Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gluten Free Anecdotes - Share Your Story

They’ve happened to all of us on the Gluten Free Diet at one point or another. A situation in your life when you encounter someone who does not understand what being Gluten Free means exactly. It could also be someone who means well but just doesn't fully understand. When you are first learning the diet, these are moments that cause the highest anxiety. Will you be “glutened” and become sick? You’re almost too anxious to even eat. As time progresses and you become more and more familiar with the Gluten Free Diet, these situations become almost comical.

Below you will find some anecdotes I’ve encountered during my first year of being Gluten Free. I’m sharing with you to (1) provide some comic relief as being Gluten Free can be stressful and (2) to ask for your funny stories in return. Who knows, maybe someday, some creative mind will make a commercial out of one of these stories.

The Travel Guide
With little confidence I would actually get help, I entered a nameless travel agency in the Raleigh area to inquire about resorts in the Caribbean who could offer safe Gluten Free meals. I’ve never vacationed in that part of the world before and had no idea if anything existed that could accommodate my Gluten Free-ness. The nice travel agent took down all of my information and said they would do some “research” and call me back. About five minutes later, I received a phone call from the travel agent who needed more clarification on what exactly it meant to be “Glutton Free”. Shockingly, I did not use their services to book my vacation.

The Christmas Party
I attended a Christmas party shortly after my diagnosis. The gracious hosts were great about getting a TON of Gluten Free treats including one of my favorites, RedBridge. There was so much GF food for me; it could have lasted through 10 Christmas parties. The party also had many of the normal holiday treats which were not Gluten Free. The best solution for a mixed party is to separate the Gluten Free from the not Gluten Free so my items were moved to a pantry area. That way no cross-contact can occur. Throughout most of the night, I spent a lot of time in the pantry area, going in and out of the door – better than spending a lot of time in the restroom I guess. Some folks at the party had not heard of my diagnosis yet and I got some funny questions about why in the world I was heading off to the closet again. It was a good conversation starter. During the party, I didn’t really think about the humor of the situation too much since I was so excited the hosts went through the effort of accommodating my dysfunctional immune system. But I realized afterward just how isolating being Gluten Free was going to be. Unless Gluten Free products become better tasting and more mainstream, this kind of situation is going to be pretty commonplace.

These are just a few of the funny situations I’ve found myself in recently. Please email me your funny story or leave a comment below.


Curious Art said...

The very first restaurant meal I had after my diagnosis was on my birthday. The meal itself was a salad... the only thing I trusted on the menu, but I love salad so that wasn't so bad.

Then for dessert I ordered a creme brulee, & though the authentic recipe doesn't include flour, I asked the waitress to check with the chef since you never know whether they might have floured the pan or used flour as a stabilizer or something. I explained to her that even a tiny bit could make me sick, & asked her to make sure there weren't any traces of flour in there. She seemed very understanding, came back from the kitchen & assured me that it was completely safe.

I was feeling much comforted until she brought out our desserts & my creme brulee had a big ol' cookie plunged right down into the custard! That's when I knew for sure this gf thing wouldn't be easy.

Stephanie from Wilson said...

I had not been diagnosed with Celiac disease long when my mother-in-law invited us over for vegetable beef soup. My mother-in-law has struggled with IBS for years, so she was very relieved and supportive when she heard of my diagnosis and even more so when my symptoms went away. She even had a basic knowledge of the most common gluten-containing ingredients, as she had been tested for the disease in the past. After speaking with her in length about the "safeness" of the ingredients in her soup, we agreed that it should be ok for me to eat. We got to her house that night just in time to see her take a tray of regular, white flour bread ham and cheese sandwiches out of the oven to go with the soup. Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and said, "Well, I guess you can't have those, huh? Is is the ham or the cheese that has the gluten?" Trying so hard not to laugh, I looked at her at seriously as I could and said, "Well, to be honest, I don't know if either of those has gluten, but I'm kind of worried about the bread." We all got a good laugh at how easy it is to sometimes miss the most obvious things.

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