Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's only Day 4?

How do people live like this?

Tonight I worked a closing shift, which is why I'm blogging at midnight. After work I went to the store to pick up some more veggies and found myself wandering the aisles, staring blankly at various gluten-free offerings and wondering about the meaning of it all. It's pretty clear that if you want any sort of processed gluten-free food (crackers, pasta, cookies, cereals, bread, snacks) you're going to pay: in some cases three or four times the price of the regular wheat-containing stuff. Who can afford to pay those prices? Not I.

On to the meals:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon and mulberries! I forgot we had them in the freezer until I went digging for something to throw in my oatmeal. They were frozen the day I picked them from our tree this summer, and I'm so glad I saved them. Tea with sugar as usual - today it was lemon ginger/hibiscus.

Lunch: Scrambled eggs with ham, cappicola and swiss cheese diced in, and some sliced homegrown tomato on the side. I motivated myself to cook, finally! It was good. More tea with lunch, black, and a chunk of chocolate. Hoping the caffeine would help the sinus headache that had been hovering since morning. It did not. This failure to control my headaches does not bode well for winter.

Dinner: Rick made chili this morning, so I packed it up for dinner at work and ate it over rice with a big slab of swiss cheese melted on top. Chili is always better with cheese, especially Rick's chili, which tends toward the spicy side. There were onions in it but fully-cooked onions don't seem to bother me nearly as much as raw onions, onion powder, or dried onions do. I wonder if there's a chemical change that takes place during cooking which might explain the difference in reaction. Also nibbled more chocolate. I'm on a kick lately with the chocolate bars...

And Rick made bagels, which he insisted that I taste. So much for a whole week of gluten-free. They are however really, really good. I think I might have one tomorrow for breakfast and see how it goes down. I know that a proper elimination diet should be at least three to four weeks (and much more restrictive, if you're really trying to suss out an allergy) so I'll probably spend the next few weeks doing more diet tracking and avoiding wheat where I can... but if the bagel doesn't cause any problems I'll feel a lot better. And if it does? I don't know.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 3.

3 days in! Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Today I was grumpy. Stayed up too late, mashed the alarm into silence and dozed with husband rubbing my tummy (which was a little upset, weirdly enough) until the very last minute. Ran out the door, got to work and walked right into a million customers who all needed help at once. So much for yesterday's quietude... There are certain times when my stress level peaks and I just can't get it back down again because I need everyone to go away for an hour and once that happens I tend to overreact to EVERYTHING. Today was one of those days and I was glad to be done with it.

Breakfast: In-a-hurry roll-ups! Provolone and 3 kinds of deli meat because they were the first grab-and-go gluten free things in the fridge. I may or may not have actually put them together and eaten them in the car. Not my finest breakfast plan ever, but it did keep me going - which was good because the half cup of chai tea I slammed before work was not enough and the cup I made in the break room went cold long before I got to drink it. Sigh.

If I had more time I would've gone for scrambled eggs with ham and cheese diced in, which would have at least pretended to be healthier and more breakfast-y.

Lunch: Trumped-up leftovers (do you see a pattern here?). Chicken, a baked potato with butter and chives, and canned peas. Scraped out the last of the zucchini pickles and had some trail mix for 'dessert'.* I finally finished my tea and refilled my travel mug with water, and didn't even get to finish that before I was pulled in four directions at once again. Apparently employee hydration is not important to customers. Who knew?

Got home, snacked on a piece of ham and a pinch of trail mix, chugged some Sierra Mist from the fridge..
 Dinner: More leftovers! I made chicken and rice soup with peas, spiced with some dried minced onion and black pepper. I think I over-ate, and about half an hour later... boom, bloating. Is it the onion? (Survey says: probably!). The rest of the soup is in tupperware for lunches. I'm going to try it again tomorrow and see.

I nabbed two flowers from the garden center on the way out. Started to dig a hole for one of them in the "flower bed" behind the neighbor's massive concrete-block garage wall and hit a lot of chunks of stone and concrete down there. Yaaaaay. Gonna have to dig it out deeper/wider and re-fill with better soil, but I spent the rest of the daylight helping hubby replace the drum brakes on the right rear wheel... it was a learning experience, to say the least.

I'm sleepy already. Today was not the best day, but I hope tomorrow will be better.

*We make our own "trail mix": craisins, honey roasted peanuts, dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and organic unsulphured dried apple rings. Most of the ingredients are bulk buys, which makes it super inexpensive, and it's awesome for lunches.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wheat-free, Day 2.

It's hard not to just grab bread and make a sandwich. Or have cereal, for that matter. Even our "toasted oats" cereal has wheat in it! So, for that matter, does Campbell's Tomato Soup (flour as a thickener). So much for easy canned meals for work. This may be more difficult than I thought.

Breakfast today? Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal. I love apples and I like oatmeal so this was a no-brainer and a great way to start the day. It kept me going well until my very late lunch, although I had a mostly quiet day at work (for once). When I'm more active I get hungry a lot earlier.

Lunch was leftovers - the rest of the egg salad wrapped in romaine leaves, more zucchini pickles, and the remainders of the apple from breakfast, sliced and packed with a sprinkle of lemon juice. During a break I caved and finished off the Hershey's milk chocolate bar that was floating around in the bottom of my lunch box. Not as good as dark chocolate, but it was a good little sugar boost. I wasn't as sleepy as I usually get right after lunch, which was a good thing because I was stuck at the garden register all afternoon in the rain. You can imagine how busy I was... (not!)

When I got home, Dinner was waiting in the oven - roast chicken, baked potatoes with sour cream and chives, and butter-soaked green beans. Mmmmmm. I have a love affair with butter and I am not afraid to admit it. Those beans were good. I'm trying to have a fruit or veggie serving with every meal. Not that it's unusual to eat vegetables around here, but I've been known to slap together a ham and cheese sandwich and completely ignore the lettuce and cucumber in the crisper drawer. Without bread carbs to fill me up, I'm paying more attention to finding other 'filler' foods (rice, potatoes, quinoa), which are bland and boring. So veggies not only make sense in terms of health but to spice up the presentation of my meals - nothing looks less interesting than a white or brown starch and a brown chunk of meat and no color on a plate!

In other news, there's a sale on the last surviving perennials in the garden center, and they've already set up the holiday merchandise inside. Uh-oh.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wheat-Free, Day 1.

So I've been showing signs of a potential wheat intolerance for a while (since college, I think, back when half my meals were ramen and the other half were pasta dishes from the food court). It's been really inconsistent though, and I passed it off as gas, or (sorry, guys) period bloating. Then I thought I had it pegged on white-flour elbow macaroni because a bowl of mac and cheese felt like it was killing me. Then it turned out I didn't know after all because mac and cheese doesn't always have that effect if it's homemade and not box-mix, sometimes other pasta does, and Monday I had two slices of toast off a loaf of homemade bread with locally-made jam, and a stomach ache all day.

So for a while (we'll see how long it lasts) I'm going to be avoiding wheat products and trying to remember to record both what I ate and how I'm feeling. If that doesn't work, I guess I start eliminating other foods. And of course I'm blogging it because I want to record everything (and be accountable).

Yesterday (Tuesday) was supposed to be my first day of wheat-free eating. I had a nice filling bowl of brown-sugared oatmeal for breakfast with earl grey tea, and packed a lunch with chicken and rice.  And then I ruined it by working later than planned and demolishing an entire pack of cheese sandwich crackers around 4:30. Didn't realize it until bedtime, either. Coincidentally, I'm writing this in bed. Good night!

So today is my official first day eating gluten free and it's off to a bad start because my husband made pizza last night and left it in the fridge. It's very tempting and I admit to nibbling a tiny chunk of crust left on the baking stone. I'm going to pretend I didn't - sshhh! I slept in really late because I was up so late after a 12-hour work day. Bad decision, I know. At least I have today off. Woke up with the mother of all sinus headaches (again). I swear any time I sleep in, I wake up with a headache. The good news is that it typically goes away once I'm up and active. The bad news is that my chronic sinus infection is resisting every attempt to kill it off and working in a big dusty warehouse is probably not helping.

Anyway, food! Breakfast is a sliced Gala apple with peanut butter, a cup of Lemon Zinger tea and strawberry Greek yogurt. Yum! Yogurt is supposed to be good for you, what with all those active bacterial cultures.

Lunch featured egg salad (egg, leftover chicken, shredded lettuce, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of garlic powder) wrapped in romaine leaves, with mom's zucchini pickles on the side and apple cider to drink. Felt good, did some work around the house, snacked on a chocolate bar.

Dinner made my stomach unhappy. Hmm. A small piece of breaded pork chop (leftovers), rice and a fresh tomato with salt, pepper and olive oil. Peppermint tea with honey.

Since this is the first day of trying to avoid wheat, it's too early to draw any conclusions - other than that I miss pizza already.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An update?!

Today was rough.

But let me give you some background, for those who haven't been following my life since my last post. This is what happened over the summer (in brief):

I switched positions at work 3 times, ending in a promotion/shift to a new department. It isn't at all what I planned but it's another step up the corporate ladder. I've resigned myself to being in retail for a while... might as well work my way up!

Due to the position-switching and associated weird schedules and stress (I spent 6 weeks mid-summer working overnights), I stopped gardening, stopped blogging, and let my work days at the urban farm go to someone else. Having lost momentum sucks, because now I'm struggling to catch up and it's already past the fullest of the harvest season and into the long slow decline. Snow is coming in a few weeks...

I got married! Big news, yeah? It was a quick decision, but a long time coming. We had a small ceremony, nice and private. Just the way we wanted it. I now have a Husband to go with the house and the pets! Even though my name is changing and we're all legal now, nothing's really changed. We've had 9 years already - one day of being dressed up and promising our lives together in front of family has only made official what we knew all along.

BUT ANYWAY. My summer has been one of regular upheaval and although it's been good, it's also been stressful. I've been in my new position for about three weeks - long enough to have gotten the hang of everyday work, but not enough to have even finished my training, let alone answer some pretty routine questions.

So today was busy, and I met a lot of customers who had questions I couldn't answer, which meant I had to bother someone else (who had her own work to do). Then there were the customers who needed babysitting, and the ones who I caught ripping open boxes to answer questions that I could have answered if they had bothered to admit they wanted help when I asked. I also couldn't get away for lunch until 5.5 hours into my shift (AGAIN), rolled a very heavy cart over my foot (my toes are bruised but thankfully not broken), and had to deal with an order in which some computer miscommunication coupled with a persistent and frustrating glitch the other day had led to a very unhappy customer. I get to follow up with that one in the morning. Getting it done will be extremely satisfying.

I'm glad to be home. Tomorrow I work 7am-8pm because the front end conveniently failed to schedule anyone to work the closing cashier shift at one of the main registers. How that happened is anyone's guess, but they approved the overtime for me, so... I can't wait for 8pm tomorrow night. I have Monday off and it will feel SO good.