Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gluten Free Travelogue; Day 1

My Office is closed next week; this means a vacation for me! Today I embarked on the first leg of my weeklong ski trip in Colorado with my mother. Flying form New York to Michigan isn’t usually too bad. I packed last night, and only forgot a few things.

Along with my ski boots and clothes I probably have more gluten free protein bars than the two of us can eat in 5 days. Protein powders, vitamins, prednisone, creams and other emergency supplies. I packed gluten free food for the time I’d be stuck in the airport; my experience with LaGuardia is that it’s no great shakes, gluten free or otherwise.

Spending the night at home in Ann Arbor I was less worried about gluten than I was about maintaining my normal diet. I’m not quite sure how to explain this; the term carb addict comes to mind. Whenever I eat bread or pasta, even gluten free ones, for a meal I am never satisfied, I keep going back and eating more and more until I feel sick and disgusted with myself. A slice of bread or a little rice is one thing, but a sandwich is never satisfactory.

I was worried because earlier this week my mom told me that she had prepared gluten free lasagna for us to eat. She made one earlier in the week, which my parents sampled and them froze for me dad to eat while my mom and I are away. She said that the Tinkyada whole grain rice pasta she used turned out really well. She said she preferred it to standard pasta.

I was afraid it was going to be a fatty, cheesy mess that would ruin my diet, but then I remembered that my dad is on a heart healthy diet. She used low fat mozzarella, fat free ricotta and a mixture of beef, veal and bison. And it was really good, except for all those noodles. The noodles themselves were great, maybe a little over cooked, but she made the lasagna itself several days ago and only baked it today. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the right balance of foods that I needed after a day of upheaval and travel. I kept going back for more without satisfaction.

I’m reminded that I really need to pay attention to my body and head it’s signals, I would have been much happier with a simple piece of fish or cottage cheese and granola. I must remember to emphasize this when we shop for supplies in Colorado. At least we’re staying in a joint with a kitchen, and we’ll be able to cook for ourselves this coming week. The challenge may be finding supplies.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Musings on the F Train

As much as New Yorkers love to gripe about the subway, it really is a remarkable system. It moves I don’t know how many people all around the city everyday. Where else can you see so many different kinds of people all in one place, united in the same pursuit: trying to get ‘there’. So many cultures merge, and sometimes collide. I marvel at the diversity.

Today, as I stood in the F train surveying my fellow riders I saw nothing unusual. Two teenage boys sharing headphones, an elderly man with can and newspaper, a can of soda here, a bottle of juice there. One woman eating licorice and reading a gossip mag, another with her Starbucks yogurt parfait. Empty calories, Mindless eating.

For a moment I was struck with how jealous I was of them, able to pick up whatever the feel like without a second thought. I missed that, not readying every label with eagle eyes before a purchase.

And then I took another bite of my celery and was reminded of what I do have: my health. And mindful eating. Being gluten free has made me so aware of my body. What it needs, what it doesn’t need, and how it reacts to different things.

I think to myself: if I have to stop to read the labels, why not smell the proverbial roses while I’m there? Take this opportunity to be conscious of everything I eat, even, especially, the things I know are gluten free.