Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dining Away from Home and Being Gluten-Free

The biggest problem I have found so far with adopting a gluten-free diet is eating food you didn’t prepare yourself.

Just after the Christmas holiday, my husband and I went to do some sale shopping and I found that all the old problems with my foot and my back came raging back, badly enough that I tripped and fell as we exited the mall.

Other that a rug burn on knee and some wounded pride, I was fine. But it terrified me. It was as though the MS struck all over again. The fear and the what-ifs that I felt when I was first diagnosed came rushing back and so did the terror.

Would I end up blind? In a wheelchair? Was I just imaging that the gluten-free diet was making me better?

My husband, who is often the voice of reason in these things, said it first. “Maybe someone screwed up.”

We had Christmas dinner with his parents; friends made us what were allegedly gluten-free treats for the holidays. But, not living with a food allergy, they might not have been as aware of all the permutations of gluten. My mother-in-law, for instance, was surprised that my allergy included malt.

So I went home, did some stretches and threw out all the wonderful food that I had not prepared myself.

Eating at a restaurant is just as hard. On New Year’s Eve, a friend was visiting from out of town, so we asked what she wanted to eat for lunch. Her choice? Quatro’s Pizza.

As we arrived, my husband was beside himself. Quatro’s is about the only local pizza he likes and he really wanted some since we were there and smelling it. “Is there something we can eat here?” he asked. He’s been so sweet, I told him to go ahead and have the pizza.

I ate a nice chef’s salad, but had to spend some time picking off the croutons that I forgot they add to them and I ate the toppings off a slice of pizza. To be honest, it was easier than many places where I’m just not sure.

Sushi? Sounds great, except I’m not sure about the soy sauce.

Roasted chicken? Did they flour the bird before roasting it? Most places do.

The solution, so far, has been to eat mostly at home and once I was back to being certain I was gluten-free the symptoms faded quickly. No more random dinners out for me, but in return, I get a healthier, more mobile me.

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