I feel like I’ve neglected this sucker a LOT lately.  (Okay, I totally have.)

I’ve been in the midst of more change.  With school getting put off until next semester, a recent change in diet (which we’ll touch on later), and settling into a new job while still looking for one I truly want, it’s safe to say I’ve just been tapped out.  I’ve also been squeezing in that whole end of summer bit where you spend as much time with friends at possible since autumn, with her array of colors, always brings an especially busy bout of changes for everyone.  This is not to say that I haven’t been writing or creating.  On the contrary, I have written much to cope with various events, but none of it is anything I would post here.  It feels too personal.  Some would say that means it should be posted, but I disagree.  These more personal thoughts and projects aren’t for a blog right now; maybe a song, later, or a blog in the future…but not here and not right now.  There’s a lot of positive, happy stuff going on, and there’s a lot I want to share.

Knitting has become my favorite creative outlet lately.  I get to play with colors using a repetitive needle pattern that resembles painting but isn’t (which is good because I can neither paint nor draw to save my life).  I’ve made multiple dice bags, a couple of larger bags, and a baby blanket over the summer.  The baby blanket is a particular source of pride as it was designed to be old-school Princess Peach.  The best thing about knitting is that I don’t have to have words or a melody ready to create something, and as much as I love to write and sing, it’s nice to have a hobby that doesn’t require me to switch on the verbal creation immediately and fully.  I’m really excited to special order yarn for my next two baby blankets which will be R2D2 and Link from Legend of Zelda.  Two very special ladies in my life are expecting, and I cannot wait to meet the newest additions to their families.  ❤

Cooking has become more than a hobby; it is a necessity.
I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in late 2006.  This means that my body produces excess levels of androgenic hormones, resulting in irregular periods derived from a lack of ovulation and, in my case but not all, multiple cysts on my ovaries.  (I have been very open about this, so for those of you who do know, I apologize for repeating myself.  I feel like it’s something I need to be more pro-active about because I know that this particular dilemma affects many women other than myself.)  Yes, that’s a lot of information to share so openly, but it’s something that I have struggled with for all of my adolescent and adult life.  Even after being diagnosed, it’s taken me many years to figure out how to handle it because there is no research that shows the exact cause of the disorder, though it’s fairly certain that it is genetic.  It is painful, and the side-effects range from acne and hirsutism to insulin resistance to blood-pressure and heart problems.  The symptoms vary from person to person, but it’s hard to live with regardless.  The most difficult for many is infertility.  It’s not impossible, but I’ve recently learned that I come from a long line of great-aunts and great-great-aunts and so on who were unable to bear children despite their efforts.  Luckily, I am one of those people who is absolutely fine with never having children of my own, determined to be “Cool Aunt Koko” forever to my blood and adopted nieces and nephews.  But for some, it’s heartbreaking.  And then there are the adolescent girls, like I was, who don’t know who to turn to or how to communicate that something is very wrong with their bodies, which further exacerbates the problems.  Regardless of age, I feel for these women…and I feel like it’s my responsibility to share my experiments, successes and failures more openly so that ladies of all ages have access to it.  We’re supposed to support and love one another, right?  And if there’s a possibility that my suffering and sharing will reach and help even one other person, maybe save them time and frustration, then it’s worth it.

I know, I know:  What does this have to do with cooking being a necessity and not a hobby?
I’ve read some research recently that cites PCOS as a possible symptom of gluten sensitivity or intolerance.  Everyone keeps going on and on about “going Paleo” and how the Paleolithic diet has done wonders for them.  One lady in particular explained to my boyfriend that her “almost Paleo” diet paired with exercise and the correct birth control pill made her PCOS more than tolerable; it actually leveled her out almost completely.  My weight has been a concern, and I know that diet is just as crucial as exercise to overcoming it and keeping it off.  I also know that women with PCOS face greater difficulties losing weight but find it very easy to gain.  So I did my homework, read up on the theory and supporting evidence that following a diet closer to what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era can encourage the body to burn fat stores and get us back in touch with our roots, etc etc etc.  At the end of the day, I am not willing to give up dairy, sugar, potatoes, salt, or legumes (among other things).  I believe that in proper moderation, none of those things are actually bad for you.  I read on, and I read…and I read some more before I happened on a few articles that site many of my troubles, from the acne to the mood swings to anovulation and even PCOS as a result of a gluten allergy.  I would like to state now that I am not a doctor, and I have not been to a doctor for a specific diagnosis of gluten sensitivity…but in the few weeks that I have been eating gluten-free, I have felt better than I have in a very, very long time.  (And when I eat something as simple as a cookie, I become violently ill.  The more time I put between ingesting gluten, the more noticeable it is when I do.)  From being more energized to fewer mood swings, everything from waking up to my sleep cycle has improved, and while it means a lot more time in my kitchen because it restricts what I can eat, it is worth every second and cent I put into it.

I have a few posts coming up that will be full of gluten-free recipes that are also simply delicious.  I refuse to believe I can’t have pie, cake, or cookies again.  Just like I refuse to believe I won’t indulge in fried chicken or breakfast cereal again.  It just takes a different approach and means making things from scratch.  So far, I have made raspberry-peach cheesecake with an almond crust, remixed broccoli rice casserole, fried chicken, apple crumble, homemade granola (a total accident), burgers so juicy and flavorful that you don’t miss the bun, and many, many other things.  What my boyfriend and I are finding as we embark on this journey together is that all this cooking ends up tasting better than eating out anyway, with the exception of things like sushi.  We save money, eat healthier, and have a lot more fun…and I would like to start passing that fun on to you, whether you need to scrap the gluten or not.

Moving forward, here is what you can expect here:
Gluten-free recipes that rock your face off.
Some personal anecdotes about my transition to eating completely gluten-free.
The usual poetry and prose.
A short story I have in the works.
And we’ll get back to music reviews…because I miss those a lot.
Pictures and progress updates on various knitting and jewelry projects.

Basically, this blog will be a catch-all for all of my interests rather than just for this or that, and I am very excited.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristin Maack
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 08:25:49

    Looking forward to seeing some pics from your hobbies and reading some of your recipes.


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