Archive for June, 2013

Birthdays Are Such A Good Idea

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

By Mary Duggan

Let’s just say the girls went garbage picking for my birthday. And it worked out beautifully.

In the weeks preceding the Big 60 there was much gnashing of teeth and sighing coming from my sisters about the plans for my 60th birthday celebration. Now the girls are big on doing it up really big when it comes to the milestone birthdays. When I turned 40 it was a Wild Women Road Trip to the Badlands. And they topped that one with a whopper when they took me to Paris for the Big 50. Like I said they are crazy generous and enthusiastic sister-friends and both times they pulled out all the stops with itineraries so jammed packed with fun that it defied belief. So what were they to do with 60 to celebrate and no cash available?

I tried desperately to let them off the hook. I adore organizing and had noticed that Container Store was running a sale on some specialty shelf liners that I had coveted for years. No really. I had always wanted them. I love to clean and organize and my kitchen needs them desperately. I actually suggested a gift of shelf paper. Really, I did. Of course I came quickly to my senses and then withdrew that particular suggestion. But I was determined to help with the party plans and pull the weight off their shoulders by taking all expectations down – way down.

I came up with the idea of really enjoying yet another stay-cation. I mean we live in Chicago, not some sleepy little hamlet. And we never make the time to just plain enjoy Chicago. So I proposed a bloom where you are planted – don’t forget to enjoy your own garden kind of shindig. Better still, I said, let’s build it around the Printers Row Lit Fest, which is always held on my birthday and which I never go to because I am always having some kind of big birthday fun with my sisters. Once I proposed a theme that we could all get behind, all that was left to do was peruse the daily Tribune build-up to the big event and circle the authors and events on the enormous 2-day calendar that interested me.

Author April Peveteaux's autographs Mary's birthday book.

Author April Peveteaux autographs Mary’s birthday book.

Just a smidge more fun than shelf paper? Not in the hands of my sisters it’s not. And not when the party girl is a word nerd from way back. Every day I read articles about who was coming to town and I sifted and sorted through the options. Gluten-free food bloggers competed with celebrity chefs. There were local authors like Amy Sue Nathan and old friends like Billy Lombardo. Even Sting was on board with his Narrative Project. Then one day I came upon author Porter Gale who intrigued me with her “Your Network is Your Net Worth” take on entrepreneurs and marketing and other business-y matters. And despite apprehensions that it would trigger work thought, I added her to the list and even did the nifty little exercise she suggested. I shared the exercise with my sisters. (more…)

Having Choices Was My Greatest Gift

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hip

By Mary Duggan

It’s days before my big birthday and I would rather be otherwise occupied than explaining a recent blog. But okay, let’s try this again. And I will leave out the elegant metaphor or was it an analogy? Whatever it was, I still think it was spot on (as everyone seems to be saying lately) if we are ever going to figure out what keeps people from reclaiming their precious health.

The point I was trying to make is this: did anyone involved in your medical care make clear to you that you have choices? Did anyone say there are two ways to look at your __________? Here you have to insert the type of auto-immune disease you have been diagnosed with because there are so many. A big part of the conversation is why so many and a big part of the answer is the inflammation that links these conditions. But first, about choices.

I know in my case the docs made clear there were no real options or choices. I have found in years of discussions with other folks suffering from these myriad disorders that they were not presented choices either. And there’s the rub. Okay? Sorry but I will not allow you to take away my English Literature degree altogether. And I will argue with you that having a choice in the manner of your medical care is such a gift. Many medical maladies are permanent and irreversible and tragic – autoimmune disease isn’t. (more…)

Don’t Just Say No, Say I’m Sorry

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hipBy Mary Duggan

When you give up glutens, and I know you will eventually – the tipping point grows closer and closer each day – don’t just give up gluten. Say I’m sorry to your body too. And send down pro-biotics and other gut-restoring goodies to heal the damage done. If you don’t know what those goodies are, seek out professional folks who do.

Nutritionist Kelly Dorfman, author of “What’s Eating Your Child?” had me cheering with an insight she shared in a recent interview with Mari-Jane Williams of The Washington Post. The talk was too skinny kids on gluten free diets; just the sort of condition that would have traditional nutritionists finger-waving and clucking about the needs for “healthy whole grains.”

Kelly dorfman nutrition

Kelly Dorfman is a nutrition detective who works with medical professionals around the country to help people with complex ailments and symptoms.

But Dorfman made the wiser point. You can’t assume (more…)

Gluten is my WHAT?!*&@?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

By Mary Duggan

The writers are coming! The writers are coming! It’s time for Chicago’s Printer’s Row LIT FEST and I couldn’t be more delighted to see gluten-free bloggers and writers taking their place at the table. Especially ones with a great attitude about not letting a gluten-free diagnosis get in the way of being a super foodie. Such is the case with April Peveteaux, author of the blog Gluten Is My B*@#H!!!

Gluten is my Bitch author April Peveteaux.

Don’t you have to love a gal who created gluten-free beignets?! I apologize in advance to Dr. Bill Davis, but I do love April Peveteaux’s spirited approach to GF.

Okay, all these younger than me bloggers use language that I just don’t understand. No really, I am not any kind of prude. Most certainly not a language prude, but I am so (more…)