Switching to gluten-free will be a breeze, I thought. I’ll just buy the gluten-free bread and pasta, I said. It will be just like being on the Atkins but with rice and potatoes allowed on the side, I joked.
Although, I was not laughing 3-weeks into my new regime when I ordered potted shrimp in a restaurant and had to drive home with a burning, blistering tongue, because one of the ingredients they used was Worcester sauce, which contains gluten.
A week of painkillers and iglu followed.
The next time I ate out, I ordered steak and chips because potatoes do not contain gluten… unfortunately, the burning mouth and blistering tongue reliably informed me that sadly, chips sometimes do.
The frozen kinds are often coated in flour to stop them sticking together. The chip shop kind are often fried in the same oil as the battered fish, and the french kind can often be seasoned with gluten containing ingredients.
Even if you slice and fry your own potatoes at home, soaking them in malt vinegar will instantly contaminate them and who wants chips without lashings of salt & vinegar?!
I have started to interrogate the wait staff in restaurants, most of whom just shrug it off and assume that everything bar the bread and pasta options will be ok. They just think I am making a fuss, or am on a fad diet. It’s embarrassing trying to explain to friends & family when they call to invite us over to their house for a meal, then start rooting through their cupboards and reading the list of ingredients on the back of stock cubes, chocolate, mustard and sauces.
Yep, even chocolate is not guaranteed to be gluten-free.
Unless it says so on the packet, it is not safe to assume that all crisps are gluten-free. Doritos are a big no-no, but handcooked Tyrells are ok. Sunday roast chicken flavour is my personal favourite, but I really must stop thinking that just because it is safe for me to eat them, it does not mean that I have to munch my way through an entire bag in one sitting.
Same with cheese.
As happy as it makes me to still be able to eat/drink these things, they are definitely not the healthiest of options.
Also, since I discovered that Pizza Hut now offer a gluten-free pizza base, I have started ordering one almost every week. With pepperoni on top… and extra cheese. This is having a rather unhealthy effect on my waistline and on my bank balance. One of which is bulging while the other is rapidly diminishing, and not in the order that is the most favourable to me.
Most supermarkets do have a free from range, but they are not necessarily stocked in the smaller stores near my office so finding something to eat at lunchtime has been a bit of a challenge. I can’t just grab a sandwich or a salad, so I have to buy lots of separate ingredients and make my own version up instead.
There is also the niggling thought that I may have brought this allergy on myself by completely eliminating gluten from my diet in the first place… whoops.
But, I have committed to this gluten-free way of life now and I want to see it through until the benefits outweigh the inconvenience.
Meanwhile, pass the crisps.