Monday, June 9, 2008

For Jeffrey...

So one of our cantors at church has recently gone gluten-free. He was putting two-and-two together and made four. He feels much better without wheat. Its just amazing how you can have an intolerance, allergy, or celiac all your life without realizing.

We had quite a conversation yesterday, I lent him a couple of books, steered him towards a wonderful blog, and talked a little bit about everyday life gluten-free.

He already looks better, no more circles under his eyes... (although maybe he's just a party animal, and with college being out, no more parties).

But for him, I want to write a little primer on living gluten-free:

Most health-food stores have gluten-free lists, some have sections. There is an odd blend of foods available gf, not a lot of whole-grain, and in fact a lot of junque food. There are pies, cookies, even donuts. There isn't a lot in single-serving packages, which pisses me off. There are times I want ONE cookie. Good luck. There are a few items which are whole grain, which are decent. And Whole Paycheck and Trader Joes both have good return policies, if you hate something.

Keep your eyes open. I found gnocchi at W.F. that is gluten-free, in the refrigerated section, nect to all the gluten-filled pastas. I found gf almond torte at Ikea. I found gluten in cheese, in a cheddar with apricots, I think it was. Always read your labels.

To start off with, for gf baking, get a bag of plain gf flour mix. Maybe not Bob's Red Mill, because that is too beany for me, but there are lots of options. Then start branching out into the other little bags.

At receptions, get to the cheese first, before everyone has cut into it, sprinkled cracker crumbs everywhere... There is usually a fruit plate, veggie platter, and plain cheese. Most chocolate things at receptions involve wheat. If in doubt, ask. And lets face it, you won't be able to drink as much because there won't be as much in your stomach.

Dinners out at restaurants...if you know where you are going, call first and let them know. If not, tell the waiter as soon as he/she brings the menu. Try to go at off-peak times. Leave a BIG tip. Go to smaller places, not chain restaurants. There is more room for error at chain restaurants because the chances are that everything is shipped to them, and they will be more rushed/less careful. That being said, there are more and more places that do have gluten-free menus, and more places are training their chefs to be aware of special needs.

I sometimes pack gf rolls so that I know I'll be able to eat something. That was what I did for my reunion. I packed a gf roll, and some cookies. I got a salad with egg salad on top, a yogurt, and my gf roll. For dinner, unfortunately, was pasta. I loaded up on appetizers, salad, and dessert. You do end up eating a lot of veggies and cheese when you go out. Just be aware of this.

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