Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The miracle at the AMC Grapevine Mills

Due to yet another overscheduled weekend, I showed up starving to a movie - never a good idea. I had a bag of Crackerjacks with me, but that wasn't going to cut it.

Hungrily, I eyed the slowly cooking hotdogs on the counter at the AMC theater at Grapevine Mills.

I asked the girl at the checkout if I could see the ingredients for the hot dogs.
"Nope." she said without batting an eye.
I explained that I had serious food allergies and asked why I couldn't see them.
"Don't have them." she replied.
"Someone must have them somewhere." I said.
"Sorry, no." she said and looked behind me at the line.

I paid for my drink, slunk around the corner and asked a girl stocking candy to get me a manager. When she told him what I wanted, he immediately grabbed the box the hot dogs came in and let me read the ingredients himself.

I was then able to get a fresh hotdog - not one that had been on a bun - in a plastic container to eat. It was just as good as it smelled and I didn't get sick.

I guess there are a couple things to be learned from this - for me, persistence paid off and I didn't have to sit through a movie with a grumbling stomach.

For them, help a Celiac sistah out! I was willing to pay an exorbitant $4 for a single hotdog minus the bun. I just needed a little information.

P.S. Don't tell my mom I ate a hot dog and crackerjacks for dinner.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lucy's miracle cookies

OK, seriously, these cookies should come with a warning label - open the box of Dr. Lucy's cookies and expect to want to eat all of them. Except, it's not such a crisis if you do because the serving size is 4 cookies for 120 calories!

I tried the sugar cookies - seriously excellent. I didn't even realize they are also made without butter or eggs. I found them in an endcap display at the Kroger in Bedford. These are worth hunting down.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

USA Today article about Gluten-Free beer

My friend sent me this interesting article about GF beer being able to be labelled as beer even if it doesn't contain the traditional beer ingredients. It also has some links to other intriguing GF and Celiac info.

Friday, August 14, 2009

NYT article highlights the difficulties of eating cheap and gluten-free

Most of this won't be new information to a lot of you, but it includes some links to some good resources and the newly diagnosed can learn a lot!

Recently, I have been cutting back on costs and calories effectively by not buying much gluten-free-specific food. Except for the occasional treat, I have just been eating naturally gluten-free foods and primarily sticking to the outer-ring of the supermarket.

I have almost returned to my pre-diagnosis weight! A lot of people gain weight after being diagnosed with Celiac disease because of the following (some of this I've read, some are my own observations):

  • Your body no longer has to fight off a constant inflammation in your small intestine so you don't burn as many calories on a daily basis.
  • You can now get more calories as well as vitamins and nutrients from your food.
  • You don't have constant stomach pains so it's more tempting to eat. I remember starting on snacky foods like pizza and beer and stopping after a slice or a glass because of stomach aches.
  • Many of the low-calorie snack foods or lite varieties of high-calorie foods contain modified food starch. Many of the tasty safe foods are high in calories like ice cream, cheese, chocolate, etc.
  • I found it hard mentally to further restrict my diet. I kept thinking, "There's so much I can't eat, surely I deserve brie." In retrospect, I deserve to be healthy and happy - which, for me, means maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Most low-calorie, gluten-free food at restaurants is not very tasty. There are some great dishes out there that are relatively safe, but a lot of them have a lot of fat or sugar. I have restricted my eating out to about once a week.
  • Many grab-and-go gluten-free bars are very high in calories because they are packed with fruit and nuts instead of wheat filler. This sounds great because fruit and nuts are good for you, right? However, I find they don't fill me up very well and I end up eating more. Also, dried fruit and nuts contain large amounts of sugar and fat. I now eat half of a protein bar before my workouts.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We have a winner!

One of my co-workers drew a name for me and he chose Becky Revell of Frisco, Texas. Thanks to all of you who entered!

Becky, if you don't hear from the Betty Crocker people soon, let me know.

Top 10 gluten-free eating at restaurant mistakes

I've made most of these, it's how I know about them. Remember, you are the one who is responsible for not getting sick, not the restaurant.

  1. Assuming sushi is safe - ask about malt vinegar in the rice and any and all soy sauce involved.
  2. Assuming a normally-safe food like french fries never shared oil with fried chicken or other breaded items.
  3. Not asking if there restaurant uses margarine - which could be on anything (like grilled chicken) and may not be gluten free.
  4. Eating any salad dressing or marinade or spice rub and not asking for an ingredient list. Soy sauce and modified food starch like to sneak in to the darndest places.
  5. If you send a salad back because it had croutons on it, look through the lettuce when it comes back and make sure they didn't just take off the croutons and send it back - this totally happened to me.
  6. Not being nice to your waiter - they hold your fate (or your fate for the next few hours) in their hands.
  7. Not asking about everything - I even found a place that put flour in their mashed potatoes.
  8. Not thanking a manager and your waiter for going out of their way for you. You always want a wait staff to have a good impression of you. You never know when you or another Celiac will eat there in the future.
  9. Not having a back-up plan. Whenever I go out to eat, I pick two or three things on the menu I would be happy enough to eat and then ask the waiter to ask the chef to recommend the safest item. I don't always get my first choice, but I don't get sick, either.
  10. Eating at restaurants too frequently. I was still feeling somewhat ill and cut back to eating out to about once a week. Unless they only serve gluten free food, even the most well-meaning restaurant staff can't avoid cross-contamination 100% of the time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

I am going out tomorrow to the Five Guys in Southlake for an assignment for the paper, so I thought I'd check their gluten-freeness. On their website, it says they are completely gluten-free except for the buns. So, that should be good news to area Celiacs. Unfortunately, I don't think the calories involved will allow me to eat a burger anyway.

Still, a good option to have around. Let me know if any of you guys go there if it's good!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Betty Crocker gluten-free prize pack

The Betty Crocker folks told me I could have a drawing and they would send the winner a prize pack with all the items in the above photo!

Email me at jfriedberg@star-telegram.com if you would like to be entered. Please, include your name and mailing address! I'll collect names until Friday at 10 AM and then I'll find someone at the Star-Telegram to draw one for me.