So often those of us with restricted diets spend our days feeling as though we are beating our heads against a wall. Co-workers or family members ask us, "What's the big deal if there are croutons on your salad?" Restaurant workers hear gluten-free and translate that as sugar free. We get suffer the eye rolls, the blank stares, and the not-so-quiet grumbling about picky eaters. It can be frustrating and disheartening.
Then there are those days that seem to reaffirm that what we are doing is correct. We are healthier, happier, and (hopefully) educating those we interact with in a positive way. Today has been one of those days. It was almost as if people were put into my path for a reason. It started with my annual trip to that special doctor all women should go to. (Sorry guys!) The nurse who was conducting the pre-exam inquisition asked about medications. I, of course, mention I am on a gluten free diet. Not a medication, I know, but it is information I feel all of my doctors should know about me. The nurse starts telling about this show on the Discovery Channel she saw where the boy had Celiac. Go Discovery Channel!!! After leaving the doctor's office I decided to treat myself to lunch. I am on Spring Break, why not! At the Milk & Honey Cafe I patiently stood in line expecting to receive the blank stare when I asked about their menu. No such thing! I was assured that both the soup (made on site) and the chicken salad were safe for me to eat. Oh man, they were good. Washed down with a glass of fresh made lemonade, I almost felt like it was summer time. Here's the strange one: somehow I struck up a conversation with the woman at the table next to me. The cafe's baked goods were mentioned, and I simply said I could not eat them. "Oh, do you have Celiac?" I think my eyes almost popped out of my head. Her son was just recently tested for Celiac. No way! We talked a bit about it, and I think I was able to set her mind at ease. I was feeling so good after that I decided to stop at the chocolate "boutique" down the block. The gentleman working there (who was quite dishy, by the way) pointed out the truffles that were gf, and mentioned that the rest of the truffles were made with glucose syrup "which I know is derived from wheat." I thought I might cry. He actually knew about the origins of glucose syrup (which I know is controversial as to whether there is in fact any gluten in the stuff....anyone know?) I walked out instead with a cup of Almond Milk. No, no, not the kind you are thinking of. They have a special chocolate drink with that name: hot cocoa made with white chocolate and almond puree. Oh. Holy. God.
The day has continued like this. Grocery shopping during the day is fun because you can call food companies about there products while you are in the store. My local grocers made me deliriously happy by now carrying Thai Kitchen's panang simmer sauce. I called. It's safe!!!
More and more these days people know about Celiac and gluten free eating. The number of individuals being diagnosed is skyrocketing. It seems as if everyone knows someone living gluten free. We are not mainstream yet folks, but there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure how long it will take us to get there, but we will. Oh yes, we will.