Well, September is here, and I have another hurdle to face. At the end of the month we will be taking a week to travel north to visit friends and family in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. While I look forward to seeing faces that I haven't seen in a while, spending time with my kids and some of their friends, and meeting The Man's family and friends for the first time, the idea of road trip eating terrifies me. Since I'm getting poisoned once out of every three times eating at places that I know follow pretty good GF practices, dining in uncharted territory is nerve wracking. Blogs and articles on the subject are filled with pre-prepared foods and snacks that are not always as healthy as I would like, and are definitely out of my budget. So what's a GF girl to do in a world filled with wheat? Good question. This will be a new series of blogs, mapping out the trip planning and the food planning so hopefully you won't have the same worries when you try to take a relaxing vacation. Hopefully we will both learn something along this journey!
Well, I poisoned myself again. Not sure if it was cross contamination from the fries (The Man makes an excellent point about how busy it was, and how flour laden the oil must have been), or if it was the sulfites in the delish red wine, but I'm puffed up like the Michelin man and everything hurts so bad I could cry. Cross contam has never gotten me before, but maybe I'm just becoming more sensitive with the absence of it from my life? I'm not at all happy with myself right now, it was a rough night and I have a busy day ahead of me.
After spending a wonderful afternoon with my almost sister Brandi, The Man and I went to Aubrey's. The have the most divine gluten free burger buns encasing the best burgers in town, and I needed a burger that I didn't have to eat with a knife and fork. It was also 1/2 price wine night, so we got a bottle of Coppolo Rosso, a simple red table that is a blend of zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. A really good balance of fruit and tanin, it was not hard to enjoy completely. I ordered my burger, still mooing of course, and a side of fries. I think it was the fries that got me - it was a very busy night, and they do a lot of breaded/floured fried stuff. The heat in frying oil does not kill off the gluten, so it just floats there. On a regular night, no biggie. But on a jammed night I guess there could be enough to get me. The sulfites can make me hurt too, so maybe it was the combo. The moral of the story is don't eat from the fryer anymore. Sigh. At least I can still have the best burger in town.
Please note: I do not in any way, shape or form blame Aubrey's for my current state. Nothing on their GF menu comes from the fryer, because they get the cross contamination thing. They are exceedingly careful not to make anyone sick. I took it upon myself to order the fries and have hence many myself sick. GF readers, please visit this restaurant and order anything off the GF menu with confidence. I am the dummy here.
I need to start teaching again, I miss it way too much. Having classes at the Turkey Creek Earth Fare won't work, it's too awkward with all the staffing changes. Three ideas have come to mind:
1) E-courses - I could do a class every other week, with photos, recipes and tips, just like we used to do. It won't be as much fun, but it should be as informative as the classes were, with the opportunity to comment on the post with questions. I could do them as blog posts on a certain day, and we could have votes on what to do in upcoming classes. I won't get to see your faces or feed your tummies, but I will get to teach again, sort of. This would be free for now, and I might even include video with some classes.
2) Physical Classes - once a month, it will be held in a different place (community rooms, people's homes, my home, etc.), doing something different and really cool. I'll see about local products, hopefully get donations to cover the costs, and we all get to be together again. I would have to charge for this option so the cost of ingredients and space gets covered, but we could eat together like a family and catch up. Plus I would post everything as a blog so those that can't attend can be kept up to date.
3) Pop Up Supper Club - for a small registration fee, you get a monthly invite to a cooking demo and fabulous dinner, done by yours truly and special guest chefs in some cool location. It could be a water front picnic, a visit to the aquarium, or maybe in a museum. There would be a fee to attend the dinner, to cover costs and entrance fees to the venue. We would limit the number of attendees, so we don't kill ourselves cooking for a mob. On the invite would be wine and/or paring suggestions, along with where to get it, and it would be BYO. It also leaves the door open for entertainment of all sorts. Obviously this is the most costly of the options, but it would be the most fun.
Please comment and let me know what you think. I know the e-classes will be the most popular, but think outside the box. Wouldn't it be fun to all get together again?
Redbox is a great way to see movies on the cheap, especially when you get their email and text coupons for BOGOs and half off. However, the two movies I grabbed last night to surprise The Man were not worth the $2 I paid.
First fail was Looper. Sigh, I know I was tired but I could barely follow it enough to tell you what it's about. A mobster in the future uses time travel to get rid of the people he wants to get rid of, using loopers in the past to kill and dispose of the body. When this mobster decides to get rid of the looper, he sends that looper, who is now 30 years older, back 30 years to be killed by himself. Um, yeah, that's the best I can do, and I sat through almost the whole thing. Not sure when I fell asleep but I'm sure that whatever I missed wouldn't have helped much to make it less convoluted. It was just.... weird. (For the record, this was a specific request by The Man; I hadn't even heard about it before he asked, but he really asks for so little that when he does I try to fulfill it if possible.)
Sigh, this is the one that makes me sad. Oz The Great and Powerful should have been great. The cast is good, the story wonderful, and with all of today's technology the special effects could be amazing. I wanted it to be great, I really did. I was looking forward to it since I picked it up. It was awful. Two stars at most. A really long black and white sequence at the beginning, boxed in to a very small screen, annoyed the crap out of me. Once he gets to Oz, the screen spreads and it becomes color, but the acting is lame, the CGI over the top (and not in a good way), and they butchered the story. Sad, sad, sad.
So if you are looking for a movie to watch tonight, please don't waste your time on either of these. Watch Weekend at Bernie's or Mallrats and laugh your butt off at the bad acting and silly premise. At least it was supposed to be bad.
I made meatloaf last night for dinner. Nothing special, right? I agree. So I decided to grab a bunch of herbs from the garden to jazz things up a bit. Oregano, two kinds of basil, rosemary, parsley, lemon balm, marjoram, thyme and lavender all spoke to me. (I use my herbs so often that I keep a pair of scissors hanging near the front door so they are ever at the ready.) I popped them into a bowl to soak and realized how beautiful they are just sitting there. These shots are not arranged, it's all how they hit the bowl. So pretty. Growing them myself I know there is nothing funky on them, no chemicals or pesticides. They get fed all organic stuff, are talked to while I clip what I need for a meal, and tenderly cleaned of insects and dead leaves. Plus, there's the savings. I haven't had to purchase herbs for months, yet I use them in everything. It's pretty cool to grow what you eat, even if it is just herbs for now (though the pepper plant is producing like crazy and should be ripening soon.) I guess I have a gardener's soul afterall.
It's been a while since I've written, and I'm sorry. Between work, feeling the ups and downs of this terrific pair of diseases (or are they "conditions"?), trying to get through daily life and all the other stuff, I just haven't had the energy. My deepest apologies to the three people that actually read this.
Here is a quick recap of what has been going on:
I am taking a Facebook vacation. I love my friends, but the negativity and stupidity is starting to get to me. I need positive energy around me to heal properly, and I am not finding it there. This one loves X and hates Y, this one loves Y and hates X and Z and anyone that doesn't agree is a moron, which causes the first one to argue that X is the best and #2 is an idiot, and so on. There is enough hate in the world, I don't need it there too. I love a good intelligent debate, but not over nonsensical bull crap. "I know you are but what am I?" is not a good intelligent debate, and that is what it seems to be reduced to. So, goodbye Facebook. Perhaps we shall meet again somewhere smarter.
(If you keep tabs on this blog through FB, you will want to subscribe to the emails. This will be the last post that will show up there until I decide to return. Just look to the right and you'll see the subscribe box. I don't spam, and neither does Weebly. The only time you'll get something is if I post something.)
The meds are working somewhat, but I still have that disconnected druggy feeling, so I'm not sure what to do. I've cut the Cymbalta to every other day and my head is a bit clearer, but it doesn't manage the pain and swelling as well that way. Seeing the doc in a couple of weeks, maybe he'll have an alternative.
Work has been weird - busy one day, ghost town the next. This past week has been devoted to getting ready for inventory. It happens quarterly, but this is the big end of fiscal year wrap up, and my first time doing it solo, so everything has to be perfect. Working a lot sucks when you don't feel your best.
I had an incident that solidified my thought that maybe I'm celiac after all. I went shopping on Wednesday and picked up a new yogurt product that I saw advertised. The brand name is Muller, with the dot thingies over the U (I think it's called an umlaut) The ad makes it seem very European, a little exotic and really interesting. Well, it's made by Quaker Oats, right here in the good old US of A. They have a three product lines with great looking flavors, all of which are carried by Publix - Corner (yogurt in a square container with a corner container of topping - a la Fage, which has been doing it so well for decades.), Greek Corner, and FrutUp (yogurt on the bottom, a "fruit mousse" on top.) The last one is the one I picked, in five flavors (they were $1 each on sale). It's a 150g cup of lowfat yogurt with a "fruit mousse" on top. More of a lightly set gelatin than a mousse, it has texture that shows that it is actually made with fruit. I tried the blueberry first. Lightly sweet, with a great natural blueberry flavor and a nice texture, I dug through it and into the yogurt. Sweeter and smoother than I'm used to since I'm a Greek girl all the way, it was more like a custard than a yogurt. It has a well balanced sweetness and vanilla flavor, not too fake tasting either. All in all, it was really yummy and a great dessert or sweet treat. I was pretty excited, until about 40 minutes later. My stomach started to hurt like I had been punched. My hands and feet swelled and turned bright red. The intense aching started all over. I ran to my dear friend Wendy who has been celiac for over a decade, and she gasped. Seems my face was also swollen and bright red. She knew immediately what had happened, that I had eaten wheat. For the life of me I couldn't think of what could have poisoned me, and I was a bit scared and confused, then I dug that yogurt container out of the garbage. Sure enough, "contains: wheat". She gave me a couple of Glutenease, a probiotic supplement that helps digest the gluten protein and get it out of the system faster. I finished up work as quick as possible and got my butt home. Why on earth is there wheat in yogurt you may ask? Artificial flavors, natural flavors and maltodextrin. They all can contain wheat. What a moron I am, not reading the label on a new product. But it does confirm without a shadow of a doubt that I can't do it anymore.
It is not often that I have girly tendencies. However, upon hearing that The Man's sister in law and family were coming to visit, I decided we needed new furniture desperately. We have one three seat sofa and a club chair, both of which were generously left by the old roommate/now landlord so we wouldn't have to sit on the floor. They are extremely comfy, but not suitable for company of more than one. So I went to Knoxville Wholesale Furniture Clearance on Tuesday after work. I wasn't expecting to find anything, I really did think I would be disappointed yet again. (We had looked together on Saturday, and it was a complete bust.) My salesperson was nice and left me alone to wander the huge sales floor. I found two that I really liked in a good price range, and sent The Man pictures. His answer was "whatever you like best is the best." Not at all helpful. I was almost ready to select, when I decided to look at the half of the floor I didn't look at. My salesman had mentioned that the sectionals on that end were the reclining type, which I hate. Eh, it was worth the wander to make sure I only had two to decide between. I discovered that it was also where the deep clearance stuff was. There, tucked back in a corner, was a huge deep chocolate brown two piece sectional with a price tag that made me gasp. Original price, $1200 - current price $499.99! It was a floor model, with a few spots on it that you could only find if you looked closely. Who cares about spots when I have a cat and a man? I sat down and knew it was mine. Then I spied my favorite piece on the floor - a gorgeous chaise, a little wider than a twin bed, in a classic pattern of chocolate brown, cafe au lait and federal blue. I sat down. My body relaxed and sunk in to the cushioning. Perfect fit. I looked at the tag and smiled. Original price, $950.99 - current price $449.99. Yup, mine as well. Filled out the paperwork, made the down payment and set up delivery. I have decided to finance it for a short period of time to help build up my credit. We want to buy a house sometime in the near future and need the help. It will all be paid off by August, so it won't cost much extra, but will be a great positive mark towards our future.
Delivered Saturday just an hour and a half before company arrived, I had to scramble to place it all. The delivery men were unbelievably polite and quick, which gave me time to move stuff around. The sofa was bigger than I remembered, so we really could have done without the chaise, but all together it worked well and looks gorgeous. As you can see, both The Man and The Cat are quite happy with it already. The coffee table will have to be replaced, it's too light, and I need pillows on the sofa, but all in all I consider this a success. Now we can have a party!
The visit with the family was perfect. A lovely bunch of people, I feel like I've known them forever, and really can't wait to see them again. New furniture, a sparkling clean house, a wonderful new family... I am a very happy, lucky woman.
Wow, did we have a great day on Saturday for our March Against Monsanto. The weather was perfect, the crowd was awesome, and the group we were with was more fun than should be allowed by law. The Man took a bunch of pics, and has graciously allowed me to post them. If you haven't met him, there's one of him as well, holding our four footed marcher, Rufus.
Take a gander at the pics.
The estimate is about 750 attendees, with some saying it was closer to 1000. There were whole families with signs, every possible age group, and lots of four footed friends. A young man with a guitar sang protest songs with such passion it was like we were back in the 60's. State Senator Frank Nicely (R-Strawberry Plains) spoke about being a farmer and how he will lobby for labeling laws in Tennessee and at the federal level. We're not looking to put Monsanto out of business, though that would be the ultimate gift. We just want to know what is in our food.
Being part of something world wide was pretty overwhelming. Knowing that millions of people all over the world were doing the same thing at the same time, working towards making the world's food supply safer..... well, it was a pretty cool feeling. I am so glad that we all did it. However, the work does not stop there. We must continue to fight against the poisons that this conglomerate are forcing in to our food. Contact your local representatives and demand they vote for label disclosure. Sign every petition you can get your hands on. Do your shopping at the farm markets that are everywhere; supporting local small farmers is the best way to make sure the stuff you're buying is clean. Buy local meat when possible, it is readily available if you look.
For further information about the cause, please see these websites:
A great new app for both iPhone and Android is Buycott. Scan the barcode on a product and see if it has GMO's, is made by a company that is a subsidiary of Monsanto or the Koch brothers.
Be aware of what you're eating, and be active in making others aware. Talk about it to friends and strangers on the street. Together we can make the changes needed.
It somehow seems fitting that I hit my 30 day mark protesting against the one thing that makes so many sick. The weather is perfect, and I'm very excited to be spending this auspicious day with two of our besties, Aja and Michael. They are both incredibly passionate about food, and about safe food, I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Before the rally we are going to the farm market for a bit of organic local shopping, and meeting up with a few more friends along the way. I'll take a bunch of pictures and do a follow up this evening.
If you are in the Knoxville area, please join us in our fight for food equality. We're not asking for Monsanto to stop doing what they're doing, just be upfront about it with proper product labeling and let the consumer decide if they want to take the risk. Give the people the power to make their own decision!
March Against Monsanto
Market Square, Knoxville, TN
1p-3p - meet at the events stage
Went to the doctor today. First visits with a new doc can be stressful, but I went in to it with an open mind and a willing heart.
Dr. Rivers is very relaxed, listens well, doesn't talk down to you, and spends as much time as you need to get to the source of the problem. He sat with me for over 45 minutes talking about symptoms before he even examined me. He put me at ease pretty much immediately. After I answered all of his questions and he examined me, he said we were no closer to a solution but he had a better idea of what could be the problem. I then went to his lab and the nurse took about a pint of blood out of me. They will be testing for:
The last two are long shots, and not really the focus, but we are trying everything.
I go back in two weeks for the results. He also asked me to take a small Aleve (225mg) twice a day until I go back. If it helps with the pain, then we will be leaning more towards arthritis. If not, then we keep looking deeper. I can stay off the gluten and wheat if I like, and I can keep taking my zyflamend and curcumin. He is very open to supplements and the holistic aspect of healing, so I think we will make a great pair. Together we will figure this out and get me better.
The only way he could be more perfect is if his office didn't have a scale in it..... oh well.
Saturday is the March Against Monsanto in Market Square. It is something we are both very passionate about so The Man and I are going, rain or shine. I was thinking about it yesterday on my way home from work, and something occurred to me. If you look at what the majority of people have a food sensitivity to, it is all things that have been modified over the years. Wheat and other grains, soy, corn, peanut, dairy.... these are the biggest culprits lately, and all have had their biology changed by the good people at Monsanto.
Since I'm me, I delved a little deeper. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
o Approximately 6% aged 0-2 years have a food allergy
o About 9% aged 3-5 years have a food allergy
o Nearly 8% aged 6-10 years have a food allergy
o Approximately 8% aged 11-13 years have a food allergy
o More than 8.5% aged 14-18 years have a food allergy
I will leave you with one final thought - when we were getting our food from local farmers that grew things in real soil with things like manure and compost instead of insecticides like RoundUp, we were a whole lot healthier. Now that companies like Monsanto are messing with our food, we are a sick nation. Every step they take forward to make us "safer" makes us sicker. Girls and boys are hitting puberty at record low ages, yet no one has connected this with the hormones in the dairy we feed them to make them "big and strong". Feed a baby estrogen and things are bound to speed up. Put Monsanto bastardized wheat in everything, and suddenly we are a nation of celiacs. Well, one of the things that this GMO grain does to bugs is turn their insides into mush and kill them. Sound familiar?
Start doing the math, people. Fight for your food this weekend, and join a march where ever you live. If you're in the Knoxville area, come to Market Square and march with us. Rain or shine, it's time we took back the power and had control over our food.