Monday, November 28, 2011

Water, the new coffee??

So I've been thinking a lot about this water thing.  Water is 70% of our world, and makes up 70% of our, no one is doubting it's importance.  But do we really understand how important it is?  Maybe not as important as what you put into it.

I know we need water, but I also know that we can consume too much water.  Remember that CSI where the college kid was being hazed and was told to chug a 5gallon container of water?  He literally died from drinking too much water.  Okay, so you can't always believe what you see on TV, but it's CSI people!  CSI is science and science is truth...Not that that is any excuse not to get my eight 8oz. glasses of water a day.

But back to the importance of water...I have been trying to make a better attempt at drinking more water.  The problem is, when I get up in the morning the first thing I think of is coffee ....Mmmmm... coffee...
Coffee is really something I never considered doing without.  I know it basically depletes you of water and negates any that you drink.  Two cups of coffee in, and I have to drink two more cups of water than I should be drinking...that means I have to try for ten 8oz. glasses of water and I'm maybe hitting four at this point, which means I should be trying for six, and if I do the math that means I'm really down four, I mean two, wait...okay, now I'm totally confused.

Alright, so I need to drink more water and less coffee - bottom line.  I have tea on occasion, but that really doesn't do the trick.  Earl Grey is alright.  Green is good, antioxidants and all that.  I just really love the taste of coffee!

What sparked this post was reading this from  According to the doctor who wrote this article, you get clean energy from drinking "water and fresh squeezed lemon" in the morning as opposed to dirty energy from drinking coffee.  Do you really think a lemon in my morning water from the local OB Water Store can replace my coffee??  I do happen to have a lemon tree in my backyard, so access is no excuse.  All I really need to do is try it, right?  Okay, so tomorrow morning it's water and lemon juice for some clean energy.  No dirty energy for me!

Speaking of dirty water versus clean water, did you know that there is only 3.46% of fresh or "clean" water available on earth?  Well, we'll leave that for another post.  So, here's to lemon water!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

America the Beautiful

It's hard to jump on the internet now-a-days and not see headlines like this:

Middle-class areas shrink as America divides into 'two-tiered society' of rich and poor 

                               This Is What Revolution Looks Like

Justice Dept. in deadlock with Alabama over illegal immigration law

I can recall a time when my parents told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be and "the sky's the limit."  We are instilled with this hope of a middle class future, where we can live comfortably and raise a family with all of the comforts we are entitled to here in America, the land of plenty.  We know too many people who have been laid off, who are under water on their homes and are just barely squeaking by.  Our local school district is on the brink of insolvency and the teachers are being asked to take pay cuts.  There's a presidential election coming in less than a year and the budget can't even be balanced.  Us Americans are supposed to have it together, we're supposed to be a Super-Power.  What happened?  Even our congress isn't proving as dependable as it has in the past, the divide is growing.

Congress Approval Rating Lower Than Porn, Polygamy, BP Oil Spill, 'U.S. Going Communist'

We head to the polls in limited numbers because people don't think their votes make a difference.  People stay at home in their little bubbles, dealing with their own personal problems; but with the way things are nowadays, can we really blame them?  Turn on the TV and all you get is bad news, sex abuse scandals, tales of people in powerful positions taking advantage of those with very little power, which CEOs are getting multimillion dollar bonuses the year after the tax payers bailed them out, and the list goes on.  There's more and more about how the gap between the rich and poor is growing and how the middle class is disappearing.  This is really disheartening.  It's no wonder the latest polls are saying:

Americans are becoming less optimistic about the future

I can see it.  It makes me sad.  How do I tell my children that they can be whatever they want to be when I don't even know if a college education will be possible?  The cost of higher education is just that, higher and higher every year.  I remember how much it cost for me thirteen years ago and it's definitely jumped exponentially since then.  What happens when all of those things our parents told us we needed in order to enjoy success in life are no longer attainable?

There are people camping in parks across the country trying to send a message.  So far, they've been there for two months and all I hear and read in the news is that the police are breaking up their encampments and arresting people.  So, is it working? Is it going to be heard by anyone with influence?  

The Occupy movement: More trouble than change?

My only hope is you; you out there with the power of the vote.  Yes, I am only one person, but I can still vote.  I can still pass on information and make people aware of things that are happening.  I can still encourage my friends and family to vote, to make their voice heard.  I can show my kids that no matter how bad it gets, no matter what happens to the banks, the schools, or the government, I'm still here and I'm still voting.  I guess it's really all I can do. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Damn Pizza

Some things are easier to resist than others.
So here I am, one week after I started a dairy-free week and I must say, I failed.  I made it six days.  But on the sixth day, there was gluten-free pizza!  This was my first time getting to try gluten-free pizza made fresh from somewhere other than my kitchen.  Did I mention there was gluten-free beer?

Okay, so I had some left-overs yesterday, too.  There was mozzarella and Gorgonzola, quite the combination along with crispy bacon, butternut squash, cucumbers and other tasty veggies.  It was sinful.  It was heavenly.  It was delicious.  And I knew that I was totally weak, had absolutely no will power, no ability to say no.  Then again, for someone who pretty much gets stuck eating salads everywhere I go due to limited options, I was not going to settle for a salad when there was gluten-free pizza on the menu!
I did learn a few things this week, though.  I learned that less dairy is definitely better for my system and that I need to keep up with my probiotics.  For those of you just delving into the world of probiotics, there are a lot of them out there on the market and a lot that really aren't worth much.  I use Jarro-Dophilus, which has 5 billion organisms per capsule and is room temperature safe, meaning I can toss a few in my purse and I can take one before a meal that may have potential gluten or dairy in it.  I have also been known to pop a probiotic before eating a totchos (tater tots as nachos...drool) at Analog in downtown San Diego or a cheese plate for dessert at Cucina Urbana...don't you just love the little smiley bacteria in the colon on the box?

I love food and the fact that I have food allergies limits me too much.  I really would rather enjoy life and deal with a little discomfort every now and then, than have to completely avoid the things I love.  Now as for gluten, I really can't indulge very often.  I did go to a beer and food tasting at Stone Brewery and was able to sample some brews without too much reprieve.  Eating gluten-loaded foods on the other hand would likely kill me.  I don't have celiac's disease, just a severe intolerance.  The dairy though, I'm not too sure about.  Still compiling data.

Recently I was told about another, very serious probiotic.  This is a type that you can really only get in certain places (Costco, I hear) from a pharmacist.  It's called VSL#3.  Apparently it packs quite the punch.  So far, I've only tried it twice so we'll see how it goes. 

So dairy and I don't get along so well and I usually have to use a buffer when we get together (kind of like bringing your wing man along on a blind date), so be it.  I should probably stop eating cheese and crackers and grilled cheese sandwiches, and I should probably stick to once a week on the cheese.

I would call this experiment a success.  I know my lactose limits and I know what I can do to increase those limits.

Now to keep working on the whole drinking 64 oz. of water thing.  I've really been trying, but I could definitely do better.  Maybe I need to get one of those beer hats, you know the ones with the two holders for cans and the straws...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Water: the cure-all

Day five of no dairy.  I think it's going pretty well.  A lot easier than I thought it would be.  The challenge for me now, is to drink more water. It shouldn't be a challenge, right?  I should be able to just keep a glass of water on the table next to me and refill it once it's empty...then repeat, right?  Right.

My mom used to drink a ton of water.  She'd have her water bottle with her at all times.  This was before personal water bottles were the "it" thing and you didn't find entire aisles of bottled water in the stores.  This was before Food and Water Watch showed us that you can't always believe what you read on the back of a bottle when it comes to the source.  She used to have this old beat up plastic water bottle that everyone knew was hers, because she was one of the only people I knew of that carried one.  These were the old-school water bottles, before BPA and all the other toxic chemicals were revealed as dangerous and we all started carrying around stainless steel bottles.  I wish now, that I'd started my habit of drinking water back then.

I think that the water obsession may have skipped a generation.  My daughter is an avid water drinker.  I could really learn a thing or two from her!

I was talking to my nutritionist friend and she was telling me that you should drink one ounce of water per pound.  Then there's the other adage that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.  That's 64 oz of water, but if we go by one ounce per pound, we're looking at double that!  That's a lot of water.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the Institute of Medicine suggests 13 cups of "beverages" for the average man and 9 cups of "beverages" for the average woman.  That seems pretty close to the 8 by 8 rule.

So, for now, I'll shoot for those 8 cups of water a day.  We'll see how it goes.  Until next time, drink up!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Cheese Touch

So far, so good I cheese for three days.  That is, if you don't count those two mini Butterfinger candy bars I took out of the candy baskets of my children.  Yes, I am a candy thief.  I did, however, read the ingredient list on my other favorite, the tootsie roll.  No dairy there, but I was a bit curious about the "artificial and natural flavors". 

Just what is the" natural" flavor in a tootsie roll?
Don't even get me started on the contents of ingredient lists and nutritional labels...

So back to this whole cheese thing.  Sunday was a bit rough.  My husband, the chef, who cannot seem to attend a single tailgate party for the Chargers without preparing three or four homemade, delicious dishes, made macaroni and cheese (with Boar's Head Monterrey jack no less) and sausage and peppers.  Now, homemade sausage and peppers is nice, but homemade macaroni and cheese is downright sinful.  Even with gluten-free pasta, the cheese is the most important part of the meal!  It wasn't too bad, really, until my son said, "Mommy, it's too cheesy!"  I just about stabbed a forkful of his macaroni right then and there, gluten and all!

Monday was good.  No real temptations, especially since my husband used up all of the cheese the day before.  The kids finished off the cream cheese on their little mini bagels for breakfast, so no threat of mistaking the cream cheese for the jelly when no one was looking.  Darn!

Today was okay, too.  I did notice less "issues" in the intestines today, which is nice because if they didn't subside I was ready to go RAW!  Though, after reading this I'm not so sure I have it in me to even go one week!  I do like the idea of a banana, spinach and water green smoothie.  Perhaps I'll have to try it someday and report back.

Tonight, I tried my hand at some serious pad thai.  It was a multi-step process that took a bit longer than I was expecting, but that's pretty typical of me.  I used something tonight that I've never used before: tamarind.  Its paste is made from the pod of a tree native to Africa, but much of it now comes from India.  It's kind of sweet and really fibrous and seedy so I had to reconstitute it.  That's culinary speak for adding water and letting it soften.  Then I had to push it through a "sieve" and I add it to my sauce.  It turned out pretty well.  I was kinda impressed with myself.  Sure, there are things I'd do differently but that comes with every new recipe I try.  I'm just glad there wasn't any cheese I had to substitute.  I don't know if I can go back to the rice cheese :P

For now, the dairy-free crusade continues.  I will try my best to make sure I stay off the dairy and I'll even try to stay off the butterfingers...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Add another "-free" to the list!

Wow, it's been a while since I've blogged.  Well, blogging hasn't been on the top of my list of things to do lately, mostly because it's been a VERY long list of things to do...
See, I could be blogging about Occupy this and Occupy that or the recent school closure discussions that have been hovering over San Diego Unified like a stinky cloud lately, but I wont.  No, today I really just feel like blogging about myself.

As a gluten-free eater I've had to rearrange my diet and pay more attention to nutrition labels.  As the mom of a daughter who was born with a dairy and soy allergy I got used to delving deeper into the nutritional content of everything in the house.  I had to remove all dairy and soy from my already scant diet while nursing my daughter, which aided in my milk supply drying up and me losing all of my baby weight rather quickly.  I noticed after I stopped nursing my daughter I still had trouble digesting dairy (or soy, who knows).

Oooh, intestines!!

Now that my daughter is four and has grown out of her birth-related allergies/intolerance, I have been focusing on just the gluten, wheat, rye, oats, barley, etc. for my diet restrictions.  Lately I've noticed that perhaps there may be another intolerance lurking within the walls of my intestines...It's not a fun thing to think about and most people don't like talking about their digestion habits.  Most of us either spend hours on Web MD or we sheepishly ask our doctors about why we're always so bloated, dancing around the real issue.  I have been refusing to admit an intolerance to dairy for a while.  Sure I cut back on it a year ago but MAN, I love cheese!

But, alas, I think the cheese has gotten the best of me.  I'm not the only one, though.  I know a lot of other women who have fallen victim to the dairy intolerance lately.  It seems that once we turn 30, a lot more than just wrinkles and grey hairs seem to reveal themselves.  According to WebMD, "Sometimes people who have never had problems with milk or dairy products suddenly have lactose intolerance. This is more common as you get older."

I've heard that technically we aren't supposed to be able to tolerate milk after we're one or two years old, anyway.  Those people who can tolerate lactose are more like genetic freaks than those who cannot digest lactose.  Though, at this point I can't remember where I heard that (but I will find out!).

So, today begins a week of being dairy-free.  This will be tough.  I know it will be tough because my diet often includes GF bagels and neufchatel, pepperoni and cheese, grilled cheese, or rice crackers and cheese.  Notice the cheese trend?  It will be hard.  I will do my best to check in and blog about my progress.  Perhaps it will help.