Gluten-Free, A Lonely World At Times
Being gluten intolerant can put one in a lonely place. There you are, out with your friends at a favorite restaurant or on vacation, and everyone is ordering mindlessly from the menu…and you are not. They can’t decide over the eggplant parmigiana or the calzone, the shrimp tempura or the pork lo mein. Gluten hides in everything, not only in a piece of bread, but in bouillon cubes, spices, preservatives, condiments and more. After everyone has ordered, you are still anxiously trying to find something. You don’t wish to hold everyone else up, so you order grilled chicken, no seasoning with a dry salad, vinegar and oil on the side…sigh. No pleasure in that! The thrill is gone, and it worsens when everyone’s delicious tasting food arrives…insert another sigh here.
Food choices for most people don’t take much brain work. If you are crave it, you order it. That was me, my whole life, but it suddenly changed when I discovered I had an allergy to gluten and worse, egg. I was told I had an auto immune disease. My antibodies were attacking my thyroid. I opted for no medicine, under a doctor’s care, and instead changed my diet and took special supplements to heal my gut and remove the inflammation. This Italian New Yorker foodie was devastated! No pizza? No bagels? Are you kidding me!? When your entire life revolved around food, how on earth do you say good bye to foods that can never touch your lips again?! This sent me into a downward spiral of sadness. I felt lonely, and a bit odd. So after my little pity party, I got up, brushed myself off and seeked out gluten-free recipes and alternatives. On top of that, I needed to be grateful I didn’t have a worse disease, or loss of eye sight. Things could have been worse, so I just needed to deal with it. I will be blogging gluten-free recipe alternatives in the future too.
Most restaurants are starting to cater to those with allergies. Disney is definitely one of them, but let’s face it, we are not at Disney all the time. Some of us don’t live in a health-concious state like Oregon or California either. The key to being gluten-free is learning to not eat processed foods. Most of us, in our lifetime have eaten processed foods, foods taken far away from their natural state, like cold cuts or a bowl of cereal. So learning about eating whole healthy foods is key to a gluten-free and healthier lifestyle. It is also awesome losing weight along the way too and feeling better.
So here are some quick tips for eating out:
- Ask for a gluten-free/allergy menu.
- Ask server for options such as an iceburg lettuce wrap instead of a bun, instead of macaroni and cheese as a side, get a baked potato, corn tortillas vs flour tortillas, rice instead of pasta.
- Ask to speak to the chef/cook about seasonings, ingredients, explain your allergies (most reputable restaurants will be accommodating, if not, don’t eat there.)
- Bring your own condiments. (I always bring my own gluten-free soy sauce when out eating sushi.)
- When in doubt, order a whole food meal, ie: a protein with veggies, baked potato or salad, with only salt n pepper seasonings and oil n vinegar.
On my health journey, I had to educate myself a lot about better food choices and how many preservatives and certain foods can cause inflammation and other health issues. It made life for me much easier. I look at all this as a journey and new experience to find ways to live a healthier lifestyle. So no more pity parties for me. I just seek out better choices.
Here I am on my 50th birthday, celebrating with my spouse and pilot, Holly and our friends! (I am in the back, standing up in black, Holly in red.) We ate at Buca di Beppo. I called ahead of time, they had gluten-free pasta and let me know what sauces were safe for me to have. I brought a vegan, gluten-free chocolate birthday cake made from a local, vegan baker too from Vegan Vee! So in the end, while everyone ordered their delicious dishes, I too did the same. I enjoyed my seafood gluten-free pasta and soaked up the wonderful feeling, bite by bite, eating my chocolate cake! It was a perfect birthday…and I didn’t feel lonely at all.
September 22, 2016
August 11, 2016
July 19, 2016