Here is Sarah’s personal story via her answers to my list of gluten free questions for the Mary’s Gone Crackers contest.
I found your blog and the contest via Twitter. I really like your approach, and can appreciate the guts it takes to go GF when you don’t have terribly severe symptoms. Here is my interview entry for your contest!
What are your favorite restaurants?
Are these different than before you followed the diet? Back when I was only lactose-intolerant, Asian food was my standby since they use very little dairy. Now that soy sauce is a no-no, I’ve had to rethink my strategies. Big Bowl’s menu is mostly off-limits to me now, but they will make your Pad Thai with GF sauce if you ask. I always love Panera, Qdoba, or Chipotle.
Are food industry workers knowledgeable about Celiac disease?
Usually not. The average waitstaff will not have a clue when you say “gluten” or “celiac.” Chefs, on the other hand, are more well-informed. When I asked about sauce ingredients at a Disney hotel a few years ago, the chef even brought me GF rolls!
What were some things you believed about Celiac disease that have proven false?
That the diet would be unbearable, or help me to lose weight.
What precautions do you take when eating at family and friends’ houses?
Ask about the menu beforehand. Be positive when you explain your diet. Eg. “I can’t have pasta, bread, etc, but I CAN eat rice, potatoes, corn, plain vegetables, etc.” Bring a GF side dish if appropriate. Don’t eat anything you aren’t sure of. Have a snack ready in case you leave hungry.
What is the biggest difficulty with having Celiac Disease?
The lack of convenience foods. Sandwiches and pizza are universal, but now useless to me. Eating requires way more awareness and planning ahead. I can’t just dive into whatever food is close at hand.
What are the foods you missed the most?
A big gooey pizza slice, or fluffy, crusty bread to dip in olive oil. I don’t miss them too much, and there are alternatives available for pretty much anything.
If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet. What made you change your mind?
Crippling digestive pain and *ahem* problems that would attack for no apparent reason. I thought my lactose intolerance was under control, but I was still miserable. After a blood test, my doctor convinced me to try going full GF, not just “avoiding bread” like I thought it would entail. My symptoms stopped, and I’ve never looked back.
Why did you start your blog? What are your goals with the blog?*
I started a blog (sojournstlouis.blogspot.com) to document my Americorps service year. Eating GF on a small volunteer stipend is an added challenge, so I blog about it occasionally. I’ve found celiac support in interesting places. One of my co-workers is an amazing GF baker.
St. Louis, MO