Saturday, September 4, 2010


I have a confession to make... I haven't been feeling very good lately. Truthfully, I haven't been 100% in a looooooong time - and frankly, I'm fed up. After years of random but consistent "ailments", it was relief to find out that gluten was the cause. At least now I could get to the root of the problem and go in a positive/healing direction and feel better. Right? Well, sort of.

Listen, I've done the research and I'm aware that it can take years to heal the damage celiac has caused, and now studies are suggesting that some adults may never heal completely (I choose to ignore that one). Of course, the first year of being gluten-free has been a bit of a roller coaster... but you learn from your mistakes very quickly. Overall, my health has seen HUGE improvements in the last year... but lately - well, something is just off.

Turns out I now have a bit of a thyroid issue... it's underactive, which explains why I'm so ridiculously tired all the time! Not to mention the brain fog, poor concentration/memory and just plain feeling blue. I've heard this is fairly common in us gluten-free folk, so if anyone has any advice to offer, I will gladly take it! But for now, enough of my whining...

Given my recent state, I was in desperate need of some FUN! I wanted to forget about my stupid thyroid and how I was going to afford to take care of it - and just let loose. I found just what the doctor ordered... an exercise class with Richard Simmons!!! The man did not disappoint - he is everything you want him to be and more. I have never laughed so hard, for so long, as I did in his class. I was not only entertained, but totally inspired by his dedication and passion for what he does - Richard Simmons is the real deal. His class reminded me of what it feels like to feel really good, and it lit a fire under my bum to get it over this new hurdle.

It also reminded me how important things other than just eating gluten-free are to my health and happiness - and I'm not just talking about exercise. If you will permit me to get a wee bit sappy for a moment...

I'm talking about friendship.

I went to Richard's class with my long time best friend and partner-in-crime, Ashley - who happens to be a fellow Celiac as well. Life has just gotten in the way lately, and we haven't had a "girl day" in forever - I forgot not only how fun it can be, but therapeutic as well! I'm sorry I cannot quote this exact source, it was an email Ashley forwarded to me, but I want to share!

An evening class at Stanford.

The last lecture was on the mind-body connection--the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality "girlfriend time" helps us to create more seratonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?--rarely. Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged--not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very very lucky. So let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."

So while we were hanging out at Slimmons Studio (cuz Richard Simmons bought us a gluten-free lunch after class from the fabulous French Lavender Bakery!!!), we hatched an idea that would not only give us an excuse to get together and have more fun, but will hopefully inspire other people to grab a friend and go try something healthy, fun and new. Drum roll please... may I introduce...! A yogi (me) and a cardio queen (Ashley) are on a mission to find the best (and most entertaining) classes in Los Angeles. Did I fail to mention that Ashley is a badass Hollywood personal trainer? And that I like yoga (ok, I'm not a teacher, but I know a little thing or two)? Please check us out!

Thanks again to my gal pal Ashley, Richard Simmons and the French Lavender Bakery!