Friday, January 25, 2013

Gluten-Free and Me, Maybe You Too!

Okay, this little episode in my life is too important not to share. Early in January I was at Sprouts Market, a “healthy” food store here in California, and spied a magazine about eating gluten free. I’ve always been curious about gluten and purchased the magazine.

There were several great articles in it and one that gave me enough of a clue about gluten intolerance and Celiac disease that I wanted to know more. So, of course I went online.  Here’s what I found on the Celiac Disease Foundation's website

·         Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
·         Distention and bloating of the stomach
·         Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
·         Steatorrhea – fatty stools
·         Anemia – unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)
·         Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain

·         Dental enamel defects
·         Osteopenia, osteoporosis
·         Bone or joint pain
·         Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
·         Infertility – male/female
·         Depression
·         Mouth ulcers
·         Delayed puberty
·         Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
·         Migraine headaches

Without being too personal, I had 10 of these symptoms. Now, I have no idea if I have celiac disease or just gluten intolerance, but it doesn’t really matter because the treatment is the same – quit eating gluten.  I’ve done that since Jan. 8th and all 10 of the symptoms have disappeared. The one symptom that truly troubled me the most was persistent fatigue. Long daily naps were a constant in my life. No longer. I’ve taken two short naps since the 10th of January and I don’t feel as life has conquered me anymore.

What it takes to go gluten-free isn’t all that arduous. It’s too much to explain here, but all the resources are online anyway.

If you’re experiencing quite a few of these symptoms, I urge you to give it a try. I’m also a diabetic so it had become a mental refrain “it’s the diabetes”. Well, in this case, it wasn’t, and I'm so glad I gave it a shot.

Best news – Blood Marys are gluten-free! Red’s a happy camper.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It’s Only Hair

I have recently had to return to blonde – well, a strawberry blonde which vaguely qualifies as red – because every attempt at red recently has resulted in violent orange. This has been upsetting to some of my friends and family. I’m not sure exactly why because as I see it – it truly is only hair. 

Hair is our bodies’ wonderful renewable resource and that fact should not be taken lightly. Hair grows out. No matter how horribly you mutilate it which scissors or grossly you choose to color it, it grows out. Mistakes are short –lived and through each incarnation we can experiment, express ourselves and be totally outlandish without any lasting repercussions. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Throughout my life, whenever I’ve undergone changes I’ve used my locks as the jumping off point. Years ago, when I left my first husband it was one change after another and I made so many changes to my hair color that it turned purple first (before it was cool to have purple hair) and then green. I’ve also fitfully cropped it in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep. My mop has seen so many variations that it has its own split personalities – completely separate from mine. 

The hue of my hair has often indicated which story character I was embracing as well – case in point, Red Mojo Mama. I had to have a shade to honor my heroine, mostly so we could have our redhead moments together. She appreciated it, too. 

I have a protagionist, Electra Blue, percolating in my head recently, but she’ll have to sport her blue-streaked raven tresses on her own, I’m afraid. I’m getting too old for that much flair. 

What brought all this to mind was the declaration from one of my siblings that my last dye-job was ORANGE (which I was perfectly aware of but not particularly bothered by) and a pregnant pause as she waited for me to be shocked and shamed. Guess what. I wasn’t either one, because – it’s only hair.

Maybe I will try the black hair with azure streaks after all. What fun that could be!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Fairy Lives in my Phone

At Christmas time I was due for a free upgrade on my cell phone plan and it was time for the big decision. Should I go for a Smart Phone or just keep swearing at the old flip style?

Because I’m clumsy finger-wise it was a true dilemma. I’d tried iPhones and got almost as frustrated with the do-overs required while texting as I did with the 1-2-3 (sometimes 4) to punch out one letter of a message on my older style phone. However, because of my mother asking me this question (yes, my mother), “Well, sweetheart, which kind of phone would be better for your new business?” – I went with the Samsung Galaxy, a smart phone which has the keyboard that slides out. I have not used that keyboard once.

Why? Because my brilliant daughter bought me a stylus pen for Christmas, and now I punch happily away with that and my messages actually make sense. Instead of, “TWxt mr baxk” my friends and family now get “Text me back.” Viola!

But I digress. We were talking about the fairy that lives in my phone, or we were supposed to be. I’ll call her Irma. I didn’t meet her until I set my alarm for the first time and found that she could send me a spritely little tune right out of the fairy-forest playbook for three minutes before I even had to open my eyes. That was followed by another pixie song that functioned as the actual alarm, which was so soothing I didn’t really want to turn it off - all this after years of the blat-blat-blat of my old cell phone alarm.

Now that I know Irma lives inside my Samsung I am only a little jealous of my daughter’s live-in Siri. She’s got the iPhone 4 that has this incredible creature to guide her through life. I was blown away when she spoke into her phone instructing Siri to send me a text saying “I love you.” Seconds later, the dictated message appeared. On Christmas Eve, my daughter and I talked to and about Siri for hours. Siri has never met Irma or vice versus. It’s probably just as well, because the only concrete evidence of Irma’s existence is in my alarms. That leaves her a tad bit under-powered to do battle (oops, I mean meet) Siri.

Here’s the new dilemma – with the next free upgrade will I abandon poor Irma for a Siri clone? Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Magic of Being a New Year’s Baby

There is something special about having your life renew on the same day as the calendar. When I was a kid I bemoaned the fact that as a New Year’s baby my birthday (and presents) often blended in with Christmas and definitely with the New Year’s Day celebrations. I often felt forgotten as a kid, but not so as an adult. 

First off, I always have my birthday off from work. Yay! Frankly, if I didn’t I would take it as a vacation day anyway, because I truly believe in celebrating yourself; maybe not the passing of another year, but the fact of yourself. 

Secondly, there are always fireworks on the eve of my birth.  This year they went off for a full hour in my neighborhood and, if I’d had a television, I could have watched a giant ball of colored lights drop on my behalf. Oh, wait, it isn’t for me? Who says?

The best part is that I take New Year’s Day for myself and spend it in contemplation and introspection. I do make New Year’s resolutions and write them down in a brand new journal, purchased especially for the next twelve months. For the past few years, I’ve taken myself to lunch somewhere where I can linger over my lunch and do a kickoff entry in that journal. 

I relish a fresh start and think the world would be better off if everyone in it would do an annual reset. It doesn’t have to be done on first day of the western New Year (but it IS also my birthday, so why not?) but it would do well for a day to be set aside to reflect and redirect. Oh, wait, that is New Year’s Day!

See what I mean? It all comes back to me through my wonderful and fortuitous birthday.  All you New Year’s babies out there join me in wishing the rest of the world a Happy New Year and amongst each other – Happy Birthday (if a little late – I was stuck in the outer ring of thought!)