I went to bed last night with gluten on the brain. It didn’t help me sleep at all. May is Celiac Awareness Month and just last night, I saw a post from the glutenista on Facebook about Starbucks’ new light frappuccino base having gluten in it. This did not sit well with me at all. I found a link to the blog specifically about the new base and most people posting comments about it don’t like it at all. It definitely makes me like Starbucks even less. I was mad when they took the decaf option away from the frappuccino which just sent me home to make myself a much cheaper and healthier one for myself. This was over a year ago. It’s not a place I go often. It’s more like a place I go when I want to treat myself to something small. I’ll be treating myself to it even less. In reading a blog post about the run around that was given by Starbucks to a woman with Celiac when she was trying to get answers, I got pretty livid. This is base is fairly new in the general market. It was rolled out on the first day of Celiac Awareness Month. Imagine that. I searched the Starbucks website for ingredient information. They have lots of nutritional information, but no ingredient information. This is one of my needs as a person with true dietary restrictions. If someone can’t tell what is in something, I’m not going to have it. I may not get as sick as people with Celiac when I have gluten, but I’m fairly non-functional and I hate it. I attempted to leave a comment and question on the Starbucks idea blog where others were commenting on how they didn’t like it or mentioning their need to stay away from gluten, but my post got eaten. I’ll just show them the power of voting with the wallet.
I mention this because gluten really is in a lot of things that we don’t even think about. I taught a class up in Covington and the subject of eating healthy came up and I brought up my sensitivity to gluten. They were all astonished at everything it is in when I started listing things. They were going to invite me to stay and have lunch with them but it was a gluten laden lunch…mostly processed food. I may have posted this list before from Celiac.com but I want to share it again. This is the Unsafe Foods List. It is certainly daunting to look at and try to remember.
With this new restriction that I really don’t have a choice about, comes a whole new way to eat out. There are the things I know to avoid, like bread, creamy soups, shoyu (soy sauce), and any baked good made with flour. We took my mother-in-law to The Cheesecake Factory for brunch on Sunday. I pretty much knew what I could and couldn’t have since it is a restaurant I’m very familiar with. When dessert time came, I decided that it being a special occasion, I would indulge and ask for the crust to be cut off. I got the idea from my friend, Bunchkin, who asks for the same to be done at the one she frequents. My server was so concerned about my gluten issue, that he came back a few minutes later telling me how concerned he was and offered me the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake which has a flourless chocolate cake crust and a side of raspberry puree (I had ordered the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake). I was so impressed with the lengths he went to make sure I stayed gluten-free that we decided he was getting a good tip. After that trip, I got an email from one of the bloggers I follow who is sugar and gluten-free. She put together some tips for how to eat out with diet restrictions. A few of the tips are things I already practice, but the calling ahead tip was something I hadn’t thought of. Good restaurants and servers will go to great lengths to accommodate you if they want to have you keep coming back, and if they can win you over with you telling all your friends how great they are, even better for them. I hate to ask tons of questions, but the fact is, if I don’t know, I have to ask or face being sick. I tend to stick to really simple things on the menu to avoid having to ask lots of questions. With Amy’s suggestion, I can call ahead and eliminate the need for feeling like a pest by asking so many questions, especially questions the servers may not have a clue about.
I recently subscribed to the Gluten-free Cooking School blog. If you are new to being gluten-free, it’s a great blog to help you start out. I get emails from her daily and they start from pretty much the basics about choosing more whole foods than processed, pointing out the big gluten laden foods and then the healthy gluten-free foods that you can snack on easily. Granted I know a lot of what she is sending in these first emails I’m getting, but I still read them all the way through and think to myself the entire time, “This is great!”
I also follow The Daily Dietribe, ATX Gluten-Free, and glutenista. I get emails from the first two, but I also follow all three on Facebook. I also follow Tropical Traditions on Facebook. They have a lot of gluten-free recipes that they will post, but not all of them are gluten-free. Most are coconut based, whether it’s coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut milk, or shredded coconut. So if you don’t like coconut, it’s not really the site for you. My husband loves the protein bar recipe I got from them. I had one with me at the training I was at last week. I was eating it during our break while talking to the woman next to me and she asked me for the recipe because it smelled so good!
I said it last week, I may have hated this food sensitivity when I discovered it, but I know I’m much better without it in my food. My next challenge will be what to eat when we go to Chicago next weekend with my husband’s chado friends for a seminar. One of them is already talking about pizza. Ah, yes. Italian food and gluten. Wish me luck!