Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gluten Free Food Reviews - January 2010

I plan to do a series of reviews of gluten-free foods I like and don't like.  I'm currently aiming for once per month.

Best of the Month

Whole Foods Market Gluten-Free Bakehouse Cheddar Biscuits - these are fantastic.  Can't tell they are gluten free at all!  Wonderful warm (heat for 10 min at 350) and served with homemade stew.


Kettle Soup chicken with rice noodle soup - very good.  Nice salty broth with big chunks of chicken.  The noodles are big and thick, so they didn't seem like rice noodles to me at all.  Great option for lunch.

Amy's rice noodle mac and cheese - very thick and gooey macaroni and cheese.  We couldn't tell that it was GF.  The noodles did get a little chewy as it got cold, but nothing too bad.

Savory crackers from Trader Joe's - nice and crispy.  They have a good sesame flavor, which I really like.  Especially delicious paired with the Trader Joe's triple creme brie.

Glutino's sesame pretzel rings - nice and crunchy with a good sesame flavor.  My only complaint is that they can feel a little oily.


Amy's gluten free cheese pizza - the crust was not my favorite and really didn't get crispy in our oven.  Maybe if we had a pizza stone to cook it on, it would be better.

Enjoy Life classic original bagels - they are small and very dense.  I was hoping to be able to make sandwiches on them, but that doesn't work with the size.  They are pretty bready, which is nice, but they are also a little too sweet.

Food for Life raisin pecan bread - very thick and dense.  The butter and cinnamon weren't really able to soak in after I toasted it as I would like.  Still, it worked in a pinch and I got to have some toast.  I wanted to make french toast with it, but I don't think it will work based on the not soaking up butter at all.

Worst of the Month

Jo-sef square chocolate cookies - hard and dry.  They really need to be soaked in something to be edible.  Maybe it's because they are also dairy free?  I won't be buying these again!


P.F. Chang's - they have a gluten free menu and are really great about making sure the food is gluten free.  We ordered take out.  When my husband got there to pick it up, they apologized and told him they had to remake my entree because they didn't make it GF the first time.  And, they packed up some GF soy sauce for me.

Pizza Fusion - they have a GF crust that is actually very good!  It is thin and crispy, which is my pizza style.  Lots of toppings are ok - the only one that isn't is the sausage.  Next time, I would order well done, but I like my pizza to have browned cheese.

Training Totals - January 2010

A summary of what I did this month

  • Bike - 14.82 miles
  • Run - 37.98 miles
  • Strength - 45 minutes
  • Core Training - 30 minutes
  • Yoga - 40 minutes
  • Snow Shoveling - 1 hour 15 minutes
I didn't get in as much as I would have liked, but I was sick for part of the month and very busy at work.  I started a duathlon training team and will hopefully start a cycling class in a few weeks, so that should bump up my numbers in February.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

That spells DNA...

One of my favorite science nerd songs is Jonathan Coulton's "That Spells DNA".

There are a few factual errors in the song.  He states that "each cell has a nucleus", but that is not true.  Red blood cells (erythrocytes) in humans and mammals do not contain nuclei.  That being said, I still love the song.

The following lyrics always make me wish I had a computer nearby so I could see if they were real sequences:

If it says TGGTCGAAC
Then you might get the cancer
Then you shouldn't eat shrimp or nuts
Then you'll probably wish that you didn't know

According to JoCo they are made up, saying: "I'm pretty sure that actual important strings of DNA would be too long to put into a song and still have a song that someone might want to listen to."  However, I decided to BLAST the sequences and see if anything came up.  Yes, I am that big of a nerd.

I had to change the BLAST parameters to accomodate the short sequences - notably changing the expect threshold to 5 and the word size to 16.  The first two were still to short for a result.

However, the last matched to the gene Casc1, cancer susceptibility candidate 1.  It's been implicated in mouse lung adenoma.  So, indeed, you probably wish that you didn't know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 Race Schedule (Tentative)

I'm in the process of finalizing my 2010 race season. Here's my tentative plan (anything marked R is something I'm actually registered for!)

ING Georgia Half Marathon - March 21 - R
Monument Ave 10k - March 27
National Duathlon - April 2 - R
Capital to Capital Century (50 mile) - May 8
PowerSprint Tri - May 23
Rockett's Landing Triathlon - July 23
Pink Power Triathlon - August 22
Patrick Henry Half Marathon - August 28
Marine Corps Marathon - October 31 - R
Richmond Marathon - November 13

For the National Duathlon, I'm signed up for the SportsBackers training team. They will give me a training plan and have weekly group workouts. I did their marathon training team last year (and will again this year) and thought it was great, so I'm in for the duathlon, too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finished Object: Susie's Reading Mitts

Today I finished knitting a pair of fingerless gloves. When I first started knitting, I thought all the patterns for fingerless gloves were kind of silly. Then, I moved into a new lab at school and always have cold hands while working on the computer. So, I knit these.
They're made with Berroco Inca Gold in color gris. The pattern is available for free.

Next up, a pair of Swedish Fish socks in two lovely colors from Sunshine Yarns.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Going Gluten Free

Over the past year and a half, I've had a lot of GI problems. Mostly unexplained abdominal pain, but I also had my gallbladder removed in October 2009. I've had every GI test people can think of - endoscopy, colonoscopy, GI series, CAT scan, and blood tests.

My endocrinologist suggested testing me (again) for Celiac disease last fall. He ran both IgG and IgA and I was positive for both. However, he said it was in the normal range and not to worry about it.

I'm still having the pain, although less so, 3 months after gallbaldder surgery. To that end, I decided to try going gluten free for awhile (at least one month) to see if it helps. This started January 14. It's been tough so far. It's hard to figure out what has gluten and what doesn't. I'm learning slowly and have friends who have given advice.

Three days in, I haven't noticed much of a difference, but that's to be expected.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I thought I’d try blogging as an experiment. I have a LiveJournal that I don’t really use anymore and I think it’s because I don’t like the format as much. Plus, I wanted to get a chance to start from scratch and that works here.

So, a little about me and the title:

Science – I’m in the fourth year of my PhD program in Integrative Life Sciences. I’m focusing on genetics and statistics and studying gene expression in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. I work closely with MDs and, hopefully, my research will be applied to treating patients one day. I love the idea that one day my work may help patients. It’s definitely what I’d like to keep focusing on for my career.

Training – I train for both triathlons and marathons. I did my first triathlon in October 2005 and have done many Sprint and Olympic distance races since then. One day, I’d love to try a Half-Ironman (HIM or 70.3) or Ironman (IM or 140.6) distance race, but I’m not in any hurry. I completed my first marathon in 2008 and have plans to do one or two this year. I had to defer enrollment in the Marine Corps Marathon last year because of gallbladder surgery, so I am definitely looking forward to it this year!!

Knitting – In all of my extra free time (ha!), I enjoy knitting. I started about two years ago and find it really relaxing. Plus, it makes me feel less lazy if I knit while I watch TV at night. I love to knit socks, although I’m not great at actually finishing a pair. The first is easy; the second is always hard to start. My goal for this year is to knit six pairs of socks total. We’ll see how I do!

Oh my! I think this is self-explanatory. How can I get everything done and not go crazy? We’ll see if that happens!!