Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guess what I'm up to...

I'm drinking this swill. I've had some uti symptoms since Saturday. Normally I drink a ton of water and at least one bottle of this juice (NOT cranberry cocktail), and it goes away. Not so much this time. I thought my back was hurting from shitty conference room chairs, but eventually it was obvious that it was my left kidney. It very quickly progressed to a high level of pain.
One trip to urgent care, a cup of my urine, and a lecture from the nurse practitioner later, I'm back home. So, I'm on Cipro, I have a heating pad on my back, and I ate my usual "feel better meal" of a famous star with extra pickles (with a bun, to cushion the meds)- I should live.
Can't wait to post pictures tomorrow of the hubby and I, in costume for the exotic halloween ball! (I will feel better by then.)
Happy Friday, all.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Grand Experiment!

So, I'm a scientific person.  Just because you take one intervention and you see a change, doesn't imply direct causation.  This is what I was thinking with how amazing I had been feeling lately.  Yes, I had gone gluten-free... but was this why I was feeling great?  What happens if I eat a bit of wheat?

And so came the grand experiment!  We were heading off for the Hornets' homecoming game on Saturday- Sacramento State University versus Eastern Washington University.  Here is what I ate throughout the day:

A delicious McChicken.  Burgers you can have lettuce wrapped, or even with a GF bun, but with a McChicken there's still the spicy, moist, breaded chicken patty. It was a fantastic indulgence.  Did I mention it's only a buck?  That's value, my friends.

This was my meal during the game.  Tri tip sandwich with plenty of barbecue sauce.  It came with a side of beans and potato salad that I didn't really eat.  I enjoyed the smoky goodness of the meat most of all.
This wasn't exactly the highlight of my gluten indulgence, but it was night to not have to ration and savor each drop, like I do with my sorghum beer.

The result?  It't not really super dramatic. Minimal digestive distress, no humongous lupus flare.  The only thing I really noticed was that the following morning (Sunday) I was cranky, lethargic, and cranky (it needed to be said twice, I was a bit of a bitch to Kevin).  It wasn't until I got on my bike that I really noticed a big difference.  Weeks past, my knees moved easily as I pedaled- and typically I could go for at least an hour. But after wheatie-funsies on Saturday, I just couldn't really get moving, it just felt tight and forced.  Needless to say, I did not burn many calories.

So, am I actually gluten-intolerant?  Probably not.  But I feel much healthier when I'm leaving it out of my diet, and I still haven't had a flare since I started.  I think the best thing is that I know I won't die if I cave into my McChicken craving every once in awhile.  I'll just have to expect that I won't be rocking it in the motivation department afterwards.

Perhaps all of us would benefit from cutting back on wheat, though.  Maybe you would have more energy, bounce out of bed a bit faster, increase your time on the treadmill.  Wheat may not even be what's dragging you down- what about sweets, processed foods, or red meat?

Food for thought.  Happy Monday, everyone!  Being off the gluten again, I got in a walk, pilates at PT, 30 minutes on the elliptical, and a bit of the P90X Core Synergistics video (just enough to know I won't be able to hack it).

Any thoughts on possible changes to your lifestyle?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wfdw post with some added cute

It's a bit small, but here's the menu for this week. Spartacus was laying in the sunshine and I couldn't resist. This is the beginning of trying really hard to stay on a budget. Beans, rice, frozen veggies, and cleaning out the freezer before I buy anything new. The Thursday/Friday meals are courtesy of SkinnyTaste. I've been adding pumpkin to everything. I'm a mad woman. Watch your pumpkin patches. Hope everyone is having a good weekend!
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

P90X?! For a lupie?!

I told you I would be sharing my plans for my workouts in the future, and P90X is what I'm pondering.

I did some of P90X a couplefew years back when I was preparing for my wedding and my honeymoon (Victoria's Secret bikini, I wanted to look good-I'm also a bit shallow...ah, humanity).

I mostly did AbRipper and YogaX and then supplemented with the weight machines and arc trainer at the gym.  Now, my husband did the whole shebang, which was a bit intimidating with all of his weight changes (he bought dumbbells), the writing stuff down, and the plyometrics.  Even back then, when I was feeling good, I was concerned my joints would rebel with hardcore weights and the jumping around.

Today, now that I'm aware of the resistance band (no joint aggravation!) and not afraid to do my own thang, I'm thinking I may start it up after my physical therapy appointments run out in November. I'll keep one appointment a week for knots and neck issues, but try to stick to a similar schedule that P90X suggests.  When they do cardio or plyo, I'll probably head to the gym for arthritis-friendly fun.  I'll probably use my Eggs for Yoga for the tough stuff like Downward Facing Dog.
And of course, if I get tired, or achey, or flare, I'll cool it.

So, thoughts for the day: I'm human, and I'm also a Lupie... there's a STRONG need for caution whenever you go into a new exercise program.  No matter how amazing I feel, I still have a disease.

Just like today: I woke up and my feet were killing me for starters.  My right hip was a bit achey, and I just didn't feel rested.  I initially had my heart set on an Xbike workout (think a more awesome version of spinning) at nine-thirty this morning.  Instead, I did a ton of stretches, rocked my foam roller, and took Sparty for a walk.  Know your limitations and listen to your body- taking an "easy" day is much better than taking a a couple days off because you caused a flare.

I'm looking forward to bringing this up to my physical therapist and my doc to hear their thoughts.

Now, I'm going to soak my aching feet and deal with that issue before I do anymore workouts.  Apparently bargain bin shoes purchased four years ago aren't great for your toesies if you're working out a lot.  Shoe shopping time!
These are cute... (Zappos)
Or maybe this color? (Zappos)
Can you tell I like bright colors? (Zappos)
How's your fitness regimen going?  Do you do any workout videos?  Did you find yourself needing to purchase a good pair of running/cross-training/etc. shoes?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Am I annoying you yet?

I really feel like I've been bragging.  Yes, I'm still unemployed and on a budget (frownie face), so I have a ton of free time that's hard to fill without spending money.  I feel like I'm in a perpetual state of cleaning the kitchen and the bathrooms.  But things are actually quite awesome- as I keep telling anyone who calls, emails, texts, or writes on my Facebook wall.  I think I'm getting to be obnoxious with my positivity.  BTW, my spell checker is telling me that positivity isn't a word.  Spell checker ain't going to bring me down!

All smiley and stuff with my BFF, Cassie
As you can tell from my sporadic posts, I'm feeling really well.

Why is it easier to write when you have negative things to say?

Eh, I'm only human.  So, because I've been feeling well I've been spending a lot of time at the gym, or on my bike.  I've been walking every morning with the dog, followed by a workout.  I'm continuing to use my Three Minute Eggs and the accompanying video, Healthy Alignment, to keep my spine all happy. Here's one of my favorite poses:

I'm sorry the freeze frame for the video is of his crouch.  I have no control over these things.

Pilates at my physical therapy office is fantastic.  Usually after pilates I head to the gym for some time on the arc trainer or the elliptical.  I've been using resistance bands to pay attention to my arms.

It's just phenomenal.  Today, I went for an hour long, brisk walk with my dog (hips are feelin' good!). I did yoga (no wrist pain!), did the dishes (no hand swelling!) and got down on the floor to scrub out the fridge (and I was able to get up, afterwards!).  After blogging, I'm going to get on my bike and watch the newest Grey's.  I wonder if Meredith and McDreamy will ever patch things up...?

I digress...

The point is, it wasn't too long ago that starting my day was a painful process- getting out of bed, zipping up my jeans, tying my shoes.  Eight hours of classes, then calling Kevin from my parked car in front of the apartment because I needed help standing up and walking in to the couch.  And forget about spending some "married time" with my hubby.  How far I've come since then brings tears of joy to my eyes.  So, yes, I'm going to keep bragging and shouting it from the rooftops.  I hope that when you have good days, or good hours, or just a good moment, you do the same.  

So, am I annoying anyone yet?  Or is my positivity (I swear, it's a word, dammit!) a refreshing change?

Stay tuned for my plans for this healthy streak, as well as an experiment I'm planning on conducting tomorrow!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wfdw- Mmmmmmmm, Autumn

We spent our Saturday running up to Apple Hill to find some (hopefully hard) apple cider and have a picnic.  We weren't the only ones- as soon as October hits the drive up the hill gets a bit more congested.  Plus, there was some sort of event going on, which made getting off the freeway tons of fun.
We landed at Jack Russell Brewery, pretty sure that this would be our only stop for the day.
Their name is a bit deceptive- they also opened a cool new winery cave as of this fall!  Beer is available on one side of the building, then you meander over to the cave to find a selection of mead, cider, and wine.  Did you know that mead happens to be delicious?  It made this gluten-free girl very happy!
In addition, the brewery has a great little picnic area and they had vendors lined up around the edges of the property selling everything from hotdogs and tri-tip, to clothes and jewelry, even blown glass "art".  There was a lady doing chair massages that I really wanted to take advantage of, but I worried that I would be cheating on Don.
So, for my What's for Dinner weekend post, I'm featuring some butternut squash in a nice risotto and plenty of other comfort foods, including a roast recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess. Despite the eighty degree weather, it's still fall to me! Hence the autumn mix in the halloween bowl (upper left corner)-my favorite fall candy. Have a great weekend everyone!
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Teeny-tiny GF sammich!

I know the picture sucks.  I ate lunch at close to 2 pm.  Since I had pilates this morning and then ran a bunch of errands, I was starving.  Hence, the shaky picture.  I was literally moving forward to devour it as I was taking the shot.  Sorry, everyone.
One of those errands was running to this wonderful place: Azna Gluten Free Bakery in Cameron Park, California.  Kinda a random place for a shop like this, but worth a short drive.  I picked up one of the "Sweet Noni" loaves of bread, which includes these ingredients:

*Azna Dry Blend (Rice Flour, Pinto Bean Flour, Modified Tapioca Starch, Cornstarch, Guar Gum, Xanathan Gum,Leavening, Sea Salt) Stabilized Rice Bran, Sorghum Flour, Organic Sucanot,Organic Hemp Milk, Organic Palm Oil Organic Hemp Seeds, Roasted Flaxseed, Buckwheat,Yeast, 100% Pure Organic Noni Juice, Agave’Nectar, Evaporated Cane Juice*

Holy wow, that's a lot of stuff, including some stuff I had never heard of before.  The result?  It tastes like a Honey Wheat Bread.  The loaf is really tiny, and apparently I'm supposed to keep it frozen until it's time to eat it.  It was still a bit crumbly, but much better than the rice bread.  I toasted it, topped it with stone ground mustard, turkey, pepperjack, pickles, and tomato.  Super tasty.
Now, for what I didn't like... That loaf of bread cost me twelve bucks! Now, I expected the bread at this place to be slightly more expensive than the bland rice loaves from the grocery store- I did not expect double the price.  Don't tell Kevin.
This makes me all the more ready to purchase this bad boy:

Click to purchase :)... hint.
I also want a bread machine.  And a food scale.
I really can't justify the prices of the breads in the store- even six bucks is crazy for the small, tasteless things readily available.  And, with the opening of Whole Foods in Folsom, I should be able to find all the ingredients (Sorghum Flour?) in one spot rather than traveling from Bel Air to the Natural Foods store to Trader Joe's.  It gets old.
Happy present shopping, everyone!  I'm about to go enjoy my other purchase from Azna's, a (vegan) vanilla cupcake.
Whose finger is that?
The frosting I was dripping off, I swear.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gluten-free beer!

Probably one of the biggest things I miss about gluten is beer and wings on Sundays while watching football. Thankfully, I discovered this at my local grocery store. It tastes pretty decent, but was pricey at 7.49 for a six-pack. I'll savor one each Sunday. :)
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wfdw- hello, autumn!

I'm taking the beginning of autumn and the onset of cooler weather to signal that I should start making soups, stews, and anything and everything squash!
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

How should I spend my days of unemployment?

As of today I am on day four of actual unemployment- no volunteering, no job, no training, no nothing.  And I am going insane.
I was actually starting to go insane on day two.  I managed to hold off on writing a whiny post until now.  You're welcome. 
I'm just not one of those people who likes laying around.  I need to get out and do things and be productive.  Don't get me wrong- I'm trying: Yesterday I watched a full season of Supernatural.

Check out those sexy jaws.
In my defense, a lot of the time I was watching TV I was also doing housework, applying for jobs, or riding my stationary bike.
So, until I get a job, I have a whole lot of nothingness to look forward to.  I'm already going to physical therapy twice a week and exercising whenever I can.  How should I spend my time?  Here are my options:
  • Work on getting published in a social work journal
  • Practice gluten-free baking
    • Get fat
  • Clean (Booo!)
  • Update my cookbook
  • Read
  • Learn Spanish
  • Start being an extreme couponer
The darnedest thing about unemployment is that I'm not supposed to be spending money.  Hence, the limited options.
Also on my to-do list is that I need to work on is not being a huge bitch when Kevin comes home.  After a long day of nothing, the last thing I want to do it spend an evening doing nothing.  So, sometimes that makes me cranky and resentful.
My dear friend and physical therapist, Don, has suggested that this is a blessing in disguise.  Perhaps, unemployment is what I need right now.  I don't know if I just need this time to get stronger or if there's some larger cosmic reason.  We'll see.
Any tips for surviving this monotony? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wfdw short week!

Here's the plan for this short week, although I have to do some rearranging- today is National Taco day! I hope you're all celebrating! And, of course, all this deliciousness is sans wheat.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Gluten-Free Traveling

Ugh, I am so happy to be home!
For over the past week Kevin and I have been on the road.  We traveled down to San Diego to catch one of our favorite bands, TV on the Radio- give them a listen below.  We stayed with my best friend since third grade, Cassie.

Much fun and much alcohol was had by all.
There was also Muddy Buddies and mediocre gluten-free pizza.
But pizza nonetheless!
From San Diego we traveled up Highways 1 and 101.  We passed through all the tiny rich towns with lots of expensive cars.We drove along the ocean for most of the journey up until about Portland.  We went on an AWESOME dune buggy ride near Coos Bay, scoped out the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the Blue Heron wine tasting and cheese place.  It was a wonderful trip- just me and the hubby (and the booboo).  We ended up in our hometown of Spokane, Washington in time to celebrate my nephew's third birthday.  I'll post more on the trip later- this part is about the food.
Kevin and I knew that if I could survive a roadtrip on the gluten-free diet I could probably rock it long term.  It was difficult, to say the least.
For car snacks I mostly stuck potato chips and tortilla chips.  Not super healthy, I know, but when you're traveling you want the delicious salty stuff.  At one point we bought some beef jerky, only to realize it was flavored with soy sauce.  Frownie face.
Breakfasts got easier after the first day.  I discovered, happily, that Odwalla bars are gluten-free!
This one tastes like a rice krispy treat!
We would stop by a grocery store in the morning, pick up a couple bananas, some yogurt, and some of those bars.  Yum!
Lunch was another issue- especially in the smaller towns.  McDonald's was great for salads. I learned that Carl's Jr., home of the charbroiled chicken salad (yum!) seasons their grilled chicken.  This is not unusual practice.  KFC makes a delicious grilled chicken, but they do the same darn thing.  So, I ate a lot of lettuce wrapped burgers.  This wasn't an issue at Carl's, home of the low-carb six dollar burger.
It looks delicious, but I got sick of it eventually.  Other places didn't get the concept of a lettuce wrap so much.
"You mean, like put lettuce around the bun?"
No... instead of a bun, you wrap it in lettuce leaves.
"Oh, so the chicken snack wrap".
No, not the wrap either, just lettuce. 
"So, on a bed of lettuce?"
Well, no, not really, you still make it like a sandwich.
"Oh, I got it".
There were quite a few disappointing lunches.  None of the non-Carl's places got it right.  The example above is a McDonald's, when I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich.  It arrived on the bed of lettuce, with all the fixin's.  It was close, at least!  Burger King didn't do so great.  They stated that their lettuce was shredded, so they couldn't do a wrap (it wasn't that shredded).  So, I was greeted with a Whopper patty sitting atop a mound of lettuce.  The kicker on that one is they didn't give me any condiments.  It was a dry, flavorless experience.  To make matters worse, they also messed up my side salad order.  I cried during that lunch.
Dinners were easier since we were settled in for the night.  One evening we had mediocre Chinese food, another, a rotisserie chicken from Safeway (verified gluten-free).  One amazing night we indulged in some Thai food (Thank you, Portland!).  On our last night (and drive home) I encountered a very friendly Subway employee who gave me all the ingredients for a turkey sammich, but charged me only as "double meat" on my hubby's order.  Assembling all that Subway fresh veggie goodness on my crumbly, bland rice bread was a bit disappointing, but at least it wasn't another salad!
So, here is my list for gluten-free friendly traveling:
  • Carl's Jr. (Low Carb burgers)
  • McDonald's- Their salads are pretty good, and I rounded my meal off with a sweet tea and apple slices.  I was pretty happy.
  • Wendy's- After squinting over their little allergen chart I figured out that their grilled chicken is gluten free.  I put one of those on a large Caesar salad.  They also have the chili and the baked potatoes for options.
  • Taco Time- Taco Bell uses flour on their meat (and everything else).  I didn't get to try anything, but if you stick to corn shells and grilled meats you should be good.
  • Grocery Stores- why not just pick up an apple, some deli meats, and some Blue Diamond Nut Thins?
  • Chinese/Thai/Sushi- Just watch out for soy sauce and don't get anything that's breaded and deep-fried.
I think the toughest parts about this were that for lunch we wanted to save money.  This almost always translates into fast food.  And, when you're driving through tiny towns along the coast, there isn't always a ton of options.  You can get hangry in that amount of time.  Just make sure that you've married a guy who can make you laugh through your tears... some joke about flame-broiling the Burger King restaurant... I don't remember.  :)
So, I made it!  And, the crazy thing is that I feel amazing.  Normally the week of a roadtrip/traveling return rivals my period week for how shitty I feel.  I have almost NO stiffness.  I'm cautiously optimistic!