My week with Celiac… Day #7

No, I have not been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Celiac is another autoimmune disease that occurs in about one half of one percent of the general population. However, according to JDRF, about 1 in 10 people with Type 1 Diabetes is eventually diagnosed with Celiac. According to ADA standards just released, as many as 16 percent of Type 1s could be living with Celiac. During this week, I’ve been living and writing about the gluten-fee life from the perspective of someone newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Muy Muchas Gracias to Nikki at Celiabetes who has been a tremendous resource, providing very valuable information and feedback for this series.

Wow, I can’t believe this week is almost over. It’s been an eye-opener, in a number of ways.

Today, we decided to try to go out. Since it’s so bloody cold here these days, we opted for going out to lunch rather than going out to dinner. How do we prepare, how do we handle eating gluten free in a restaurant environment? I’ll have to refer to Nikki one more time:

“You’ve probably noticed that there are lots of sit-down restaurants that have gluten free menus nowadays. The larger the chain, the more likely it is. Or the more expensive it is, the more likely it is. The key here is to tell your server right away that you have a “gluten allergy” and cannot eat gluten. Even though Celiac Disease is not a gluten allergy, it’s the easiest concept for other people to understand. I love PF Chang’s, Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s, Wildifire/Bonfire, and Chianti Grille.”

Nikki also says that fast food joints are almost all out of bounds for the GF eater. But Wendy’s and Chipotle do have options if you also inform them of your “gluten allergy”.

The Great Spousal Unit and I decided that we wanted to try something local. So we went to The Flying Avocado. One of our favorite places to get lunch, it’s a pretty healthy eatery anyway, and we thought we would try to see what we could do within the confines of their menu.

When we went to the counter to order, I just said “Hey, I have a gluten allergy… I can’t eat any gluten. Do you have any recommendations for me?”. The person behind the counter said, “Hmmmm… let me check”. She went in the back for a minute, and when she came back, she said that they didn’t have any gluten free wraps left, but they had some gluten free bread. Awesome! I didn’t really expect to get a gluten free meal without getting a salad, so this was a surprise. It was a good sandwich too… bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. I had a side salad with it, and if you look closely, you’ll see some GF lentil chips in a plastic bag that we brought from home. And no, I didn’t put the dressing on my salad, and my sandwich was plain, without mayo or anything like that.

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Could I have been subject to some cross-contamination? Maybe. But to be honest, I was so excited to be offered gluten free bread that I didn’t see on the menu, I forgot to ask about their procedures in the kitchen. Simply put, it was delicious. If you live around here, I would definitely recommend this place.

All in all, I’d say I was extremely lucky in my dining out. I’m not sure I’d have done as well anywhere else locally.

Hey, I also promised to write about my new favorite cookies. That’s right– they are my new favorites… and they are gluten free. Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies are just as described. A very nice treat. Two cookies have 18g of carbohydrates.

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A couple of other items from this week:

– I think I was a little tough on the Kinnikinnick brand chocolate chip muffins yesterday. I’m not a big fan of chocolate chip muffins, so that probably had something to do with it. Kinnikinnick seems to go out of their way to do gluten free and do it right, using proper processing and inventing new gluten free options all the time.
 
 
In the Day #5 post, I had a photo of guacamole that I made next to a huge basket of lentil chips. Not sure if I made it clear that I did not eat that entire basket of chips. It was shared among four of us in the house that night. I love savory snacks, but that’s a lot even for me.
 
 
– I think it’s funny that I’ve picked up a bunch of Twitter followers this week, from gluten free purveyors of this and that. Advice, food, diets, you name it. Thanks for the follows, but I’m not sure I’m going to give you a lot after today. But keep following anyway, all right?
 
 
– Thanks to everyone who left comments this week. Lots of great feedback, for which I’m always grateful. By the way, I did bolus for half of the protein in my steak last night, and it worked great!
 
 
– Thanks again to Nikki for answering my questions and providing support in this endeavor. Seriously, if you want to know anything about Celiac Disease or eating gluten free, look her up. Or contact me, and I’ll put you in touch with her.
 
 
What did I eat on the last day of my quest?

Breakfast: One egg and a slice of the Udi’s whole grain bread from yesterday. Total Carb Count: 16g

Lunch: From The Flying Avocado, a California BLT, with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, plus a side salad. I shouldn’t have, but I ate it all. Total Carb Count: 51g

Dinner: We picked up some shrimp from the seafood counter at the store. A little salt and pepper, and we cooked it in some olive oil with chopped garlic in there too. Topped it with some fresh parsley. Put it on top of a salad with lettuce, shredded carrot, olive, green onion, and sunflower seeds, and grated some Iberico cheese on top (iberico is made from cow, sheep, and goat milk). Yummy. Some fresh strawberries for dessert. Total Carb Count: With the strawberries, I’m gonna guess it was about 40g

The last day of eating gluten free was a very good day. Which begs the question: will I ever do this again? Well, I don’t feel like I was starving myself. There were some fairly delicious options. It did take a lot more diligence in terms of reading nutrition labels and avoiding cross-contamination.

Really, it’s too early to tell. But I’m thinking yeah, I could do this again.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
 

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Comments

  • Marc Pittman  On January 27, 2013 at 11:05 am

    You’ve been very focused and done a great job this week, Stephen!

  • Scott K. Johnson  On January 28, 2013 at 3:05 am

    What a cool experiment, Stephen!

    I very much appreciate you opening our eyes.

  • scully  On January 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

    It’s been so awesome to read. Such a refreshing outside perspective, THANKS

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