Thursday, October 24, 2013

Falling off the gluten-free wagon

So I have lupus, which results in inflammation.

And gluten is an inflammation trigger.

So I was told to go gluten free.

Mind you, I don't have celiac disease, or anything like that.  Gluten doesn't give me any immediate, catastrophic trouble.  But I worked on going gluten free.

We have no bread in our house.  Just ask my husband.  He misses toast.

I have not made any financial investment in eating gluten free.  I just try to avoid gluten, and really, it isn't that hard.

For breakfast I can have oatmeal.  Since I don't have celiac disease, I don't worry about whether my oats are milled in a gluten free factory.  I eat oatmeal, often with bananas, walnuts and maple syrup... or golden raisins, craisins and brown sugar.  I also eat eggs.  And smoothies.  I drink orange juice and tea with cream, or sometimes coffee.  This is no hardship.  If I want to get fancy, I cook up a tasty vegetable frittata with cheese.

Lunch is not my favorite, but then, it never has been.  I don't particularly like sandwiches.  When I lunch at home, I usually have a banana with almond butter (or sunbutter) and some yogurt.  Then I pick at apples and almonds and -- if I'm lucky and have them -- Beanitos chips.  If I go out, I get a salad with chicken on it, or a bowl of soup without noodles, like the harvest squash soup at Panera right now.

Dinner is actually very easy.  We eat meat, potatoes and vegetables.  Or we eat meat with rice and vegetables.  What is hard about that?  Dairy free, that would kill me.  But gluten free is not so bad.  I can even thicken gravy with cornstarch.

So I was trucking along, not eating gluten, generally just being really good, faithfully picking the croutons off my salads.

And then Tuesday.  Oh my.  I went to Bible study in the morning.  It's kind of an early morning for me, so I only had a smoothie for breakfast, along with my tea.  I left Bible study early for an 11:30 doctor appointment.

At the doctor appointment, it was decided that I should have a certain surgical procedure taken care of, and because of our insurance situation, they were kind enough to try to hurry the process along to be finished before year end.  They were terrifically good to me, and I am not complaining, but in the end I was there until 3:30 getting the details wrapped up.

At about 2:30, a kind nurse noticed that I was fading (and she probably heard the very loud rumbles of my very empty stomach), so she offered me crackers.

Crackers are not gluten free.

But.  There are certain times when you know that lack of food is going to hurt you far more than lack of gluten will help you.  I consumed 280 calories worth of crackers on the spot (that's two packages of grahams and two packages of saltines).  I had one more pack of saltines in hand, but I hit the end of my water bottle and stopped.

Since then, I've been simply packing away the gluten.  I went to lunch at Panera yesterday and got the squash soup (good for me!), and a whole grain bagel, toasted with butter (oooops).  I came home, and when Shawn returned from his Chicago business trip at 8 p.m., I cooked up a bunch of spaghetti (super pasta with whole grains, omega 3s and extra protein, but not gluten-free).

I don't feel particularly different.

I wonder if there is any point to all of this.

My Favorite Ugly Smoothie Recipe

(If you try making this, be prepared for ugly.  
Don't worry, it tastes much better than it looks.)

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 banana
2 oz. (approximately, or 1/3 of a 5 oz. clamshell container) raw baby spinach
4 frozen strawberries

Blend together in blender until smooth.  Enjoy.  
If you want it to be truly decadently delicious, 
substitute sweetened vanilla yogurt for the Greek yogurt.  
But really, I find that it is plenty sweet and tasty as is.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembering cute...

My daughter sent me a link to the funniest pictures of babies with fat cheeks.  You can view it here.

Looking at the photos reminded me...

Back in the day, when Davy was a little three-year-old, one morning I was in my bathroom preparing for the day.  While I was thus occupied, Davy sat in front of my long, oval mirror in the bedroom, his attention sustained as only his attention can be sustained, turning first one way and then another.

I had no idea what he was doing, but being me, I guess I assumed he was making faces at himself.  Nope.  This was David.  David doesn't make faces (that's the rest of us).  David analyzes.  And at the tender age of three, he was analyzing his appearance.

When I emerged from my ablutions, Davy turned from the mirror and looked me in the eye.  "I'm cute," he explained, "because I have chubby cheeks."

That's the little Mister himself, on the left, chubby cheeks and all.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A response

There was a blog out there a couple of days ago where a mom was explaining to her two young sons why Obamacare would not work.

She compared it to a tax for free entertainment.  You have to pay whether you choose to use it or not. Clearly this is not fair or good.  If young boys in the early grades of elementary school can see that it is not fair to run a system this way, we should all be able to see why Obamacare is no good.

I am generally conservative.  I did not vote for Obama.  But her comparison is ridiculous.  Ridiculous.  There is no comparison between access to entertainment and access to healthcare.

I do not go on cruises.  There are a myriad of reasons for this.  The most obvious one is that cruises are a fairly spendy sort of vacation, and I am very prone to motion sickness.  I have no intention of ever paying that kind of money for an experience that might make me vomit for a week in my claustrophobic cabin.  I might (might) go on a free cruise to test this theory, but there is no way I would ever pay to cruise.  Another reason why I would never pay to cruise is this:  I do not eat very much.  I am picky about the nutritional value of the food I do eat.  And I do not drink at all.  Since cruises are famously all-inclusive, I do not feel the need to pay the money to sit on a boat, queasy, and watch other people overindulge in food and drink that I would not partake of even were I not queasy.  This is the "entertainment tax" in practice: people who go on cruises are paying for the entertainment of the entire group, whether or not they choose to attend an event, watch a show, eat at the all-night chocolate buffet, or gulp down multitudinous mixed drinks.  The more you over-indulge, the more value you get for your vacation dollar.  This is not my kind of vacation and would, in fact, be very stressful to me as I realized how much I was getting ripped off.

But Obamacare, much as I may not like the way he has designed it, is not about paying for other people's fun.  It is about paying for other people's healthcare.  Now, obviously, this is very frustrating when you look at people who are unhealthy because they make bad choices.  No, I do not want to pay for the lung cancer treatment for a man who chose to smoke three packs a day.  I do not want to pay for the diabetes treatment for someone who gave himself type 2 diabetes by drinking four liters of Mountain Dew every day.  It is annoying to be a responsible, health conscious person, and to be asked to pay for the healthcare of people who will not take basic measures to care for their bodies.  BUT at the same time, if I am blessed with health, it is not the end of the world for me to contribute towards the healthcare of the person who got lung cancer from undetected radon in her basement, or the child with type 1 diabetes, or the baby with leukemia, the young mother with breast cancer, the construction worker who was in a terrible accident.

We who have more should share with those who have less. That is a biblical principle.

The problem with Obamacare is not that we all pay into a system, and then some people end up needing to use it more than others.  That isn't the problem with it.  That should be the point of it.  And if we don't need to use it, we should thank God for granting us health.

The problem with Obamacare is not even that it is socialized medicine.  Some things work better when more resources are combined to create the system.  Those who compare a federal medical system to a federal education system have a point.  It is not the end of the world.  I know that there are those who hate the public school system, too, and pull out of it.  I believe that they should have that right, and that people who elect not to use a public health system should likewise have the right to pull out.  But for the good of society, it seems fair to me that we pay our taxes to cover those who do use the public system, whether or not one chooses to use it oneself.

This is not the side of Obamacare that is a problem.  The problem is something that nobody will talk about.

The problem is not that Obama is trying to set up a national healthcare system.  The problem is that he is trying to do it while still maintaining and preserving wildly profitable private health insurance companies.  That is the problem.

Democrats won't tell you about it, because they don't want to admit that this is what they are doing.  They just raise your taxes every year.  You have experienced this.

Republicans won't tell you about it because they are in the pockets of the prospering health insurance company executives and their lobbies.  "Business," it's called.  They just raise their policy prices every year, to stay profitable.  You have also experienced this.

They can't have it both ways.

If you want a national healthcare system that is economical, accessible and helpful, it must be run as a non-profit.  Must be.  Even then, it is probably iffy.  But if this condition is not met, there is not a remote chance of economic feasibility.

But of course, to shut down all our health insurance companies would cause massive unemployment across the country and precipitate yet another crisis.

So what do you do?  I don't know.  I am not that smart.  But I can tell you this: to run a "national healthcare policy" that also integrates continued, significant profits for private health insurance companies will never work.

And who are the big losers?

The people.  Of course the people.


I have maintained, and I will continue to maintain, that if you could get the insurance companies and the lawyers out of the healthcare system, everything would settle out in a much improved manner.