Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weight Watchers Gluten Free--TOUGH!!

Six weeks in, and I've yet to break the five pound barrier on my gluten free Weight Watchers journey. FRUSTRATING! I've been exercising, I've greatly reduced my portions, and I'm still struggling with a breakthrough. Although not exactly WW sanctioned, I'm doing a cleanse this week to try to get a jump start happening. Gosh, I hope it works!

One thing that Weight Watchers has helped me to see, is how I got where I am eating the typical gluten free swaps you might find in your local grocery store, and I'm definitely seeing a trend:
gluten free swaps make you fat!

There's just no other way to say it! The sooner we accept that as fact, the sooner we can come to terms and go about gluten free life smarter and wiser.

But what a bummer! The reason we went gluten-free in the first place was to get healthier! And initially, yes, we did feel better. We felt better, we began absorbing nutrients (and calories! ACK!!) more efficiently, we had more energy; all good reasons to eat gf.

In my husband's case, being gluten free has quite possibly saved his life! Because I was going to kill him if he spent one more minute in the bathroom, suffering with his IBS, which then progressed to ulcerative colitis, and was beginning to look like debilitating Crohn's Disease! Our lives revolved around where the nearest bathroom was, and that was WITH meds that had to change every so often because they would stop working. Now that he is gluten free, he is also medication free, and I would say his number of bathroom visits is within normal parameters, at least by my tolerance scale. See? A life saved! (O; And I always know when he has fallen off the wagon, because he snores when he ingests gluten. The wife ALWAYS knows!

In my 8 yr old son's case, a gf/df diet has dramatically helped with his ADD/ADHD-type behavior and learning challenges in school. He's been gluten-free since birth because of my six-year battle with infertility. Visit www.glutennazimom.com for the back story on that whole roller coaster ride. My son is not the least bit overweight, but I think the key for him is how very active he is. We could all take a lesson there! He also just doesn't like many sweets, even if I make them at home. We avoid refined sugar and watch artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, and preservatives, so that eliminates constant requests for "over the counter" candy as well. He enjoys occasional natural sweets and candies, free of refined sugars, flavors and dyes. A wonderful neuro-therapist here in San Diego has helped me to understand his system's need for protein and nutrient-dense foods and supplements, including absolutely essential probiotics, all to his great benefit.

When I began eating gluten-free, I definitely noticed fewer skin issues, an increase in my energy and stamina, and a definite bonus in the digestive department, though I was nowhere near suffering to the extent my husband was. But the years of relying on carbs to fill me up, comfort eating and hording food have taken a terrible toll on my weight. Even though my son didn't enjoy them, I was buying and making gf cookies, brownies, cakes, and prided myself in finding the most delectable versions of such goodies available, and taking a mix and making it better. I order Sami's bread, bagels and pizza online, only I'm the one eating it most often. And I could eat brown rice pasta for every meal, and some days I probably did! And boy, did I go overboard in the portions! (Incidentally, Sami's Bakery is not a dedicated gluten free facility, and therefore their products might not work for someone who requires a strict gluten-free diet, due to cross contamination.)

Perhaps the better way for anyone to navigate a gluten-free diet, would be to focus on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and save the indulgences for special occasions. We need to recognize that our gluten-free swaps are higher in carbs, fat, sugar and calories, and that just because a replacement product is available, doesn't mean we should be eating it. Especially not every day. Or even several times every day, thinking it's only a bite, or it doesn't matter.

Tracking my points and getting up and MOVING every day is definitely helping me to feel better than simply eating a gluten free diet has done, and I'm hopeful that Weight Watchers will help me to navigate a gluten free lifestyle more consciously, and ultimately prove successful.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Holy Outta Whack, Batman!! Ode to Chad Sharkey, DC, and Small Town America

Well, after ten lllllooonnngggg months of not seeing a Chiropractor, today I finally bit the bullet and saw a new one for the first time in our new state of California!

Believe me, it wasn't that I didn't need it all the while--I've limped and hobbled my way through the progressively worsening pain, which started appearing at about month four. It was that I found it surprisingly difficult to see someone new. Coming from a very small town, where you can take a poll and get several common answers, here you ask people and everyone has a different answer. Impossible to choose among so many providers!

And well, there's the small fact that our Chiropractor in Michigan was so much more than just our chiropractor, he was my husband's Best Friend, and a treasured friend to me and our whole family as well.

There's something very incestuous that happens in a small town; something wonderful that I miss dearly on a daily basis. Your best friend is your chiropractor, your business partner, and he's also the guy who coaches your kid in baseball or football or softball or all three. His son is your son's best friend, and his wife is your wife's best friend. He and his family are the people who are there for you when one of your oldest and dearest friends dies, and you're there for them when a parent passes away. You're there for each others triumphs as well as disasters.

But Chad is even more than that, too. He's the guy who is supporting a local family with a little boy who has cancer, who is having a food drive, who answers his own office phone on occasion and tells you to come right over, a man who gives his time and his energy to his community and especially the kids in it tirelessly, who goes to church and tries every day to be a good person, a good father, husband and friend. He is a healer who helps people feel better than they knew they could on a daily basis, who's there for you whether you know you need it yet or not.

We've all had falls, fender benders, times of stress, ergonomic tension, pregnancy/childbirth/ child holding (for endless hours--getting that pinch between the shoulder blades), BEEN born, been dropped (well, let's hope not), fallen down when learning to walk, fallen down when you've been walking for decades, had sports injuries, surgeries, ankles twisted, knees torqued, the list is endless of the every day mishaps and conditions that mess up the spinal alignment and thus interrupt the electrical system that is our nervous system that creates digestive, reproductive, and a host of other maladies that don't even seem related to a spinal adjustment.

So take it from this small town girl; if you are lucky enough to live in St. Joseph, Michigan, or nearby, and especially if you've never tried chiropractic before or it's been a long time since you have, give Chad Sharkey, DC a call and feel better than you knew you could. And give him a hug for me!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wow! October 2006 was my first and last entry!

"What in the world have I been doing since then," you might ask. You might wonder if I'm still gluten free and whether or not I ever registered for that schooling I was talking about. Well yes, I'm still gluten free, and yes, I did register for the school. I am deeply ashamed to admit, however, that after my dear husband paid for the course and the books, my ADD brain couldn't seem to ever begin! I got completely stuck when it came to actually starting a lesson or doing an assignment.

Which is pretty much the story of my life.

It seems that I'm just not a self-starter kind of a gal. I require bricks and mortar, instructors in my face, accountability to force me to be answerable to someone other than myself! Why is it that keeping a promise to myself or not letting myself down is never enough? Why am I never enough? Why did I start a blog almost five years ago and never ever go back to it after one measly entry? Well, I'm no psychologist, so I don't have an answer. But psychology is another one of those things I thought I might do someday.

I've started and never finished more things than I can count. I've let down friends, family members, my own husband, but the person I've let down the most is myself, because I've known me the longest. Maybe it all started when I was a kid and never did my homework. Maybe it began with my mom telling me to go clean my room and then never checking to see whether or not I did it. I've felt this cast of shame over my life for as long as I can remember, and maybe it's because I've never been my own best friend.

We recently made a huge, very scary, life altering move from Michigan to San Diego, CA. We left my hometown, a house we'd lived in for 12 years, in an idyllic town where my kids wanted to always come home, and where I had every expectation I would be waiting for them to do so forever. I went from being a small town Michigan girl to landing in California in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, where you plan every activity around the traffic and the crowds. I find myself aching for summer to be over, for tourist season to pass, and for my son to get back in school because with few friends, little money (we still own that frickin' house in Michigan, Lord help us!) and no desire to fight crowds or traffic, I don't have a clue what the hell to do with him most days. The weather is annoyingly the same from one day to the next; the sky pretty much goes from fog to sun and not much in between. How I miss the rain! What I wouldn't give for a good old fashioned Midwestern thunderstorm! With the rolling, changing sky, the cleansing showers and the lush gardens and green pastures.

But I digress. There are a few opportunities available in San Diego that I wouldn't have been able to take advantage of in Michigan. Not the least of which is the array of colleges to choose from within a very easy commute of our home. When I was young, I had dreams and every expectation that those dreams would magically one day come true. I was a singer who was encouraged to sing and a writer who was encouraged to write. (Too bad I was never a good student who was encouraged to study!) But then my parents divorced when I was in high school and suddenly I didn't believe in anything at all. Life became all about them and their drama, and less about me and my brother. We bounced from parent to parent, living out of suitcases and never again had a safe place where we felt at home. Until we were able to build our own homes. We both are avid nesters, and real homebodies. And when I became a mom at the tender age of twenty, thoughts of college grew even less realistic.

With our oldest daughter having recently graduated from a pricey out-of-state college and planning a wedding, and our middle daughter working fervently on her own college career, full time college isn't an option for me right now. But! The University of California San Diego Extension has a writing curriculum that I can hack away at as time, money and the limitations in my own mind allow. I will be enrolling next Monday, first thing, after I drop my son off for his first day of third grade! And that's a promise to myself that I intend to keep.