Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little effort goes a long way.

Thank you all so much for all of your kind words and support on my previous post. It's great to know that opening up like that is worth it. I hope it had an impact on all of those out there that read but didn't comment. The first thing I've tried to do is be open about what I'm eating. If I get something I shouldn't have, I force myself to eat it in the open. No more hiding. If I'm gonna have a cookie, then everyone's gonna know about it. My Dad made a comment this morning about how difficult it is for my family to see me going through this struggle with Crohn's and then to watch me eat things I shouldn't be eating, knowing that it's unhealthy. They don't harp on me or give me guilt about what I'm doing, I'm a big girl and they're here to support me if I want it, but the truth is, I'm one stubborn bitch (pardon my language!) and they're all too afraid to confront me! I'll just tell them to leave me alone and let me eat my cookies in peace!! Nice, huh??

This week has already seen an improvement. If I eat something I shouldn't, I don't beat myself up about it, and interestingly enough, the temptations are not nearly as strong anymore. Just today my brother offered to pick me up a lunch when he went out to get his, but I barely even thought twice about eating my leftovers. And they were good... I made Carol Fenster's meatloaf again, delicious!! The less I put pressure on myself, the easier it becomes. I know this isn't going to change overnight, but just treating myself a little better mentally is already having a huge impact.

I already know that this is going to be a big year of change for me. I'm ready for it. I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about what the coming year will bring. Maybe a new job? Maybe some dating? Lots of gluten-free cooking and baking experiments definitely. Maybe even some more exploration into the world of selling baked goods?? The possibilities are endless, but the only thing that will get me there is a positive attitude and that's what I'm working on the hardest. And a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer... yeah, that would be awesome. :-)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week, February 22-28, is national eating disorders awareness week. Eating disorders are a very serious issue, and many of us with auto-immune disease are all too familiar with them. Before diagnosis, when your body is wasting away to nothing and you can't figure out why, people may be concerned that perhaps you're not eating. Or maybe the fact that you can't eat like a "normal person" causes you to go crazy about food.

The most common forms of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, which is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss, and Bullimia Nervosa, the cycle of bingeing and purging. But there's another one that's recognized by the National Eating Disorders Association that is not widely discussed, and that is Binge Eating Disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder is exactly what it sounds like, binge eating without the purge. It's characterized by frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food in short periods of time, feeling out of control over eating behavior, feeling ashamed or disgusted by the behavior, and several other behaviors including eating when not hungry and eating in secret.

To be honest with you, I didn't realize until today that this third disorder even existed. I mean I knew it existed, I just didn't realize that it was an 'official' eating disorder. This is something I have struggled with for a very long time. It's no secret that I can put away a hefty amount of food in a short period of time, there have even been a few occassions where I came very close to purging, but my hatred of vomit held me back. But what I know is a bigger problem is my issues with eating in secret. Before the Crohn's diagnosis, there were so many times that I would hide what I was eating, out of shame or embarrassment. I'd go through the drive-thru and order up a supersized value meal and eat the whole thing in my car. Then I'd stop at the store and pick up an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's and eat it in my bedroom so that my roommate wouldn't see. I'll go to the convenience store in the middle of the afternoon and buy a bag of Fritos and at least one, maybe two candy bars, plus a bottle of soda and finish the whole thing off in minutes. I'll eat two different dinners if I can't make up my mind about which I want more.

After diagnosis, I was so focused on getting healthy that it got better. I was sticking to the GF diet and eating very well. Now, almost a year later, my old habits are back full force. I eat way more than I need to, and I can't tell you how many times in the past week alone I've hidden my food. Last Wednesday night I had a meeting to go to after work. I didn't have any food in the house, so I stopped at a pizza joint to pick up dinner. I have a cheeseburger sub and fries, with a soda. Yes, I was eating a regular sub roll, and fries that were probably cooked in a shared fryer. On my way home from the restaurant, I checked the windows to see if my roommate was home or not, she wasn't, phew! Since I didn't want her to see me 1. eating gluten, or 2. eating such a large amount of food, I devoured it all in minutes. By the time I was done, I was so full, I felt as if I would surely throw up. I went to the meeting, and then after I went to a restaurant to meet up with some friends. They had already eaten, so I just had some water. I went home and crawled into bed, still uncomfortable (4 hours later) from the dinner I'd had. I woke up at 4 in the morning with this horrible lump in my throat, acid indigestion? heartburn? I don't know but it felt a little bit too much to me like I'd almost thrown up in my sleep. Sorry for sharing, but it's the truth and I have to admit it.

Because of the medication I'm on, my stomach issues are not nearly as bad as they used to be, which makes it that much easier for me to continue with these horrible habits. Even though I know how destructive they are, I can't break the cycle. For people that don't have these issues, it's easy to think "well why don't you just stop" but for it's just not that easy. Some might say that it's a deep rooted emotional problem that causes these vicious cycles. I don't particularly agree with this theory, at least not always. I do believe that part of the problem has to do with the addictive nature of the types of foods that I get addicted to, refined, processed, gluteny, sugary foods. I know that when I clean up my diet the cravings go away, I eat normally, I don't hide, the disorder behaviors go away, but one slip up leads to two, which leads to a complete reversion to the old habits. How do we break the cycle for good? Elaine Gotschall had it right when she titled her book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" because that's really what it is.

This is not an easy blog post for me to publish, but if it helps people out there to recognize destructive eating behaviors and hopefully find a way to fix them, then it's worth it. Actually, just writing it out and admitting that this is an issue for me, is helping me a lot. I'm abusing my body by treating it the way I do. I will never be healthy if I keep it up. Not only does it affect my body, but it affects my life in general as well. This past week, not just Wednesday night, my eating was horrible. By Thursday I was feeling so crappy that I almost called in sick to work. Friday was worse, but I tried to push through. Friday night I had plans to go out with friends, I went shopping for a new shirt, went home and had a healthy GF dinner in the hopes that it would help me to feel better, despite the massive headache. I had some time before I had to head into the city so I thought I'd watch some TV and before I even felt myself falling, I was dead asleep on the couch. I woke up much later in the night, and not only had I missed the fun but I had let the friends down too.

It's one thing to be sick because you have a disease that is incurable, it's entirely another to be making yourself worse by your own dangerous habits. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired, and of making excuses for it. I'm tired of letting people down because I'm sick and tired all the time. Today I feel like crap, my back hurts, my body aches, I'm tired, I've gained weight, I'm bloated, I don't want to go out because none of my clothes fit right and what I see in the mirror makes me feel even worse. I'm really good at talking about this, but it's about time I did something about it. This past year with all the doctors visits and this blog, they are huge steps forward. I've recently taken some giant steps back but isn't that always the way? I'm ready again to get back on track to health. I can't wait to see the new doc in May, maybe in the meantime I can get in to see that nutritionist. Moving forward...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Delight Gluten Free Magazine



Check it out!! A new magazine dedicated to the gluten-free lifestyle, from their website:

"Check out this amazing new magazine! Delight gluten free is a fun food & lifestyle magazine for people with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance and food allergies. It hosts delicious gourmet recipes and easy semihomemade as well. Don't miss the Gluten-Free Meals on a Budget either. Whatever your food allergy you should be able to find something that fits your household, in their February issue they offer gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free and even some rice-free recipes. Not only that, this magazine has a travel section coming in May that will host lots of fun ideas and good advice for when you venture out on the road. Personal stories, inspiring articles on Autism, Q & A with the Doc are among the other features of this magazine."

I love magazines ever so much, I have been reading Living Without for a long time but I'm really looking forward to this one. Click on the photo to view the site and subscribe!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Running out of clever blog titles.

Well I'm sad to say that the Whoopie Pie business has been put on hold temporarily. When my parents did a little more research into what it takes to get a kitchen licensed for selling baked goods, the results were very overwhelming. My mom is looking into using a commercial kitchen through a couple of contacts we have. We'll see how it goes. For now we're all putting all of our efforts into our first business, the printing business. It's a difficult time for small businesses, especially in the print industry, where everyone is trying to cut back and save money and post their documents online instead of printing them. On top of that, our landlord is moving and selling our building which means within a year, we're gonna have to move. We have options and are trying to figure out the best way to proceed. The good part of this is that I'm probably going to be stepping into a new role which will allow me to get out of the office and see what this city has to offer. Our customer base is a very small are of Boston and I know there's a lot more out there that we're missing out on just because people don't know who we are. I've never been very much of a sales oriented person, and this isn't exactly what my role will be, but that's part of it. I'm nervous, and excited for the change. I need a challenge, I'm up for it.

Last night I finally went to the volunteer orientation meeting at Habitat for Humanity. I am really excited to get involved with this organization. It's something I've wanted to do for years and I'm so glad to finally be doing it. My first task will be to paint a birdhouse for their annual birdhouse show in April. I think that will be fun, and I'll finally get to use up all that extra paint that's leftover from graphic design school. I'm even considering one of there far away projects, like El Salvador. I think that would be awesome. And also to potentially get involved with disaster relief efforts when needed. I've always wanted to do that.

Health-wise, things are good. I've officially gone on hiatus from kickboxing and although I had planned to, I've not done any other kind of workout in weeks. Spring session starts back up on March 8th, I don't know yet if I'll be going back or not. I do need to do something though! I'm really good at making excuses...

Alright well, I must get back to work, once again I've over-extended my lunch break. Not to mention I was 15 minutes late this morning!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gluten Free Whoopie Pies!!

My first batch of gluten-free whoopie pies.

Finally!! The first round of GF Whoopie Pies is a success. Although, I'm pretty sure I will not make these again until I get a mixer. Working with the hand mixer to make these was somewhat of a nightmare. I also have about a 1.5 foot square working space so that sucks too. Unfortunately I lost half a bag of GF flour in the process, that really sucked, I dropped it when I was trying to close it.

As you can see, the cake part didn't come out as smooth as the regular version does, I have a feeling that if I alter the steps that I used to mix these that would be different. It might have something to do with the sugar. The cakes came out with a bit of a crust on the outside, and cakey on the inside, and the filling was a little too soft, but I've never even made the real version of these babies so for my first try I think I did pretty good! I'm going to share them with friends and family that know how the real things taste to see what they think. Allie I'll try to save you one, but you might have to wait for the next batch!! I only made a small batch of 6 and I'm going to attempt to cut them in half but even at that, I think they'll be gone by Tuesday. I also want to see how they hold up over the next couple of days, if they dry out, etc, and the next batch I'll see how well they freeze.

This recipe is an old family secret and since my Mom is trying to launch her business, I have to keep it under wraps, so sorry for not sharing the details. Even though I'm sure it's easy enough to figure out yourself, but I'm under strict instructions to NOT post the recipe anywhere! I promise Mom!

Ok, I'm off to share one with my cousin, and to see Confessions of a Shopaholic!

Friday, February 13, 2009

All the Single Ladies, now put your hands up!

Well, here we are again. Valentine's Day. Out of my entire life, I've been in a relationship for 3, maybe 4 times during V-Day. The 4th I spent the evening with a guy I had recently started dating, he made me dinner, brought champagne, rented a movie... how romantic right? He drank most of the 2 bottles of champagne, put "What Dreams May Come" on the DVD player and proceeded to cry through the movie, then fall asleep. Who wants to watch a movie about death on V-Day?! I don't think he really knew what it was about. The good news was, dinner was delicious and I got to keep all the leftovers! Score.

So here I am, 5 years later, still single... Ok, well maybe I'm picky. So what? Or maybe it's all these bottled up insecurities from all the losers I've dealt with over the past 10 years. Or maybe it's just that I'm lazy and don't get out there to meet new people. I've been saying since October that I'm "ready to get back out there" but have yet to try. Tonight I'm going to one of those anti-v-day parties, but this one is a long standing tradition, I don't know how all of a sudden this year it has become so popular to have these parties. Maybe it's just Boston, because I've read recently that we're terrible people when it comes to dating and relationships. Well then I blame it on that, this city is just too hostile for me to date in! Pfft. Whatever. Stop judging me! Yeah you! I know what you're thinking...

Last year I spent Valentine's Day trying to sort out why a guy that has a girlfriend and wants nothing to do with me would bother to show up at my work bearing V-Day gifts... yes, that actually happened. Guys suck. Of course not you, my dear male blog readers. Especially Tim, he makes some killer V-Day cards for that lovely wife of his. She's one lucky lady.

I actually have been re-vamping my match.com profile lately, thought I might dust it off and sign back up for another month, or 3, or whatever. Even though 80% of the guys that are on there have been on there since I initially signed up back in 2003... of course, I can't judge, because this is me, still single, giving it another go. How else do you meet single guys?? I've been signing up for more volunteer opportunities, there's nothing but old and wrinklies at my gym so that's not an option... I'm from the old school of "it'll happen when it's supposed to happen, when you're not looking" kind of thinking, so I really don't want to put too much effort into finding Mr. Right, but a few Mr. Wrongs to fill the lonely nights wouldn't hurt. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin' about! What? You were thinking the same thing, admit it.

Anywho... so instead of spending Saturday with my loved one, I'm going to volunteer with some special olympians at a luncheon/dance party that they're having. I'm really looking forward to that. Then, I'm gonna give myself the gift of GF whoopie pies! I didn't buy the mixer, but like my mom did back in '82 I'm gonna use a good ole' fashion hand mixer to make them. I've determined that I'd rather save my money for my trip to DR than to spend it on the mixer right now, but I'll be getting it soon enough. In the meantime, I don't have to wait, I'll just have to put a little elbow into it.

So to those of you that are celebrating with your significant others this weekend, screw you, no just kidding, I'm happy for you and I hope you have a wonderful day. And to those of you that are single - emrace it, love it, pamper yourself, buy yourself flowers and candy, and stop judging that guy that's ears are just a tad too big, I'm sure his heart is big too. ;-)

Happy Valentine's Day my Friends!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Catching up

I didn't buy the mixer this weekend. My cousin sent me an email on Friday with the two package options for our trip to Punta Cana. We're getting close to booking and I can't really spare the $200 some-odd dollars for the mixer just yet. Soon though, soon.

Friday night I went to see a spirit medium, you know, like John Edwards. The experience was absolutely amazing. If it's something you've ever been curious about, I highly recommend it. If it's not your thing, that's ok too. For me though, this will be a life changing experience. I'm not going to get into the details here, because that's very personal, but if you have questions, please feel free to email me.

Saturday I skipped kickboxing (again) and went to see He's Just Not That Into You. I liked it. Not as much as I thought I would, actually I found it kind of depressing, but it was ok. The rest of the weekend I just hung out at home. Sunday was so beautiful, I turned the heat off, opened the windows and enjoyed the sun and fresh air. I even attempted to clean a little bit but didn't get too far. Oh well. I'm really looking forward to the long weekend coming up!

Yesterday I received my Easy Gluten-Free Baking cookbook from the contest I won back in December. There's this really easy recipe for hot dog/hamburger buns in there and I think I'm going to be making those very soon!!! Of course, seeing how good her first cookbook is, makes me want to buy the new one... not yet though. I have too many cookbooks and I never use them. I have almost 200 blog posts tagged in my bloglines reader that need to be added to my recipes files and printed out for my cookbook... yikes.

Tonight is the full moon! No wonder I couldn't sleep on Sunday night. Or maybe it was because of the coffee ice cream I ate... oh yeah, I forgot, I bought Rice Divine Mudd Pie ice cream on Sunday. It's so yummy!!!! I can't wait to try the chocolate peanut butter. That's next! I also want to try the coconut flavors. I love the rice divine flavor, but there's no doubt that it's missing that super creamy milky texture, it's close enough though. I also want to try the coconut milk flavors.

It's such a relief to be able to talk about my sweet treats without feeling guilty about them. No more beating myself up over enjoying food!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Embracing my sweet tooth.

Whoopie Pies

I think I mentioned this before, but my Mother and I are in the process of launching a new side business. She makes the best whoopie pies ever. Period. Seriously. So we're going to try to sell them, we haven't even launched officially and she's already going to be baking 2 orders this weekend! It's pretty exciting. She's a little overwhelmed, since she still has a lot of desktop publishing work to keep up with for our full time business, but with the help of my Father and myself, we're going to pull it off. I'm in charge of all the design, branding, enclosure cards, business cards, labels, website... website?! Yes. Website. Obviously I've done websites before. I keep this one up pretty nicely, I have my photography website, I originally designed our print company website, but it's all been done with very limited web design skills. I'm basically learning Dreamweaver on my own, using books and tutorials. Which is pretty much how I learned graphic design. It's fun. I love it.

Anwyay, so my Mom is also a self-taught designer and since this is mainly her venture, she started the design. Well... we don't always see eye to eye on what looks good. I worked all day yesterday on new designs that I thought would improve the image that we're going for and sent them home with my Dad for her to look at. And she approved!! I'm so excited. She's great at desktop publishing, laying out newsletters, text layouts, I'm better at creative design, photos, logos, things like that. I can't wait to have all of the final pieces printed up and to ship our first orders!!! I am supposed to have everything done by the end of the weekend.

Once we're up and running, I am going to start testing my gluten-free version. THAT is what I'm really excited about. They won't be dairy free, or sugar free, or egg free, or free of anything else for now. Just gluten-free. Eventually I may try to make them more allergy friendly, but let's take it easy in the beginning. I'm hoping to be able to make a batch this weekend, only problem is, I don't have a stand mixer yet! I really need one. I might dip into my vacation fund to buy one since I'll be able to make it up in a few weeks. I don't know, maybe I'll look around online and see if it's on sale anywhere. It's going to take a while to test the recipe and make sure it's consistent before I can start selling them, but I will let you know as soon as they're ready to go out for a test run!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Give Up

I'm over it. I'm done. I'm throwing in the towel. I give up...

For years and years and years I've been talking all about how I want to eat healthier, I want to lose weight, I want to do this, that, and the other things about my health. Well, I've had it! I can't take it anymore!

Do not be alarmed! This does not mean I'm reverting back to my terrible eating habits. I'm just going to stop preaching to myself about how much I want to cut back on sugar and then going home and baking cookies. You all know I do it. One day it's "sugar bothers me, it makes me sick!" and then the next day you get a post about the double chocolate chip cookies I baked last night...

Today I want to share with you the ice cream that I've got in my freezer. I want to scream it boldly from the rooftops. I EAT ICE CREAM! AND I LOVE IT! It's ok to eat ice cream and cookies and brownies... practicing moderation however, that's the key. I have to stop this all-or-nothing mentality that I've struggled with. It's just a set up for failure. I know that. I know it all too well. I'm training this young girl on Monday night at the gym and she's asking me questions about what changes she can make to her diet, and she mentions never eating cheeseburgers again. And I say No! You don't have to give up cheeseburgers for life! Just don't eat them every day. Then I think to myself, nice, why don't you take your own advice??? So that's what I'm doing.

Now, about that ice cream. When I was first told to give up dairy, the first thing I wanted to do was find a good ice cream substitute. In all honesty, I don't actually eat that much ice cream, but I do love it so I knew I had to find something I could eat. I initially tried soy based alternatives. I do not like them. I don't like soy milk either. I switched to Lactaid milk and that helped a lot, so I found Lactaid ice cream, and that was good, but they only have chocolate and vanilla. My favorite is mint. (Yes, I just now realized, that I could essentially take the Lactaid and turn it into whatever flavor I wanted with my own additions...duh.)

Last weekend when I was in Good Health I was looking at their selections and I noticed they had a mint ice cream made with rice milk. Good Karma Organic Rice Divine, Mint Chocolate Swirl. YUM! Tastes much more like cow's milk ice cream than soy milk does. This is a very viable substitute. I'd rather use this than lactose free cow's milk too. So that's exciting. I keep it in the freezer and when I feel the urge I just have a spoonful and that's perfectly fine for me. I see on their website that they have mudd pie, I must find this next!!!

The stress of trying to be gluten free, dairy free, low sugar, low grains, more fruits, less junk, eat better, sleep more, exercise more, stop stressing out... it's making me more stressed than ever!!! I want to enjoy my life, not waste it stressing about all of the things I should be doing. Life's way too short to live that way. If I died tomorrow, I know I'd wish that I had not stressed so much about eating those muffins for breakfast every day this week. My health is serious business, I know that, and I'm not abandoning it, I'm just making other parts of my life a priority!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Food for Life Brown Rice Flour Tortillas

Gluten Free Brown Rice Tortilla Wraps

These are the only gf flour wraps I've tried so far, so I have nothing to compare them to. I am not a fan. They are hard to chew and the tear very easily. I microwaved one in the morning and it ripped when I made the wrap, so I thought maybe if I heat the next one up a little longer with a damp paper towel, it might soften it up a bit. Not so much. They're not horrible, but I don't see myself buying them again, maybe I'll try the Trader Joe's version.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Namaste Foods Muffin Mix

I have a problem, I'm totally addicted to muffins. Before going gluten-free, I would eat Dunkin Donuts muffins practically every day. Mornings are tough for me, I sleep until the last possible minute, then I walk to the train, ride the train in to the city and then walk to my office. I don't leave myself time to make anything so I'm always looking for things I can just grab on the run. I know I've blogged about this before.

Sunday I went to the health food store because I know that they have frozen GF muffins. When I got there, I saw that they have added a whole new line of Namaste mixes, including this Gluten, Wheat, Soy, Nuts, Potato, Corn, Dairy and Casein Free Muffin Mix. The price for the mix was $4 or $5 and makes 12 muffins, the price for 6 frozen muffins was about $6. And it's easy, just add 2 eggs, oil and water, stir, pour, bake, done! You can add anything you want to the mix, blueberries, chocolate chips, etc. I opted for gf/dairy free chocolate chips. The muffins are not crumbly at all, they are holding up well in the fridge too. I just pull one out in the morning, heat it up in the microwave for 25 seconds, and eat it on my walk to the train. The taste is decent, it's made mostly with brown rice flours. It's not the healthiest breakfast, but it's convenient and gluten-free which at this point are my two major requirements. I'll work on the healthy part later!

I also bought some Food for Life tortillas, which I will have for lunch. Look for the review tomorrow!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Meat Loaf, not Purina...

Meatloaf

Ok, so it kinda looks like I ate dog food for dinner, with a side of broccoli and mashed potatoes. I swear I didn't. Friday night on my way home from work I stopped in at Borders in search of a specific cookbook that I'd been looking at online. I found the one I was looking for but after thumbing through it at the store, I decided it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I headed over to the gluten-free section to see if there was anything over there. That's where I found it, I had forgotten about it, but it's exactly what I needed... Carol Fenster's 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes cookbook. I took a quick look through it, but right away, I knew I needed to add this to my library. I absolutely love it. She really has given us the "encyclopedia of gluten-free recipes" in this book. This is the perfect thing to help me with my meal planning issues. It is packed full of delicious and easy recipes. I already had a pound of ground beef in the fridge so I looked up ground beef in the index and went straight to her meatloaf recipe.

The meatloaf that I grew up with was very basic, meat, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper... I don't even know if it had ketchup in it. She also had a recipe that was made with stove top stuffing... soooo delicious. This recipe calls for tomato sauce and onions so I knew it would be different, but I love to try new things. Unfortunately my brain was mush today and I forgot a few things when I went to the grocery store, so I improvised a little. It called for tomato sauce, which you add brown sugar, worcestershire sauce and seasonings to, but I forgot it so I used ketchup instead. I know ketchup already has sugar in it but I went ahead and added the other ingredients as if I had used tomato sauce. I thought it tasted pretty good. I used Shabtai Gourmet GF Preadcrumbs, but next time I'd use something else. I was at Good Health today and had the Gillian's GF Bread Crumbs in my hands but I put them down and forgot to go back and get them. I picked up a Namaste Foods muffin mix though, I'm making that next.

I highly recommend this cookbook, it is awesome, I will use it all the time. I can't wait until the next time. There are so many recipes it's almost overwhelming, but that's ok, I'll make my way through it! Now, it's off to attempt those muffins...