Why gluten free for me?

Since my doctor's plan for me is to reduce/remove white food items to reduce my triglycerides (they dropped 117 pts in 1 month on this diet), you may wonder why I post links & recipes that are gluten free.  Well, since I'm already cutting out white flour, I might as well cut out wheat flour and see how I feel.  I rarely eat bread now anyway.  So, the difference is in how I bake other things that are normally made with wheat. Wheat is an item that was on my list of allergies as a child.  I don't know whether I was highly allergic to it or not, as there were many things on the list.  A process of elimination was used and food items were slowly added back into my diet.  I assumed I'd grown out of many of these allergy items, but likely my tolerance has increased and decreased during my lifetime.  My general feeling of wellness is much better on this diet.  That makes complete sense. In addition to specific health benefits for me, eliminating white stuff removes most processed things from my diet, meaning no HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), preservatives, nitrites, food coloring, substitute sugars, etc.  They're all poisons and toxins. It also forces me to eat more fruit and vegetables because I have to eat something!  How could I not feel better?!!  I do want to say that usually people who have cholesterol problems eliminate some of the good basics like lean meat, eggs & cheese.  Animal products.  I thought that too, until my doctor asked me to try the "no white" diet.  The results were amazing!!  I eat, and even rely on, the protein that comes from lean meat, eggs and cheese.  Afterall, we do need to eat a balanced diet.  I must say this, that it is important to do what your doctor asks.  People have different health issues.  The other components of cholesterol (HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol) are not my main problem.  They are related, and the numbers do reflect the spikes of high triglycerides, but the target for me is to reduce my tri's!  My doctor said that HDL and LDL are like slow moving waves.  Triglycerides spike and drop quickly.  That's why my blood test right after winter break showed that my tri's were up again.  Ha, ha... too many holiday sweets for me!  Not as high as last spring, prior to starting this diet, but high enough for me to get really serious again about my diet.  This is an interesting process!  I'm learning a lot about how much cheating I can get away with!  Not much!  :-\  I'm learning about the glycemic (sugar) index and how it affects our body.  I must say that I am thankful that this is my health issue.  It can be a hassle, but I know it could be SO much worse!  Besides, it makes me eat healthier and educate about and feed my family healthier foods.  Though we've always primarily ate at home, made home lunches, and generally avoided fast food, we're fine-tuning it and that's a plus.  They don't always think so, but I don't make them eat like I do.  

The other component to this change in lifestyle, is more exercise.  We all know that exercise helps our bodies in many ways, including cholesterol.  There's something about knowing you HAVE to do something (or go on drugs - which I choose not to), that motivates you to put those tennis shoes on and work at it!!  I hate to run, but I'm back at it.  My ability to easily do other forms of exercise (zumba classes, for example) changed and I needed a good cardio exercise I could do at home.  So, I run!  In fact, I'm involved in a running group, and am signing up for my first 5k in April!  Some of my kids are planning on it too!  YAY!  I'm excited!  Setting this goal has helped me with my running!

Thanks for reading!  I urge you all to exercise more, eat healthier and eat less fast food (including store-bought "fast" food).  Let's get those toxins & poisons out and feel better! :)

The yummiest GF brownies!!

Last fall, I was at my son's regional band competition.  At the snack table there was a plate of Gluten Free Brownies, so I bought one for $.50 to try it!  YUM!  I was amazed how good they were, so I asked for the recipe.  Here it is, and included is a basic baking mix.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Baking Mix
2 C fine white rice flour (or Bean Flour Blend or brown rice flour (which I used))
2/3 C tapioca flour
1 tbsp sugar (or add 1 tbsp to brown sugar)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp Xanthan
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 C powdered buttermilk
Mix and store in airtight conainer.  Makes approx. 3 cups.

Delicious GF Brownies!
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 (12 oz.) sticks butter
2 C sugar (brown for lower glycemic)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 C buttermilk baking mix
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and cocoa squares.  Microwave on high for 2 min.  (I used the stove on a very low setting until they were both melted.)  Mix until chocolate and butter are melted. Mix in sugar and add the vanilla and eggs. Finally add the baking mix and stir well. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350o for 25 minutes. Enjoy!!


I just HAVE to share with you this new recipe!  It has quite a story, so here goes!

A few months ago, I rolled my van!  It was an experience that I never want to repeat, and hope that I don't.  What happened was tragic to me right at the moment it happened, more than any reason (though there was nothing good about it), because I was on my way to a very nice weekend away with my family that we all had been looking forward to.  I had my dogs in my packed van, was going to pick up my middle school daughter, drop the dogs at our kennel, and meet up with my college age daughter (who attends college 6 hrs. away) and my husband and 2 sons (who were hunting in the mountains) in a city in central WA.  Wenatchee is half-way between us and our daughter, and our guys were nearby there.  Us girls were planning on going to Leavenworth, a Bavarian village in the mountains, to window-shop while the guys hunted.  Anyway, the dogs were worked up as it had been awhile since they had gone riding.  One dog kept jumping into the front seat where she is not supposed to be!  I was very upset with her, and had already made her to go to the back once.  She was trying to jump to the front again, when I put out my hand to stop her.  At that point, the road has a slight curve to the left, and I got my right wheel off the wet pavement (no shoulder), and there was 6 in. between the pavement and a ditch there (confirmed later).  I remember being angry and yanking on the steering wheel to pull it back on the road, but couldn't do so and I rolled it into the ditch and ended up being upside down and watched the shattered windshield fall like a curtain!  Right away the van filled with smoke, which I didn't realize was from the airbags.  That got me moving to the back and out the side door quickly to get us out.  I was going about 45 mi./hr. and didn't have a front-end impact, so it seemed a bit like a "gentle" roll, if that were possible!  My seat belt and airbags protected me, and I only had bruises from the airbags and steering wheel on my arms.  I did get a 1 in. cut on the head, which gave them concern and therefore required a trip to the hospital. I was shook up (the dogs too, which seemed uninjured) but thought I was ok.  Then the task of figuring out, in my state of shock, what to do about the dogs and my daughter waiting for me at school.  The cop ended up taking my dogs to the kennel for me, and my friend Donna went to pick up my daughter. 

So, here's where the recipe comes in!  My friend took my daughter to her home, where she had several people there helping with grape harvest and processing grape juice.  Then she went to find my van and see what she could do to help.  She gathered up as much stuff as she could (horrified to see my laptop case on the road as she pulled up!) and took it back to her place.  She also saw a hatchet laying behind the passenger seat, which really upset her!  We didn't realize we had not removed our hatchet from camping from the back compartment of the van.  It didn't stay there.  It flew!  YIKES!  Zip-tie stuff to the seat frames, friends!!  Everything goes airborne in a roll-over!  In the jumble of upturned grocery bags, etc., there was a freshly-washed bag of apples.  The zip-loc bag had held (good advertising!) and they were still inside.  James L., one of those helping at her house, took my daughter under his wing and they made "Car Crash Apple Cake," otherwise known as "Raw Apple Cake."  This has become a joke around here... because it's kind of like making lemon bars out of lemons!  Something sweet came of a truly bitter experience.  As it was much better than it could have been, we decided we will accept it.  It was a bad experience, yes, but I lived through it, our guys lived through the crazy ride out of the mountains to get to the hospital (not knowing how bad the head injury was), and I was really not injured very badly.  My boss said "...you must have had an angel watching over you!"  I feel that way too!  I appreciate everyone who helped us that day!  It renewed my belief in true friendship!!

So, this cake is truly fabulous!  The night of my accident, after my sweet substitute mom, Ruth, drove me home from the hospital (no room in the truck) and kindly washed my hair for me, my friend Donna brought over some of that Car Crash Apple Cake!  After a hit on the head, I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination or the thought that I was alive that made the cake sweet, but I confirmed it when I made it later that it was truly awesome!  I made it with white flour and white sugar the first time... just to be sure I could end up with a good product, but tonight I made it with brown sugar and spelt flour!!!  Wow... it worked!  I saw online that you can substitute spelt for white flour in a reduced amount (3/4 C spelt is the equivalent to 1 C flour).  It was sooo tasty and I felt much better eating it, just knowing that I was following my diet!! 

Raw Apple Cake

(from James L. 2010)

4 C raw apple, cut into chunks
2 C sugar  (can substitute brown sugar)
½ C cooking oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 C nuts, chopped
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour  (can substitute 1 1/2 C spelt flour)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves (opt.)
1 tsp salt

In one bowl, place apples in and mix with the sugar. Add oil and stir thoroughly. Stir into this the nuts, beaten eggs and vanilla. In a second bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Blend dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, alternating while stirring. Use either an ungreased 9x13” baking dish or a spring form pan with a center tube (parchment paper helps). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cake will pull away from the sides near the finish time. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. Enjoy! YUMMY!

Here's some info. about spelt:  http://nutrition.about.com/od/grainsandcereals/p/spelt.htm

My wish for you is that the best thing that happened to you last year is the worst thing that happens to you this year!  HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011!!! 


Hello!!  How are you all enjoying the winter?  Did any of you see the winter solstice lunar eclipse last night?  It was cloudy here, so we didn't see it!  Bummer! 

The most recent news with me is... nothing yet!  I am waiting to get into my doctor on January 6th.  I will have news for you after that about what my triglycerides are doing.  I have been eating a bit more sloppily lately, I must confess!  I'm having a hard time with the holiday desserts, and am getting a little nervous about what my blood test is going to show.  I think it should still be ok, as I do eat better than I used to (before last April).  I guess I'll see then how "touchy" my triglyceride count is!  It dropped so incredibly fast, does it also increase that easily?  I hope not!  We'll see soon...

I wanted to tell you about a blog I heard about, it's called Lexie's Kitchen - http://www.lexieskitchen.com/.  There's some great looking recipes in there, which I really want to try! 

I am wishing you all some wonderful holidays these next 2 weeks!  I am off work, which is hard since I don't get vacation pay, but am happy to be home with my 4 teenagers, and one extra 17 year old who has flown here from MN to spend the break with my sons.  All is well when there's happy kids, so we look forward to good times!!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS and a successful NEW YEAR in 2011!! 


I'm back!

For you followers, I'm really sorry.  I've had a busy summer and fall!  I was gone for a month in the summer, and when I got back we were gone several weekends and I was working during the weeks.  So summer just flew by.  This fall I've decided to go back to college.  I have an AA degree, and checked into what it would take to be ready to transfer to a Univ. to finish up.  I only needed 4 classes.  So I'm working on them!  I hope to be done in a few years and on to TEACHING! :)  I'll try to update this blog more often. 

I have continued to eat much better!  My Dr. wanted another blood test in 6 months, so that will be Nov-Dec.  I'm anxious to see what my numbers are, but am confident that they will be good.  I have lost 15 pounds over the past 5 months - very slowly -  but I'm happy about that!!  I almost completely avoid grains now (except oatmeal most mornings), but do the whole grain thing as much as possible when I do eat them. I rarely eat white flour.  For me, I think that's more important than avoiding white sugar.  Bread isn't a part of my life very much anymore.  As far as sweetness, I opt for agave, honey or brown sugar instead of white sugar when possible.  I am pretty careful, but not super strict about it like I was when I was experimenting to see if the whiteless diet would work. I'm still thrilled it did! :)

The Importance of Exercise:
Since I work at the YMCA, I am much more aware of the importance of exercise.  I doubt I would be able to lose weight, even as careful as I am, unless I continued to exercise.  I proved that when I was gone for a month.  I didn't lose.  It's a combination that works, if I don't cheat on either too much.  I have set aside one day a week where I eat a normal/big meal.  Sunday is usually the day.  I've heard this is true, that our body will adjust to whatever we do.  So, I try to "trick" it into thinking that I am not "starving" myself, by having some days that are a little higher in calories.  We all know about that "starvation mode" thing where your body holds on to every little bit of fat because it thinks that it will need it because we're not eating enough.  So, that's why we should eat a little more normally one or two days a week.  By the way, I don't starve.  I just try to eat good things more and more often.  I stick to a lot of the same things that I like and are good for me.  Such as, I eat a banana almost every single day.  It's filling and healthy.  I make sure I have plenty of protein.  I eat nuts.  Salads with nuts, cheese, meat or egg.  Small amounts of lean meats.  Everyone needs to find their own way of eating that works for them.  The exercise is really important.  We only have to do a brisk 40 min. walk 3x a week to make an impact on our metabolism.  Keep that heart rate up for 30 min. at least.  Within a few weeks your metabolism starts to increase.  If we quit exercising, it also goes back down within a week or two.  Keeping that metabolism up is what helps us burn fat consistently faster.  The impacts of exercise go far, far beyond that.  It prevents disease, it improves our mental outlook, we sleep better, etc.  I always feel much better when I exercise.  I know how difficult it can be, so making a schedule or something helps me accomplish it!!  Taking an exercise class is the thing that's worked the best for me.  I love fun exercise, either in a class or walking/running/biking outside.  I can rarely keep up an exercise routine if it's on a treadmill or a stationary bike, but that's just me.  If that works for you, GO FOR IT! :)  Keep it fun, and if it means treating yourself (at least at the beginning until you start to crave exercise) to something really small afterward as an incentive, do so!  Don't let that get out of hand though.  I never used to exercise.  I was lazy I guess.  I didn't grow up doing sports, and really didn't enjoy P.E.  Working where exercise is a focus, has made me realize how good it is for us.  I see lots of older people who are trying to start exercising because their doctors told them to.  Well, that's where I'm at also.  Exercise impacts high triglyceride levels.  It's never too late to start!

I always appreciate thoughts and imput, so feel free!  Whiteless recipes too!  I would love them!!  Remember:  Smiles are infectious and humor is healthy!!  :)


How to Personalize a Healthy Diet

Exerpt (see link)
It's easier than you think. Putting together a healthy diet with the right number of food group servings for your lifestyle will make a big difference in the way you feel, as well as your overall health.
  If you want to improve your overall health, one of the simplest, quickest, and most effective changes you can make is to improve the quality of your diet.  "Eating a healthful diet can help you feel energetic, lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, and boost your immune functioning — these effects are almost immediate," says Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Marblehead, Mass. "Other long-term benefits include reducing your risk of certain cancers, avoiding obesity, and reducing your risk of diabetes.”

The Basics of a Healthy Diet
Improving the quality of your diet isn’t complicated. Take the needed steps to incorporate the following strategies. Of course, the sooner you start, the healthier you’ll feel, but you can go at your own pace:
  • Learn the basic principles of good nutrition. Adams says that people should first focus on consuming a diet that is based on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. It is also important to include some low-fat dairy products, fish, lean meats, and healthful oils into your diet. Limit the amount of less-than-healthful foods you consume. "Try to keep foods that don't fit neatly into any these categories, such as processed snack foods and sweets, to a minimum," says Adams.
  • Make gradual changes. You don't have to overhaul your diet all at once. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, taking small, gradual steps over time to improve your diet and lifestyle can do wonders for your overall health.
  • Focus on variety. You should get a good mix of foods from the basic food groups — grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, and meat and beans.
  • Eat the right number of servings for you. You can personalize the number of servings you need from each food group according to your age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level with the USDA's MyPyramid Plan. This is an easy way to find out how much of each food group you should eat daily.
  • Think moderation. It is not necessary to deprive yourself of the foods you love, even if they aren't the most healthful. Instead, just limit foods that contain more added sugars and solid fats, and make sure the majority of the foods you eat are the healthful ones.
  • Limit processed foods.  "recommends staying away from foods that have lengthy ingredients labels, especially when you can't pronounce or have never heard of some of the ingredients."
  • Minimize white foods. Adams says that people should eat fewer "whites" — white bread, white pasta, and white rice — and instead select more whole-grain foods — whole wheat breads and pasta and brown rice, which are naturally more complete in nutrients and contain more fiber.
  • Load up on fruits and vegetables. "Try to include fruits and vegetables with every meal — yes, even breakfast," Adams says, but adds that because juice tends to be high in calories and less satisfying than whole fruit, you should limit juice drinking to eight ounces per day.
The general concepts of healthful eating are the same for everyone: Aim to consume a good mix of foods from each of the different food groups. You’ll feel great today and for many tomorrows to come.


Oh dear!  I accidentally deleted my LINKS section! >:-(  I will have to try to rebuild it as I can't seem to recover it.  So sorry everyone!