I am truly blessed with great friends. Because I love to socialize and eat out my menu limitations have caused me to enjoy eating out less frequently. One of my great friends at work knows I can only eat Crazy Sushi or Tommy’s Pizza for lunch. She is great, she will split a Tommy’s Pizza with me and truly enjoy it. My mom and I try to eat lunch on a regular basis and she has been great at trying to accomodate me. So far we have tried Jason’s Deli on Southside (I ordered the salad bar both times and had a reaction each time maybe I will try their baked potato next), Woody’s at US-1 and Baymeadows (had a reaction there from turkey, pork, sweet potato and turnip greens) and Chick-Fil-A at JTB (Chick Fil A was great, they specially grilled my chicken for my salad, however, I put the raspberry vinagrette on it and realized later it had gluten in it, it was totally my fault). I am still learning I guess- I think the hardest thing is memorizing every single gluten containing ingredient. The other night I made dinner for my brother and sister in law and 2 other couples and I made it entirely gluten free. I had not one complaint, and hardly any leftovers! I was nervous that people would complain or just stay quiet so they didn’t offend me, but everyone raved about how fresh everything tasted and even asked for some of the recipes. I made a mexican meal, fish and chicken tacos with Sazon flavoring for the fish and Publix Taco Seasoning for the Chicken; publix brand black beans and corn on the cob. I made fresh salsa, had fresh avocado and made a cilantro/yogurt sauce for the fish. We used corn tortillas both soft and hard. Everyone was happy including myself.
I have found that my friends and family are actually doing research. On numerous occasions my boyfriend will ask me “are you sure you can eat that” most of the time I have thoroughly checked the ingredients but it is nice to know that he is thinking about my well being (and probably trying to avoid the moodiness I have when I have ingested gluten). My mom will do research before cooking me a meal, she even takes into account cross contamination and cleans all pots and pans thoroughly before cooking. At my girl’s annual Christmas Party, which was only weeks after my diagnosis, a friend of mine did research on gluten free foods and actually brought a gluten free dish. She was so sympathetic, while doing research she realized all the things I could not have and I think felt a little sorry for me. She later hosted a “Japan Night” at her house with Plum Wine (gluten free), Sake (gluten free), gluten free sushi and Tamari (gluten/wheat free soy sauce). It was such a nice night.
I am strill struggling to avoid gluten in my diet, but I am not giving up. Unfortunately the harsh reality is that eating out is not going to be as big a part of my life as it used to be. I am going to be forced to be a better cook!