10 Americans – A Gem of a Video

Pile of PancakesTruth be told, this isn’t a story about pancakes but bear with me here.

Because there actually IS a large pancake stack in this wonderful video I’m sharing with you today – titled “10 Americans“).

As you may know by know, I’ve done a considerable amount of training with an Environmental Toxins Expert – learning as much as I can about the home environment in particular and the many little things we can do to create change.

As a former interior designer, with an eye on Green Design – this is right up my alley!

As I’ve also shared in recent weeks, it’s SO important to broaden the conversation beyond calories and exercise and  food sensitivities, so we’re not just talking about these things – but also understanding how other things in your environment can affect your weight, and your health in general.

For example – did you know that the average female consumer uses a dozen personal care products every day (which may, or may not contain gluten)? And that those products alone, contain in the neighborhood of 168 different chemicals?

(Men use about half as many products – containing 85 different chemicals, or so.)

Either way you look at it, that’s a lot!

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Are You Eating Backwards?

Dining OutManners aside, I’d never given much thought to whether I was eating “correctly” while growing up.

Meals were served to me three times a day, and I ate them dutifully.

This didn’t change much until 7th Grade, when I took my first Home Economics class.

(Back in those days, it was a requirement for all female students).

That’s when I first learned there were RULES to eating food.

Things like – it’s important to vary color throughout a meal, so you should never serve a meal that is “all-white” like chicken, white rice and cauliflower.

(I like to think that those first lessons on color have served me well as an interior designer).

We also learned the importance of including the four food groups at every meal – meat, dairy, grains, plus fruit and vegetables.

(My, how that one has changed!)

This was my introduction to the basics of nutrition, and many years later those early lessons have served me well.

However, the older I get, not only do the basic rules keep shifting, but new ones are introduced all the time.

For example, I now know that it’s perfectly OK to avoid dairy – even though it’s one of the basic food groups.

In fact, if you continue to eat the food you’re actually allergic to, chances are you will be… [Read more…]

Do You Have A Shag Carpet?

While it’s true that my background is interior design, this is not a post about choosing the best carpeting for you home.

Rather, it’s about those little soldiers that line the interior of the small intestine, that have the appearance of little shags – literally like shag carpeting.

The medical term for those little soldiers is “villi”.

Their job is to be vigilant about any intruders that might enter the digestive tract, and dispose of them immediately.

When they’re doing their job properly, they’re readily visible – waving about in the breeze.

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George Vanderbilt’s #1 Decorating Tip

Biltmore HouseThis week, I’m digressing a bit into one of my other passions – interior design and the environment.

(For anyone who doesn’t know this about me, I’m not only a Health and Wellness coach – but also an Interior Designer, which explains my profound interest in how our environments impact us on a day to day basis!)

So, during this week’s trip to Asheville, NC , I was truly delighted to re-visit the Biltmore Estate, after roughly a 4 year absence.

Biltmore House, in case you didn’t know, is the famous mansion built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt – one of the wealthiest families in our nation at the turn of the 20th century.

(The American equivalent to Downton Abbey, if you will).

For George Vanderbilt, building his mansion was an opportunity to celebrate his passion for Art, Literature & Horticulture.

Even so, his guide to decorating the mansion was quite simple.

He did not have a decorator.

Nor did he have the equivalent of today’s interior designer.

So, what was his secret?

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“Food, wonderful food, glorious food.” … from the musical, Oliver


Food is such a sensory experience.   

Inextricably woven into the fabric of our lives, it evokes feelings of both pleasure and comfort on a daily basis.

We taste or nibble, and sometimes devour, depending on our moods and level of hunger. If we are really mindful and aware, we savor every morsel.

Our daily meals are as basic to our existence as taking our next breath.

Yet, when you add Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance or Food Allergies into the mix, things aren’t quite so simple.

Along the way, life gets a little more interesting, and a lot more challenging.

For this reason, I’ve decided to share with you my personal philosophy for designing a Gluten-Free Life, while embracing my twin passions for Food & Design.

Yes, I also happen to be an Interior Designer – hence the name Gluten-Free Designer! (You can visit my website at www.harmonydesignstudio.com ).

My own story started out simple enough, beginning with an article I read about nine years ago on Celiac Disease.

Up until that time I had never heard of Celiac Disease, but then I’d also never heard of gluten. I had no idea there was a name attached to the debilitating symptoms I’d been dealing with for years.

Yet something about the article caught my attention. I read it all the way through, then read it again. What I read in that article described me exactly – including the stomach pain and discomfort I experienced on a daily basis with no obvious explanation.

To think that all this was attributable to a single protein called Gluten was astounding, almost exciting!

Now – one of the unfortunate facts about Celiac Disease (or gluten intolerance or sensitivity, or whatever you want to call it) is that it can take on average years to diagnosis.

Perhaps this sounds familiar.

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