What do you say?

When you are gluten free and go out to eat or go to someone’s home for dinner, it can be hard to stress that gluten free eating is important.  I’ve been gluten free for a year and a half now and one of the things that I struggle with is how to tell people that I absolutely cannot have anything with gluten in it.

For example, when you go to a restaurant and tell them that you can’t have wheat products, they seem to get it.  But when you are a Celiac it becomes more than that.  You can’t have barley or rye either and cross contamination is a WHOLE other subject.  I have told people that I’m Celiac and can’t have anything with gluten and get the glassy eyed look.  Sometimes they seem to get that it’s important (Celiac does sound like it could be bad) but not WHY.  When I ask if they have anything gluten free, a salad is a common answer although a lot of dressings have wheat.

So, what do you do?  Should you go into detail about Celiac Disease and what consequences it can cause?  How do you handle this?

One is the loneliest number…or is it?

Hello, my name is Angela, I’m nearing 40 and I’m single.  (Hello Angela!)  Yes, I have a cat but only one so I don’t think that I can be considered a cat lady yet.  I think I actually have to be 40 to be a cat lady so I’m not far away.  I may be alone but I’m not lonely…I don’t think.

Lately I’ve had a lot of friends who want to help me find a date.  This could be suggestions on guys they know, a dating site that they heard worked, or actually setting up blind dates.  Anyone who is single (whether by choice or by chance) will get where I’m coming from on this:  dating is not the easiest.  Most of my friends are married and, I think, sometimes forget the agony of the first date, of the awkwardness that ensues.  Maybe I underestimate them and they really do remember, or they forget on purpose because it was painful.  (Insert laugh here, please)  Or my friends want to live vicariously through me.  Or because they haven’t ever known me to have a significant other they want to see what it would really look like, which could be pretty scary.

Anyway, I have reasons for not dating at this point and here they are:

1.  The dating websites don’t work.  Yes, I know EHarmony.com says that 50% of people that meet on their website get married (50% of those also get divorced) but many websites don’t work.  I’ve been on them and chatted with guys but as soon as I suggest coffee so we can actually meet, they disappear.  Maybe I’m forward and that scares them?  I dunno but I’ve given up on dating websites, at least for the time being.

2.  Dating is painful.  There is the first date, which could be as much fun as an ice pick under your toenail.  First, it’s the awkwardness of where to meet (guys, plan the first date, don’t ask the girl where she wants to go.  Ask for suggestions, if there are allergies but then run with it), then what to talk about (which I’m bound to offend someone with my honesty) and then how to end the evening.  After that it’s “will he call me?”  And I know that, if you are into the guy, it can get easier but the first month or so is just painful.  It would rock if we could skip the painful stuff and just move to the “I’ve known you forever” stage.  Not in this world, not yet.

3.  I can do what I want, when I want.  Yup, I’m independent and like to not ask for permission to do things.  Right now if I want to grab dinner with friends after work, I can just go.  No “do we have plans tonight?” or “were you making something for dinner?”  Nope, I just up and go!  That easy.

4.  Celiac Disease.  Yes, this plays a part in dating.  What if I date someone who just doesn’t get the importance of me living a gluten free lifestyle?  What if they don’t care that I can’t have eggrolls (yes, I’m still stuck on that) or that this is a lifelong thing that I have to live with?

I know that there are positives to being in a relationship, don’t get me wrong.  And I also know that my friends mean the best and are honest in their intents…I’m not just there.  Or maybe I’m there but the guy isn’t…I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

To the doctor we go!

I don’t like doctors, it’s not a secret.  Docs represent bad news to me, for the most part.  It was kind of a family joke that my brother and I grew up in hospitals as we almost always had grandparents who were in the hospital.  I always thought I would grow up to be a nurse but maybe spending a lot of my childhood in the hospital took that desire away from me.  I doubt it but…

Anyway, tomorrow I go to the doc for the first time in a LONG time.  No insurance means no doctors visits which isn’t good for someone like me.  It’s time for a med review (Celiac Disease is linked to other autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease is one of them) and just to chat with the doc about Celiac Disease and how I’m handling it.  Also a time to do a little education with my doc as most docs just don’t understand Celiac Disease.

So, tomorrow I go to the doc and am hoping that everything will come back just a-ok.  If I’m honest with myself, I know I haven’t been feeling well and I’m hoping that whatever it is can be fixed easily.  I don’t like feeling not myself:  tired all the time, upset stomachs, etc.  So, while it’s time, I am not looking forward to it.  I’m almost scared.

Here’s to hoping for a clean bill of health…


We don’t always get what we want

Today is one of those days where I want what I can’t have.  This doesn’t just apply to food but I’m going to write about that.  Tonight after work all I wanted was some Chinese food:  Kung Pao Chicken, fried rice, egg roll and crab rangoon.  Mmmm…my mouth is watering right now!  But I can’t just walk into a Chinese restaurant and order because ALL of that could harm me.  I’m sure some of you are thinking “well, just run to the grocery store” and while I can get Chinese food at City Market (frozen food), I can’t get the rest of the meal…sigh…being gluten free isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  And, ok, I could make it but that would take more time than I’m willing to put into after a day of work.

It’s amazing the “little” things that I crave sometimes:  jalapeno poppers, KFC, real pizza.  I shouldn’t complain because it’s JUST food, right?  But sometimes having to watch every little thing you put in your mouth just plain sucks.  For example, I really wanted a brat and beer at Oktoberfest this past Saturday but not knowing what was in the brat, and knowing what was in the beer, put that out of my reach.

And it’s hard to explain that to people sometimes:  the cravings and the sadness at not being able to have what you USED to have.  It makes it harder trying to explain to them how just a TEENY bit can cause me a lot of damage.  It sometimes makes it hard to go out with friends since you have to smell their yummy food as they drink their beer.  I always wonder if it would have been better to be gluten free from the start so I wouldn’t know what it was missing.

The good part is that at least I know what hurts me and how to take care of it.  Some people aren’t so lucky.