The nightmare comes true

As a Celiac, my worst nightmare is being served the wrong food.  When we had a Carino’s here, they served me regular pasta once and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  I complained, the kitchen manager said “we need to train better” and it was a LONG time until I ate there again.  Only then did I tell them I was gluten free when I was seated but when the server came over to get my drink order, when I ordered food, when the food came, etc.  I checked and then triple checked.

Last week I wanted soup for lunch and was going with my mom.  She is also GF and eats at Chili’s a lot and since they had soup there, I thought I’d try it.

Chili’s isn’t my favorite place to eat.  I’ve just never been a fan of their food but I’m willing to step outside my little box and go somewhere that isn’t my favorite.  We were seated, asked for a GF menu and they have a nifty Ipad thing at each table now with allergen menus, games and where you can also pay your tab.  I took a look at the menu, decided on the unlimited soup and salad combo and ordered the soup off of the GF menu, reiterating that I needed to be gluten free and also asking that I not have cheese on either.

Since it was unlimited, I decided to have a second bowl of the soup.  I flagged down another server, who had been assisting ours, and asked for the GF soup, no cheese.  He looked at me, said “that soup doesn’t have cheese on it” and my heart sank.  I had been served the wrong soup.  He was apologetic and brought me the correct soup the second time around.

When our server came back, my mom kinda let her have it.  She told her that we had, several times, told her that we were GF and the soup that was brought wasn’t.  All she said was “I’m sorry” and stood there.  I explained to her how sick I get but it didn’t seem to register.  We asked for a manager and all we got from her was “I’m sorry” and I told her that her staff needed better training.

I can tell you that that may be my last visit to Chili’s…ever.  Not only were they not attentive to my needs but, when a huge issue of negligence came up, no one seemed concerned.  A place like that does not deserve my business.

 

On the road again…

I love traveling, even if it’s day trip or a work trip.  New areas, new people to talk to, gets me really excited because I love adventure!

The thing I don’t love is eating out.  I’m always “that person”.  “Angela, where can you eat?”  Then there is asking the server for a gluten free menu and the disappointment when they don’t have one or say “I think it’s ok”.  Sigh.  I try to do as much research as possible before heading out but when you’re not sure what area of the, let’s say, Denver metro area you’ll be in, it’s hard to plan.

What are your suggestions?  I have apps on my phone but they aren’t always up to date or don’t always have the restaurants that aren’t chains.  I always take snacks along but after two days of eating “snacks”, well, you just can’t keep doing it.

I am grateful that, on this trip, a good friend of mine who is aware of my need to be GF will be along.  He will make sure we have somewhere safe for me to eat but…there is always that chance of me NOT being able to eat.

So, these are my thoughts as I get ready to go on this trip!  Wish me luck!

Just take a moment

Life has been super hectic lately.  Between working 40 hours a week, starting a part time business with Arbonne, writing for the GJ Free Press, Gluten Free Grand Valley, Lions Club and spending time with family and friends along with other activities I’m sure I’ve forgotten…life has been crazy.  That’s why, when my friend Shawna asked if I would take a day trip to Ouray with her, I said yes.

I have a tendency to, even if there is nothing to do at home, find something to do.  I’m always connected via some form of technology and do have an issue with putting the phone down because what might happen on Facebook if I don’t check it every five minutes?  So, getting out of the house, out of town, was perfect.

It’s not that we had some sort of  “National Lampoons” type of trip (ok, there were men in speedos, queso for breakfast and yaks) but it was a great, relaxing day with one of my best friends, relaxation in the hot springs and laughter.  It was just what I needed.

Today, as I sat at work, I was reminded that we need to take those moments, break away from everything that is beckoning to us, all that says “I need to be done” and just throw caution to the wind.  All that needs to be done will still be there when we return…and if we don’t, it won’t matter anyway!

Eating on the run

Sometimes a lunch hour gets shortened by an unexpected errand or maybe you forgot to bring your lunch.  What do you do then?  Just wait until 5 o’clock so you can punch the clock and race home?  Eat your arm?

This is something I’ve struggled with as a quick sweep through the Taco Bell drive through doesn’t work any longer.  I used to love Burger King fries, Subway sandwiches and many other forms of fast food.  Maybe that’s why I wasn’t losing weight on any diets!

So what does one do when you are gluten free and need a meal in hurry?  I have a couple items that I have kept in my pantry and desk at work in case that this problem arises.  One is GoPicnic which is a picnic in a box, basically.  It usually has crackers, some type of protein (turkey jerky or pepperoni, for example), cheese, dried fruit and more.  It’s perfect for picnics and hikes too as it can stay in it’s box and be safe.  The other item is Tapas 2 Go which is hummus and crackers.  Not as substantial but still very good and can tide you over until it’s really time to eat.

 

What are your go to “fast food” items?

And on the outside…

There is a debate in the gluten free world over whether or not skincare, shampoos, etc that might have wheat, barley or rye in them can affect those with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance by bringing out the symptoms of these two diseases.

I’ve talked with several people who have the skin rash symptom of Celiac Disease, Dermatitis Herpetitformis, have breakouts when using lotions, shampoos, conditioners and even hair coloring which asks the question:  “If Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease and affects the gut, why do “topical” items bother us?”

I don’t have an answer to this and hope to speak to a dermatologist (I’ve found one who is well versed in this, so I hear) and find out what the story really is.  I know as a Celiac, I’ve slowly started changing from the store brand skin care items to ones that are certified gluten free, just so I know I’m on the safe side.

Thoughts out there?

Six things you shouldn’t say to someone who is gluten free

There are many misconceptions when it comes to eating gluten free and I hear things quite often that shouldn’t be said to someone who has a condition, especially a disease or an allergy.  Here are a few that I’ve heard and just shouldn’t be said.

1.  “A little bit won’t hurt you.”  If you have a peanut allergy, a little peanut will hurt, right?  So, if I have an AUTOIMMUNE disease, why wouldn’t a little bit hurt me?  I know my body and it would hurt.

2. “Gluten free is just a fad.”  Yes, to some people it is and I will admit that there is a lot of info out there that would make it seem that way.  For many of us, this is a way of life.  It’s the way it HAS to be and I don’t have a choice in it.  By the way, if you are following a gluten free diet to lose weight, it doesn’t really work that way.  I would encourage you to look into a Paleo diet.

3.  “I couldn’t give up bread and pasta.  I don’t know how you do it.”  This one cracks me up because it usually comes from someone who has never had to give anything up.  When you HAVE to do something for your health, you do it, even if you don’t want to.

4.  “I can’t believe that they haven’t come up with a pill so you can eat wheat.”  They are, honestly, working on it but I’m still not sure if I would take it.  I mean, what if it doesn’t work?  So, until it is a for sure thing, I will avoid anything with gluten.

5.  “I think this is gluten free.”  Think?  Really?  I think my brakes work on my car.  This is something I run into at restaurants a lot and a lot of this is just not educating people, which is our responsibility.  Either an item is or it isn’t gluten free, end of story.   And by the way, removing croutons from a salad, taking a bun out from under and on top of a hamburger, etc doesn’t make an item gluten free, it just makes it bread free.

6.  “If gluten is so bad, why do people still eat it?”  This is a super good question.  For most people, gluten doesn’t affect people, just like peanuts aren’t dangerous for people without a peanut allergy.  My body won’t process the gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley and rye) and actually causes my body to reject food, to cause my body to not absorb minerals, etc.  If your body can still process gluten, there is no need to cut it out although I would recommend limiting your intake.

These are just a few things that I hear and, to be honest, most just roll of my back.  The lesson here?  Just be cautious of what you say!

By the way, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @MissSillyYak!

Never take it for granted

Last night we had our monthly meeting of Gluten Free Grand Valley, the gluten free support group in Grand Junction, CO.  I am pretty proud of this group as I am one of the co-founders and we have great people that attend as well as a large group on Facebook.

Our meeting was a 2014 kickoff and we (the board) wanted to get an idea of what people are looking to get out of our meetings.  The feedback was great but the part that I think really tickled people was the food.  I had been to the Denver Gluten Free Food Fair in August, was able to get a hold of some of the vendors and they, very kindly, sent samples to me.

People that don’t have food issues may be thinking “what’s the big deal?”  It is a big deal.  You may think that if tomorrow you couldn’t have bread, you wouldn’t miss it.  That is, until you wanted to have a PB&J and you were going to have to eat it either without bread or, in the case of most gluten free breads, nearly a piece of cardboard.  One of the vendors that sent samples was Kinnickinnick.  They make many types of foods from bread/cake mixes to cookies to loaves of bread.  They sent bread.  I was skeptical since most gluten free bread is either good for only toasting, for Thanksgiving Day stuffing or great for sawdust.  Yes, it’s that good.  Not this bread.  Soft, chewy, almost REAL bread!  I may have been in heaven for a while, I’m not sure.

Seems silly, right?  Bread?  Big deal.  You’re right, it IS a big deal.  It’s a big deal because growing up I could have a grilled cheese sandwich.  I haven’t had one in almost two years.  I couldn’t just make a PB&J because cardboard bread doesn’t have the right texture or taste.  I couldn’t have bread with my soup (yes, I like to dip bread in soup, so sue me).  Anything that you can’t have because your body will hate you for it is something you crave, something you desire and something that you SHOULD be able to have.

Those of you who don’t have food issues, whose bodies will accept anything you put into it, never take it for granted.  Consider it a blessing that you don’t have to worry about getting sick from foods. Enjoy them and enjoy them often.

Also, if you want to find out more about me and want to get more posts, you can follow me on Facebook or on Twitter by following @MissSillyYak.

Gluten Free…FOREVER!

I was at a local restaurant with a friend of mine.  It’s actually a good restaurant chain, Red Robin, and has great gluten free buns along with high standards for keeping me (and others) safe when dining there.

It was actually an accident that Craig chose this restaurant for lunch and when I asked for an allergen menu he stated “not a great place to choose to eat.”  I reassured him that it was a great choice and that they had gluten free buns and that they were good.  The part of the experience that settled in my brain was the server’s words when she saw the allergen menu:  “We have a wheat allergy today?”  Craig was quick with a response and said “WE have a wheat allergy everyday.”  The server saw his point and scooted away.

I find that this statement bothered me in a few ways. First, who was the “we” she was talking about? Did she have a mouse in her pocket?

Second, a wheat allergy/gluten intolerance/Celiac disease is an everyday thing for me. It’s not a “today I will eat GF, tomorrow I’m having bread!” kinda thing. I live with this 24-7.

It bothers me that people sometimes take it lightly, that it’s a flippant thing. This is an important, life altering lifestyle. Something that I have to think about every time I grocery stop because items like salad dressing and spices can have wheat. It’s something that I have to think about when my friends want to go out to eat. It’s an everyday, all day, rest of my life DISEASE.

So, I’m not gluten free just yesterday or today. I am gluten free…forever.

It’s the Holiday Season

I had a great Thanksgiving:  spending time with my parents, ran a race, and just vegged.  Saturday I came home, got the decorations and tree out and started decorating the house.  I love this time of year, the festive decorations, the Christmas carols, parties…it all makes it so special.

Every year I set up my Christmas tree (all pre lit lights since I HATE putting lights on the tree) and then line out all of the decorations.  I know some people have a certain “look” to their tree but me, well, I like to keep it nostalgic.  I have ornaments from so many people, so many parts of my life, that I like to remember as I put them up.  There is the wooden teddy bear that my Grandpa made me.  Every year I look at it, remember how he loved his wood working, how he let me paint the details and how he made so many things in his shop in the basement.  He took such pride in those items and I hang it with pride year after year.

There are my Coke ornaments: one from a former roommate, one from an ex-boyfriend.  The two ceramic ornaments that I got from a secret Santa in high school, the one I bought because it looks like my Punky cat, the Chicago Bears ornament because I’m a die hard fan and the nursing ornaments.  Those are crazy because for a good majority of my growing up, and into my first years of college, I wanted to be a nurse.  So, I got a few ornaments of that nature.

There are the ones from when I was born, some my mom made for me and many more that have so much meaning to them.  So not only has this become a Christmas tree, it’s a memory tree.  As I hang each one, as I look them over throughout the season, I smile at the good times I had with the people that gave me the ornaments and I cry for those that have left this world because I miss them.

This Christmas season, I suggest that you take time to remember past holidays, people that may not be in your life anymore.  Laugh, smile, cry…remember.

What is going on?

I haven’t felt like writing for a while, which is evident since my last post was a while ago.  I’ve been busy, that’s for sure, but I typically take some time to write though, it’s my therapy.

The weather here has been up and down, sunny and cloudy.  I’m a sunshine girl, need the bright rays, or my mood goes downhill quickly.  It’s the reason that I couldn’t live in Washington or Alaska, at least not in the winter.  And lately we’ve had more clouds than normal, so I’ve probably been more cranky.  I know that it affects my sleep.  Right now it’s not even 8:30pm and I want to go to bed.  Maybe it’s a good thing that I have pictures to edit, keeps me up.

They say that one of the symptoms of Celiac Disease is depression.  Although I am not depressed (I’ve been there and this isn’t it), I wonder if having these cranky moments is a part of the Celiac Disease or the weather.  Well, I know some of it is the weather.  But does this come with the Celiac territory?  Am I being accidentally glutened?   There are certain things that happen, like being super tired, that make me wonder.

This is largely a therapeutic type blog, mostly just to get my thoughts out.  But, if anyone else has experience with these things and Celiac Disease, I welcome your comments.