Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I hated gluten today.

The last few weeks have been a challenge.  Gluten free life is difficult, but I have made it easy by mainly cooking for myself.  I have also become accustomed to the food establishments in the area and I know what I can get at each.  Well, with all of my travels and special events, I was out of control of my diet for most of the last few weeks. 

Before the staff retreat the staff and their wives were awesome about trying to accomodate me so I could eat with them, and I was incredibly appreciative, but after multiple conversations several days in a row I just wanted to be normal and not needy.  I hated gluten.

I didn't know the places in Kokomo or Indianapolis that had an awareness and even though I was cautious, I still managed to get some gluten, and that wasn't the worst part.  The worst part was that at every restaurant and every meal I had to bring up my "issues" with the server.  Each time the server gave me a funny face.  Each time they tried to help me order, and each time I felt worse and worse because I HATE to be needy or require special attention.  I hated gluten, but I survived, and my insides are almost back to normal.

Today some of my co-workers were going out to lunch.  I was invited to join them at the chinese restaurant and because it has been so long since I touched base with them I joined in.  And then I remembered how difficult it was to eat at a chinese restaurant, and I knew that most of the time I can order steamed broccoli and steamed rice, but I really didn't want to pay for steamed broccoli or rice.  I hated gluten in that moment.  I wanted to spend time with my friends but I didn't want the hassle.  I chose the hassle.  I hated that yet again, my meals were not simple, and that yet again I had to explain to someone (who didn't speak fluent english) about my problems.  I hated gluten today.

I took my dining card, which has the description of Celiac's disease on it and presented it to the girl at the counter.  She read it, and said, "there is nothing here for you."  Including the steamed broccoli and rice because of cross-contamination.  I really hated gluten in that moment.

I wanted to cry.  Not because I was hungry.  Not because she wasn't friendly.  Not because my friends were gonna eat and I couldn't, but because I just wanted to be normal.  I just wanted to walk into a restaurant and order what I wanted off of the menu without having to be a hassle.  I hated gluten in that moment and sat at the table and participated in conversation.

After they ate a bit I walked down the strip mall to a place I know has gluten free food.  I was able to get something, but everything on the menu containing gluten seemed to be what I craved, and again I hated gluten because my choices were limited.  It also meant another explanation to another server with another strange look at my request.  I will say, that I did splurge and get the chocolate shake because quite frankly, I was needing it, and it was gluten free.

I hated gluten today, but I am starting to get over it.  As I look at my Thanksgiving menu I am excited about the new "gluten free" menu items like sesame asparagus, maple glazed carrots and yes, even a pumpkin pie that sits on my counter cooling as I type.  I hate gluten, but I am learning there are new foods out there that I can enjoy fully, and look forward to learning about them.


Rebecca said...

I feel for you! I have food allergies, and while gluten isn't one of them, corn, eggs, wheat and dairy, are. I didn't realize how many things had corn syrup in them until I had to start looking - everything from spaghetti sauce to candy. I actually do quite well with ethnic food (other than Chinese) - lots of flavor and lots of choices since they use alternatives such as rice flour. I've been living with it for a few years now and it does get easier as you learn which cookies, sauces, spices, cereals, etc. that you can eat. Sometimes I forget about the differences since I have my own stuff available at home and then realize how 'alternative' I am when I travel. Although that feeling of being high maintenance when ordering out or eating at friends' houses hasn't gone away yet, mentioning allergies does seem to help a little bit. Adjusting to my new diet (I hate to call it that since it isn't a choice) hasn't been easy but after you get in a routine it does get better and you just might find some yummy new foods along the way!

andrea said...

I love you.