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Saturday, September 17, 2022


A new business name, a new website and new contact details. They are all coming soon. Check this site for updates. Meantime, if you need to reach me, please email dailysuitcase@gmail.com.

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Monday, May 23, 2022

Why Gluten-Friendly is Like Being a Little Bit Pregnant: Part One

My inspiration for writing this post was a meal I recently ingested at a restaurant located at a five-star resort. Note the phrase ingested rather than enjoyed or indulged in. Now, a much-hailed items at this eatery was homemade potato chips. Long overdue for lunch, I spotted a chicken salad sandwich, served on a croissant, served with a big heaping of said chips on a table nearby. It looked delicious; just the carb-filled sustenance that my body craved. I knew, as someone who is gluten-intolerant, that I would have to forego the croissant. But the chips--ooh, la, la.

A facsimile of the meal I craved, courtesy of Trip Advisor

But quickly, and sadly, I learned that those delicious homemade potato chips were not, in fact, gluten-free. My only alternative–carrot and celery strips. But listen, restauranteurs, I beseech you. If you advertise homemade potato chips, let all of us enjoy them. It's an easy fix. Just put 'em in their own dang deep fryer.

As someone who has been gluten-intolerant for more than 30 years, it flummoxes me that today, even with all of the science and education available about the allergen; the places where it can be hidden (soy sauce, soups and processed meats--here’s looking at you); and the dangers of cross-contamination; that so many food and beverage outlets still get it wrong.

Please understand that for a guaranteed 100 percent gluten-free experience, food would have to be prepared in a kitchen where there are absolutely no traces of gluten. But for most people, if food is carefully prepared with tools that have not touched a source of gluten (i.e., a toaster, a deep fryer, an unwashed mixing bowl), most people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance are going to be just fine eating out at a regular restaurant.

So, as a long-time travel and wellness journalist and consultant, let me provide a little tutorial on the ABCs of GF.

Lesson #1: A GF label on a menu should only reference Gluten-Free, not Gluten Friendly.

The *GF I often see on menus these days connotes, when one reads the very fine print, "gluten-friendly".....not gluten-free. As I once said to a server, isn't gluten-friendly like being a little bit pregnant? Something is either gluten-free or it's not, and marking it gluten-friendly doesn't help anyone, even the gluten-trendy wannabe.

Lesson #2: Wheat is Wheat, Even by Another Name

Durum, semolina, farro and farina are simply wheat by another name. Spelt is a species of wheat, and it contains gluten, albeit not as much as your classic variety. Therefore, it will likely “spelt” trouble for those with gluten sensitivities.  On the other hand, buckwheat, aka kasha, is not wheat. However, the problem with buckwheat products is that the buckwheat is often mixed with gluten-containing flours. So, eater beware. 


Lesson #3: Getting Granular with Grains

Other grains containing gluten include rye, barley (a must ingredient in beer and a frequent ingredient, in the form of barley malt, in many seemingly gluten-free cereals, like Rice Krispies).  Oats are always a question mark. Some people can tolerate them; some can’t. The problem, as I understand it, isn’t the oat itself, which by nature is gluten-free, but rather cross-contamination from being planted among gluten-laden grains. So, for example, I can tolerate Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Oats, but sometimes have issues with Quaker Oats. 

Grains that are gluten-free include millet, amaranth and teff, as are rice, corn and quinoa.

That's enough to digest for now. More lessons to come in an upcoming post.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

New Wrinkles in Senior Living: Looking Toward an Intergenerational Future

When the Global Wellness Summit once again asked me to contribute to its annual Wellness Trends Report, my pitch may have seemed a bit out of my usual travel/ wellness wheelhouse. That said, the idea of writing about "New Wrinkles in Senior Living" evolved out of the work I have been doing for the past two years in the wellness real estate sector. On the face of it, it's a subject matter that may seem to have limited appeal. But in actuality, as the trend report is more about the value of intergenerational living, it's something young, old and everyone in between should read. Here's a teaser.

Click to Get the Full Report

Summary: For years, it’s been said that 60 was the new 40. But now, according to leading aging experts, 90 will be the new 40 within a decade. The exponential jump in longevity means that people are retiring later, aging younger, and focusing on being active and engaged with self-care and personal growth into old age.

Healthier, more youthful, and more active than their cohorts in previous generations, this incoming senior class doesn’t “feel old” and doesn’t want to be defined by  age, nor socially segregated by it. That’s why today’s age-segregated models of senior living communities are no longer cutting it with a new generation that doesn’t believe in the concept of being put out to pasture upon retirement.  

To meet the changing expectations of aging adults, we believe “senior living” (a term that we would like to see retired) needs to focus more on intentional intergenerationality.  This goes back to days of yore, when people were not so transient and communities stayed organically intergenerational. Such old-school intersectionality still exists in the world’s Blue Zones,  places like Okinawa, Japan and Sardinia, Italy, which also happen to be among the places where people live the longest and age the healthiest.

A multigenerational family living in the Blue Zone
of Sardinia, Italy (franoi.com)

In this trend report, we examine new models for intergenerational living, environments that can set the stage for reducing age segregation, while increasing social connections and decreasing loneliness, which is an epidemic at this point. These new models have great potential for resulting in better health and wellbeing outcomes for all residents. We look at the development of pocket neighborhoods, innovative mutually-beneficial intergenerational co-living models, and strategies for designing for intergenerationality. These new models have great potential for resulting in better health and wellbeing outcomes for residents of all ages.

An example of pocket neighborhood design

Let’s point out that this concept of intergenerational housing goes beyond brick and mortar. There’s an overall ethos involved, in which a community is intentionally designed so that people of all ages have multiple opportunities for connection, collaboration and friendship. To meet this objective, a community must allow people of different ages to live side by side as good neighbors, so that they can share their talents and resources, develop relationships and provide mutual support. 

Trend Introduction: They say that everything old becomes new again  and so it seems to be going with the concept of so called “senior living” (a term that, frankly, we would  like to see retired).  

In days of yore, neighborhoods and communities were organically intergenerational. People rarely  moved away from the community in which they  spent their adulthood. Every kid on the block knew  each other and grandparents often lived with  their descendants. This idea of intergenerational  intersectionality still exists in the world’s Blue  Zones, places like Okinawa, Japan, and Sardinia,  Italy, which also happen to be among the places  where people live the longest. 

However, in many industrialized countries, the  days of yore ended with the rise of suburbia. Cue  developer Del Webb, who introduced the now stereotypical version of a retirement community  back in 1960. Webb pioneered the active adult  concept, a self-sustaining ecosystem filled with  amenities like pools, parks and dining areas, with the opening of Sun City in Arizona. Its success led  Webb to replicate the concept in warm weather destinations across the US throughout the next  few decades.  

This is senior living at Del Webb
 (image courtesy Del Webb)

Due to the popularity of Webb’s projects, standard  home builders started getting into the act by the  mid-1970s. They began designing active adult com munities, age-segregated developments that included amenities like fitness centers, walking trails, swimming pools and social clubs. Not only were these  places age-segregated, but they were usually geographically segregated as well. To live in this type of  community, people often had to move far away from  where they spent most of their adult life.  

Credit: lifeover50.net
Today, though, this old-school Active Adult concept isn’t cutting it with younger Baby Boomers and  Gen Xers who don’t believe in the concept of being  put out to pasture upon retirement. The generation  that invented youth culture is now reinventing  what it means to grow old. They are retiring later,  aging younger and focusing on being active and  engaged with self-care and personal growth. 

That is why the concept of intentionally-designed, intergenerational real estate development may be on the cusp of altering the direction of the senior living

To read the entire trend, click here