Monday, July 28, 2014

Visited the New Sprouts Farmers Market

I was on the north side this weekend for a few days. While out running around I passed by the new Sprouts Farmers Market on Scenic Hwy. in Lawrenceville. I'd been hearing about it on the radio and, being a healthy eater, "had" to stop in to check it out. I didn't have a lot of time so the following is based on my first, quick impressions.

There was a lot to like. Loads of fresh veggies, bright and cheery, friendly staff and a great selection of gluten-free foods.

As a fairly savvy price shopper I went on the prowl for things I buy often to compare value. I found that if you shop the sales (Van Gluten-Free Waffles, 2 for $5 as compared to a regular price of $3.17 at Kroger) then I came out ahead.

However, on many of my fave items I was dismayed at the high cost. I recently wrote about Against The Grain Pizza that I buy at Publix for a regular price of $9.99. It was $12.99 at Sprouts. Yikes, $3 hike!

I guy a rice bran bread (sorry, can't think of the name at the moment and I'm OUT). At Kroger it's $6.99, ditto for Sprouts. At Trader Joes it's regularly $4 and some change. A minimum of $2 difference.

I am always on the hunt for gluten-free/sugar-free items. The combination is hard to find. I found a Barbara's brand Rice Crispie that was fruit-juice sweetened*. I bought their last three boxes.

They had watermelon's for $1.98 --- a most excellent price. Many of their fruits and veggies were extremely well priced. I grabbed one of their sales fliers so I could peruse later and found some dynamite sales.

Bottom line - they're on my list of "to shop on a regular basis". I will shop the sales and grab the items that I can't find anywhere else. Sigh. I was hoping I would have found a one-stop-grocery-shop. Oh well, I did find a place that will allow me to incorporate more fresh vegetables and fruits at a lower price.

They will be opening two more locations in the Atlanta area in upcoming months:
August:
5130 Peachtree Pkwy.
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
678-690-1249

September:
3630 Peachtree Pkwy.
Johns Creek, GA 30024

I noted that they were opening 12 new locations around the U.S. in the near future. This is a store that is expanding FAST! Watch out Whole Foods and Trader Joes, they are going to give you some real competition. Course, you and I will be the beneficiary of that competition I'm guessing (or hoping).

*sugar free to me means no honey, fructose in any form, maple syrup, chemically made sweeteners (Splenda, etc.), corn syrup, etc. Fruit juice sweetened in find.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cutting back on dairy...

My son has been sharing videos and other info on meat, cheese, eggs, etc. that has me looking at narrowing my diet even more. I'm already pretty much totally vegetarian but not vegan. I eat cheese, eggs, milk sparingly. Cheese might be my biggest difficulty if I decide to go vegan.

I tried substituting almond milk for cow milk a while back. It just didn't work well in my hot tea in the morning. I ended up going 50-50, have of each. It wasn't the taste as much as the texture and how it mixed with my tea. I put twice as much almond milk and it still doesn't come close to the sensation on my tongue of cow milk and tea. Plus, I like my tea piping hot and a ton of almond milk cools it down too much.

I thought I'd toss my situation out to the world (or at least to those few who've found this blog) to see if you had any suggestions or better solutions than almond milk. Soy? Might give that a try.

Here's a few of the videos / programs I've watched if you're interested:

Food, Inc.
Forks over Knives
King Corn
Food Matters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4DOQ6Xhqss - trailer)

Watching this one now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6nGlLUBkOQ (The Men Who Made Us Fat)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Found a GOOD pizza!

I love a good pizza. I don't eat it often but when I do I find myself wishing for that same old taste I had before I moved over to the gluten-free life. It's just not worth the calories if it doesn't taste right.

I have tried all the take-out versions at the major chains and most of the local places, too. None of them rank high on my taste meter.

Most have cardboard thin crusts with no taste, a tiny bit of cheese atop with just enough sauce to cover the middle. If I get veggies I often can't see them yet I've paid top dollar for the strands of spinach and a few shriveled mushrooms.

The frozen varieties haven't tripped any taste-bud meters either. Until now...

I found "Against the Grain Gourmet" Three Cheese pizza at Publix. At least I hope it was Publix. I saw it somewhere, figured what the heck, I'd give it a try. I tossed it in the freezer and forgot about it until a few days ago.

It was GOOD. Granted, it's not exactly like the old pizzas I used to eat, but it was really good.

Another big plus for me is that the pizzas are sugar-free. It's hard to find anything these days that doesn't  have some sugar added to appease the sugar-addicted palates of most. 

I got the Three Cheese, not sure if they have others as I can't quite remember where I bought it. Since eating it I've eliminated all the other stores where I shop. I'm heading to Publix later to see if that's the right store. Hope so! If not I'll have to really put on my thinking cap.

I know it wasn't Kroger, Trader Joes, the Dekalb Famer's Market, Fresh Market, Ingles or Walmart. That pretty much leaves Publix.

It's a cool sounding company, too. I just read the "Who is Against the Grain?" blurb on the pizza box. 

Their box says they make all kinds of pizzas, rolls & bagels. I'm going to take a look at their website, AgainstTheGrainGourmet.com, to see where I can find other products in the Atlanta area. They're located in Brattleboro, Vermont. Their email is info@againstthegraingourment.com, phone is 802-258-3838.

My take on a few of the other gluten-free pizzas:

Annies - not a pizza. I add all kinds of stuff to it and try not to think about "pizza", try to think matzoh and cheese, or if I get their spinach gluten-free pizza I think weird bread.
Trader Joe's - makes Annies taste good.
Dominos - if you pile enough stuff on it from your fridge & re-heat it's passable, better than some of the other chains
Partner's Pizza - the best of the eat-out pizzas that I've found. They just moved to a new crust & I was the guinea pig for their first unveiling (accident of timing, not deliberate on their part). They re-cooked and went through three different pizzas before getting the crust cooked just right, gave me all of them to take home... it's pretty darned good! They are my place of choice for gluten-free pizza.
I'll add to the list as I think about the places I've eaten... or pizzas I've tried. Those are the only ones that come to mind at the moment.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why gluten free?

I ended up gluten-free by accident 2 1/2 to 3 years ago.

I went on a work trip with my son for not quite 5 days. He was doing Atkins. I wasn't dieting but chose to support his efforts by eating along for the trip. Being a vegetarian my choices were rather narrow when it came to eating out, which is what we had to do the entire 5 days.

We worked long days non-stop. Dinner was after 8 p.m., breakfast around 5 a.m. Lunch choices at the show zip so we ate almonds, sunflower seeds, veggies. He ate meat and cheese snacks.

I expected to be drained. Instead I was energized.

My afternoon slump went away. Digestive issues vanished. I slept great (of course, I attributed that to working my butt off all day!). I was working harder than I'd ever worked, standing on my feet for close to 12-hours straight and feeling better than I had at any time in the past gee-I-lost-count number of years.

When I got home I decided I really liked the way I felt. I realized I had gone cold-turkey in regards to sugar and carbs during those five days and survived. I was over the worst of the cravings, made easier by being engaged with work and people all day so I couldn't obsess over what I WASN'T eating. Or what I WANTED to eat.

However, I knew I'd never stick with a "diet". I needed a lifestyle of eating and living that didn't make me feel deprived. I didn't want to count calories or keep charts or think about food all day.

I did some research and settled on gluten-free. It would allow me to eat rice, potatoes, some carbs so I could eat fairly "normal" and have options when I went out. Once I educated myself I wouldn't have to think about it much (except, I've found, when I go out to eat).

I also decided to stay sugar-free. That was probably a tougher choice in some ways as sugar is in everything we buy these days. I'll write about that on another day.

It's a way of eating that worked for me. I don't look at pasta and crave it. I don't go out and see those gooey desserts and drool. The few times I do see something that remotely tempts me I remind myself of all those aches and pains that vanished completely. I think about how much I now accomplish because I have energy. I think about how well I sleep. The list goes on.

Oh, and just a side note, I also dropped well over 60 pounds without ever feeling deprived. I didn't go gluten-free to lose weight. It didn't even cross my mind that I would lose weight. However, a month or so into my new eating lifestyle, I got up one day, put on a pair of pants and found they'd stretched. My shirts had gotten bigger, too. Pretty soon I was at the store shopping for smaller sizes. It became fun to shop for clothes again.

I know that I won't ever go back. I don't care that many think of gluten-free as a "fad". I like the way I feel way too much.

- Janet McGregor Dunn is an artist and web designer. Her art can be found at www.JanetMcGregorDunn.com.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Fitness Journey

I just got home from my workout at Fitness 54. I go there most mornings. Most weeks I meet with Kristen, one of the trainers with NuVision, every day. M-W-F we do strength training. Tu - Th she puts me through my paces in the pool. And other than the days in the pool, my sessions start on the treadmill (warm-up) and end on the Arc Glider (post workout Cardio).

Sometimes my schedule doesn't allow for a workout. I'm ok with that.

But that is today. It's not where I started. And I was thinking about where I started this morning a lot. My former trainer (from MN) posted something on fb yesterday that really made me stop and think about journeys......fitness journeys.

In his post he maligned the three women who were on the elliptical machines. He was doing skier swings.... with weights. His comment: "Yeah, I'm pretty sure the 3 ladies "riding" the elliptical machine watching me do skier swing intervals thought that I (in bold) was the crazy one and that I (in bold) was the one that didn't know what the hell I was doing." Wait a minute. He knows nothing about them. Their journey. They were up and moving. Good for THEM!

I was thinking about this as I was on the Arc Glider at the gym. Someone could have come into the gym while I was on the glider and thought the same thing. They would not have seen the workout Kristen put me through that day. They would not have been able to see that in everything I did today, I did at a higher weight, higher intensity, than I did 3 - 4 weeks ago when I started with her.

They would not have known that in 2009 -- when I met the trainer in MN and started working with him -- I weighed over 210 lbs, could barely bend my knees, and often walked with a cane.

There a million reasons why those 3 women may have been on the elliptical and not doing skier swings. They should be applauded for having been doing s.o.m.e.t.h.i.n.g.

That leads me to my philosophy on fitness.
1. do what you can today.
2. do it again tomorrow. and the next day. Do it everyday (within reason of course) until you can do more.
3. Make that your new normal and repeat.

I'd love to hear about your fitness journey. Where are you at? Where would you like to be?

- Denise Prince is a weaver, spinner, and fiber artist in Peachtree City. She is also a traveler on the road to better fitness.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New find at Publix

I'm always on the hunt for new gluten-free foods. Personally, I'm a bit weirder in my eating habits than most... I don't do gluten, sugar or meat so my personal choices are fairly narrow. Not that I ever go hungry! However, I have family members who aren't as strict as I am.

I'm also not into cooking, at least not the kind of cooking that takes long preparation or entails a ton on ingredients. Been there, done that, now I value my time away from the kitchen quite a bit more. So, frozen, toss in the microwave or toaster oven is high on my list of "looking-fors" when I shop.

I've been searching for a frozen, coated, gluten-free chicken product that wouldn't kill the budget. Today I found it.

Tyson now has Gluten Free, Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets. No fillers, no added hormones or steroids. No artificial ingredients. No preservatives. Frozen, of course! Ingredients listed are: chicken breast with rib meat, water, salt and natural flavor. The breading is rice flour, water, yellow corn flour, corn starch, natural sea salt, spices, torula yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, xanthan gum, paprika extract, annatto extract. Breading set in vegetable oil.

No trans fats. No sugar.

18 oz. for $7.99 which, when compared to most of the gluten free stuff kicking around out there, is very reasonable.

I'm waiting on my taste-tester to try some and vote, but I'm guessing it'll be good. They look "normal".

If you've tried them, let me know what you thought about them.