Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pamela's Favorite Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread Mix

As a follow-up to my last post, I thought I would share a picture of my fresh loaf of bread, straight out of the bread machine. Oh, and by the way, that slice is history!!!
Now, I've made several loaves of bread in my Breadman since I got it as a Christmas present last year and I've never had any trouble. The loaves always come out perfect, just like today. However, today when the bread was done, I unplugged the machine, grabbed my pot holders and began to pull out the bread pan. It wouldn't budge. I tried again. Still not budging. I pulled the machine back in. Strange signs and half-numbers came up on the program screen. I tried again to get the pan out. No luck. I unplugged the machine again. Finally, after a couple of rounds like this, I was able to pull out the pan and remove the bread. I waited for the machine to cool and then plugged it in again. This time the numbers and words were normal on the screen. Strange! Something was definitely possessing my bread maker!

Gluten-Free Shopping Blowout

So, today was grocery shopping day. I decided that I was going to go to my local Health Foods Store, The Green Grocer, to get a good supply of GF foods. I was armed with a $5 off of $40 store coupon. Awesome! So, I ended up spending a total of $48.69 for the GF items pictured above. I bought: Perky O's Cereal $4.89 Panda Puffs Cereal $4.99 Koala Crisps Cereal $4.99 Bakery On Main GF Granola $6.99 Enjoy Life Caramel Apple Breakfast Bars $4.49 Pamela's GF Flour Mix $4.49 Pamela's GF Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix $6.19 Pamela's Chocolate Almond Biscotti $5.19 Foods By George Personal Size Cheese Pizza $7.19 (Not pictured, it's in the freezer) Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom Dark Chocolate Bar $1.99 (Not pictured...OK, so I ate it on the way home) Silk Hazelnut Coffee Creamer $2.29 (Not pictured) I'm hoping that by stocking up on my GF foods and taking advantage of the store coupon, instead of running into the store every week to pick up a couple of things, I will save time and money in the end. Except for the chocolate bar, which is long gone...this stuff should last me several least I hope so. I have the Bread Mix in my bread machine, baking as I'm writing this. I can't wait to have some warm, homemade bread tonight with our roasted chicken dinner. By the way, one little tip I've learned from making fresh GF bread and having it get "icky" in a couple of days on the counter...I cut the loaf into slices, eat what I want while it's fresh and warm, then individually wrap each slice in cling wrap, slide the slices into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Then when I want a slice, I grab it out of the bag and microwave it for around 15 seconds. Taa Daa! Warm, fresh bread, anytime you want! So, after stopping at the health food store, I went to on Walmart to do the rest of my shopping. I bought a jar of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter. Man, is that stuff good! The bonus is that it states "Gluten-Free" right on the label! I had it with a sliced Macoun apple for lunch. This peanut butter boasts of all natural ingredients and at only 3 points for 2 tablespoons, if you are counting, it's a great way to get some protein and feed your chocolate craving as well. As always, I have marked the jar with a GF sticker to keep any stray knives out of it!

As a side note, I purchased the peanut butter at Walmart for $3.48. I noticed that on their website, it goes for $6. I guess I got a bargain without even realizing it, huh?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 Years

Friday will be our 10th Wedding Anniversary. Wow. Ten years. I can hardly believe it. Seems like just yesterday when we were planning our special day and our life together. Our wedding was so wonderful... I know, all brides say that, but it really was spectacular. A full day at The Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs, NY. It was a beautiful 70 degree day in October. There were still some colorful leaves on the trees on the grounds surrounding the Hall. Our first dance went smoothly. We had taken ballroom dancing lessons prior to our wedding and waltzed to our first song. Everything was great, the food, the music. Then there was our honeymoon at Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Hurricane Mitch had missed us by mere few miles. The weather was overcast, but steamy. We drank blue tropical drinks and ate nachos with cheese on the beach. I don't think I'd ever been so relaxed and don't think I have been since. That was the life. The view from our hotel room. My blue drink near the blue water. Oh, all the wonderful food. I sampled it all! (BCD...Before Celiac Disease diagnosis.) We've been through a lot in our ten years of marriage. Parenthood, two moves, three surgeries, loss of loved ones, job changes, weight changes, sickness and health, good times and bad. Through it all, we've had each other. For my husband...I know that you don't like to read my blog, because you say it's too depressing...well, this ones for you, Honey. I love you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Spoon Theory

It's a cold, rainy day in upstate NY. I was sitting at my computer, reading my daily blogs, when I came across a link to a website called "But You Don't Look Sick". On this website is an article, written by Christine Miserandino entitled "The Spoon Theory". Christine has Lupus. Even though I do not, I could really identify with her story.
As I go through my daily struggles with nerve pain, I have wondered many times what will happen if I don't get any better. Will I have to live with the pain, numbness, weakness and lack of energy for the rest of my life? Will it get worse? How will other people treat me? Will they understand what I'm going through? Will I lose friends or family who are just too tired of dealing with me?
Awful thoughts, I confess. But I do have them. Especially on days like today.
Back to the article. It pretty much describes how I have to plan my days so that I have enough energy to do the things that are "necessary". To conserve my "spoons", so that I have enough left to help my daughter with her homework and her shower that day. To rearrange my tasks so that I can spend an hour at school to help out in her class.
I think for anyone who lives with chronic pain, this story will strike a chord. For those who love someone with chronic pain, it helps explain what it is like.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weekend In New England

Time in new england
Took me away
To long rocky beaches--and you, by the bay...
*Barry Manilow*
Ok, so we really weren't near any "long rocky beaches", but I couldn't help think of this song this weekend while we were in Manchester, Vermont. I just LOVE New England. Maine, Massachussetts, Vermont, New Hampshire. Any time of year. It's probably what has held me in Upstate NY for all of my 46 years. It's certainly not the snow!
So, our Columbus Day Weekend trip to Vermont began with a stop at Zoey's Double Hex for some late lunch. We stop here every time we visit Manchester. My hubby and I both had the Garden Salad with a Hex Burger on top. It was excellent. My daughter, had a hot dog with homemade potato chips off the kid's menu. She even took a picture of it...not gluten-free, mind you, but she said it was pretty good. Sorry, we didn't get a picture of my salad w/burger. ***Note to time take picture of your own meal!***
So, after lunch, we did the usual "outlet crawl"at the Manchester Designer Outlets. Ralph Lauren Outlet for the best bath towels on earth, The Gap Outlet for kid's clothes and some for mom and dad too, Coach...don't get me started! Northshire Bookstore to browse around. Not to forget my daughter's favorite Claire's Outlet, where we purchased 15, yes, 15 pairs of pierced earrings. Shopping for her is second of course to scuffing through the fallen leaves. She loves the crunching, swishing sound they make. Then, after we were all hot and tired, we stopped for ice cream. I have to admit, I don't remember the name of the place we stopped at. We even paid cash, so no receipt to check. However, I had a dish of PUMPKIN ice cream. YUM! Hubby had a waffle cone, one scoop of chocolate, one coffee. Daughter had her favorite kid's cone with scoop of mint chocolate chip. The perfect ending to the perfect day. Of course, I've been paying our little adventure quite a bit this week, with back, neck, head and shoulder pain, but I consider it the price I'm willing to pay for a wonderful Fall day with my family. That Upstate NY snow will come much too quickly...then it will be days, sitting by the fire, wrapped up in an afgan for me!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October is Celiac Awareness Month

Yes, we all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also Celiac Awareness Month!
The need to get the word out about Celiac-Sprue Disease is great. Even though there are approximately 1 in 133 people living with this disease, it is amazing the number of people who haven't been tested and diagnosed. It is also amazing to me that many people have never even heard of the disease. I can't count the puzzled looks I've gotten when I've told others that I have Celiac Disease and can't eat that pizza, bread, cake...
It is a gluten-filled world. Every party, wedding, family get-together, is just loaded with gluten-filled food. It's everywhere. It is unavoidable. The most that I hope for is a fruit platter or a green salad.
Not that I expect every host/hostess to adjust their menu for my diet. I don't. I have learned to expect the strange looks I get when I pull out my little lunch bag and start eating the gluten-free snacks I've packed. As many times as you explain it to people, they still ask why you aren't eating the pizza.
So, in an effort to help spread the word, I am printing a page from the Celiac Sprue Association's Website. Please take the time to read through it. There are some pretty heavy-duty "Grey's Anatomy" doctor-type words in here, but please bear with me! Your Celiac friends, family, co-workers and classmates will love you for it!!!
What is Celiac Disease? Celiac disease (CD) is a genetic disorder. In people with CD, eating certain types of protein, called gluten, sets off an autoimmune response that causes damage to the small intestine. This, in turn, causes the small intestine to lose its ability to absorb the nutrients found in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications.
The offending protein, gluten, is found in wheat, barley, rye, and to a lesser extent, oats (WBRO). Related proteins are found in triticale, spelt, kamut. Refer to grains and flours Glossary for a more extensive list of both safe and offending grains. Celiac Disease is: *a genetic, inheritable disease.
*linked to genetically transmitted histocompatibility cell antigens (HLA DR3-DQ2, DR5/7 DQ2, and DR4-DQ8).
*COMMON. Approximately 1 in 133 people have CD, however, only about 3% of these have been diagnosed. This means that there are over 2.1 million undiagnosed people with celiac disease in the United States.
*characterized by damage to the mucosal lining of the small intestine which is known as villous atrophy.
*responsible for the malabsorption of nutrients resulting in malnutrition.
*linked to skin blisters known as dermatitis herpetiformis (DH).
*not age-dependent. It may become active at any age. Celiac Disease is NOT: *simply a food allergy.
*an idiosyncratic reaction to food proteins (mediated by IgE).
*typified by a rapid histamine-type reaction (such as bronchospasm, urticaria [hives], etc.).
The Damaging Proteins The term "gluten" is, in a sense, a generic term for the storage proteins that are found in grains. In reality, each type of protein - gliadin in wheat, secalin in rye, hordein in barley, avenin in oats, zein in corn and oryzenin in rice - is slightly different from the others. The "gluten" in wheat, rye, barley, and in a much lower amount, oats, contains particular amino acid sequences that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. The damaging proteins are particularly rich in proline and glutamine (especially the amino acid sequences which are in the following orders: Pro-Ser-Gln-Gln and Gln-Gln-Gln-Pro). As peptides, some such as 33-MER, cannot be broken down any further.
In people with celiac disease, 33-MER stimulates T-cells to produce antibodies. The antibodies, in turn, attack the villi in the small intestine, reducing their ability to absorb nutrients. It is important to note that these sequences are NOT found in the proteins of corn and rice. The Nature of the Injury The damage to the small intestine (the jejunum) caused by this disease is very slow to develop and is insidious. It is:
-almost certainly mediated by the immune system. -associated with ANTIBODIES to gliadin, reticulin and/or endomysial (smooth muscle) proteins. -probably not directly caused by the antibodies, though they may be signals for cell-mediated immunity. -probably produced by the cellular immune system (T cells) - but only when gluten-type prolamins are present. -reversible, in most cases, to completely normal bowel function, if the injurious protein is excluded from the diet. How Does One "Catch" Celiac Disease? Celiac disease cannot be "caught," but rather the potential for CD may be in the body from birth. Its onset is not confined to a particular age range or gender, although more women are diagnosed than men. It is not known exactly what activates the disease, however three things are required for a person to develop CD:
-A genetic disposition: being born with the necessary genes. The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes specifically linked to celiac disease are DR3, DQ2 and DQ8. -A trigger: some environmental, emotional or physical event in one’s life. While triggering factors are not fully understood, possibilities include, but are not limited to adding solids to a baby’s diet, going through puberty, enduring a surgery or pregnancy, experiencing a stressful situation, catching a virus, increasing WBRO products in the diet, or developing a bacterial infection to which the immune system responds inappropriately. -A diet: containing WBRO, or any of their derivatives.