It Ain’t Easy

30 May

I may be a neurotic worrywart, but I’m also a hopeful and optimistic person. Sure, I was thrown by my celiac diagnosis, but after taking a couple of weeks to–ahem–digest the news, I was pretty well convinced I could kick gluten-free ass. Alas, the course of true g-free-ness never did run smooth. I mentioned in my last post that I went rogue while on vacation, not wanting to miss out on any foreign food experience. And while it’s true that I did feel okay over the course of the trip, my body spent the next week or so paying the price for all that I’d consumed.

Since being back, I’ve had my dining-out confidence shaken. Only a month ago, I was so excited by the possibilities, but then I ran up against some waiters who looked at me like I had two heads when I asked about gluten-free menu options. They took their best guesses as to dish suitability and “checked with the chef,” (sorry, I’m a jaded New Yorker–I can’t be sure that they really asked or that the chef had a clue), but my final orders were still crap shoots. I’ve realized that in this brave new world, I can’t trust anyone but myself when it comes to food prep. And that’s a shame, because we all know how I feel about cooking regularly.

Then there’s my own plain old missteps. I grabbed a package of Fig Newmans at Whole Foods because they were in with all the other gluten-free cookies and touted “Wheat-Free” very prominently. When I went to open them for the first time, I noticed the fine print: “Not a gluten-free product.” At Trader Joe’s, I quickly snatched up a bag of rice crackers without even reading the ingredients or looking for the gluten-free label; got home and discovered they contained soy sauce. Assumptions, I am continually reminded, have no place in the g-freer’s life.

In happier news, I’ve discovered a couple of products that are going onto my must-have-in-house-at-all-times list. Udi’s may not make a satisfactory gluten-free bagel, but I’m totally into their blueberry muffins, golden and moist and bursting with big ol’ blueberries. Just look at this one spilling invitingly out of its muffin cup.

And these?

Yeah, these you might want to get your hands on even if it’s not a dietary necessity. The toasted pecan flavor comes through like crazy. They’re probably awesome with hummus or, like, goat cheese, but I hoovered mine straight out of the box (not all at once!).

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