Our mothers always had sayings that made us cringe when we were young. Imagine how we cringe when we find ourselves uttering those very sayings to our kids. Life does come with instructions...just ask your mother.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gluten-free: The New Diet Fad isn't for Everyone

This Blog Certified Gluten Free
I read an article the other day that warned people who don't have gluten allergies not to eat gluten-free food. You have to wonder why that warning is even necessary. Only 1% of the population actually suffer from Celiac disease. Celiac sufferers find it very difficult to enjoy certain types of food because of their gluten sensitivity.  They would love to munch down on a cupcake, but have to search for specially-prepared foods or recipes that substitute key ingredients in order to indulge in what 99% of the population eats without a second thought.

So, why would someone who doesn't have a medical condition that makes gluten a forbidden dietary component, go to all the trouble of finding and buying foods that are gluten-free?  I think it's that "-free" suffix. Half of all food on store shelves have been certified to be free of something. Fat-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, etc. There's a natural tendency to believe that if someone went to all the trouble to take it out, it wasn't good for you in the first place and the "-free" product is superior to the product that is unadulterated.  After all, who would buy food that was labeled "Fat-Laden" or "Chock full of Cholesterol"?

Yet, with only 1% of the population actually having an inability to properly digest gluten, a full 29% of Americans polled say they want to cut down on the amount of gluten in their diet. 

Leading the way in making gluten-free foods the new fad for people who have absolutely nothing wrong with their digestive systems (no such claim is made for their intelligence) are the dieters. Not just any old dieters but famous ones, such as Gwyneth Paltrow.  Celebrities are often the driving force in ridiculous behaviors and fads, so this should come as no surprise.  And to no-one's surprise, these celebrity dieters are not only completely wrong, they're adopting a fad that is both stupid and potentially injurious to their health.

Eliminating grains from your diet leaves you with a shocking deficiency of fiber.  Since fiber is essential for the proper functioning of your digestive system , it's not a good idea to cut it out of your diet. It's also counter-intuitive for a dieter as fiber helps to speed food through your digestive tract and cut down on the number of calories absorbed. According to WebMD, fiber is good for your heart, lowers cholesterol, lowers your risk for GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), obesity and diverticulitis.Why would anyone with half a brain purposely avoid eating fiber if they didn't have to?  Nevermind, answered my own question.

On the laughable side, these "dieters" don't seem to realize that gluten-free foods are often higher in fat than other foods.  They are likely to gain weight rather than lose it, and get really sick in the process.

There are people who suffer from serious symptoms due to celiac disease and other types of wheat and gluten allergies and sensitivities.  For  vacuous, empty-headed, celebrity mannequins whose main focus is remaining trendy to adopt the gluten-free diet as a fad is simply insulting to all those who live that way not by choice, but because they have a medical condition. And as expected, almost a third of the population has no idea what is going on and is following their lead.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Survived the Earthquake of 10/16/12

Have you ever experienced that shaking of the floor when the washer load is unbalanced and on spin? That's not what happened to me last night. 

What happened was an earthquake.

Now, living in New England, I feel pretty insulated from many things. I used to anyway, but the last few years have been pretty odd.  We don't normally get a lot of hurricanes or tornadoes.  It's just usually too cold.  Hurricanes lose strength when they get over the cold waters of the North Atlantic and except for those freak storms, like in 1938 and 1957, they don't really reach that catastrophic phase. At least, they didn't until that Irene creature tried to drown the state of Vermont last year.

No, the worst thing we deal with is the Nor'easter, which is a bit like a hurricane except it's mostly snow and ice instead of rain.  But even those really deadly blizzards strike in a decadal pattern - 1969, 1978, etc.

We definitely don't get earthquakes. 

So why have I experienced two earthquakes in New England?

The first one was probably twenty years ago.  The epicenter was in Quebec and when my chair began to shake and shiver, my first thought was that the freight train was rolling through.  Of course, I did realize eventually that the trains had not run since I was a small child and besides, they didn't run at night. By the time I opened my mouth to say "earthquake", it was over. It was a little bit like missing it.

So, I should have been prepared last night, should have recognized the nature of that shaking in an instant.  But no, my first thought was that the washing machine was spinning way too hard.  Then I realized it wasn't possible for it to spin that hard, mainly because the washing machine wasn't running at the time.  And again, by the time my brain had settled on earthquake, it was over.

I feel cheated, somehow.  I feel like I would have experienced those 5 or 7 seconds more fully if I had known from the start that it was an earthquake.  I mean, the washing machine spins every day.

The Boy was thrilled. The earthquake was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to him and he wanted more. He kept hoping that we'd get an aftershock, a rumble, a tremor, something or anything that would let him relive the experience.  I almost shared his desire for more but it would have been setting a poor example for me to encourage him in hoping for another possibly destructive act of nature.

But I do want to make him happy.  So tomorrow, just before he wakes up, I will put an unbalanced load in the washer and turn it on spin.  Then I will wake him up, shouting "Earthquake"!  Just think, he'll be the only one at his school who felt it...

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Today is the first day of October.  Along with enjoying the nice, crisp weather, the colorful foliage and the fun of Halloween, October also brings us an important reminder.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.



All women should be aware of their risks for breast cancer, how to perform a self-exam and know when to see a physician or have a mammogram.  Just being aware will increase a woman's chances of discovering a problem early and enhance her chances for survival.

For the facts about breast cancer, including signs and symptoms, check out this link.

If you want to get involved and help fight breast cancer, then consider joining or supporting those Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.