Thursday 18 August 2011

My name is Laurie and I am a bread addict.

After the doctor and the blood test and all that fun, I had to educate myself. I went home and went to the easiest information source in the world. I checked with good old Mr Google who proceeded to present me with the largest selection of madness I have ever seen. First off, people are GRAPHIC about their Celiac’s on line. They shouldn’t be, you all have imaginations, have all drank too much and eaten a luke-warm hot dog from a street vendor at . You get it, ok? There are random diagnosis going on in chat rooms and people telling others to not consult their doctors, it was madness. Some people don’t eat out anymore or go to other peoples homes. It feels like I just got initiated into the shittiest club in the world. (pun not intended).  BUT over time, the internet has been a valuable resource. I have learned how my body works now and how to keep myself safe in my own home while still allowing my family the pleasures of Gluten. I eventually learned exactly what I could and couldn’t eat and how to read a label. So the on-line stuff can be helpful just take what you need and leave the insanity behind. And for any Celiac’s reading this, PLEASE keep your bathroom talk to yourself folks, really, no one gives a shit (pun intended).

So I head off to the grocery store, with Celiac, my new buddy, sitting on my shoulder ready to conquer. Well, I was ready to stand staring vaguely at a bunch of items I had never seen before. It was like shopping in a foreign country. I didn’t even know that these aisles existed in superstore. I felt like I had found a secret world, my own Narnia only instead of Turkish delight I find the weirdest food I have ever seen. I scramble to understand the labeling, does organic mean gluten free? Does wheat mean Gluten free? Does Gluten free even mean Gluten free. They should serve martinis in Superstore.

I grab one of everything, pay the lady a mortgage payment and head home only to realized that I had been scammed.... big time. First of all, Gluten free products are at least 25 to 50 percent more expensive then regular items which on a base level, pisses me off. As well, plenty of products sell themselves as being Gluten free and charge you more when they don’t need to. I’ll give you a hint, most BBQ sauces are already Gluten free, go buy the no name brand and check the label. I spent ten bucks on a jar of burnt bottom of the grill flavored water. YUMMY! I found a website that I check all random ingredients with and I added the link at the top of the page. I figured out I could carry it around on my phone and check every time I want to buy something not officially Gluten free.

The first thing I tried though was the bread. It had been more than a week without bread and I was having something akin to heroin withdrawals with it. So I buy this white bread in the frozen section. The grocers keep the bread frozen and so should you, it lasts longer. So I buy this bread and it looks JUST like wonder bread, well, maybe a little skinnier but it SMELLS just like wonder bread. I sat there and smelled it; this is how much of a junkie I am. So I make myself the most loving, delicious turkey sandwich, pour myself a big glass of chocolate milk and plop down on the couch, ready to be amazed. I am thinking different comments in my head, prepared for the greatness, “I can’t even tell!” I would exclaim with wonder, “Betty Crocker would not be able to tell it from real bread!” I was pumped and I square my shoulders, hunker down and take a massive bite.

Disappointment comes in many forms, from mild irritation like that of a broken nail to, my cat died level of disenchantment. This situation fell on the darker end of the scale….. way darker end. The consistency of poorly made rice bread is hard to describe, but I, dear reader, will put in a solid effort. Firstly, it has no flavor, at all….you might think that your bread doesn’t have much flavor but trust me it does. To test this, take a bite of your bread and then go ahead and take a bite of Styrofoam, understand now? The texture is remarkable, really, its some sort of botched science experiment - the bread in my mouth had liquefied into some sort of morphed tennis ball and yet the bread still in my hand was turning to sand; crumbling and draining away to a powder. This product could not have been further from bread and the frustration was tangible.

I could think of nothing to do so I just looked at Trev. He swallowed, trying to think of something encouraging, one of his funny one liners maybe but even he was at a loss. All he could do was mutter, “I’m sorry, babe”. I nodded, tears starting to form in the corner of my eyes. Would I never eat normally? Could I never enjoy food? I sighed. “We will just bring it back to the store,” Trev offers weakly and after my stare of hateful distrust he continues with “ok, so what, you’ve had some, I will throw this crap out and try another kind.” I attempted to respond at this point but the rice bread had turned into a brick inside my mouth, gluing everything together. My sentence came out, “bu i wa te dolla”. Trev smirks at me and replied, “Not te dolla, if it were TEN DOLLARS that would be something to discuss, but te dolla?” I start to giggle and he considers himself in safe territory so he adds, “but if it prevents you from talking, it might be the best thing that ever happened to us.” That did it. I laughed until I cried and Trev made me an egg.

I have lowered all expectations from that day forward. Nothing is ever the same as regular bread or pasta or cookies or cakes or anything but with a little looking and a lot of laughter, I found something VERY similar.

Udi’s bread – cheapest at Superstore at 5.99 a loaf, sometimes goes on sale at Sobeys but always the freshest at the Gluten Free Store (Sunridge) or Planet Organic.

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