Tag Archives: Restaurants

6 Months Into A Gluten-Free Lifestyle…

It’s been a little over six months since I adopted a gluten-free lifestyle. At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to stick with it for more than a week, but I found that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

What Made It Easy:

+ I found gluten-free products like Udi’s and Food Should Taste Good that I loved so I didn’t have to give up breads, bagels or chips.

+ Some of my favorite foods, like sushi, were already gluten-free.

+ My cousin Jeff has been eating gluten-free for years. It was tremendously helpful to have someone close to me that I could ask questions to and eat with.

But don’t get me wrong, there were some challenges.

What Was (and sometimes continues to be) Difficult:

+ Some chain restaurants like PF Chang’s and BJ’s Brewery have gluten-free items listed on their menu, but not all restaurants do. I had to learn how to ask for modified dishes, but even more difficult was not being able to order my favorites (like salt and pepper prawns).

On the bright side, I found new gluten-free restaurants like Asian Box that I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with. Also, some restaurants will happily offer to modify their dishes (it doesn’t hurt to ask!). When traveling home from Portland last month I had lunch at Beaches Restaurant in the airport. When I asked if the stir-fried veggie bowl had soy sauce, the server asked if I needed it to be gluten-free and then proceeded to ask the kitchen to substitute the regular soy sauce with sweet chili oil and gluten-free soy sauce! /tangent

+ I still haven’t mastered the art of cooking gluten-free pasta. I experimented with different brands and found some to be downright disgusting. I have found a brand that is pretty good but it’s a hit or miss if I can cook it properly. I’ve found that GF pasta is very sensitive – it’s so easy to under/over cook it.

+ There is no substitute for ramen. It’s one of my most favorite foods and probably what I miss the most. Especially when my runnings friends and I have Ramen Runs. The fried rice at Genki Ramen is great, but just isn’t the same as a big bowl of veggie ramen.

What I’ve Learned:

+ I plan my weekly meals using recipes that I find on blogs and Pinterest. I’m not very proficient in the kitchen but I have learned how to modify a recipe to make it gluten-free. For example, substituting breadcrumbs with GF cornflakes.

+ Just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. I’ve found that so many gluten-free bloggers only post recipes for baked goods recipes. Baked goods may not have gluten but they still have a lot of sugar.

+ I’ve become an expert label reader. I created a note on my phone listing all the foods that contain gluten. When I grocery shop I read the labels and can tell if something is gluten-free (if not already marked). However, some grocery stores (like Whole Foods) have gluten-free sections and also have gluten-free labels on the shelving.

How I’ve Felt:

+ My sleep continues to be very good.
+ I have always had very oily, acne-prone skin. Since going GF my skin is noticeably less oily and I rarely have any breakouts.
+ I used to always feel so sick after almost every single meal, but now I no longer feel bloated or have digestive issues. And when I do, I know I accidentally ate something with gluten.
+ I used to experiences extreme motions – very high highs and very low low’s. Now I feel more in control of my emotions. I’m not as quick to anger and have less dark, depressive periods.

Adopting a gluten-free lifestyle (I hate the word “diet”) has been one of the best decisions I have made.

Here are a few of my favorite gluten-free recipes:

+ Shrimp & Vegetable Quinoa Fried Rice
+ Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
+ Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

The Truth About Dining Out

Workouts:

Monday AM: Spin/Core
Monday PM: Yoga
Tuesday PM: 7-mile run
Wednesday AM: Strength Training w/Trainer
Wednesday PM: Spin
(You can read details of all works here.)

Other than my race report of the Oakland Running Festival, I haven’t blogged regularly for almost a week. Life has been busy and I’ve hardly had time to keep up with the basic daily basics….like blogging!

Last week I went out to dinner at the Elephant Bar. I noticed that they have started to include calories on their menu. Now I know that there are a lot of calories consumed when eating out, but after reading their menu, I was honestly shocked!

Seeing how much calories were in every item really impacted my decision on what to order. I love sweet potatoes fries – but not for 720 calories!

I ended up ordering the Garlic Noodles with Shrimp, which was a mere 780 calories.

Less than some of the items on the “Light Menu.”

Back in the day, from college up until 2003, I ate out for practically every single meal. I never grocery shopped and didn’t know how to cook. The staff at the local restaurants knew me by name and what my regular orders were. It’s no wonder I was 50+ lbs heavier back then. I wish all restaurants printed nutritional data on their menus. I think it would really influence the decisions that we all make.

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Picking up on my 30-day Photo Challenge (which is now a “30 Days of Blogging Challenge”):

Day 03 – A picture of the cast from your favorite show

I watch a lot of TV. I mean…A LOT of TV.

Sunday: Amazing Race, Brothers & Sisters
Monday: Gossip Girl, Hawai’i 5-0, DWTS
Tuesday: Biggest Loser, Glee
Wednesday: Modern Family, Law & Order: SVU
Thursday: The Office, Grey’s Anatomy
Friday: Blue Blood, Who Do You Think You Are
Saturday: Law & Order: Los Angeles

And there are a lot more (like GH since I’ve been watching since I was 5 yrs old)…

I don’t watch any of the shows live; I TiVo everything and save it all for Sundays so I can fast forward through commercials and the story lines I don’t care for.

For obvious reasons, I picked Hawai’i 5-0 as my current show. Whenever I watch it, I feel closer to home!

Guilty Pleasures

My alarm went off at 5:03 am, way too soon. I pressed snooze twice before dragging myself out of bed at 5:21 am. I groggily made myself a bowl of cereal and ate it with an empty stare nowhere. Usually, once I’m up, I’m up and moving. But this time I just felt like everything was a haze.

My body felt “off.” Hard to describe, but it just felt weird. Like weak or something. Maybe it was the massage I had the night before; not sure. I forced myself to get ready for a run. To get an idea of how “off” I was, I actually put my shoes on without socks. Yeah, one of those kinds of mornings.

I actually made it out the door and walked down to the park. But once I got there I just knew it wasn’t going to happen, so I turned around and walked home, and went straight to my couch where I plopped down to watch Gossip Girl. The season premiere. One of my guilty pleasures.

Ironically, I the last post I wrote on guilty pleasures was 2 years ago this month. So let’s take a look at what my current list is:

- Gossip Girl: With quotes like, “My fairy godmother is my credit card”, what’s not to love?

- General Hospital: I started watching with my Grandma when I was 5 years old, and thanks to TiVo, I still watch it religiously. What can I say, they’re like my family.

- Fro-Yo: 2 years ago I listed Yogurtouille, but now I have so many more options. I can provide quality reviews on at least 6 different places. Fraiche is my favorite, but Harmony is most convenient. A large will last me for at least 4 days. Yum!

- Lululemon: an *expensive* guilty pleasure. I’ve graduated from shoes and handbags to “yoga-inspired clothing.” Seriously, I can’t even put together a “regular clothes” outfit anymore. But I can tell you all about Lulu’s seasonal color palette and fall line.

- Words With Friends: my newest addiction, just discovered last week. If you’ve never heard of it, its basically Scrabble on your iPhone. I think I have about 7 games going on right now. I’m not very good at it yet, but getting better.

To quote my cousin Jenna, “Its okay to judge me, I judge myself.”

After work, I indulged in a couple more guilty pleasures: a hair appointment at the salon, while reading the (thick) September issue of Elle magazine (in hopes of getting some sense of fashion back).

Here’s the mid-way point:

and here’s the finish!

Now that I’ve fully indulged in an unplanned rest day, time to get back on schedule tomorrow.