Going GF

Two excellent blog posts were posted yesterday about being and going gluten free. If you are gluten free, are thinking of going gluten free, or know someone gluten free, they might be useful to check out:
The Gluten Free Diet from Elana’s Pantry
Nothing but ‘net from No Gluten No Problem

For me, I have to strongly agree with Pete and some of the findings from parents; social eating for me can still be one of the hardest things. There are certain people who cook for me that I trust. They understand the risks of cross contamination and have taken special steps to be able to cook for me safely (how many friends have dedicated sugar and peanut butter in their houses, just to make things for you?!? I do!). But most other people, if I’m even feeling a little off, I’ll pass on what they offer me. These days I really don’t want to risk not feeling well just to appease someone else. And the recent research that shows that even ‘gluten free’ ingredients that aren’t tested can still be cross contaminated with gluten makes me even more worried. Thankfully more and more people are getting educated and so I find it easier and easier to be gluten free. I live in an area of the country where I can easily find gluten free food and ingredients. I can even safely eat out at restaurants! I can finally, after 7 and a half years of being gluten free, say that I’m thankful for having Celiac Disease. I eat healthier than I ever have and I have a much deeper appreciation for my food because of it.

No titles here

Can I call it starting over if I didn’t start to begin with?

12 sun salutations
15 count triangle pose
40 crunches
10 leg ups
15 girly pushups

I’m also counting the crunches and pushups as a hopeful return to the 200 sit up and 100 push up challenges.

500 Fruits: Update #2

With this next set of 10, I think pears might be making their way into my usual fruit rotation. I really liked the packham’s and d’anjou pears. I’m really enjoying this project and it’s been fun to get some of my coworkers involved. One has bought me fruits twice now that I haven’ tried, which I think is awesomely sweet. I also think I’m going to need to keep this list on both my fridge and office door so that I can remember better what I’ve had.

30. Packham’s Triumph pear
29. Cantaloupe
28. Rainier cherries (we think)
27. Red Anjou Pear
26. Asian pear (which will not be making it’s way into my usual rotation) **turns out the one I had likely wasn’t ripe enough, I’ve been advised to try one again, but make sure it’s ripe.
25. Bell pepper (red)
24. D’anjou pear
23. Pluot
22. Black plum
21. Red Plum
20. green seedless grapes
19. grape tomatoes
18. Blueberries (crappy blueberries, but none the less, they still count)
17. Avocado (though the one I had in Costa Rica was *WAY* better)
16. vine on tomato
15. Nectarine
14. Apricot
13. Raspberries
12. Navel orange
11. Peach
10. Seedless red grapes
9. passion fruit
8. strawberries
7. kiwifruit
6. Banana – Oh, so THIS is what a banana tastes like!
5. Guanabana
4. Papaya
3. Plum – Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a plum before. Shame because I might actually like ‘em.
2. Mango
1. Watermelon

Reading aka Massive Link Love

I read. A LOT. All the time. I was the kid who would read the entire cereal box. I was well into the adult section in the public library in middle school because the young adult section just didn’t have enough for me any more (and that was saying a lot, as we had a good library).
These days I don’t have much time for books. Which is a shame, but I’m sure at some point a bit later in my grad school career I’ll have time again to read BOOKS for *pleasure*. It is something I miss. These days I keep it to blogs and scientific literature. If you don’t already, I highly suggest getting yourself a gmail account and using the Reader function. It’s a great easy way to keep track of blog posts. Because trust me, there is no way I’d ever be able to keep up with 83 74 websites and their posts if it were not for Reader (as I started writing this, I realized that I really needed a feed clean out, 9 sites went in an either ‘you don’t post any more or I don’t like reading you any more’ cut).

So what the hell do I read? See below if you need some reading ideas (or more ways to procrastinate). I’m not saying that all of these blogs or sites are 100% stellar, but I get something out of all of them. Whether it be humor, gluten free information, or science articles that could make or break my PhD, I find them all useful.

Gluten Free – There are tons of gluten free blogs out there these days. I can’t pretend to keep up with them.
Elana’s Pantry
Gluten Free Anna – Recipes, Food, Restaurants, and Hollywood
Gluten Free [Cooking School]
Gluten Free Food Reviews
Gluten Free Gobsmacked
Gluten Free on a Shoestring
Gluten Free Philly
Gluten-Free Bay
Gluten-Free Girl
Hey, that tastes good!
Karina’s Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes
No Gluten, No Problem
Gluten Free Girl recommends
Sixty Recipes in Sixty Days
The Essential Gluten-Free Blog
Kitchen Therapy
Aprovechar
CeliacChicks
What do you want to eat??
A Life of Sugar and Spice
Four Chickens

Food – I like reading about food in general too.
101 Cookbooks
Cheap Healthy Good
The Whole Kitchen
use real butter
Simply Recipes
Green Your Plate
Food Renegade

Fun – I need humor in my life. Often. In weird ways.
ROFLrazzi
PhD Comics
Pundit Kitchen
Questionable Content
The Oatmeal
xkcd
I Can Has Cheezburger?
I Has A Hotdog!
It Made My Day

Fitness – Or perhaps Health. Not sure, either way this is my new obsession.
[ 265andfalling ]
fit36
Get Fit Slowly
Hire the smart, fat girl.
So Long, Fat Ass!

Life Things to Think About – These four links are actually huge. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to me to have friends, what failure is for me, and how to make my life my own. These four sites are having a huge impact on me and how I think about things.
A Practical Wedding
MWF Seeking BFF
The Art of Non-Conformity
The Happiness Project

Other
angry chicken
Eating in Madison A to Z
SlickDeals
Small Notebook
The Manwife Chronicles
Mighty Girl

Personal Finance – I’ve read less and less on Personal Finance since I got my own finances under control. At this stage though, I do still need reminders every once in a while to spend less than I earn.
fivecentnickel
Get Rich Slowly
Frugal Babe
The Non-Consumer Advocate

Science – I won’t bore you with all the links here. But if you are into Microbiology, the journals below are a really good starting point to keep up on what is happening in the field, and really science in general.
Myrmecos
The Ant Hunter
Environmental Microbiology
Environmental Microbiology Reports
Environmental Entomology
Nature
Nature Reviews Immunology
Nature Reviews Microbiology
Molecular Microbiology
Science
Current Opinion in Microbiology
Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Food choices

Anyone who has ever dieted, developed food allergies or intolerances (or autoimmune diseases associated with food), knows how very important food choices are. Of course this gets to the ideas discussed in books like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, a topic that occupies my mind often.

I came back from Costa Rica a few pounds lighter than when I went there. Of course this is no surprise, but I really don’t think it’s due to increased exercise alone. I’ve even managed to lose a few more pounds since then, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why. Here’s my lovely PhysicsDiet chart to illustrate my point:

This got me thinking about the food I ate while I was in Costa Rica and the food that I eat here, particularly because I saw a great reduction in belly swelling alone from being in Costa Rica. While I’m sure I could attribute some of the weight lose to increased exercise, surly not all of it can be, particularly the loss of my belly. The belly swelling to me suggests that I’m reacting to a food(s) I eat. I ate tons of fruit (sugars) while I was in Costa Rica along with rice, potatoes and corn (carbs), and plenty of meat (chicken, pork, fish and beef). I certainly consumed salt. I also had dairy almost every day in the form of a La Selva mocha (scoop or two of sugar and cocoa, a bit of milk, top with coffee). I also had ice cream a few times. The only thing I can figure out is that I didn’t consume in any real quantity soy, HFCS, or oatmeal while I was there. My processed meat consumption was also low.

It’s obvious to me that my body is reacting to something here in the form of a somewhat swollen belly. The problem is that even of the foods I listed, I still don’t consume much of them at home (ok, other than oatmeal). The simple fact of eating few processed foods cuts out large amounts of soy and HFCS. I rarely drink soda these days. The only measurable amount of soy I eat is usually in the form of gluten free soy sauce in a stir fry. So I’m left wondering what changes I need to make to help my body function better and get this belly swelling down (which has already started to return). So I’m considering dropping the oats for a month, being even more mindful of where soy comes into my diet, and of course limiting HFCS as much as I can (the irony is that we had Garlic Chicken for dinner {with soy sauce} and I followed it with an Icee pop {full of HFCS}). I’m going to continue trying to up my fruit intake. I’m not sure what other changes to try. Any suggestions?

500 Fruits – update #1

I thought since I’ve reached 20, I’d talk a little bit about the why and how of my 500 fruits project. While I certainly am a list oriented person, I’m not just doing this to make a list of fruits I’ve tried. I’m also hoping to do that whole ‘broaden your horizons’ thing along with maybe finding a few new things I might like to add to my usual eating routine.
The guidelines I’m following: If it’s a ripened ovary of a plant and it’s edible, it counts as a fruit in my book. I’m also counting anything that might already be considered a fruit to normal people. What this means is that tomatoes count (they are the ripened ovary of the tomato plant), and so do strawberries (which are ‘accessory fruits’ which do not develop from the plants ovaries). The first is a true fruit to me, the second would be a fruit to any normal person. I’m also letting variants/strains/cultivars count. Would you consider a red bell pepper to be the same as a jalapeno? Odds are no; you think they are different. But both come from the same genus of plant (Capsicum annuum), but since I’d rarely use a bell pepper where I’d use a jalapeno, I’m going to let both count. For all of these to count though, they need to be in their truest form possible. If I can safely eat it raw, that is how I should do it.

So here’s my first 20:
20. green seedless grapes
19. grape tomatoes
18. Blueberries (crappy blueberries, but none the less, they still count)
17. Avocado (though the one I had in Costa Rica was *WAY* better)
16. vine on tomato
15. Nectarine
14. Apricot
13. Raspberries
12. Navel orange
11. Peach
10. Seedless red grapes
9. passion fruit
8. strawberries
7. kiwifruit
6. Banana – Oh, so THIS is what a banana tastes like!
5. Guanabana
4. Papaya
3. Plum – Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a plum before. Shame because I might actually like ‘em.
2. Mango
1. Watermelon

CSA season has started!

CSA season started for me last Thu. I picked up my first box from Vermont Valley Community Farm. Included in my first box was spinach, salad mix, turnips, lettuce head, chives, radishes, rhubarb, and potatoes. We also got a small basil plant.

Me being me, I’ve already hit the salad hard core and am almost done with the salad mix. Mmmmm, leafy greens.

For the amount of food I got, I think Vermont Valley will be a better CSA fit for me. I think I’ll end up wasting less because a bit less comes in the box. But there will be, I think, a few things that I’ll miss about my Harmony Valley CSA share. I think Harmony Valley does a better job at helping people with their shares in the sense of what they can do with it and letting them know (ideally) a day or so ahead what they’ll be getting in their box. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Vermont Valley so far.