Friends and Kale Chips

You go on a road trip for a vacation with a multitude of friends and you pack a picnic lunch to eat at a rest stop along the way.

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You pull into your first stop. A retreat with other gluten-free friends who arrived just minutes before you. You are so tired from the ten hour drive but excited to be with friends that you forget to take pictures of the Oven Steamed Shrimp and Great Salad you had for dinner. But that’s okay because all your gluten-free food blogger friends forgot, too, and they were noshing on the kale chips you brought with you like there was no tomorrow. If you can’t share homemade kale chips with friends, who can you share them with?

You wake the next morning to coffee (not in a soup mug this year) and Babycakes NYC doughnuts (they are now completely gluten-free so your previous rant no longer applies to them, but still applies to spelt) carried by your awesome friend through several mass and public transit systems from New York City to King George, Virginia.

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You spend a lazy morning chatting with your friends (and you learn all about Earthing from one of them who is sharing her Earthing mat with all of you to try) before you all finally get it together and head out to Fredricksburg, Virginia. You head to the visitor’s center to see which tour guide is doing the next tour then decide to walk around instead because it’s the not-so-good-guy. You walk around in the light rain and don’t bother with huddling under an umbrella like your friends. As a result, all the pictures your friends take later is of you and your hot mess head of hair. You find some Christmas presents at boutique shops as well as a bottle of Black Dog wine which you post to social media and your Filipino relatives all have a good laugh. Then you all duck into Hyperion Espresso and discover they have rice milk as a dairy-free alternative, not just soy milk. You do little flips on the inside and decide to get a Chai Latte with rice milk.

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You return a little beat so you lie down for a bit to let your adrenals recover. When you get up two more friends have just arrived to join the party. Before you know it, it’s dinner time and it looks like there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

gfe retreat 5But too many cooks can be a good thing when you have amazing food like Guaco Tacos (with venison for us carnivores) and Vegetarian Hash.

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Your wonderful dinner is followed by two flourless chocolate cakes made by one of the friends that arrived before dinner. With a choice between Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Chestnut, how do you choose? You go with one of your favorite flavor combinations, Chocolate Mint, because it is safe for you while everyone else has a little sliver of both.

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The next day, You go on a walk with some of your friends after first breakfast. Then some of your friends make some gorgeous smoothies for their second breakfast after the walk.

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You head out with a few of your friends to do some shark tooth hunting. But, shhhhh, you’re not really shark tooth hunting. *wink wink* You’re picking up shells instead for art journaling, taking pictures of nature, and digging your feet into the sand. Your feet have missed being in sand. Aahhhhhhhhh.

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After re-energizing with your feet in the sand, you return and join the bustle in the kitchen to make ice cream for dessert while other goodies are being made like Scallion Cashew Vegan Cheese, Vegan Smoked Paprika Cheese (which you’ve been wanting to try since your friend posted the recipe and you’re silently squeeing inside because you’re with your friend and she’s making it herself), and Raw Vegan Zucchini Noodles with a raw creamy sauce). Your friend who brought the gluten-free doughnuts also brought her own homemade Raw Carrot Sandwich Bread which is laid out with the spread of food for the night, but you accept everyone’s assessment on the wonderfulness of her raw breads because they aren’t safe for you, so you pass and put it down on your list of things to try when sunflower seeds are safe again. You stop for a moment to take pictures because you can’t resist a friend’s beautiful smile. Your hostess returns with crab for dinner and you help set up the tables on the screened-in patio for the feast. Everyone fixes their plates and you have the leftover venison from the Guaco Tacos since you can’t have crab and your body will scream at you without the animal protein. But you can have the Crab Claws, so you don’t really feel like you’re missing out on the crab.

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Later that evening, one of your friends breaks out her art journaling supplies and you scamper downstairs for your journal because you were anxiously awaiting this activity. While making pages and playing with paint, you realize all those little scraps of papers that you wanted to save but really didn’t know what to do with can go in an art journal. You get even more excited about art journaling and can’t wait to do more of it at home. Secretly, you develop an infatuation with washi tape and buy some the next time you are at Target. You decide to leave the crowded table to get some of the Java Chunk Ice Cream you made earlier then your friend steals your bowl so she can take a picture. You take a picture of the ice cream still in the ice cream maker bowl instead.

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The next morning, Bastian, the Norwegian Forest cat, is coaxed out of hiding for a little bit. Another friend arrives for a few hours and you are happy to see her smiling face. She leads you all in yin yoga again and starts off with positions to help with adrenal fatigue. After everyone else leaves to return to their respective homes, the three of you left have lunch after a new salad is made with Tessemae’s All Natural salad dressing, (the next day one of the friends you spent the weekend with will post a recipe using the very same dressing for her Lemon Garlic Chicken).

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Sadly, Monday comes around and you must pack up your car and head to your next destination. You enjoyed the wonderful weekend with friends and didn’t realize how much just getting out of town was needed. While loading up the car, Sonny sits in protest because he doesn’t want you to leave.

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Cast of Friends:

Shirley – gluten-free easily

Heather – Gluten-Free Cat

Valerie – City|Life|Eats

Cheryl – Gluten-Free Goodness, Cheryl’s recap

Linda – Gluten-Free Homemaker

Andrea – Rockin’ Gluten-Free

Denise – Denise SanFilippo

Jennifer – Yogi Extraordinaire

All Apologies

PathVacations and getting out of town requires planning and food preparation when you have food allergies and intolerances. Food you need on hand for your road trip/flight. Food you need to carry with you when you’re out and about. Meals when you are away.

My first weekend was with some of my fellow gluten-free food bloggers. It was a great weekend, but I was struck by my friends apologizing to me for making or bringing something I could not eat because of my multiple allergies. My friends, of all people, know what it is like to accept not being able to eat what everyone else is eating. There were a handful of things brought/prepared that I could not have. I was not upset about it. There was plenty of food for me to eat.

My next few days was with friends in Washington, D.C. There is a chain of Italian ice/gelato shops nearby that they love. I passed on it pretty sure that the gelato was not safe and unsure of the Italian ice. I would rather be safe than sorry, and I really was full from dinner. They sat in their living room eating theirs while we were talking telling me how horrible it was and apologizing for eating something I could not have in front of me. They finally stopped the apologizing when I told them they don’t have to, several times. A few days later they were apologizing again because Jerm came home from work with cupcakes a co-worker brought in to celebrate his birthday early.

The tail end was spent with another friend in Manassas and her husband. I fixed dinner the first night. She and I went out the next night while he was at a draft for his fantasy football league. The last night, the hubs cooked. I was lying down in the guest room after returning from the Renaissance Festival (adrenals needed some recovery time). I already let them know I would make my own salad dressing because theirs had soy and wheat in it. When I finally came down about an hour later, salmon was being cedar planked (oh, how I love thee, cedar plank salmon), veggies were made, and the hubs came to me with questions. He bought a dressing at the store and asked if it was okay. It was. Next he handed me a box for a gluten-free bread mix for approval. He already had it mixed and ready to go and I had to let him down easy. There was whey and a couple of other milk derivatives in it. He was apologetic several times and I had to keep telling him it was okay. I stopped counting after three apologies that night.

I was also struck by the offer to cater to me after the apology during the first weekend. I have eleven different food allergies/intolerances. Had I not been tolerating yeast from my allergy treatment a month ago, it would have been twelve. That twelfth, like gluten, takes a lot of different foods off the table. It is extremely doable. I know my friend’s hubs had good intentions the last weekend when he bought that bread mix to try to make me feel included. I’m pretty sure he bought it on a whim while he was at the store. I do appreciate when people want me to feel included, but my multiple food allergies make it difficult and I don’t expect to be catered to since they are difficult for people who aren’t used to food allergies.

I am used to my life riddled with food allergies. I am used to passing on foods I once loved. I am used to bringing food with me to make sure I have enough to eat when I’m at someone’s house not used to dealing with food allergies. Not cheating with these Debi-allergenic foods when I discover them is integral to my recovery and health and journey. I remove these things then move on with life as if it was always that way.

I don’t expect anyone to apologize to me for having something I can’t have in my presence. If you can have something, by all means, eat it without guilt while you’re with me. I don’t expect anyone to cater to me. I understand that we all want family and close friends to make an effort to include us and our food needs. However, my food needs are such that it is hard for Chaz to keep up and we live in the same home. It is easier for me to prepare a meal and take it with me to a party than to try to get the host to make things without cross-contamination.

Go on, no apologies or catering.

Unless it’s my birthday.