Archive for November, 2009

Sushi and Some Holiday Cheer

Last night was our last night with Dave’s parents before they headed off this morning. We had such a nice visit and last night topped of a week of fun.

After exploring Boston all afternoon, we came home and made sushi. Dave’s mom loved it and had fun learning how to make it. His dad….well, he was a good sport. He asked if he could add beef and heat it up in the oven!

Here are all the fixin’s:

I don’t know how to buy sushi-grade raw fish, so we stick to veggies and cooked salmon or tuna. We also threw in some chicken for Dave’s dad!


Dave is quite the expert now when it comes to slicing the sushi. The trick is to wet the knife so it doesn’t stick to the rice.

Tah dah!

After dinner we headed over to visit with friends. They have a new baby grand piano and Dave’s dad is a very accomplished pianist. He wrote, recorded and performed a beautiful song for our wedding and I love when he plays it for us live. He also played at the White House last year! It was fun to listen to our favorite Christmas songs performed live!¬† It definitely put us all in the holiday spirit!

It was also the Piano Man’s birthday recently, so we had a cake to celebrate.

It looked so good! But like a good gluten-free girl, I stayed away. I brought along a bit of chocolate that I bought earlier in the day to keep me from being too disappointed!

I spent today catching up with school work and cleaning up after the holiday week. I am feeling organized now which is good. What’s not so good is that I am realizing how much I have to do in the next 3 weeks. Blogging might become more sporadic as finals near. But I’m still here and will do the best I can. I hope that during the school break I can put more effort into revamping the blog and becoming a bit more creative. But for right now, what you see is what you get! ūüôā

I also have a lot of catch up reading to do on all of your blogs. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that the re-entry to school and work wasn’t too painful today. Christmas is definitely in the air and it’s a wonderful feeling!


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It’s been a busy weekend of family and fun.¬† We’ve packed in a lot since we left the Cape.¬† On Saturday, we headed to Newport, RI.¬† My mother-in-law has a very short list of states she has not visited yet. and RI was on the list.¬† So we decided to hit up one of Rhode Island’s most beautiful spots.¬† It was a windy day, but it turned out to be really nice out.

We went to the Barking Crab for lunch.  Everyone got chowder and told me it was really good.  Chowder is too rich for my temperamental tummy, so I ordered a salad with grilled shrimp.  I think the chowder was better.

After eating, we did a bunch of walking, in search of the Tennis Hall of Fame.  Dave was a big tennis player in high school and college, so he wanted to see it.  It was a nice day for a walk.  Newport is so pretty with the ocean and the architecture and the brick sidewalks.

We also had fun playing on some of the shops.  I did not buy this hat, but it would have been great on such a windy day.

Today we explored in Boston.  It was an unseasonably warm day.  Just beautiful for walking around, but just cool enough to need to stop for hot chocolate and coffee.

We walked through Harvard Square and then through Harvard Yard.

We also hit up L.A. Burdick’s Chocolate.¬† A former coworker had given me a $50 gift certificate, so we bought our weight in chocolate today,¬† You will be seeing some chocolate in the coming days!¬† It is very good, but so expensive, that I probably wouldn’t buy it if I hadn’t had a gift card to use.

Aren’t those chocolate mice adorable!¬† I won’t tell you how much those 16 mice were!

It’s been a really busy week between school and family, and I am gearing up for a pretty stressful few weeks as the semester comes to an end.¬† But it was a fun weekend with lots of good food, some good runs, lots of nice walks, and most of all, a lot of family.¬† I am very grateful this holiday season for the incredible family I have!

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Back to Reality

Yesterday was such a beautiful day of family and togetherness. ¬†I’d like to do it again after spending today studying…and studying…and studying!

We had a great time with both my family and Dave’s parents all together. ¬†We are the type to get all gussied up and formal on Thanksgiving, but my mom had a new hat that her sister gave her. She thought she should wear it to say thank you. ¬†Dave thought it looked better on him…

My aunt did a beautiful job, yet again. ¬†As the family grows, the table just gets longer and longer. ¬†It’s a little comical now!

Look at the size of the gourd my aunt found as a center piece! ¬†It was massive….weighed more than the turkey!!

It was a little tough this year for me because of my new gluten intolerance diagnosis. ¬†But I managed to fill myself up quite well! ¬†My mom made a sweet potato apple dish that I absolutely loved! ¬†She made it for me because it’s high in soluble fiber, low in fat, and gluten free. ¬†Very tummy friendly! ¬†She also added some cranberries that really made it exceptional. ¬†I will be getting the recipe for this one!

I also ate some turkey, a small amount of mashed potato, rice, green beans, and salad.

I didn’t feel deprived at all at dinner. ¬†But looking at pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, pecan pie, and apple cranberry pie at dessert time was tough! ¬†Before getting the diagnosis of a gluten intolerance last week, I figured I would cheat on this one day and eat my heart out in pie! ¬†But with the diagnosis, I knew I needed to stay away. ¬†Even though I am sure I will cheat once in a while, it won’t be when I have family around to entertain. ¬†I need to be on my game this weekend and not saddled with a stomach ache. ¬†So I looked, and drooled, and pouted!

It was a wonderful day and I wish we could have had a repeat today. ¬†But I needed to study. ¬†Dave took his parents to Martha’s Vineyard for the day, and my brother helped me understand some of the biology concepts I’ve been studying. ¬†It was productive, but not a whole lot of fun. ¬†Even my glorious run from yesterday was replaced by a lackluster 7 miles in the rain and wind. ¬†It wasn’t raining when I left, but all of a sudden the skies opened up!

Can’t win them all!

Time to quit and get in a little more family time.  See you all tomorrow!

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Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We arrived on the Cape last night and had a wonderful dinner with both of our families together.  My mom made up a beautiful table setting, and I helped her make a pre-Thanksgiving feast of tilapia, butternut squash, and rice.


We are off very soon to join the rest of the family for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to take just a few moments to reflect on some of the many things I am thankful for.

* I have my health.  I am frustrated to find out that I have to cut gluten out of my diet and know I have a lot to learn about how to live with gluten intolerance.  But I am so grateful to know that there is something concrete I can do to feel better!

* As you already know, I have the most incredible husband in the world!  He is supportive, loving, and funny.  We got to run together this morning along the ocean.  How glorious!

* I am so grateful for my family.  I have the most amazingly supportive family that I get to share the holiday with today.  And not just my family, but my in-laws as well.  They are nothing like the stereotypical in-laws and are such a pleasure to be with.  I only wish we lived closer.  Today will be a wonderful day to have our families together!

* I am grateful to be back in school, working to become a dietitian.  It is a dream I have had for years, and because of my wonderful husband, who is willing to support me through this (financially and emotionally!) I am making that dream come true!

* I can run!  I finally consider myself a runner.  I ran 10 miles today, taking in the ocean, and it felt wonderful!

* I am also grateful to all of you. ¬†I look forward to reading the comments you leave me every day. ¬†And I know there are more of you who read and don’t comment (speak up…I’d love to hear from you!). ¬†You all inspire me, challenge me with new ideas, and make me smile. ¬†Thank you to the new friends I have met and who I hope to meet in the future!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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I really enjoyed a few days with some gluten back in my life again.¬† But, honestly, I’ve had stomach aches everyday.¬† Today, I found out why…..

Last week I got my test results from Enterolab, where I had another analysis done to determine whether or not I am sensitive to gluten.  Instead of using a blood test to test for IgA in the blood, this lab, which is gaining in popularity as an accepted diagnostic test for gluten sensitivity, this lab uses a stool sample.  (Pleasant thought, huh?)  The doctors and researchers at the lab believe that blood tests often come back negative, like mine did, because IgA is only found in the blood when gluten sensitivity has progressed to where damage is being done to the body.  In the stool, however, IgA levels can be identified (indicating gluten sensitivity) before intestinal damage occurs.

Last week I got a lab report back with an analysis that stated that I am not gluten sensitive.¬† Like I said last week, I was really surprised.¬† I tried really hard to justify why I had seen an improvement with a gluten-free diet, when in reality, I was not sensitive to gluten.¬† But in my head, I was really confused.¬† There was definitely an improvement with a gluten-free diet.¬† I still got stomach aches on the gluten-free diet (I still have IBS, after all), but the stomach aches were not chronic, and they were not as severe.¬† But my lab results were pretty clear…. Except for something puzzling????¬† Where the numbers should have been in the analysis, there were blank spaces????

Today I got another lab report….¬† Apparently a blank lab report was sent to me by mistake.¬† Because no numbers were entered, an analysis corresponding to¬† a negative test was sent to me.¬† When the numbers were entered based on my tests, the analysis was much different.¬† I spoke to a couple of different people, including the person who accidently sent the incorrect form.¬† She apologized profusely and assured me that the results I received today, complete with my numerical results, were correct.¬† I also spoke to a nurse who went through the results with me.

I copied my results below for the 3 tests…..

1.  I scored 45 units for this test, where 10 and below is normal.

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-gliadin IgA (Normal Range is less than 10 Units): Intestinal antigliadin IgA antibody was elevated, indicating that you have active dietary gluten sensitivity. For optimal health, resolution of symptoms (if you have them), and prevention of small intestinal damage and malnutrition, osteoporosis, and damage to other tissues (like nerves, brain, joints, muscles, thyroid, pancreas, other glands, skin, liver, spleen, among others), it is recommended that you follow a strict and permanent gluten free diet. As gluten sensitivity is a genetic syndrome, you may want to have your relatives screened as well.

2.  I scored 25 units for this test, where, again, under 10 is normal.

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA (Normal Range is less than 10 Units): You have an autoimmune reaction to the human enzyme tissue transglutaminase, secondary to dietary gluten sensitivity.

3.  For the last test, I scored lass than 300, so fortunately, I am absorbing nutrients properly right now.

Interpretation of Quantitative Microscopic Fecal Fat Score (Normal Range is less than 300 Units): Provided that dietary fat is being ingested, a fecal fat score less than 300 indicates there is no malabsorbed dietary fat in stool indicating that digestion and absorption of nutrients is currently normal.

Fortunately, I am absorbing nutrients which, the nurse explained, means that there is likely no damage to my small intestine yet.¬† However, I am sensitive to gluten, and my body is reacting to it like it is an “invader,” so it is possible that eventually, my small intestine could be damaged if I continue to eat gluten.

So I am back to a gluten free diet!¬† I feel validated, but I also feel so sad for all of the things I shouldn’t eat anymore.¬† I think I am going to seek out a dietitian who specializes in this.¬† Maybe that will be my specialty when I finally get through school!

Anyway…..¬† The rest of today was all about studying for tomorrow’s chemistry test.¬† I am so nervous!¬† But I have quit for the night.¬† Dave and I took his parents out for dinner at Bertucci’s.¬† )I was wishing I hadn’t gotten the corrected gluten report until tomorrow.¬† I love Bertucci’s rolls!!)

But even without the rolls, I had a great dinner.  I ordered a salad that was on their gluten-free menu with grilled salmon on top.  It was very fresh and very good!  I always feel self-conscious making special requests at restaurants.  But now that I have a medical reason to make requests I feel validated.  One of my requests is always to grill my fish without butter or oil.  Butter and high-fat, greasy food is a major IBS trigger for me!  My fish was perfect even without the added oiliness.

I also had a very handsome date!

Wish me luck tomorrow!¬† This test is my last hurdle before a fun weekend with lots of family!¬† We’re about to watch some DVR’ed Big Bang now.¬† What a great show!

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I have been obsessed lately with a combination of pumpkin and apple. I have microwaved a sliced apple with pumpkin, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar, and topped off my pancakes and my oatmeal. And today, I made an equally amazing creation. Now that I am allowing myself to incorporate some gluten each day, I decided to try Pumpkin-Apple French Toast. Unbelievably good!

I split an English Muffin, and dipped it in a combination of egg substitute and pumpkin.

After dipping each half, I fired up the griddle.

When they started to brown, I dipped them again in the pumpkin-egg mixture. And returned them to the griddle. Meanwhile, I combined my toppings and put it all in the microwave until the apples became soft.

That glob in the upper right corner is the left over egg-pumpkin mixture. For the heck of it, I thought I would see what would happen if I cooked it up. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was!

I topped off the whole thing with the hot apple and pumpkin topping. Soft and sweet! I will definitely recreate this!

My posting will likely be a bit sporadic over the next week. My in-laws arrive late tonight. We’ll be going out tomorrow evening, and then we’ll be heading down to the Cape to join my family for the holiday. But I’ll be back and will be reading!

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I was on the move today and I got a lot done!  That makes me relax a bit as I head into this very busy week.

I got up early and headed down to the fitness center (after a little blog reading!).  The 2 ellipticals were being used, and it was just too nice of a morning to be running indoors.  It was warm and sunny!  In November!!  In Boston!!!  I was going to do a quick 3 miles outside, until the ellipticals were freed up, and then head in to the elliptical to finish off while watching cheesey Christmas movies on ABC Family.

My legs felt so good, and the¬† perfect temperatures invigorated me.¬† I ended up running for an hour and 40 minutes, and when I stopped, I had that feeling that I could have kept going for several more miles.¬† I love that feeling!¬† Unfortunately, I didn’t have my Garmin (as I wasn’t planning to run) so I don’t know exactly how far or how fast I was going.¬† I would really like to know too because I felt like I was flying and my Polar HRM told me my heart rate was right where I would want it to me.¬† I am guessing close to 11 miles.¬† Not too shabby!

After a quick shower, I cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, dusted, and vacuumed.  My in-laws arrive tomorrow and I want the house to look put together.

After all that activity, I ended up parking myself in a chair for the next 6 hours with this:

And this:

Fun, huh?¬† I am basically reteaching myself the last 2 chemistry chapters because it flew over my head in lecture.¬† The test is on Wednesday…..

I was really excited for dinner.¬† My sweet hubby, who is nursing a cold right now, very kindly went to the store for me while I studied.¬† He bought some Thomas’ English Muffins for his mom because she likes to have them for breakfast and she can’t get Thomas’ back home.¬† Now that I have lifted the gluten restriction, I was thrilled!¬† I roasted up the last of my butternut squash, made a spinach salad, and then….the exciting part….English Muffin pizzas!!!¬† Oh, how I missed gluten!¬† It was my only gluten indulgence today and I ate it with some good soluble fiber in my squash.

It’s a silly thing to get excited about, but my craving for bread were at an all time high!

I’m off to care for my sick husband.¬† Lucky for me, his mom will be here tomorrow, and she can take over!¬† (I kid, I kid!)

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