Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gluten Free Gluttony

We've all been there.

We've all done it before.

The scene is a grocery store.  A gigantic one.  Huge, in fact.

It is 3:20 in the afternoon and you have yet to have lunch.  That little bowl of Rice Chex consumed at 9:30 a.m. just isn't doing it for you any longer.  You need to eat.

And then you remember that the very reason you ate those Rice Chex is that you have made the decision to try a gluten-free diet.   After hearing so much testimony from others about how it will help your joint pain, you've decided to give it a try.  Plus, you're meeting a woman from a Sjogren's forum for lunch two days from now and she has chosen the restaurant for its fine selection of salads because she - like everyone else these days - is gluten free.

And you?   A best-selling author, recent world traveler, and aspiring advocate for autoimmunity? You need to join the growing trend.  But you hate salads.

That aside, you enter the humongous grocery store, contemplating seating yourself in one of those motorized-wheelchair-like-carts and know that you just cannot do it.  The world-traveling-author-and-guest-on-the-Dr.-Oz-show is too scared to operate it.  Plus, the reason you haven't had lunch is that you just had your hair done and you want to pretend - for just a few minutes, mind you - that you are one of those people who have their sh*t together. And no one with hair like yours has ever placed herself behind the handlebars of a motorized cart.  You swish you head around from side to side, thinking that you look like a million bucks.

First to the fish counter.  You discover that God did not create any new species of fish since you last checked.  Your entire body revolts at the thought of another evening of salmon which you will play with on your plate.  You choose scallops instead.  A member of the mollusk family.  They may just provide some entertainment by rolling around on your plate, unless you decide to be brave and eat one.

You move slyly over to the prepared foods.  Ah, already-grilled veggies.  Perfect.  They too, make for good playthings on a dinner plate.  And then you see it.  The beloved macaroni and cheese is calling to you.  But alas, you are now officially gluten free.  Perhaps dairy free too for all you know, but we'll work on that tomorrow after you finish the chunks of provolone in your home fridge.  So you appropriately choose a chicken, black bean, and brown rice cilantro bowl to bring home for your lunch.

Let's go.

But you have to pass the fresh bakery department on the way out of the store.  Bread.  The staff of life.  But perhaps this store makes gluten-free bread!  It's worth an inquiry!  "No," says the beleaguered bakery worker while bringing a fresh-baked loaf of bread out of the store's brick oven, "You'd have to go to aisle 5B where the gluten-free bread is in with the frozen food."   Aisle 5B?  This store is so friggin big the aisle numbers have to be further delineated by A, B, and Cs?  Remember, you chose not to hop into that motorized shopping cart. . .

Knowing that you have lost the battle, you swing you hair around a few more times and pick up a loaf of the healthiest-sprouted-softest-lovliest-best-smelling-heart-warming-wheat bread you can find, put it in your cart, and quickly make it through the 10-items-or-less checkout line and to your car.

You car.  Where you place that loaf on the passenger seat, quickly open the wrapper, and continue to eat it and all of its gluteny goodness all the way home from the grocery store.

The only problem that remains is to make the loaf look like it was not sold in its entirety.  In fact, some stores sell half-loafs and so you rearrange the remaining bread to look exactly like the other half had never even seen the inside of that wrapper.  What?  Is your husband going to weigh the bread in your kitchen?  Sure, he might think you were out of your mind to pay a whopping five dollars for a half-loaf of bread, but he knows that you're crazy like that sometimes.  Especially when your hair looks so damn good.

And so he enters the house after a long day of work and his laser eyes zero in on the very thing you don't want him to see, and he queries.  . ..

"Is this bread gluten free?"