Tucson Tale #4

As some readers may recall, the last letter described my first major hike which left me 1) feeling like over-boiled legumes, 2) looking like a beet, and 3) considering the benefits of spouse-icide.

Well, today I have a very different story to tell—one of triumph over body, spirit, and hiking poles. It all began on a not-so-ambitious hike in Sabino Canyon. A little bit up and onto a cliff, a little bit of a zig-zag down to the road—maybe 2 miles in all.

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Goin’ West and South

The bird feeder in our backyard.

The bird feeder in our backyard.

Dear Readers from around the World,

In the past two weeks, we’ve gotten about three feet of snow: heavy “heart-attack-while-shovelling” snow; light, airy snow; blowing hard snow; flurries snow; you-name-it-Canadian-snow.

I am NOT a snow person. My idea of heaven? No hats, no mitts, no boots, no shovelling, no slipping and sliding, no scraping ice off windshields, etc.

This is why the spouse and I are returning to Tucson, Arizona, for January and February. Tucson isn’t particularly hot at this time of year, but (blessed be) it has no snow.

Plus, we’ll be able to hike in the mountains.

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Become a GF, LI, WW Food Activist!

Being away from home and travelling to new places is always an eye-opener.  At home, I know where all my resources are; in another city, I have to search and ask.  One result of our travel was that I became a gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, weight-watching activist. I wanted to find healthy food in general and food I can eat in particular—in, for example, restaurants, hotels, and airports.  The question was: how could I best do this?

The answer came to me in a museum where my husband and I, tired and hungry, stopped at its cafeteria for a snack. The choices were cookies and cupcakes, pretzels and potato chips, and assorted drinks.

Much against my will, I bought the only snack I could tolerate although it meant throwing my diet out the window: potato chips.  And much against my dislike of being labeled a complainer, I decided to speak up.  “Would you consider carrying gluten-free products?” I asked. “I can’t eat most of what you have.”

After agreeing with me that their selection was poor, the sales clerk said, “We should have something.  So many people are having gluten problems, aren’t they?”

I had noticed that the cafeteria didn’t make its own food, that everything was packaged, and nothing required refrigeration.  “You could carry Larabars,” I suggested.  “Some of them are gluten-free and dairy-free.”

She got out a pencil and paper.  “Could you spell that?” she asked.

I don’t know if the museum cafeteria has stocked the bars but, at that moment, I’d taken my first step into GF activism.  In speaking out, I’d compelled an establishment to acknowledge a lack of GF products and think about an alternative.

Since then, I’ve made a point of talking to people in hotels, restaurants, and food markets about food selection at their place of business.  Here are some of my strategies for raising awareness and encouraging managers to rethink their food purchases:

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Diet Vigilance: Away from Home

How hard is it to maintain a low-calorie, gluten-free, and dairy-free diet when you’re traveling and vacationing? I’d be lying to you if I said diet vigilance was easy. During the last month, the spouse and I travelled to Florida for a family birthday and have spent a week in Tucson as part of a one-month vacation stay. For the latter we have rented a furnished apartment-condo with a not badly equipped kitchen.

I’ve already written about the ways that I coped with air travel. But now I’m in a place where I can cook, but really want a vacation from that as well. So, what to do? Here are some of my strategies:

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Travelling #gf, #dairy-free, and #WW

I’m back from a four-day trip to West Palm Beach, Florida, for a family birthday.  Before I went, I researched gf restaurants.  I had a list of possibilities.  Here are the results. 

One restaurant wasn’t gf at all.  Two restaurants had gf menus.  What is a gf menu?  A reduced version of the regular menu in which meals that already come without wheat are included.  Not one gf restaurant made or carried any gf bread, buns, or desserts.  Moreover, no restaurant carried soy milk or alternative milk products such as ice cream made with coconut milk.  And as for dieting, even egg-white-only omelets are sautéed in way too much oil.  Continue reading