A Little Can Go a Long Way

RV living is a good reminder that a little can go a long way. It often takes a change in living situation to challenge the way you’ve always done things. The way you learned may not be the best, but it feels comfortable. Until it doesn’t.

I’m living in my RV right now. I do this periodically. I’m not an RVer who travels from park to park on weekends or even one who winters in Florida. But I do have an RV community that I call home with friends who live there permanently. Driving cross country to get to this second home presents many opportunities to get buy with less.


Due to a water supply issue, I bathed and washed dishes with only one gallon of water yesterday. I didn’t cook a full meal so there were no pots and pans. But I also didn’t use paper plates. With one gallon of water, I was able to clean my plates, cups, dishes, and coffee press, shampoo and rinse my hair, and take a sponge bath. I wasn’t limited to one gallon, but because of the circumstances I was motivated not to waste and that was all I needed.

One gallon. At my house, I would have used over 20 gallons to accomplish the same tasks. I would also have had an actual shower. That’s a huge difference to enjoy a shower. Is it worth it?

I’m not going to answer that. Each of us must decide on a given day where our priorities lie and make decisions in line with those and our values. My decision may be different than yours. That’s okay. My point is not that waste is inherently, always bad. It is that we can often improve the flow of our lives by examining our daily routine.

I know from watching people work, we often mindlessly perform tasks without first thinking through the process. This means we may never fully hit our stride or do things in the most efficient, effective way.

And even if we think through a process, it’s important to remain open to learning because we may not be able to anticipate the best way to navigate every possibility. Could there be a better way to peel an onion, rinse a plate, seal an envelope, remove a stain, dust the furniture, mop the floor, fix kids’ lunches, search the internet, mow the lawn, move things upstairs, or do the laundry?

There may be a faster, easier, less expensive or labor-intensive way to perform each of your everyday tasks. Added together this can save you significant time, reduce your stress level, and possibly save you money. The thing is, you won’t discover any of this unless you’re willing to approach things differently.

Sometimes it’s hard to get started. Then something changes and a gallon of water is all you have. A gallon of water and endless possibilities. Those can certainly go a long way.

Should You Buy It?

When companies and news organizations peddle fear, should you buy it? As we’re bombarded by information that may be less than reliable, it can be hard to discern which messages to trust. Unfortunately, the medical community also peddles fear. So how do you determine whether you should buy the product or message?

  • If a spouse/partner wants you to buy a pair of shoes that hurt, should you buy them?
  • If a doctor consistently advises the most extreme treatment, should you get a second opinion?
  • If a news organization edits video that changes perception of a situation, should you base your opinion on partial information?

Determining whether or not to buy or buy into something has some commonalities:

  • It ain’t easy!
  • It’s time consuming!
  • It probably won’t be fun.

I say this, not to discourage you, but to prepare you for a task that is less than desirable but still important to your health, well-being, and quality of life.

Those of us who are avoiding gluten may be tuned into health messaging and labels more than most making us especially vulnerable to the constant bombardment of fear-based messaging.

Let’s make things easier by starting with a few things you can stop worrying about:

Gluten in shampoo or cosmetics – The gluten molecule is too large to be absorbed through your skin. (If you have an allergy to wheat, rye, barley, or malt as opposed to an intolerance, this may still be of concern.) Also, don’t eat the cosmetics. Ingested gluten is still a problem.

Longstanding childhood vaccines – These are safe, effective, and have all but eliminated suffering from smallpox, polio, and tetanus. With any medicine, there is the potential for an adverse reaction in a small number of people. That’s true of antibiotics, birth control pills, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Check ingredient list for allergens & look for recalls. Barring those, get vaccinated.

MRNA vaccines – They do not change your genetic makeup. They do not contain microchips. They do not produce severe adverse reactions in most people. This type of vaccine is easy to adapt to a variety of viruses. That means we will most likely see more and more of these. Adopt with the level of caution you approach any medication, but there’s no reason to dismiss these out of hand.

Taking nutritional supplements – If you are healthy and eat a well-balanced diet, there’s no real benefit to taking supplements.

Eating eggs – While eggs contain cholesterol, they don’t seem to raise blood cholesterol and are a near-perfect food. They may also help with nutrient absorption when eaten in raw salads.

With those out of the way, how can we determine what to embrace or leave behind?

Develop a list of reliable sources – Twitter has been a great tool for this. You could follow experts in any field to get their take on infinite topics. Now it’s a bit more dicey but look for doctors and researchers who are well respected by other scientists. Look for news sources that feel balanced. Watch for bias. Don’t give too much credence to the most visible faces on TV or those who speak for politicians. Look at track records. Get several opinions about any product or issue. Do some background research to see which of those opinions align with rigid, well-controlled studies; reflect verifiable facts; and are not reactionary.

Learn the difference between fact and opinion – It’s common to see someone online ask a “what if” question that leads to a whole narrative based on nothing but flight of fancy that’s treated as fact. And news networks often have “experts” offer lots of opinions based on zero facts. You can tell the difference, but you must listen carefully.

Beware of magical thinking – As humans, we’re always tempted to take the easy way out. We want immediate results and miracle cures. But just because we want something to be a quick fix doesn’t mean it is. Or it could mean we’ll only see short-term positive results. If you find yourself leaning into something because it sounds easier or faster than something you know will work long-term, question yourself.

Today’s example would be using a diabetes prevention drug strictly for weight loss. It’s all the rage! But we also know that once you stop using one of these drugs, the weight comes back. That means a temporary “cure” at best. And we don’t know the long-term health effects of using these drugs. That’s a risk you’re blindly assuming.

Never assume you need anything just because an ad says so – Advertising isn’t about education. It’s not about public service. It’s about getting you to buy a product or service. It may do a public service or educate at the same time, but that’s not its primary purpose.

If fear or shame is involved, beware – It’s unfortunate that companies or professions use emotional manipulation to accomplish their goals. If you feel yourself compelled to buy or buy into something because you’re afraid or feel ashamed, take a minute. Your emotions may be undermining your best judgement. Wait for the feelings to pass, then reevaluate.

Ask questions – Someone in a particular field will have a depth of knowledge you do not. Feel free to ask questions. Most are happy to share their expertise. If you hear them say, “that’s not how this works,” believe them.

The most important thing is to allow yourself to learn and shift. Sometimes new information will challenge a long-held belief. If this NEVER happens, there’s a problem. It’s statistically unlikely that you will be absolutely 100% correct all the time.

Even if you’ve carefully researched your opinion, science will advance; policies will result in unintended consequences that are not acceptable; drugs will be recalled; new facts will be revealed. All of these require adjustment.

Sometimes this means you should no longer buy something that was reasonable yesterday. This can be true in the universal sense. It can also be true on a personal level because we change, our situations change, and our health changes.

There can’t be an absolute answer to the question, should you buy it. And sometimes, we’ll make decisions we regret later. But if we’ve gathered the most reliable information we can find, reflected on potential consequences based on that information, and made a decision that we are willing to reevaluate if necessary, we’ve done all we can do. It’s okay to lean into a plan and feel good about it.

When It Rains

We all know the idiom: when it rains, it pours. They even put it on a salt container. I’m feeling it this week after literal rain poured so hard it flooded my building.

microwave rice

To keep things in context, there is damage that it will take time and money to fix, but it is minor compared to the losses suffered by my community in a recent tornado. In other words, this is annoying, but not that big a deal.

On the other hand, it has been a time drain during a period when I have a lot on my plate. That has made it difficult to put gluten-free, low histamine food on the table in a timely manner. And that’s how it is sometimes. No matter how organized and efficient you are, life gets ahead of you.

A well-stocked pantry and freezer can make those times easier. But I’m really not good at freezing and using things. And having to avoid ham, sausage, bacon, deli meat, fish unless it was just caught, and anything canned adds another layer of time required to prepare a meal.

Prepared or semi-prepared foods are helpful during overwhelming weeks. What I can tolerate well may differ slightly from what someone else can, but here are a few of my hurry-up go-tos:

Microwaveable rice. There are several gluten-free brands and styles to choose from – restaurant-style sticky white rice, brown & wild rice, jasmine rice, etc. Rice is a quick, filling carb and small portion packaging means no waste. Use as a base for any kind of bowl.

roasted chicken

Whole roasted chicken. Many grocery stores sell rotisserie or roasted chickens in their deli. Some offer a variety of seasonings like lemon & rosemary, roasted butter garlic thyme, or white wine and herbs. This chicken can be sliced and eaten alongside carrot sticks or frozen vegetables. It can be diced for chicken salad or shredded for wraps or enchiladas. It can also be served over microwaveable rice.

Frozen vegetables. English peas and corn are what I use most, but the options here are numerous. I also like to keep edamame handy. It makes a great salty snack that’s healthier than chips. Frozen vegetables cook quickly. Many can be steamed in the bag to save cleanup time. They’re healthier than canned. And they can be used alone or in combination with other foods.

Microwave ready potatoes or sweet potatoes. You don’t have to wash these. Just throw them in the microwave as per package directions. You’ll have potatoes in less than 10 minutes. Eat them like baked potatoes or top with a mixture of leftover chicken, vegetables, and cheese for an entrée potato.

Gluten-free bread. In my case, I keep gluten-free bagels or French bread. (Many packaged sandwich breads cause me to break out in a rash.) I am better about using breads and muffins from the freezer so that’s where the bread lives until the previous package has been used. I can make sandwiches using almond butter or a slice of roasted chicken.

Boiled eggs. You can boil your own to keep in the refrigerator, but you can also buy peeled boiled eggs in a bag from the store. Use them to make egg salad. Add them to chicken salad. Slice or dice into a green salad. Or add to pasta dishes.

You may prefer foods that have not been processed. I do too. But sometimes it’s good to have some quicker go-to options ‘cause when it rains, it pours!


From Good to Great

Make your salads go from good to great by adding fresh herbs. Spring has sprung, but it feels like winter. I’d rather eat a hot bowl of soup than a salad right now, but it’s time to prepare for lighter fare. As soon as it’s warm, I’ll be ready for salads sitting in melon or pineapple halves, cold soup, and crisp wedge salads covered with bleu cheese resting on icy plates.


A fun presentation makes salads more visually appealing. Small additions can take the taste from average to must come back for more! Herbs are often overlooked as an addition to salads. I love to add them.

Here are a few combinations I enjoy:


  • pairs perfectly with cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and berries
  • lightens up the earthiness of mushrooms
  • adds panache to a cucumber salad


  • sits atop the obvious choice – a caprese salad
  • deepens the green in a green salad
  • enhances fruit salad of tomatoes, cherries, peaches, and plums


  • adds a twist to potato salad
  • brings the lemony, sweet bitterness to cucumber salads that complement salmon
  • brightens arugula, feta, and kalamata olive salad


  • serves as a salad green
  • colors quinoa tabbouleh
  • rides alongside romaine or bitter greens


  • lend a mild onion tone to any green salad
  • sit well with beets, garlic, and cilantro
  • blend into dressing to top a salad

Don’t forget to add cilantro to taco salad or rosemary to chicken salad. It’s amazing how herbs freshen the feel of a salad.

A squeeze of lime can do the same thing. Lemon juice, mirin, balsamic reduction, maple syrup, and honey are all good salad toppers that don’t weigh the salad down like creamy dressings.

Shredded apple, thinly sliced pears, sprouts, jicama, and water chestnuts are also light additions.

So many salads repeat lettuce, carrots, tomato, and cheese. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re good. But with some tiny additions, they can go from good to great!

Let’s eat great salads this spring!