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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Take-out cups and containers

I just recently read that many of the paper/cardboard based take-out containers are being made with wheat paste. Many…what does that mean? Because my research on the topic did not identify how to differentiate between different take-out products, I have to assume that all cardboard/paper food containers have gluten. Otherwise, I could be blind-sided with a gluten reaction. Doesn’t this game of finding the hidden glutens get more and more fun?

What this means to me:
take-out coffee cups are suspect;
cardboard ice-cream cups are suspect;
cardboard take-out meals from restaurants are suspect;
etc., etc., etc.

I now keep a ceramic coffee mug in the trunk of each car. The problem for me is not remembering to use it, but remembering to put it back in the trunk after cleaning it. If I have forgotten to restock my mug, it means ordering an iced drink, which comes in a plastic container. Usually this happens in the dead of winter. Don’t even get my health-food consciousness started about plastic containers. However, it’s the lesser of two evils. At least with plastic, I am not going to have immediate pain. I’ll take my chances with possible cancer down the road.

As for restaurant take-out containers…after a wonderful meal in a poshy restaurant where I do not want to let any uneaten portion left behind, I now have one more thing about which to grill a waiter at the end of a meal. (Just what the wait staff loves after the extensive menu discussion before ordering.) Yes, I am quite popular in restaurants! It is amazing that any of my family and friends will still eat out with me. Luckily, they are so used to my myriad of questions, that if I forget to ask the wait staff something important, they fill in the gaps.

Sometimes I get to feeling cocky and think, “Oh, I am doing so well lately, I am just not going to worry about that cardboard box they just put my left-overs in.” This has come back to haunt me a few hours after reheating and eating that meal. “Umm! Okay, I won’t do that again.”

However, there is always the meal where you forget to question the wait person about the take-out container, cringing inside when it comes out in cardboard. But… the meal has been so lovely, I do not want to make a scene. Besides, the food has already touched the container, so I smile and decide to deal with it at home. The next day as I tentatively open the top flaps and peek inside to see if any of that fabulous meal is savable, I end up grabbing a fork and oh so carefully stab bits and bites from the top that look like they have never touched any part of the box. Sick, right? I feel like a middle of the night food sneaker. Obviously, it is a hit and miss proposition with a possible impending gluten reaction, but in I go for just another wee bite.

Okay, this is the relationship I have with food…love, love, love it. It does not always love me.

The bottom line is it is nearly impossible to remember to ask the wait staff every single question to minimize and, hopefully, eliminate a future gluten attack. I am human, so I do the very best I can, but sometimes I suffer from some hidden gluten issue I have forgotten to check on during the dining experience.

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Why the search for hidden glutens?

Glutenfree Sleuth
With truly tasty GF treats flooding the market place, life as a gluten intolerant becomes easier every day.  Or does it?  I am amazed, after fourteen years on a supposedly GF diet how often I get whammied by some hidden gluten resulting in violent cramping in the middle of the night,  mad sprints to the bathroom with unpredictable diarrhea, and a matching-limbed rash up and down the insides of my legs.

As a health food, organic fruits- of-the-land foodie kind of gal with a nutrition background, how do these surprises continue to happen?

Two words–hidden glutens.

I am talking about things we normally think of as safe: red wine, hairspray, foods labeled GF, and on and on.

With a full blown case of Celiac disease, not a mere sensitivity, I seem to be vulnerable to even one molecule of gluten.  After fourteen years of religiously adhering to the diet, my body has become more pure and more sensitive to even one hidden gluten molecule.  I am on a mission to ferret out those hidden glutens that take me down, accidentally, even when I am doing my own cooking and trying desperately hard NOT to ingest one molecule of gluten or let one molecule of gluten be absorbed through my skin.

Ironic, how someone that loves the sensuality of food, someone who blasts Il Divo while chopping onions, someone who  savors every smell, texture, and taste of each bite can have a disease where that very food can be her demise.

So…yes, I am on a hunt to find the hidden glutens wherever they reside, so that I can enthusiastically continue to enjoy one of the true delights of living in a human body…food!