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September 2017

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A Walk for Sunshine

  • By
  • September 28, 2017
A Walk for Sunshine book review by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

Jeff Alt’s Walk for Sunshine

Adventure on the Appalachian Trail


A book review


“A Walk for Sunshine” is a special anniversary edition and a celebration of the 20th annual Sunshine Walk, Run and Roll, a fundraiser born out of Jeff Alt’s 1998 2,160-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

Beaufort Books recently released the commemorative edition to celebrate Alt’s 147-day time out from civilization and more than $500,000 he has raised since 1998.

Alt experienced long days and nights alone as he braved a variety of weather conditions that ran the gamut from excessive heat and wind, 10-foot snow drifts to bitter cold and agonizing blisters to raise money for Sunshine Communities, a small community in Maumee, Ohio. His brother, Aaron has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and has called Sunshine home for more than two decades.

A Walk for Sunshine is a fascinating account of his travels that’s so well-documented, heartfelt, and humorous you’ll want to read from beginning to end in one shot. In one of my favorite passages, Alt describes a typical day on the trail.

Of course, a simple guess of “walking, eating, or sleeping” would sum up my typical day. My life was very simple. As I breathed, a beautiful sunset in a valley or paused at a stream to drink in the tranquil sound of fast-moving water, I envisioned different people from home who would appreciate what I was seeing and experiencing. I wished that everyone could stop what they were doing and walk with me. I wished Aaron could experience this adventure firsthand.”

Whether you’re inclined to spend your days hiking or you have a family member with disabilities, you will find Alt’s endearing portrait refreshing and inspiring.


A Walk for Sunshine was published on Sept. 9, 2017, by Beaufort Books, New York, NY and is available in print and e-book editions. For more information, visit

Learn more about Jeff Alt’s continuing travels and expeditions at



A Walk for Sunshine book review by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
Jeff Alt’s 2,160-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail has raised more than $500,000 for individuals with disabilities.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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conservation Family Travel Fishing Fishing Destinations Hiking in Northeastern Pennsylvania hiking trails history land maintenance Lifestyle National Park Service national parks National Public Lands Day Northeastern Pennsylvania park rangers Pennsylvania U.S. National Parks

Celebrate National Public Lands Day

  • By
  • September 27, 2017
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day 2016 volunteers show their support by helping park rangers maintain precious land along the Delaware River. Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Celebrate the Public Lands You Love


One of the best ways to show your appreciation for the rivers and trails you enjoy year-round is to join more than 200,000 volunteers around the country on Sat., Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they celebrate National Public Lands Day.  

What is National Public Lands Day?


National Public Lands Day is an event organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands in the United States. The signature event is held on a Saturday in late September.

2016 National Public Lands Day volunteers lend a hand.

How can you help?

You can get involved and pitch in locally in Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Volunteers are needed to help park rangers with three projects.

  1. Clean up trash from the river while paddling from Narrowsburg, NY to the Ten Mile River Access, NY.
  2. Maintain the Tusten Mountain Trail near the Ten Mile River Access by helping to widen the trail and vista, install trail markers, and remove hazards from the hiking path.
  3. Clear mile-a-minute and other invasive plant species from around the Zane Grey Museum and Lackawaxen Access.


National Public Lands Day by Joan Mead-Matsui
Be one of the 200,000 volunteers who pitch in to help maintain U.S. national parks.

National Public Lands Day will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Ten Mile River Access located on Crawford Road, Narrowsburg, NY. Following the kick-off reception, volunteers will be assigned to groups and move to their designated location to begin the projects.

The maintenance sessions will wrap up on a rolling basis as projects conclude.

To register, call 570-729-7134 ext. 220 or email Additional information can be also be found online at




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books about genealogy How I Got Here Book Review Lifestyle memoirs about genealogy

An Expat Childhood: A Nutshell Summary

  • By
  • September 22, 2017
Ceil Lucas How I Got Here Joan Matsui Travel

Points south and east


Finding yourself through travel and genealogy


By Ceil Lucas, the author of How I Got Here: A Memoir

Ceil Lucas How I Got Here Joan Matsui Travel
Ceil Lucas is the author of “How I Got Here: A Memoir

It would seem that I had an expat childhood.

The nutshell summary:  I was born in Phoenix in 1951; in 1956, my father the civil engineer accepted a job in Guatemala City.  In 1960, he was hired by the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) of the United Nations located in Rome, Italy. I came to the US for college in 1969. I returned to Rome for the 1971-1972 academic year.

While I have traveled extensively, I have lived permanently in the United States since August of 1972.  Ages 5 to 21: four years in Guatemala City and 12 in Rome, with two nine-month stints for freshman and sophomore year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

I knew that I would eventually write a memoir about my childhood in Guatemala and Italy, to preserve the memories of living in Latin America in the mid-1950s, a fraught time, and in Italy in the 1960s, during the post-war economic boom. I learned to speak Spanish in Guatemala, learned to read and write in Spanish. I arrived in Italy at age nine, had many Italian friends, went to an all-Italian YMCA camp in Sardinia when I was ten and later went back as a camp counselor: total immersion in Italian from when we arrived and it left me with a strong Roman accent, quite distinct from the accents of Florence, Milan, Naples, or Venice.  I developed a deep attachment to Italy which I have maintained over the years, partly from teaching Italian to university students and adults for 44 years.

When I came back to the U.S. for college in 1969, my stance was often, “Well, I wasn’t raised here; I’m not from here”, hand on my hip, head cocked. This was 1969, in the middle of the Vietnam War, and I also brought with me general European opinions about it, opinions not favorable to the U.S. involvement. The deal with my parents had been that, if I wanted to go to college – which I did – it would be in the U.S., non-negotiable. So I came to fulfill my end of the deal, with a large part of my head and heart left behind in Rome.

But I have not one drop of Italian blood in me. I am frequently asked, “Oh, do you still have relatives in Italy?”  I never had any, ever, even though I sound like I must. As I was organizing the memoir, I had also started working on my family’s genealogy and came to find out my mother’s people came to Eastern Maryland from Scotland in 1654; my father’s people were Quakers who sailed to Philadelphia from Weymouth, England, in 1679. And the name in 1500 was De Lucas, with some Spanish blood as well.

As I organized the memoir and worked on the genealogy, I had to slowly come to terms with the fact that, when your folks arrive in 1654 and 1679, you’re “from here,” deeply American. No Italian blood but lots of Scots and English blood. Writing about all of my travels and working on my family’s history got me to my true ethnicity. It forced me to face the occasional difference between my identity quite naturally forged by a childhood outside of the U.S. and my American ethnicity, roots put down, in the case of my mother’s family, 122 years before there even was an America. I have come to feel like I know all of these ancestors and they made their way into what I call my genealogical memoir. I have gotten comfortable with all of them.

How I Got Here by Ceil Lucas on Joan Matsui Travel Writer
Ceil Lucas, sociolinguist, professor, and author

About Ceil Lucas


Ceil Lucas, the author of How I Got Here: A Memoir, is a sociolinguist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Art History, a master’s degree in French and Italian, and a doctorate in Linguistics.  She spent 40 years as a professor and researcher at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. She began teaching Italian in 1973 and continues to do so.  She is the editor and co-author of 22 books. The memoir is available on Amazon.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.





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Eye Protection to Suit Your Every Mood

  • By
  • September 20, 2017

Sunglasses for your adventurous spirit

Sunglass Warehouse

This post is sponsored by Sunglass Warehouse.

Has anyone seen my SUNGLASSES?

Maybe they’re in my car or in my handbag.

The last pair of expensive designer sunglasses I purchased did not come home with me after playing a few sets of tennis. I left them on a bench near the tennis court and I experienced buyer’s regret for at least a few weeks after losing them.

Forget the expensive designer eyewear if you’re prone to breaking or losing your sunglasses.

Sunglass Warehouse review by Joan Mead-Matsui
Sunglass Warehouse has a fantastic selection of sunglasses to suit your every mood and activity. You can buy your next pair of Retro Sunglasses for less than $20

Sunglass Warehouse offers a variety of styles and frames that can be worn for all of your activities from hiking and cycling to fly fishing. Your options are to buy sunglasses at affordable prices with no worries if you happen to lose or break them, or obsess about your designer frames when you should focus on your activity and have fun.

What if your sunglasses fall off your head into the water while you’re fly fishing or on a canoe or kayak trip? Will you dive into the water to retrieve your glasses? I hope not.

Sunglasses are not only accessories. They also protect our eyes from UV damage and Polarized lenses improve visibility for activities like fly fishing. Each of the five pairs I’ve sampled has withstood the test of time, after countless hours on the water.

Sunglass Warehouse has hundreds of styles of sunglasses that are priced at $20 or less. If you prefer round, square, oblong, Aviator, textured, black, blue or brown, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Click to shop sunglass warehouse BEST SELLERS. 

The site is easy to navigate and filters allow you to find your ideal pair from among Sunglass Warehouse (SW) Exclusives, Festival Shades, Brow Bars, Flat Lenses, Matte Metals, Retro Classics, Bold Shades, Colored Lenses, Cut-Out Shades, and Rose Gold.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.


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“Hail Caesar” at Villa Roma

  • By
  • September 19, 2017
Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

 Old-World European Charm 


Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center


Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Resort, 356 Villa Roma Road, Callicoon, NY is a hot spot for Catskill entertainment and lodging. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, photographer, and videographer

Getaway from city life and EXPLORE 


Have you arrived at a destination knowing from the get-go you’ll have an extraordinary stay?

My first impression of Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center was “lively.” That’s a characteristic I look for when I first step foot on a resort property.

Upon my arrival, vehicles were lined up, as guests loaded and unloaded their luggage. Even in late winter, a time of the year many resorts refer to as the “slow season,” the lobby was bustling with activity.

Caesar Night – a sight to behold and cherish


Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
A group of senior citizens found plenty of time to catch up at “Caesar Night,” an evening dedicated to fine Italian cuisine and culture.

After spending an afternoon reminiscing in the lobby, the seniors reconvened for Caesar Night that evening. As I entered the main dining room, the maitre d’ was leading the crowd in a celebration of Italian cuisine and ancient culture. They chanted, “Hail Caesar,” as I discovered a most of the crowd was decked out in garb straight out of the Roman Empire.

Caesar Night is a Thursday night ritual at Villa Roma, marked by a seven-course feast prepared by Chef Peter Selthafner. An appetizer, choices of soup or pasta, salad, selections of entrée and a variety of scrumptious desserts are extremely popular among guests who want to take the time to relax and truly savor each course. When is the last time you devoted 90 minutes to casual dining and conversation?

The Regal Dining Room (located on the third floor of the resort’s new main building) is a perfect setting for Caesar Night and unhurried meals. You’ll find the decor – shades of rich blue and gold, decorative hand painted wall murals and large ceiling fixtures are the ideal backdrop for an Italian-themed meal.

Breakfast IS a BIG DEAL 


Begin your day with breakfast prepared YOUR way. A bowl of fresh fruit arrived at my table, along with a cup of decaf coffee, shortly after I was seated at a table by the window. Service was consistently top-notch during my 24-hour visit to Villa Roma.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Fresh fruit was a sweet beginning to my breakfast.

Villa Roma is ideally situated in New York State’s Catskills’ region. The mountains and countless acres of greenery that surround the resort are a draw for the thousands of guests who visit the Catskills each year in pursuit of hiking, fishing, and skiing opportunities. Abundant activities and a friendly atmosphere keep guests coming back year after year for nearly six decades.

Dining options:

The Main Dining Room, The Beechwoods Restaurant, Beechwoods Grill, Roman Garden Cafe, Dolce’s Ice Cream Parlor, Coffee Bar (new) and Pool Grill

Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
The decor is vibrant, with plenty of space in the common areas for guests to meet.



In the fall of 1969, Martin Passante became the sole owner and by 1973, construction of the lobby and “Future” wing was underway. Prior to 1977, the resort was largely still a seasonal escape for guests but by the 1970s, the focus had shifted to year-round activities. Guests could still count on personalized service and made-to-order food but golf and planned activities were an added draw.

You can get your hands on a copy of the entertainment schedule, brochures highlighting upcoming events and special deals when you check in at the registration desk. Additional information is available when you download the “Good Times Newsletter.”

Always plenty to do


The Villa Roma guests see today has grown from an old-fashioned guest hotel with 46 rooms, 10 cottages, a pool, and two bocce courts to 24 timeshare buildings and 139 hotel rooms. Yet, the attention to details and outstanding customer service have not been sacrificed to accommodate more than 200,000 guests each year.

Recreational opportunities are plentiful. Golf enthusiasts can play a round at the resort’s 18-Hole PGA Championship golf course or get their tennis fix on the indoor and outdoor tennis courts. You’ll also find racquetball, volleyball, bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, indoor and outdoor heated pools, a fun park, fishing pond, Go-Carts, bumper boats, an arcade room, bowling alley, and fitness center. Villa Roma also offers nightly entertainment and three year-round dining outlets.

Regardless of the season or temperature, fishing and fly fishing are year-round sports enjoyed throughout the Catskills, but if fishing isn’t for you, follow this link to find a complete list of activities to pursue near Villa Roma.

Fishing news and the best locations to fish can be found here at



The two-bedroom efficiency can accommodate up to six guests, with plenty of room to move around.

In addition to two large bedrooms, one with a king bed and the second with one queen bed, the living area also offers a pull-out double sofa bed, which is a definite plus for night owls who want to channel surf the flat screen television.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Two-Bedroom guest suites offer a kitchen for guests who choose to dine in their rooms. This suite is ideal for family travel.

A kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, stovetop and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher is located adjacent to the living room. The bathroom in this unit is equipped with a separate bathtub and a shower stall, so guests can enjoy a long soak or shower.

Villa Roma also offers a one-bedroom efficiency, one-bedroom suite, deluxe rooms with a private balcony that’s perfect for stargazing or daydreaming; traditional rooms, and lodge rooms located only a short distance from the main building.

Nightlife – Dinner and a show


When you’ve finished dinner, where will you find nightlife in the Catskills?

Marty’s Lounge is one of the Villa Roma venues where you can enjoy a late night cocktail, sporting event or a movie on a large screen TV.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Hand-clapping or toe-tapping entertainment at Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Dance the night away with your sweetheart at Villa Roma.
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker’s evening show at Villa Roma is the icing on the cake. His repertoire includes famous Sinatra and Elvis tunes. Be prepared to sing along with Tommy. 
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker is a favorite for guests of all ages.

Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss


You can count on being busy when you book your getaway at Villa Roma. Take a look at the following themed weekends planned for September, October, and November.


Murder Mystery Weekend

Fri., Sept. 29 to Sun., Oct. 1, 2017

October 27,28, 29, 2017

November 3-5, 2017

Bethel Woods Special

Book your accommodations at Villa Roma and slip away to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a concert.


For more information, visit Villa Roma’s website or call 1-800-533-6767. 

My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.

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Jewish Princesses of The Modern Jewish Table

  • By
  • September 18, 2017

Jewish Princesses Reveal Kitchen Secrets


How do you describe your cooking style?


“Rustic Fantastic,” “Silver Service,” “Health Nut,” and “Look Don’t Cook” are among Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn’s favorite kitchen and cooking styles.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this cookbook created by the “Jewish Princesses” is packed with easy-to-follow recipes, plenty of wisdom, classic Kosher recipes with a modern-day twist, and often times hysterical narratives.

Fine and Tarn are co-authors of “The Modern Jewish Table: 100 Kosher Recipes from Around the Globe,” a comprehensive “Yes-You-Can-Cook-Jewish-Cuisine guide to extraordinary “Jewshi,” a culinary term Fine and Tarn describe as the result from mixing a little bit of this with a little bit of that. You’ll discover kitchen secrets and dozens of suggestions to help you prepare your dining table for a variety of occasions that range from a “Rustic Lunch” or “Bagel Brunch” to a “Posh Princess Dinner Party.” If you’re not inclined to create the whole caboodle, they offer recipes for small plates, soups, salads, main course meats, vegetarian recipes, and outrageously delicious Pareve desserts.

Upon opening The Modern Jewish Table, Chocaholics can immediately dive into the pages in an entire chapter dedicated to “Couture Chocolate.” You can plan your meal around dessert and then work your way back to “Small Plates” or take the time to read and appreciate the self-proclaimed foodies’ vast experience in the kitchen.

Don’t be fooled by Fine and Tarn’s playful spirits. Their style is overall casual but their collection of classic recipes is both hardcore trendy and classic. Fine and Tarn build on traditional favorites but also aren’t the least bit reluctant to incorporate ingredients from other cultures into their repertoire. The dishes you create from recipes contained in The Modern Jewish Table could, in fact, become your next family tradition.

You can purchase the cookbook on Amazon by clicking here.

Try these recipes today.



The Japanese alternative to kreplach. Delicious when dipped into sweet chili sauce.


1 large eggplant, skin removed and diced finely

2 tablespoons olive oil, for frying eggplant


Black Pepper

2 teaspoons mirin

18 wheat dumpling wrappers

1 tablespoon olive oil, for coating frying pan


Fry the eggplant in olive oil until brown. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and stir in mirin.

Place a teaspoon of eggplant in the middle of a wrapper. Fold the pastry into a half moon shape and stick the edges together with water. With your forefinger and thumb, pinch the outside of the pastry along the rim.

Coat a frying pan with olive oil and heat. Place the gyoza pot stickers with the flat edge on the pan. Fry and turn until both sides are brown.

Take a couple of tablespoons of water and sprinkle over the gyoza pot stickers. Quickly place a lid on the frying pan, and allow to steam for a couple of minutes until the pot stickers have puffed up.



A fragrant bowl of kneidlach—Jewish Penicillin.


Sephardi Soup

8 large chicken wings

8 pints cold water

2 large carrots, peeled

2 large celery sticks, trimmed

1 parsnip, peeled

1 turnip, peeled

1 large white onion, peeled

1 rutabaga, peeled

2 bay leaves, torn

1 small bunch cilantro

3 chicken bouillon cubes



1 pinch saffron melted in 1 fl oz boiled water


Sephardi Soup

Place the wings in a large saucepan. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. With a large spoon, skim off the scum from the top.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the saffron. Bring the soup back to a boil and simmer for 2 hours with the lid on.

Street Food Gefilte Fish Bites, Crème Fraiche Vegetable Latkes, Cohen-Tucky Baked Chicken, Princess Pad Thai, Kunafa Middle Eastern Cheese Cake, and Cuban Sweet Corn Soufflé are among the 100 recipes presented in this snappy, spirited collection of recipes.

Visit to learn more about Fine and Tarn.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Hydrate in Style

  • By
  • September 18, 2017
Product Review Joan Matsui Travel Writer

Green’s Your Colour Inc.

Triple Insulated Bottle

Designed and Tested in Canada
Product Review Joan Matsui Travel Writer
Green’s Your Colour Inc.

With countless water bottles on the market that promise to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, how do you narrow down the selections?

Green’s Your Colour Inc. is “tastefully” number one on my list. Whatever beverage you choose to fill this outstanding vessel comes out at the perfect temperature with absolutely no aftertaste.

I have two bottles I carry along with me while fly fishing. One dedicated to hot liquids and the alternate is filled with chilled water or tea. The 17-oz./500 ML “Jammin’ Jade” insulated bottle is my all-time favorite. In fact, after I purchase a second bottle, I’ll ditch my old orange one and drink exclusively from a “Green’s Your Colour Inc.” bottles.

Jammin’ Jade keeps cold for 36 hours and hot for eight hours, although I’ve had mine beside me indoors and outdoors and my coffee was hot for at least 10 to 12 hours. The bottle is 18/8 stainless steel, BPA and Phthalate free, leak and sweat proof, with no plastic inner liner and non-leaching.

But best of all (in my opinion), the tea and ice strainers that are included with each bottle, are IDEAL for transporting your favorite herbal drink or ice cold water. One strainer is designed to keep the drinking spout free of ice or fruit and the second is used as a tea infuser to strain your tea leaves, herbal blends, and tea bags.

Green’s Your Colour Inc. can be used for coffee, tea, water, juice, pop, soup, and yes, alcohol. (Maybe a Margarita or Egg Nog, depending on your preference.)

Looking for herbal beverage suggestions? Try Tazo Herbal Tea  or Bigelow Herbal Teas.

Be sure to check out deals and order information at



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Can gluten and wheat cause digestive issues? Cooking gluten-free foods Food and Travel Lifestyle Travel Gluten Free

Benefits of Gluten free diets

Sarah Jones contributes cooking advice to

The Ones You Didn’t Know

By Sarah Jones

Gluten-free diets are all the rage. The proportions of the American population who follow a gluten-free diet have tripled between 2009 and 2014, despite not having any indications of Celiac Disease, according to the American Medical Association.

Celiac disease can be devastating, and a gluten-free diet is an essential measure to combat this condition. However, the question remains why so many others’ have chosen to go carb free?

What’s gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in plant foods such as wheat, barley, and rye that can cause a wide variety of ailments in those with Celiac disease, including severe stomach pains, lead to the formation of ulcers, permanently impact the linings of the intestines and may result in anemia.

Especially troubling is the prevalence of this disease has greatly risen from 50 years ago.

Furthermore, there are many benefits to going gluten free including losing a whole host of undesirable issues for people who don’t have Celiac disease but may have gluten intolerance. The symptoms typically associated with gluten intolerance include severe headaches, stomach pains, bloating, excessive flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, loss of feeling in your joints, skin rashes, acne and low concentration capacities.

Interestingly enough, the ingestion of wheat has been very strongly linked to the formation of eczema, and to the prevalence of sinus allergies, stomach pains and eye conditions, such as dryness. A reaction to wheat that leads to eczema can be caused by both an intolerance to wheat and by an allergy, as both affect the autoimmune system, which in turn affects the skin.


One of the first things that most people remark on when cutting out the gluten from the diets is the high amount of fruits and vegetables they have added to increase their fiber intake and, thereby, also increasing their subsequent stores of vitamins and minerals in their daily diets as well. It also leads to a much stronger immune system, helping you to fend off the cold and other seasonal bugs that may try and take you down during the year.

The second and probably one of the most lauded benefits is how much easier it is to lose weight without all of the common gluten-containing products on your plate. This weight loss can also be associated with an increase in vegetables and other complex carbohydrates over naturally refined carbohydrates that are typically eaten before going on a gluten-free diet.

A further benefit is that bloating will be significantly reduced, as well as constipation which is always a bonus. Also, the high levels of vigor and vitality people experience from this lifestyle is almost unanimous. It may be because when you eat gluten with other foods, the ability of your body to digest the other foods nutrients is impaired and therefore, you have far lower levels of the necessary nutrients entering your bloodstream.

If you are considering trying out this way of eating, you will most certainly not be alone. It is estimated that 22% of the global population are choosing to eat gluten free for either personal choice or because of allergies and intolerances. And the vast majority of these consumers seem to be between the ages of 25-34 or 50-64. However, age is just a number, and you really should do whatever you feel is best for you.

Tips to Stay Gluten Free While Travelling

For those of you who are not allowed to eat gluten due to your intolerance, but would still love to experience the tastes that travelling the globe has to offer, we have a few tips in mind that will keep your diet gluten-free.

  • Know what’s on the menu
    • Don’t ask the waiter or server if the food is gluten-free. Some will say it is gluten-free, when in fact, it may have a huge percentage of it in the meal itself. There is a small amount that can be tolerated, but it is best to know what the ingredients of the delicacy are before ordering. You may ask that of the server, but you’re better off Googling the dish before ordering.
  • Live in a place with a kitchen
    • It may feel tedious, but you can still enjoy local food offerings by cooking using local ingredients. Choose ones that are gluten-free. By now, you know which ones those are. If you must add an unknown ingredient, do your research first before adding it to your meal.
  • Find the nearest vegetarian or vegan restaurant
    • Most vegan and vegetarian restaurants nowadays serve gluten-free food because of the high demand. If you are in a place that has caught up with the GF trend, you may find a place or two that can cater to your dietary needs.
  • Bring your own food
    • Just don’t bring fruits or vegetables. You may bring packs of food in boxes; however, they will be checked and verified by airport authorities. Most airports do now allow fruits and vegetables to be brought in from other countries because of its risk to the ecosystem. That is why you are better off bringing pre-packaged gluten-free food if necessary – and it has to be checked in.
  • Customize your meal
    • Go to a reputable restaurant in the area that allows for customization of food based on allergies and dietary needs. They may be more expensive than local restaurants, but it is worth it if you do not have any adverse reactions. Reputable restaurants follow rules to the tee because they want to keep their reputation intact.

A final tip: Don’t be demanding about it. Request, ask, be polite. Your food may be gluten-free, but it won’t be spit-free if you’re demanding and irate while asking for your diet to be accommodated. And it helps to be friendly when you’re in a different place, right?

Choosing to eat in a way that will uplift your energy, mood, cognitive and physical function, while helping you to lose weight seems like a rather simple way to engage in with your whole self. So, the only thing left to ask is, are you going to be gluten free, too?

Sarah Jones contributes cooking advice to
Sarah Jones slices, dices and cooks her way to a healthy diet, but most importantly, she shares her knowledge with readers so they can enjoy preparing healthy meals.

Many thanks to Sarah Jones for sharing facts you should know about gluten. Sarah writes for Simmer and Zest, and “cooks, slices, and dices,” to be sure she stays healthy. More importantly, Sarah shares what she knows so others can enjoy cooking as well!

Amazon books related to Gluten-Free Diets and online resources for Gluten-Free Products

Additional Resources:

Why Gluten is Bad: The Plain English Answer


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Book Review Family Travel Food and Travel Good Reads Lifestyle Travel Product Links

50 Super Cool Fidget Spinner Activities to Take on the Road

  • By
  • September 10, 2017
Fidget Spinner Book Review by Joan Mead-Matsui

Spin on Fidget Spinners

Tricks to Take on the Road

Book review and information for the itinerant traveler to make life more enjoyable while you’re on the road. 


Fidget Spinner Book Review by Joan Mead-Matsui
Inspired by “Fun With Fidget Spinners: 50 Super cool Tricks & Activities,” my nephew, Andrew, practices a forehead spin. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer and photographer. 

What do kids fall back on when they’re bored? Of course, most children FIDGET.

Travel by car, plane or train can drain a kid’s patience. When my son, Yoshi, bought his first Fidget Spinner, I thought the constant buzzing sound coming from my car’s back seat was REALLY annoying. But the idea behind this toy makes sense for children who are by nature, busy, young human beings inclined to keep their hands and minds busy at all times.

Fidget Spinner Review by Joan Mead-Matsui
“FUN WITH FIDGET SPINNERS: 50 Super Cool Tricks & Activities” teaches kids the ABCs of Fidget Spinner tricks.

“Fun With Fidget Spinners: 50 Super Cool Tricks & Activities,” by David King of “Geek Bite” – with Colleen Dorsey & Katie Weeber, is the bible, or guidebook to the ABCs of fidget spinning tricks. If you’ve never seen a Fidget Spinner, it’s a multi-lobed flat toy that spins on its axis, resulting in a gentle hum or buzzing noise. They were invented as far back as 1993 but became popular in spring 2017.

Fun with Fidget Spinners review by Joan Mead-Matsui
My nephews, (shown from left to right) Matthew, Noah, and Andrew, review some of author David King’s basic tricks kids of all ages can practice.

With some practice, kids can show off their skills with “The Hot Potato,” “The Tower of Power,” “Dinner is Served,” and 14 other impressive tricks. “Stop Fidgeting’ and Other Bad Advice,” and “The Origin Story” are two bonus items kids will also find entertaining. Tricks and activities are categorized for the beginner, intermediate and advanced fidgeters.

Fun With Fidget Spinners is published by Design Originals, an imprint of Fox Chapel Publishing. For more details, or to buy a copy, visit


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Airplane Travel With Children?

  • By
  • September 9, 2017

Soar with your children


Rise Above Your Fear


Are you overwhelmed by the thought of traveling by plane with your children?


More than likely, there’ll come a time when you’ll contemplate a trip abroad or a visit with family. If traveling by plane with your kids evokes fear and anxiety and doubts about whether you have the parenting skills to pull off family travel, you’ll want to read Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel With Children” by Dr. Lori Baudino, PsyD, BC-DMT, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified dance/movement therapist.

If you’re like Dr. Baudino and you love to travel, why shy away from what could be a memorable journey with your children and a valuable learning experience for children and adults?

Super Flyers is a parent’s manual that’s jam-packed with strategies you can utilize when you need support to handle those trying and awkward moments.

Dr. Baudino shares her tips to handle those fleeting moments of upset and chaos that can occur during travel when children are overtired, overstimulated or restless. She outlines skills parents can employ that will set the stage for a more joyous time.

“If you are a parent then you will eventually come across traveling with your children,” says Dr. Baudino.

Whether your child is an infant, toddler, pre-teen, or teenager, or you’ll have more than one of your brood traveling with you, Dr. Baudino’s suggestions will get you on your way. In 127 pages, she offers tips and delightful progress updates from her children, Aiden and Lyla.

Why should you buy a copy of her book?

Dr. Baudino explains, “With all that we know about parenting and helping our children succeed – I can empower parents to use these skills and take children to new heights exploring cultures, change and travel in the sky.The analogies of flying and parenting are vast- it’s a journey so we might as well share and model enjoyment for and with our children.”

Buy your copy at

You can learn more about Dr. Baudino and Super Flyers at


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.







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