It doesn’t need to be about bah-humbug

Christmas. Holidays. Panic. Fear. Anxiety.

Why is it that when you say the word Christmas you tend to get that panic fear and anxiety?

Christmas and the holiday season is a stressful time for everyone. It’s stressful financially. Family dynamics come into play. Kids are so excited they’re making themselves sick.

Now throw in Celiac Disease or life threatening allergies.

Are you ready to hide under a blanket cowering until it’s over?

I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease a week before Christmas 4 years ago. At that time, my then-business partner had planned to have us over to her parents house for Christmas Eve. Having no family here, it was a welcome invitation. I was still new to the whole gluten-free thing and her mother went all out making food that I could eat. They treated us like family and they didn’t let on in any way any misgivings they might have about cooking gluten free. That one simple invitation made Celiac Disease okay for me. Despite the fact that the friendship has dissolved, I still hold dearly in my heart that day because that day, my disease no longer became the single most important thing. That day, I survived my first holiday get together with my disease. As an aside, her mother made this dessert.. it was some sort of cream cheese and coconut thing that still makes my mouth water thinking about and sometimes, I dream about those things.. I have no idea what they were but if you do, please please tell me so I can make them!

Fast forward 24 hours from then. We went to what would be our first holiday Christmas dinner at our neighbour’s house. J-Money was all over Christmas dinner. I truly don’t remember if we made stuffing that year, or if we just went with the flow, but 4 years later, we still have Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Easter) together and we are each others families. With 4 celiacs in attendance each year, we go all out.

Christmas eating no longer causes me stress. I actually find it welcoming to go somewhere where I can’t indulge in everything under the sun. I had always had to be careful – I have a serious shellfish allergy and holiday parties often have shrimp platters or crab dip present. But now, I eat before I go, immediately do a walk about of the food table, and no longer worry about being glutened.

If you’re newly diagnosed, know that it will become second nature to scan food, to look for labels, and to ask questions. It will no longer be as awkward to have those initial conversations about food.

Christmas. Holidays. You got this.

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Hold the peanut butter cookies!

I used to love peanut butter cookies. They had to have the double fork cross for them to be true pb cookies to me, but man alive I loved eating them. For my bridal shower my maid of honour even made some that had no dairy and eggs (I was off both at the time) and they were amazing.

But now, peanut butter is out. Not only does Mr Man have a severe allergy, Chef Husband and Miss A hate peanut butter. The last few times I’ve tried to eat peanut butter I’ve become quite ill so I’m avoiding it as well.

That sort of puts a damper on double fork cross peanut butter cookies.

But wait!

Sunbutter you say?

Hell yes!

For those of you not familiar with Sunbutter, it is so good. It’s made from Sunflower seeds and is delicious. You do need to stir it up a bit or by the time you get to the bottom it’s a bit dry.

Miss A is quite sick. She’s got the flu and isn’t eating very much, nor sleeping. She spends her nights awake coughing and at this point, anything she puts in her mouth has to have some sort of value.

Enter Sunbutter cookies. Do they have sugar? Yep, they do. But they also have sunbutter which has protein. So I figure why not.

I wanted a cookie that was easy to make and was completely grain free. And these came out amazing if I do say so. It also involves my favourite process – dump and mix.

Ingredients:
1 cup of sunbutter
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 free range organic egg

Directions:
Dump everything into a mixing bowl.
Using a fork, mix it up really well. Feel free to dance around while mixing.
Using a medium cookie scoop (or a big spoon), make a dozen cookies – spread them out so there is at least an inch between each cookie on the pan. You may want to use parchment paper.
Using a fork, press them down lightly one way, then cross and go the other way. This step is vital. Don’t skip it.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
Eat 3 at a time. They’re that good.

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Now stop reading and go bake! But be sure to come back to let me know how they turned out!

Do you love you?

My daughter is growing up. So is my son. The other day, Mr Man so eloquently said “Mama, you have a big bum. But I love it.”

Was I supposed to be insulted or complimented? He’s 6 1/2 so I’m never too sure.. he’s still developing that whole tact/thinking before you speak/learn when to keep your mouth shut thing.

But then it got me thinking. A lot. About how I view myself physically and emotionally.

I haven’t weighed myself in almost 3 months. Sometimes I want to know, but most of the time I now look at it from a different way: what is it protraying to my children if I weigh myself multiple times a week/month/year? Is it telling them that unless the number says something specific then I’m not good enough? Or that I’m doing something wrong? Is it saying that I can’t view myself in a certain way regardless of my weight?

This year has been trying absolutely. It’s been a huge test of my ability to remain calm and sane for that matter. But even though I do joke sometimes and say things like “I’m crazy… my mother had me tested” (spin off from the Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon who constantly replies “I’m not crazy.. my mother had me tested” whenever someone insinuates otherwise) I also have embraced the fact that mental illness is okay to have! It’s okay to be anxious, it’s okay to get depressed. It’s not something anyone WANTS to happen, but it happens. I’m getting help. I’m being proactive. And I will once again get a place of stability. Until then, I’m cutting me a whole bunch of slack.

My mother has often told me that I’m harder on myself than anyone else. Although I don’t remember very much of my childhood, I distinctly remember one time where I waited until (gasp) the day before to write an essay that was due. Normally I was done days (and sometimes weeks) ahead. I only ever once pulled an all nighter in my whole life for school. I hated being under stress while working. But that one time, that’s what I did. And then the printer didn’t work. And I freaked out. In that moment I realized that I really was very hard on myself. There were lots of ways to get around it but instead I sat there and cried while my parents tried to fix it.

And I’m hard on my own body. I complain about my mummy tummy, my wide hips (thanks mom..), my bubble butt. But you know what? I have a mummy tummy because i’m a mom. I birthed 2 beautiful babies and any ounce of extra skin, flab, etc I have around that region is a testament to how I grew those babies inside me. I was huge in both my pregnancies and my skin stretched and flared. But I grew those babies proudly. My tummy has been continuously shrinking over the last number of months with all the yoga I’ve been doing, but even if it never gets flat again, I’ll be okay. It’s there because of something I did proudly.

And my hips.. well, they didn’t help out in birth much but you know what? I like my curves. I like that I have hips that are wider than average. It gives me shape! Just like my bubble butt. My girl has a bubble butt and man alive that thing is cute! So when did I stop thinking mine was? When did it become not okay to have a bum?

People.. all I’m saying is take a new look at yourself. Appreciate yourself. Teach your children that accepting yourself is the most important thing. Love yourself before anything else. And know that no one is perfect.