Several years ago, I discovered I had some food sensitivities. Being someone that already ate pretty healthy I didn’t think there was anything I could do to adjust my diet. Wrong. No more gluten. No more pasta, pizza, bread and almost every dessert you can imagine. Being the over achiever I am, I went cold turkey. Immediately started my new way of eating, thinking at first how easy this would be. To ME it was. What I didn’t take into account is that it would be a hardship on others. The first restaurant meal was interesting as I explained to the waiter that I was gluten free. Asking what he suggested, he quickly replied “the Parmesan chicken is amazing”. “I’m sure it is but doesn’t that have breading” I replied. “Oh yeah”….he gave me a look of complete look of failure. Salad, I thought. Salads are safe. Wrong. Evil Croutons.
This was going to take some research on my part. I quickly realized grocery shopping was now going to take longer since every single label had to be read. Armed with my brand new reading glasses (stop laughing, mine are really hip and cool), I began the task of stocking my gluten free pantry. Lots of reading, lots of words I couldn’t pronounce, and lots of frustration. But what I didn’t take into account was I also had to “teach” my friends and family about my change. I’m sure all my questions were frustrating. “How is this cooked” “What’s in the sauce” “did you add soy sauce” “what kind of marinade is this”. This lead me to yet another realization and that was that we as a society don’t really care for it when people aren’t eating the same as us. I can’t tell you how many times I would order my gluten free meal or be at a dinner party and someone would beg while offering up a gluten filled delight “Come on. Just one bite. It won’t kill you”. True. It wouldn’t kill me, but the aftermath wasn’t fun. I remember ordering from catering at work and quizzing the owner about what was in a particular dish. She rolled her eyes (I’m sure in a loving manner) and told me I was safe to eat it. That proved to be wrong and the rest of my day was ruined. I made it a point to never again be a food pusher. You know, tell a friend on a diet that one cookie won’t hurt or my vegetarian friends that turkey isn’t really meat. Every “body” is different and while my change in eating was at times difficult, it did provide valuable lessons. I have learned to order my salad without the evil croutons.
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