Last weekend, my husband and I escaped to a bed and breakfast inn. Aaah! How we love California! Cloudless 65* weather that felt like 80* made us feel like we were on a Hawaii vacation rather than a northern California Thanksgiving weekend. (Clearly, I had packed the wrong clothes expecting colder weather.)
Waves literally crashed 30-40 feet from our second story balcony window at The Cyprus Inn. At high tide, the only thing separating us from the incoming froth was the one-lane road directly below.
What I love about a November getaway is the sun sets just about the time you pour a glass of wine and tuck into a few pre-dinner snacks. Honestly, I marvel at our luck with the weather, because that first night the sunset flamed every shade of red/coral on the horizon, the likes of which I have only seen recently on the blog, www.CanadianHikingPhotography.com.
Enough about the setting, though. What I wanted to tell you is how after all these years of trying so hard to be conscientious about preventing gluten from entering my body, I sometimes still have problems when I travel, and I simply can’t fathom where I’ve ingested gluten. It’s crazy.
Upon arriving in Half Moon Bay, we ate a huge, late lunch at that wonderful Italian restaurant called Mezza Luna. After fighting bumper to bumper traffic for the last 15 miles, we decided to make that meal our dinner. I had a wonderful Caprese Salad with a red wine vinegar dressing (a safe bet), followed by a vegetable-stuffed grilled chicken breast with a tomato-based, unfloured sauce (the sauce had the appropriately thin GF consistency.) A safe iced tea was my beverage. All safe, right?
At sunset on the balcony, we cracked open a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, (one I’d had many times with no reaction), and some raw crudités from the happy hour offerings of the B & B (safe again) with some TJ’s GF rice crackers and their GF humus.
Then…in the middle of the night, the gluten rash’s itching woke me out of sound sleep. I just couldn’t believe it and couldn’t fathom where I got gluten, at least not in my food. The only thing I did differently was use a bit of the B & B’s lotion before going to bed. Even a gluten-filled cosmetic, as you read from past entries, is not a guarantee of a gluten reaction. And yet…I was having one, albeit without the stomach cramps (thank goodness), nor the tiredness the next day.
Saturday brought more crazy, fabulous weather! After a breakfast on plain scrambled eggs, plain chopped, fried potatoes with melted cheese on top and my normal cup of coffee (I know…it’s a bit of a food sin that makes life simply great, doesn’t it? Thank goodness it’s GF), we took a two mile walk on Miramar beach followed by a simple lunch of GF humus and GF crackers and fruit. (That should have been safe.) Because we didn’t want to fight the horrendous traffic again, we walked to the Miramar Restaurant five properties down for dinner. They even had a gluten free menu. (How cool was that?) Everything I ordered was off the GF menu, except for the Mai Tai “I needed” to complete the feeling of being in Hawaii. (Love, love, love Hawaii.) Because Mai Tais are just fruit juices and different types of rum, I usually don’t have a reaction. (Oh, and it was GOOOOD!)
Dun, da-dun dun dun…the 2am itch and cramps set in! (Seriously? This is getting sooo old!) I am more careful and conscientious about this GF diet than any other Celiac or gluten intolerant I have ever met. I am annoyingly careful. (Just ask any relative or friend that has ever shared a meal with me.) And still…I have these reactions. Honestly, sometimes, I just don’t know what else to do. I need to be free to travel, because I was born with the travel bug in my veins, but sometimes…
I don’t know if it was an accumulation of miniscule bits of unidentifiable gluten or what, but Sunday morning I woke up with “the debilitating” tiredness, the kind where I drag myself around like a heavy sack of potatoes. With that, comes an inability to smile…a moroseness. It just feels like too much effort. (I really hate that part, because normally I have a sunny disposition.) Not wanting to ruin my husband’s joy in the getaway, I gave myself a mental shake and planted a fake smile on my face (which he saw through, of course, and felt badly for my discomfort.) I told him in an overly chipper voice, “No it’s okay. We are just riding home today, anyway. I will enjoy the heck out of the beautiful coastline on Highway 1 down to Santa Cruz and Hecker Pass.”
And I did…giving thanks the overwhelming tiredness waited until the last day of our escape weekend. The headlands with the crashing surf were shrouded in a bit of mist, a precursor to the dense fog bank hanging farther out to sea. An Irish kind of day. Thank goodness I was able to sit quietly in the car and soak in the beauty of the day as we made our way home.
The only possible culprits for the reaction—
Something in the Mai Tai
Something in the lotion
Something on a cooking utensil that cross contaminated the restaurant food.
Honestly, I would like to know if this happens to any of the rest of you gluten sensitive people out there?
This entry is dedicated to my father-in-law, who is starting to realize that my journey through life is vastly different from what he thought. Thank you for your compassionate concern.