About three years ago, I finally got a diagnosis for the periodic hive-like breakouts I had been experiencing beginning several years earlier. An autoimmune response to gluten, with a high likelihood of celiac disease, the skin biopsy revealed. Celiac probably also explains various gut issues I’ve had since I can remember, also some anxiety.
Remedy: Don’t eat gluten. Any. Even avoid foods prepared with utensils or on surfaces touched by gluten. Nada on the gluten.
So grocery shopping, eating out, going to potlucks all changed. Which brings me to the heart of this column: Thank you.
Thank you to restaurants with gluten-free menus, that train their waitstaff and chefs how to prepare and serve gluten-free foods. Thank you to those waitstaff and chefs who treat this task with utmost seriousness. A special thank you to those waitstaff who, when I inquire about their gluten-free options or order one of them, go out of their way to note the restaurant’s gluten-free procedures. It’s such a pleasure to eat a meal out without any worries that I’ll be reacting to that meal for the next week or more.
Thank you to grocery stores that have gluten-free sections and lots of gluten-free options for purchase. Thank you to those that clearly label what items — such as deli and meat — contain no gluten.
And thank you to food manufacturers and packagers that create and then clearly label which of their products are gluten free.
“Clearly” meaning that I don’t need to take a magnifying glass to the small print, or to consult my smart phone to see which salsas or candy bars or cereals can be fully trusted (meets government requirements) to be gluten free.
And thank you to those manufacturers and packagers that clearly label products that may contain gluten. Knowledge means increased convenience and confidence.
Thank you to friends and relatives — and strangers — who offer carefully prepared gluten-free options at potlucks and other dinner gatherings, and let guests know which options are gluten free, should that be a concern for someone at the party.
Above all, thank you to my wife, who has so lovingly adjusted her shopping and cooking and other routines for her gluten-free guy. The groceries are more expensive, the menu is less straightforward, some really good recipes have been largely filed away. Our choices of restaurants have been narrowed. When we get invited to friends’ homes she generously lets them know she’s bringing a gluten-free guy as her date.