Rants & Raves

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Ok…I’ll admit it, I can be very opinionated when it comes to certain things. Food & diet, exercise, politics, health care reform. All of these things can be a hot button issue for me. So, rather than rant & rave to my spouse (who I suspect is becoming tired of the constant barrage), I thought it might be therapeutic to use this page as a space to voice my concerns and frustrations as well as my approvals and positive feedback for these topics, and others, that get me ranting & raving like a maniac. We are now in session…


The coolest coupon I’ve ever seen!

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Yesterday, as I was flipping through the Sunday paper, I stumbled on the coupon “ads”.  Normally I don’t look at these at all.  I mean, why would I?  There is never anything in them that I want or need.  This weekend alone there were coupons for various gluten filled foods, discounts at Denny’s, the Ab Circle (the treadmill for your abs!), a deluxe coupon organizer , a set of 3 geniune lambskin change purses and some Pepper Defense Spray (with a quickfire safety grip holster in 3 designer colors!)  Yeah…like I said, I’m good.

But wait!  As I turned one of the last pages, wondering what new ridiculous items I would see I saw a coupon I have never seen in this flyer - ever.  I stared at it and tried to think of a time when I’d seen a coupon for something like this and I couldn’t think of one…nothing…I asked Tammy if she remembered seeing one like this…she hadn’t either.  As a matter of fact, I’m still looking at it in awe even as I type this up.

The ad and coupon are for Cuties Seedless Clementines - $1 off a 5lb box and $0.55 off a 3lb bag!  Can you believe it??  An actual coupon for produce…fruit no less!  I was so impressed with this coupon, I checked out the website for Paramount Citrus (the parent company of Cuties).  They’ve got tons of information on their products, health information on various citrus fruits, games that kids can play and information on their products from grove to store (growing, harvesting, packing & shipping).

In this day and age, when kids are bombarded with ads from fast food places and we are seeing wacked out health claims on sugary cereals, it gives me a sense of hope when I see a coupon ad like this.  Everyone, and I mean every single person reading this, needs to visit the Cuties website, register with them (upper right hand corner of their mainpage), print out these coupons and go buy some!  These coupons expire 1/6/10, so hurry and get them before you get too busy with the holidays.

Do it for the kids.

Cold Season Already?!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

For as long as I can remember, I was never sick.  I don’t care if everyone in my house had the flu and when I went to work, everyone there had it too, I never caught it.  Someone could sneeze right in my face (disgusting I know), and I still wouldn’t catch anything.  Aahhh…how wonderful those times were…

Now, with Celiac wreaking its havoc, I seem to be susceptible to catching every single cold or flu that gets within…ahem…spitting distance of me.  It is starting to drive me crazy!  I spent this past weekend in bed, fighting off a cold/stomach “flu” that left me with no energy, no appetite and wonderful stomach cramps.  It’s only September!!  I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through this entire season sick!  And with all the talk of swine flu, and my apparent, current attraction to every cold virus around, guess I’ll just pencil that bad-boy in now!

Well, as wonderful as all that sounds, that’s just not going to work for me.  The current viral fun park that is my compromised immune system is about to be closed for the season.  This weekend, while I rested, I started my own list of foods that will soon begin to make up most of my daily diet.  I’ve labeled this list my “Revive Diet”.  The criteria for inclusion on this list?  The foods must be gentle on my gut and either pack an immune boosting punch or provide materials that help heal a damaged digestive system.  I started by writing out all the allowed foods on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  I figured this list would start me off with the foods that would be the easiest on my gut.  I’m now in the process of cross-referencing those foods on the World’s Healthiest Foodswebsite - looking at both the food’s positive and negative attributes and noting which ones are best at providing antioxidants and vitamins, which are best at helping to heal the digestive system (so far it’s bananas) and which will provide the best overall boost to my wacked out immune system.  Finally, I’ll look up what individual research studies I can for any other specific details.  When I finish my list, I will definitely post it here to share with everyone.

Colds don’t stand a chance.

Don’t be afraid to teach.

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Recently I was checking out at my local grocery store.  The woman that was checking out in front of me had her little girl with her and they were buying some wonderful treats to share at home.  The delicious items they had selected to purchase on this excursion to the grocery store were a 2 gallon tub of neon, multi-colored ice cream and two Hostess pies.  Mmm-mm!  You know, I’ve been enjoying making my own ice cream at home this summer, and you know what?  I have yet to figure out how to make it neon, glow in the dark type colors…I must be doing something wrong.  As far as the pies go…all I can say is, it’s times like these when I am very content to have Celiac and not even have the option of eating that $1.00 “pie”.

Anyway, seeing this in the check out aisle got me to thinking, and questions started floating around in my head.  Thankfully, I, or anyone reading this with certain allergies or Celiac, can’t eat this “food”, but doesn’t anyone else look at these labels?  Does anyone pay attention, or care about the ingredients in their food or where it comes from?  Can I talk my wife into making me some sort of pie this weekend?  Cherry would be good…oh wait, how about blueberry?  Are we all content to walk around in blissful ignorance, while constantly complaining of our increase in aches and pains and the more frequent visits to the doctor?  Are we ever going to make these companies accountable for what they are packaging and putting on store shelves, trying to pass it off as actual food?  Is it even possible to make them accountable?  Do I have any more coconut milk ice cream in the freezer?

I think it is vitally important for everyone , especially for those of us with Celiac or food allergies and intolerances, to pay very close attention to where our food comes from and what is in everything we eat.  Scrutinizing every label and “Product of…” sticker not only for the obvious stuff like gluten, barley, dairy, etc, but for chemical names we can’t pronounce and some sort of indication that it originated closer than 5,000 miles away.  We need to work to teach our children to do the same thing, not simply because we tell them to, but explain to them the reasons why and the consequences of choosing one food item over another.  Ask either of my kids if they want to go to McDonald’s and they will both say, “No, it’s not good for you,” every time.  Ha!  Guess they should have spent $820,000,000,000 (yes, that’s the actual figure they reportedly spent in 2008) AND $1 on advertising to break through to my kids!  Man…as a side-note, $820 billion is enough to buy every man, woman & child on Earth (6.78 billion) 120 Value Menu hamburgers!  In 2008, our federal budget for that year had a projected deficit of $240 billion, about a quarter of what McDonald’s spent on advertising alone.  Dang!

While I don’t have answers to all the questions I thought about that day waiting to check out (in case you’re wondering, no I didn’t get a pie, but I did have ice cream at home!) I do know that those of us with Celiac or other food restricting conditions should not be upset over these restrictions, we should be happy.  For it’s these very restrictions that make most of our daily food decisions for us, forcing us to eat healthier and naturally pay more attention to the what and where of our food.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many people that spend as much time as I do (other than other Celiac friends) researching the things I eat and how it affects my body.  Of course, I don’t know many people that would want to spend that much time researching it either…But it is because of this that we should all see ourselves as examples, even role models, for others trying to eat healthier and make better culinary decisions.  Don’t be afraid to share what you know and offer advice to those that ask for it.

Don’t be afraid to teach.


Doesn’t anybody want to work out at the gym??

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Every month I have a random drawing where I give away health and wellness related “prizes”.  So far this year, I’ve given away a 1-hour massage, a free initial visit with a local chiropractor and a gift certificate to Jamba Juice (great smoothies!)  This month, the give away was a 30 day membership to a local gym.  Now, I knew this might be tough as some people already belong to a gym and switching may be hard, but I had no idea how many people just wouldn’t want it.

I called about half a dozen people and pretty much got the same response, “I just wouldn’t use it.”  I asked them if they already belonged to a gym, a couple said yes, but the majority said no.  So why wouldn’t they use it then?  I just couldn’t understand it.  The good news is that, I ended up giving the certificate away to the first person who contacted me (actually got a few people that responded), but it got me to thinking, why are people so put off by the gym?

Is it the cost?  Is it the crowd?  Is it all the spandex??  Unfortunately, I think it is just the simple fact that most people are intimidated by the club and they feel too self-conscious to want to go try to do exercises they have no idea how to do, in front of a bunch of people that they think will be watching, and snickering, while they do it.  The truth however, is much different. 

First of all, it’s my experience, that most people in the gym have NO idea what they are doing.  Trust me, you will not be the only one in there doing something wrong.  Nobody knows how to use proper form the first time they workout on that equipment.  Whenever I join a new gym, inevitably there is some piece of equipment that I have no idea how to use.  There are a two very easy solutions - you can get a personal trainer, even for only one or two sessions, to get you using the correct form or you can ask any club staff how to use the equipment.  Either way you’ll be using the equipment like a pro in no time.

The tougher nut to crack is feeling so self-conscious that you don’t even want to go in the front door, but the fact is, no one is watching you.  There are definitely clubs that have a more social, meat markety feel to them and that is uncomfortable for anyone.  Here’s a tip to avoid a club like that, when you are checking out the facility, if you see people talking on cellphones, guys grunting incredibly loud on every set, or women that look like they went out of their way to ”dress up” and get their make-up and hair perfect just to work out - you need to find a different club. 

It really disturbed me that it took so much to give away the free 1-month membership that I had.  It’s no secret that I think everyone needs to either spend time at the gym every week or find a boot camp style workout they can do outside - anything that will actually make you sweat.  Whatever you do, don’t let these excuses stop you.  If you find yourself getting a call for a free gym membership, please at least check out the facility and give it a try - you never know, you just might like it!