Prompt: Gluten Free the early days…
To be honest, I don’t remember much from those days. I remember being in my first solo apartment, one that I was responsible for all by myself. It was my third or fourth year of teaching. Money was tight as it has been my entire life but Friday’s were my days to treat myself. I made it through the work week and still had my dream job. So Dominos and a six back of cider from the grocery store were treat.
My nephew had been diagnosed with gluten issues a few years before. So when I ended up getting sick every Saturday, something began to click. Every Friday, I had a whole small pizza and every Saturday and sometimes Sundays, I was sick.
The thought that gluten might to be to blame for the tummy troubles.
And it was.
It was also responsible for other health issues I was having at the time. I began to feel better the more I avoided gluten.
Those early days were filled with attempts to find a gluten free replacement for all of my normal meals. Pasta was probably the hardest. (try pasta made from more than one ingredient like corn and rice or make it yourself) Pizza, I’ve found good versions of and oh my god what were you thinking serving this to human beings versions. I still find gluten free food that tastes like card board and people who make it who aren’t gluten free that are way to proud of their nasty creations. They think that gluten free foods are a trend that will bring them business and don’t care what it tastes like.
The biggest thing that I learned was to go without replacements and find new ways of eating. More whole foods and less processed food, even gluten free ones makes me feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat replacements but not as often. I love making gluten free treats for people: especially, my non-gluten free friends. The reason I do this is because too many times over the last decade I have been quietly eating my lunch and had friends comment on my food. How it is bland and tastes worse than cardboard, please note that I never let them taste my lunches. And I always loathed these encounters where people felt that it was necessary to have made fun of the food that I am eating while I am eating it.
It still happens.
My allergy is one of the reasons, I love to cook for people. First, I don’t get sick when I cook for myself. I control the ingredients and the cooking environment. Second, the people that I cook for gain an understanding of what is possible in gluten-free cooking and they learn that the food I fuel my body and soul with is good and nourishing. It also helps when they ask for seconds.
Food is a huge part of culture. When your culture is focused on eating food in mass quantities and scoffs at those who can not or choose to consume in a different way, you learn to adapt.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned to do.
- Eat before potlucks of dinner parties. They may not have food you can eat.
- Offer to bring something to dinner parties. I’ve learned to make some pretty yummy desserts.
- Pack emergency food for road trips and aforementioned dinner parties.
- Always identify that you have a gluten allergy to your server.
- Beware of buffets. Ingredients aren’t generally listed
- If you don’t feel like a restaurant is safe for you to eat in, don’t be pressured.
- Don’t let well meaning people convince you that a little won’t hurt you, it will.
- You get to decide your risk not other people.
Big thanks to my friend, Lori, for suggesting this prompt. If you would like to suggest a prompt, feel free to leave on in the comments below and it may very well end up as the topic of an upcoming blog.