From the free gf snacks I got at the eat-a-thon, I've already eaten one little bag of granola and a package of mini-doughnuts. That's like, 400 or so calories extra that I just didn't need. Temptation is great and I tend to be weak in the late afternoons and after dinner.
I went to the big gf eat-a-thon. I ate too much. They had signs outside the building that said "Eat everything." I'm afraid I took it a bit too literally. Ugh.
At any rate, it was cool to be able to have a bunch of treats and try or get samples of snacks that are too expensive to take a chance on in the stores. I came home with two loaves of Rudi's bread (yes, their is both Udi's AND Rudi's gf breads), three little packs of Carolina brown rice (okay, I didn't really need free samples of the same kind of rice currently in my pantry, but what the heck), loads of add-hot-water rice noodle things, many samples of granolas and granola bars, some cookies and chips, and some fun swag: bag clippy-deals, magnitized note pads, a pen in the shape of a pretzel, and other must-haves. I also came away with a collection of menus from restaurants in the area that make a point of having gluten-free options. One of my goals was to make sure I got my $50 worth.
My dream of having everyone there already get the gf thing was dashed, however. I sat at a table with two people who had no clue about celiac and I spent the better part of 20 minutes trying to explain it to them. They were there because they know someone who works for the non-profit that runs the event. There was a lot that was not okay about the whole conversation, but I found I didn't really mind doing the educating. I just thought I wouldn't have to.
Glutino's brand cornbread was okay and kind of weird. I substituted in plain almond milk for the buttermilk (who has buttermilk sitting around?), and used I Can't Believe it's Not Butter for the SIX TABLESPOONS of butter required (I don't use butter so much, so we have a tub of the ICBINB stuff to be the house's gluten-free spread). The batter was really thin -- I was afraid that it wouldn't firm up, but it did. I made corn muffins. They didn't rise much at all, and they didn't get brown on the top. They were kind of dense, but I liked them well enough to eat three in a sitting. I froze all but two of the remaining ones so that I wouldn't just keep shoveling them in. I think the shoveling was more about wanting to eat and eat and eat, rather than a reflection of the tastiness of the product. Got to watch that.
Today is the Appetite for Awareness event in Philadelphia. It's a celiac-awareness fest, with exhibitors, demos, tastings, give aways, special guests and more. I feel like I did (well, maybe not quite) when I was getting ready for my first gay pride festival. I have that level of anticipation that everyone there will get me without having to explain or become the poster child for increasing awareness. I'll be part of the majority, rather than one in 133. I have high expectations. I hope it's as great as all that.
In New Orleans I started smelling food I can't eat. It began with biegnets. Yesterday it was the pizza Jenn made for the boys. Today at a work meeting (with colleagues I know well, so they didn't think I was too weird) I sniffed a tray of cookies not once but four times. I liked it. I wasn't tempted to eat any. It let me feel like I could enjoy them without causing myself personal injury. I'll compare it to sitting in the driver's seat of a car I'll never drive.
No big surprise, but it's tough to have a gf vegetarian meal in the French Quarter. We did find a place that had a rice and tamato sauce thing right on the menu, and one night we had the classic, time-honored French Quarter tradition of having sushi (soy sauce-free, for me.) I enjoyed beignets olfactorily and avoided getting a snootful of powdered sugar. And i came home with a touristy kit to make red beans and rice, so I have a little bit of that NOLA flavor yet to sample.
In reading another book, I learned that most of the diseases related to celiac decrease in likelihood of occurance after five years on a gf diet. All, really, except for cancer. Yikes! My chances of getting non-hodgkins lymphoma are 70 times higher than that of the non-celiac population. It stays bad even on a gf diet. I hate the thought of living such a health-conscious life and I might have to deal with cancer anyway. Or maybe my health conscious life will keep me from developing it. That's what I'll go with.
Last Saturday we had the extreme fortune of being able to hang out with my distant cousin Sara, who is also a great friend. She brought me a very tasty gluten-free cookie from cookiesforme.com and brought me some TVP because she read my blog post about my family having faux meatballs with their spaghetti and me having unadorned red sauce, which was good, but I had faux meatball envy. I knew about TVP, but in my readings about celiac had come to believe that TVP was glutenous by definition. Lo and behold, I should have realized Bob's Red Mill would have a gluten-free TVP. Yay, Sara!
Then we all went to lunch at Olive Garden. I had read on-line that they have a gluten-free menu, and was curious to try and see what my experience would be. I'm pleased to report that while the vegetarian gluten-free pasta offering wasn't thrilling it was a) vegetarian, b) gluten-free, and c) not-cheesy. I had salad and requested no croutons and dressing on the side, thinking that they'd bring me my own little salad. Instead, they served the table salad with croutons and dressing on the side. Sara noted (and I agree) that OG tends to use too much dressing on their salads anyway, so it suited her just fine.
In Sara's honor, I added TVP to the lentil, kale and veggie soup I made that evening. It was delish!
Thanks for caring and being a loyal reader, Sara!
New respect for people who can write an interesting blog every day.
Jenn and I ventured out to Pei Wei last weekend. They advertise a GF menu. We called in advance and asked if a gluten-free vegetarian would have an easy time finding a good dinner, and were assured that it would be fine.
We arrived, and the only item on their gf menu that was also vegetarian was the edamame, if prepared in water, not broth. I started to make a little bit of a scene, which prompted the young man at the register to run for help. In the end we learned that their tofu isn't gluten-free, which pretty much meant I would need to stick to rice and veggies. In the end, I ordered brown rice with steamed red peppers, broccoli, and onions and got some packets of gf tamarind sauce to top it with. It was tasty if not thrilling, and REALLY cheap -- $.50 for the rice and $2.50 for the veggies. Jenn noted that we could splurge next time and I could order a FOURTH vegetable. Crazy, I know. Oh, and we split the edamame.