Just ran across this new video posted by CeliacChicks.com. I always love to see a new way to help people understand what Celiac is all about!
I like to think I have gotten pretty good at avoiding accidental glutenings, and even better at identifying the source. Practice makes perfect you know. Shoot, by now I should be considered an expert celiac patient. If there was an Olympic biathlon event for avoiding gluten while cross country skiing, I would be a shoe-in for the gold medal.
So last week I managed to subdue a glutening of epic proportions after a long and protracted battle. And this after I ate all week long with extreme caution.
- No restaurants.
- No new foods.
- Always fanatically careful about cross contamination. I could give Monk a run for his money in that department.
- I definitely did not scarf down any Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts, as much as I wanted to.
- Same toothpaste.
- Haven’t taken a shower in months. Ok just kidding on that one, but I did not use any new shampoo or soap.
- Same dental floss.
- No new morning food or drink routine.
- I didn’t load 50 pound sacks of flour as a part time side job.
- No wheat farming or anything (that I can remember.)
- No pizza parties.
I’m stumped. Any ideas?
I’d love to hear about the most perplexing gluten mysteries you have solved. One of my most interesting ones to date has been the Senseo coffee pod adventure. What’s yours?
Disclaimer: The writers of Celiac Bites assume no liability for any consequences related to the use of enhanced server interrogation techniques outlined below.
Recently I wrote about Dying, I mean, Dining Out and the challenges of eating in restaurants safely. That got me thinking about the “usual” questions that I ask servers when I recklessly endanger my life eat out at restaurants. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Do you have any reason to want to harm me? Did I pick on you or any of your friends when I was in kindergarten or grade school? I did not break your Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots game in 2nd grade.
- Does your meat/chicken/fish arrive pre-packaged or is it fresh?
- Did any of your chefs ever study under Dr. Kevorkian?
- Is there ANY type of marinade or seasoning that is added to your meat/chicken/seafood prior to cooking?
- What other items are cooked on the same grill or griddle? (If patty-melts are a house specialty, I would be pretty nervous about ordering a burger.)
- Are ANY seasonings besides 100% pure salt and pepper added during preparation?
- Have you ever worked for Senseo’s Consumer Hotline?
- Does your hamburger meat have any ingredients other than 100% pure meat? (Some have fillers!)
- Have you ever been convicted of manslaughter, second, or even first degree murder? Should you have been at any previous time in your life?
- What garnishes come on the plate?
- Are your salads prepared to order or made at the beginning of each shift? (To be sure croutons are not simply “picked off” a pre-made salad)
- Are we going to spend 10 or 20 minutes planning a perfect gluten free option for me only to have it delivered to the table with some random gluten-infested garnish on top like toastlets, fried onion crisps, or croutons? Because if that’s how you roll, I would like to know now rather than later.
- Are your vegetables cooked in any sort of broth or are there any seasonings other than salt or pepper added?
- Do you use real butter or a butter substitute?
- Do you chefs use spray pan coating on the grill, griddle, or pans? If so, does it contain flour or is it 100% oil based?
- Do you have any anger management issues that I should know about?
I would love to hear what y’all check for when dining out so please let me know!
I have fallen into the time sucking addiction known as Twitter (find me at twitter.com/celiacbites) and every day I run across someone who has just been diagnosed with Celiac. Most are just as confused and lost as I once was, wondering if they will ever be able to survive without Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts.
If you have followed this blog, you may have noticed I have a thing for Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. But I’m not bitter about NEVER BEING ABLE TO EAT THEM AGAIN! Sorry for that, I’m OK now. Not bitter, not bitter, not bitter, not bitter.
As I have referenced in earlier posts, learning to eat absolutely gluten free is a long and complex process. It’s not just eliminating bread and flour. Those pesky Viking descendants – the gliadins – have managed to infiltrate just about every food product known to man, including Pop-Tarts. You simply are not going to become an expert at maintaining a gluten free lifestyle for a good six months. Trust me, you will make mistakes and gluten yourself. Plenty of times.
The problem I hope to help you solve with this post is how to manage the gap between your first post-diagnosis hunger pangs and the end of your gluten free learning curve, however long that may be. You see, about four hours, maybe six, after your diagnosis, you are going to be HUNGRY. If you’re like me, you may have been HUNGRY for a long time as a result of celiac induced malnutrition. Learning an effective gluten free diet in a few hours is not a realistic option. And you can’t really go on a water and kiwi diet for the next six months either.
The trap that most newly diagnosed Celiacs fall into is immediately trying to start with an exclusive diet as opposed to an inclusive diet. By exclusive, I mean starting with the universe of available foods and then excluding, or ruling out, things that you can no longer eat. There are two main problems with this approach. First, it’s really depressing for your first thoughts about your new lifestyle to be focused on all the things you can’t eat. Second, you simply are not going to know all the intricacies of which foods and ingredients are in fact gluten free. You will get sick. A lot. And that bites. Trust me, I can feel your pain brother (or sister.)
After trying to start with an exclusive approach to eating, and failing miserably, I had my Duh! moment. Why not turn my approach (and frown) upside down and start with a universe of zero “safe” foods and add to the list things that are absolutely gluten free. Over time, as I learned more, I could add to my “safe” list. This approach virtually eliminated my gluten incident frequency while allowing me a series of small “victories” as I learned new things that I could enjoy. It’s all a matter of positive versus a negative perspective. After much deliberation, I have concluded that a positive perspective is, like, way better. Or as my kids would say, the positive outlook is totally beast.
Basic building blocks of an inclusive diet:
Fresh meats, poultry, and seafood. Fresh is the key word here. Not can fresh, but raw fresh. Consider anything pre-packaged in plastic or that contains an ingredient list as suspect. This includes deli meats until you verify them. Beware of anything that could be pre-marinated or pre-seasoned. Beware of anything frozen as well. Don’t eat Spam. Mainly because it’s just, well, Spam.
Rice. It’s a good thing that I love rice, because I eat a ton of it. And I am talking clear plastic bag, cooked at home rice – not the San Francisco stuff that comes in boxes! No trolleys for you! Depending on your current condition, you may or may not be able to put some real butter on it. Whatever your feelings about Fabio,
stay away from fake butter junk that comes in tubs. If you can’t do dairy yet, try a little pure olive oil with some Kosher salt – it’s not too bad of a substitute. For breakfast, I make home made rice cereal, which is basically regular white rice, butter, and pure maple syrup or pure brown sugar. This allows me to put a lot little extra brown sugar on there to compensate for my LOSS OF BROWN SUGAR AND CINNAMON POP-TARTS! Check the labels on the maple syrup and brown sugar to make sure there are no other ingredients!
Eggs. Fresh eggs are a staple for me. There are lot’s of ways to prepare them and a little fresh butter or olive oil for cooking is just peachy. Making large batches of hard boiled eggs is a particularly convenient way to deal with snacks, lunches at work, etc.
The suggestions above assume that you personally pulled these things off the store shelves and prepared them. If you eat the same things from a restaurant, you have lost the certainty that the ingredients are pure and absolutely gluten free. You have also opened a big door number three with cross contamination behind it.
As you start to heal, you’ll be able to add other safe items to your list such as cheeses, dairy, some sweets, and more. I will comment on that more in later posts.
So you are off to a rock ‘n roll gluten free diet, but you’re not quite out of the woods yet. Join us next time when we talk about Eating lipstick and other fun ways to poison yourself!