Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cheeseburger en Paraíso (menos el gluten)

Last night Amy read me something that was sent to her by a resort in Mexico. She, her husband, and in-laws will be visiting this resort soon and she emailed them to find out if they could accommodate her dietary needs. They could...and then some. Not only were they abundantly familiar with her needs and restrictions as a Celiac, they sent her this letter with the instructions to print multiple copies and bring them with her to present to the chef at every meal. The letter is written in both English and Spanish and perfectly summarizes the needs of a Celiac.

We were laughing as she read it because it seems so funny on paper, but in reality it is a perfect and concise letter. I think she should just bring it with her everywhere she goes indefinitely. Including giving it to friends and family members that may want to cook for her. It is definitely a good reminder of how serious Celiacs really is.

So remember kids, gluten doesn't just hurt people in English, it is equally dangerous in Spanish as well...probably even German. Not Japanese though. They just eat rice and sharks and puffer fish. That's probably not true. Sharks could be filled with gluten for all I know.

Be jealous. Be very jealous. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

F.O.C.U. Tip #6

Ok, so I have climbed down from my soap box and I am ready to resume my friendly, big-sister-with-advice-to-share tone. Today's lesson is about cooking for your gluten-free friends. Don't do it. OR, if you are absolutely hell-bent on cooking for your gf friend, there are a few simple rules you should follow: 

1. Trust no one. 
Not a website that tells you what is and is not gluten-free, not the grocery store "gluten-free" section,  not even the packaging on food. Only your gluten-free friend knows what he/she can eat and it came from trial and error, not a label. 
2. Plan the meal with your friend.
Surprises are lovely, but not when they involve hours curled up in the fetal position. 
3. Keep all the packaging from the food you used so your gf friend can inspect before eating.
See Natalie's story below
4. Trust no one. And you do not talk about fight club.

So this whole blog idea came from an experience I had a few weeks ago. I was on the Women's Health website looking up recipes. Their recipe looker-upper thing is pretty cool, you can filter down your search criteria to things like "cooking method," "occasion," and "dietary needs." Long story short, I decided to look up some gluten-free recipes that I might one day make for my gf bf Amy. 

Let's look at the first ingredient of the first item that popped up after I selected my filters, including "Wheat/Gluten Free":

Awesome. Luckily, I am a smart girl, and I am able to deduce that my wheat-gluten free friend cannot have whole-wheat pizza crust. For someone not as naturally gifted, this could lead to a disaster. Our friend Natalie is very smart too, she does Science. But even a Scientist is no match for the gluten-monster. What follows is her story.

Natalie's Semolina story. 
About a year ago our friend Natalie had the good intentions of cooking an awesome meal for Amy. Back then Natalie was pretty new to Glutenfreelandia, but she was determined to get it right. She went directly to the "gluten-free" section of her local supermarket and found the perfect noodle to make her gluten free vegetarian lasagna with....the semolina noodle. It was in the gluten-free section, near the rice noodles. It sounded gluten-free (never mind that there was a picture of wheat on the package). Back in my newbie days, I would have done the same thing. 

Amy loved the semolina lasagna. She loved it so much she had two large servings. Then we did what any good friends would do when their Celiac has just been glutened, we took her to a corn maze. Amy developed super-human powers that night, she was like a machine. She guided us through that corn maze as if God him/herself was whispering the directions in her ear. Left, then right, then right again, she was a woman on a mission.

one of us: "Hey, I think we should make a left here."
Amy: "No. It's a right. We are going right."

And it was a right. Amy survived the corn maze that night, but still suffered a gnarly glutening that she felt for the next few days. All because a supermarket put semolina noodles in the gluten-free section.

Moral of the story = trust no one. The end.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jenny, I got your number

Jenny McCarthy rant to supplement Laura's Oprah rant:
This woman has been on my “celebrities that need to shut the f-up” list for quite awhile. I’m not going to get into her whole ridiculous vaccines = autism crap because this soap box will not support my weight long enough for 2 rants. Today’s rant is about how Jenny McCarthy thinks that a gluten-free diet CURED HER SON’S AUTISM. Yes, you read that correctly.

I can’t ….I don’t even…..this HURTS MY SOUL. Now I am not a doctor (I am not even a Celiac for that matter) but isn’t this the equivalent of saying “Becoming a vegetarian cured my Dyslexia”? To make matters worse, I found this little nugget of awesome while doing blog research on none other than the “Living Without” website. “Living Without” is (I thought)  a respected publication for people with allergies and food sensitivities. Way to feed the celebrity I’m-going-to-give-you-uneducated-and-possibly-dangerous-medical-advice-because-I-am-famous-and-I-can machine. Is Jenny McCarthy really going to help your sales that much? Now desperate parents of autistic children are going to deprive their kids of an entire food group on the say-so of a moron. Shame on you Living Without! And to think I almost bought Amy a subscription for Christmas, screw that!

 yup, this person looks totally qualified to give medical 
and nutritional advice

According to the LW article, health expert Dr. McCarthy and her partner in crazy, Jim Carrey, are both gf as well. Funny, the gluten-free diet didn’t seem to do anything for their mental disabilities? 

is it just me or is Jim Carrey starting to look like "Killer Bob" from Twin Peaks?  

 I get it lady, you love your kid, you want the best for him blah, blah, blah. But how happy is your kid going to be when he gets older and realizes he is responsible for a generation of children that have contracted Measles and weren’t allowed to eat Oreos. I hope all this money you are making spouting your nonsense is enough to pay for the therapy your child is going to need.

maybe she does have Celiacs?

My Best Friend Is a Celiac and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Laura and I have decided that, in the light of the current financial environment, what people really need to do is buy stuff. Namely, stuff with clever sayings pertaining to gluten. This is our way of stimulating the economy and "giving back."

So soon there will be a cafe press store chock full of F.O.C.U. swag. I know what you're thinking, "Will it be up in time for Christmas/Chanukah?" Fear not wheat-eaters and is going to be a very gluten-free holiday!

Right now we are still in the brainstorming process and, since this is a collaborative organization, I thought I'd run some of our ideas past everyone. Please give us feedback, as well as any catchy slogans you may come up with that might look good on a t-shirt, mug, kerchief, etc.

"MY WHEAT DON'T STINK" (thanks Bryen)
"I SEE-LIAC YOU" (that one is pushing it, I know)

  this could be your boyfriend/brother/husband.