Obviously, considering the glutening, food is very much on my mind this week.
Here is some backstory: I have celiac disease. This is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disorder - but it's the only autoimmune disorder so far that has an identifiable trigger. That trigger is gliadin, a protein found in gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, et cetera. As long as I avoid gluten, I don't have the full-body pain and sledgehammer of fatigue, GI distress, and even more et cetera.
That's really hard to do outside of my own home, and it can be intensely frustrating. As we have seen with this weekend's Olive Garden adventure, even restaurants that have a gluten-free menu can be clueless - I'm pretty sure what happened is that the grilled chicken for my GF pasta was cross-contaminated on the grill, that no one bothered to tell anyone in the kitchen that that's enough to poison someone.
I am triangulating the cause using the symptoms; the pain was not severe or immediate enough for me to think that the pasta itself wasn't GF. Were that so, I'd've had stabbing abdominal pains within minutes of ingestion. As it was, I got back to the hotel before symptoms hit. But keep in mind that that small bit of cross-contamination has knocked me out, fatigue and brain-fog-wise, for this entire week.
You see why I must be careful.
So I know all of this sounds really daunting. Especially when you add in the fact that I also have multiple severe food allergies (soy, shellfish) and aversions (I might be allergic to citrus? my body won't let me get it close enough to my face to tell).
But in my daily life, it isn't really.
From where I'm sitting at my dining room table, I can see my GF cabinet. Some of the GF stuff in the house lives in the main pantry - mostly canned goods, stuff that can't get leake into. Or stuff I don't use as often. My cabinet is a bit cluttered right now, but in sight I have Corn Chex (almost all Chex are certified GF), GF sandwich bread, a jar of soy-free peanut butter, tortilla chips, Bob's Red Mill bread and biscuit mixes, Sriracha sauce, and three kinds of honey because I really like honey, don't judge me. Inside I have GF pasta, including lasagna noodles - Adam makes a lasagna indistinguishable from non-GF lasagna! I have certified-GF oats, polenta, masa harina, cornmeal crumbs to use where I'd use breadcrumbs, GF/soy-free chocolate chips and other baking supplies, GF/soy-free soups (including cream of mushroom, for tuna casserole). And more, of course.
Produce is GF and soy-free. Meat in its most basic form is, but self-basting turkey have gluten, and so do most cold cuts. If it doesn't say "gluten-free", we don't buy it. Rice. I live on rice! Risottos. Stir-fried chicken and veggies over rice - sindrian has improvised seasonings to use instead of soy sauce. I live on Adam's risotto, on sindrian's colcannon and various experiments with sausage and vegetables. (Many sausage brands use gluten. We have found several that don't and are delicious.) I have a pile of cookbooks that makes the men go "ooooh".
You can eat really well without gluten. Or soy. Or shellfish.
I have a dedicated GF colander and cutting board. And there are pots I don't use because they're scratched; you can never really de-gluten anything scratched, is why I got the new glass cutting board. I have my own toaster and bread machine.
So when I'm home, I eat very well and very easily. It's not a matter of desperately searching for an option. I have a ton of options right here. Most of the stuff in our fridge is GF by default, because why not buy the GF item instead of the otherwise-identical non-GF item? And the things that aren't, I don't even notice; they're not there to me. My celiac disease is not a daily problem.
Unless I've been glutened.
The FDA has yet to establish a standard that a product has to meet to be considered gluten-free. The standard in Europe is 20 parts per million. Yes, per million. Your bread crumbs can contaminate my dinner, I promise. Which is why I always bring my own food to parties, because I know you want to cook for me, but... did you check the label on that barbecue sauce? Have there been hamburger buns on that grill? There are a dozen things you've probably never thought of.
And this doesn't go for everyone - sindrian was a fast learner, grntserendipity does hardcore research, taura_g know that most oats are contaminated and bought certified-GF, and I know tamidon knows all about this. More of you, I am very certain. I will totally work with you if you really want to learn this stuff! But if you're just having a party and don't want to think about stuff, I would be thrilled to bring a lasagna. No, really. Adam and Elayna don't like lasagna, and left to my own devices, I will eat the whole lasagna, so it's special treat I only get at parties where people will help me eat the lasagna. Please I want to bring a lasagna. :)
Not quite sure why I'm rambling on about this; still a bit brainfoggy! Perhaps I'll figure it out later. :)