One of my new year’s resolutions was to get one massage per month.  January and February went by without a massage, so I was not going to let March come and go without even an attempt to get a massage.

Massage always seemed to be something that was a luxury, like a facial.  But the more I have read about the health benefits of massage, I have tried to wrap my head around considering it maintenance.  I am putting massage in the same category as coloring my roots, even though it took me two months to get started.

I found a massage therapist and the first thing she said to me was that she would “unhook my shoulders from my ears.”  She nailed it without ever laying a hand on me!  We discussed pressure and parts of the body and then she got to work.

There were knots between my neck and shoulders, aka trigger points, that she really worked on. It was this bizarre pleasurable pain.  Actually, the front of my neck was clearly locking in tension as well and that was when I said “ouch” in my out loud voice.  She asked me to try to breath through one more because it would feel so much better when she was done.

The point here is that I can take really good care of my body through exercise and a healthy diet of plants, lean protein and gluten-free food.  I try really hard to get enough sleep, drink green tea, and use chemical free skin care products.  But, I have to manage stress and spending the time and money on massage is going to help me do this.

Today I have a fuller range of motion in my shoulders and neck.  She said she would like to work on my hips next time as well.  I decided the only way I was going to keep my new year’s resolution was to commit fully to a plan…I purchased 12 massages.

On a path to overall wellness starting now…the gluten-free diet is only step one!

Kendall Egan

Socially Awkward Celiac

Due to my line of work, two of my google alerts are set for “celiac” and “gluten-free.”  I was reading through them yesterday and was cracking up over one of the alerts, “How to be Gluten-Free Without Being Socially Awkward.” 

I clicked through the to skim the content when my eyes glazed over “Let’s start with the dinner party.”  Holy Crap…brain synapses started firing because, indeed, I had a dinner party on this coming Saturday with someone new to my orbit and the hostess had no clue that I am a celiac!  What if the entire dinner was pasta based and I sat there and pushed it around my plate?  How socially awkward would that be and how BAD would the hostess feel that she served pasta after she found out my GF status?

I immediately sent the following email:

Hi –

So I was just reading through my google alerts and was laughing out loud at this one article, “How to avoid being gluten-free and socially awkward,” and then I remembered I had a dinner party this Saturday!!

Prepare or order whatever you had planned, but I am a celiac and gluten intolerant.  I forgot to fill you in on that weeks ago but I just work my way around gluten at parties but don’t want to alarm the hostess if I choose not to eat a dish.

Can I bring desserts? Or anything else?

So sorry for late notice…just slipped my mind completely. Protein, rice, potatoes, salads….all great…I am not picky just gluten-free!

The hostess replied:

That’s so interesting since just last week Ariana declared that she will no longer eat gluten. I think it must be a trendy thing at school? She has no allergies at all. So I have been overloaded with information on gluten lately!!!  At the moment, we have a lot of gluten-free food in the house oddly, since no one has a gluten issue!

We were thinking about a chicken dish with potatoes and salad, but John and the boys are away in Arizona this week enjoying warm weather. John is the cook so I’m leaving it to him when they return on Friday. Happy to accommodate since gluten-free has been top of mind lately!

Please bring a dessert, by all means gluten-free! Thanks.

My first thought was …PHEW…at least she has heard all about gluten-free food and then my second thought was, why the heck is Ariana doing this to her mother?  She is one of my daughter’s friends so I am going to have to ask why this perfectly healthy young woman is going GF.   There are a couple of celiacs among that friend group and even my daughter says that Glutino pretzels are far better than any gluten containing pretzels, but all any of them really need to do is cut out heavily processed garbage and add more fruits and vegetables!

But, back to the dinner party, I am safe from being socially awkward!  Plus, I have two gluten-free desserts planned.  The first is white chocolate dipped strawberries because they are a crowd pleaser.  The second is this chocolate, peanut, pretzel bark recipe that I found in a magazine.  Glutino pretzels will be perfect and the hostess’ daughter will be pleased.

Kendall Egan

Magazine Musings, GF topics!

My  neighbor subscribes to every health, fitness and fashion magazine that ever existed.  We were chatting over the hedges and she asked if I would like to read them before they got recycled.  In the publishing biz, this is known as pass along readership.  It does truly exist, but it is always a made up number of “double or triple” the distribution.

But, as a devout magazine reader I was ready, willing and delighted to be her pass along buddy!  It is like Christmas morning when she brings her monthly stash over to my house.  I shove aside the daily newspapers and put the books down, because for several days I will be completely entertained by a huge stack of magazines.

Currently, I am flipping through a stack of January and February editions and the one thing they all have in common is a gluten-free section, recipe, medical alert or story about the diet. What a signal that the gluten-free diet is completely mainstream! Seventeen years ago there were a handful of people who could define gluten, now there are alternative flour articles popping up in monthly magazines.

I still really don’t care if Kim Kardashian, Kerry Washington or Gwyneth Paltrow follow a gluten-free diet but I love a good gluten-free food tip or fun recipe.  Many of the authors of these pieces are gluten-free bloggers I have met over the years who have honed their recipe skills or product research to such a high quality that mainstream editors print their stuff on a routine basis!

It is great that gluten-free as a topic of interest continues because I used to feel like a complete weirdo when I had to explain the “411” about gluten to everyone every day.  Those days are over, pretty much everyone knows someone who is gluten-free.  Here is my prediction, gluten-free topics will continue to appear in these magazines for a long, long time!  Hoo-ray.

Kendall Egan


At the Oscars, the tweet heard round the world was Ellen’s selfie but the tweet heard round the gluten-free world was Kerry Washington’s.

I have no idea why Kerry Washington is gluten-free, and I don’t really care, but she nailed it with her hash tag #SnacksInMyPurse.  Haven’t we all been there?  Carting around almonds or a protein bar of some sort is standard operating procedure as I travel or go to meetings.  I used to carry around gluten-free snacks for my son as well…he takes care of himself these days!

In recent years, I have moved on to smaller handbags just because I can always find something to eat.  Awareness of gluten-free issues and availability of product means that a gluten-free menu or a selection of KIND bars is never too far away.

And as Kerry Washington reported from the green room, gluten-free pizza is easy to find these days as well!

Kendall Egan


Rather be GF than deal with “A New Montezuma”

The New York Times Magazine has an article this week, “A New Montezuma” where a woman is misdiagnosed as having celiac disease.  Spoiler alert, it was her blood pressure medication which caused celiac like symptoms, right down to small intestinal damage.

Doctors put her on a gluten-free diet and this is what the article goes on to say about her experience on the diet:

What was really strange, though, was that almost five years earlier, she had the exact same problem. She ended up in the hospital that time too. They told her then that she had celiac disease — an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in many types of grains. She started on a gluten-free diet while she was in the hospital, and the symptoms disappeared. She stuck with that awful diet for a couple of years. It wasn’t easy. She wasn’t allowed to eat the breads and pastas she loved. The past year or so, she had moved away from the diet and fared fine; so it was hard for her to believe that food had caused all this.”

My first reaction, how rude.  That “awful” diet made her symptoms of dozen rushed trips to the bathroom, stomach gurgling and major discomfort disappear.  If you go on to read this article…this is not a healthy person and is on a plethora of medicines.

Is it so awful to have the cure to a major illness be a diet?  Is eating processed snacks, bread and pasta that important AND has she not seen the selection of  gluten-free food these days?

I once had an acquaintance drop off a bag of gluten-free products.  Her daughter had been misdiagnosed with celiac disease so they had tried the gluten-free diet.  After they figured out it wasn’t celiac, she said to me “Oh, I am so glad she doesn’t have celiac disease because that gluten-free food is awful, even my dog won’t eat those bagels.”  Gee, thanks.

People with celiac disease get frustrated with celeb wheat bashers and trendy posers on the gluten-free diet.  But the people who say to a celiac’s face, “Oh thank God I don’t have to eat that awful food” are TRULY THE WORST.

So it’s not a baguette or a croissant, it suffices and has improved so much over the past twenty years.  Some of the pizzas are fantastic and some of the pastas are even better than a wheat pasta.

Plus, it keeps me healthy.  My cholesterol and blood pressure are in check.  My vitamin levels are good and by not eating gluten, I hope to stay off medicines for as long as possible.  I plan to stay out of emergency rooms and don’t make a dozen uncomfortable trips to the bathroom every day.

So for all of you who think the gluten-free diet is just awful, just keep you mouth shut when talking to a celiac.

Kendall Egan

Can I eat the whole box of cookies in one sitting?

If the cookie is Ginnybakes Coconut Oatmeal Bliss, then the answer is an emphatic and unequivocal yes.

I am a huge fan of crispy cookies.  Sometimes I find that crispiness hard to achieve when I bake gluten-free cookies so to find these crispy, “betcha can’t eat just one” cookie is wonderful.  To be fair, there are probably only a dozen cookies in the box but I have been sitting at my desk for the past few hours working and nibbling and there are only two cookies left!

Yes, that is a lot of calories and sugar but these things are chock full of gluten-free oats, coconut, walnuts and according to the package “love and care.”  They are certified gluten-free and organic, so devouring the whole box seems completely justifiable.

Kendall Egan


The Gurgles

My tummy music was like a freight train last night.  I do not know what I ate yesterday that caused the burbling and gurgling in my intestinal track yesterday, but my stomach put on quite the concert!

I ordered the “healthy greens” for a chopped salad yesterday and assumed it would be some dark greens, romaine lettuce and maybe a little spinach tossed in for good measure.  It was actually mostly kale and other really dark greens which are not my favorite thing uncooked.

I had already rattled off my add-ins so I just rolled with the greens already dumped into the bowl.  Nothing had gluten, so I was only concerned about the taste of those greens prompting my choice of dressing to be chipotle ranch and lots of it.  That did not contain any gluten either.

Dinner was prepared by me and totally gluten-free, so I know I did not get glutened over the course of the day.  I just think all those healthy greens popped and motored loudly as they wound their way through my small intestine.  Does a little extra fiber do that?

Any-hoo, I felt great and I feel great this morning but it is embarrassing when everyone in the room watching an NBA game can hear your stomach!

Kendall Egan

Serious Winter!

This is the second time this week I have shoveled out from a blanket of snow and it appears that more snow is on the horizon.  Unfortunately, this is also the second “snow day” for our public schools this week which blows the best laid plans to be a productive citizen completely to smithereens.

All bets are out the window in terms of typical work hours because the kids want rides to  sledding hills or to meet friends for lunch.  All of my meal planning went out the window as well because this was supposed to be a busy week filled with basketball games so I shopped for quick and easy to prepare dinners.

But, weather like this calls for a slow cooked meals and baked goods that fill the house with savory and sweet aromas.  Just haven’t gotten around to it yet with the extra driving around during work hours and bonus exercise (aka shoveling).

I am going to buckle down for the next two hours and crank out some work and then I’m going to start slow cooking some Green Chili Pork with onions and tomatoes to serve over some jasmine rice this evening.  Perhaps I will find a recipe for some gluten-free cheese and chile corn muffins or make a batch of sugar cookies.

But first, I just need the pain reliever for my aching back to kick in and maybe I will take a little nap prior to working and cooking.  Days like today really aren’t productive at all because I just want to hibernate!

Kendall Egan

Stop eating my GF cookies! Or not….

My daughter walked into the family room munching on chocolate chip cookies .  “Those are mine, aren’t they?” I asked.  She responded yes, added that she loved them and piled on with a “they don’t cost more than regular cookies so just buy these.”

I had purchased gluten containing chocolate chip cookies at Trader Joe’s so that she would leave the Trader Joe’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies alone.  She prefers the gluten-free variety.

That is how far gluten-free food has come.  And to be perfectly honest, I don’t care if everyone in the household eats the gluten-free snack foods.  The brands I buy aren’t loaded with unpronounceable ingredients, so while they do contain sugar and fat, they aren’t chemical food.

Back in the day, there was a significant price premium for gluten-free food.  It is still more expensive, but prices have come down as the supply has expanded.

I am going to start doubling up on the gluten-free brands and just put them in the snack cupboard, not the gluten-free cupboard.  My daughter has two gluten-free friends and she used to eat their gluten-free pretzels because I would not let her take the gluten-free pretzels from home!

I think the time has come to liberate her food choices and let her eat my gluten-free snacks if those are the brands that she prefers.

Kendall Egan

Gluten-Free Ramen!

Is this a big deal?   I sure think so.


There was always the comfort of cheap ramen in my pre-celiac diagnosis days.  When I was living on a starting salary in New York City, my food budget included days of living on NYC “dirty water” hot dogs (lunch = $1) and those packages of ramen noodles (dinner = $1).  Rent chewed up most of my income, gym membership and happy hour specials consumed the rest.

Ramen in recent years has gone upscale with restaurants dedicated to noodle bowls, but I have not seen any gluten-free noodles.  I had a craving for ramen while preparing a Cup of Noodles as I worked at a high school basketball concession stand recently!

Thai Kitchen has their rice noodle soups, and while they are quite fragrant and flavorful, they are not filling.  When I saw the Lotus Foods Ramen in the New York Times Dining section, I was very eager to try this product.

Lotus Foods is a company that I have admired for a while. I met representatives more than once at various food expos around the country.  Prior to sampling their products at these shows, I had no idea that rice was so varied in terms of color, texture and taste.  They have a huge selection and a great corporate ethos.

I have not seen the Lotus Foods Ramen in stores yet, but I am on the lookout at my favorite gluten-free shopping spots!  While I am sure it will cost more than a buck, I am hoping they are as delicious as I presume they will be.

I will have to introduce them to my son and hope that he develops a love of GF Ramen.  In three years he goes off to college so I am starting the mental list of great GF dorm foods.  If he likes the ramen, it goes straight to the top of this list!

Kendall Egan