Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: going gluten free

Writing and Other Goals for March 2 – 7, 2015

Bullet journal

Trying to start March off right.

I’m adding a few new elements to my bullet journal this week. One of those elements is a weekly To Do list, because the monthly list alone isn’t cutting it. The weekly list is going in the far-left column of my weekly 2-page spread, the rest of which will be taken up by daily lists.

I’m trying to keep this week’s list simple. I have a lot of editing to get through, and that’s going to have to be my main focus. But I also can’t neglect my writing, and I really need to vacuum and do some laundry this week. So these are the big rocks that will take up most of my time jar:

  • Daily devotions
  • 30 minutes a day writing GHOST
  • Vaccuum the house
  • Do laundry
  • Finish the Fiverr critique
  • Edit 1/4th of one of my clients’ book projects
  • Stretch and move daily

And these are the pebbles:

  • 2 or 3 blog posts
  • Re-enroll Dominion of the Damned and Midnight Snacks in KDP select
  • 15 minutes a day reading Story by Robert McKee
  • Tea & Creativity sessions

I also added a Word of the Week and a Verse of the Week at the top of the spread. The WotW is a reminder of what I want to stay focused on throughout the week–sort of a weekly theme to guide everything.

This week’s word is “Health.” I have NOT been making good choices lately and I’m feeling the results of it. With so much on my plate, I’ve really got no choice but to take better care of myself, which includes eating right and getting exercise so I’ll have more energy and be able to think more clearly. This might mean I have to get my husband to hide all of the breakfast pastries we’ve been stocking up on lately because winter makes us lose all good sense when it comes to food. I might also have to hide all that instant Pho from myself, because while that stuff might be gluten-free, it’s definitely not low glycemic. At any rate, this is why “stretching and moving” is designated as a big rock this week.

The verse of the week is Ephesians 6:7 (NASB): “With good will render service as to the Lord, and not to men.” This is to remind me to be thankful for the work I have and to maintain a good attitude about it while doing the best job I possibly can for my clients. This is something I try to apply all the time, but when my plate begins to overflow and I start to get overwhelmed and stressed, it’s good to have a reminder.

So that’s the general shape of my week to come, God willing. What about you guys? Any big projects hanging over your head and making you twitchy? I’d love to hear about your goals and plans for this week, both big and small. Share them in the comments!

How Aldi is helping me stay gluten free

Aldi gluten free foods

Some of the gluten-free products from Aldi in my kitchen

As you probably know if you’ve been following along here for a while, around the start of last fall I decided to severely limit my gluten intake to see if it helped my thyroid issues and gave me more energy. I’m happy to report that it has indeed.

You may recall how in the beginning I was reticent about gluten-free substitutes for all of the wheat-based foods I enjoyed. Flavor was one concern, but a bigger concern was cost. Up to that point, all the GF breads, cookies and the like that I’d seen were on the pricey side.

As luck — or Providence — would have it, right around the time I decided to avoid gluten, Aldi started rolling out their own line of gluten-free foods, Live G Free. Now, you should know that I love Aldi. It’s not perfect — Lord knows the produce section at the one we frequent leaves a lot to be desired — but back when we were on a rice-and-beans budget, this store made us feel like we could eat like kings.

Their gluten free stuff is just as affordable, for the most part, but it still took me a while to get around to trying it. This is partly because at first they didn’t offer that much, or at least not that I noticed. But it must’ve proved popular enough for them to expand the line, because now there are quite a few items in the line. This include:

  • Pretzels
  • Cookie, brownie and pizza dough mixes
  • Breakfast/snack bars
  • Crackers
  • Pasta – spaghetti, rigatoni and penne
  • Mac & cheese
  • Bread – white and whole grain
  • Frozen foods including pizza, breaded chicken nuggets, waffles, and Hot-Pocket-style sandwiches

The other reason it took me a while to get around to trying the stuff was concern about flavor. But you never know if you’ll like something until you try it, so a few weeks into my GF venture I bit the bullet. The first thing I tried was the crackers, made primarily from rice flour. They don’t taste like wheat crackers, no, but they’re quite tasty in their own right, and great with tuna or egg salad.

The second thing I tried was the fudge brownie flavored breakfast bars. These are actually quite delish, but they’re not very substantial. I keep a couple in my purse for when I have low-blood sugar attacks and start to get hangry while I’m out, and they work in a pinch, but they don’t tide me over very long.

Since then I’ve also tried their pasta (the rigatoni), bread and chicken nuggets. I’m actually quite a fan of the whole grain bread and the pasta. The chicken nuggets take a little getting used to, but they’re starting to grow on me.

I plan to try out some of their other fare in the coming weeks. I’ve mainly got my eye on the waffles. I’d like to try the Mac & Cheese, but I’m also avoiding dairy, so that’s going to be a real indulgence when I do. At any rate, adding some of these products into my rotation has made it a lot easier to stick to my new GF lifestyle, and if you’ve made a decision to give up gluten in the new year, you could definitely do a lot worse.

What about you, reader? Have you ever shopped at Aldi? Do you love it as much as we do? How is your relationship with gluten working out? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Goal Setting and an A-ha Moment

Since my last post, I’ve cut back some on bread and dairy, and I’m already feeling quite a bit better. Today I picked up some almond milk to see how I like it. We’ve still got bread and cheese in the house that we need to eat up so it doesn’t go to waste, then I’m going to do my very best to limit that stuff to the odd weekend cheat night and special occasions.

I’ve been working my way through Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb — a book I HIGHLY recommend to any authors — any creatives, for that matter — in need of an effective audience-building platform. The first exercise is to take the time to write out your goals — 6-month goals, 1 year goals, 5 year, 10 year, etc. When you do this, you are encouraged to dream big and be specific. I found it to be an incredibly helpful exercise, not only for helping me to clarify what I want, what needs to happen with my career, and what I need to do to get there, but also for helping me realize that it’s not too late to achieve my biggest dreams. There’s still plenty of time, as long as I can stay focused and not let myself get sidetracked.

It also showed me how closely my dream of motherhood is linked to my dream of being a successful novelist. That might sound strange, but in my mind, our best bet for being able to afford the necessary medical treatments (and/or adoption fees, if it ever comes to that) — not to mention being able to afford to provide for a growing kid, letting me stay home and be a full-time mom, being able to home school and all that jazz — is me selling lots and lots of books.

This brings us back around to the dietary changes. And last night I had an epiphany. It dawned on me that I’m never going to achieve either dream if I don’t want it more than I want the temporary satisfaction of a cookie or a slice of pizza, or the convenience of a slice of toast. I have to want to succeed more than I want delicious food. If I don’t, my health issues will never improve and I’ll never be able to sustain the energy I need to accomplish my goals. This might seem like a no-brainer, but the realization that I’ve been giving food a higher priority than not only my health, but also my biggest lifelong dreams, was kind of astonishing to me. And also shaming.

I guess this is what some people might call one of those “A-ha moments.”

So tomorrow I’m going to make time to sit down and make a menu plan for the following week that doesn’t include any dairy, gluten or high-glycemic food. The biggest thing I’m stumbling over right now is a replacement for the toast I usually eat with my tuna or egg salad for lunch during the week. I checked out crackers at the health food store today, but couldn’t find any that were both gluten free AND low glycemic. I may compromise and try some rye bread. I think when it comes down to either/or, low-glycemic should probably win out. At any rate, maybe Pinterest will show me some decent alternatives. If you have any recommendations, I’d love it if you shared them in the comments!