MTTS: Day Eight – Dallas, TX

IMG_9266It was another very early morning when we rolled into the Texas State Capitol (Austin, TX).  Posh got a great spot right in front of the Capitol Building….. she’s gonna have the best scrapbook!

MINI once again provided excellent coordination and got everyone lined up nice and neat with a minimum amount of fussing.  MINIs like to snuggle together anyway… While the MINIs took in their surroundings, us humans roamed around the center taking photos and checking out all the other MINIs and shopping the “Boot Sales”  (If you didn’t already know… MINIs have ‘boots’ and ‘bonnets’ not ‘trunks’ or ‘hoods’).  I acquired a new shopping bag from MINI of…. Dallas? And some MINI gum…. I have no idea why MINI had it’s own gum…. they just do.  MINI USA and the MINI Clubs have been awesome about giving out fun MINI swag.  The sponsors are pretty fun too!  Peeps is a sponsor and they have a Peeps MINI… it’s so cute!  They keep handing us mini Peeps at the different events. I’m starting to get a collection of them!  We got a mini Lego MINI in our Welcome Bag… I’ll let Brian put them together…. I have no patience for following the directions with LEGOS.  I build castles… that’s about it…  And Banfield Pet Hospital has presents for the furry co-pilots too.

Today Value Service gave us safari hats after our trip through the Franklin Drive Thru Safari.  IMG_9359They’re actually pretty perfect hats for the Roadster.  I’ve got two other hats and a couple of scarves that I’ve been trying to make stay on my head for the last 3000 miles…. these have a nice floppy brim to cover the back of my neck and a strap to hold them on!

The trip through the Franklin Drive Thru Safari was more fun than I thought it would be.  If it wasn’t for MINI, I would have never (a) found the place, or (b) bothered to go… Brian and I are pretty spoiled with our St Louis Zoo memberships… it takes a lot to compete.  Probably what made it so much fun was sharing the experience with 400 other MINIs…. The Safari knew we were coming, but I don’t think the quite grasped how many of us there actually were…. Until you see 400-500 MINIs swarming down the highway, you just don’t get it.  We shut down the main road into town… we blocked up everything for two miles…. the police finally came to direct traffic…. We weren’t being bad…. there were just a lot of us!  The city police were very nice and they started directing people around us and soon everything got uncontested.  We almost skipped the Safari because of all the traffic, but I’m really glad we decided to stay.  (Not just for the cool hat..)  We’re in the Roadster… with the top down…. so we had an excellent view of the animals… and they had an excellent view of us!  

After the Safari we continued on to Dallas.  It was a much prettier drive today.  This part of Texas has more hills and trees… I was starting to go a bit crazy with the endless fields of nothing.  We actually reached Dallas fairly early in the day, so we had some time to look around a do some sightseeing.  I hadn’t planned anything in Dallas since I figured MINI would have an event and we’d go to that.  MINI did have an event… but it just wasn’t our cup of tea so we decided to wander around town for a bit.  Neither one of us is a big history buff, but we watched enough of the History Chanel to know the Dealey Plaza in Dallas is where Kennedy was assassinated.  We were too late to visit the Sixth Floor Museum, which used to be the Texas School Book Depository from where Jack Ruby allegedly shot JFK.  IMG_8186We were going to cross the street to see the Grassy Knoll, but one of the homeless guys was trying to be our “tour guide” and was starting to freak me out.  I grabbed Brian and drug him away.  The homeless guy started yelling, but I couldn’t tell if it was at us or at another homeless guy.  There were a lot of homeless guys yelling in the area… I’m glad it was a sunny afternoon and there were a bunch of other people around.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be down there later in the evening.

Brian and I also checked out the Old Red Museum.  It used to be the courthouse, but now IMG_8176it is a museum.  I didn’t want to pay $8/person for tickets.  The architecture is amazing, but we just  looked around the first floor for a bit.

On our way back to the car (I was starting to worry about Posh all alone with all the yelling homeless people!) we stopped to look at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza… it’s kinda ugly.  I just don’t get it… it’s kinda like a LEGO…. but boring.  IMG_8197
We also stopped and visited the Dallas Farmer’s Market… I am SO jealous of their Farmer’s Market!! Why is our’s not this cool?  Ugh!  Brian and I picked up a gluten-free brownie (mine, all mine!), some yummy red grapes for our lunches and a jar of apple cobbler jelly to take home and share at our next Family Dinner Night.  I think it will be killer served warm over home-made vanilla ice cream!  (I’m gonna have to serve something pretty awesome to get the family to sit still through all 2000 MTTS photos…..) IMG_8171

For dinner we decided to try In-n-Out Burger.  We don’t have them in Missouri and I’ve heard my Sister-In-Law rave about them.  Now, my SIL doesn’t really like anything… I can count on one hand the things that I know she likes….. so I was thinking that these must be some freaking awesome burgers.  I checked online first to make sure I could eat them and was super excited to discover that they were very gluten friendly.  They even have a button to press when you order to tell the cooks that you have an allergy.  It took em a bit to find the right button, but they got our order in and were super nice.  I even heard one of them call back to the cooks that they had a customer with a wheat allergy and to change their gloves and utensils.  WOW!  IMG_9370

Brian and I both got a Double Double ‘Protein’ Burger (the “protein” part means that they wrapped it in lettuce instead of putting it on a bun).  I got cheese fries too…. The fries were safe from cross contamination because the fries are the only thing they fry.  Yay!  The burger comes wrapped in lettuce and then wrapped in paper and then in a little paper sleeve… all of which is necessary to keep the juice and sauces from getting everywhere.

So…. it was good.  Not amazing… but it was good.  I still don’t understand my SIL.  *sigh*  I was ecstatic about the care they took to make sure it was safe for me to eat, and it was a good hamburger…. It tasted a lot like a Steak-n-Shake hamburger.  I wish Steak-n-Shake would take that much care in ensuring gluten-friendliness!

 

 

 

 

Fattening Up

I have been wheat-free for almost a year and a half now… Bri was wheat-free at home during that time, but has lately eliminated almost all of the wheat from his diet too.

As I have said in earlier posts, quitting wheat caused a dramatic improvement in my overall health and well-being…. but not a huge impact on my waistline.  All those health improvements were more than enough to keep me wheat-free… don’t get me wrong… I am NOT complaining.  I didn’t quit wheat for weight loss…. It would have been a nice side effect though.

So many people on the Wheat Belly Facebook page talk about their dramatic weight loss and post these amazing before and after photos.  While I was/am overjoyed with my own health improvements…. I was a bit jealous…. and I wondered if I had missed some key information.   So I ordered Dr. Davis’ book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health.  No huge diet revelations there, but he did talk a bit more about carbs… and discouraged replacing wheat with “gluten-free” crap.  Hmmm….. yeah…. I’d discovered gluten-free pasta and gluten-free baking mixes and gluten-free bread….. *sigh*  I’d just replaced one carb for another.  Kicking the wheat was letting my immune system heal… but not helping my waistline.

I also started following another blog called Healthy Living How To on Facebook and she often talked about good fats… like coconut oil and avocado…. Breakfast Bakeisn’t that exactly what we’ve been told NOT to eat?  Right?  Isn’t fat bad?   Well…. not so much, actually…. fat may be GOOD.  Check out this book: The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

So at this point I thought “what the hell?”  I told Bri that we were going ‘low-carb’ and knocking out the processed foods.  Basically he is a really good sport about most things I want to try (except for raising chickens… I just can’t talk him into chickens… yet).  So he agreed that he would eat whatever I cooked. So I started with breakfast.  He wasn’t ecstatic that I wanted to take away his cereal… I’d already switched him to a gluten-free cereal months ago.  But he agreed and I promised that I just wanted him to try it.  I’m not a huge fan of breakfast (unless I get to sit around and have a lazy weekend morning as well), so this was a bit of a challenge for me too…. I’d have to actually eat breakfast.

We’ve been eating this for breakfast for a few months now.  Both of us have noticed that we’re not starving by lunch anymore. (Bri used to need a snack mid-morning just to make it to lunch.)  We have also added in more coconut oil (wait ’till I tell you about the brownies!) and avocado, cut out most anything that comes in a box…. and we’re losing weight… and not starving.

I know this isn’t hugely scientific… I’m just telling you what we are doing and what seems to be working for us.  Read the books that I’ve mentioned for the actual scientific stuff…. I’ll tell you about the recipes and changes that have been working for us!

                                            Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 c. frozen hash browns
  • 1/5 lb. turkey sausage
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 c. grated Cheddar cheese
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

Instructions

  1. Grease 9 x 9 inch dish and sprinkle the bottom with the hash browns. Brown sausage; drain then layer over hash brown.  Top with cheese. Combine eggs, milk and spices (to taste) and pour mixture over other layers.
  2. Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bri divides this into 6 slices…. I eat half a slice.

———–

 

Wheat-Loss

I’ve been Wheat-Free for One year and 5 months….. And I don’t miss it one little bit.

I started on my Wheat-Free journey on December 26th 2012.  Looking back now, I realize that I’d been having Wheat-Issues for quite some time, but it wasn’t until I quit the wheat and began to heal that I realized the full extent of the damage that wheat had caused.  I didn’t quit wheat to lose weight.  I quit because, quite frankly, I was miserable.  I was suffering from terrible stomach problems (you don’t need details… you know what I mean), blood sugar fluctuations (but I didn’t realize that was what it was at the time), allergic type reactions (hives and throat swelling), headaches and nausea.  At one point, my husband was forbidden to cook anything with “smell”…. he ate in the basement a few nights.  By the end of 2012 I was ready to try anything.  (Yes, I’d tried the doctor… she ran a ton of blood work and told me that I was “normal”…. and basically to go away.)

When I was a kid, I’d had terrible food allergies (and the regular airborne stuff too).  I was allergic to Wheat, Milk & Eggs….. my poor, sainted mother.  She took me off the offending foods for a year…. and I got better… and my doctors said, because of my age, I’d grown out of my food allergies and I could go back to eating regular foods again.  So I figured, if it worked then….. maybe I just needed to detox… get all those foods out of my system and “re-boot.”

I decided that a two-week detox would be the way to start… I told myself that I could make it that long and then I could have “real” foods again.  No Wheat, No Milk and No Eggs for two weeks.

Three days into my “detox” I slept through the night.  I hadn’t slept through the night in years…. I mean YEARS… like 15 years.  Normally I lay in bed for an hour or so before drifting off.  I would get up 4 or 5 times to go to the bathroom… and each time it was a struggle to get back to sleep.  I never felt refreshed when I woke and I often struggled through the day.  Mid-afternoon was the worst… about 2:00 I couldn’t hardly keep my eyes open…. coffee and Red Bull were my best friends.  I would try to take naps, but I couldn’t fall asleep.   I had talked to my doctor about my insomnia.  She gave me sleeping pills and anti-depressants.  (Which didn’t do a damn thing but make me feel worse!)

Five days into the detox I noticed that my hands didn’t hurt and my fingers were no longer swollen.  (Dr said it was arthritis and she’d be happy to prescribe something.)

During the first two weeks:

  • My stomach quit “misbehaving”
  • The allergic-type reactions quit
  • My knees & hands quit hurting
  • I lost six pounds
  • The headaches went away
  • I lost 1/2 a shoe size
  • I slept through the night
  • My skin cleared up

Sometime during those two weeks, while looking for Wheat, Milk & Egg free recipes, I came across the Wheat Belly Blog.  Dr William Davis, a cardiologist,  had written a book called Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.  Dr Davis asserted that wheat was the enemy.  Now, I know what you’re thinking… I thought it too…. Humans have been eating wheat for centuries… if it was as bad as he claimed, shouldn’t we all be dead by now?  Well… what we buy at the grocery store these days… it’s not the same stuff our ancestors ate… hell,  it’s not the same stuff our grandmothers ate!  In the 1960s scientist began tinkering with the genetic makeup of wheat to produce higher yield crops (they were working to fight famine… which is great… too bad the human body doesn’t like the new stuff).  Read the book.  I didn’t read it at first because I thought I got the main idea… “Wheat = Evil.”  Got it.  I was perfectly content with the result I was getting.  Happy tummy, sleeping at night, headache free, joint pain free…. good enough.   I wasn’t getting the massive weight loss like the people on the Wheat Belly Facebook page talked about, so I decided to read the book.  I felt a million times better and had no inclination to go back to wheat… ever… but I wouldn’t mind losing a few more pounds.  So I read the book…. I didn’t discover any amazing weight-loss secrets… I did learn a whole lot more about wheat’s effect on the brain though.  Did you know that wheat has the same effect on the brain that opiates have?  Like cocaine!?  No wonder it is SO hard to quit!  Really though… read the book.  (If you know me, I’ll share my copy… it has post-it notes now!)

I’m not really here to review the Wheat Belly book or rehash what Dr Davis says…. I want to share my experience with and without wheat.  I didn’t quit wheat to lose weight (that’s just a nice bonus… and truthfully, other lifestyle modifications were necessary too).  I quit wheat to get my life back…. to get healthy… to feel good.

So you’re saying, “But I don’t feel bad.”  That’s what my husband and my mom said too…. but after I made them read the book and ranted a bit… and because they love me and figured “what the hell?” they tried living wheat free.  Guess what?  Mom sleeps through the night now, she’s lost weight, her allergies are much better, her joints don’t hurt, she has less headaches.  My hubby didn’t have any of those complaints to begin with…. he just lost 20lbs. Both mom, hubby and I have all noticed that we are less hungry and we don’t have the afternoon blood-sugar crash anymore.

I’m not telling you that this is a super easy lifestyle… (it is getting better with more restaurants and food manufacturers labeling their Gluten-Free items). Fast Food is almost impossible to eat…. but its not like that was good for you anyway… this is about getting heathy. Cooking at home is really the best option… not that processed stuff in the boxes…. you want to be healthy… lose the chemicals and carbs too.

I don’t get a kick-back.  I’m not a paid blogger (sadly).  I don’t profit financially from sharing my experience with you in any way.  So why am I writing this? Because I feel better.  And I know you can feel better too.  Just try it for two weeks…. seriously try it.  No halvesies… all the way… you have to get the wheat out of your system.  Once you start reading labels and  looking around you will be stunned by how many products that you consume everyday have wheat in them.

Try it.  Two Weeks – No Wheat.

-S