Living gluten-free is sometimes a pain in the, um, backside. I’ve done really well since I realized that it was gluten that was making me sick. I’ve researched, shopped and avoided everything I could. I found out that modified food starch is actually wheat, unless it specifies that it’s corn, but that companies don’t have to label it as such. Which means a whole lot of foods are off the table. I have accepted it but was thrilled when I found a bottle of BBQ sauce that uses modified corn starch instead of the wheat variety. I figured that I’d have to either live without BBQ (one of my most favorite foods) or make my own sauce. I’ve done that with so-so results.
The wild card in this whole thing is eating out. I don’t eat out often but when I do I usually check the restaurant out online first. I know I can have a chicken Caesar salad at Panera or black bean soup. I know that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten free pizza. Steak at Chili’s is a-okay. I haven’t ever checked out Cracker Barrel. Mostly because we haven’t been there since last spring…before I cut gluten out of my diet.
I had a get-together there this past Saturday with the gals from my Life Group. I had a weeks notice, which is plenty of time, but I also had a really busy week. I hadn’t even decided that I was going to go until Thursday and I spent the whole morning on Saturday talking to Travis. He and I tend to do that on Saturdays. I rushed out the door a few minutes late and I never even thought about checking the menu. Big.Mistake.
I had a great time talking with our Life Group gals and ordered a grilled chicken salad. Those are usually safe. Any place I’ve ever checked has had a “safe” grilled chicken salad. But not this time. By that evening I had a stomach ache, the next day I was feeling weak and winded and my sense of taste was gone and by yesterday my body was in full revolt mode. I haven’t been that miserable in quite some time. It makes me think that it was more than just exposure to something like modified food starch and was actually cross contamination with some wheat flour. It makes me wonder how I ever survived eating bread.
I’m not down on Cracker Barrel. I like going there and not checking it out was totally my fault. I also didn’t tell the waitress that I can’t have gluten. I hate, really, really hate having to make a fuss. Travis doesn’t. He tells people I’m allergic to gluten without hesitating. Last time we went to Chili’s he told the server and the manager even came to our table to let us know that the server had informed him of the gluten allergy (I don’t think it’s an allergy but that’s the term that people take really seriously) and that they were really careful. I was impressed. It was the Chili’s in Cool Springs if anyone is interested. Anyway, I didn’t make a fuss and I’m still struggling today. The thing is though, it’s not just about me. If I’m out because I accidentally ate something, that means that Travis is going to have to stop by the store to buy soup because my stomach refuses to have anything other than soup or gluten-free oatmeal or toast (gf, of course). After he’s worked all day. That means that the girls and I are doing the smallest amount of school work possible because I have to lie down. Can I say that it really pisses me off?
I went out to eat with my parents a few weeks ago and as everyone else is ordering ice cream brownies and fried cheese, my Dad just said “It’s not like other people who break a diet and just gain a couple of pounds, you actually get sick.” And that’s it. I’m not tempted to eat regular bread, no matter how good it smells. I’m not tempted by regular cake or my favorite potato chips (they have malted barley flour), my favorite ice cream or any of my other favorite food things. It’s kind of like putting your hand on a hot burner. You only have to do it once to realize it’s a really bad idea. I have accepted that the bread I eat will be crumbly and chicken noodle soup will be a bit grainy. Fine. I want to be well more than I want to eat any type of food. It makes eating much less fun. So be it.