Monday, October 19, 2009

F.O.C.U. Tip #5


Hi, my name is Laura, and I am a wheat eater. My best friend is the Amy that is spoken about through out this blog, and let me tell you, when the news of celiacs came into Amy's life it destroyed a strong aspect in our 15 year friendship; eating.

It is true that Amy and I used to spend a day driving 60 miles one way to eat bread sticks. That's right, a 120 mile round trip to eat bread. We spent every Sunday going to Little Cesar's at Macomb Mall to eat crazy bread. We used to stay up night after night watching A Hard Day's Night, easily consuming a large Jet's Pizza and Jet's bread between us. This was our life. Those days are gone.

To help Amy through this horrible dark time in our life, I tried to help by sending a care package of potato vodka and gluten free brownies. My life turned to constantly scanning menus, noting the gluten free alcoholic drinks at local bars and reading ingredients on nearly everything I bought so that when Amy came to visit, I would not gluten her. I learned quickly gluten is everywhere, like Oprah.

Speaking of Oprah, let me begin to tell you what a twat she is, and why I think she should officially become the poster child for "people celiacs want to gluten".

Oprah backed Obama, now she backs celiacs! HOPE IS BACK!

Oprah, as you know, is amazing at telling people what to do, and actually getting them to do it. She reads a book, lonely mid-west housewife reads the same book. She never liked reading before, but Oprah is friends with John Travolta.

Chances are, that chocolate bar contains gluten.

Oprah brings Suzanne Somers on the show and she talks about injecting herself in the VAGINA to look younger and the audience swoons with acceptance.

Inject stuff into your vagina and THIS could be you.

So when Oprah undertook a "21-day body cleansing" it was no surprise she excluded gluten from her diet. Stop worrying, Oprah is not among the estimated 3 million people with celiacs the disease, she is head of the asshole nation of fads, or faddies as I like to call them.

Now, when my friend Amy here eats gluten, or gets "glutened" as we say, this is what may or may not happen to her:
• Frequent diarrhea • Mouth ulcers
• Frequent constipation • Tooth enamel defects
• Frequent bloating • Itchy skin lesions
• Unintended weight loss • Bone or joint pain
• Failure to grow (in children) • Frequent headaches
• Anemia • Unexplained fatigue

Not to mention the fact that if Amy here eats gluten it destroys the lining in her intestines.

Just to compare, when Oprah here falls off the wagon and accidentally eats gluten, here is what happens to her:

Oprah just couldn't resist a little taste of gluten, look at her bloat!

That's right, nothing. Well, she will probably gain some weight, because contrary to popular belief the "gluten free diet" is NOT necessarily healthy. Because we are a nation of fadders, we blindly follow the fad diet without research, and why would we when Oprah is endorsing it?! Gluten free food often depends on more fat in the product to make up for the lack of the gluten that makes the item so god damn delicious. You are still eating fat and carbs and calories, the only thing you are lacking is gluten.

The gluten free diet is far more annoying than any other diet fad out there. When a vegetarian or a vegan crosses over to the dark side (the side where meat and dairy create the perfect marriage of a cheeseburger) the only person that gets hurt is the cow that is already dead. And let's face it, that vegan was craving the cheese and that vegetarian was craving the meat, I know, I was a pescetarianian for about 6 years, and I craved bacon daily, and when I finally caved and tasted that rare steak I wanted to kick myself in the ass for the 6 years I lost.

So remember little emo kid, next time you run around stating, "well, I am ALMOST fully vegan, but I love cake!", there maybe a celiac within ear shot that wants to fully murder you. Where you will only disappoint your feeble skinny jean wearing girlfriend, Amy here can NEVER have cake at any given moment. She has to track down a gluten free bakery, thrown down $10.50 for a slice and pray to god it is decent - not delicious, but just decent.

There is a joke, "How many vegans does it take to eat a steak?" Answer: One, when no one is looking.
Well here is a joke for celiacs, "How many celiacs does it take to eat some bread?" Answer: "Well, it would take one cause they love bread more than anything ever invented but if they have even an ounce of gluten they spend the next three days on the couch with horrible abdominal pains and the bad kind of poop and their intestines start to swell and get irritated, but you know - Oprah said my body will be cleansed."

Oprah, pu-lease!
Don't worry, the dog is gluten free.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

F.O.C.U. Tip #4

You need to be aware that when your gluten-free friend goes out to eat with you, he/she is basically playing roulette. Ordering something that shouldn't have gluten in it, like a salad minus croutons, may seem harmless but it's not. How many times have you ordered food "minus" something but when you get it you can tell the item was "picked" out? This happens to me with raw onions all the time. I detest raw onions, and you can NOT fool me, I can smell onion juice from a mile smells like stinky feet. I know that your grubby hands were digging around in my salad, picking out little onion shards (poorly, might I add, because you missed the one that just ruined my day) but I digress. My point is, most restaurants don't worry about cross contamination, so your friend is taking a big risk ordering anything. And for pete's sake, do not invite your gluten-free friend to a place that has gluten in its name, like "Pizza Hut" or "The Macaroni Grill." That just makes you an insensitive d-bag.

Hopefully there are restaurants in your area with gluten-free menus. Big cities tend to have more of these because GF is kind of a fad diet right now (though I still don't understand why). Several chains, such as Outback Steak House and Chilis, offer gluten-free options. We went to an Outback once where the manager brought out Amy's food himself so that she knew her plate hadn't even touched the plates with gluten on them. Not all places are that awesome though, even the ones that claim to accommodate food allergies can screw up. When Amy orders at a restaurant she basically has to scare them into thinking she will die if gluten touches her plate. I'm not going to lie, I have used this trick before when trying to order something without onions. I have never heard of a fatal onion allergy, but no one has challenged me on this as of yet (I don't do it that often, seems like bad karma).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

F.O.C.U. Tip #3

If you frequently socialize with gluten-free folks, it is way easier to eat and drink what they do as much as possible. #1: it saves money because you aren't buying two types of everything. #2: it cuts down on the chances of an accidental glutening. I now only buy potato vodka over grain vodka and I'm pretty sure home made rice cookies (slightly under cooked) are one of the greatest foods on earth.

F.O.C.U. Tip #2

I know, you like to share. I do too. But if you offer your Celiac friend a doughnut hole one more time he/she is going to punch you in the face. There is also the off chance that your gluten-free friend absent-mindedly eats the doughnut hole, at which point you will be partially responsible for a glutening. nice one.

F.O.C.U. Tip #1

This is not an innuendo, I'm talking about accidental contamination and it is the easiest gluten no-no to make. Hanging out with a Celiac is like...I don't know...some sports analogy about needing to be alert all the time.

I still have close calls. I almost dipped a wheat cracker in a designated gluten-free cheese plate this past Sunday. And a few weeks ago Amy's husband, Mike, caught me tossing sliced cheese that had touched crackers into a ziplock with non-crackery cheese, and then putting it in their fridge. That is bad.

similar and equally dangerous scenarios:
- keep your pita out of the hummus
- keep your baguette out of the baked brie
- keep your pretzel out of the mustard
- do not put your gluteny-toast-crumby knife back in the butter/spread

Monday, October 12, 2009

I ain't afraid of no gluten.

As the friend of someone who is allergic to wheat gluten you have one big responsibility: to not poison your friend. Sounds easy, right? WRONG! Gluten is a tricky bastard and it hides in things that you wouldn't even think of, like the adhesive that you lick on stamps and envelopes. Sometimes it gives itself funny names to disguise itself, such as "Semolina" (coming soon: Natalie's Semolina Story). And then there is the dreaded "accidental contamination." An innocent swipe of a cracker in some cheese dip, and it's all over.

I am a Wheat-Eater.

I heart my friend Amy. We have been friends for over 12 years, and in those 12 years we have consumed a LOT of gluten together...eating was kind of our thing. We met working at a restaurant and spent years playing the "Will it taste good deep fried?" game (the answer almost across the board is "yes"). Do you want to know how long it takes to drive to Chicago from Detroit? Answer: One box of Cheeze-its. "Sopranos Sunday" at Amy and her husband's house was gluten-palooza. It was a weekly excuse for us to gorge ourselves on pizza, pasta, and beer. So when Amy started getting sick a few years ago, the last thing we wanted to believe was that our beloved food was causing all her pain.

Ghosts of gluten past: Amy and I ate this monstrosity on a camping trip several years ago. I can't remember the exact reason, but I am sure alcohol was involved.

Long story short: Amy has Celiac Disease in a big way. Gluten is her Kryptonite, even a little bit and she is out of commission for days. We call it getting "glutened," and it has happened a lot!

The following blog is for the gluten-eaters who do not want to harm their non-gluten eating friends.