Saturday, December 4, 2010


Snyder's makes low fat, gluten free, dairy free, casein free, egg free pretzels!!! Only 1 gram of sugar per serving too!


Hi all! Welcome to December!

Some places have received snow and/or large amounts of it already, even in November!

I keep my home on the cooler side. I prefer to wear long sleeves even a blanket if I am sitting watching TV than keeping the house too warm. I save money plus I think it helps me to breathe and sleep better. I do have to clean up and crank up the air filters and the humidifier to get used to the windows being closed and the air being drier. I keep the thermostat around 50-55F and use space heaters in the room I am in to bring that room to 60-65. Of course, if I can't shake the chill and my blankets and Maverick are not helping enough, I turn it up. I have been doing this since I returned to school and though the electric bill went up some, the gas/heating bill decreased greatly showing it is helping my wallet.

Since we are on a trailer and have to go into and out of buildings, I wear my long sleeved turtlenecks for my PET/CT job. There is a space heater we put on for the patients since they are supposed to be kept warm for a more effective exam. I'm surprised the AC even kicks in but I guess that is the heat the camera and computers generate. There I tend to feel chilly but I am moving a lot so it usually is not a big deal.

The office is about 75F... quite stifling! I have a fan there and wear light clothes and/or layers. And some people are actually piled up with sweaters, always cold? I don't get it! We have windows all around on the south side of the building so that is why it is so warm in there. I guess some of these people keep their homes at 80F? Hate to see those bills!

Stopped at Whole Foods yesterday for supplies. I found a quinoa based pasta I was going to try but when I picked it up out of my cart at the checkout line, the top had popped open, so I put it to the side.

I am practically living on quinoa, I really do love it! I mix it with other things but sometimes just have a bunch on its own. On it's own, I may have mentioned, I just add a little extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. This week I have been adding cayenne and a little ginger as well: I have a cold!

I have been bouncing back and forth between saying this affliction is a cold/sinus thing or my allergies. It did kick in when I closed all the windows so that leaned me towards allergies. I have be drinking lots of steamy liquids, adding cayenne for it's clearing powers. I am much better but still feel very tired (though I am getting sleep, maybe THAT is the problem ;), did get overtired running up and down the stairs the other day, and I felt a woozy last night before I ate my dinner; might have been low blood sugar, I do that sometimes. I am resting up, kinda want to clean but that always makes the nose unhappy so I have another excuse to avoid that :). I do have a lot to do around here to get ready for the holidays. No I'm not having the family here but someone who is almost like family so I want to place to look as perfect as it can. Madison and Maverick never make that easy!

Hot cocoa this time of year is excellent! I heat up chocolate almond milk with a cinnamon stick inside. After it is heated I add vanilla extract, dash of nutmeg, and coconut milk french vanilla creamer. I also add a dash of cayenne to give it a bite, today I added a little extra cayenne to kick my sinuses! I would prefer to add Baileys Irish cream instead of the creamer but that's milk, and I will pay for that. I may pick up some Irish whiskey if that is gluten free/dairy free/soy free and try that. Used to be 1-2 ounces of Baileys I added depending on the size of the mug. That would warm me up, give me a little buzz, and definitely help me fall off to sleep! :)

I have to get back to exercising since my weight has basically plateaued. I did "start up" a new program on "Lose It" to consider this phase I completed. Phase II has to include adding more exercise and dropping more carbs. It is great I have found a few replacements for bread especially for the quick breakfasts I tend to need, but I need to drop the last of this weight so I can be a happier girl! When I see how huge some people are, it reminds me how much I need to stick to this, and I thank my lucky stars I was not like that.

I also thank my lucky stars for having my jobs, good health, family that is a pain in the butt but loves me, and my special friends.

Love, peace, hugs, meryl

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Post Thanksgiving"

There's a pun in THAT title! ;)

Think I am the only person who ate Thanksgiving dinner (or dinners) and lost weight!

There were many items for dinner and dessert to tempt me to giving in and bearing the consequences but I was strong! I did have a teaspoonful of stuffing. I only ate the non-wheat, non-dairy food. I made a three bean salad which tasted excellent if I do say so myself! Since all were more interested in eating the naughty food, as I usually am, I got to bring home a lot of the salad for myself. (I will post my recipe below.)

Being a chocoholic and lover of tiramisu I did have to try a little of that and blackout cake. Both I have had better but it was a nice little treat. Usually I get a great expresso/rum buzz from tiramisu, this version was severely lacking but still tasty. The blackout cake, good, not overly sweet.

Yes, and I lost a pound! Then again, I did take a nap yesterday and sleep through dinner until breakfast this morning but when I weighed in yesterday, nothing gained!

So Delicious makes a French Vanilla creamer for tea and coffee which I like a lot! It has a great creaminess to it most of the non-dairy creamers do not, plus not all the fake God only knows what is in it chemicals and casein (part of my milk allergy).

My local Stop n Shop was re-vamped so I finally found the health food section. They have lots of gluten free items there. I found pretzels which are good but have a little soy lecithin but no gluten, dairy, casein, or eggs; I think eggs get to me too but maybe only when I have peaked past my systems limits.

My Christmas shopping is complete except for baking. I will be baking biscuits for the dogs again since they loved them so much. I believe I covered everyone on my list but if I end up adding anyone, I will take care of that present after Chanukah starts when the stores will be less crowded. Me and K talked about chipping in for something but that will be a shared fun gift and probably bought after Christmas when funds are back to normal, maybe for our birthdays since I am an Aquarius and he a Pisces. We already decided the need for a case of Godiva's when we meet... now you know why I love having him as my friend!

Enjoy the weekend, back soon with more status updates, new food trials, etc.

Peace, love, meryl

3 Bean Salad
1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa (per package directions)
1 can each (15 ounce cans):
Garbanzo (chick peas), Pinto and Small Red beans; rinsed
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 – 1 cup honey Dijon salad dressing (I used Maple Grove Farms
fat free, gluten free)
dash of Ginger

I cooked my Quinoa, mixed and served salad in a 2.5 quart microwaveable glass dish with cover. Add rinsed, raw beans to cooked Quinoa. Add remaining ingredients and chill. Enjoy!

I think adding almonds or walnuts would add a nice, tasty crunch to this salad but I didn’t have any. Of course, you can always swap in more and/or different beans. When I ate this on Thanksgiving, the corn got mixed in and tasted nice so next time I am adding some to the mix.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Is The Crisis Over?"

Been a while since I wrote a post...

My diet changes have been going well, the "crisis" seems to be over as I can eat some wheat. But the plan is still to remove all hidden wheat, gluten and soy from the diet so I can enjoy the few things I know I will not find a replacement for.

I tried quinoa. It's a grain, a complete protein! To me it tastes a lot like brown rice. I follow package directions cooking it in water with a little salt. I season it with some extra virgin olive oil and salt and eat it for any meal of the day on it's own or as a side dish/supplement to other food.

Ginger ale has been a God send during the bad days. I tried Schweppes Raspberry flavored Ginger Ale which is quite good; haven't been able to find a sugar free version. I tried the store brand sugar free and it was too sweet! Canada Dry is a better unflavored sugar free ginger ale in my opinion but the sugar free raspberry seems a bit too sweet as well. I mostly drink water, plain seltzer and coconut milk anyway, but it is nice to have a change.

I found a brown rice based individual pizza crust. Mostly I have been toasting it up, adding olive oil and sea salt and having it as an on the go breakfast, like toast or a pop tart I suppose. I did make one pizza but that is hard for me because I love lots of cheese on my pizza and I would rather have pizza from a good local parlor.

Weight has dropped down more, yay! Now that I have been able to advance from the liquid only diet I am hoping to get back to exercising and expanding my diet into more vegetables. I have been hesitant since vegetables can be hard to digest.

I tried coconut milk yogurt. After getting used to the thick Greek yogurt, coconut milk yogurt is like a smoothie. I am not sure if there is a limit to how much coconut milk I can have in a day or if there is something I missed in the yogurt but it does upset my stomach a little bit, unless I missed something else which is very possible.

Been tracking all my food, symptoms, where I am in a free iPod app called "Lose It". You can also access it online at

Had a fiasco of a job possibility this week but on the plus side, my part time computer job is giving me set 30 hours per week which means a steady 30 hour paycheck every week AND benefits as well. I can still work my Friday PET/CT job and some additional shifts here and there; the office job requires me to be in the office at least 3 days a week. It is not going to be easy especially this week since I will have a long day on Monday doing PET/CT, then work 3 ten hour days at office, and finish up with another PET/CT shift on Friday BUT at least I know I am getting at least 30 hours of pay each week.

1 less stresser, I got my Christmas shopping completed this week. It was not planned, I was off Friday and getting a few things and ended up getting gifts for all the humans. Saturday I needed a break so I went to Petsmart and took care of my kidz and my sister's cat. The plan is to bake biscuits like I did last year for the dogs.

The only problem I am finding with my Monday through Friday work week being so busy is that I am so overly bored on the weekends with nothing fun to do. I hope I don't drive my only local, unattached friend away, that would be truly sad on so many levels. I am hoping our plans to chip in for something are still on and will occur around our birthdays beginning of next year... and that our friendship will grow in leaps and bounds! That would ultimately make me the happiest!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Had a big interview today for a full time job (finally). I believe it went well, I impressed them, etc. hopefully they make me an offer; they are interviewing at least three other people that I know of. I was the first one called from the pile of 300+ resumes... Resume was sent in over two months ago!

Last night, all of a sudden my stomach exploded on me three times! I did not eat anything remotely bad. In fact all I had yesterday was filtered water from home, home made iced caffe mocha with almond milk, and a little natural peanut butter. These are things I eat regularly and have had no problem with.

I immediately thought it was my nerves. I am very anxious about getting this job. It is the first full time position I have applied for in my medical field (all positions open have been per diem, part time so far... or too far away). My parents, specifically my father, is on my case even more....

He enlightened me that a full time job is the goal, uh duh! Oh yes, and not to have my cell phone turned on during the interview. Unless I need to access reference numbers from it, which I have listed on paper now, it is off when I walk into the building. I am not stupid dad! He has such a way to belittle his adult children like this...

Anyway, that is why I thought my "illness" was from my nerves, then again, I have never been that gravely ill from nerves. Sure I think we all have had a time or two when we were nervous or anxious, felt a bit queasy, had butterflies but I had a platoon of butterflies in my belly, then the revolution!

After all episodes were completed, I could tell I had a slight fever so I think this time, it was one of those stupid stomach flus. Of course this occurring and needing to get to my interview today...

I am just so confused with what my body is doing to me. I wish my body would tell me specifically what the problem is. Some things can be fixed like diet, other things like jobs I am not in control over that.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coconut or Almond Milk II"

Interesting how each Stop n Shop I go to around me, has a different selection of what they sell.

I had tried vanilla flavored almond milk and found it too sweet, tried the unsweetened and didn't like that either, preferring the vanilla coconut milk. This Stop n Shop did not have the coconut milk but did have the frozen products from the same company, So Delicious. (Frozen taste test will be its own post.)

Today I mixed 5 ounces of original (unflavored) almond milk with 3 ounces of vanilla (both of the sweetened variety) and I like it!

I will probably use the unsweetened version in my caffe mochas. I am considering trying the unsweetened version and adding store brand Splenda to it too see if that would work as well.

I feel like Goldilocks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Wheatless not Witless"

Been doing well avoiding the wheat products. I use this link from Gluten Free Living to help out. Like with all allergens/food intolerances, it is the hidden ingredients or the almost invisibly printed "processed on equipment with you allergen/intolerance" that are the most troublesome.

I'm still drinking a lot: coconut milk (finished off the almond milk), seltzer, water, tea, and having a few homemade caffe mochas. Solid food mostly apples, sweet potatoes, natural peanut butter (on its own or on apple slices, yum!), dill pickles, tomato soup, other non-wheat vegetable soups, and turkey. And of course some Dove Dark Chocolate. So I haven't been low sugar but definitely keeping the white foods (except safe milk) out of the picture. I think, and the results tend to be supporting, the wheat/gluten is a problem.

Last night as an experiment, I had a fun pack of M&M's. Granted, there are maybe 20-30 M&M's in the bag but they are milk chocolate. They did not bother me a bit. This is not concrete proof for me, however, than I can have milk. In the past when my system was "clean" I was able to get away with a super sized Friendly Hot Fudge Sundae, i.e. about 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 1/2 Hot Fudge Sauce, 1/2 Caramel sauce, at least 1/2 of whipped cream, and walnuts *daydreams of HF sundae for a moment* I do know that the real ice cream like Breyer's would not attack me like other brands that had very unreal ingredients to make them creamier.

I had a icy, crisp, Blue Moon Ale Friday after another long night at work and it did not bother me, yay! And may I say how great it tasted so icy cold! It was also after another session of my father raking me over the coals and not eating anything solid all day; I had an apple & coconut milk before the ale. I did get my post trauma coal raking headache last night but part of that was also the nasty storm. Since I have had virtually zero headaches since my migraine medication was increased, I blame it on the excess, inane stress of Friday.

I felt like a treat last night so I cut up an apple, sprinkled ground cinnamon, a tablespoon or two of grated sweetened coconut, 30 or so semi-sweet morsels and microwaved it to heat it up. Had I remembered, I would have added walnuts; next time! I did not add sugar because the Empire apples are great and the chocolate & coconut have sugar in them (though I would have added stevia or splenda type if I had). It was delicious! Not lot sugar but no dairy and no wheat, tasty, sweet, and filling maybe being the most important since this was a large apple. All calculated out the total calories was not too bad for a tasty, chocolaty dessert: about 307 calorie.

I think that covers it. Take care & peace, meryl

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Coconut or Almond Milk"

For me as far as drinking it straight, I prefer the Vanilla Coconut milk. I like the taste and creamy-ness much better.

The sweetened vanilla almond milk, even the chocolate flavor are too sweet for me. The unsweetened non-flavored almond milk is bland. I do mix that into my iced coffees or to de-sweeten the chocolate version. I may add a yellow packet and some gluten free vanilla extract to the unsweetened almond milk to see which would make it better tasting for me. After that, if there is such a thing, I will try unsweetened Vanilla and Chocolate almond milk. I will also see if there is an unsweetened vanilla coconut milk.

The almond milk I tried was Silk brand and claims 45% of daily requirement of calcium so I am hoping that can be the milk of choice. Both are on the pricey side, seem to be the same $ in my store, but pricey.


It's just about three weeks since I first felt ill. It started off as a head cold thing, then a day or so later BOOM: my belly attacked. I've lost a bit of weight, haven't been exercising except for housecleaning and walking around a flea market since we have had so much rain but most important now is feeling well, being healthy so I can function, get myself to work, and get more shifts to cover.

Today I woke up with a stuffy head. It could be the weather, the rain finally cleared, the sun was out; change in weather sometimes gets me. It could be that I slept until 2 pm Tuesday (yesterday); change in sleep habits... It could be the cleaning since I always start of without a mask on; dust can get me very bad. Most likely? It's the soup I had last night.

It was Progresso Lite Vegetable soup: very tasty! Has wheat and eggs in it. My stomach did not rebel but headaches can mean allergies as well especially since my sinuses are much clearer than when I was still in bed, with all the fluids and hot peppermint tea I drank.

Back to the soup! As I said it was very tasty. I did not eat the pasta or the corn in it and added my standard cayenne pepper and ginger to it. I am guessing there was also some wheat or other allergen in it as well. It just has been so damp and chilly, I needed soup to warm me up. Though I do have another can of that soup, I will skip it for now, or give it to my mom to have.

Today total avoidance of anything with wheat though I got a little sugar in the coconut and almond milk I drank today.

Yesterday, I brought into the office crackers and cookies I won as part of a picnic basket at the flea market. Both looked really tasty and people at the office were rushing to get their last tastes, especially of the cookies, so that worked out nicely.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Two Weeks In"

Update: My stomach seems to be behaving. It's been just about two weeks since eating any wheat.

Tried the Blue Diamond Vanilla Almond Milk today, it was so sweet! and the only version my Stop and Shop has. They do have Silk's Almond Milk so I got the unsweetened (unflavored I assume) and the chocolate version. Silk's label states it has 45% of daily requirement of calcium per glass, so that is an an extra bonus! I'll finish up the super sweet almond milk in my homemade caffe mochas and I am sure that Maverick will help out as well; he tried the Coconut milk and liked it a lot!

I took a look at rice cakes and they had milk products in them and I was not looking at the cheese flavor. I don't understand that but so be it. I did pick up some sweet potato chips so I can crunch something besides dill pickles and apples. I wonder how sweet potato chips taste with peanut butter on them?

I wanted to try almond butter but it was so expensive! Almost three times the price of natural peanut butter! I picked up a jar of cashew butter to try; same price as the peanut butter. Cashew butter has less of some nutrients but around the same fat and calories. I just wanted to be able to have another choice.

Another surprise to me? Chicken broth has wheat in it: WTF? Don't understand why it is needed to thicken chicken broth but so be it. I will have to make my own next time I buy chicken. It is getting to be soup season!

So I am feeling good, very tired/sleeping a lot but I am sure that is adjusting to less toxins/sugar/wheat in my diet. I do remember that from last time but it was worse since I ate more processed foods back then. Maybe another few days to a week I expect to get to not wanting to sleep until noon each day. Hope so, since I am hoping to have a shift in Pennsylvania on alternating Saturdays, I need to be awake for that!

Monday, September 27, 2010

"More Calcium"

Finally found almond milk in the store. It has 30% calcium just like regular milk so as long as I like the taste and it's not overpriced (on sale this week PLUS had $1 off coupon) I will drink this regularly. I add Hershey's Chocolate Syrup with Calcium to it when I need a chocolate milk, not labeled gluten free but I do not see any dairy or gluten ingredients in it. I am surprised almond milk does not have the high level of B12 like most "milk substitutes" do. I am not vegetarian/vegan so this should not be a problem. I have been wanting to try almond butter as well but forgot, oops! It is weird eating peanut butter from a spoon, you know not putting it on bread. Peanut butter tastes great on apple wedges! so does cheese I am told but I can't have that.

I will be skipping all fruit but apples and the very occasional dried cranberries since I have a lot in the house. Had a couple of delicious Cortlandt apples the other day so I picked up some more of them, bagged. Stop and Shop claims they are not waxed so we will see. I'm not a big salad eater. I have to find a wheat free dressing I like and I'll sneak in some salad as a side dish. One of my favorite restaurants instead of serving a tossed salad gives each person 1/4 head of iceberg lettuce with other vegetables as a salad. It is so fresh that way, maybe I can cut mine into 6 or 8 pieces and add my carrots, peppers and almonds or walnuts to it.

Boar's Head makes Lite Beef Hot Dogs that are dairy and gluten free so for a quick protein meal I picked some of those up. Was looking for some Boar's Head pre-cooked turkey to slice up until I am back into full cooking mode but they didn't have any. I know Boar's Head cold cuts do not use fillers so hoping the pre-cooked turkey breast I have gotten from them in the past is also wheat free.

I am still kinda paranoid to eat but eating. Tonight along with the coconut milk and hot dogs I cooked up a sweet potato. They have a lower sugar content than white potatoes and I like them much better; I add a little healthy butter substitute and cinnamon, mmm!

I have a Dunkin Hines brownie mix box sitting on my refrigerator staring at me but I really am not craving any bread or pasta... well except for my pizza cravings!

Last time I did the Meryl Diet I ate oatmeal every morning, last week homemade oatmeal made me so ill so I will be looking for gluten free hot/cold cereal substitutes. I know they are out there but I am not in a rush since I am trying to low carb it for a while to knock off the last pounds I need to get rid of.

Well back for more seltzer. I tried a couple of store brand "flavored" seltzers and they were only tainted with flavor. My new friend told me he loves raspberry flavored ginger ale which I tried and it was pretty good; he gets another plus mark. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Back To Business"

Been a while...

I created this blog to chronicle changing my diet and got way off, though blogging about the furr kidz is always fun! Now back to business.

About a week ago my stomach rebelled on me: intestinal episodes and head spins! The episode was not as bad as it sometimes can be but as usual came from out of nowhere, unexpected.

I have in the past had food problems during allergy season, usually Spring is BAD! A few years ago the pollen was so bad that all my safe foods became toxic to my body. I am feeling like that so it is time to get serious and get back to the Meryl Diet.

The Meryl Diet was "created" about 15 years ago, for some reason I always think 10. I was having major stomach problems and due to sinus infections was regularly on antibiotics from September/October through March. From my reading and the boyfriend at the time, I learned a lot about candida overgrowth. With my "overuse" of antibiotics I knew this was a main part of the problem.

What did I do? I deleted all breads, pasta, sugar and fruit from my diet. It is kinda a cross between Atkins, South Beach, Mediterranean and other "diets". The only carbs I ate were homemade oatmeal with apples flavored with honey and cinnamon, everything else was vegetables, chicken and turkey. My vegetables include carrots and sweet potatoes.

So after a few days of "episodes" I started off drinking some water then added coconut milk for the protein, vitamins and to get filled up. Yesterday I added my homemade iced caffe mocha and a hot soy caffe mocha from Starbucks and still OK. Last night: cole slaw, turkey and a little roast beef!

So this will clear out my system and help me to lose those last pounds I need too. My goal is when I am all better and back to the weight I want to be at, if I feel wheat/gluten is a problem part time or not, to keep it to a minimum and find delicious replacements for it. I want to save my wheat/gluten allowance to the occasional to die for chocolate dessert and some Molsons and maybe pizza if I can't come up with a viable substitute for the crust.

Take care, peace, love meryl xo

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Long Time"

"Been a long time since I rock and rolled..." is what I think of when I see how long its been since I posted a blog entry. So many things have been happening!

I have a new part time job that I am so excited about doing PET/CT exams. During the arduous and lengthy pre-employment process I got a new friend whom I speak to regularly; he is the best! The kidz... Maverick is 11 months old today! which makes Madison 2 years 11 months. Also interviewed for job number 4, another part time job but with two specific days of the week scheduled so I would have threes days a week with guaranteed hours. If this last job comes through I will probably resign from the other hospital job. The prospective place has a great reputation and they tell me "salary is not a problem".

My new job is PET/CT on a mobile trailer. The trailer travels to the different site locations in multiple states. I will be working locally on Long Island however I went for training in Pennsylvania for a long weekend. That meant putting Madison and Maverick somewhere to be looked after so I went to our local pet hotel.

Layne always loved the pet hotel. They walk dogs 5-7 times a day, bring them out for playtime, give them toys and blankets in the spacious 8x10 ft (I think) crate the dogs sleep in. First time Layne was there they asked me if I knew Layne loved to play fetch... she's a Lab, duh? They have rooms you can select for your dog as well with couches, I think even TV, but my pups are crate trained so it works fine for them. Madison did ask about wifi. :)

For cats they have the cattery which is a room with large crates for each cat. They get their own litter box, toys and pillow bed. The staff plays with the cats at least two times a day. Sounds like a sweet deal.

Seems Maverick was kinda shy and did not want to come out of his carrier until one of the staff brought Madison to see him after a walk. As soon as he saw his sister, he came out of his hiding place. The staff did put a blanket in the carrier so he would be comfy in case he decided it was safer to sleep in there. Madison would not do her business in their back yard play area, she would only take care of things on walks. Its supposed to be a big yard, my guess is that Madison did not want to dirty it up so she would continue to get to play there. Both my Labs have been funny that way.

I guess this is all for this post. Maybe my next post will be of the gardens I visited on my day off in PA... they were beautiful!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Happy 2010"

Wishing you all a Happy 2010 for health, happiness, love and prosperity!

I hope first thing to find a full-time job, especially one I will enjoy, learn from, etc. It has been much too long!

I also hope to get back to my diet changes & exercising a lot more.