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

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.

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.