Thursday, December 27, 2012

the four things christmas taught me (a reflection on bed rest)

christmas came and went just like the snow flurries we got over christmas eve. i'm happy to report that i had a wonderful christmas but it went by way too quickly (i feel like this happens as we get older?). :(

even though time flew, it wasn't without quality time with family, or a few lessons learned on my part. introducing: the four things christmas taught me (or more like the four things i learned while celebrating the holidays)

and i have all the time in the world to type this up and make the post real pretty because i'm currently on day two of bed rest (see the 4th thing christmas taught me).

1) gluten free baking is not easy

i'm sure many of you know this. i'm sure this is something i should have assumed given all the different types of gluten free flour that exists (almond, coconut, rice...). but after my first success with the banana cookies, i thought i could conquer anything. continuing the tradition of making cookies with my mom on christmas eve, we attempted two gluten free cookies and a gluten free cake to boot.

the first batch we attempted was a roll & cut sugar cookie mix prepared by pamela's. cookie mix in a bag is fool-proof, right? wrong. the dough turned out okay, and then we put it in the fridge to harden up (like you do with most sugar cookie recipes). and we left the dough in there until we got back from church about two hours later. the dough was hard as a rock! after 30 seconds in the microwave, the dough softened up and we could roll it a bit, but it was tough getting big cookies out of the dough. we ended up doing a bunch of thin, little stars. despite the few issues, i ate a lot of the raw cookie dough (it was yummy) and the final cookies turned out pretty tasty too.

tiny, yet satisfying sugar cookies

the other two recipes we attempted are from erin's website, the texanerin baker. erin has so many beautiful gluten free recipes, it was hard to pick just two to try. we ended up attempting a chewy molasses cookie and a cranberry-orange cake. out of the two, the cake turned out the best. the molasses cookies ended up crispy and crumbly, which made me pretty sad. i'm guessing we over cooked them.

ginger molasses cookies. they don't look crispy here,
but looks can be deceiving

cranberry-orange cake. looks beautiful, no?

2) knowledge is power

when dealing with dietary "issues", learning and knowing as much as you can is key to being able to live the best life possible. so i'm thankful that i got two great books for christmas: a gluten free recipe book and a book all about learning to live and eat with ibs. my sister got me the ibs guide, and though it is an idiot's guide to ibs, she said she got this one because it was the only book she could find that addressed fodmap (not because she thinks i'm an idiot). only a few pages in, i've learned more than i thought i would about how our bodies digest/process food and what actually happens in the body that causes ibs. fun fact: molasses is a food that should be avoided for people with ibs because it contains high levels of fructose. aren't i glad i made molasses cookies? oy vey. clearly i could use a little "ibs 101" in my life curriculum.

great tummy literature

3) i can "slack off" on the diet, but i cannot slack off on low fodmap, gluten free or dairy free

for some reason, i thought i could slack off on paying attention to what i ate for the past four days. i wasn't paying attention to fodmap or being as careful as i am with gluten-free and dairy-free. this was especially so on christmas eve and on christmas day.

and i paid for it. i have felt physically crappy for all of those days (and the few days following) - the worst i have felt since before starting a low fodmap diet a few months ago. i'm learning that the quality/type of food i eat really makes a bigger difference than the quantity. i workout enough where i will be okay if i go over calories for a day or two, but i can't slack on the type of food i'm eating. even though gaining weight sucks, feeling physically sick is worse (believe it or not)!

so. no more being lazy with paying attention to the food i put in my body, especially on holidays. having a healthy diet is a 365/24/7 job, not just a "whenever i feel like it" job (and no, holidays do not come with their own "get out of tummy jail free card").

4) going "hard" to "make up" for the slacking off isn't always the best idea...

with the dietbet competition ending next week and my first body-comp/weigh-in with my trainer in over a year tomorrow, i wanted to push myself with double workouts and juice meal replacements. yesterday i went to the gym for my normal weekly strength training session and pinched a nerve/pulled a giant band of muscles in my lower back during my second set of weighted squats. i sat on the couch unable to move for most of the day with an ice pack and a bottle of tylenol. brandon had to help me walk, get me upstairs, and yes, even had to help me get into the bathroom alright. the perks of being a couple, i'm sure he's thinking.

after making a few phone calls (one to an on-call doctor, one to my mom and one to my sister), i ended the night with a bottle of vicodin and flexeril at my side. thankfully, i woke up today and am feeling much better, but still in a considerable amount of pain. i'll be resting today as well, switching from ice to heat pads and from tylenol to vicodin. let's see if i write any drug-induced blog posts later on today ;)

my lesson learned is to take things easy, even if i feel like i have a lot to make up for, because now i'm paying for it: i can't workout at all until i'm healed up (insert mild panic here)! everything comes in its own time and it's not worth going so hard that an injury comes and working out goes down the drain for a few days as a result. boo.

now i have a lot of time to think about my lessons as i'm stuck to the couch on "bed rest" for awhile. so give me some good stuff to read: tell me about your holidays. any lessons you learned while celebrating over the past few days? any good holiday family stories? great recipes to share from baking adventures?


  1. Gluten free and healthy baking is hard! Things just don't golden the same ;)

    1. Nothing rises or goldens the same, you are so right. The dough consistencies aren't the same either, which is the hardest part for me. I don't know when I've got it right or wrong!

  2. Oh no! Take care of yourself! I am not looking forward to the g-f baking- but I need to start hunting things down!

    1. If my recipe book is helpful, or I find something better, I'll let you know! Thanks for the well wishes :)

  3. Poor you!!! I hope you are feeling better now. Going hard can be good... but not too hard I guess. Get well soon! :)

    1. Thank you! And yes, I guess we need to know when trying to be like the Hulk isn't the best thing for our body :)

  4. I baked some pecan treats, my grandma's recipe, this weekend and I thought they were good. I asked my husband to take them to work, so that I would not be able to eat them. He said that he was too embarrassed to take them to work. WHAT? They weren't that bad. Or I will eat anything? Feel better soon. Checking back later for those drug-induced blog posts.

    1. Oh no! How can someone be embarrassed to take treats into work?? I'm sorry, I'm sure they're amazing! I just tossed all the cookies I made this morning. No more temptations in my house!

  5. I lived in Jackson for many years have family in Lansing and worked at U of M for a while, Ann Arbor is a nice place. I have been gluten free for several years now and about 4 months ago started on the Fodmap diet. It isn't easy, but my stomach is the best it has been in years since starting the Fodmap journey.

    When I went gluten free the thing that I searched for was cookies I could make that were like real cookies. Most of the ones I've tried are not as good and flatten out and run together. My favorite is chocolate chip and I found a mix that is just as good as those cookies you buy at the mall, my husband even likes them and he isn't gluten free. I'm not positive about Fodmap, but when I put in enjoy chocolate chips they don't seem to bother me. They are kind of expensive, but each box makes a lot. They are called 123 Gluten Free Chewy Chipless Scrumdelicious Cookie Mix. You can buy them on Amazon, but the companies website is cheaper I think (I am not affiliated with this company at all, just like there product)

    To help me with Fodmap info this website is most helpful She has an ebook that I got a while back that I refer to often. The university that developed and does research on this diet is in Australia and they just came out with an iphone app that would also help- look it up under Monash University.

    Sorry for all the info. I know how frustrating it is to start on diets like these and the doctors are not all that helpful.


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