It Begins with Me

Posts tagged ‘gluten-free’

Holding Pattern

My life got thrown into a blender right around my 50th birthday. When things went horribly, magnificently sideways, everything I had been working on and planning went into a holding pattern. I can’t focus on me when I have to focus on everything and everyone else. That’s just how it works.

I continued on my diet. I continued to watch everything I ate and drank.

However, my weight leveled off at 270 and other than a pound or two in either direction, I have remained right there. I suppose I finally lost the weight that was from overeating and baby-making, which accounts for some of it, but overall I accept that I’ve reached the point where exercise must come into play. Ugh. So after losing roughly 60 pounds, I’m on a holding pattern there too.

Also in this gambit is the accidental overdose of Naproxen (Aleve).

I will spare you the ugly details about bruises and a whole bunch of swearing. In the end, it meant that I had to give up ALL pain meds for about a month, and am down to 1 powdered aspirin (BC Powders) at night and nothing all day. I have had an ache in my belly for a while now since then, but not enough to drive me to the doctor and frankly, I have such crappy insurance that I can’t afford to.

How crappy? Well, I have a $5k deductible, that’s how bad. So much for seeing any doctor, ever.

On an amusing side-note, my employer sent out a notice asking people to put their children and spouses on the plan. After I laughed bitterly, I politely (mostly) declined. So much nope. Never work for social services unless you are truly dedicated folks; It’s neither monetarily or benefits rewarding, other than the obvious good karma parts.

The question is this: How do I diet and exercise without the benefit of painkillers? My family is dreading it as much as I am. Jazy is grumpy and growly when in pain.

I have been working on cooking better for myself and eating more regularly during this lull. I have tried to work on lowering my stress (hahahahahahaha) but that’s not going so well.

I did take the doctor’s advice and start drinking wine. ONE glass a day, roughly 4-6 ounces in a little glass. It has a sedating effect as well as a gastrointestinal one. Apparently there is a lot of good things in wine, particularly red wine.

A few pointers however. Don’t drink wine just before bed. At least for me, it means that I’m WIDE AWAKE for hours no matter what I take. That was a long learning moment and a terribly long, exhausting day to follow. Also, don’t drink wine with anti-depressants. It felt like I drank half a bottle of Jack. Noted. Lastly, good wine is pricey, so join a club. I did. I heartily recommend Naked Wine. They’re customer service is top notch and their selection is awesome. The site is easy to use and helpful as is their app. Two thumbs up.

To refresh your memory, I was prohibited from eating:

  1. Grains and Seeds (all of them. Sigh)
  2. Legumes (all of them. sigh)
  3. Nightshades (not even touching, actually)
  4. Dairy/Eggs (I did find that I could have small amounts of aged [18+ months] cheese)
  5. Sugar/Sweeteners (maple syrup, agave syrup, and molasses are allowed in SMALL amounts)

I lived that diet for 8 months. Currently, with all that I’m doing, I am back on Jasmine Rice (grain), SMALL amounts of raw sugar, eggs, and peanuts, black beans, and some nuts. I am going to start experimenting with sprouted beans to see if I can tolerate them. I tried regular beans other than black beans (not sure why they are different) and it was a strong body message equivalent to a Gibbs-smack. I have also been eating potato chips or hash browns made from potatoes (no skins, not even a hint), but I gained a pound doing that and I think it’s still a no.

All in all, I’m pleased. I do feel better most days, and have very little gastrointestinal distress anymore. I think my gut is on the mend.



Here’s to a better 2018. I’ll try to write more. Toodles.


Shopping for Six Plus


We have four growing boys, 8 cats, and 2 dogs as well as 2 adults in our house. My husband and I strive weekly to fill the larder and keep everyone happy, healthy, and well fed. It’s a goal and we do a pretty good job.

First, I should say I never wanted 8 cats because I know you went O.O at that. So do I – daily. However, I used to rescue cats and nearly always had nearly a dozen in and out between cleaning them up, getting them healthy and friendly, and finding them homes. I learned early that cleaning house often, having plenty of kitty pans, and keeping those pans cleaned every few days was the key to a non-smelly house. However, this batch was not my idea and the boys and their father tend the cats, their feeding, and the litter chores. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. Well, 1 monkey likes me. The rest? Meh.

We spend roughly $500/week on food and supplies for the house, which keeps us in kitty litter, pet food, boy food, snacks, and balanced meals.

In the process of balancing this large active family, I have learned how to make lists. Not only that, I have learned how to actually use them. This is probably the more important talent, to be honest.

First, my free plug of the day.

One of the best tools I have ever stumbled upon is a shopping app for my phone. It’s shareable with my spouse’s phone (and anyone else really), updates when either of us makes changes (on all phones and devices hooked to the service), and allows me to make detailed shopping lists so that all that I need is done in one very carefully orchestrated and organized shopping trip (on Fridays).

What tool is that?

I love this app. I highly recommend it for any busy family. Also, it is free or it’s available for very little. It’s worth the pittance it costs and pays for itself quickly in saved gas from extra trips and frustration of not having your needs in an easily made and easily managed place.

In order to fully manage a large family and a strict budget, I make meal plans. Our menu is set out for the week and items are purchased for that plan. Here is an example:

Dinner Menu:

  • baked chicken, butternut squash, mixed vegetables
  • baked pork roast, baked potato, baked carrots
  • beef chili with biscuits and potato wedges
  • beef meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables
  • brats-n-kraut, mixed vegetables
  • noodle bake with vegetables inside
  • tacos, baby carrots

Lunch Menu:

  • school boys (3): shaved ham, sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and a loaf of bread with baked beans,  pineapple tidbits, and canned carrots/peas
  • school boys (3): hard salami slices, sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and a loaf of bread with baked beans, pineapple tidbits, and raw baby carrots
  • school boys (3): shaved turkey, sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and a loaf of bread with baked beans, pineapple tidbits, and baby cucumbers
  • school boys (3): (x2) summer sausage, chucks of sharp cheddar cheese, corn chips, baby carrots with dip, and apple pieces
  • home lunch: sausage patty with tater tots, a slice of cheese, green beans, and apple pieces
  • home lunch: beef patty with tater tots, baby carrots (wheels), sliced cheese, and orange pieces
  • weekend lunch: leftovers


  • pineapple upside-down cake
  • cookies
  • fruit crisp


  • meat sticks
  • cheese (string) sticks
  • pepperoni
  • leftovers
  • can of vegetable choice
  • baked beans
  • sweet potato chips (make yourself)
  • potato fries (make yourself)
  • tortilla and cheese (or peanut butter honey)
  • apple
  • orange
  • banana
  • baby carrots and dip
  • salad

The boys are allowed to make some simple snacks as long as they clean up afterward. Both the 14 and the 12 year old are capable of it, although the kitchen is usually a mess afterward. Sigh. The 6 year old isn’t allowed to do more than watch and help as he learns. The 22 year old is handicapped and in a wheel chair with the mind of a 1 year old child, so he has to have everything prepped for him to eat.

The boys have learned over their lifetime that you do not eat anything out of the ordinary or off the list without asking first. Nothing makes Mama angrier than going to make dinner and find the locusts have consumed something she needed as an ingredient. I am pleased to say it doesn’t happen very often.

Because of my dietary restrictions, I cook my own meals separately from the boys’ meals. This means that the boys ALSO ask when they find something that looks yummy, because if they eat MY food it will mean no tech and an unhappy Mama. I am not pleasant when hungry.

Our grocery list consists of ingredients, some snack foods that I deem acceptable, some easy prep foods for the boys to snack on, and pet supplies. I strive to buy foods for my boys without high sugar, simple starches, red40, or corn syrups. I avoid Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in all its forms, gluten in all its forms, “low fat” items (high in sugar), food coloring, and fake things such as artificial sugar, artificial or synthetic fats, sugars, and materials, margarine and hot dogs. Gluten free is more expensive, so our grocery bill is roughly $125 more a week than the average family of 6 shopping in this manner.

I allow them three “bad” things weekly: one candy (for each boy) of their choice from the .99 aisle, ice cream that is as close to natural as I can get (Breyers, one container), and the meat sticks that I had to search to find so that they were not as horrible as they might have been. They are also allowed one soda every now and then.

I strive to stay between $400-500 a week for all our supplies and groceries. The more ground meat we use, the lower the cost for the week – but the boys get tired of it and there’s only so much you can do with ground meat. I enjoy a variety and so do they, so it’s worth a bit more now and then.

I will be continuing along this vein for a while, to show how we function day to day in our healthy diet and lifestyle goals.



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