Tips and Advice for Gluten Free Beginners

By Rachel Sircy           

There are so many reasons for going gluten free. Of course, I mostly mention celiac disease because that is the reason that I have to be gluten free. However, there is a whole spectrum of gluten sensitivity that individuals can fall on. I also know of people who have a medical need to reduce inflammation in their bodies and for this reason they need to go gluten free.

Because there is a spectrum, there are all kinds of levels of gluten free living. I am at the extreme end of that spectrum and need to be completely gluten free all of the time. I cannot have food that has touched food with gluten in it, but there are many others who don’t need to be as careful. My advice will, of course, tend to be toward the extreme end of gluten free living, but I think it will still be helpful no matter where you are on the spectrum, or even if you are just trying to cut back on gluten. You can always include some gluten free ideas in your regular repertoire.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I was referred to a registered dietician to work out a plan to start a gluten free diet. What she told me is that when trying something new, it’s best not to totally re-invent the wheel. This was excellent advice because just walking into the natural foods store with the intention of overhauling your whole eating routine at once can be completely overwhelming. So, the best thing you can do is to focus for a while on some naturally gluten free recipes. The great thing is that with a few modifications, either by leaving something out or my adding some ingredients that you may already have on hand, you can make almost any recipe gluten free.

Here are two examples, one is naturally gluten free and one is something that you can modify to make gluten free:

Mediterranean Tuna Salad (Naturally gluten free)

Ingredients:

2   6.5oz cans of water-packed tuna, drained

1   15oz can of white beans, rinsed and drained (cannellini beans work best)

¼ cup finely chopped green onion

1 ½ cups diced cucumber

4 cups chopped baby spinach leaves

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 TBS Dijon Mustard (check the label, but most mustard should be gluten free. Grainy or smooth Dijon work equally well)

3 TBS Freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 TBS Capers (Optional)

Avocado chunks (Optional)

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir in olive oil, mustard and lemon juice. Season with pepper and add capers and avocado chunks, if desired.

 

Potato Soup (Modified to be gluten free)

Ingredients

5 cups unpeeled red potato chunks, large dice

1 cup green onions, thinly sliced

½ tsp black pepper

1 TBS salt

1 generous TBS of butter

½ cup milk

Combine potatoes chunks, onions, salt and pepper and just barely cover with water. Boil until potatoes are tender. Add the butter and cook 5 more minutes. Add milk and cook 2-3 minutes more

**This recipe for potato soup is one that I modified from a traditional potato soup recipe that used flour to thicken the broth. At first, I tried things like rice flour and cornstarch to thicken the broth, but I disliked both of those. Finally, I decided to completely leave out the thickener. The result is that you have a potato soup with large chunks of potato and a thin, flavorful broth. My husband – who doesn’t even have to be gluten free – ended up liking the thin broth version so much that I’ve never tried to use another thickener. If you have a recipe that you would like to try, but it has one or two troubling ingredients, you can always experiment with leaving that ingredient out. You may find that you actually like the recipe better without it. And, I’ve modified many recipes that call for farrow, barley or couscous with either rice or quinoa and they’ve turned out just fine.

 

So, when in doubt, try a recipe that uses naturally gluten free ingredients, like the tuna salad, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try to substitute simple ingredients or leave them out!

Going retro: In praise of the pencil

By Jeanne Reynolds

My company kicked me out of my office, but I’m not taking it personally.

They kicked everybody (who had one) out of their offices. In fact, most of us don’t even have a regular desk any more. Instead, it’s first-come, first-served for a “flex worker” seat anywhere you want. I get there early so I can snag a prime spot by the window. I plug in my laptop, adjust the monitors and chair, and I’m in business. It’s part of a new open working concept that’s supposed to enhance collaboration. (Does it? I’ll get into that another day.)

Since I don’t have a fixed location, any “stuff” I don’t bring back and forth from home every day has to fit in a 20” x 20” locker. You know, project files, my stash of snacks — and my pencils.Color Pencil Pictures Pencils Images Colored Pencils Hd Wallpaper And Background Photos

I love pencils. I like the way they feel and even the way they smell. I do all my writing, and nearly all my other work, on a laptop, but I still use a pencil for my calendar because it changes so much. Do I hear snickering over there about using a paper calendar? Well, next time your Outlook calendar doesn’t update properly so you miss an appointment, or your phone battery dies so you can’t check a meeting location, the laugh will be on you. Oh, and you have to scroll forever to see next month or next year, while I merely flip a few pages. Plus, I don’t like recording my personal life on my work calendar.

At home I use a pencil for my grocery list. Any fans of adult coloring out there? C’mon, please tell me you don’t use pens. It’s got to be colored pencils. And of course, golf scorecards are always marked in pencil. Golf pen? That just sounds weird.

Maybe the biggest reason I love pencils is the back-to-school memories they revive. I loved school and eagerly looked forward to the first day each year. And nothing says “school” like a new, yellow #2 pencil.

Here are some fun facts from the Musgrave Pencil Company. (These guys know from pencils — they’ve been making them for 100 years):

  • More than 14 billion pencils are produced worldwide every year.
  • About 2 billion of those are used in the U.S. (Ha! I’m not alone.)
  • A million are used on the floor of the U.S. Stock Exchange every year.
  • John Steinbeck wrote his novels in pencil. Supposedly he used more than 300to write his novel, “East of Eden.”
  • Pencils have been around for more than 450 years — but erasers were added only about 100 years ago. Apparently teachers thought they’d encourage mistakes. Well, maybe, but not having one sure stymies creativity. (Maybe the teachers finally read John Steinbeck.)

So back to the new, modern, nearly paperless office: They got rid of all the pencil sharpeners.

Every. Single. One.

It’s probably important to mention most of the discards during this massive remodeling went to worthy causes, such as local schools and nonprofit organizations. Mountains of three-ring binders, hanging folders, file holders, paper clips … and, apparently, pencil sharpeners.

That’s left me feeling a little dull. But not for long: I’m putting a visit to the office supply store across the street on my calendar.

In pencil, of course.

 

Make time to volunteer

This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!

Meet Janet:

By Janet Prince

I’ve always been intrigued with “blogs”…they appear to me to be a place where writers can share their inner thoughts and experiences with the world.  When LMC had their post on Facebook looking for new “bloggers,” I submitted my name and a brief bio and was thrilled when I was selected!  So, I think my first order of business is to introduce myself to you and share a little about my life.

I have been a lifelong resident of West Columbia, and a graduate of the University of South Carolina.  I am married to Gary Prince and we have two beautiful daughters – Ashlan, 21, who is a graduate of USC-Beaufort and is starting her master’s in clinical psychology at USC-Aiken this month and Genna, 15, who is a rising sophomore in high school.  Gary is co-owner of Senn Brothers Produce and I have been a stay at home mom since Ashlan was born.  I am a 15-year breast cancer survivor and a full-time volunteer!

logoI believe in giving back to your community through volunteerism.  I am currently the Chairman of the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Central South Carolina, which was started by the late Cathy Novinger when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  This group was formed to provide education of the symptoms of ovarian cancer to all women.  Knowing the symptoms helps with early detection which helps to save lives.  This organization means the world to me because I lost my mother to ovarian cancer and because of my daughters.  I am most appreciative of the support that Lexington Medical Center provides to our organization.  LMC will be the presenting sponsor of our 2019 Spring Event and I will be sharing more information on that as the plans are finalized!  Until then though, we will be the non-profit recognized at the Fireflies game on Thursday, August 30th at Spirit Communications Park!  To learn more about the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Central South Carolina, please visit our website at ovariancancersc.com

In addition to the OCC, I am a member of the GFWC Woman’s Club of the Midlands which is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). GFWC is dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service.   I have been a member for 17 years, the past ten years spent in leadership of our state organization and I have just completed my service as the GFWC-SC State President for 2016-2018.  As president, I was able to choose projects that I was most passionate about so of course one was called “What Color is Your Cancer? Mine is Pink and Teal” – Pink for my Breast Cancer and Teal for my mother’s Ovarian Cancer.  My other project was “Dyslexia Awareness – Genna’s Story”.  Genna was diagnosed with Dyslexia in the first grade and has learned the tools needed to succeed in school and in life.  You can learn more about GFWC and GFWC-SC by visiting our websites at gfwc.org and gfwc-sc.org

With the start of school just a few weeks away, I would encourage you to look for a way for you to give back to your community.  Choose something that you are passionate about – look around there are so many choices!  You may choose to volunteer at the hospital, your local library, your child’s school, or your church or any of the many national organizations such GFWC-SC, Rotary, your local Chamber of Commerce…the opportunities are endless!

Until next time….enjoy the final days of summer!

Facing Your Giant

This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!

Meet Eliza:

By Eliza Boulware

I am Eliza Boulware, a five year breast cancer survivor. I can recall during a spiritual fast God spoke to do a self-examination. My first thought was checking my spiritual walk but I heard it again, so this time I did a self breast exam. I felt a lump in my left breast.

From there I went to the doctor and completed all tests needed and it was confirmed I had stage 2 aggressive breast cancer. My world was turned upside down. I became afraid that I would die because I had never been sick. After losing both of my parents, I had spoken that when I find any health problems, I did not want to suffer long.  Now I am looking at my children and my granddaughter and saying, “not now Lord!”

I held it together at first. I allowed one tear drop when I was first told I had breast cancer but the flood gates opened when I sat with the counselor who went over the financial cost. I cried so hard because as a single low-income woman, how can I afford this and take care of my children?

As a minister of God, I had believed I was healed and now I was angry at God. I began to pray and I had to face that this was a cross I had to bear. I had to face this giant and believe I have the victory.  Faith no longer was just a word but it became a true action word for me. I faced the giant called CANCER and defeated it. I went through 12 rounds total chemo treatments and 33 rounds of radiation. I lost my hair and did not hide it. My fingers and feet turned black. I told my story every chance I got. I continued to go to work, host my yearly conference and continued to preach God’s word. I faced my giant with my faith and family support.

I encourage everyone to face your giant. At first, it looks bigger than you can handle, but with God CANCER became cancer.  Facing your giant with truth and education helps you know how to defeat your giant. Never give up – you have the victory.

When Birds Make Plans

This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!

Meet Kate:

By Kate Morrow

It was my very last day of maternity leave and I was determined to make the most of it, soaking up every last minute with my twins Jack and Lilly. I had big plans of reading books, snuggling, taking a walk in the stroller to the park, visiting daddy at work and more. And then I heard it. “Tweet, tweet.”

Our scruffy, lovable Beagle, Atticus, who has a personality large than life just went outside and I forgot to close the door. I shut it quickly thinking I heard the bird from outside. I continued to hear, “Tweet, tweet.” And that’s when I realized…

A bird had flown into the house.

He was thrashing about. Atticus was chasing him. It was absolute chaos. Frightened and panicked, I quickly threw everything into the car, babies in tow, and was prepared to drive up the interstate to my in-laws rather than dealing with the bird. I quickly realized, it’s true—

You make plans, God makes other plans.

You see, this has been the metaphor of my life for the past year.

I planned to get pregnant. A year and three rounds of Clomid later, we were finally expecting.

I planned to have a baby. A six week ultrasound revealed we were expecting twins.

I planned on a normal, healthy pregnancy. I went into pre-term labor at 24 weeks and spent 4 weeks on bedrest.

 I planned to keep my babies inside of my womb as long as I could. I went into for-real-this-time labor and delivered them at 28 weeks, 3 days gestation and we spent 76 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

I planned to live a life as normal as possible when we were discharged. We were discharged a week before the worst influenza season in history and instead spent 120 days in medical isolation.

I planned to return to work. I instead had to resign from my ten-year career to keep my babies at home and safe through the winter.

I planned a countdown out of isolation and breaking free to our finally happy, normal life.  My father unexpectedly passed away at 68 years old just 17 days before isolation would have been complete.

This past year has been hard and tougher in ways than I ever thought possible. It was dark. It was a lonely journey. It was the year that almost broke me. Yet, it was also the year that also defined me. It was the year that I saw more life and death than I ever thought possible and the year that filled me with purpose. It was the year I grew up in more ways than I ever thought possible.

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The only constant during these times was the persistent urge and calling to do more. To help people. To encourage women like me. To make a difference for babies like Jack and Lilly. To leave a legacy. And that’s exactly what I am doing.

I didn’t plan for this, but I have never been happier or more fulfilled.

And I cannot wait to tell you more about it.

What being 50 means to me

This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!

Meet June:

By June Headley-Greenlaw

So it happened – I turned 50 on July 16th!  I’m counting among my birthday gifts finding out that I was chosen to be a new blogger.  I am excited to share some of my experiences with all of you.  Hopefully, my thoughts about turning 50 will help you get to know me a little and I look forward to sharing more each month.

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During my birthday week celebration, I reflected on all the blessings I have in my life.  But that week, I also found myself reflecting on things I don’t normally think much about – my childhood.  For me, turning 50 means I not only made it through, I survived and thrived!  I was fortunate to have lots of neighborhood friends in our very lower-class neighborhood, but times were tough!  I grew up in a 900 square foot house with a family of four.  It’s taken a lot of hard work the last 30 years for me to get to a life I’m proud to crow about.

I have a wonderful husband that is my hero!  He cooks and cleans AND does the grocery shopping!  We have six kids minus one.  That’s a story for another blog.  Four of the kids served in the military and the youngest two are in college.  Five boys and the baby girl.  I am blessed!

I have a nice home in a nice neighborhood where kids are safe to play in the streets and adults can be seen chatting on curbs.  I’ve learned a lot from these chats and sincerely recommend that you get out and get to know your neighbors.  There’s always someone you can call when you need help with a project.  We literally call each other and say, “Hey, can I rent your husband for an hour”.  Yes, I know how steamy that sounds, but it’s really just about a toilet or some heavy lifting that needs to be done.  I promise it’s not that kind of neighborhood!  Although we LOVE “the hood” it is more than we need now so we recently showed it to a couple that would like to buy in our “hood”.  I told them I had to put a disclaimer on sales documents that our neighbors might show up unannounced to use the pool because they have a standing invitation.  We don’t have to be there.  They are all welcome!  Don’t worry, I’ve got good insurance.  I am blessed!

I drive a 10-year-old minivan because I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that my youngest child is now 19 and in college.  It’s a really nice van and I see no need to upgrade.  I am blessed!

I have a wonderful job that has gotten me to within a month of retirement eligibility.  I am blessed!  Since this is my first time blogging here, I’ll let you know that I work at the University of South Carolina.  Primarily, I help faculty members develop research proposals, but I also help coordinate a very large regional conference each year and anything else that folks need me to do.

While I’m starting to feel parts of my body losing strength, I am pretty healthy.  I am blessed, but a little scared!  During my birthday week, someone at work literally said to me, “get ready for bladder leakage”.  Really?  Yesterday I was 49 and today I’m supposed to start peeing my pants?

So here I sit, at the age of 50, just waiting for my application to join AARP to arrive in the mail!  Feeling completely blessed and grateful to have made it this far!

Ultimate Mother of All Bonding Experiences

By Stacy Thompson

So I’m sitting in a hotel room near Lake Bled, Slovenia (more on that later), getting ready to begin another awesome hike with Mom.  Whenever I start one of these, I always spend a little time reminiscing about past hikes and some of the incredible experiences we’ve had—one stands out, and fortunately I have the video journal to give you some of the high points of the journey.

As with many of the crazy, challenging things I’ve attempted in life, the Ultimate Hike was Mom’s idea.  It is a solid enough premise—raise money to help fund children’s cancer research—with an unbelievable physical challenge—27.3 miles on the Foothills Trail in one day.  Yes, 27.3 miles. In. One. Day.  Though I thought my mother had truly lost her mind, I once again reminded her of my words to live by “I will never say no” to any experience she offers up.

So we began months of hiking with our Midlands SC team at Harbison State Park—our hikes became longer and longer as the day of the CureSearch Ultimate Hike drew near.  The night before the Hike we were in bed by 7 a.m. for our 2 a.m. wake-up call (to be safe, I called in a wake-up call, set the alarm in the room as well as alarms on my phone,  Mom’s phone and my iPad—sounded like a maniacal clock factory explosion the next morning).  We were on the trail by 4:45 a.m.–hiking in the dark for the first leg and then continuing on through until around 7 p.m. that evening—and here, for your amusement, are three excerpts from our video journal:

Part I

Part II

Part III

In all, an exhausting but exhilarating day—and one we plan to repeat in the future for sure!