Gluten, I Hardly Knew Ye

gardenias & berries

Chilled white wine, lush sweet berries, the scent of freshly picked gardenias wafting over a beautifully set table beneath a lemon arbor…


Fluorescent pink roses against a garden wall

lumpmeat crab

Great friends, non-stop laughs and plates piled decadently high with delicious warm weather delights, including a massive platter of fresh crab meat.

Summer Perfection, right?

Except just look at that crispy white French bread.

Filled with naughty gluten.

And oh I just wish I could show you a photo of my gluten-free for 3 months lunch mates’s tiny little ballerina waist.

20130716-215654Rosie Huntington-Whitlington-blah blah blah

I hadn’t seen my friend in awhile and I was totally gob-smacked by the transformation. I was so jealous happy for her.

So much so, that I only had 1 1/2 pieces of that bread (only because there was cheese) and decided to try going gluten-free for 3 weeks myself.

Not right away mind you, but a couple of days later.

I’m 6 days in and so far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.

Now all of you long time S.P. readers (bless each and every one of you) know diet & exercise is not exactly a recurrent theme on this blog.

Other than the exercise post I wrote a week or so ago, I think I also mentioned going for a run once this year.

The only productive thing that came of it was I bought some better bras. Never ran again. Dude, it was hard and I ran out of breath.


I did keep up my coconut oil “pulling” for a few months but that fell by the wayside with traveling so much. I will definitely start doing it again, for the meditative benefits alone, if for no other reason.

If you missed that post, you can read it here  but of course oil pulling hardly counts as exercise.



I stopped Pilates too long ago to even admit, though I still adore my pilates trainer Kristi Cooper and derived a great deal of perverse pride in being her longest lasting, worst client ever. Literally.

Tgirls Montana 121

Her. Remember?!

Kristi now has the uber-successful website “Pilates Anytime” and I like to think that in some infintesmal infintesimal small way my laziness and bad attitude contributed to her turning to web-based classes and she’s never looked back.


I DO still love yoga and my yogini Denise Zeverdes with whom, I just realized, I’ve been practicing for 7 years.


However I’m afraid to do handstands (my wrists are like twigs) it has to be on days it’s OK for my hair to be frizzy and my pitiful “OM” in class is a constant source of embarrassment.

WTF?? How does everyone else “OM” so loud for sooo long??!


But let’s back track, as I believe I was on the subject of tiny waists…


I really wanted to share the amazing results of another  good friend’s commitment to getting majorly Bathing Suit Ready this summer.

Now as you can see in the photos below (which she so graciously permitted me to share) Ronda wasn’t exactly battling a big weight problem,

but after having two babies, she was sick and tired of the constant yo-yo of diet and exercise regimens that never seemed to ‘stick’.

One day, along with a couple of friends, she simply made the decision to work with a trainer, keep a food journal, and religiously follow everything her trainer told her to do.

Without question, without cheating.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 9.12.57 AM


diet & exercise

Yes, she’s tall and has gorgeous legs, but don’t be a hater. Ronda worked super hard to achieve these results in just a few months!

PS. I always assume these type of photos are photo-shopped or totally fake but these are 100% real.

Before & After shots

Most importantly, she feels empowered, looks amazing and has kept the weight off.

 Way to go Ronda!!

And yes, she is a lot younger than me. I have young friends because I’m cool 🙂

And refuse to grow up.

fangocrema cellulite mud cream

What’s not so super cool is that I thought I might cheat my way to Ronda’s results with an aggressive regimen of GUAM cream.

I got caught up in the incredible Beauty Department of Liberty’s in London.

Even though the only words I could read on the box were “CELLULITE”, “Quick and easy to use mud-based cream” and “Guam”

I mean, I’ve been to Guam. What could go wrong??

skin test patchSo, you might be thinking that due to the “strong” reaction the test patch produced on my arm that I’d reconsider this ‘Get Svelte Quick Scheme’

Uh uh.

Instead, I thought- yes! This is going to burn fat off my thighs something fierce!

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 9.11.18 AM

In fact, for the sake of the blog, i.e. YOU, I’ve been applying it to just one leg and, er, cheek, to see if I’m able to measure any discernible difference after a few weeks.

So far, nada.

But if you happen to see me around town with one leg like Gisele’s and one like Melissa McCarthy’s, you’ll know the reason why.

In the meantime, I remain your gluten-free, pink thighed Slim(ish) Paley.

Any diet/exercise/gluten-free secrets YOU care to share?!


*Ronda’s Santa Barbara based trainer’s name is Andrea McLarty

Denise Zeverdes’ Montecito Yoga



Black & white & “Soleil” photos via Tumblr


  1. This is the funniest, sweetest post ever! Loved every line and photo…..well, maybe the second to last photo best!

    • do you live in my brain? exactly MY issues…MY efforts…am currently (this week initiated) doing some of Kimberley Snyder’s beauty detox stuff..gluten free/ cow-free…have switched to goat butter and goat parmesan as a transition to the “ideal” dairy free—must admit that stuff is GOOD! sadly, probably not allowed on Ronda’s plan. Ronda looks amazing–those abs alone are noteworthy! She could turn the heads of those hot guys in the pic!!

  2. great post….you’re always such a fun writer…..would love for you to do a follow up with HOW your friend truly achieved the results….like what type of gluten free diet, what type of exercises and how much a wk, etc…..thanks!!

    • I would love to hear about that as well. As I’m now into my forties, the extra 8-10 lbs needs to go!! Or before I know it it will be 10-12 lbs!!

  3. Great post, as usual, Slim! I am so impressed with your friend’s results – congratulations to her!

    A diet I am trying is my variation of the “8 hour diet”. I haven’t bought the book, just watched a short snippet about it on one of the TV shows like Dr Oz. Anyway, I have pretty much stopped eating past 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. It works just fine unless I have to out to dinner. I don’t get hungry until at least 8:00, and by then I am able to tough it out until bedtime (I go to bed by 10:00, so it isn’t too long). I lost a couple of pounds before I went on vacation, which I promptly gained back during my travels, but I am on it again and find it isn’t too hard.

    • I’m a night owl so this diet would not work for me. I’d be crawling the walls by 11:00pm!

  4. YES!!! Gluten free here for 9 years and going strong. Check out for inspiration. I don’t even really miss it (ok except for the occasional dream about eating a crossiant and french bread). I also do not eat many grains. even brown rice is very occasional. Load up on green smoothies and you will not even miss it! (maybe) and there are so many yummy substitutes if you just break down. I like the company Against The Grain for their faux bauguttes and bagels for my occasional (usually will be a bagel with avocado and tomatoes munch) break out. Remember soy sauce has gluten….get some gluten free tamari. It’s also easy to start eating lot’s of corn and that is not always waste line friendly (think chips and salsa or guacamole, but then it’s easy to eat a whole bag!) Use veggies as dippers instead. You can do it Slim!

  5. Gluten my dear is everywhere!Unfortunately,I’m gluten free too………because it makes me VERY sick.I few spots you may not know about where Gluten can hide!A postage stamp……that LICK is full of Gluten!Lipstick……….most lipsticks have gluten as well as make up!Medicines………pills………ask a pharmacist first!Just a few to give you thought!Of course, bread,salad dressings,anything pre~made stay away!EAT FRESH as it looks as if you are doing already!Good ~ Luck……….!

  6. My daughter’s friend is allergic to gluten. When she comes over, she brings her own food. I can’t cross contaminate any bowls or utensils or else she will get sick. I also have to wash my hands before touching anything she eats. She also cannot wear Banana Boat sunscreen. We’re taking her to Aquatica tomorrow and has to bring her own food. I wish amusement parks had more gluten-free options.

    We went to Sea World once and found some gluten-free restaurants. However, when they served it they used the same utensils as the foods with gluten. Very sad because they probably didn’t educate the food servers about the dangers.

  7. Congratulations on 6 gluten-free days! I am a year in to gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free living and I feel great. The longer you do it, the easier it gets (I do dream about cookies, though). If you want to see weight loss in addition to a general improvement in your health, however, I would caution you against checking out gluten-free substitutes for your favorite goodies. I’ve slipped into that a few times and it was hard to dig myself out.

  8. Hi Slim,

    You are so funny!

    Since you ask, I lost 35 pounds in the past couple of years. I lost a lot off my waist & tummy. That tummy is what people are now calling “Wheat Belly”.

    Here’s what I did:
    Add good fats – coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, nuts, cultured butter from pastured cows.
    Add probiotics – kombucha, kefir (made from whole raw milk from pastured cows).
    Increase the amount of vegetables (a lot) & fruits (somewhat).
    Eat pastured chicken, grass fed beef, wild caught fish, pastured eggs – in moderation.
    Eliminate wheat; eat only whole grains but greatly reduce amount of those too.
    Eliminate sugar, esp high fructose corn syrup.
    Avoid excitotoxins like MSG because they make you want to eat more than you really need.

    I find that I am very satisfied & never hungry when I eat like this. When I eat wheat, sugar or excitotoxins, I feel hungry no matter how much I eat.

    I got a lot of good information & inspiration from “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Sally Fallon.

    I hope some of this is helpful because it has helped me a lot.


  9. Kristi Cooper is fantastic and Pilates Anytime is a wonderful resource for students, trainers and those of us who are working towards mat certification, like me! I love PA ALMOST as much as your blog 🙂

  10. Serendipity…this is what I needed. I wish there was a ‘love’ button to add to comments They are all so right on! You are the best, Slim and Mr. Slim ain’t bad either! Thanks for all the connections with all of us out here,,,you are MY cheerleader!

  11. I have a friend who had been on me for the last 10 years to go GF….she swears it has nipped away at her pouchy stomach but I have my doubts—she never REALLY had a pouchy stomach but she had more of a stomach than hips, unlike me who only HAD hips (and now have a pouch to go with it)! But, Slim, I have my doubts that Rhonda got that rockin’ body just forfeiting gluten????? Her trainer must be doing some version of Shawn T’s Insanity workout which I considered purchasing just last night after my very young friend sang the merits…..HOWEVER my young friend is very young (as in 20 years younger than me), but she also happens to be 6 feet tall & married to a former NFL linebacker! They are adrenaline junkies and jump off cliffs in Capri, kite surf in Como, bungee jump Swiss Alps and plunge the Anarctic!!! BEYOND insanity. I came to my senses and realize that I, too, can barely run a mile, skip exercise class way more often than I care to admit and basically prefer a cocktail to anything else more strenuating. Please let me know if the GF thing works out for you (I am pretty much there–not completely) and in the meantime, take comfort in the fact that we are both cool enough to have super young friends who love our company! xx
    PS. And Kate Middleton named her baby boy George Lewis just as I named mine 15 years ago. Doesn’t that happen to make me a trendsetter (even though she stuck the name Alexander in there and I didn’t!)

    • Hi Melissa
      No, it wasn’t Ronda who is gluten-free, it was another friend. Ronda achieved her success through both diet and exercise (imagine that?!!)

      • So, the question is (& I may have missed that in your post b/c I’m kinda not supposed to be texting) DID your GF friend have amazing results like Rhonda? I am doubting it. If so…I’m totally FOREVER GF!! We know that diet and exercise don’t do much for me. Still the same as I was in HS! Very thin–size 2-4 in cloths (I think that’s a 37) but mortifying in a bathing suit–worse yet, NAKED!! Thank God I’m married!

    • Your comment below seems like you are describing yourself as what is sometimes referred to as, “skinny fat” which means you don’t really need to lose weight but reshape your already thin body and add some muscle. Diet is 80% of the puzzle (eat clean as Rhonda describes but doesn’t necessarily mean gluten free) and get into a workout program. Insanity will transform you but it is extremely hard work. Discouraging if you haven’t already been working out. Lift heavy weights (no Barbie weights) and do lunges, squats, etc. 3x/week and do some high intensity interval training for 15 hard minutes, 5 days/week and you will whip your body into shape quickly. I guarantee Rhonda has been doing this. Good luck!

      • Thank you, Mic, for your thoughts. I do exercise but probably not too amped up…my son says that I don’t push myself…but, truthfully, I have very little endurance. As for food, I’m pretty clean. Don’t eat much sugar; try not to overdo it with the wine and am low on carbs. I must say I am confused about how to build muscle, though. I’ve had personal trainers etc, all of whom go for lots of small, clean protein meals. I had a spin teacher come down on me for not eating in the morning before her class however I can’t bring myself to eat if I’m not hungry. She said that my way is the way of of burning muscle, not fat!! And obviously what little muscle I have I don’t want to burn. That said, my most fit girlfriend who is actually on TV and has a rock solid body, barely eats a thing all day; eats a huge, high protein dinner with salad and downs at least a bottle of wine. Any thoughts? Finally, what do you mean by high intensity, interval training?
        Any websites you could suggest!
        Thanks in advance,

  12. Mini Meals about 6-7 times a day. ONLY thing that works for me. My metabolism is at a dead stop, I think.
    This post is hilarious! Just one thing, I absolutely hate women who can lose all that weight and look fabulous and wonder why it is so hard for me.

  13. Thanks SP for featuring my backside on your blog 😉 A wee bit scary I would say…. Love the post! I know that gluten free works for most. It didn’t work for me. My issue is that whenever I would eliminate something entirely from my diet (I’ve done dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free etc), I honestly wanted it more. I’d go on no-carb diets and then fall off the wagon only to have ate an entire pizza! I’d stare at bread baskets on the table fighting off the urge to take one and then finally I’d eat the bread and feel so guilty. I just couldn’t sustain it. I’d lose the weight fast and then gain it back faster. I really have just been eating less, moving more and eating clean (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins) about 90% of the time. I have kept a food journal and written down every single thing I have ate and drank since I started this process. And yes, workouts with Andrea McLarty are the other piece of the puzzle for me. Oh and sadly, no more drinking wine while cooking dinner. I save alcohol for the day when I am 10% naughty (and I eat bread, just not too much). So what has worked for me is to keep whatever “bad” things I wanted to eat to a minimum but not eliminate them entirely. Deprivation is the devil for me. Oh and 96 oz. of water minimum a day! 😉

    • Sorry, one more thing, to stay motivated to be “good” that 90% of the time, take some Before photos. That helped me to say “no” to that second helping 😉

    • Thanks for the details Rhonda…you’re transformation and hard work are truly inspiring and motivating, way to go! And Slim, thanks so much for this post, I’m sure I burned a few calories while chuckling, and now feel very ready to tackle tomorrow’s temptations (octopus cupcakes…long story) with a new attitude and a new hopefulness that ‘it’ can be done!!! 🙂
      xo J~
      PS. Hope your arm’s calmed down…

  14. Well if you’re already going gluten-free, why not just take the plunge and go Paleo! It is sooo healthy, you’ll have a hard time going back(wards). Eat based on what we evolved for millions of years to eat – and all the right genes will switch on, and the wrong ones will switch back off. Evolution, baby, evolution!

  15. My mother-ln-law just forwarded me your post. This is one of the loveliest posts Ive read lately; easy to follow and just plain ole’ fun to read. Well done. I look forward to following your blog and kudos to Rhonda – she looks super! Gluten-free is my new thing and I must admit I do feel “lighter” when I don’t eat anything with a lot of gluten or carbs. Just have to persevere.

  16. You do have a great sense oh humor! I remember reading that Gorgeous Cindy Crawford abstains from bread. It is so bad for you, but so good. The entire post was lovely, and the pic of the swim trunks well..
    .cough ..cough..err..stutter..Lord have mercy! Made my day!! 🙂

  17. Great post!

    Congratulations to Ronda, she looks fantastic.

    I’ve been cutting back on carbs and sugar and I’ve lost 6 pounds in less than 2 weeks!
    I could never give up soy sauce though, I love sushi waaaaaay too much….not sure I could give up the occasional Corona & lime either 🙁

    Glad you tried the cellulite cream before me, was it expensive stuff?

  18. Very funny post! I very much enjoyed reading it as I ate the last of last night’s very gluten-y orzo! Bravo to Ronda, she looks amazing.

  19. It sounds like going gluten free works for a lot of people. I have recently been made aware of Mindful Eating which can be very helpful in the process of being aware of what you are really eating, when and why.

  20. It is true Slim, you are a motivating source for me starting Pilates Anytime! In the 17 years (or so) that we worked together, as I encouraged you to do more as your “trainer,” you encouraged me to do more too! Plus, I knew if I could keep even you interested (sort of) for that long, I could most likely reach those already interested what good Pilates was all about! Thank You!
    BTW, you are so beautiful with or without (and probably more so WITHOUT) GUAM cream!
    Miss you tons!!!
    Kristi ~

  21. You kill me! I too went on a gluten free diet three months ago. I’m starting to cheat here and there though. I lost three pounds but you can’t tell. My husband copied me and has lost ten pounds! Why can’t that happen to me? I need to lose ten pounds! I hate to exercise too! However, I went on two walks this week! Your friend looks fabulous though, but I don’t think I could ever get there. Does being almost 60 and in the throes of menopause give me an excuse? haha!

  22. Informative & hilarious!! Really look forward to your blog in my email 🙂 Loving it
    yours truly,
    Sarah in Sydney X

  23. Yup, very little gluten for this girl…it works! Thank god it’s the disease du jour so that it’s getting easier and easier to find gluten free product that’s actually yummy. Keep it up, and me too!

  24. May I just tell you, I LOVE YOU!!! Your words, your humor are bar none!!!! Keep on keepin’
    on……this is the best post yet!!!!!!!!

  25. Wow… photo-shopped or not, most real men like a bit of meat on their bones, not little boys with boobs.

    Otherwise, great post.

  26. My latest find is – a yoga class streaming service. These streaming websites have been around for years apparently, but here in the UK we tend to be a bit…slack on the technology and exercise front (well, I am anyway).

    You can choose a favourite teacher from the list, schedule how long you want the class to last, what level of intensity, put it on a calendar, they email a reminder that morning. Most DVD’s get old in a very short space of time (‘this is where she’s going to say…’) but with so many classes to choose from, and new ones added all the time, that’s not going to happen. And you can use your telly or your laptop in your favourite yoga place. Genius.

  27. A great post. I’m surprised no-one has mentioned the 5:2 diet, or the Fast Diet that is so big here in UK. We love itbecause it is so easy. You eat how you like but on 2 days of the week (and they don’t have to be back to back) you eat only 500 calories. It’s brilliant because you find the meals you like on the fast days and when you feel restricted (and hungry) you know you can eat ‘normally’ tomorrow. Except that you don’t stuff yourself the next day and yet consume a lot less calories over the week. Oh yes, you’re supposed to try and walk half an hour each day too.
    But my son who loves food but is super fit says the best diet of all is PUT DOWN THE FORK!. Can’t argue with that.

  28. Slim, Your post is so timely. I just got back from Europe where every woman over 40 is rail thin. Seriously depressing! The first thing I was struck by when I returned was the size of all the American women. It’s got to be lifestyle as well as probably a glut of gluten. Europeans are eating a lot more meat and fats I noticed and they do have their bread. I think a lot has to do with walking and biking everywhere. We are in our cars and on our butts way too much.

    That said, I am willing to try less gluten. A good friend who was exercising 4xs a week and eating well, but not losing weight just got diagnosed as having gluten intolerance. Her Dr said her white cell count was elevated because of it. I’ve not heard such a thing before.

    Yes exercise would help me. I do tennis. It’s not the biggest fat burner. I get worried when I breathe heavy and my heart rate goes up. Running is just pure pain. Never got the runner’s high even once!

    What about our mother’s generation? Have you looked at photos of mom’s back then? Very thin. Maybe it has a lot to do with the foods now. So much better food, wine and availability of so much more. Also… there were no Starbucks! Looking forward to your future report on this…


  29. I am blogging about my exercise and healthy eating progress. I purchased everything possible to turn my home into a Pure Barre. Well not exactly, because there is no one there to crack the whip, nor is there anyone to hear me cry. I admire those girls that go to the studio and “lift tone and burn” for an hour with others around checking them out to see what the others are doing. My screams of pain would be heard over the loud music. This way I don’t have to worry about a camel toe either. How nice.
    I do intend on pursuing a better diet. I just couldn’t tackle both at the same time.
    So for now, I have lost a few inches and gained muscle. The only problem; all that muscle is just pushing the fat out, and I continue to seek the right diet for me.
    I am interested in reading more about your diet.

  30. Well, your friend’s transformation is nothing short of astonishing. And I thought that going gluten-free was only for faddists these days (how many of us are actually gluten intolerant, I’d like to know…) Who knew that I’m fat because I eat a roll or two?

  31. Best way to loose weight is to go thru extremely nasty divorce where all you can stomach is 3 saltines
    and a few marinated mushrooms every day…guarantee the weight will just fall off!!
    Hard part is trying to exist on that the rest of your life…I was hungry every day and would have to sleep
    just to not feel my stomach growling. Some of us will never be able to look like Ronda, and that’s ok…
    I just try now to be healthy and be able to play all the sports I love as often as possible.

  32. Hi Slim, this post struck a chord with me or at least the whole topic of body image/exercise/diet dilemma issue does. And, very funny, as usual.

    I am currently travelling in Japan (and yes, I checked for a new post from you while on vacation) and the guide for our group is a very soft spoken, almost 50 year old gentleman. The first day, I noticed he was wearing a pedometer. He told me more and more Japanese people are becoming conscious of their diet and that many are giving up rice for breakfast. When I asked what they are eating instead, he said bread. I found this amusing as I have essentially stopped eating bread for breakfast in my attempt at eating fewer meaningless calories. Do you think I should try rice so that I can become as svelt as many of the Japanese women I have seen are? 🙂

    The good news is we have been walking close to 15000 steps per day. I might have to up that by the time I get home….or check out Pilates Anytime

    Thanks for continuing to be so informative and entertaining. Love your posts!


  33. hilarious post. I always look forward to your words! – they brighten my day. BTW, To me, it looks like that picture of Rose Huntington “whatever ” her name is, was photoshopped.

  34. Slim,
    If only I had an ounce of discipline where food and exercise are concerned I could possibly get slim thighs and a flat tummy, but (and it’s a big but/no pun intended) I don’t. I can be good for about 2 days then it’s back to eating what I want and walking/gardening like a mad woman to keep the weight status quo.
    Congrats to your friend, she looks great!

  35. Very interesting! But I must admit, I find it sad to live in a world where women are only happy with themselves if they can look age 16 in a bikini. Somehow it seems to keep us hating ourselves. Too bad their is only one model of beauty for women – that of the 100 pound girl.


  36. I have lost about 25-30 pounds this year (depending on which day of the week it is. I did vegan for awhile and that seemed to kickstart my weight loss. I don’t eat as many desserts, meat or dairy now. I think my secret is Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered almonds when you want a little snack and something sweet. Alcohol is my worst enemy. Yoga has helped transform my body the most I think. If you are trying gluten free, google French Socca. It is made with ground chickpeas and is a great substitute for bread. Goes great with salads!

  37. What a great read I’ve just had going through your blog and all the comments. So hard to balance life, work, family, and beauty. Your blog has given me/us entertaining and great information, as well as your readers insights. Thank you for all the humor and endearing self deprecating info and encouragement. You seem to be able to balance it all for which you are heartily admired by this reader. I am going to check out Pilates Anytime!

    Bless you!

  38. The difference between our diets and the Europeans is portion size. Also, we eat too many processed foods, fast foods and lattes! I am very lucky and have always been thin without trying but I have a rapid metabolism. My Mother at 97 eats like a trucker but never gains a pound but jiggles her foot constantly which they say burns tons of calories!!!

  39. You need to try Dr. Andrew Weil’s food pyramid. I lost 30lbs so far. I feel so much better. The past month My husband and I have taken vacation time. So I do have to admit that I’ve eaten some things that I shouldn’t have. But I really didn’t put on but 3-4 lbs. I think it’s mindset. Because I’ve wanted to lose the weight and nothing worked. Till now. Food is wonderful to me now. Get the True Food Kitchen Cookbook. Everything in there is out of this world! The True Food Kitchen Restaurant is amazing.

Would love to hear from you!