Tag Archives: Shopping

Is Flavored Coffee Gluten-Free?


All coffee, regular and decaf, is naturally gluten-free. However, when it comes to the ingredients (usually hidden with words like “natural and artificial flavors“) used to created the flavor, these are usually not gluten-free. I personally love flavored coffee and do not think adding a flavored creamer is the same. So, I sent an email to my favorite coffee company to inquire.

This is the email I received in return:

Dear Ms. Cordell,

Thank you for contacting The J.M. Smucker Company regarding our Millstone® coffee products. For over 110 years, consumer safety and product quality have been of paramount importance to our company.


Coffee is not a source of gluten and our Millstone® roast and ground coffee items are produced in a dedicated facility where no other types of agricultural crops are handled or processed. However, due to the use of common equipment within the agricultural community to harvest, store and transport crops, our roast and ground products may contain trace amounts of grain-based ingredients.

Additionally, our flavored coffee products may contain added ingredients that are not gluten free.

Thank you again for your interest. We hope that you will continue to enjoy our products for years to come. If you should have further questions or need additional information, please visit us at http://www.millstone.com or contact us at 800-522-7894, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.


Sincerely,

Jake

Consumer Relations Representative

Most responses from other coffee manufacturers will be the same – they mention the agricultural practices and cross contamination, which generally isn’t a problem but keeps them from being able to claim their product is gluten-free. The real problem with the flavored coffees is the ingredients used to create the flavors. Until we are made aware of what those ingredients are and can verify if they are gluten-free or not, we have to assume they are not safe.

If you have Celiac, you should avoid flavored coffees unless they state on their package they are gluten-free.

Bummer.

To a healthier, happier and longer life.
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A Dieter’s Epiphany…


So, I’ve been trying out new diets, tweaking my nutritional intake, and generally just trying to solve the mysteries of obesity and overweight for a long time. My husband has made claims that I am just chasing fireflies and won’t figure anything out completely…it’s almost impossible. But I think I may be on to something…

I began another (yes, another) new diet at the end of August called the Fat Resistance Diet, by Leo Galland, M.D. with amazing results…results I didn’t expect. I had been suffering from chronic fatigue, bloat, and what I always called “puffiness” for quite a long time. These symptoms began to disappear almost immediately on the Fat Resistance Diet. I looked at what I had been eating and quickly realized I had not eaten any grains in a couple of weeks and had already lost 12 lbs. in the process. I continued on the diet for another week and lost a few more pounds, making my total weight loss for the first three weeks 15 lbs.

The weight loss was awesome, but that wasn’t the thing that really caught my attention. All the loss of energy and motivation I had been experiencing had disappeared and I felt better than I had in I don’t know how long. My energy levels were through the roof compared to what they were. Then, after a few more weeks, not really sticking to the diet, but laying off of gluten, the mysterious pain in my shins also disappeared. The rash I had on my scalp – a red, bumpy, itchy rash that I had been trying to keep in check for years with Neutrogena T-Gel – also disappeared. I felt like a whole new person.

I talked to my doctor about allergies and sensitivities to certain foods. I described what my symptoms were and that they had gone and he said to me, “people know the answers when they come in with these kinds of questions – if you eliminated this food and you feel better, what do you think the answer is?” He was right. As good as I felt there was no way I was going back to eating the things that were literally making me sick and creating pain in my body. It was as simple as that.

But the realization that I have an allergy to wheat gluten was just the tip of the iceberg. I also noticed that, along with the elimination of grains, I had added in a lot of dark green, leafy vegetables, healthy anti-oxidant rich dark berries (like blueberries and strawberries) and pomegranate juice and more fish. These were simple changes in my daily diet but the results were amazing. I wasn’t hungry! That’s what was so unbelievable…I didn’t have munchies and I wasn’t hungry all day long. I didn’t really feel like I was on a diet at all. And I’m still eating the same types of foods today and have the same feeling as when I first started the diet. I feel satisfied after eating and I’m not always wanting to feed my face.

Not too long after I began noticing these little improvements in my physical well-being, I picked up and read the book, Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D. which is an insanely interesting read. I was really inspired by what Dr. Davis said and his book, along with what I had discovered with Dr. Galland’s diet, really started me thinking about the state of people in today’s world.

This is my belief – People eat food that has been overly processed and lacks nutrional value. That means that when a person eats this type of food, their body isn’t getting what it needs. It’s still hungry! So, this same person eats more processed food, still not giving their body what it truly needs nutrition-wise, which leaves the person feeling bloated and full but not satisfied. The brain is still sending the same signals to eat because it still hasn’t received what it needs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But it can be broken.

Just say, "No!"

The body is an engine and it needs fuel. If you put really bad, diluted gas in your car’s gas tank, what happens to the engine? It breaks down and quits working. If you put the supreme gas in the tank, it purrs like a kitten. So, why would you put crappy “gas” into your body’s tank? This is your engine. It needs to last a long time and it’s up to YOU to take care of it. You have to feed it the right fuels – lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean meats, nuts, etc. You can’t feed it doughnuts all the time. The phytonutrients you get from green vegetables and dark fruits just aren’t in there. Yet they are essential to your overall health.

Take this challenge – Go grain-free and “box” free for one week and see how you feel! That means you will have to spend some time in your kitchen preparing meals, cutting veggies, actually cooking your dinner. But that’s a good thing – your kitchen utensils have probably not seen you in a while. Don’t open a box from the freezer – instead make a hearty vegetable soup, or stew. Get out that crock pot and put it to some good use. Add some chicken or turkey into it for dinner. Make a healthy salad with some tuna on top. Grill some fish on your grill. But stay away from breads and pastas. Just give it a try for one week – I bet your body will thank you!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.


The Bikini Test…


We’re set to head to Texas in just under two weeks. So, yesterday, determined to give myself a little extra motivation, I ordered a new bikini and had it sent to my mom’s house.  I haven’t really worn a bikini in the last few years, since I put on the excess weight. But I really love wearing bikinis and used to all the time.

This is back in 2006 on the beach in Mexico. Not my most fit, but a time when I really enjoyed sporting a bikini!

I’m hoping that just knowing that a hot, sexy, new bikini will be waiting for me will keep me on the straight and narrow path I need to stay on. Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be able to look at least as good as I did in the above pic by the time I get to Texas.

I’ve been staying away from the wine (yay, me!) and controlling my calories pretty well. My biggest obstacle is the extra exercise I need to squeeze in. Now that summer’s here, my six year old son is home…all day, every day! So, I have to use my DVDs more instead of going to the gym.

I do have my super cool DVDs…P90X, Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, Insanity, Hip Hop Abs…all at my disposal. (I’m a Team Beachbody Coach, afterall!) And I actually did my first P90X workout this morning. I did the Chest & Back workout and I think that tomorrow I will wish my arms would just fall off. Hahaha! But, I’m going to stick with it. Between my DVDs, softball and my zumba classes, I will be able to stay pretty active and keep that strength training going until I get to my vacay in Texas.

Feelin' good in Mexico! Back in 2006 (I can't believe that was nearly 5 years ago) when I was NOT shy about my body!

I talked to my best friend yesterday…she’s been doing a lot of working out, too, while doing Weight Watchers. She’s lost another 2% body fat in just four weeks. She’s working with a trainer and apparently she had no qualms about showing off the work she’s done to get in shape…of course, she’s sporting a hot bikini! She’s also been doing the “cheat day” once a week to keep herself going on her eating regimen.

So, now the pressure’s on!!! I know that when I’m hangin’ out by the pool in Texas, I’ll be drinking. That’s just what’s going to happen. Hangin’ out with my girlfriends I haven’t seen in the past two years, I’ll be drinking like a fish. But I’m also hoping that I can spend some time in the gym while I’m there. I want to get a temporary membership and go with my girlfriend. The two of us together will be able to keep each other motivated to keep going. I miss that about having her around. We used to do so much active stuff together. Now we’re worlds apart and doing it separately. I miss her.

So, I’m making myself accountable. To you…to me…to anyone! I’m making a promise to myself that I will work harder in this next full week and get as close as I possibly can to my goal. I won’t shed 20 lbs. or anything, but I can at least look good in my new bikini!

To a healthier, happier and longer life.


Crash and Burn


After the rain

I just love a good thunderstorm. The world feels fresh and new the next morning. All the dirt and grime is washed away revealing the world’s true colors hiding beneath. We had some really good thunderstorms last night and I would have enjoyed them a lot more if I hadn’t felt like vomiting.

Apparently, I’m a big wuss. These past few days on the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet have been the worst I can remember in a long, long time. Of course, the first day of the plan, the Cheat Day, was perfectly awesome. But on day two, the Fast Day, I was a miserable wreck. I took my BCAA (branched-chain amino acid)  supplements and took a decent metabolism booster as instructed. I was at work for a big part of the day and I was doing okay. But by the time 4:00pm rolled around and it had been 21 hours since my last meal, I was ready to crack. I was weak, had a headache and I was just freakin’ hungry.

I know that my problem was most likely psychological. I’m sure I was not actually starving the way I felt I was starving.  I did finally break down and eat a little something…I lasted a full 24 hours on the fast and thought that was pretty good. And the worst part is I was supposed to do two workouts during this day. There was no way I was going to be able to perform even one workout. I was  ready to go to bed that night just so I wouldn’t feel the discomfort that came from feeling that hungry. Even though I ate dinner,  it just wasn’t enough after going so long without food. I felt completely miserable when I hit the sack.

The next day wasn’t quite as bad…Shake Day. I thought I would feel famished when I first woke up, but I was feeling pretty normal. I made my first protein shake and it seemed to do the trick. My son had his Field Day at school and my husband and I had plans to volunteer. The day was gorgeous for outdoor sports activities and I was happy to feel some warm sunshine. But once my coffee ran out, I started to feel the pangs of hunger once again. Field Day only lasted a couple of hours but by the time we got back to the house, I felt weak and depleted. I had another shake, but I still felt empty.  Several shakes later I had to get to softball practice, but my head was pounding and I just felt weak. Somehow I made it through practice, though my husband told me I looked lethargic and didn’t seem to be at my best. When we finished up at the field, my husband and son wanted to eat dinner (it was 8:00pm after all) so we ended up going to the club on base. I ate a piece of hamburger on a bun with mustard only. And a lot of water.  It wasn’t a shake, but it was not a lot of food. I still felt hungry and wanted the day to end.

Finding my own path

When we finally got back home I checked in with my XFLD partner back in Texas. She had gone the entire fast day successfully and was working her way through the shakes on day three. She seemed to be having a much better time with the plan than I. I thought to myself, “what a puss I am!” and vowed to do better next time around. How could she be doing so much better? Am I really that much of a wuss that I just can’t handle it? I really thought I was tough enough to do this plan, even though it’s extreme. I was really disappointed in myself.

I read so many comments on Joel Marion’s blog from people all over the world, from different walks of life, with different perspectives who had fasted or made it a regular practice to fast and had zero problems. I remember reading from one person who works in a hospital who regularly checked her blood sugar levels to make sure it didn’t drop throughout her fast only to find it stayed normal throughout the whole day.  So, that means that for me it must be all in my head.

Day four, the Moderate Carb Day, I was very excited to have made it this far. I woke up and wanted to go to my zumba class. I hadn’t been able to go all week because I had been working so much. And this morning, our class was being held outside! It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I couldn’t wait. I made breakfast (one egg, two pieces of turkey bacon, one piece of toast with margarine and all-fruit, juice and coffee) and got ready to head out. I was so pumped.

Zumba is a very high-energy class and I just wasn’t able to give it my all during this beautiful outdoor exhibition. I felt weak all over. My legs felt like they would give out at any moment. It was so bad the instructor noticed. My general lack of energy and all-over weakness had really interfered with my activities. I decided at that moment that this diet was just not going to work for me. I needed more than what I was getting from the XFLD. Yes, I want to lose weight and get back into shape, but I just don’t think anyone should feel this horrible while doing it.

We left the field after zumba and decided we needed to get some lunch and sandwiches from the deli counter seemed like a great choice. We sat down and I began to devour my lunch. I must have looked something like a shark attacking a surfer, eyes rolling back into my head and mouth chomping down ferociously, to anyone that may have taken notice. My husband probably had to turn his gaze away from me as I tore through my poor, unsuspecting wrap sandwich. It never stood a chance.

It wasn’t too long after we finished eating that we were all in the car driving towards home when the nausea set in. I’ve never been carsick before and didn’t think I was carsick now, but one minute I was fine and the next I felt the need to pull over.  We had planned on hitting up a friend’s outdoor barbeque later in the afternoon, but I ended up laying on the couch in a pathetic fetal position for the rest of the day. I don’t remember the last time I felt so sick. I was the most miserable I had been in a very long time.

This morning I woke up and stepped on the scale. Though yesterday had been a disaster I still wanted to see if all the torturous days had at least yielded some positive result. But sadly, I weighed exactly the same as I had on the first day of the XFLD. After the fast day I had lost 2.5 lbs and was hoping to still be close to that. But obviously, it was only water which I replaced yesterday during my balled-up recovery time. I ate plenty of carbs yesterday and drank a lot of fluids. My week, from an extreme diet standpoint,  has been a total waste of time.

I will confess that I know extreme diets never work. I know that crazy fads are really just that…crazy. None of the extreme, fad, crash or crazy diets ever really work. And what’s worse, if you ever do lose weight on one of these crazy diets, it’s probably mostly water and comes right back within a short period of time.  After reading the science behind Joel’s plan, I was really hoping that this one would be different. And maybe it is for some. Maybe some people can do this program with little difficulty. But not most people. It clearly says in all the info that “this plan is not for everyone” and it’s really true. It’s for only a select few. If you are not in the habit of fasting or starving, it’s probably going to be really difficult to get through this program. Just one 5-day cycle was nearly impossible for me to get through…I can’t imagine trying to get through four more cycles. And exercising during these starvation modes…well, that was not going to happen. Yes, like a thunderstorm washes away all the surface grime to reveal what’s really underneath, I have discovered what’s hiding beneath all the science-speak in Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet…just another crazy, crash, fad diet. What a disappointment. But I really should have known better.

My partner confessed to me yesterday that she couldn’t imagine doing it four more times, either and agreed to do a modified plan with me. I told her that I could come up with a much more reasonable way to do this if she was willing to go off the XFLD. And she agreed. Thank goodness!

Today I will spend the day chillin’ out and getting ready to start on a new plan. My friend and partner is willing to try something a little more reasonable and I can live with that.  My new plan will consist of a “cheat” day followed by four days of very low calories. We can still use the metabolism booster for added results. But there will be no starving. There will be food intake on every day of my plan. And we will still get to have a cheat day to boost our hormone levels and keep us from plateauing. And we will lose weight.

Time to lay off the alcohol...

I thought that giving up beer and wine would be the hardest part of losing weight. But after attempting to get through five days of the XFLD, I don’t think that will be a concern any longer. After that, giving up alcohol will be a cinch.


And a New Plan Begins…


Who doesn't love a good "cheat" day?

Today is Day One of the new program, The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet program from Joel Marion. It just came out and I’ve been anticipating it for a while. I’m ready to give this one a go, though it seems kind of difficult. I’ve never been a big fan of fasting, so we’ll see how it goes.

Day One is the “Cheat Day” where I’m entitled to eat anything I want without guilt. I’m having absolutely no problem with this part. But tomorrow will definitely be a test for me…a full 36 hour fast from the time I go to bed tonight until breakfast the day after tomorrow. And the third day will be a “Shake” day where I have only shakes all day. I will still have to exercise on these days, so I’m curious to see how my energy levels hold up.

I will be taking supplements on my fast day, so it’s not like a pure fast. But as I said, I’ve never been one to be able to go without food for a whole day. And I’m sure I’ll be practically unbearable by the end of the day. (My poor husband!)

But I’m determined to follow through on this program. It’s only 25 days long. It works in five-day cycles. So, I will do five 5-day cycles to get to the end of the program.

So far, it’s all good! I’m gonna love the Cheat day every five days! But, I’ll keep you posted on the rest of the five days and let you know how it’s working.

To a healthier, happier and longer life.


A Whole New Mindset…


One thing I’ve almost never had a hard time with is working out. My problem has always been with having the motivation to work out. There’s a big difference. Once a workout begins, I’m in it – focused and determined. But it’s the getting to the beginning which the hard part. Just showing up is half the battle. So if you can figure out a way to get yourself to show up, you’re half way to your fitness goal. That is the truth.

So, in that vein, I have decided this week to let money help me with my motivational ineptness. I know that if I put money into something I’m usually going to work it like it matters because I don’t want to lose money. No one wants to do that. At least, that’s the premise, right?

After nearly five years of being a member of the Beachbody community, I finally invested in the company and became a coach. If you’re not familiar with Beachbody by now, they are the company that offers P90X, Insanity, Turbo Jam, Yoga Booty Ballet, Turbo Fire and many other fitness programs  along with the ultra popular Shakeology by the P90X creators. I purchased Turbo Jam in 2006 and have been doing it ever since. When I first got to my optimum weight in early 2007 it was through consistent use of Turbo Jam. And I still love this program,  doing it several times a week.

So, I’ve committed not just to my goal of fitness and transformation, but also to my business. I’ve now made it my job to workout daily. My transformation will be my key to success with my Beachbody business. And I’ve put my money down to insure I will make that happen.

I’m starting on the Shakeology (finally) and I’m excited about seeing how the results pan out for me. I’m terrible at dieting (as you can probably tell from my past fails on other programs) so I’m hoping that the Shakeology will give me some foothold in my diet mess. It’s not that I eat poorly, mind you, it’s just that I sometimes don’t control myself the way I should. It’s a fine line, and I tend to step over it a little too often. And of course, living in a place where I’m surrounded by great wine, amazing chocolate and the best beers in the world doesn’t really do much to help my cause.

So, here I go…I’m off and running, looking forward to sharing these experiences, too, as I go along learning even more new things. My business sites are up so feel free to go check them out. And of course, if you are ready to start that P90X you’ve been putting off, feel free to order it from me! 😉

To a healthier, happier and longer life.


Week 5: Let’s Talk Excuses and Results


Let’s be honest here…I will admit that I have been slacking off of my blog, my workouts, my diet, my everything these past few weeks. It’s not that I have just thrown in the towel. I’ve just been busy and sick. But let’s really be honest – there are a million and one excuses you can use on a daily basis for not taking care of yourself, but in the end you are the one who suffers when you continue to make excuses. It’s really up to you (as in, me) to make the commitment to be/live/eat/play healthy.

It’s true, I’ve been sick for nearly three weeks, but there are things I can do to keep up my exercise regimen. I’ve done some here and there and it’s probably better to not over do it during the time that I’m sick. But now I really need to step it up.

Me and Denny workin' the dance floor. I'm feeling good in my skin these days.

I’ve actually done okay these past few weeks. I missed my January goal of 147 lbs, but I’ve hit that since then. I chalk that up to not eating so much. When you are not feeling well, usually you lose a bit of your appetite. So, I’m not walking around like I won the lottery or anything. But, I have actually seen some progress. My belly is a little flatter. My jeans have become baggy on me. I’m buying a smaller size and they’re fitting. So, I’ve definitely lost some inches here and there. And as of today, I’m down to 147 lbs. Not too bad.

There's more than one way to get your workout on!

But the important thing is to stay on my exercise regimen. It seems like every time I set a goal to boost my exercise program (ie. go to extra classes at the gym, start a new video workout, begin a transformation challenge, etc.) something happens…I usually get sick. I lose all motivation during that down time and then I find it really hard to get it back when I’m ready to start again. But I’m determined to make this time different. I know that exercise is the key for my weight loss goals and I need to make that commitment to stay on track. Exercise is the answer.

I have not been following the DSP, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s not that I’ve totally thrown it all out the window…I am choosing more organic foods every week. I actually really like using the coconut oil instead of canola oil for high heat cooking…especially eggs! I prefer the flavor of grass-fed beef to the regular stuff. And even though these foods cost substantially more, I really am making an effort to choose them more often.

I recently watched the movie, Food, Inc. and was upalled at what our food industry has become. It really made me aware of a lot of things and made me feel a little sick. This movie should be seen by everyone, I feel that strongly about it. It’s our food supply, for crying out loud!

So, it’s not that I’m not paying attention to what I put in my mouth. I’m just trying to make smart choices one moment at a time. We are faced with different choices many, many times each day and I think it’s more about your mindset when faced with all of these choices that really makes the difference. We make the choice to eat at Burger King instead of Subway. We decide to go out for dinner instead of making a nice, healthy dinner at home. We decide to buy the sugary sweet cereal instead of the healthier, shredded wheat type one. We make the choice to have that coffee cake with our coffee instead of a better option, like fruit. We make little decisions all day long that affect our overall health and many people make that decision without even thinking about it. I strive to always be thinking about my health when faced with these constant decisions. In that way, I’m being mindful of my diet.

Counting calories, food journals, meal planners…these are all very helpful but can become cumbersome to keep up with throughout the day. Of course, in order to really lose a lot of weight, you have to know that you are creating a calorie deficit each day. And these tools are awesome for that. But I prefer to just keep doing what I know I need to do – don’t over-eat, be very mindful of my portion sizes, keep working out a lot, and make smart choices. We tell our kids to make smart choices every day. The best way to make sure they get that message is to be the example that they can follow. Make smart choices every day. Don’t be afraid to indulge every once in a while, but striving to make the best choices for your health daily should be the norm instead of the exception.

I have to say that I feel pretty good about my body these days and that’s a direct result of the amount of workouts I’ve gotten in these past few weeks. I don’t feel as good when I’ve slacked off, but when I get them in I feel like a million bucks! So, I’m sticking to what works…

To a healthier, happier and longer life.