About Me

My name is Claire Harrison, and I live in Ottawa, Canada.  I’m also a wife, the mother of two grown daughters, and grandmother of three teenagers.

I am also a semi-retired professional writer and editor. I say “semi” because I feel about writing the way I do breathing.  It’s necessary to my life. So when I faced a major dietary problem, I automatically turned to writing as a way to handle the challenge.

My Culinary Conundrum

In the fall of 2010, I hit the Food Trifecta. I was not only lactose-intolerant and dieting to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, I had also become gluten-sensitive!

Here’s what happened, culinarily speaking.  Most of my cookbooks and favourite recipes were now verboten.  It was hello rice cakes and good-bye pasta, cake, bread, bagels, graham crackers, ginger cookies, and many other favorite foods.  Even though I increased my fruit and vegetable repertoire, I was bored by bland and repetitious meals.  And restaurants?  I couldn’t eat most of the appetizers, entreés, or desserts.  It wasn’t even worth going.

I began searching the Internet for recipes and discovered lots of interesting sites and food writers.  But I was stymied again.  Although I could find gluten-free recipes, non-dairy recipes, and diet recipes, it was rare to find any that combined all three.

Becoming a Food Refashionista

I decided it was time to take things into my own hands.  Time to re-fashion favorite dishes and those with potential, search out the alternate-ingredients universe, and go boldly where I’d never gone before—creating my own recipes.

This blog is a report that focuses on recipes, along with information about my flops and failures, successes and triumphs.  It’s a work-in-progress as I am constantly learning from my own experiments and the cooking adventures of you and others out there who are faced with similar challenges.

It’s also a full-disclosure report.  Where possible, I’ll identify all sources of refashioned recipes—not only to acknowledge them, but also to give readers the opportunity to find the originals.  Some of you may not be trifecta-challenged and can use wheat, cow’s milk, or sweetening products.

Keeping Informed

In the process of working on the blog and trying to develop a new diet, I have also become interested in issues that involve food and health.  For example, when I found out that researchers had found a biological basis for gluten-sensitivity, I wrote “Gluten Intolerance Goes ‘Legit’” And, after getting sticker shock over the price of a gourmet sea salt in the grocery store, I wrote “The Salty Truth,” a post about the table salt vs. sea salt debate.  I want to keep myself and my readers informed.

And the never-ending diet…

Finally, I’m also in the Weight Watcher trenches and must know and track the points value of everything I eat.  Since I was gaining weight on the new PointsPlus program, I’ve reverted to the old Points program, on which I lost 30 pounds.  But I still have the  booklet and handy-dandy calculator.  Therefore, I’ve put both the Points and PointsPlusvalues on every recipe. For more about gaining weight on Weight Watchers, click here.

However, please remember that I’m not affiliated with Weight Watchers in any way, and I can’t promise that the point values are 100% accurate.  I’ve done the math as well as I can but you may consider checking to be sure.

Diet Update (December, 2011) : For 2 weeks, I tracked my food on both plans and discovered it was “six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.” In other words, my problems wasn’t the new plan, but a general overeating of fruit and not enough exercising.  I am now just following the PointsPlus plan and will only be posting points for that program.

Diet Update (May, 2012): I have discovered that my thyroid, stable on medication for about 20 years, has been askew for months. I know this is affecting my weight problems and am working with the doctor to find the right dosage of synthroid. To read more about thyroid issues, please go here.

Claire

Eat well   •  Eat healthy  •  Enjoy!

49 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Claire,

    I know the feeling, I started my blog just over a year ago to combine my passion for cooking, food and writing. It is such a great creative outlet and seriously addictive. I read the saying once that blogging is like heroin for writers…instant publication and an audience.
    Regards Bonnie

    • Hi Bonnie, I hadn’t heard that saying about blogging and heroin but, yup, I sure do understand it. I checked out your cauliflower eggplant recipe, and it looks very tasty. I’m going to try it but will have to make it with less oil. And thanks for the tour of kitchens. Oh…for some of that workspace!

  2. Just in case you don’t see it on my page here is to answer your question what a “dl” is:
    A dl is a deciliter, in Norway we use the metric system, and a deciliter is therefor used as a metric system unit of volume. 1 deciliter is 0.1 liter, it takes 10 dl to make 1 liter. If you want to convert it to 1 dl =3.4oz. Also you can use Internet to convert for you if want it any other measurements there are many out there to mention some:
    http://www.convertunits.com
    http://www.convertworld.com/en/volume/dl.html
    http://www.unitjuggler.com/convert-volume-from-dl-to-floz.html

    And some one once said: “there is no stupid questions, only stupid answers”

  3. Hi again, Claire! Nice to learn more about you here. I’m also Canadian, though really a New Yorker given we moved when I was 4 (but have been to Canada many times indeed!). Hope my blog can be of help to you on your journey in sifting through all the nutrition (mis)information out there! 🙂 There’s some great stuff on your blog and tasty-looking recipes!!!!

    • Thanks for the nice words, and yes, I’ll keep visiting. I don’t do basics, and I like to see someone who does and then puts the food into the context of health and nutrition. BTW, I’m Canadian (I married into the country) but also an American as I was born in Brooklyn–your journey in reverse. 🙂

  4. Hello Claire, glad I found your blog. You got a really nice recipe selection there, looking forward to dig into it! I totally hear you about “old” recipes becoming inapplicable. The process of “refashioning” them to meet your new needs is a really exciting one! I’m trying to do the same over here, and I often end up with recipes that are better than the original ones! I still share some of my old recipes with friends though…
    Btw, about your health issues, have you ever looked into the GAPS diet?

    • Hi, thanks for visiting and the lovely comments. I appreciate them. Interesting that you’re finding your recipes better than the originals. I have certainly noticed that my diet is more tasty, varied, and healthy than it ever was. It may be a matter of trusting your taste buds and instincts more and your reliance on other people’s tastes less. No, I haven’t looked into the GAPS diet, but thanks for mentioning it; I’m always interested in diets. My biggest diet problem is now thyroid-related, and my doc and I are still working at finding the right medication dosage. Sigh.

      • I have been having some metabolic disorders myself, as well as food intolerances, not to mention Coeliac disease. I came across this diet, did some research and “explorations” for a while, before starting it almost a month ago. I am mentioning this to you because I found lot of correlations between food intolerances, thyroid disorders, diabetes (type 1 or 2) and weight problems during my research, and you may want to look into a possible common denominator causing you all those issues, which may very well be the state of your gut (a condition called leaky gut), often accompanied by gut dysbiosis (unbalanced intestinal flora).
        I hope that someday you’ll be able to completely avoid taking ANY medication 🙂

      • I wrote a long answer and the computer ate it up #$%@!&!!! Basically, I agree with you and am not surprised about the coorelationships, but I’m skeptical of finding a basic common denominator at the moment because both the interactions between industrialized foods and our bodies and the workings of our bodies are complex and not completely known. We certainly do live in interesting times. Oh, and I also have sleep apnea, which is another complicating factor. Yikes!

  5. Hi! thanks for stopping by my blog Change is good….right? liking it AND following it! I”m flattered….because I am such a newbie at all of this….blogging and the gluten free lifestyle…..and your blog looks so professional and enlightening…..I will be following you as well!

  6. Hi Claire,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I can relate to the issues with weight loss. Upon entering menopause a few years ago my weight started to bother me. I have always been a healthy weight and putting on a few added pounds drove me crazy. I decided to take control and began to seek out how to eat healthy and include alternatives to may food ingredients. I began my blog to help others especially women sift through all the information available to create a more healthy diet and eating better for life. I wanted to develop an eating pattern that I would be able to continue for the rest of my life ie a real diet change. I discovered there are many foods that will contribute to natural weight loss and all we have to do is include them in our daily diet. I also have recipes and research on different topics that relate to women to include foods to eat. Blogging is fun and has really been educational for me as I develop a better way of eating for life and healthy weight loss.
    Judy J.
    athomewithjudyj.blogspot.com

    • Hi Judy, Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your story. I too think a diet at this age is a lifestyle change, not simply a diet. It also should include exercise which I try to do religiously (but not as religiously as I should!). I’ve visited your blog and you have lots of great information. I’ll be back!

  7. Hey Claire, just wanted to say thanks for visiting / following my blog. I’m only starting out but it’s great to know people read what I write! I’m hoping to learn some basic healthy recipies at some stage, so I’ll have a sneaky peek at your blog for tips – thanks again & all the best.

  8. Hi, Claire! Thanks for the encouragement re. my experiments in healthier cooking (I’m at the moment trying something out for the first time in my life on a dehydrator and feel like I’m handling a UFO)…your blog is beautiful–great pictures and it is so helpful. I see a lot of gestational diabetes-friendly recipes as well …so this is how good food is supposed to look like!

    • You’re welcome and many thanks for the compliments. Believe it or not, I’ve had only 2 experiments completely fail to the point that I had to throw out food. Of course, there are plenty that don’t make the blog cut, but they’re edible so no waste. I also used to be a stick-to-the-recipe cook so experimenting was a big change for me but, as it turned out, a very positive one. I hope the same for you. 🙂

  9. Claire,
    I love your story and your passion for writing and food. I am also doing the points-plus program and need to exercise more as well. It is just so hard to do after working all day in the classroom, but that’s my “excuse”. I just need to get moving.

    I love the pictures of your food. Are those real pictures that YOU took? If they are, you can add food photographer to the mix as well.

    Elizabeth
    http://dissertationgal.com

  10. Hi Claire, thanks for visiting my blog firstly. I lost a lot of weight on weight watchers and would love to go back, but where we are living now and the times/days/locations for meetings are not ideal. I could do their at home program or the online but I like the face to face contact and actually being there. I do have all the basics and can do this.
    I look forward to hearing round reading more from you. 🙂

    • Jennifer,
      I just started Weight Watchers with a group of fellow teachers. It is pretty cool, except the day before and of weigh-in;-). I have done just the online program before as well (it’s certainly a lot cheaper) and I used the wall and social media aspect to connect to other members. It worked well; in fact, I almost like that better because there’s something about weighing in in front of people that is stressful.
      Good luck! And happy blogging. I’m going to check out your blog now.

      Elizabeth
      http://dissertationgal.com

    • Hi Jennifer, I like the face-to-face as well, and am glad there’s a meeting near me. But I also find it helpful and supportive reading WW bloggers because their problems are, generally, just like mine. I hate to say it but my misery loves company! 🙂

  11. Hi Claire – Marj from Aqua-fit. Love the blog – will definitely be checking out some recipes. Can not believe all the work you put into this – you are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Claire! Thanks for liking my cookie recipe! They are as good if not better than any other gluten ones! I’ve been fighting the good fight for over 18 years now and finally feel like I’m home! It’s all a matter of finding out what’s right for you. Check out my recipes, you may find something else you can eat! Good luck!

  13. I’m sorry about your dieting issues – especially hitting the trifecta! My personal opinion is that dieting just plain sux! Thanks for cruising through my blog and the like my post on “Dieting with Cinnabons!” I appreciate your company! I am enjoying your blog too.

  14. The clarity with which you delivered in the information on table salt vs. sea salt was excellent and shared with staff who still believe one to be better than the other. Thank you for all you deliver in healthy living.

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