13 January 2013

Did you know that Nutella is gluten-free?

So eating gluten-free isn't as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, I've thoroughly enjoyed experimenting so much with my food. I've tried much harder to have a balanced diet, focusing on all of the delicious foods I CAN eat, and that has been very rewarding. I've made different versions of polenta, quinoa, rice pudding, fried eggplant, sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, a soup that I've affectionately dubbed "Spanglish soup," gluten-free bread, and gluten-free pancakes to name a few. I'm eating way more vegetables and learning how to make them taste good to me. But don't worry. I still allow myself to satisfy my sweet tooth. Did you know that Nutella is gluten-free? I didn't, but I'll forever be grateful it is! And so are peanut M&Ms... which is bad. Nutella at least offers a tiny bit of nutritional value. Rice pudding made with brown rice and vanilla almond milk with apples or blueberries? A little piece of heaven. And popcorn, trail mix, and pistachios have become wonderful snacks to get my munch on. So all in all, I have to say I've so far been pretty successful eating gluten-free. I've only slipped up twice. Last Sunday and today. On the Sacrament. For some reason my gluten-free brain still hasn't processed the fact that I need to take a morsel of GF bread or crackers or something with me for the Sacrament. And since it has slipped my mind both weeks, I've eaten a piece of the bread that is passed to everyone. But I don't consider the Sacrament cheating. I'm renewing covenants and cleansing my soul, so it's all for a good eternal purpose. 

I wish I could say that going gluten-free has changed my life and I'm seeing SO much progress! But if truth be told, I can't. That has been the only discouraging part. I knew that gluten was not inflicting all of my pain, but I had hoped that after two weeks I would be able to see some difference. I'm going to stick with it, to see if the difference comes with more time. And if for nothing else because it's giving me something to do, some project to really focus my energy on. That has been a very welcome distraction! I'm starting to relate to Julie from the movie Julie & Julia. Everyday I wake up and I think/plan about what new things I'm going to make and eat that day. I have to alternate what types of food I eat so my body doesn't build up an intolerance to anything else, like corn, rice, or potatoes. My entire day has come to resolve around what I'm going to cook or eat from the leftovers, always rotating my meal base. It's like a really yummy game where I always win the prize of eating delicious food that is hopefully better for me!

I have started dreaming about food. Not even kidding. Actually, the last one I had a few days ago was me being trapped in a food court and grocery store that didn't sell anything gluten-free. I had a complete meltdown. In my dream. I woke up wondering if my subconscious is feeling deprived of gluten somehow, because I actually have not had even the slightest inkling of a meltdown. Yet. haha Hopefully my current excitement about food will continue, at least to some degree, even when I return to St. George in a few weeks. THAT will be the real test, because I'm going to have to make meals that Tanner will not only eat but enjoy.

05 January 2013

Fixation? Passion? Addiction?

However you choose to label it, I'm OBSESSED with Family History work. I LOVE learning about my family--past and present. I love searching through documents, reading histories, examining photographs, and handling heirlooms. And I LOVE finding new names to take to the temple and perform ordinances on their behalf so that they, too, can be part of my eternal family. When I was younger my dad would say that I'd been bitten by the Spirit of Elijah. Well, now I guess I would have to say that it's almost consumed me. I cannot explain my fascination with my family, but I know that I have a deep love, admiration, and gratitude for each of them and my heart burns with the desire to know them.

The Church's new family history database, Family Tree, is INCREDIBLE. But it only encourages my addiction. Last night I worked on family history until 2am. My problem is that once I start working on a particular family line, I find it incredibly difficult to stop working until I've completed every person in that line. I don't want to lose my place. I don't want to forget anybody. I don't want to get distracted and not finish. I don't want to have all the information I've been gathering all evening to slip from my mind during a night's sleep. So instead, I don't sleep. Back in June, I actually pulled my first all-nighter since finals week at BYU working on Family History. I started at 11am and didn't stop until about 7am the next day. All because of the aforementioned fears. Last night I luckily was able to pull myself away when I realized my brain was ceasing to function properly. And then I noticed the glares from the dog that so eloquently sounded like "It is past my bedtime" and "Would you be so kind as to turn off the light and retire to your own room if you would stay awake?" complete with British accent, of course. When the dog starts speaking to me with a British accent via glares, I know it's time to call it a night. I subsequently dreamt in a bizarre sort of way about family history, and I vaguely remember some cameo appearances of some of my ancestors.

Basically what I'm trying to say is, "Hi. My name is Dana, and I am addicted to Family History."

Alum Ally

I'm going to divulge a small miraculous secret that will change your life. Well, it will change your life whenever you get a canker sore in your mouth. POWDERED ALUM. Yep, that spice used for pickling that no one ever seems to have in their pantry (because who pickles enough to buy alum these days?) Well, I don't. Pickle things, that is. But I DO use powdered alum whenever I get a bad canker sore. Mix a pinch of it with a couple drops of water to make a gritty pasty alum mixture and with your finger put it on your canker sores. It stings a bit, and it will definitely make you pucker (it isn't used for pickling for no reason...). But IT WORKS!!! You're basically pickling your canker sore into oblivion. Earlier in the week I was suffering from two massive canker sores, one on each corner of my mouth. It made it extremely difficult and painful to eat anything. So after all of my family members each replied that none of them had alum in their pantry of spices, I went and bought my own. It only took ONE APPLICATION of my pickle paste to clear up my canker sores. I'm NOT exaggerating. Within an hour I couldn't feel them at all! Miracle. So stop spending your money on all those silly pain relievers that numb your entire mouth but don't take away the canker sores. Spend the $3 on a tiny jar of powdered alum and use it for the next 10+ years. You won't regret it.

01 January 2013

Gluten-free is good for me.

I LOVE me so gluten. Or rather, I LOVE me all the things that contain gluten. I've learned enough about all of my health complications, however, that I know I really need to go gluten-free. It's expensive, and I am poor. It's challenging and sometimes limiting in social situations, and I've been too lazy and easy-going. It's true that I am in no immediate danger by consuming gluten. BUT I need to do all I can to keep my body as happy as possible. It's prone to fits of rage and long-term pouting, in the forms of searing pain, throbbing, and extreme fatigue. For those who know nothing about gluten, all of those symptoms can be aided by decreasing/cutting gluten from your diet. So I'm going to try it. I did it partially in July, but I was doing SO many other things that it's hard to know if it made a difference. But for the month of January, I'm going to do my absolute best to not consume any gluten. And I'm going to keep track of how my body reacts so I know if it helps enough to make it permanent. The idea of permanently being off gluten is a little overwhelming, so I'm starting with just 31 days. I can do ANYTHING for 31 days! And I'm sure if I can make it 31 days then I can make it a new lifestyle. For those interested in learning more about gluten and going gluten-free, here's a blog that I LOVE: http://glutenfreegirl.com. There are lots of them, but that's one of my favorites.

And heads up to all my friends and family I'll be seeing over the next month: when you invite me over for food or a party, PLEASE don't be offended that I bring my own dinner or snacks to enjoy in your company. Your food is ALL delicious! I LOVE food. Especially when it's free and made with so much love! But alas, my body is a gift from God. In fact, it's one of the reasons why I came to earth. So I need to learn how best to take care of it. So just enjoy my delightful company and don't worry about what I'm going to eat. I'll be doing enough of that on my own!