Sunday, December 16, 2012

What is a christmas movie?

Around the holidays, I usually put on Little Women as I work on various projects. It's firmly a Christmas movie in mind. So when L asked if I wanted a Christmas movie, I said, "Hey, Little Women." "That's not a Christmas movie," he replied.  However, he has claimed in the past (and I'll actually agree with him) that Die Hard is totally a Christmas movie.

What makes something a Christmas movie anyway? If it has a bit of Christmas in it, is it then meant to be associated with the holiday season? Is Die Hard  really a Christmas movie?

When I was in college, each Winter Break, I'd return to my parents' house.  My mom and I would do Christmas-y things, like set up the tree and bake. And, inevitably, we'd always watch Little Women.  For me, the movie is associated with time spent with my mom and Christmas, and it does have Christmas for about half the movie.  So every year, I watch it at least once around Christmas while I'm working on addressing cards or knitting or any of my other crafts.

Besides, if Die Hard is a Christmas movie, Little Women definitely is.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

a wheat-less existence

Now that I've figured out that wheat is the root of some of my issues, I feel a sense of relief. No more wondering if what I eat is going to make me feel bad--it seems that as long as it has no wheat, I'm safe, at least so far.

I was initially angry and in denial. But then I had some friends leave me encouraging notes--I reached out and talked to them both and made plans with the friend who lives near to go to lunch at a GF place (yum).  Then last night, my very sweet and wonderful friends brought me all manner of wheat-free goodies, including apple cider and crackers and wafers. (The cider and crackers were tasty, the wafers kinda weird with their potato flour.)

I went to a potluck yesterday and ate only healthy things, so wheat-free is also mostly going to mean eating a lot healthier at functions--veggies and fruits and other nice things.

And I've already ventured into new kinds of baking.  I baked these delicious cookies from Oh She Glows: Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I modified them a by substituting almond butter in for the peanut butter (we have a giant thing of it, so why buy PB if I don't need to?), and they were really good. We hosted a Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring viewing last night, and they were completely gone by the end of the night.  Don't skip the little sprinkle of salt after they're done baking--it really adds a nice element to them.

Luckily, I feel like it's not going to be a huge adjustment to our way of eating. We already eat lots of veggies and wheat-free foods, and since I'm no longer a vegetarian (if I still were, I would definitely not be now), I still have lots of delicious things I can eat. And plus one for me: it'll keep me clear of the trigger foods that I tend to overeat.  It's also more difficult to find a random nibble while out and about, which I usually don't really need anyway.  And Lance has already launched into cooking mode, finding recipes for flat breads and other things I can have to replace the bread he enjoys making.

I'm looking at it more as an adventure now instead of a burden. Holidays might be a bit tough, but we always bring dishes to family gatherings and help cook, so even that won't be too much of a challenge. And I'll get to play around with and experiment with new ways of cooking, baking, and eating.  Fun!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

what? no cupcakes?

For as long as I can remember, I have had acid reflux.  At some point, as I learned to eat healthier, I learned what the major triggers were and began avoiding those foods and no longer had much trouble with it.

Recently, though, I was finding myself with stomach aches and worsening acid reflux. I felt miserable. I thought it was connected to eating sugar (and some of the other triggers), but when K. suggested that I might be experiencing a reaction to wheat, I decided to try no wheat for a couple of weeks, along with sugar and other processed grains.  Even though I was sure wheat wasn't the problem, I felt pretty great.

I honestly didn't think it was wheat. But then I ate half a falafel sandwich (on pita) and some fries and felt bad.  Well, falafel and fries are fried, and fried foods have always been a trigger. Then I ate a couple of cookies yesterday (I baked for the last day of class!) and felt bad.  Well, those cookies have lots of butter and sugar, which I always thought were triggers. (Even though I'd eaten chocolate the day before problem).

The plan was to test to see if something without sugar or oil (but with wheat) would cause a reaction. I was positive that it wouldn't--surely, there's nothing wrong.  Why would I suddenly be experiencing symptoms? (K explained how sensitivities can develop, but I was in denial).  So I ate a hearty bowl of wheat flakes and then waited.  Fifteen minutes later, I had a stomach ache and was completely uncomfortable.  It was miserable. After the stomach ache faded, I felt (still feel) lethargic and drained.

After googling, I found some sites that talked about a connection between wheat and acid reflux. Not a lot of scholarly stuff, but it seems that something's going on with me and that wheat is the cause.  It makes sense with my symptoms, though.

I'm pretty upset about it, but also glad that perhaps I found a way to feel better without taking acid reducers or other medications.  And perhaps it will be an opportunity to explore a new way of cooking (though I'm planning to stay away from most heavily-processed wheat-free stuff).  Once the dismay fades (and I know I will still be able to make stuff for other people to enjoy...), I think I'll be all right.

Off to do more research...and try not to be too glum about being unable to enjoy Christmas cookies or Little Bread Company bagels or Lance's homemade bread.