Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Days Gluten Free

Well, I've made it a full 48 hours being gluten free.  I'm happy to report that I've had just about zero digestive issues (which is pointing toward YES I have a gluten problem) and that I've somehow not starved yet.  Suffered and drooled over bread?  Oh yes.  But not gone hungry.  At least not for too long.

Tuesday when I decided to give up gluten, I made a mad dash to the grocery store when I realized that 90% of the items in our pantry are not gluten-free.  That trip was a bit overwhelming.  I headed straight to the Kroger organic section to begin my search, and quickly realized that all the gluten-free items were randomly dispersed among the gluten-filled items.  I had choices from like two boxes of cereal, three types of cookies, two types of pasta noodles, and two types of bread.  At least from what I could find in the mix.  I was on a tight timeline, so no time for advanced searching.  I grabbed a few items of each and headed home after paying $432.67 at the checkout.  (Exaggeration. But not far off.)

The first thing I attempted to eat was the bread.  Um...can I say cardboard???  Seriously.  Tasted and felt like cardboard.  I couldn't even finish my sandwich.  (Fortunately since then I have read that there are good brands and bad brands of gluten free bread.  I'm going to pray I was eating a bad brand.)

Then I took a bite into some cookies.  Very crumbly, but very good.  Thank goodness. I was not going to have to go cookie-less.

The next morning (yesterday) I tried eating my gluten-free rice-krispie-type cereal, and after one bite announced to Dave, "Cardboard".  I then had him take a bite.  His response?  "I think I'd put some sugar on that."  Me - "Do you think it tastes like cardboard?" Him - "Yes."

Fortunately, I can eat all the fruits and veggies and meat I want.  (As long as there is no breading, and as long as I'm not dipping it in a sauce or dip that contains gluten.)  Yesterday for lunch I had leftover rotisserie chicken, three different colors of tomatoes, and carrots dipped in ranch sauce that I ensured was gluten-free.  Then I had some of those yummy gluten-free cookies for dessert.  I actually felt pretty satiated.

Last night at dinner was a different story.  We met our church small group at a local Italian restaurant.  I was thrilled to read ahead of time that they served most of their dishes with gluten-free pasta for an extra dollar.  When we got there, I asked the waiter what pasta came gluten-free.  He said all of it, very matter-of-factly.  To which I responded, "Ravioli?"  "No," he said, "Not ravioli.  But anything else."  I didn't want lasagna, but just to find out I said, "Lasagna?"  "Nope," he responded, again in a very matter-of-fact tone.  No apology, no 'here let me specify which is available', no nothing.  Just "Nope", like hello I should know this stuff.  Despite the fact that he had just told me that all the pasta came gluten free.  So I ordered penne alla casa.  Then I sat and watched as everyone else at my table indulged in buttery garlicy appetizer bread.  My stomach rumbled and gurgled, begging for bread.  But I resisted.  When the food finally arrived about 45 minutes later (yes, really it was that long), the waiter placed a plate with spaghetti noodles in front of me.  I sat and stared at it dumbfounded for a moment, then said to Dave, "Didn't I order penne??"  After my husband confirmed that I did in fact order penne (ya never know, I could have been confused), I asked the waiter about it.  Whattayaknow, those are the gluten-free noodles they have, and that's what I get.  Um, wouldn't that have been something to mention WHEN I WAS ORDERING AND ASKING WHAT KINDS OF PASTA CAME GLUTEN-FREE????  A simple statement of "the only noodles we have gluten-free are spaghetti noodles, but we will be happy to substitute them into any dish for you" would have been perfectly appropriate and MUCH NICER.  But no, heaven FORBID he be kind and just tell me everything up front.  Leave it to the newly gluten-free (and very frustrated and hungry) girl to figure it out on her own.  Let her struggle through the menu, then receive a dinner that looks nothing like what she ordered.  I mean, cuz it's not like she's paying EXTRA for this gluten-free dinner or anything.


Ok, yes, I know I am complaining.  And I know we just discussed complaining in my Bible study on Tuesday night and I am not supposed to complain because it is sinful and just makes me ungrateful for the things I have.  So I will stop now.  I am going to justify the writing of this post by saying that I needed to document my first couple of days gluten free.  Because, you know, documentation of life is important.   (And by the way, is it gluten-free or gluten free?  When do I add the "-"?)

So, to start talking about positive things again, I would like to report that the spaghetti-not-penne meal was in fact very tasty, and I couldn't tell one bit that it was gluten free.  I ate the leftovers for lunch today and it was still delicious.  So I'd probably go back to that restaurant to get my Italian carb fix...and pray ahead of time that I get a different waiter.

Alright, time to be off and get to my packing.  We are headed to Philly in the morning for a wedding.  But before I go I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all the friends who have emailed and corresponded with me over the last couple of days to help me along my gluten-free endeavor.  You've made the short but difficult journey already so much easier with lots of advice, tips, and support.  So thank you. :)

And maybe tonight I'll sip on some tea while I'm packing.  Ya know, my green tea that very conveniently says on the box "GLUTEN FREE".  (Check your box - it probably says it, too.)  Why, thank you manufacturer of my green tea. :)

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