Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coaching you on a Gluten-Free Diet...

This evening I went to a restraunt where they had gluten-free entrees.  I ordered three entrees off of the gluten-free menu for the kids and a salad for myself off of the gluten-free menu that the waiter had given me.  When the meal arrived, I (for some strange reason) asked the waiter if the pasta for the kids was made out of rice.  The waiter said "oh...you didn't specify that you wanted rice noodles".  "Oh" I answered..."what are these made of?"  "Are they gluten-free?" The waiter then said (and I'm not making this up) "They're not gluten-free...you needed to specify that you wanted rice noodles."

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

I order something DIRECTLY from the GLUTEN-FREE menu and expect GLUTEN-FREE items will arrive at my table.  No wonder I still get sick occassionally.  If I hadn't asked that question, and had taken a bite of the kids meal (thinking it was gluten-free) then I wouldn't be typing this and I may have had to call someone for help since I may have been too weak to drive myself and the kids home. Those noodles they served us were WHEAT Noodles!  Seriously...and the waiter was the one who had handed me the gluten-free menu I had requested, took the order and then personally brought us the plate of wheat noodles.  YIKES!!!  (No worries...In the 10 years I've been on a gluten-free diet I've never had a waiter so ignorant.) 

What if my children had gluten-intollerance or wheat sensitivities (which my two oldest show signs of)... Can you picture a Mom getting a meal she thinks is gluten-free, for her child, and then being frustrated with that child when they become tired, irritable or angry after eating.  It's hard for an adult to drag through the day when they are "glutenized" (as we call it), imagine a child trying to cope when no nourishment is making it to their body or brain!  It's really hard to cope!!!

You can usually find Laura Bars, Raw Nuts or Seeds, and water in my vehicle at all times.  Since I had been in a hurry to meet my husband to get something notarized before the bank closed, I hadn't prepared like I should have, and hadn't replenished my bags that usually have the snacks in them before rushing out the door.  So, when everything took longer than I had expected and everyone was crying that they were hungry I took the risk...I ate somewhere where I had to trust the person preparing the meal for us.

Years ago, when I was dating my husband, he took me over to his Grandma's in Tooele several times.  She always offered us food (assuring me it was gluten-free) and I ALWAYS got sick!  The last time I went over there, before she passed away, I had politely declined the offer she made to serve me something.  After she begged and pleaded, I finally consented. I remember taking in a large breath of air and letting out a "sigh" at the thoughts of giving up an entire day of "life" in order to make my future Grandma happy.  So, with resolve NOT to get sick, I got up from the chair, followed Grandma into the kitchen and SURVEYED the process....it wasn't long before I discovered the problem.  AH HA!!!!! She was cooking my husband's flour covered meat in the same pan as my supposively "gluten free" meat.  She was using the same utinsels and the same spatula.  Good grief!!!  I gave her a quick Gluten-Free 101 cooking lesson and that day I didn't get sick.  You have to be really careful who you trust to cook for you.  Sometimes we assume that people understand the sensitivity levels, but most people are really quite clueless.

Some Celiac's use gloves or masks when making NON gluten-free meals.  I thought this was rediculous when I heard about it at the National Celiac Convention in SLC, UT many years ago.  But when I kept getting sick on accident I had some testing done and was told that I was sensitive to "airborne" gluten as well.  So, every time I was grinding up wheat for my kids in the Vitamix and was breathing in the flour dust in the air, it was making me sick.  I'd get the kids dressed for church, make them breakfast and then because my husband was active with the military, I'd call my wonderful babysitter to please take the kids to church for me...I had somehow gotten sick.  That mystery took many, many months to figure out. Crazy, crazy...
So, I keep going back to eating food that is NATURALLY GLUTEN-FREE.  I've been asked to teach classes on health and wellness with an emphasis on Gluten-Free diets.  I enjoy teaching people about how to become well and to prevent other - more serious illnesses by changing their diet.
Welcome to my Shack...my wonderful, not entirely perfect....work in progress....Celiac Shack.

Here you will learn how to be well 99.99% of the time.  I can't protect you from the stupidity of waiters if you order something gluten free and then they serve you something that's not gluten-free, or from Grandma's that cook food for you and contaminate it....hahaha.  For this reason, and for other countless blunders that happen when we rely on others to prepare our food for us, I cannot guarantee you will be well 100% of the time :)  That is my goal...but I can't put that in writing.

For those of you who simply want to be healthy...please continue reading my posts.  There are so many illnesses that people are able to recover from by changing to a naturally gluten-free (not GF processed food) diet. 

Good luck to you!!!

-Steff E

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