With all the buzz about going gluten-free, clients are always asking me if they should cut it out of their diets. I’m not a doctor or an expert on the effects of gluten, but I’ll share my answer in hopes that it can help those of you wondering the same thing.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the protein content in wheat. For a visual, it’s what makes dough gooey and stretchy.
Why do some people need to avoid it?
Celiac disease is the true, diagnosed intolerance to gluten. Anyone with celiac disease has to cut out gluten because it attacks their bodies.
There is a large amount of research suggesting harmful effects of gluten on the body, both mentally and physically; however, just as not everyone is allergic to peanuts, not everyone responds negatively to gluten.
Think of gluten as you think of dairy. There are reasons some people should not have dairy, and the reasons differ in severity. Some people will have a life-threatening allergic reaction, some are lactose intolerant so their stomachs will be upset by it, and some people have problem skin due to dairy. Then, there’s the whole slew of people who can eat all the dairy they want with no ill effects.
How do I know if I need to cut it out?
Assess how you feel eating your current diet that contains gluten. If you feel well, have energy, don’t experience digestion issues and can concentrate easily, you’re doing fine and should keep up whatever you’re doing. If you can’t tick all those boxes, do a trial removal and see if any of them fall into place.
Things to consider:
Going gluten-free is not a fad diet to get you skinny, and gluten-free foods aren’t magically free of fat and calories; only gluten.
As with anything, too much of a something is not good, but if you don’t experience any ill effects, removal of it entirely isn’t necessary either.
Do your research, but also do a self-check. If you don’t have a negative response to gluten, eat it in moderation, just like everything else.
I have a baby!!!
I know what you’re thinking. Considering I was pregnant, this was the most likely outcome; but, as my due date came and went, I was pretty convinced I was just going to be pregnant forever.
The first thing I thought when I met our baby boy was that he was amazingly cute. Allow me to be honest and say that not all babies are cute-cute, some are just cute because they’re babies. Sure, all mothers are biased, but I still can’t believe how perfectly adorable he is, and that I had made him.
The second thing I thought was, how do I feed him? I was in the hospital room with my husband, it was the middle of the night, and even though I’d been to a breastfeeding class, neither the baby nor I had ever actually tried it, so we were a bit lost. Thankfully, babies can go almost 24 hours without food when they first come out, because I know he didn’t get much of anything our first few tries.
Our first morning, the lactation consultant helped me latch on one side, and we managed the other side the next morning. Unfortunately, it would be another month of the blind leading the blind before I realized that the nipple trauma I was experiencing wasn’t just a brutal adjustment, it was a shallow latch. There are many lessons learned for me that had to do with not knowing what was “normal.”
Here are a few of the lessons I have learned. I won’t call them advice because every experience is unique, this is my first time out, and I’m certainly not qualified to be “advising” others. I am so grateful for the support I’ve received since you really don’t know what you don’t know, and you also don’t know to ask about it until you’re in the moment throwing your hands up in the air. So, here are the things I kinda-sorta know now.
- Even though you always hear, “never wake a sleeping baby,” you do need to wake them up to eat every 2-3 hours for the first month because their little bodies will let them sleep through opportunities to gain weight and get crucial nutrition.
- Rocking and lullabies do very little to comfort a newborn. Swaddling, shushing and controlled shaking (refer to the 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block) work much more effectively.
- There is more to successful breastfeeding than latching. After a month, I was dreading feeding my baby rather than enjoying it. Lucky for me, I got sick, and decided to mention my feeding issues while at the doctor. Now, I look forward to it and am so proud to be able to do it.
- Sometimes you have to remind yourself that the baby isn’t crying because he/she is mad at you.
- Your baby won’t be mad at you when he/she wakes from a nap that came from learning to self-soothe/cry it out.
- If you are breastfeeding and your baby isn’t gaining as much weight as the doctors want him to, you will beat yourself up; however, the pride you feel with each ounce he gains will end up trumping any frustration.
- Although breastfed babies don’t really get constipated, they may need pooping “encouragement” after they finish with the initial meconium poops. We had to use a q-tip to get things started. This is one of those things I would never have known about if I hadn’t had to do it.
- As much as it’s nice to feel needed and bond with your baby, breastfeeding can also feel like a burden, and it’s easy to feel frustrated when you can’t ever pass off the work. A friend suggested I view it as a tool that only I could use to soothe and satisfy my baby, and that perspective made a big difference in how much I enjoy it.
- If you think you’re going to get a nap, but you don’t, you will feel drastically more exhausted than if you plan not to get a nap, and you do.
- How tired you feel when you wake up to the sound of a crying baby all depends on what the clock says. Honestly, if someone were to move the time forward before you looked, you’d feel more refreshed.
I really thought I’d be much more bothered by lack of sleep and a plethora of diapers (we average 15 a day… homeboy hates to be wet… seriously, hates it) than I am. It really is different when it’s your own. I’d swim through poop on no sleep for this little dude. I seriously hope I don’t have to do that, but if he needed me to, I’d bust out that swan dive in an instant.
A few years ago, and in some communities still today, it was cool to drive a big, gas-guzzling SUV, own a giant home, grab on to all the latest conveniences, and hit up megastores. Big, flashy and convenient were the hottest trends.
What’s cool today looks quite different. I believe it use to be referred to by the not-so-endearing term, “granola.”
When I hear words like green, bicycle, farm-to-table, carpooling, public transit, hybrid, solar energy, down-sizing and farmers’ market, I get all gooey inside.
Awareness, along with the economy, has brought about a new appreciation for properly caring for and utilizing the environment and our natural resources.
When we were suddenly unable to afford basic necessities – gas, utilities, milk – we wanted to point fingers and rage about unreasonable cost inflation, but a lot of the finger-pointing needed to be done in front of a mirror. We wanted everything we had, until we had to suffer the true cost. I hate a recession as much as the next gal, but I’m grateful for the wake up call, and I like where we’re trying to go now.
People are proud to serve fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from their own gardens. We know what a carbon-footprint is. We are gradually taking steps to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Before we make purchases, we think about where they came from, and we scan the labels for unnatural preservatives and chemicals. We recognize that an extremely long shelf-life is a sign that something might be off.
We approach cleaning, and illness, with a more holistic approach because we are learning that natural options and cures exist, and are less likely to lead to negative consequences. If your child accidentally drinks your lemon-vinegar concoction, he’s going to fare much better than if he drank a chemical cleaner, and natural cures are less likely to kill good bacteria in addition to bad bacteria.
We own more fashionable reusable bags than we do purses. I’ve always known green was my color.
I can’t think of many things cooler than knowing your local farmers by first name and knowing what chicken should actually taste like.
We still have so much to learn, and no one expects perfection, but every time you take pause to think about our future, Mother Nature gets the warm fuzzies.
When it comes to eating our words, at least granola tastes good.
I was born with a fear of heights (acrophobia). I’ve worked very hard to conquer my fear; however, even rationale and hard work don’t make me want to scale things without a net or a harness.
Several years ago, I came face-to-face with my fear during an adventure race. I was one of a three-person team as we ran, rafted and mountain-biked through the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia. Part of the race involved mystery events, one of which was a tall, wooden wall with ropes hanging down the front. The object was to get the entire team to the top of the wall using only each other and the ropes.
As we raced toward the wall, I was aware of two things: 1) I was terrified. 2) I needed to conquer my fear for my team to continue. Rather than hesitating and giving my fear time to take over, I ran right up to the wall with my team and went to work.
The feeling I had at the top of the wall was so much stronger than the initial fear I felt at the bottom. I can’t even fathom how much regret and disappointment I would have felt had I let my fear beat me, and us.
We all hit walls sometimes. We reach a moment or a point in an endeavor where we’re faced with fear, lack of confidence, or simply the fact that we don’t know what to expect on the other side.
It’s so easy to let the wall win and stay within your comfort zone, but do you really want to be the person standing at the bottom of the wall while others continue on with the race? I doubt it.
The next time you find yourself up against a wall, make the decision to test yourself. Tell your body and your mind that you want to feel the pride and the rush that come with finding out what’s on the other side of that wall. Once you get over that first wall, the rest will fall like dominoes and you’ll find yourself in a position for winning the race against all the obstacles that have been holding you back.
The next time you’re faced with uncharted territory, climb the wall.
Still hunting for thoughtful presents? Visit Oxfam and help those in need, in honor of those you love.
Oxfam has gifts for every price range, and you can choose how your recipient is notified of the donation.
The same money that could buy someone a nice sweater could also buy a school meal for a child in need, livestock to help sustain those who live off the land, a water purifier, mosquito nets, books, medical supplies, a boat, or even a replanted forest. A gift like that warms a heart more than the softest cashmere. In fact, if you give a family sheep, they can make countless sweaters each year.
Giving through Oxfam is easy. You don’t have to deal with parking or lines. Heck, you don’t even have to leave your house. You could click the link above in this very article and be done shopping in twenty minutes or less.
When you give the gift of a donation to Oxfam, you’re just like the real Santa Claus. You might not have flying reindeer, but you will touch people all over the world and share the joy of Christmas in its most sincere, genuine form.
I want to give you a visual to help you better understand portion control. First, take out one of your dinner plates. Next, make a fist. Unless you have really big hands and tiny dinner plates, they will be drastically different sizes.
Your fist is roughly the size of your empty stomach. It’s very elastic (especially if you challenge it frequently by eating large portions), and it’s made to stretch to fit about a liter worth of contents. Now, picture yourself in too-tight spandex. That’s elastic too, but put too much inside it and it looks and feels uncomfortable, right?
The next time you get ready to load up a dinner plate think of your little fist-size stomach before you shovel in large bites one right after the other (without so much as time to fully chew and swallow in between).
Remember to always eat slowly so your stomach can gradually, gently stretch to accommodate your food. Your body doesn’t even know you’re eating until 20 minutes after that first bite. If you can cut back on how much you stretch your stomach at meals, your stomach will tighten back up a bit, and the rest of you will likely follow suit.
Make a habit of proper portion control and you’ll avoid that uncomfortably full feeling. Over time, you just might get away with wearing that spandex.
My skin is really sensitive and annoying. If it’s dry, it gets bumpy; 0ver-moisturized – bumpy. If I use sunscreen, it gets bumpy. My skin’s natural inclination to get bumpy in all circumstances is only exacerbated by the fact that I spend most of my life in semi-sweaty workout clothes, opening it up to all kinds of fun, funky bacteria.
Dermatologists have told me to go as basic as I can on my skin regime, but to always wear sunscreen. Basically, skip all of the chemicals, acids, etc. All the fancy promises on skin product labels usually mean more ingredients that could irritate my skin, so I have to ignore them and get the most stripped down stuff I can find.
A friend at the gym mentioned using coconut oil, from the baking section, as an anti-fungal moisturizer one day, so I decided to check it out. I love the smell of coconut, but was worried it would be overpowering, and I typically opt for lotions rather than oils so I won’t be greasy, but I decided to give it a shot.
Now, on the other side of skepticism, I am loving coconut oil.
Coconut oil has no additives – not even water, which can inflate, then later deflate your skin cells, and it’s loaded with antioxidants to combat free radicals, wrinkles and age spots. The fatty acids in coconut oil prevent fungal and bacterial infections, and it’s been found helpful in the fight against acne, psoriasis and eczema.Coconut oil even has sunscreen and deodorant capabilities without any harmful, harsh ingredients. Oh, and I don’t even notice the smell once it’s on, so I can wear my normal sprays and perfumes without the scents fighting each other.
Since coconut is a solid at room temperature, it’s less messy than other oils, and easy to travel with. I have a smaller plastic container I keep some in for that purpose. Whenever I’m about to shower, I run hot water in the sink, stop it up, and set the closed container of coconut oil in the water to melt while I bathe. Once I’m out, it’s ready for slathering all over. You can also rub it quickly in your hands to warm it up.
I’m going to look into using coconut oil for babies too, since baby oil contains mineral oil which is a petroleum byproduct. We plan to have a family, and I wouldn’t put something on my child that I wouldn’t put on myself. I’ve read of it being used as a hair moisturizer and even a tool for intimacy, so it has multiple uses in your home from the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the bedroom.
If you’re in the market for a safe, gentle moisturizer for your entire body, consider trying coconut oil. If it doesn’t make me bumpy, everyone should be in the clear.
The summer heat is not ideal for running a dog, so the second rain comes in and provides a little relief, I grab the leash.
Watching Mason play and run in the rain takes my mind off of the actual exercise. He splashes in puddles and even manages to lap up some water while moving at full speed. His tail and ears are always high in the air like he’s having the time of his life. The only part that doesn’t make sense is his attempt to shake off the water, but how do you explain water constantly falling from the sky to a dog?
Mother Nature provided some nice, cool rain – just perfect for a run – last Thursday. The light drizzle we started off in was lovely. It wasn’t until we were almost home when things turned torrential.
It was really coming down, so I sped up to push through the last bit. I could tell Mason was having a hard time keeping up by a little pull behind me on the leash, so I turned around to shout encouragement. (Normally the words squirrel, cat or puppy will get him moving.) As I turned toward him it became obvious why he was running slowly behind me. His eyes were completely shut. I guess he wanted to keep the rain out. He was running blind, and I was his seeing-eye person.
Raise your hand if the following has ever happened to you.
You call home and say: “Hey! Great news! I (insert accomplishment / something you’ve been working towards)!
Parent: “Oh, that’s great. You know what else you should do now?…”
All you really wanted to hear was, “That’s great! / Way to go! / We’re so proud of you! / We knew you could do it!”, and, cut. No add-ons or ways you could improve on it.
Sometimes a supportive parent adds to the weight of ambition.
It’s natural for parents to have hopes and dreams regarding what they think their children can accomplish. They see all of our potential, and they want to encourage us to achieve everything within the realm of possibility.
In addition, parents may see where they could have worked harder for their own goals, and they don’t want their children to miss the same opportunities they did. They want us to shoot higher, go farther, and have even better lives than their own; improve with each generation, right? They want more for us.
As sweet as it is for our parents to want us to ‘be all we can be ‘and ‘live out our dreams’; it equates to a lot of pressure because we don’t want to let them down.
Obviously, they aren’t intending their encouragement as a burden; but, nonetheless, it’s quite a load to carry. We never feel done b/c we’re conditioned to keep trying to reach the next level up. Face it, we could almost always be doing more.
For all the phases when they saw me grow and learn every day, it’s a bit more sporadic, and sometimes even stagnant, now. Think about it. Our parents have seen us learn everything we know, and the first twenty years were pretty exciting and filled with accomplishments. Now, most days are pretty much the same, so there’s less to report.
It’s not that I don’t want to keep striving to be better; it’s just that I don’t know how to judge how far I’ve come or how I’m doing because there’s always another step I could be taking.
As well-intentioned as encouragement from loved ones is, will there ever be a day when a call home includes the words, “You’ve become more than we ever could have dreamed. Why don’t you just sit back and feel proud of what you’ve already accomplished for a little while.”?
I’m just going to throw it out there that I’ll likely never make headlines. I see this as a positive considering some of the headlines out there. (Hello, Weiner tweeter!)
I want to keep making my parents proud, but sometimes I wish they saw a little less potential in me. Yes, it would be amazing to be a best-selling author, famous singer, the next Jillian Michaels, or a chef on the Food Network, but I’m also really okay with being (mostly) normal.
I know my parents are proud and love me no matter what I do or accomplish. I’m not questioning that at all. What I’m trying to find is a healthy balance between ambition, and enjoying life as it is presently.
When I hear all of the things my parents believe I am capable of accomplishing, it scares me. Instead of hearing it in a completely positive way – which I know is how it’s intended – I see how much farther I have to go, and am acutely aware of the possibility that it will never be fully achieved.
In order to appreciate who I am today, I need to know that it’s okay if I don’t go for the gold everyday (or, even make it to the games). As glad as I am knowing my parents think I could be great, it would be even better to hear that good will do.