Top 5 Things I’ve Learned by Going Gluten-free

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I never wanted to be one of THOSE people who had to tell everyone, from family members to strangers at Walmart, about their gluten intolerance. I didn’t want to be one of THOSE people who read all the food ingredients, interrogated waiters at restaurants until they cried, and then babbled on and on and on about their sensitivity to gluten.

I thought I would continue with my bread-eating, donut-binging, cookie-making life, with no thought to how gluten would one day affect me.

Until.

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that has pissed me off to no end. After years of doctor appointments and blood tests, I was told “You’re just old. Deal with it.” And I thought, “WTF? This is it? I’m going to feel shitty for the rest of my life?”

But finally, I was given a diagnosis and was told going gluten-free would make a huge difference in how I feel. Riiiight. . .

So, I upended my life adapting to this new gluten-free prison, turning down birthday cake and bagels, whilst munching on raw veggies. (Not necessarily a good trade.) But it isn’t too bad. I can still enjoy many of my favorite foods. Like water.glutenfreeHere are the Top 5 Things I’ve Learned By Going Gluten-Free.

  1. Gluten is in freakin’ everything. It’s not just in bread and baking products that contain wheat, oats or other grains. It’s in soy sauce (!), licorice (!!) and even beauty products (!!!) Why can’t gluten be in kale? Or Lima beans?
  2.  Lots of other things are gluten free, including:
    • Libraries
    • Pedicures
    • Grandchildren (usually)
    • Massages
    • Shoe shopping
    • Sunrises
    • The beach
    • Hiking
    • Yoga
    • Margaritas
    • Puppies
    • Sex (usually)
    • Binge-watching TV shows
  3.  There are lots of recipes using alternative flours. Granted, most of those recipes taste like shit. But there are a few that actually taste like chocolate chip cookies. Or brownies. Or waffles. My search continues to find a flour mixture (that doesn’t cost the equivalent of a Tesla) that will allow me to return to my baking habits.brownies
  4. I don’t need to tell everyone I meet I can’t eat gluten. Yes, I understand the hypocrisy of that statement as I post a blog that is read by at least four people. But I can politely refuse baked goods without going off about how gluten has basically ruined my immune system and I’ll probably die a horrible death that involves a dingy motel room and a loaf of sourdough bread.
  5. I feel so much better. After years of daily headaches, overwhelming exhaustion, brutal cramps, unexplained bloating and overall depression, I think this gluten-free thing might be a real solution. It might just catch on.

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Things That Make Me Happy

I’m a pretty happy person. I’m realistically optimistic and usually expect the best. But I can also be a bit moody (“What the hell does THAT mean?”) and can get gloomy if I find myself doing the same thing over and over again.

I’m also pretty good at cheering myself up. I have lots of go-to activities that lift my spirits because sometimes it’s the small things that make life worthwhile. (That wasn’t a sex joke.)

Along with a box of See’s toffee, snuggling at night with my hubbie, stargazing and doing yoga, these things always bring a smile to my face:

  • Opening a new book by a favorite author

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(But I’m not sure if I’m emotionally ready for this book.)

  • Browsing the selection of pastries at a local bakery
  • That pins-and-needles feeling when my foot falls asleep
  • Watching someone singing out loud as they walk down the street
  • Dropping the f-bomb
  • Watching drivers stop to avoid a family of ducks
  • Plugging into my iPod at the gym
  • Leaving the gym
  • Kicking off my shoes after work and blasting music as I drive home
  • Practicing my Oscar/Pulitzer acceptation speech
  • Surviving the latest Armageddon scare

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  • Eating Twizzlers during a road trip
  • Watching a lightning storm
  • Getting hugs from my grandkids
  • Napping so hard I wake up not sure what day it is
  • Clean sheets
  • The sound of ice cubes cracking when I pour Coke into my glass
  • A perfect margarita
  • Stepping on crunchy leaves
  • Walking Ringo in the morning
  • When toddlers swear
  • Remembering how my mom always flipped people off
  • Watching young girls try to walk in heels
  • This stop sign in my neighborhood

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  • Hot fudge sundaes
  • Wrapping up in towels warm from the dryer
  • When my jeans still fit after a long weekend of eating crap
  • The phrase “interpretive dance”
  • When I send a finished article to my editor
  • Getting a package or handwritten letter in the mail
  • Hearing that crackly noise when my vacuum picks up dirt
  • Watching parents discipline their toddler in the mall
  • Laughing at work
  • Trying something new
  • Munching on movie theater popcorn

What’s your go-to happy activity?

Top 5 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic (Sex)

Is your mother the only person reading your blog? Are you posting spammed comments so you look popular? Do you wish you could attract more people to your site? Well, today’s your lucky day. Sex. By incorporating these Top 5 suggestions, your blog should reach at least two people by the end of November.

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1. Use blog terminology: By harnessing your blog roll and syndicating the content on your RSS feed, under the auspices of links and trackbacks, your search optimizationed guest bloggers will soon nominate yourself for web rings and online blogosphere analytics. Then you can StumbleUpon interaction with the blogeur du jour. Sex.

2. Be yourself. (Unless you’re boring. Then be somebody else): Tap into your “inner voice” while writing your blog. No, not the inner “voices” that tell you to eat a bucket of KFC in the Victoria’s Secret dressing room (sex), but write from your “truth,” your “Self,” your “innate being.” (I need to stop reading Deepak Chopra.) Sex.

deepak(This man listens to the voices.)

3. Be SEO-Friendly: Invite SEOs over for dinner. Since they are running big companies, and are connected to the “little people” in their organizations, SEOs can offer great advice for creating content that is timely, fun and in high-demand. (Some SEOs can be real jerks. That’s okay. They can’t help it. Love them anyway. AAAARRRGGHH!! Damn  you, Deepak!) Lots of sex.

4. Follow other bloggers: I must admit, I TOTALLY misunderstood this concept, and spent many hours in my car, camped in front of the home of one of my favorite bloggers. She finally called the police. But we all had a good laugh at the situation, and they sent me on my way. (Little did they know, I cut a lock of her hair when she wasn’t looking.)

Mexican Cruise 2009 205(Every move you make, every step you take. . . .)

5. Use key words to attract the online audience: Sex.

Follow this advice, then sit back and watch your views increase incrementally!

Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day

As most of you know, I’m as far from romantic as I could possibly be. (See Romance 101.) But each February I attempt to bring a modicum of romance to Valentine’s Day. (Modicum definition: smidgen—or a solitary carnivore in the weasel family. I never remember.)wolverine

(A modicum in its natural habitat.)

I scour websites for ways to show my hubbie I love him.  I try to avoid anything that involves a) public nudity, b) photography, c) snake handling, d) McDonald’s–or any combination of the above.

Here are some “romantic” things I’ll do for my husband this Valentine’s Day:

  • Hide notes for him around the house. I tried this once using words made from cut-up magazines and newspapers, with a demand for new shoes–or his favorite golf club would disappear forever. He didn’t find it romantic at all.
  • Attend a public event without whining. My husband is uber-social. He likes people. So, just for this special day, I’ll go to a public event without complaining, begging to leave or sulking in the bathroom. Probably.
  • Kiss him in an unusual place. Maybe I didn’t understand this one correctly, but I guess kissing him by the garbage cans didn’t count.
  • Watch golf with him without complaining. Are you kidding?!?! I think that’s going a little too far. . .
  • Wear some sexy lingerie. He really will enjoy this. But he’d probably enjoy it more if my idea of “sexy” lingerie didn’t include any T-shirt that doesn’t have a ketchup stain. And fluffy pajama pants. And fuzzy socks.

pajama pants(I’m sexy and I know it.)

  • Surprise him with a fun gift. I really hope he likes the new yoga pants I bought him. And matching earrings.
  • Wink at him seductively when you’re at a public event. (Assuming I’m not hiding in the bathroom.) The last time I tried winking seductively, he thought I was having a stroke and drove me to the ER.
  • Initiate sex. I can’t do this without giggling. So, in a Pavlovian effect, every time I giggle, my husband starts getting undressed.

I think I’ll just stick with the basics: candy, card, a passionate kiss and a sincere, “I love you.” That should do it.

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Fifty Shades of Beige

The popularity of the pornographically-erotic book Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James indicates a high level of sexual frustration in women. The book follows the dark relationship between Ana and the hilariously-named Christian, with the expected amount of raw sex.

(His skirt looks a little too flowy to be a kilt.)

Bodice-rippers are not new to female literature. Fabio-esque male models have graced the pages of many a tantalizing book, usually grasping a well-cleavaged woman in a tattered green, velvet dress. Titles like Hearts in Heat or Blood Pumpin’ are full of throbbing pulses and heaving bosoms.

(This is why you shouldn’t play with Super Glue.)

If men are wondering how they compare to these sweaty sex-novel heroes, take a glance at the list below and see if your technique could use some fine tuning. (In the interest of full-disclosure, my husband is not guilty of MOST of these offenses.)

1. Foreplay does not consist of watching Sports Center and grabbing our boobs during commercials.

2. We have other body parts for you to fondle besides the aforementioned boobage.

3. If I’m snoring, it doesn’t mean I’m playing hard-to-get, it means I’m freakin’ SLEEPING! Touch me and die.

4. Just because men can be turned on by a toothpaste commercial doesn’t mean we’re ready to go once your belt hits the floor.

5. It’s NOT cool to mention how soft our bellies are, how you like the way our cellulite gleams in the moonlight or how you enjoy the feeling of leg stubble.

6. If we make the effort to dress in sexy lingerie, don’t make comments about a) beached whales, b) the full moon or c) how it looked so much different in the catalog.

7. Can you say “manscaping?”

8. Just because you read about it on the Internet does not mean it’s physically possible.

Adherence to the above “suggestions” could perhaps ensure a more compliant, and loving, partner.