So, life this month has been hectic. Not because our calendar was filled with fabulous to-dos, but rather because ALL of us have been battling some kind of bug-a-boo or other for the past month. It’s exhausting. Truly. I thought being ill was bad… but have now learned that being ill while taking care of two little ones who are ill is truly the most difficult thing ever. With both partners are down and both kids are too – life builds up FAST and moves TOO quickly for us to keep up with anything. When I really, truly just wanted to curl up and sleep for a couple of days in a row, the little peanuts would wriggle out of bed and cry because they felt so miserable too. Needless to say, I can practically recount lines from Tinker Bell and Larryboy and the Bad Apple (or the Rumor Weed) at random because apparently I’m *that* kind of mom. The kind that lets us all just sit on the couch, soak in the time and love together in hopes that it will cure us all of our illnesses as we wile away the hours in the company of Tink and Larry Boy. Yeap. That’s me in a nutshell.
So please forgive my lack of posts. And my overflowing recycle bin. And the amount of dust on the shelving at home. And the fact that the laundry could crush a small child (I know… our pile almost squished the toddler who thought it looked like a great place to practice mountain climbing…) And.. well.. just forgive my moments.
Amazingly we are digging our way out and I am beginning to find the energy to re-engage. I’ve donated a ton of things to the local food bank (Hooray for Food Banks that have GLUTEN FREE sections!), cleaned out the girls closets (oh my! And HOORAY for friends with girls older than ours who gift us the clothing!), returned to cooking more at home than quick meals (YES!) and I’ve begun sketching out my next recipes and posts. Life is getting back to normal. But good golly, getting sick is so much more than that. It takes so much longer to dig out from the slump. (And no, I’m not even going to tell you about the paper-hurricane on my desk at work after missing more than a week of school (thank you, flu). It’s not worth describing.)
I’m going to be easy on myself. Remove the cloak of “Get ‘er done” and just put on the comfy robe of “enjoy the moment”, “take your time”, and “be good to yourself”. Yes. That is the robe I shall be wearing. And maybe some comfy socks. I’m all about the comfy socks.
A while back, Safeway Corporation sent me two gift cards ($25/each) that I am giving away (please see the bottom of this post for entry instructions) They have (as of 4/21/2011) started a new program that they are calling their “Simple Nutrition” program. The goal of which is to make “it quicker and easier to find better nutrition choices”. There are currently 22 labels that can be used. They are:
- 4 benefit messages for lifestyle/dietary needs: Gluten Free, Organic, Natural and Calorie Smart
- 18 benefit messages with specific nutrition or ingredient criteria: Sugar Free, Made with Whole Grains, Good Source of Fiber, Sodium Smart, Fat Free, Low Saturated Fat, Low Fat, Good Source of Calcium, Good Source of Vitamin C, Good Source of Vitamin A, Good Source of Iron, 0 Grams Trans Fat, 100% Juice, Low Cholesterol, Good Source of Antioxidants, Good Source of Potassium, Good Source of Folate, Lean Protein
Here’s a photo of the tags found in my local grocer. (The story of taking that photo is MORE than a blog post – even AFTER I showed the manager the email inviting me to participate in and comment on this promoted program. I think the guy must have been having a bad day.)
I found the labels to be applied in an interesting format – interesting, as in it was easy to spot them, but not necessarily helpful. The “Gluten Free” label, according to Safeway, is given to products whose manufacturers identify the product as Gluten Free. Sadly, I found on my couple trips in to see this system in action, to be less than perfect. Several products that are gluten free (especially the long recognized brand Schar’s – I love their pasta!), was not marked as gluten free even though the product is clearly marked as such and it is manufactured as such.
I chalked the first few flukes as just that – flukes – or missed labels by the label guys who had to re-shelve everything. But since my initial starts/ponders, I’ve really begun to wonder if this program is useful for those who are just beginning. For example, some products considered “gluten free” by many (like “oats”) are not taken as such within the Gluten Free community (who prefer to eat/use only those oats which are certified gluten free). I think the bigger issue is this: There is NO clear labeling law for what it means to be GLUTEN FREE in the United States.
Maybe this program IS worth the initial starts – maybe especially FOR beginning GF/Celiac Folks – after all, things ARE labeled. And I clearly remember the FOG of those beginning moments of my GF life. I really remember it when I think about entering our pantry in our old apartment. We’d just gone grocery shopping and stocked up for quite a bit as we were getting married and didn’t want to deal with grocery shopping for “pantry” items for a while. There I stood staring at the boxes and cans of everything that I would no longer be eating. It overwhelmed me completely. Going to the grocer and reading every label also freaked me out. I carried a huge list of all of the ingredients that were going to poison me or not. (Those were the days, huh?)
Now I am completely SPOILED. Rotten too. I live near a G.F. Joe’s – a gluten free market – where both Joe and Kaylee are PHENOMENALLY carefully and only stock the certified, gluten free items. The beauty about shopping at such a market is not just the personal connection and the ready access to GF goodies, but the fact that they have the latest things to try as well. (Joe just pointed out a new bread for me to try – a loaf with quinoa flakes in it – OH MY,it is GOOD… and now it’s on my ‘recreate at home’ list too.)
So, I’m tainted. I’m bias. I’m SPOILED!
And so I had to think about this in this way: what if my friends/family were shopping for me and needed something gluten free to serve? Then I suppose this is as a good place to start as any. Don’t you think?
A note about GLUTEN FREE LABELING – Your help is needed!
On May 4, there will be a summit to address the issues posed by non-standardized gluten free labeling. The summit, called “1 in 133″, is a call on the FDA to regulate gluten free labeling. I HIGHLY encourage you to take a moment to sign their petition, donate or spread the word about this cause. Together, we can ensure that the label “GLUTEN FREE” actually means SOMETHING. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)
And now on to the Give-Away:
In honor of their Simple Nutrition Program, Safeway has sent me two $25.00 gift cards that I would like to pass along to you all. In order to enter, please follow these guidelines. There are TWO CHANCES to enter.
2. “Like” my Facebook page and post a comment under the ‘GIVEAWAY comments’ post. In your comment, tell me WHAT GLUTEN FREE ITEM YOU SHOP FOR MOST FREQUENTLY (pasta? pizza? macaroni and cheese? etc?) and WHY YOU PURCHASE IT (convenience? flavor? etc?)
Give-Away Ends on Saturday, April 30 at midnight, PST. (Just in time for a new month of GF groceries!)
Winners will be contacted by email no later than Monday, May 2. If no response is received to this initial contact by Friday, May 6, another name (or names) will be chosen at random by Random.org .
Happy GF Shopping and Spring-Recovery to all!