This fall will mark my second year of gluten intolerance. And I am officially FED UP. All this time I've been telling myself it's no big deal, and it sure keeps my carb intake down.
But suddenly I realize that I am TIRED of avoiding each and every form of normal baked goods, tired of mealy pasta and gritty rice crackers, and tired of explaining to friends and family why the wheat allergy is in many ways worse than the diabetes. Oh, but it's true! As a diabetic, I could essentially still eat anything, as long as I planned and dosed for it properly. But having a permanent gluten intolerance problem (i.e. Celiac disease) makes for a lifetime of struggle and compromise.
So I wasn't the only one shedding tears of joy over the fact that some major restaurant chains seem to finally be catching on to the ca. 3 million people in the US with this problem...
The LA Times recently reported that a growing number of eateries are offering gluten-free (GF) menus, apparently including the Olive Garden, PF Changs, Legal Sea Foods on the East Coast and the Outback Steakhouse -- which has a location right here near me! Hoorah!
However, I checked this out a little and discovered that it is not quite as exciting as it sounds: for the most part, the menus simply tag the items that are by nature gluten-free (fish dishes, salads, risotto) and then offer tips like "avoid the bread" (duh!) or "ask for no croutons."
This is definitely not the same as actually offering special GF foods (God, how I was hoping to actually munch on a warm bread stick in a restaurant). But it's still pretty great to have each "safe" menu item clearly marked, and to know that the servers will have some idea of what you're talking about when you start asking pesky questions and making special requests.
The LA Times article also mentions a guy named Kevin Seplowitz, a former computer security expert who was diagnosed with celiac disease almost four years ago. He went on to develop the world's first commercially produced gluten-free beer, Bard's Tale.
Looks like we might be on our way to a world where an aversion to wheat is not the Biblical curse it once was. *Sniffle*
And what really got me in the gut was the Seplowitz quote:
"I think the most underappreciated aspect of being diagnosed with a chronic disease is the psychological impact... You have to be very diligent about it. If we (make mistakes), we get sick." (My life in a nutshell.)