Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gluten free - 1 month!

Wow, has it really been a whole month of gluten free? Yes, yes it has.

And it is going well.

I went to three restaurants this week:

The Egg and I- super helpful staff who answered my questions and came out to the table to tell me how they were preparing the frittata I ordered.

BJs- love their gf pizza!

Ruggles Green- it is a really good thing I don't live closer to this place because I would eat there every day. Amazing gf fish tacos and they have a pretty decent selection of gf items as well.

This week I focused on cooking more meals:

Quinoa with yellow-curried apples, green beans and tofu. The lead-in picture to this post. Probably sounds weird but it was super yummy!

Quinoa pasta with organic chicken, sauteed in Annie's Tuscan dressing

Baked tilapia with roasted mushrooms and asparagus

Each of these took maybe 40 minutes top to prepare and cook and made about 3 servings apiece, so plenty for lunches and dinners.

Oops...gotta go pull out my baked chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and mushrooms from the oven, that's my lunch for tomorrow :)


That's what this week has been, a rollercoaster.

Now if you had asked me how my week has been on Friday, I would have said GREAT. So, apparently, it was a very unsymmetrical rollercoaster...

I got in 3 great workouts during the week:
Monday - 4 mile walk
Tuesday - 600m swim
Wednesday - 3 mile walk and 10 minutes on the elliptical
Took Thursday and Friday off 'cause I had some long work days and evening plans

I introduced short running periods of about 1 minute every 3/4 mile or so and my back was doing well. Still the ever present "hi, I am your back and I am not normal", but nothing awful.

Then yesterday, I went on a walk...I wanted to go 5 miles. I started out at a slower than normal pace, due to the distance and wanting to up the amount of time I was trying running (from 1 minute to 2 minute). About a half a mile in, I knew it was going to be a rough hip joints were stiff, oh hello Disease...back was okay though. I ended up doing 4.3 miles and was a bit gimp on the part home (and walking SLOWLY). The back really wasn't bad, it actually felt pretty good on the runs. It was just my whole body. Why can't my body listen to what my mind and heart want it to do? Dumb body needs to grow some ears...oh wait...

You see, I had this somewhat secret goal of walking the Galveston Mardi Gras Half Marathon on February 20th...which just happens to be my 30th birthday. And I came to the realization yesterday that it is just not going to happen at this time. I can't make it through 5 miles without being pretty uncomfortable. So...disappointment city.

It happens. I know. And I can think about the fact that I still locomoted 4.3 miles...that's pretty good considering the past 6 months and yes I am happy about it...if it wasn't for that thorn-in-my-side-not-meeting-my-goal-of-walking-the-half-marathon.

So I am working through it. Me and God that is. Tough questions being asked, tears being shed, learning a new level of being patient and waiting on Him. Thinking about the "short term" makes me want to cry...but thinking about the "long term"... I know He is working this for His good and He will be glorified and I will learn a WHOLE lot in the process.

Sometimes the process has it's stinky moments....

One step at a time...Philippians 3:14

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gluten free - week 3

No huge gf epiphanies this week. Feeling like I am getting into a good pattern. Recognizing how important it is for me to carry a gf granola bar or some nut crackers in my purse/keep at my desk at work, in case my schedule changes unexpectedly and meal-time is delayed...can't just swing by a Sonic or Quiznos for my dinner anymore.

My favorite meal this week is just a twist on an old-fall back: bean burritos :)

Using white corn tortillas, organic fat-free refried black beans, gf green chile sauce, fresh spinach, and a bit of cheese, I can easily whip up two burritos and zap them in the microwave.

The twist of course, is the corn tortillas and gf green chile sauce. I have never been a huge fan of corn tortillas...but I am working on it...

I had a movie night last night with some girlfriends and while I can't eat microwaveable popcorn (and alas! I have yet to find an air-popper that isn't possessed and insists on spewing popcorn EVERYWHERE except the bowl), I CAN eat Pirate's Booty- it's puffed rice and corn! Score!

A Way with Words

I am reading this fantastic book called, A Way with Words, by Christin Ditchfield. I heard about it through Carolyn McCulley's blog after she sang it's praises.

This book discusses our speech, how women speak WAY more than men (okay, so that wasn't new information :) ), and how we need to be so very careful of how we use our words.

So far this book has been extremely convicting and practical. The author uses both real-world examples and Biblical examples to describe how we, specifically as women, can use our words to manipulate, encourage, tear down, show kindness, and alienate.

She quotes many historically famous women, some I have heard of (Sojouner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt...) and some I haven't. My favorite quote so far that really struck a chord:

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment" - Dorothy Neville

I highly recommend this book...and I am only on chapter 2!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gluten free - week 2...and Dallas

Figured I would roll two posts into one, since I kinda forgot to take pictures (well, I took two...of food :)) of my trip this past 3-day weekend to Dallas (really, Granbury) to visit my friends, the Frazier family. It's so awesome to not have to fly for 22 hours to visit them :) (Houston to Dallas = 44 minutes). Anyhow, it was a great time of catching up (pretty sure Colette and I talked the entire time :)) . Good times. We baked gf dark chocolate chunk cookies, compliments of Pamela's Products mixes (substituted applesauce for the butter). They were a bit chewier than your normal chocolate chip cookies, but I liked them, and so did Colette (Brian tried one I think, not sure what he thought though...). And only 6g of sugar per cookie!

Week 2 of gluten free went well. I tried out three different restaurants (Thai Cottage, BJs, and Jason's Deli). BJs was my favorite, with some pretty phenomenal gf pizza (I topped mine with artichoke hearts and mushrooms). But the others were tasty too (veggies soft spring rolls (TC) and a sandwich with gf bread (JD)).

My biggest realization of gf this week is that calorie counting is a bit different and that gf foods have a higher fat content than I am used to eating. Now, I pay attention to how many calories I eat because I am a triathlete...that is, when I am not on the injured train ;-)...I have to make sure I eat enough to replenish what I burn off during training workouts. The habit has stuck, which I figure isn't really a bad long as counting doesn't consume me, so I'm not very exact in my counting, just giving myself a rough idea. Anyhow, I discovered the higher than expected calorie numbers when toasting some prairie bread I bought at Whole Foods. Each slice was 160 calories!!! Now, this is because most gf stuff is made with some type of nut flour- which means higher calories and fats...but it's the good fat, so that does make it better...still, that makes for a hefty sandwich if you're just looking for a light snack! It's a bit of an adjustment for me, seeing numbers like those on what I am eating. For instance, I was estatic to score some Thai-brand microwave meals for $1.80 apiece at Kroger. Sweet! Until I got home and actually read the nutrition label- 520 cal and 66% of my daily sodium! Yikes! All for some peanut thai noodles, with no veggies or really not much nutrition in general. Bad Melissa. I will say, that Amy's meals are awesome and definitely worth the extra cost- all organic ingredients and very well balanced nutritionally....definitely more "clean eating".

So, I've decided to avoid pre-made meals as much as possible (I only allow myself to buy two Amy's meals per week, just for those "I'm-so-tired-it's-a-challenge-to-even-push-Start-on-the-microwave" days). Hence why I have some spinach and mushroom gf risotto and sauteed asparagus and zuchinni on the stove right now... looking forward to lunch tomorrow :)

Airport snack- almond crackers and gf pretzel sticks

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gluten free - 1 week

Gluten free (gf) for one week...done. Even managed to make some gf chicken noodle soup for a few sick days this week (rice noodles and gf chicken broth, with some tasty toasted flax seed bread)

My meals this week consisted of some combination of the below:

Breakfast- coffee and a bowl of gf steel cut oats
Lunch- quinoa/corn pasta with gf sauce, veggies, cheese sticks, Blue Diamond Nut Thins (yum!), fruit (I've also found some tasty Amy's gf meals that work in a pinch too)
Dinner- similar to lunch, braised red cabbage and portabella mushrooms with feta, cottage cheese, eggs, gf chicken nuggets (tasty and healthy too!), chocolate soy milk, fruit, gf soups with toasted flax bread, veggies (zuchinni, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes)

At some point I plan to make mini-turkey meatloafs with the new gf breadcrumbs I bought today, but I generally don't eat a lot of meat. I do beans as well, but this week was weird due to the sick thing...I pretty much went for "no work required" for what my meals consisted of :). In general, I think this gf diet will be very doable, it hasn't been a huge change from my normal eating far :)

The biggest challenge that I have encountered so far is going to be finding sauces that I recent foray into gluten free ranch salad dressing and BBQ sauce weren't very successful. And finding a good protein bar...I love my Odwalla bars, but alas, however natural they are, they still include gluten, so I am now on the hunt to find a bar that is natural, has decent protein, doesn't taste like cardboard, and is wallet friendly. I may just end up making my own bars...I've found a few recipes online that look pretty tasty.

My friend Erica came with me to Whole Foods today to point out some tasty gluten free products (like some yummy pretzels!). Between this store, two local grocery stores (Kroger and HEB), and some online ordering, I think I'm pretty well covered for groceries, with many options to choose from.

A kind co-worker, who I have never actually met, left a bag of Pamela's Products Bread mix (I have yet to try it) and the most amazing flour called "Better Batter" on my desk the other day. You can use BB mix as a cup for cup substitute for whatever you normally use in recipes. And I did. And my zucchini muffins came out just as tasty as my usual recipe :D. And probably a bit healthier due to the chia seeds I added for a protein, fiber, and Omega-3 boost.

Gf Zuchinni Muffins

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Aqua shoes!

I took advantage of end of the year sales (woot!) and bought a pair of AQX aquatic shoes for my aquajogging. There are a lot of good shoes out there for aquajogging, but these are the only ones that I found that are designed to increase your drag in the water, which means a harder workout...and you all know I love a challenge :). Now, if I could just kick this cold so I can get in the pool and try them out...

Definitely increasing the nerd factor by adding these to my aquajogging getup ;-)