It may seem like a silly question for those of us battling with gluten sensitivities; but, I feel like I have just had a rock thrown at my head. Recently, it occurred to me that some people do not know anything about flour, which probably makes it all the harder to comprehend what needs to be avoided on a gluten free diet.
I thought, for me, I have only scratched the surface of information out there on what today’s foods are doing to our bodies. I thought I was somewhat of a failure for not having all the facts. I hate that word “failure” and am trying to avoid it, so to focus on the positive, let’s just say I am learning to accept that I have a world of information out there that I have an opportunity to experience.
What some know in one area, may lack in another. Some of us have never used anything but a microwave to cook our meals, so how would we know the special ingredients that created the food on our plate? I commend the people I spoke to recently who admitted they were unsure where wheat and flour came from, instead of pretentiously nodding as if they knew what I was talking about.
So this is for all the people who have never baked a cake, or fried their own chicken. Better yet, this is for all the people who know how to burn water. I love you for wanting to know more.
Now let’s get back to the basics:
- The most common flour sold in supermarkets comes from a popular plant crop called wheat.
- Wheat is one of the largest crops grown in the U.S., next to corn, soy and cotton
- After harvesting this plant, the kernels are separated from the stalk and ground into the fine powdery texture we see as flour.
- Whole wheat flour contains the whole wheat kernel, while white flour has been stripped of most components of the seed, bleached, and fortified with the vitamins it lacks.
Wheat is sold in bulk for baking purposes, but it is also manufactured into the foods we consume daily:
- pizza dough
- pasta, such as spaghetti, tortellini , ravioli
- breakfast pastries, such as muffins, donuts, scones, or bagels
- pancakes, waffles, and biscuits
- sweet bakery items, such as cookies and cake
And then there are foods that need flour to encourage its taste and texture:
- fried chicken, or other fried foods like onion rings
- meatballs, or meatloaf
- canned soup
- salad dressings and condiments
I want to let you know that this is just a short list of items containing wheat. If you are looking to avoid it, I would highly recommend you avoid all processed foods as well as the items listed above. Educate yourself and be open to different opinions.
If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment.
What a busy couple of months I have had!
I’ve pretty much ignored my garden. Luckily my plants are all perennials (I’m pretty sure that is what they are called) so they come back from the dead pretty easily. Well, except the walking stick kale. I don’t know how it is still surviving. The invisible bugs have eaten away all the leaves, yet some new leaves grew back pretty quickly. More feasting for the bugs, I guess.
Things have seemed pretty complicated with me emotionally. In the midst of taking care of my mom, not having a job, and finding my individuality, I’ve acquired a slew of mixed emotions and discovered some old ones that need altering. A part of me really wants to be the motherly nurturer, yet I’m recognizing and accepting my inner need to soar. I’m battling between selfishness and self-fulfillment.
I don’t feel I will ever get my food choices in perfect order. I try to accept that there will be failures, but my failures make me tired, depressed, itchy, and bloated. I would love to exclude coffee from my daily regimen. I don’t see that happening when I also desire cutting out soy, corn and potatoes. What else can I add to my discomfort food list?
At the beginning of the year, I was contemplating taking an online course in Nutrition. I really believed the Universe was pulling me in this direction, and if that were the case, I was sure money would fall from the sky to pay for it.
What did happen was I found myself enrolling at the nearest junior college.
The information that I find online about toxic ingredients, FDA regulations, government secrets, and inflammatory diseases is overwhelming. There’s too much to absorb. I don’t feel qualified to discuss some of these issues, although, I am acquiring many theories. Now, I have the opportunity to learn some different perspectives and take some other interesting courses along the way. Wherever the road takes me, I am up for the challenge!
Unfortunately, I may have challenged myself too much. After 20 years of not being in a school setting, I have really overextended myself with all the classes I am taking, not to mention the studying, taking care of my irrational mother, volunteering for non-profit organizations, and any other needs required in my normal ordinary life.
Good news is my brain is working. It’s quite painful. It’s quite rewarding! It’s opening my mind to worlds other than my own!
Now, back to the emotions.
I’ve had to learn to let go of Ego. I don’t know crap. I have to open my mind every morning to staying attentive to new information surrounding me as I bask in the sea of young adulthood. It takes a lot of courage to ask these high school graduates their opinion on our assignment, because I have none. In my Anthropology class, we learned about ethnocentrism, which as Anthropologist, we would need to put aside ego of our own culture and be open to a different culture’s point of view. This I keep in mind, as I converse with these 20 -year-olds who seem to know a lot more than I do at this moment.
One particular experience with my emotions came to fruition this last week as I realized I had an anger issue. Why was I so angry? Was I angry, and at what exactly? You see, every time my Environmental Science teacher mentions GMO’s, I voice my opinion. My very loud opinion! Why was it so loud? I realize I have had issues in the past with my voice raising as I try to explain my point of view. Extensive work on myself shows that it is my inner child wanting to be heard. What seemed a little bit absurd in the past weeks as I am learning about agriculture is that no one else in the class is yelling!! No one is arguing with me! There are some points being made, discussion, and I am leaving the class thinking “wow, did I raise my voice?”
I know I have good reason to be irate about the altering of our agriculture. But seriously, it wasn’t needed at this time. Once I realized that this behavior stemmed from a need for validation and approval, I was able to let it go. My self worth does not need to be measured by whether or not people agree with me.
What a lesson!
So, I am glad to be back at school. I am not sure if I am ready for it, financially or emotionally, but I feel that readiness will catch up and I will eventually find balance again.
Back to food:
It’s been really difficult to be consistent with the foods I eat since taking care of my mother. Even in her dementia’d state, she still prefers McDonald’s hamburgers and Chinese food. And it’s easier to make sandwiches for her rather than having her fight with a fork and salad.
But that’s no excuse as to why I am not eating well, except for that I get lazy. I want something quick to grab a hold of. I run out of choices and it get frustrating trying to cook for two. Although, I do stay away from McDonald’s hamburgers and Chinese food for myself, I still make poor food choices. How good can my choices be when I am eating on the go?
When I am creating meals in my kitchen, I don’t always make the best choices either. Yes, there are lots of recipes online, and I have experimented, and failed, and succeeded on some occasions. Despite all the 1,000′s of recipe blogs out there, I still find myself skimming through them thinking I want something that strikes my fancy just a little bit better. I need less ingredients or more flavor or something else. Brownies always sound good.
Not being able to have wheat, I turn to rice or potatoes. I love potatoes. Always have. Yet, day after day, the more I eat, the worse I feel. How can potatoes or rice be so bothersome? I would figure it a safe food, yet my stomach is bloated and I am fatigued, again.
Times like this, I kinda wonder whether that embarrass sounding disorder is what I truly have: Leaky Gut Syndrome
Just what is Leaky Gut Syndrome and what do I do about it? Especially while trying to make the best out of what I can afford financially and while trying to appease my mother who needs to eat practically every 3 hours a day due to her blood sugar possibly spiking and falling. And I do notice a difference in her behavior when it changes.
I’m also learning to accept that I am not born to be one of those Super Moms that cares for everyone around them, giving them everything that they need. They cook, they clean, they organize – that is just not me! I am trying, but it just doesn’t seem to happen. I get frustrated. Is this what people do everyday? Stay in the kitchen all day long, cooking and cleaning? I feel like I am in the kitchen all day, yet my kitchen is smothered with gluten free flour and other little tidbits that have been tossed around while I am being creative.
And I am bloated and tired.
I realize even though I am not the picture perfect caregiver with the hair tied up in a knot, wearing high heels and an apron, I am still concerning myself of other people’s needs instead of my own. Somehow I have to get back to taking care of me, even if it means organic salad for me, and starchy hamburger for my mother. There has to be a balance, I am sure.
An update since my last post:
Something has shifted. I can’t explain it. I felt it at the end of last month, but worried that my funk would be returning. My outlook is brighter. My energy has returned, as well as my positive attitude (this is always changing, of course, but feels oh so better than my criticism). I can breathe easier.
For those of you who know how Astrology works, because I sure don’t, I swear there was some sort of Cosmic shift with the planets that took me out of my misery. It seems that my new well-being arrived after last month’s full moon.
It appears that there are times when we can feel low and nothing we can do can change it. Sure, it is always good to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. It is good to meditate to ask the Universe for direction. It is also good to reach out to others when we need help instead of isolating in our misery. Positive affirmations also work wonders.
Yet, sometimes, despite everything that we have taught ourselves to get out of our own misery, the best thing to do is to just BE with ourselves. Take a bath, sing a song, sit in the backyard, take a drive, or a walk – and acknowledge our feelings. It’s okay to feel. We are human. No judgement, no expectations.
and when this doesn’t work, we do it all over again.
So with all my efforts and acknowledgements this year, it really just took some unexplainable force to get me out of my uneasiness.
Despite my moodiness, I still managed to force myself to find a new direction in my life. I am 43 years old and am going back to Jr. College this semester. It is scary and exciting at the same time. I really feel I need to get a handle on these unexplainable intolerances that most people are experiencing these days (most do not recognize that our own food is the culprit), and if anything, my education will somehow lead me to a better road than I have been living.
Going back to school has created a bigger shift in my emotions. It feels right, even if it is all so overwhelming.
Our food is killing us. Plain and simple.
Our choice in health goes beyond cafeteria lunches, fast food restaurants, and obese caused by video games use. Schools are getting rid of vending machines, soda, and supposedly offering healthier food choices in the cafeteria. Many debate the fast food controversy causing our health issues today. And to solve our obesity epidemic, we are told to get the kids away from the tv so they can get active.
Restaurants today might as well be considered fast food – most rely on prepared food to be quickly reheated to prepare for the demanding customers they serve. Stay away from McDonalds, but go ahead and fill up on that 2,100 calorie meal at Applebees! We no longer go to restaurants on “special occasions”. Our fast pace week is filled with rushing our kids to practice after school, so there is no time for dinner preparation – instead, we need to pick something up on the fly and its not the best choice, it’s what’s convenient. It becomes a pattern.
Is this what’s causing our obesity diseased epidemic?
We head to the grocery store to pick up our cancer fighting blueberries. Don’t forget the soy milk – It contains certain vitamins and proteins needed for a healthy body. And pick up some popcorn – that’s a healthy snack! Pick up the easy microwavable kind. The label on a package says “All Natural!” – That’s got to be good for us, it’s from nature!
Wanting to make a change in our health, we reach for the foods with cancer fighting properties. If it is marketed as such, it will give us a sense of comfort knowing that we are eating well for our health.
Unfortunately, the blueberries are submerged in chemical pesticides. The corn and soy contain a a genetically modified organism that while in plant form could wipe out an entire ecosystem. If we are able to eliminate all the reptiles, birds and insects surrounding farms, what is this plant organism doing to us?
Sugar, also a genetically modified crop, has been labeled on ingredient lists as dextrose, sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, and maltodextrin, just to name a few. Health professionals tell us sugar is highly addictive, as well as the main cause for our growing obesity related disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease. Yet, it’s hidden in everything from bread to yogurt, as well as most processed foods.
In retrospect, the health problems today are largely contributed by foods we find in our local grocery store.
Our food has been altered in such a way that we are unknowingly consuming the harmful products which cause the human conditions such as cancer, diabetes, dementia, and heart disease. Take a look at the ingredient list of food products on the grocery shelf. The majority are filled with unexplainable names such as palmitate, enzymes, sodium protein isolate, carrageenan, potassium chloride, ammonium chloride, soy lecithin, lactic acid . . . and the list goes on and on.
In addition to this, MSG, an ingredient that has been around for decades, is prevalent in most processed foods. The scary part is that this ingredient, which has caused many side effects and allergic reactions, is hidden by a different name to disguise it from skeptics. Following are some examples of ingredients which contain Monosodium Glutamate: Maltodextrin, Carrageenan, Calcium Caseinate, Hydrolyzed Protein. Again, to name a few.
We don’t know the extent of what GMO’s are doing to our bodies. Most countries have banned these or label the product to give consumers a choice. We, Americans, have no choice in the food we eat. The ingredients do not specify GMO, yet the most common GMO crops (soy, sugar beet, corn, canola, cottonseed) are found in just about every box or can throughout the supermarket, as well as restaurants. With health disorders on the rise in comparison to other countries, it makes me wonder whether WE are the lab rat.
If you make one change today, start looking at the ingredient list. Chances are you will be amazed at what you find, and it may even keep you from buying it.
This year, 2013, was supposed bring forth bright horizons, abundance, healthy bodies, and joyous outcomes. This was the year that everything would turn around for me, pointing me down the path to my new life. I envisioned dreams coming true, knights in shining armor, yellow brick roads, magical wands. . . the fantasies are endless.
My funk never waivers. It’s lasted way too long. It’s not a depression, but I don’t feel good. If I feel a bit of hope for a few hours, it doesn’t last. I keep waiting for something spectacular to happen that will lift my spirits. Something that gets me moving and rejoicing. Something that puts an addictive smile on my face. And I wait . . .
I killed my oregano.
It could revive itself. since there are a few green leaves left. I realized, at one time, this was my perfect herb because it dies and comes back to life without much effort; however, it was thriving until I transferred it to a bigger container with the basil and thyme. There must have been too many rocks at the bottom of the pot because the water never drains. I could try to re-transfer, but I have run out of potting soil. My energy is very low. I would rather sit outside and stare out at my failed attempt.
I have fallen off my diet. I am gaining weight and I feel sluggish as a result, which causes more depression – or whatever this feeling is that I am experiencing. Although, on the days that I am careless with my food choices, I can still tell a difference in my depression levels compared to this crazy feeling I am experiencing. Eggs, regardless if they are organic or free range, bring on this same sluggish depression, along with numbness and itchy feet. So I am back to avoiding them at all costs.
I have given up on force feeding my mother gluten free, vegan options. I know her blood sugar was at its best when she ate like I did, but its hard to change people, even those with dementia. At this stage, they obsess constantly over what they want and they want it right now. She has told me every day she wants a hamburger from McDonald’s because it is “good for me”. I am disgusted, but I give in. It is too exhausting reasoning with someone who can’t reason. I compare this to arguing with an alcoholic. Sometimes, I wonder if this is what dealing with an autistic child is like. I have found a new appreciation for mothers of special needs kids who deal with unreasonable behaviors on a day to day basis.
Food recipes (experiments) turn out to be more failure than success. I have spent quite a bit of money on gluten free flours, natural sugars, and organic ingredients only to observe gooey breads, tasteless dinners, and other questionable meals.
I’m afraid of what people think of me again. This is the biggest disappointment. It keeps me from writing about my journey. Who wants to hear more depressing news on how I am feeling as a result of my habits and food challenges? When will I be blogging about rainbows and happy endings?
So, I once again have to turn back to all the positive aspects of my life today. My expectations I put on myself to be in a particular place in my life puts me in a self-sabotaging, remorseful state. It seems I cannot get out of this cloudy emotion, but I can look back at the year to see progress:
I put forth the effort to go back to school. This was actually more of an effort than it sounds. It didn’t feel comfortable. There were some unexpected hurdles (and still might be, financially). It required more steps than I would have thought – A lot has changed in 25 years! One foot in front of the other, I had to break it down a step at a time. I did not give up, as much as I would have liked, for it was easier to think of each accomplishment I made rather than the list of everything I had to do. It has actually turned out to be quite the exciting adventure!
I finally found a gluten free, vegan pancake recipe that works for me. I don’t know how many soggy pancakes I had to put up with. but these ones have a great texture and taste.
I discovered a new tea concoction! Another natural digestion aid: 1/2 part licorice root, 1 part lemongrass and 2 parts Marshmallow root – YUM! Easy on the stomach, and great for little slip ups with gluten (as long as there are not too many!)
The sun is a little brighter, the grass a little greener. I have a hummingbird visiting, a little straggler. He makes the most interesting noises when he sucks the nectar, and flies away when the dogs move about, but I am hoping he gets used to us.
The squirrels are leaping from limb to limb, as well as the roof of the house. I love to hear them chatter as well.
Even as I write this, I believe the last couple of weeks have been getting better for me, emotionally. Nothing has really changed physically but I can sense higher hopes. I am not sure what turned around for me. I like to blame it on some unexplainable cosmic alignment that I know nothing about.
I don’t want to get my expectations up for tomorrow, or even an hour from now, I know my emotions could alter each day, especially if the Universe decides to throw something new at me or, worse, not throw anything at all. In the meantime, I will enjoy today and try again to accept my situation as it is.
The pounds are coming back, and I can almost guarantee it is because I am not careful with my food choices. Poor attitude is also a factor; although, I can’t blame it all on the food. Lots of starches and sugars don’t help.
It’s been a few days since I tried to make brownies or any other gluten free dessert. Tonight I have a craving, and I would love to sit down to watch Saturday Night Live with a brownie, cookie or cupcake.
I found a great recipe for brownie bites at Part Time Health Nut. I can totally relate to Mayra who has been eating healthy, gluten free; however, the cravings just don’t stop. She creates recipes that are low in sugar. She substitutes sugar in her recipes with alternatives low on the Glycemic scale. I know I could learn a lot from her.
So tonight, I turned to one of her recipes. This one for Caffeine Free Brownie Bites caught my attention. I get a little nervous when I see beans in a dessert recipe, but I forced myself through the terror and plunged right in. And, of course, I had to make some substitutions.
Not too many, though. I still used the beans. I used the coconut cream. I guess the biggest change was using chia seeds instead of flax for the egg replacer. I used half of the normal amount and added some smashed banana and beet. Yah, you heard right. I am afraid of beans, but have been experimenting with beet. I can rationalize my dessert as “healthy” – protein from the beans, and iron from the beet. YUM!!
I suggest if you try the recipe, follow the instructions. Someday, I hope to understand how to create my own recipes–perhaps these substitutions will pay off someday. Tonight’s dessert was good. It was fluffy like a cupcake, not necessarily a brownie texture. I’m not a fan of processed sugar substitutes so I substituted maple syrup for the Stevia. Since Stevia is super sweet, the maple syrup and beet did not create enough sugary taste for me. I am sure Mayra’s “bites”, if followed well, will create a different experience. She is amazing!!
I am going to indulge in one more. Good Night!!
It’s amazing to me how easy it is to fall out of Hope. I am already discouraged that I am using the word amazing because I am sure there is another word that would fit the description; however, I am not motivated to look at at Thesaurus. Phenomenal, Perplexing, Discouraging, Revolutionary – hell, its all just a freakin shame that I cannot hold the vision of light at the end of the tunnel.
That “amazing” list of goals at the beginning of the year has floated off into space somewhere. I haven’t quite tackled any pursuit of mastering diabetes. I have been too busy researching Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Lewy Body disorder which is what my mother has been diagnosed with so far. I keep thinking there has to be something else that’s taking over her body and mind; although, these are extreme disorders that are comprised of too many symptoms. All of them lumped together could quite be the end result of how she is moving around these days.
How is this related to food? I would love to find out. I dream of someday proving my theory with today’s nutrition culture. Too many illnesses today leading to prominent disorders, too many prescriptions given for behavior modification, too many unknowns. Could our food be the cause or the cure? Probably both. Sure, there are other factors such as genetics, but I am more concerned about how we are surviving on a day to day basis and how that is affecting us emotionally and physically.
My mother was in the hospital a few weeks back, and as I listened to her unknowingly exclaim, “there’s nothing they can do for me”, I realized that I also had lost hope last month. I was excited about participating in an online nutrition course at the beginning of the year. It fizzled. I spent weeks searching for an affordable home that fit my dream description – its not out there. I gave up on finding allergy free recipes and as a result, have not been eating as well as I would like. This in turn brings out my depression, although, I tell myself I am just going through a phase.
At this stage of my life, the hopelessness I feel is more like a stagnant standstill. Perhaps hopelessness is not the right feeling. My mother loses hope in finding a solution for her symptoms. I, on the other hand, have lost that blissful hopeful feeling I had when I was on a mission to fulfill my goals. However, I am not in a state of despair.
Where do I go from here?
The only place to go is a state of Gratitude. I have a place to come home to, with dogs who love to greet me. I have options when it comes to finding food to eat. It’s nice to take a vacation from work while taking care of a sick parent. I still have most of my plants in tact.
The new plant I had purchased in March is a Walking Stick Kale. I heard it was edible and the stalk of the plant can be dried out and used as a cane. This is my third one purchased because the dogs seem to really like this particular kale. Take a look and goodnight. I am going to sleep with gratitude.
Suze Orman is on t.v. tonight. As she leads in to her money talk, she emphasizes the most obvious to me of buying product in order to make ourselves feel good. The car will make us feel good. The house will make us feel good. We are in credit card debt but our friends ask us to go out to dinner, and we want to go and feel a part of, so we put dinner on our credit card.
The reason why this is most obvious to me is because I have spent my whole life hoping to get ahead. If I can get paid more, if I can get that status at work, if I could buy the best drinks with the premium alcohol in the fanciest glass, then I would feel more important. I would feel good.
Perhaps most people who also fall into this emotional trap spend their money on more tangible things. Perhaps its the car, the boat, the house that makes them feel good. I no longer spend money on fancy bar drinks; however, I am stuck with this yearning to feel good from pricey purchases. Mine, however, are transient, or short lived.
It just seems so ironic that I am tuning in to her rerun tonight as I plunk down on the sofa completely disgusted with myself. All week, I could feel I was spending too much money. It snuck up on me compulsively as I needed groceries. Then, it was coffee, and more coffee, and more fast food, and more spending, with nothing to show for it but a pot belly.
I am escaping.
And what is my reason for escaping? This week I had a birthday. I accepted that the Universe is in perfect order with my dreams, even though I am single, unemployed, and have not found my happy place. I feel okay with where I am at today, yet I am baking and buying gluten free sugary treats for comfort. The more sweets I consume, the more I want to purchase until I completely gorge myself with whatever is on hand. I should stay away from soy, milk and eggs but if it is in the sugary snack before me, I am justifying my pride of avoiding gluten – until my stomach is so painfully bloated that it doesn’t matter if I grab something questionable.
I turn the channel to Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live playing a teacher beating up on college students. This is how I feel now that I have lost my money due to a gambling urge. I just left the casino shouting out obscenities. I have lost my serenity, and I chuckle as Melissa McCarthy is taking out her anger on these students by hitting them with basketballs, taser guns, and toasters.
I start to feel even better as Melissa McCarthy dances to a song about ham.
Suze Orman emphasized wanting more time and peace of mind, not having to worry about things due to financial struggles. I have felt this peace of mind along my journey. Unfortunately, this week has been a setback which encompasses my health, money and peace of mind. I am hoping to get back on track tomorrow. I hope I can get back to integrating vegetables into my meals, discovering more wholesome recipes, and staying away from all foods that are toxic to my body’s system.
I know in order to accomplish these things, I will have to cook at home, which will save me from impulse purchases and questionable take out meals. My health and my money will be at a better place.
As far as my addictions of wanting “more”, I can only overcome this with a daily conscious effort. If I work on all the pure things in my life, there will be no room for “more”, and only good things will follow. I have to believe this.
So tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I can start over and not feel guilty.
The setback does not have to last too long.
Good Night to all.