July 11, 2012


I'm up.
I'm down.
Hell, sometimes I think I'm even sideways.

Completely changing your eating habits is not an easy feat. I'm encouraged, cajoled, and driven by the few days when I feel really. damn. good.

So, yes, Gluten Free has been a pseudo-success. I say "pseudo" because I'm definitely struggling still...which is not really a surprise. I have accidently glutened myself. I've ordered off the gluten free menu at a restaurant, and still felt sick later. The possibility that my meal was gluten free, but the chefs didn't follow good practices and I was subject to cross-contamination glutening is very high. I have suffered headaches, nearing migraine status (luckily, no full-blown migraines recently). The other day, I had a searing, stabbing pain in my left shoulder blade. I could not position myself in a comfortable way. My legs are bruised up-and-down, including a hockey-puck sized deep purple bruise on my thigh. No idea how I got any of the bruises, and I'm not one to bruise easily. Tired. OhMyGosh. am I tired. Like zoned-out, ready to fall asleep driving to/from work. Tired.

As it turns out, there is a drug-withdrawl-like reaction that many people suffer through after cutting gluten from their diets. People suffer anything from headaches, tiredness, irritability, and so-on. I feel like I'm in that phase right now. However, I'm flying pretty much off of internet research, so I can't be sure. Luckily, I have a dr. apt...in a month. I hope to learn more then.

I miss certain things from my past eating life. I want pizza, mostly. I don't miss eating most things when I'm with other people, I guess my feeling good is out-weighing my desire to eat most things. However, I am mourning the loss of ever eating certain things again.  I wont be able to participate in eating the wonderful homemade cakes my sister makes for my nephew and nieces birthdays. I wont be able to eat a wedding cupcake on our one-year anniversary. I'm worried about parties, events, eating out. Mostly, I fret over being an inconvenience. Not just to my family and friends, but even to myself. I walk into the kitchen, hungry, indecissiveness sets in. I can't have a sandwich, crackers, toast. Ugh. I leave, defeated. I am not very creative yet in my snacking, and light meals options. I have, however, thrown caution to the wind on limiting my calorie intake. Bad? Perhaps. But, when potato chips are one of the few convenient foods that I have on-hand, and can eat... then, that's what I'm eating. done. (I'm sure I'll regret that later.)

A few positives... overall, I am physically feeling better.  My bloated stomach seems to have deflated, which makes me feel skinnier, and more attractive, active, energetic. I feel like I'm still climbing an up-hill battle (still not 100% sure if gluten is really, truely my problem), but, I feel like the hill isn't nearly as steep now. Hopefully my down and sideways feelings become less and less...

June 29, 2012

2 weeks-in

Yesterday marked 2 full weeks of being gluten free.  So far, it's going mostly pretty well.
Overall, I feel a LOT better. However, during this learning process, I realize that looking for wheat, rye, and barley in ingredient lists is not enough. Malt flavoring, yep, that's gluten. A whole bunch of other words I can't say, yep gluten. Then there's the elusive ingredients, like modified food starch. Um, thanks ingredient-listers, that does me no good. Are we talking corn starch, wheat starch, a mixture of lord-knows-what starch??? Oh right, carmel color = gluten, too.
I have to say that watching my lactose consumption was a whole heck of a lot easier. There was a handful of terms I had to steer clear of, and I was good to go. Gluten is feeling like the polar opposite of that. Did you know that taco seasoning has wheat in it? Well, the kind I buy does. Anyway, I've accidently glutened myself a few times already.
Not to mention the challenges of eating out. I ordered a burger, no bun, specified no seasoning on the burger. It. was. delicious. and then, more-than-just-a-stomachache. booo. Unfortunately, this is a place I go to weekly, during the summer, post softball games, and the menu is pretty limited.
It's a bit surprising to me how little I miss eating pasta and bread, considering how much I LOVED both, in my pre-gluten-free world! A few weeks ago, had you asked me if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life what would it be... I would have answered pasta. Now, I'm pretty ok without it. My biggest challenge with "missing" food is more when I'm with other people and they are eating things I no longer can. Like dinner with my family, while they all ate stuffed shells. Lucky for me, Trader Joe's carries some corn pasta that is quite delicious, extremely similar to pasta as I used to know it, and very reasonably priced (compared to all the other gluten-free foods out there!). So, I made myself a plate of spaghetti...not entirely the same, but pretty close.

Seven-Layer TostadasNow that I'm feeling better (despite my few set-backs from accidental gluten consumption), I am starting to realize that I didn't feel well on a daily basis before, and that's no way to live. I have to admit, though, that my hindsight is also filled with doubt and some guilt. I feel like so many other people have/had it WAY WORSE than I do/did. That makes me think my stomach issues aren't legit, or that I'm somehow not "sick-enough" to go on a gluten free diet. I didn't feel miserable EVERY day... but, I did feel yucky a lot, and I felt miserable some days. I'm also really struggling with how I can go from eating carbohydrates like it's the sole purpose of my existence to cutting out the gluten-containing carbs completely. I know it happens, though, people develope allergies, or intollerances.

I've been hunting the internet for ideas on eating gluten free, I need a gluten-free pinterest board, to separate out the things that I can eat (from what I drooled over previously). I've come across some photos of things that look delicious, and I'd like to make. I feel that this new way of eating will push me into new flavor directions. I want to experiment with sauces and such, and that excites me to no end!!! Yep, that's a silver lining, folks.
 And, so, for now, I continue on my gluten free journey, learning along the way...

June 14, 2012

Stomach "issues" getting old

I have been struggling with some type of gastroinstestinal upset for roughly a year now. Yuck!
Frankly, I don't understand.

(caution, full honesty ahead, no holding back on grossness)
I suffer from bloating, full-feeling (even without eating), naseau, upset stomach, feeling like there's a rock in my stomach, feeling like I need to poo and can't, gas (OMG the gas), and general ill-feeling.
The frequency of my symptoms is growing. Disappointment has followed.
I braved through it at first, as it wasn't all the time, didn't bother me that much. Plus, I was wedding planning, stressed, busy. I figured that my stress and hectic schedule was a factor, and I just wasn't feeling bad enough to pursue a doctor's help. Then, my symptoms shifted, changed, grew in frequency. I started to track my diet and symptoms. I often forgot to record things.
Christmas came and went, with some days of stomach issues, and some days without. I continued tracking my eating and symptoms from about Christmas-time through the wedding. I was nervous about going to the doctor. The idea of a colonscopy scared the sh** (haha) out of me. My dad had recently been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Yuck! Ididn't want to deal with that. I had some similar symptoms to him, but not all. I was in a state of denial.
I didn't really restrict my eating, because I didn't know what was bothering me. I just continued on, coping as best I could. This meant, sitting out on dance parties with my friends (something I super love), leaving social events early, and did I mention the stanky farts? Ugh!
Finally, I had enough. I downloaded the (semi-sporadic) dietary & symptoms diary I had. I poured over the listing. Trying to identify what caused me some issues. The culprit wasn't clear... but, 90% of the time, I had some type of dairy before a stomach issue. Ding, I shall go on a lactose free diet to see what happens (after much mourning of my dear love, cheese).
Then, I went to the doctor. She listened, read through my food/symptom log, and gave her opinions. Well, it does look like you might have a dairy issue, but then again, you show some instances of dairy consumption without issue. (I thought to myself: but, was I really recording all of my symptoms and food accurately???)
The doctor continued on, lots of people also have issues with gluten. So, no real diagnosis right now. It's sort of a trial-and-error thing. Go on a lactose-free diet for a week, see how you feel. If you aren't feeling markedly better, switch to a gluten free diet for a week, see how you feel.
Well, the lactose-free diet has not gone as well as I had hoped/expected. I have had stomach issues most days since being on the diet. So, I'm moving on to the gluten free diet (oh joy). This is going to be even harder. Not to mention that I don't really understand. I've eaten things with wheat in them and felt fine, but eaten the exact same things and had issues (litterally the same meal & snack combo), which leads me to question what a gluten intolerance means. Could it be that I can tolerate smaller amounts of gluten, but when I have too much (in a day, week, whatever) that's when I have issues???
So, readers, I ask of you... do you know anything about gluten intolerance? (trust me, I've attempted much research, but still have a lot of confusion). Any tips, tricks, advice, or experience you have about gluten intolerance is very much appreciated.
*oh, and maybe I'm not even having issues with gluten, maybe it's something else entirely. I don't really know yet.
Thanks for reading, I feel better putting this out there.

June 7, 2012

Something More?

Sometimes I feel that there's something bigger, something more than my current me that I should be. It's not that I feel like who I am isn't good enough. It's more that I feel like I could be a better person. Someone who's more impactful on the life of others, in a good way.
I am not really sure how to explain what I'm trying to say. I don't exactly feel like the next Mother Theresa or anything even close to that. I'm certainly not that self-less. I do feel like I have something really great inside me, I just need to figure out what that is, then how to release it and use it for good.
I feel like I could invent something (but I'm not a tinker-er, or an expirementer in any way).
I read books and wonder if I could be that descriptive, that expressive, that lively in my writing.
I love to cook, and think I could create wonderful food (although I don't know if that really qualifies as a "greater good" thing).
Mostly, I wonder if I bring a light to other people's world. (I know people enjoy my company, love me, find value in me...it's not about self-esteem, it's about something bigger than me).
I wonder what kind of impact I have on the lives around me.

In some ways, I feel like I'm in the right place, where I'm supposed to be. In other ways, I feel like I'm still trying to figure out my own path to take. Do other people feel this way, too???

May 17, 2012

Flights Fare... Fair

Just booked our "honeymoon" (I use quotes because our destination wedding was kind of a honeymoon, but whatevs, I want to travel some more).
Anyway, I thought I'd throw out some kernals of wisdom learned while researching/planning/booking our airfare.
I learned that airfare is cheaper during the day than it is in the evening.
I looked during the day, found a price, went home that night to book, found the fares (on several sites) had gone up at least $20. Went back the next day, found fares back to the same day-time price as yesterday.
Lesson learned: search for and purchase airfare during the day.

We found a flight we liked, scoped it out on numerous sights, and found that pretty much the ONLY flight that fit our wants/needs was through Frontier airlines. Went on to Frontier's website - they offer a "classic" flight, which costs more, but you get some perks with it, including checking two bags for "free" (it's included in your booking price). Well, if one of us books out flight through Frontier, we each can check a bag for free. Done. One flight booked at the higher cost through Frontier, one flight booked at a better price through Orbitz.
Lesson learned: you don't have to book both flights through the same place. Hunt around for add-ins, and perks.

After booking our airfare yesterday, I was curious to see if prices were the same today (Thursday). I had heard somewhere, sometime ago, that airlines drop their prices after midnight on Wednesdays. Hmmm. Low-and-behold: Thursday morning, both of our flights were cheaper! RATZ! Well, with Frontier I was able to cancel our original booking (within 24 hours, no penalty) and re-book the same flight for... $40 CHEAPER! Yahoo! Since the other fligth it booked through Orbitz, I can't really do anything about it, other than hope that someone else books my flights at a cheaper rate (Orbitz has a lowest price guarantee). I'm really holding out for that, as today my flight was $50 cheaper.
Lesson learned: doesn't hurt to check back and re-fanagle your arrangements, if you can.

Just thought I'd share my learnin's with you.

March 29, 2012


Yes, I'm a Pinterest fan. It was a super-awesome tool for getting wedding ideas and inspiration. I found some really cool ideas that I either stole completely, or adapted to my own taste. (Yeah, when I say "stole completely" I really did make it my own, in some way, even if it was small.)

One idea I adored and managed to bring to life was a pennant banner. I saw it, loved it, and set out to make it.

There was some debating and arguing about this project with MG. He didn't understand what I meant, what I saw in my head, how cute it would turn out to be. Lucky for me, I did get my way on this one... and also lucky that he doesn't shy away from sparkles! Throughout the wedding planning process I didn't have very many clear pictures in my head or really strong feelings about how I wanted things. This was one of the few things that I could really see, and really wanted. So, I pushed for it... and I pushed hard. As I write this, it sounds so bratty that I forced to get my way. It was sort of like that, but I had also compromised or heeded to MG's ideas. In the end, he loved how the banner turned out, too.
Trust me, this wedding was not "all about me." (nor should it have been.) Anyway.. back to the fun-ness of this banner.

I found lots of ideas and similar banners on Pinterest... MG and I talked through what the banner should say, we had lots of good ideas, but settled on the traditional "Just Married". Then we set out to find paper that would match with our bright-beachy theme (and dresses). We struck gold at Michael's... finding all of the colors we wanted in shimmery glitter paper. Hooray! I set to work on the banner, and it turned out like this (us phototed with my nephew and niece):

Another thing that I had a pretty clear vision for, my hair accessory. It's a little hard to see in this photo, but I made a hair pin out of my great grandmother's broach. Last fall, I called my grandma and asked her if she had a broach I could borrow for my wedding to wear in my hair. She brought me several to choose from, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they were broaches she had gotten from her mother-in-law, my great grandma, Viola Evelyn. It meant a lot to me to have a bit of family history with me on my wedding day...obviously this was my something old.
How I made the hair pin: I took ivory colored ribbon and layered it back and forth (in a z-pattern), then I put a pin in the middle of the ribbon fan, and spun the ribbon out into a full circle. I sewed the ribbon into this flower-like position, then fastened the broach on top, and sewed a hair clip to the back. Voila! (I have more detailed images and instructions on how to do that, as that's how I made the bouttennieres too... I promise I'll get those up.)
I thought both of these arts and crafts projects turned out to be wedding-accessory successes!

March 28, 2012

More Wedding Stuff

When we started wedding planning I did not have any clear ideas of what I wanted. Being the bride, people expected me to choose and make decisions and be strongly opinionated. I just wasn't. To be honest, I didn't particularly like wedding planning. I found it stressful and hard. Mostly what I cared about was the arts and crafts parts. I loved that.

I was mostly concerned with everyone having a good time and celebrating together. I knew that I wanted a non-traditional wedding... a beach, a forrest, a garden. After much research, MG and I decided on a beach wedding, in the Bahamas. With the sand and sea set for our back-drop, I eventually decided on bright beachy colored bridesmaid dresses for our family memebers. My sister was going to be my maid of honor, and MG's dad was his best man. We wanted our family to be a big part of our celebration, so we opted to have them be the wedding party. There was a lot of concern and questions and debating and discussing and maybe even a few tears over what color dresses each girl was going to wear. I was pretty confident that this was going to look great, but there was that little voice in the back of my head trying to let doubt creap in... (what if you fought and argued and defended your idea and it turns out looking like total crap? what if colors clash? what if you suck and it just doesn't look good? what if whatif whatif???).

When wall is said and done, I'm quite happy and proud of the multi-color dress decision. I feel that each girl got to wear a color that was definitely suitable for her, brought a little bit of their own personality to the wedding, and (if I can admit) it looks smashing!

Doesn't that look nice? Each of the boys had a tie and bouttenniere to coordinate with their lady's dress. My sister is in turquise, my sister-in-law is in purple, my mom's in fuschia, MG's mom is in royal blue, and my MG's sister is in orange.

Also, my sister made these really awesome flip-flops for me to wear (she gave them to me as a gift from my neices, who are 1 & 3). It says "Mr. and Mrs. XYZ" on one and "Nassau, Bahamas" on the other... the bottoms leave imprints that say "Just Married" - what a fun idea! I wore them for the entire ceremony (and pictures).