Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What Was I Thinking?!

A couple of days ago I wrote a post to my readers asking them a bunch of questions. Strangely, it has skyrocketed to become my MOST POPULAR post EVER to date and, yet, only one person responded. When faced with a parallel situation in my classroom, I try to model the behavior I am looking for, so the intimidation factor is lost. Today, I will do the same.

Since I wear many hats in my search for sustenance: foodie, food politician, environmentalist, gluten-free & dairy-free eater, blogger, and the unfortunate hat of IIH & Crohn's disease sufferer, I will venture to answer all of these questions. My readers, on the other hand, should select whichever they identify with most. Here it goes...

My Interview With Myself...
As a Foodie:
  • Have you had the opportunity to try any of the recipes posted on the blog thus far?
Yes, I have tried them all, which is what led to me writing about them in the first place.
  • Have you been hoping to see a particular recipe, or ingredient, tackled on Searching for Sustenance? If so, what is it?
YES! I have been really hoping to transform some of my favorite cookies (Grandma's greek cookies, for example) into Gluten-free/Dairy-free goodies. My traditional tastes of the holiday have gone missing and while I am squeaking through this first year without them, I know I will crack eventually.   
  • Did you participate in the meatless Mondays challenge? Or do you eat meatless regularly, anyway?
I participated, and I am still working on a way to incorporate meatless meals into our regular program.
  • Who (and how many) do you cook for?
Most of the time, I cook only for my husband and I. Since this occasionally gets boring, I sometimes cook for my furry children, Buffy, the beagle and Champ, the ShihTzu. During the holidays. I could be cooking for tables up to 6-8 family members. 
  • What is your greatest kitchen success?
Oh no. Did I ask this? I don't know. Well, I had two instances where I cried for joy after cooking. The first was (don't laugh) French Toast. It was shortly after my mom had passed away and she was the only person who ever made it for me. I had no idea what to do (not being much of a morning person, I was never in the kitchen when she made it). I pulled out the Joy of Cooking (YES! I USED A COOKBOOK!!) and made French Toast for myself. It was amazing, it was just like mom's. 
The second was a similarly emotional story about my marinara sauce. I tried to make it numerous times after my mom passed away, for my brother, for my fiancee, for other family members, but I kept messing something up. Then, one night, in frustration, I tried making it again for myself. I did it. It was a quiet, beautiful night and I am pretty sure Mom was in the kitchen with me then. 
  • What is "your Everest" - recipe, ingredient, technique, etc. - in the kitchen that continues to plague you?
I have already written about this. I want to make perfect eggs. Eggs that could be photographed, put on TV and still be delicious. My eggs are ridiculous looking.
As Food Politician:
  •  What is your major food issue? (genetically modified foods, local foods, organic foods, food safety, farming laws/regulations, or something else...)
My major food issue is food TRUTH. I want my food to be true to itself - I want corn to taste like whatever corn is SUPPOSED to taste like and I want it to have all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals it is supposed to have in it. I want to the truth about how food is brought to my plate. If I am not getting my food directly from a farm, if I am relying on someone else to bring it to me, then I would like them to be transparent enough that I can find out the truth of the process and where the food comes from for myself.
  • How do you try to enact change?
By telling people about what I learn (both face to face and through my blog), writing to my representatives (I am pretty sure Chuck Schumer is about to add my e-mail address to his personal e-mail directory) and President, signing petitions and supporting organizations that fight for the causes I believe in.
  • Is there a certain topic you would like to see addressed here on Searching for Sustenance? 
 Well, IS there??
  • What is your go-to source for all news and updates in the world of food politics?
I have a bunch. I have a gadget for Marion Nestle's Food Politics blog on my homepage, so I always see what her latest topic is, but I am also on the mailing lists of many of the sites I have written about in the Take Action blog posts.

Fellow Tree Lovers:
  • What is the environmental issue at the forefront of your mind RIGHT NOW?
'Tis the season for me to worry about waste. Every year around the holidays I am personally plagued by all the "traditions" that hurt us in the end: the buying of STUFF, the WRAPPING and PACKAGING of STUFF, the AIR POLLUTION from the excessive traffic (I live near a Shopping Mall), the ENERGY WASTE from the glowing lights to celebrate the season, the list goes on.... I contribute to some of these ills, but each year TRY to think of what I can to do to create NEW traditions.
  • What can WE DO to help fix it?
For now, since everyone but me seemed to have finished their shopping, rethink your wrapping! Or shave an hour off the time your lights are on (this will save you on your electric bill, too!). 
  • Where can WE GO to support the cause?
I don't know if there is one place in particular to go to support THIS cause... I will look into it.
  • Do you see the future of our planet as one of filled with hope, or one that is hopeless?
I am an optimist. I always see hope.
  • If you could enact one MAJOR change right now, globally, what would it be and why?
Wow. I wasn't joking around with these questions, now, was I? If I were some magical being that could enact one MAJOR change right now, I would somehow transform EVERY motor vehicle on the planet to run on some more sustainable energy source than oil.

As A Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Peep:
  • What are the reasons that you are following a gluten-free and/or dairy-free lifestyle?
I was told by a nutritionist that I was sensitive to both. Since I am looking for ALL ROADS to health, I decided to follow this one to see where it took me.
  • How long have you been doing so?
Since the end of June 2010.
  • What have been the most difficult parts about it? What have been the best parts about it?
The difficult parts about it: people don't understand, going out to eat is difficult, going to other people's houses for food is difficult. Best parts about it: I lost 30 pounds and I feel SO MUCH BETTER!!
  • What is the best tip you can think of giving someone who must start out on your diet restriction?
Don't cheat. You will never get to know how beneficial it can be for you, if you don't give it 100%.
  • How has the Internet helped you with your diet?
I always have my iPhone with me everywhere I go. If I am not sure if something is gluten-free, I just type into Goolge: "Is ______ gluten-free?" I usually get a number of sites where the question has been asked and answered and I can know right away whether or not I can eat whatever has been offered to me, rather than saying. "No," investigating later and finding out I went hungry for no reason.
  • Where do you for the latest and greatest information concerning your diet?
Currently, I have been building a bunch of relationships on Gluten-free faces which has been helpful. Also, there are TONS of gluten-free bloggers out there, as well. I follow a bunch on twitter.

As A Blogger:
  • How long have you been blogging?
Longer than I have been documenting. I have had a number of blogs created for my students, I have at least three other personal bogs that I started and didn't really continue on.  
  • What is your blog and what is its topic?
I have two active blogs right now, this one, about my search for good food and all types of sustenance. And I have Math Daze, which is a blog about, well, Math (I AM a math teacher after all!!).
  • Do you blog for fun, finances, or a mix of both?
Maybe someday it will be for both, but right now, it is still  just fun!
  • Do you have more than one blog? If so, why?
Yes. It would be weird for me to start writing about math in the middle f this blog. The topics don't mesh well.
  • How did you get into blogging?
I was looking for a way to extend the classroom conversation about the topics in class. Especially in my AP Statistics class - 45 minutes, was not long enough, so I thought, if I could get the kids to get on their computers to write about the Stats, that would be better than nothing. (Holy Cow! It turned out to be A LOT of WORK!!)
  • Are you on blogger, wordpress, somewhere else and how did you make that choice?
Now I am Blogger. I don't remember what my school blogs used. I am really curious about WordPress, though.
  • What is your favorite blog network/community?
I've got to give the love to BlogFrog! Best Blogging community I have found so far!!

Fellow IH (PTC) or Crohn's Disease Sufferers:
  • How does food help/hinder your condition?
I have become less symptomatic in both diseases since going gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Do you have "trigger foods"? If so, what are they?
Gluten hates me, in general, but if I have any oily and/fried foods, I find that can trigger the Crohn's (duh!).
  • Have you made any changes to your diet/nutrition since being diagnosed? If so, what were the affects?
Stopped Gluten and Dairy in June 2010.
  • Have your doctors ever given you specific advice about nutrition and its relation to your condition(s)?
Nope. Just, "maaaaybe losing some weight will help.... maybe."
  • Which do you believe bears a greater influence on your symptoms/condition as a whole: your nutrition or the medicines prescribed to you? 
Not sure. Today is my first day decreasing one of my medications (YAY!), so let's see how this goes. I want to say nutrition, but I am pretty sure it is a balance between the two. Problem is, if you go to a medical doctor, they only talk meds and if you go to a holistic or a nutristionist, they only talk food/nutrition. It is difficult to find the person who can balance them!
  • What one thing would you like people, not familiar with your disease, to know about it?
For IH (PTC): even if I LOOK fine, that doesn't mean I FEEL fine - my brain is getting squished!! 
For Crohn's: Sometimes I really, really DO want to enjoy that super yummy treat with you, but I KNOW that if I DO, my night is ruined... please don't call me a "party pooper" (you don't even realize how punny you are!) if I say no! 
  • Tell us where you've been going to get all the breaking news about your condition.
For IH AND there is an AWESOME support group over at!
For Crohn's

Now, if you haven't already done so, get over to the What Are YOU Thinking?! post and let us know YOUR TAKE on these questions!! The reason WHY that post is so popular is because EVERYONE keeps checking in to see what you have to say!!

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