Wednesday 30 November 2011

Vote because I said so!

Monday 28 November 2011

"The surest poison is time." Ralph Waldo Emerson

We Celiacs have made up our own words. Why, because we can’t eat bread and you gotta have some fun somewhere right? We have invented the verb “Glutened” or some call it “Glutenized” either way it’s definition is – being poisoned by Gluten. Being “Glutened” is really the worse thing ever for a Celiac. It’s always this sneak attack at the least opportune moment. Is there an opportune moment? Not really. But it always seems to happen for me in public when I have a million things to do or no bed to lie in for hours.

Once I was Glutened at the Boston Pizza in Medicine Hat (the entire story is epic so I will share it at another time) and had to drive the whole way home in the passenger seat of the truck with the kids wide eyed and terrified in the back. I was Gutened once during a date night with Trev. We had to go home early with me doubled over and groaning while paying the babysitter. In all my Glutenizing incidents, it was someone else’s fault. There was someone to hold responsible, to shake my fist and write a litany of angry emails to managers informing them of how shitty they are. As a side note, managers usually send gift certificates but will never admit fault. They will offer to poison you again but never risk a law suit. I have never returned to an establishment that poisoned me, fool me once yada yada.

The other day though, I experienced something I have never before. I poisoned myself. Yup, that’s right, I poisoned myself. Have you ever walked into the side of an open door because you somehow didn’t see it or remember that your bedroom had a door? Ever bounce off a screen door in front of strangers? Trip on that last step that your muscle memory forgot was there? Hit your head on the corner of a cupboard that you just opened? Stood there blind with rage and pain, beating the shit out of the cupboard door for getting in your way? Ever felt that stupid? Yes? Excellent. Now, imagine that for 2 days and everyone you know is watching. Yes, that is a self inflicted Glutinizing and its dreadful. The moment word of the Glutenizing comes about, friends start to call, ready to curse the son of a bitch chef that tried to kill me. (Digression – I once had a friend launch a twitter war beyond the likes of General Paton on a restaurant that glutened me….it was a thing of beauty. Shelby rocks.) I have to tell my concerned friends that, nope, it was my own damn self that did it.

This time it was a beef stock that did it. I bought it from one of those house party things and I should have known better than to just tell the lady I was Celiac, pay for something and use it, AND NOT LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS!! Looking at the ingredients is my thing, it’s what I do I read ingredients on shampoo, nail polish, canned goods, coffee whiteners, anything and everything that goes in my mouth or on my body. Minds out of the gutter you fucking juveniles. . I know that I might be on that “people of walmart” website because I guarantee you; I have stood in my sweats pondering deeply over a pack of gum for ten minutes. I know the lady at the counter is thinking, “bitch, buy the gum!” but I can’t without looking at the ingredients. And yet on Friday, I went ahead and made a roasted red pepper and tomato soup (it was delicious by the way) with the offending beef broth and didn’t even look at it.

Fast forward and hour and we are standing in IKEA, well, Trev and the spawn are standing, I am lying prone on a couch that felt like sandpaper and looked like stadium seating. To make things worse some fucking idiot thinks its some kind of you tube video and “planks” beside me. It was horrible. The big question is WHAT did it. Trev and I turn into Bruce and Cybil from “Moonlighting”, trying to find out how this happened. It took a couple days and we finally figured it out. The beef broth is in the garbage with my pride.

But really, considering that I was diagnosed a year ago and cook in a kitchen that serves only one GF eater, it is fairly impressive that it took me this long to fuck up.

So anyway, read your ingredients and try not to kill yourself. Take it from me, your pride is harder than Gluten to swallow.

And planking is for assholes.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Cheater Cheater Gluten Eater

I am not a cheating Celiac. I am not able to choose to eat Gluten and suffer the consequences. Well, I could, but that would mean clearing my schedule for 36 to 48 hours depending on what I ate. Knowing me, I would go hard or go home and cause some serious damage. I can’t bring myself to do that, no French bread is worth that. So I don’t cheat.  I know you are out there though. There are those Celiacs who’s symptoms are something they can manage and they don’t just cheat, they eat gluten everyday.

It’s like they are the Evel Knievel of the small intestine and they dodge the bullet with every meal. Everyday they roll the dice and eat what ever they want and hope for the best. I have met some that shrug it off and say, “I just feel like shit everyday,” and I am forced to ask why? Why endure injury for gluten? What’s it ever done for you? Except eat you alive inside? I completely understand the love for bread and all things flour-esque. I recognize that it’s an annoyance to tell people about your Celiacs so it’s easier to just eat the spinach dip at a party. I even get that it is so much more economical to eat Gluten. I don’t understand though why you don’t like yourself enough to not hurt yourself.

The worst part about cheaters is some of them are self righteous about it. They act like it’s a badge of honor, “I have Celiacs too, but I just ignore it.” like I am supposed to be impressed with their lack of self control. Imagine this, “I have diabetes, but I just ignore it,” or “I have a peanut allergy but I just ignore it.” I shake my head. They also make it difficult for me to eat out. They order things in a restaurant and are flippant about their Celiacs. Then I come along and look like a lunatic because I ask if they are using clean pans to cook my food in. I have had to convince a server that I can’t have Soya sauce because apparently, the last Celiac she served could have it. Thanks a bunch.

If Celiacs showed on the outside, I think there would be less cheaters. Imagine if your hair fell out if you ate Gluten, or you got spots on your face or even a rash on your ass. You would avoid Gluten like the plague. But there is serious damage going on inside your body. Just because you cant’ see it, doesn’t mean its not there. I think the cheater’s bodies will rebel eventually though. The human form has a way of telling you it’s not pleased with you that can not be denied. I have a sneaking suspicion that one day those cheaters might find themselves curled up in the fetal position wondering if they are dying. Welcome to my world.

            Don’t get me wrong, if a genie popped out of my coffee pot right now and offered me three wishes, after I wished for a roller coaster in my backyard and a pony, no a unicorn, ya, I would get a unicorn, one that could fly,  I would THEN ask for the ability to cheat on my Celiacs. I don’t know if I would get rid of the little monkey on my back all together but I would certainly want to shuffle him off to a babysitter when he started to throw feces. I would totally love to cheat every once in a while but only if it didn’t hurt me. I think that I am a pretty awesome person and I don’t really like to hurt people I like, especially myself. I don’t have the option to cheat, but I wouldn’t even if I could. If I won’t respect myself, how can I ask anyone else to?

So cheat if you feel the need to but remember, that when we don’t value someone (yourself), or something (your small intestine), it can really come back to bite you in the ass.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Don't be an Expert!

I sometimes hate telling people I have Celiacs. Some people always turn it into a 'thing'. Suddenly, Celiacs is all there is to know about me. I assure you, that isnt the case. I know people that have introduced me as, “Laurie the Celiac.” To which I return the favor by introducing them as, “Bill, with herpies.”

When I tell NORMAL people that I have Celiacs it’s all very simple.

 For example, this is the conversation I had with my friend Pat when I told him.

Me, “They figured out I have Celiac Disease.”
Pat, “That’s fucking lame. What do you have to do?”
Me, “Not eat Gluten forever.”
Pat, “Extra fucking lame. Are you going to live?”
Me. “Yup,”
Pat, “Good enough for me. Anything I can do?”
Me, “Nope.”
Pat, “Excellent. So about this motorcycle I think I should buy…..”

When I tell idiots that I have Celiacs, it goes very differently.
Here is a combination of typical conversations that I have had with the more annoying people I have met. This is not one particular person; it is an amalgamation of several morons. I call them the “expert” because inevitably, that’s what they think they are.

Me, “Thank you so much for offering but I have Celiacs so I am just going to stick to the cheese without the crackers thank you.”
Expert, “Oh, I read an article about Celiacs in my dermatologists office while waiting for my botox, I know all about it.”
Me, sighing, “Oh,”
Expert, “Ya, you get body aches right? And diarrhea? And your nails are brittle?”
Me, “Actually, no, those aren’t my symptoms but Celiac symptoms vary wildly and…”
Expert rolling eyes, “You don't have Celiacs, I know, I read that article, remember?”
Me, “I will take that into advisement.”
Expert, “My brothers, wife’s cousin has Celiac, it’s no big deal.” Dipping crackers into the cheese ball thus making the cheese ball inedible.
Me, “Well, it’s a big adjustment that’s for sure,” Looking longingly at cheese ball.
Expert, “Did you know that there are Gluten Free Breads?”
Me, Now just enjoying myself, “No way, I did not know that.”
Expert, “Ya, and there are crackers and cereal. There are entire companies dedicated to it.”
Me, “Shut the fuck up. Here I have been eating celery this whole time. Thank God I ran into you at this Mom’s group/party/bathroom stall you have made my life so much better. What would I have done with out this conversation?”
Expert, “No problem, did you know Elizabeth Hasselbeck wrote a book about it?”
Me, “Gee I wonder if she has Celiac’s”
Expert, “And you can eat out,”
Me, “WHAT?  I haven’t left my house in 10 months.”
Expert, Now eating a loaf of French bread like a caveman, “It’s no big deal, you shouldn’t be sad about it. It could be worse. It's just bread, like really, there are lots of other things you can eat.”
Me, restraining myself from punching her in the throat, “Ya, well, it’s an adjustment.”
Expert, “And you can eat Rye, I know they tell you that you can’t but my cousin's, husband's brother has Celiac and he can eat Rye so you should be fine. Did you know that wine is Gluten Free?”
Me, continuing to sip my wine, “Ya I know wine is gluten free or else I would have offed myself. By Rye is not.”
Expert, “Yes it is,” Takes a bite of a butter tart and puts the rest on my plate.
Me, “It really isn’t” Putting plate in garbage. “But anyway, what do you do for a living?”
Expert, “Hey Jim! This is Laurie, she has Celiac, do you know about Celiac Disease, she has it. She is a Celiac. Celiac Disease, she has it.”
Jim, “You have Celiac? My Uncle’s second wife's mother had Celiac, did you know that there is Gluten Free pizza crusts?”
Me, “Fuck it, I’m out.” I leave.
Expert, “Oh no! I forgot to tell her about that awesome Blog: Are you Freaking Celiac? I have to go after her.”

Sunday 6 November 2011

The Perogies!!!!!

The Perogies

Do you remember in junior high that your language arts teacher would make you compose a descriptive essay? This essay would not benefit you in any way for the rest of your life - unless of course you became a beatnik that stared at clouds all day. It forced you to look up words like “prodigious” and “ultramarine” so you could describe a rock beside the school smoke doors. I have finally discovered why, Mrs. Graham, in her brilliant mind, wanted ME to write the essay. Because she somehow knew that I, one day would be diagnosed Celiac, and that one fine day, I would eat Gluten Free Perogies from People Food.

Trev brings them home and I am already boiling the water. I didn’t know a year ago that I was going to be diagnosed with Celiac, otherwise I would have taken a chance to eat all the glutened stuff I liked.  Perogies would have certainly been high on that list. As it is though, I have not had perogies in over a year and I had given up on every having them again. If banana bread is a stretch for gluten free cooking, then perogies are certainly out of the question. BUT the good people at People Food have pushed forward and made some of the best perogies I have ever had….ever. They are hand made and huge, they cook up beautifully and hold together. They are actually one of the first gluten free foods that I have had that behave exactly like they have gluten, that’s how well they are made.

After I was done cooking them in the frying pan to a golden crispy texture, I plated them, and added a dollop of sour cream and declared it ‘mommy quiet time!’ so that the spawn would scatter like roaches.

I devoured them… minutes, they were so wonderful! The flavor of the caramelized onion added a nice sweetness to the cheesy potato goodness inside, they were marvelous! Trev even asked for a bite and was refused. Well he wasn’t refused as much as scared off. I did that jersey shore, peacock, chest pop, arm jerk thing that translates to ‘yo wanna go?”. I think I added a feral growl for effect. They were really, that good.

So everyone get your sweet gluten free selves over to People Food and get some of what ever they have on the menu this week because I promise you that it is going to be fantastic!

Thank you People Food for teaching the world that Gluten Free doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorites or that your favorites have to taste like crap. Thanks for making love the main ingredient and making my belly a part of your family.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Liar liar pants on fire!

Celiacs is a part of my life but there are still moments that I HATE telling people that I have it. The hardest is telling people who have never heard of the disease. I have the choice to either let it go or to go into a bunch of details and it’s exhausting. For example, my older Spawn Ethan was invited to the birthday party of a kid at school. He is finally at the age when I can leave him alone at a party and get a fair representation from him as to what happened. I won’t find out that he ate seventeen marshmallow bananas but I think he would certainly tell me if he played the naked movie star game.

So I drop him off at this party and the family has just moved here from another country, one that clearly believes in community and caring and neighbors, because the mom basically forces me to stay. She does this by physically pulling on my scarf until I stumbled into her home. She was really quite sweet and deceptively strong. So I wish a wistful goodbye to 90 min of mindless shopping and slip into the kitchen. I see that I was not the first victim, there are 3 other moms gathered around the kitchen and some lovely old ladies, I assumed aunties, grannies and the like.  The table was PACKED with food. It was so full; they had to put the napkins on a chair. The mom sweeps her arm over the table and says “eat!” She is so proud, she has worked her ass off for days, she is bursting with love and goodness and kindness and my heart sank. There was literally nothing on the table that I could even remotely eat. The other moms dug in and the aunties and grannies did too. I sipped my coke. There wasn’t a veggie tray which is usually my saving grace or even a bowl of chips. The food was all huge casserole dishes bursting with meat and noodles and gravies and breaded goodness. The food was gorgeous stuff, but sheer poison for me.

They were persistent those aunties, they could not let a woman go hungry; they asked and asked and asked and motioned to the food. I feigned that I had eaten already which could not matter less to them. I changed the subject many times, asking about their old home and how they liked Canada but they just kept going back to the food. One even starting to make me a plate by taking charge and spooning piles of food on the red plastic disc like my life depended on it. For a split second, I thought about cheating but I didn’t think that I would be gone from the party before my symptoms started, actually, with that much gluten, I would probably have started to react immediately. And why should I really? Cause my body damage to avoid looking rude? But what to do?

There was a discussion about how I should have more meat on my bones; I should not be skinny in this cold cold place. I didn’t know what to do so I just kept shaking my head but it wasn’t doing any good. I looked so rude and there was no escape. Finally I said, “It all looks so good but I have a severe allergy and I can’t eat it, but thank you so much.” That was in no way sufficient. These were not stupid women, they were smart and strong and had kicked ass on more than one continent, I was not going to sneak out of this.

“ALL?” they ask incredulously, “You can’t have ALL these different dishes?” They shake their heads and tisk.

And then I say it, I say it right out, “I have Celiac’s disease" and of course I get a blank stare so I go on,  "so bascially, I can’t have flour.”

I saw it happen slowly, those lovely weathered faces hardened one at a time and their eyes cooled and lost a twinkle. They thought I was lying so I wouldn’t have to eat the food…. they thought I was a liar. It was a horrid moment. Even though another mom jumped in and said that her friend’s kids had Celiac and it was such a struggle and the other moms nodded, the aunties turned from me and were cool for the rest of the time. It was awful.

I made it through the rest of the time by changing the subject and saying some funny shit but really, the tone of the day was tainted and there was nothing I could have done. And no, it doesn’t matter that these old ladies think I am a liar, it really doesn’t but at first, I admit, it stung a little. I was tempted to bring up all my info on the phone or ask for a computer to show them that Celiacs was real and to prove myself true. I could have shown them all the education on Celiacs but really, do they need to know? Do these gorgeous women who have lived ten lives more than me need to know about my shitty disease? Nope, they do not. I would rather look like a liar than a self righteous snit any day.

My kid had a great time at the party and really I did to, I’m glad I didn’t go shopping.  I still love those ladies and I hated disappointing them but this disease isn’t part time and I would rather be asshole, than feel like an asshole because I cheated.

My kid ate 19 gummy worms and said he felt gross, I told him I knew how he felt.