Living with a Non-Gluten Free Family?

My G-free kitchen island. With foil covering the top for extra safety.

Sometimes I stay with my parents or sister while my husband is at sea. Every time I go over I find it more difficult to keep a gluten-free space. This made me wonder how mixed gluten and gluten-free families do it.

During a recent stay at my moms we started talking over what we can do to keep the kitchen safe for my use. And we came up with the idea of buying a kitchen island. My mom always wanted to buy one but never got around to doing it. I told her that I would buy the island if she would let me use it for my G-free items. She thought the idea was great and mentioned how handy my own cutting board space would be. And to keep it covered with foil or plastic wrap, while not in use, to prevent accidental gluten exposure. I would have a space for all my own pans, dishes, bowl, utensils, and any other goods.

I immediately jumped on the internet and started looking into kitchen islands. They can run from a hundred to thousands depending on what you are looking for. I was able to purchase one from Target for $224. It was originally around $300 but was on sale and matched her kitchen perfectly!

Now when I stay at my parent’s house I will have my own gluten-free spot. I am really lucky to have an amazingly supportive family. Thanks Mom.

Celiac and Me

After waiting months (due to a busy schedule) I finally went in for my test results. And it turns out I don’t just have a gluten allergy but (drum roll please) Celiac Disease.  After reviewing different sites, checking into symptoms, and what my body has been going through, I had a pretty good idea I would be joining the percentage of people with Celiac. So this was not a shock for me. When having a gluten allergy or Celiac Disease the treatment is similar. NO GLUTEN. The difference between the allergy and disease is that Celiac is an autoimmune disease. The problem is my body is attacking itself. So, here I am with Celiac Disease and still gluten-free.

My doc prescribed me a variety of vitamins, a probiotic, and a gluten-free diet. EPA, DHA, malabsorption, deficiency, nutrients, autoantibodies, villa, intestines, vitamins, and gut were some of the words being crammed into my head. After reviewing everything I had clear idea of what was going on in my gut. What a mess! But on the bright side… I am still here alive and kicking! I have to go back in six months for more test to see if my vitamin’s have improved.

I walked out of the doc’s office singing, lyrics to a Puff Daddy song, “Can’t nobody hold me down… ohh no, I got to keep on movin” in my head. And moving I went… to the health food store.

Lesson learned: Don’t wait forever to get test results back! I will not be making this mistake again… EVER!

Gluten is like Raw Chicken

One of the biggest problems I deal with is cross contamination. It seems like it can happen everywhere and anyone can cause it. I am so picky when it comes to making my meal. And going into restaurants is like walking into one of those spooky haunted mazes during Halloween. You are scared and a bit reluctant because you don’t know what is going to pop out and get you.

I started think about how to explain to family, friends, and restaurants servers about how important it is for me to stay away from gluten contamination. I mean just telling someone I can’t have gluten isn’t always taken so serious. Some people think that I am on a fad diet to cut out carbs and lose weight. I could go into a long explanation about how gluten is a protein found in wheat, malt, barley, and it makes me blah blah and so on for days. I really don’t mind talking about being gluten free with anyone. But sometimes there is no time for a long explanation. If I am having dinner with new friends having a quick explanation would be great. So I thought up a quick and easy way to explain how serious it is to keep from getting contaminated.

During a  conversation about cross contanimation with my mom the light bulb in my brain went off. She was telling me how she cleans the counter tops after raw chicken touches them. And that is when it hit me! Raw chicken is just like gluten! We all know the dangers of uncooked chicken and how it can make you sick as a dog on Sunday. And how you have to be extra careful to clean your cooking station to prevent illness. Not just wipe the counters but CLEAN them. And that you can’t let raw chicken touch everything because it could infect other areas. That is exactly how I see bread crumbs or reading gluten on a label. It’s like little pieces of raw chicken just waiting to jump inside my gluten free dish. Especially after myself or family members have worked so hard to keep my food away from gluten. And that’s it… how to quickly explain the importance of staying way from cross contamination. Just how raw chicken can make one sick gluten will make me sick. I know that they don’t have the same symptoms but it does give a quick understanding. So the next time I need a quick explanation I will say… think of gluten like it’s raw chicken.

Where has the time gone?

Once summer came it seems like time just zoomed past me. I have been meaning to update with some posts every week and well one thing or another kept me from my computer. So, here is a quick update…

Since leaving my 4th of July vacation in San Diego I have gotten a little more comfortable with my G- free lifestyle. With pleanty of help from my husband and family cooking as gotten much better. But keeping the G-free sterile field has been tricky with little miskates contaminating a whole meal. My wonderful sister made fabulous turkey burgers from scratch only to have my mom stick a regular bun on mine. But everything is trial and error and these types for mistakes are bound to happen. I don’t feel as limited as I did at first but restaurants are still a challenge. About 75% of the time I am still getting, what I like to call, infected at restruants. Salads and grilled fish always are a safe order for me. But I still always double check with the server that there is no gluten in the product in the dish. Sometime I get looked like I am a weirdo if asked to bag wheat products separate from my food or like a picky eater. But I am getting use to the weird looks and I try to ask the least amount of questions that will get the most information. Or I look up the menu before I go to the restaurants to see if they have a few choices for me.

Being G-free is not that bad… until it comes to pizza. I could write for days on my love of pizza. My husband was stationed in Chicago about two years ago and I tasted the best pizza of my life. The pizza from Giordanos is unlike anything I had every tasted before and sadly, probably, will never taste again. But at the time of my eating the pizza I had no clue about my wheat allergy so I enjoyed it guilt free. I know there are a few places that serve G-free pizza but it truly is not the same. And I know that one day I will get use to the G-free pizza and my taste buds will adapt. But for now this is the hardest food item to cut from my diet. The problem I have had with most G-free pizzas is that the middle of the pizza doesn’t hold up well. It always has a soft mushy middle and not firm like most pizza. The crust or top part of the pizza is better so I usually eat that and leave the middle. It sounds totally dumb but I have broke out into tears, small tears, over not being able to eat pizza. I don’t crave bread or pasta at all and can easily watch someone eat that in front of me. And I know it is very unhealthy for my body but leaving me alone with a slice of pizza… well I just can’t be trusted. So I am still on the hunt for the best gluten free pizza of my life.

Now that I have that off my chest I will be updating with adventures and recipes from this past summer. I hope everyone had a wonderful summer!

Gigi