It’s that time again, a new year, a new opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin again. For those of us with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, beginning again can mean reevaluating our lives on a gluten-free diet by examining our eating behaviors. I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for 10 years and in my self-evaluation, I would admit that I have been a little slack by making assumptions on processed food items that I have become familiar with.
All food manufacturers including gluten-free food manufacturers, purchase ingredients for their products from other suppliers; and suppliers change for many reasons. This last year has been a perfect example. In 2008, many food products became scarce due to the redirection of agriculture into fuel producing crops, including rice and therefore, rice flour. When events like this occur, manufacturers have to scurry to find other suppliers. There are other reasons for changing suppliers including product formula changes to improve taste or texture or a supplier may close its doors forcing a manufacturer to source elsewhere. In any case, reading labels on all processed food products whether one is familiar with them or not is an ongoing critical and necessary fact of life for anyone with Celiac disease. So, this year, my resolutions will include the reading of all processed food labels.
Another area that can stand some scruntinizing would be eating out. I never eat at fast food restaurants but occasionally, I do, out of necessity, eat out. This is my greatest challenge and the greatest area of disappointment. I have a list of restaurants that have gluten-free menus or that are gluten-free friendly. I also know what menu items are the safest to order. However, I find one big problem with eating out, regardless of how ‘safe’ any given restaurant is supposed to be.
Here’s a typical example of what I’m talking about:
I have frequented a particular restaurant several times that even has a gluten-free menu. I have selected my meal from the gluten-free menu. The next time I go to the restaurant, I order the same meal from the gluten-free menu, the same ‘Fiesta Salad’ I’ve been ordering for two years and it comes this time with no dressing. I mention to the wait person that they have forgotten the dressing to which they reply, “The dressing isn’t gluten-free.” Great, I’ve now been eating it for two years, with gluten. This is not an isolated incident. It happens to me all the time.
So, my second resolution will be to stop relying on a restaurant or the wait staff to know and do what is safe for me. I’ll re-pledge to eat the plain fish, chicken or meat dish and back I go to the plain salad; hold the dressing.
What’s the good news for 2009? Cooking, eating and entertaining at home! Everything you’ve ever wanted to eat is available online at Glutenfreeda.com! 2009 will bring not only hundreds of new exciting gluten-free recipes but many new features to serve and support our community.
Did I forget to mention the resolutions involving weight loss? Well that is also on my list. I’ve decided to try the P90X program; I’ll let you know how it goes in our blog.
Happy New Year everyone, from all of us at Glutenfreeda.com! We wish you a delicious 2009!
- Chef Yvonne