, Delis, Fast food, Hot Dogs, Bakeries, Donuts, and Vegetarian? All these restaurants are suspect unless they state that they have gluten free items. If you live in New York City the number of restaurants available is huge, but most other places have very limited choices if any at all. Think Paris France and no croissants!
Going out to eat at restaurants is a major problem. McDonald's fries are gluten free and you can have a bun-less hamburger. But everything else is suspicious. In addition they do not guarantee that everything is always gluten free. We went to dinner at a national major chain that has a gluten free menu. However, that particular restaurant did not have good procedures in the kitchen and my Celiac husband was sick for three days. So even if the restaurant says it has a gluten free menu, you have to ask a lot of questions of the staff.
Then there is the expense. The cost of gluten free bread is twice the cost of a regular loaf. The gluten free bread is half the size with twice the calories. Many large stores are stocking more gluten free foods but there is not a big choice. You can control for gluten by buying only items marked GLUTEN FREE and preparing all of your meals at home. When you go on vacation you rent houses, apartments or suites with a kitchen and cook all your meals.
My husband is Celiac and my daughter, brother-in-law and sister-in-law are gluten intolerant. All of them have had blood tests to verify the gluten issue. If my husband eats anything with the smallest amount of gluten in it he is violently ill for at least 3 to 4 days. There is no relief from the pain, diarrhea, or cramping until the gluten works its way through his system.
If you are going GLUTEN FREE are you prepared to have separate cooking areas? We have gluten free kitchens even though I do not have a gluten issue, nor does my daughter's husband or my sister-in-law's husband. The contamination issues are just too great and the consequences just too difficult. Simple things such as pie crust or toast crumbs on a counter can cause days of agony. I have separate toasters clearly marked and separate containers of jam and butter for my toast.
Don’t even get me started on going to eat at friend's houses. I hate it when they go to a lot of trouble to make a special dish for my husband and sprinkle Whole Wheat crumbs on the top. They get a little testy when my husband won't eat the dish and only nibbles on the lettuce because the dressing has gluten in it.
Think of the menu for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, birthdays, Fourth of July parties, Super Bowl parties and Easter. And no matter what anyone says gluten free birthday cakes or cookies are not the same.
Then there is the health issue. You need fiber in your life and it is hard to get it without the whole grains of whole wheat, barley and rye. The gluten free grains are not high fiber. Most gluten-free baked goods are made with rice flour, not a particularly low calorie or healthy flour.
IF WE DIDN'T HAVE TO BE GLUTEN FREE WE WOULD NOT DO IT. After 5 years of living the gluten free diet we have adjusted. But you cannot imagine the planning it takes to go out to eat, or to find gluten free recipes for baked goods that are edible. My husband can't eat the beans or guacamole at the local Mexican restaurant, he can only have the soft corn tortilla tacos. No enchiladas!!
What I would continue to do is to follow the Spark People recommendations for avoiding processed food that comes in a package, watch what you eat at restaurants and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. You may not be gluten intolerant but have a sensitivity to some of the chemicals in processed foods. I would also recommend getting a blood test BEFORE you go gluten free. Many doctors do not want to do it but it is a very good test.
For more information:
COMMON FOODS THAT CONTAIN GLUTEN:
Pastas, Noodles, ramen, chow Mein, and egg noodles
Breads and Pastries: croissants, pita, naan, bagels, flatbreads, cornbread, potato bread, muffins, donuts, rolls, cakes, cookies, pie crusts, brownies, pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes, and biscuits, etc.
Crackers: pretzels, goldfish, graham crackers, etc.
Cereal & Granola: corn flakes and rice puffs (malt extract/flavoring), granola
Breading & Coating Mixes: panko breadcrumbs, Croutons, stuffing, dressings
Sauces & Gravies (many use wheat flour as a thickener)
Beer and any malt beverages such as vinegar, ales, lagers, malt beverages and malt vinegars that are made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore are not gluten-free.
FOODS THAT MAY CONTAIN GLUTEN
energy bars/granola bars (some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten-free)
fries, a lot of places use the same fryer for onion rings coated with flour mixture
potato chips need to check list of ingredients
processed lunch meats
candy and other candy bars
soup (cream-based soups often have flour as a thickener. Some broths contain starch, many soups also contain barley)
multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas that are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient
salad dressings and marinades
“starch” unless specified, labels including starch as an ingredient could mean any type of starch, including wheat.
UNEXPECTED SOURCES OF GLUTEN
brown rice syrup
meat substitutes such as vegetarian burgers, tempeh, vegetarian sausage, imitation bacon, imitation seafood etc. (Note: tofu is gluten-free, be cautious of soy sauce marinades and cross-contamination when eating out, especially when the tofu is fried)
self-basting poultry (think Butterball)
cheesecake (some recipes include wheat flour)
eggs served at restaurants (some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelets, but on their own, eggs are naturally gluten-free)
baking powder (some commercial brands of baking powder contain starch to prevent clumping that is derived from wheat)
When preparing gluten-free foods, it is important to avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when foods or ingredients come into contact with gluten, generally through shared utensils or a shared cooking/storage environment. In order for food to be safe for someone with celiac disease, it must not come into contact with food containing gluten.
PLACES WHERE CROSS-CONTAMINATION CAN OCCUR
toasters used for both gluten-free and regular bread
deep fried foods cooked in oil shared with breaded products
shared containers (including improperly washed containers)
condiments (such as butter, peanut butter, jam, mustard, and mayonnaise) may become contaminated when utensils used on gluten-containing food are double-dipped
wheat flour can stay airborne for many hours in a bakery (or at home) and contaminate exposed preparation surfaces and utensils or uncovered gluten-free products.
oats unless designated Gluten-free
pizza (pizzerias that offer gluten-free crusts sometimes do not control for cross-contamination with their wheat-based dough)
non-certified baked goods (e.g. “gluten-free” goods from otherwise gluten-containing bakeries)
Thursday, November 21, 2013
In Week Two of my Holiday Challenge my weight went back to 154.5 which is close to my goal weight of 154. For week Three it went down to 153.4. We are not in the holiday party phase yet and Thanksgiving is still a week away so I have been eating my normal pattern.
I find it hard to deal with social situations that involve food and not over eat. So I am really trying to monitor my choices before Thanksgiving comes since I have time to plan for it. Dinner is at my house, so I have control of the menu which also helps. I know that I will eat too much of the foods I love, but I am going to try to get back on to plan on Saturday (leftovers on Friday).
But being realistic, I am sure that for the next week I can hold it together. But what happens the following weeks? Staying on track is the Maintenance Challenge and I can see that over time it gets tiring. Plus the uncertainly of life brings in events or situations that reduce the time to plan and your weight can get away from you. I am trying to figure out what I am willing to do and what I am able to do to keep at my current maintenance weight. This can’t be a plan for Holiday 2013, it has to be a plan I can live with through Holiday 20xx.
For the past few months I have been trying to figure out what foods cause me problems, which ones I cannot control myself from over eating and lead me to eat more of anything. You know the “ I should not even start” thought that goes through your mind to the “ Oh So What is another serving, I have already had 3 and while I am at it, let's have a big dessert.” You’ve been there haven't you?
Pizza, spaghetti and flour tortillas are real problems for me. Also dishes that have a lot of sour cream, cheese, yogurt, whole milk, half and half, whipped cream and butter are really difficult. I find that I am not really able to manage my portions so I have been not eating these. No cream in my coffee, no butter on my toast, no ice cream on my pie and no cheese on my tacos.
On the up side, I have found that bread, potatoes, whole grain crackers, and rice have not been difficult as long as there is no butter on top. So I find that I am willing to put pizza and spaghetti on the very rare list, make sure to plan around them and opt for corn tortillas. My cholesterol numbers are much happier since I gave up full fat dairy so it is something I am willing to keep up for my health and to stay off pills.
Making these commitments are something I am going to continue to do during the next weeks and I am hoping that it will be something I can live with that will help me have less fear of the holiday parties. Part of keeping successful habits, is making them a "no think" part of my life. If I have to go out of my way or work really hard at something, I lose interest. So it seems to me that making a few healthy habits I can live with will go a long way to helping me maintain. Let’s see how this works.
So my holiday program is:
1. Drink water before every meal and drink a glass with each meal
2. Make a list of noshes and appetizers that are low calorie and buy them instead of high calorie snacks.
2. Eat more slowly, the fork down.
4. Make a lot of fresh salads
5. Record food eaten every day
6. Do get in the exercise, even if I have to get out before breakfast
7. Post weight each Tuesday
8. No Pizza, Spaghetti or flour tortillas for November and December NEW
9. Avoid all full fat dairy for November and December NEW
10. Wear clothes that show off weight loss NEW
Goal Weight 154
Nov 10 156.5
Nov 17 154.5
Nov 24 153.5
If you haven’t seen these Holiday Tips and Tricks from ~INDYGIRL
1. Wear clothes, makeup and jewelry that make you feel especially attractive right now.
2. DAS: Dress the part. Act the part. Suck it up.
3. Be a Food Snob.
4. PLAN ahead using the food tracker.
5. Manage your choices at buffets
6. Drink! Keep water, tea, or your favorite low-cal beverage handy at all times.
7. Gum helps, too.
8. Eat before you go to a party or fancy dinner.
9. Protein+Fiber=Full, so eat lean protein, fruits and veggies as much as possible.
10. Enjoy as many active things as you can.
For full blog go to
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Thought for the day that I read in a blog "Instead of glass half-empty, I think this glass might be broken because it keeps dripping all over me." Right now it seems like I need a new glass.
My life has always been busy, the oldest of 5 with a working mother, working my way through college, getting married, having a child and continuing to work, progressing through higher levels of responsible jobs while teaching college classes part time.
Then after I retired, I threw myself into volunteer jobs that kept me busy and involved. Last June, after 4.5 years, the volunteer organization changed and I decided to leave. During the same time my DH acquired (not by choice) some physical limitations so we cannot do some of the activities we have always done together and it has been a year of getting him healthy. Since then I have had more time to do nothing.
In fact I found myself not reading every minute, watching less television, scheduling fewer social events, and coming to the realization that I really didn’t know what kind of schedule I wanted to have. So I have been trying to figure out what I want my life to look like. I do have a wonderful DH, a beautiful DD, a fun SIL and a cute grandson, friends, family I like to see and a nice place to live. So this is about I want in my own personal daily schedule and what kind of glass I want to own and how I want to fill it.
At first it seemed important to find another volunteer organization to commit to but I have been resisting it. Then DJan who writes the Eye on the Edge blog (link below) had a recent post on the time change and her words really hit me. When I read DJan’s blog she really wrote out what I have been feeling:
"if I were to look closely at the way I structure my days, I might wonder if I should be spending time volunteering to an important cause, or perhaps making a difference in the world around me. The news sometimes causes me anxiety, because this world we live in needs people who are willing to make it a better place. I've got the ability but not the willingness. Am I wrong? Should I be living my life differently? Sometimes I really wonder about this. Well, this day of falling back, rather than springing ahead, has become one of contemplating my daily life. I've done that today, using my extra hour to think about where I'm going..."
In the busy times of living there was never a good time to think about what I really wanted to do. In the past I have done crafts, had hobbies, been involved with my family, organized social events, joined groups, belonged to organizations, took classes and was responsible in my community. So I know how to do all these types of activities and I enjoyed doing them. Yet right now I am not motivated to join or commit to anything. I have been feeling guilty about taking the time to explore but it feels right.
I did get my weight back to a healthy number and my daily exercise minutes are up (thanks to SP and Sparklers help) so I am feeling great. And I have been taking the time to look at issues around maintaining a healthy weight which is difficult at any age. Being 66 and retired allows me the time to explore. So I am taking the time right now to use the extra hours I have to think about what I want to add into my daily life.
If you can take a small amount of time and just sit quietly, think about what you would like in your daily life. Maybe it won't happen today, but it is good to know what your glass needs to look like and what you would like in it.
Eye on The Edge blog eyeontheedge.blogspot.com/
Sunday, November 03, 2013
It has been a rough week, several people close to me are very ill. It makes me melancholy because life around me is changing and I am anxious about what it will look like. I have found myself hiding in the house and pulling back from being engaged with others. It is easier to fold up rather than add more opportunity for pain. I am involved with those close to me and will be as strong as possible to help their families through the difficult times ahead. But the effect on my life and the empty spaces they will leave make my eyes tear up. I am allowing my self to grieve for those who are in pain and for myself and the loss I am already beginning to feel.
I read a blog Be yourself..everyone else is taken by Beth and her words echoed with me. (Do stop and visit http://moredoors.blogspot.com/ and enjoy the beautiful photography)
These thoughts are from the blog but fit so well with what I need to do to help me through how I am feeling right now.
Make others laugh
Make yourself laugh
Be, don’t be back there or too far ahead, just be here
Love deeply, love like there won’t be a tomorrow,
Be thankful when you wake up, the past is the past, leave it there
Play in the leaves
Don’t keep your feelings inside
Quiche can be eaten three times a day
Walk, walk a lot,
Don’t wear clothes that make you feel ugly
Drink more water,
Figure out what makes you happy and do it
And Last but not least, let me repeat. Be here, Be Present
My thoughts go out to anyone who is feeling a loss and I hope that we all come through our journeys with our focus to have happiness in our days and to add happiness to the lives of those we love. I am so grateful that I found SP, getting healthy and strong will help me through the stress and the people I have connected with have helped me to understand myself better.
Tomorrow I will be back on track but tonight I am going to allow myself to feel sad. But food will not be involved I have learned how to take care of myself.
Be yourself..everyone else is taken by Beth
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