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Low-FODMAP products I can’t live without!

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored in any way, shape, or form by any company to endorse their products. I simply thought it would be helpful for my fellow FODMAPers to share a list of low-FODMAP products I personally enjoy.

Udi’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread

I decided to start off this list with something that everyone needs: a good, reliable brand of sandwich bread. When I went on the FODMAP diet, one of my biggest concerns was that I would have to completely overhaul the foods I ate on a day-to-day basis, but I found that all I had to do was find different versions of products I previously enjoyed. This bread from Udi’s is by far my favorite gluten-free bread because it’s soft, chewy, and *gasp* tastes like actual bread!

Rao’s Sensitive Marinara Sauce

One of the toughest parts of a low-FODMAP diet is giving up onion and garlic. Before going on the diet, I never realized how much food had onion and garlic in it! Almost every brand of tomato sauce has onion and/or garlic in it, but since the people at Rao’s are angels, they began making this marinara sauce that is free of both onion and garlic and still manages to be delicious! This sauce is so good that even the members of my family who do not follow a low-FODMAP diet enjoy it.

Jovial Gluten Free Penne Pasta

Finding a good low-FODMAP brand of pasta was a task that took some trial and error, but I knew my pasta quest was over as soon as I tasted Jovial’s gluten-free take on penne. Nobody believes me when I say this, but this pasta is just as tasty as regular pasta. My dad, who loves pasta, even admits this stuff is pretty good!

So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt (my favorite flavors are strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry)

The FODMAP diet isn’t technically a dairy-free diet, but avoiding dairy is a smart move for IBS sufferers nonetheless. I will admit that at first, I was skeptical about coconut milk products. I hate the taste of plain coconut products (like coconut shreds); they taste like lotion to me. However, flavored coconut milk yogurt is not bad. It does not taste like coconut very much at all, and it has a smooth, creamy texture reminiscent of dairy yogurt.

So Delicious Vanilla Ice Cream Bars

After trying this brand’s coconut milk yogurt, I figured I would give their coconut milk ice cream a try, and once again, So Delicious did not disappoint. This refreshing dairy-free take on an ice-cream truck classic is the perfect cool treat for a hot summer day.

Udi’s Blueberry Oat Muffin Tops

These delightful treats honestly taste more like soft cookies than muffin tops. I eat these almost every day for breakfast. Time and time again, Udi’s has proven to be the master of making gluten-free products that don’t taste like they’re gluten-free.

Annie’s Gluten Free Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

As a student with a busy life, grab-and-go snacks like these granola bars are a vital part of my diet. When I’m in a hurry in the morning, I can just snag one of these and eat it on the way to school for a boost of energy to start my day.

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My journey on the FODMAP diet, part 1

One thing that you readers may not know about me is that I have suffered from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for much of my life, and it’s just about as much fun as it sounds. I have been on several medicines to try to help ease my symptoms, but they were not doing much. One day, my gastroenterologist told me about this diet called the FODMAP diet. The gist of it is that there are several sugars and starches, called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols) that ferment in the gut and cause IBS symptoms, like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gassiness, and avoiding those molecules will minimize negative symptoms. Sounds simple, right? It is, until you account for the fact that so many common foods have FODMAPs in them, including (but definitely not limited to) wheat, milk, onion, garlic, beans, legumes, and many different fruit juices that are used as sweeteners. Regular table sugar and cane sugar are fine, though, because both of those sugars are composed mainly of glucose, which does not cause gut problems when there is more of it than there is fructose in a food.

A major complicating factor in my FODMAP journey is that I have several food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts (not including coconut), sesame, lentils/legumes, and seafood. I also have oral allergy syndrome (OAS), a condition that makes it so that whenever I eat a raw fruit or vegetable (with the exception of blueberries or lettuce), my tongue, mouth, and throat get itchy. OAS has made it hard for me to eat healthily for my whole life, even before I was diagnosed with IBS because fresh fruits and veggies are the cornerstones of a balanced diet. Cooking fruits or veggies can change the proteins of the produce enough so that they do not cause an OAS reaction, but not all cooked fruits or vegetables taste great and cooking fruits and vegetables is a time-consuming process. Interestingly enough, I have not always had OAS, so when I was younger, I loved eating baby carrots, clementines, and cucumbers, and I would totally still snack on those fresh fruits and veggies if they didn’t make my mouth and throat feel super itchy and uncomfortable. When I found out I would probably have to avoid wheat, dairy, onions, garlic, and so many other foods I used to eat, my whole world came crashing down around me, so I put it off for as long as possible.

TO BE CONTINUED…


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My favorite songs from season 1 of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

At the moment, one of my absolute favorite TV shows is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a musical comedy series on The CW. After finishing Jane the Virgin (an absolute treasure of a show that is required viewing for anyone with a soul), my mom and I struggled to find another show to binge until we settled upon this hilarious satire. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is about Rebecca Bunch, a Harvard and Yale grad and lawyer at a prestigious firm in New York City who, despite her success, is incredibly unhappy. One day, she runs into her ex-boyfriend from summer camp, Josh Chan, and decides to relocate to his sleepy hometown of West Covina, California. From there, many hijinks ensue. All of the characters on this show are delightfully wacky, and the music on the show is awesome, but a few songs from the first season stand out in my memory. Here are my top 5 favorite songs from season 1 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

 

  1. JAP Battle

Description: I know what you all are thinking: why would Maisie, who calls herself an intersectional feminist, use such a disgustingly racist slur on her blog? Aside from that meaning, JAP is also an acronym that stands for “Jewish American Princess.” And yes, I know that that meaning of the word is also an offensive term that stereotypes Jewish girls as rich and spoiled. However, I myself am Jewish and so is Rachel Bloom, the actress who plays Rebecca Bunch on the show and one of the show’s co-creators and writers. In writing this song, Bloom has reclaimed this term to craft a hilarious rap battle between Rebecca and her childhood nemesis, Audra Levine.

Favorite line from the song: “Sheket bevaka-shut the f*** up!” (“Sheket bevakasha” means “please be quiet” in Hebrew and is a phrase commonly used to get rowdy children to calm down during Hebrew School or at a Jewish summer camp)

 

  1. Heavy Boobs

Description: As many people with, erm, a large chest will tell you, this song is one of the most relatable songs of all time. It perfectly captures what life is like for people who were not blessed with the ability to wear spaghetti-strap dresses without being arrested for indecent exposure.

Favorite line from the song: Not b******’ ’bout my boobies, they look super fly in shirts/But if I swung them in your face, you’d be like/‘Oh my God, that hurts!’”

 

  1. The Sexy Getting-Ready Song

Description: A behind-the-scenes look at what really happens when women get ready for parties.

Favorite line from the song: “This is some—this horrifying, like some scary movie or somethin’, like some nasty ass, patriarchal bulls***. You know what? I got to go apologize to some b******. I’m forever changed after what I just seen.” (Spoken by the male rapper featured on the track when he walks in on Rebecca getting ready and what he sees is, well, not sexy.)

 

  1. Gettin’ Bi

Description: When Rebecca’s boss, Darryl, comes out as bi to his employees, he does it in the form of an 80’s rock song. Just watch the video, you’ll see why it’s hysterical.

Favorite line from the song: “It doesn’t take an intellectual to know that I’m bisexual.”

 

  1. Where’s The Bathroom?

Description: Rebecca’s overbearing Jewish mother visits her daughter in West Covina, only to be entirely dissatisfied with what she finds. I am halfway through season 2 of the show and this song remains my all-time favorite from the series.

Favorite line from the song: “A bishop in Wisconsin said something anti-Semitic so the temple has decided to boycott cheddar cheese.”


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My first college visits!

I am thrilled to announce that I am beginning the process of looking at colleges! This is going to be an emotional whirlwind of a ride, and I want to chronicle it for you. I will not be saying which specific colleges I’m visiting, nor will I say which college I will end up attending because the Internet is full of creeps and I don’t want anyone to stalk me or anything like that. However, I haven’t posted in a while, and seeing as this is the biggest change in my life thus far, it seemed like an interesting topic to post about. Here goes nothing!

The first college I visited was one of those schools that doesn’t really have much of a defined campus. It is in the middle of a big city. When I was visiting this school, I got the invigorating feeling of being right in the thick of things. The student tour guides were super friendly and answered all of my questions about the school. One major pro of this particular school is that they offer a BFA program in creative writing, which is not offered at many schools, and if it isn’t obvious from reading literally anything on this blog, majoring in creative writing would be so awesome! I had known about the creative writing program at this school before I went on the tour, but what I didn’t know was that, according to one of the tour guides, a few undergrads get their work published every semester.

Yep, you read that right. If I were to attend this school, I COULD BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR BEFORE GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE!!!!!!

However, I don’t know if I would be challenged enough academically at this school because it doesn’t have the reputation of being an academically rigorous school. One of the key factors I’m looking for in a school is that I want to be challenged academically, but I don’t want to spend four years in a place where I’m under so much academic pressure that I can’t be happy. That being said, the writing opportunities that this school has to offer make it a strong contender in my college search.

The second college I visited was the polar opposite of the first school in every way imaginable, aside from the fact that they were similar in size. This school had a sprawling campus and breathtaking architecture. On a sunny day in autumn or spring, I could see myself frolicking across the rolling green fields that make up this campus. By the end of the hour-long tour, my mother and I were both extremely winded. We ate lunch in the dining hall on campus, and the food was pretty good. They even had ice cream! All of the students we met, including our tour guide, were so welcoming to us and had nothing but the best to say about their school.

Unlike the first school I visited, this college is known in every corner of the globe for its academic rigor. The closest thing they have to a major in creative writing is an English major, and I don’t want to pay $60,000 per year to translate The Canterbury Tales by hand or labor over Shakespeare’s greatest hits. They do have a wonderful women’s studies program, which is a very close second to creative writing in terms of my ideal major. This school also has a lot of requirements for science and math, and I got the impression that this school encourages students to go in the STEM-y direction rather than the arts/humanities path I see myself on.

I had a great experience on both of my visits. The students at both schools I visited were incredibly kind and passionate about their schools, and touring the schools themselves was really interesting. Both schools have pros and cons. While one school celebrates the arts and humanities, the other school puts more of an emphasis on math and science. One school takes a more relaxed approach to academics, while the other school’s curriculum is world-renowned for its quality and rigor. Overall, I felt more comfortable at the first school I visited, but I definitely want to visit more schools. I want to keep my options as open as possible.


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Apology for potentially offensive comments

Hi friends,

One of my readers told me that the section of my Ferdinand/toxic masculinity post in which I mentioned “dumb jocks who only hang out with girls to check them out” was unfairly stereotyping athletic students. I reviewed that paragraph of my post and decided that it makes unfair, sweeping generalizations of groups of people, and because of that, I deleted that paragraph from my post. I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by the comments I made in my most recent post and/or anyone who has been offended by anything else I have said in my writing. From now on, I will be much more careful not to stereotype groups of people.

I would also like to thank the person who gave me that feedback. The person did it in an extremely respectful manner, and because of this person’s feedback, I have reconsidered the way in which I write about people oftentimes and I will improve upon that in the future.

If anyone has any constructive feedback for me about my writing, do not hesitate to Facebook message me or email me at maisiethewriter@outlook.com. I will respond as quickly as possible and fix anything that hurts people’s feelings or unfairly judges people.

Thank you for being such loyal, amazing readers. I hope you will continue to follow my blog and reach out to me with any questions.

Sincerely,
Maisie


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Ferdinand as a Metaphor for Toxic Masculinity

Many people know the story of a kind young bull named Ferdinand. He is the star of one of the most famous children’s picture books of the 20th century, and, more recently, the title role in a recent, charming animated movie. Ferdinand is not like other bulls: he would rather sit under a tree and smell the flowers than fight. Nonetheless, Ferdinand is made to fight because he is a gigantic, strong bull. In the bullfighting ring, Ferdinand stays true to his nature and does not fight, forcing the infuriated matador to surrender. Some may see Ferdinand’s refusal to fight as an act of cowardice, but arguably, the moral of the story is that the most courageous thing someone (regardless of species) can do is to take the high road and refrain from violence.

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The Story of Ferdinand is one of my favorite children’s books for many reasons, but as a feminist, I love how it forces readers to rethink gender norms. Ferdinand is a bull, but he is a kind, gentle, flower-loving bull. I feel that Ferdinand’s story can be viewed as a commentary on the toxic masculinity that is far too common in today’s society. Young boys are told by everyone, from their families to toy commercials, that if they want to be strong and “get girls,” they cannot express their emotions. Otherwise, they will become “sissies” or “gays” (which is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with being gay!)

It is imperative for young boys to have role models like Ferdinand to show that gentleness and masculinity are not mutually exclusive. Ferdinand’s decision not to fight shows more courage than resorting to violence. Ferdinand is brave because he follows his heart and only does things when they feel right to him. In my opinion, real men are kind and gentle, and the bravest thing a guy can do is to be vulnerable, even when everyone else around him is telling him not to experience the whole spectrum of human emotions. I hope that more boys are inspired by Ferdinand to remain kind and continue to show empathy towards others.


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Loco for “Coco”!

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Recently, I saw Disney/Pixar’s latest blockbuster, Coco, and I am absolutely in love with it. The animation is simply stunning and bursting with vivid colors. The movie centers around an adorable little boy named Miguel who desperately wants to be a musician, but his relatives, all of whom are shoemakers, disapprove of Miguel’s dreams. So, Miguel, along with his canine sidekick, Dante, set out on an adventure to find out why Miguel can’t play music. If I go into more detail about the plot, I would spoil the movie for you, so just see it for yourselves!

I would be wary of taking young children to this movie because there are some elements of the movie that are rather disturbing. Common Sense Media, an organization that reviews the child-appropriateness of movies, says that Coco is appropriate for ages 7 and older. However, I would probably say that 9 and older is probably better because I’m not sure how well a 1st-grader or 2nd-grader would handle some of the themes in Coco.
If you are looking for something to do on a rainy or particularly cold afternoon, head to your local movie theatre and see Coco. It is a beautiful, deeply moving film that older children, teens, and adults alike will all fall in love with.