One of my work teams decided to not do a cake, etc at the team meeting on the manager's 40th birthday. I thought the team just forgot, and I was feeling bad that I hadn't done more to put a little something together. It turns out that the team had talked about it and decided to forgo a party because of me. One of the team tried unsuccessfully to find a GF cake, and so rather than getting a regular cake and figuring I could deal with it, they decided to bag it altogether. Argh.
We flirted with the idea of going to a place we'd never tried for our anniversary: Noodi on McDade. Jenn had seen something on-line that seemed to imply that they might be able to accomodate gluten free and vegetarian dining. When we got there, no one was immediately available for us to talk to, and there was nothing on the menu that gave us a sign of their ability to do the GF thing. I got cold feet and we left, chosing instead to go to our usual sushi place, which is nice, but disappointing because we wanted to do something new.
Jenn had a great idea at dinner. The way that some restaurants quietly declare their kosher status -- with a little sticker on the door -- would be a great way for restaurants to declare their ability to accommodate a GF diet. No one need freak out. Regular diners could proceed as usual, and people like me could tell at a glance that I would likely have a positive experience at the place. I will explore this idea further.
I gave up chocolate after an especially out-of-control holiday truffle fundraiser season when I worked at MANNA in 1994. It was clear to me then that I did not have the ability to regulate my chocolate intake and that I needed to just declare it to be off-limits. At the time, white chocolate was not readily available in the world, and I seemed to be able to keep a grip on myself in its presence, so I decided that white chocolate didn't "count."
Now that it is a suspect food, I'm feeling a bit deprived. I need to figure out a readily available gluten-free treat. Just knowing that I CAN get one, even if my weight-manager brain waves me off of it, would make me feel a lot better.
So I ate a little more of that trail mix today -- maybe half a cup, no biggie. I felt very celiac-y within the hour. The mix has white chocolate chips, and now I read that some white chocolate has flour, some doesn't. I got this stuff from Nuts to You, no labels. The place is probably the poster site for gluten contamination.
Lessons of the day #1: Don't eat food from Nuts to You.
Lesson of the day #2: Don't trust white chocolate. Rats.
I over-indulged in GF crackers, hummus, and trail mix consisting of raw nuts, dried fruits and white chocolate chips on Monday. I felt pretty lousy the rest of that day and into Tuesday. Now it’s Thursday and I’m still feeling off, GI-wise. I’m not sure which of those items was the cause, or none of them. Since Tuesday I’ve been sticking to salads or veggies with legumes and fruit, with a piece of amaranth flat bread thrown in yesterday. Hmm.
New food: Amaranth flat bread from the Fair Food Farm Stand in Reading Terminal Market. It was different, but good, and would probably serve as a nice pita-replacer.
I went to see the nutritionist yesterday. The experience was less than satisfying. First of all, I hate it when I tell people I'm vegetarian and they continue to talk about meat. For example, she noted that I should be sure to tell wait staff at restaurants to please ask the kitchen to prepare my bunless hamburger on a part of the grill that has been used to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Sure, it's solid advice, and I can extend that to "don't let them fix my eggs where they make french toast and pancakes," but still. It just makes me think she wasn't really listening to me.
Her answers to my questions:
Do I need to be really worried about cross-contamination with utensils? No, just wash them well. (I still have doubts because so much of what I have read says to take great care in this area.)
What about supplements? Take a good multivitamin and take extra calcium and vitamin D. What about B vitamins? Oh, just make sure that they are in your multivitamin. (In my opinion, I get enough calcium from leafy greens and vitamin D from the sun, at least right now, but that I have no visible source of B vitamins.)
Recommendation for a brand of supplements that are GF? Oh, just research it on-line.
What about foods the TJ's foods that say that they are made with care but that they make no promises? Whole Foods has a better selection.
Anything you recommend? There's a really great cereal. Ammar... something in a big green bag. Really tasty. We got it at Whole Foods for my father.
Any other advice? Breakfasts out are hard. You should take your own box of gluten-free cold cereal when you travel.
In the venn diagram of my vegetarian-GF-booze-free chocolate-free eat-to-live diet, I think I will have to become my own expert.
My partner was telling me on Sunday how bad she feels for me that I won't ever again be able to just stop somewhere and pick up a bagel. I feel bad about that too. I'm realizing that it will be hard to find restaurants that are gluten-aware enough that I won't worry about cross contamination. But, as incurable diseases go, celiac is definitely WAY better than some others. I expect that I will become quite savvy at planning and packing 99% of my meals away from home, and that it will just be my new normal. Right now, I'm having a hard time being enthusiastic about that.
So I've read lots about things that would help in reducing gluten contamination in my life. Here's a random list of things that have been suggested or that have occurred to me:
G-Free Diet (a book I sat on the floor and read at Borders yesterday)
Tiffin -- stainless steel lunch tote and accessories
A GF designated cutting board, spatulas, spoons, etc.
Maybe my own shelf in the kitchen?
I do wonder about the communal kitchen towel and how the omni-present bread crumbs on the counter might infiltrate my system somehow. Gluten is very very sneaky, apparently.