I’m a Celiac Idiot

celiac nothing to eat

For the past few years, we’ve gone to our friend’s house to celebrate Passover. It’s always a blast. Lots of food. Lots of wine. And lots of laughter. Just a great tradition. Even though I’m a (non-practicing) Catholic, it is still one of my favorite nights of the year.

The gracious host always prepares an amazing dinner. The usual Seder items, plus brisket, salmon, veggies. The works. Even though she would do anything for me, I tell her every year not to worry about me. She’s got enough on her plate than to worry about keeping me safe, so I always bring my own food. It’s a win-win for everybody.

So this year, Mrs. Dude and I went out and got a roasted chicken. I took some of that and added some cubed sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Mrs. Dude was also making asparagus. I packed my to-go dinner in a rectangular Pyrex dish with a red top, took a shower and we were ready to go. I grabbed the Pyrex dish and headed over to our friends.

We also brought two bottles of red wine with us. As Mrs. Dude was exiting the car in our friend’s driveway, one bottle dropped. Yep…I spent the first 15 minutes of my Seder picking up shards of glass and hosing down their driveway. It was a sign of things to come.

I put my dinner in the fridge, poured myself a Hendricks and we all sat outside. There was a good amount of appetizers served, but since I had a nice dinner coming and didn’t want to overdo it, I just had a few deviled eggs and some radishes.

Now it’s Seder time. As everybody sits down to eat, I go in the kitchen to heat up my dinner. I grab the rectangular Pyrex dish with the red top and go to put it in the microwave. But wait a minute. This isn’t my dinner. This is sliced avocado and tomato. I know we also had that at home and I’m thinking “Aw…Mrs. Dude brought some extra food for me. Ain’t she the best?”

So I go back into the fridge. I look. And I look. And I look some more. My chicken dinner was nowhere to be found. Yep…I grabbed the wrong rectangular Pyrex dish with the red top. My dinner ended up being avocado and asparagus. Once an idiot, always an idiot. And you know what? It didn’t matter one single bit. I’ve said this before, as a celiac, if you focus on the food, your focus is in the wrong place. It’s the people you are with that matter. I enjoyed my light dinner, everyone had a nice big laugh about it and we’ll always have something to remember fondly at future Seders.

Life is not about what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you.

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20 thoughts on “I’m a Celiac Idiot”

  1. Changing to a gluten free diet was a real challenge for me. When I finally figured it out, I let all my friends and family off the hook and told everyone I’d bring my own dinner. It’s worked out well for me and my gang.

    The celiac thing has really curtailed my travel. I’m planning my first real vacation soon, with friends who can eat and drink anything they want. I don’t want to put a damper on their fun. I want to be able to go out for drinks, even if I eat beforehand. There are very few restaurants and bars that offer gluten free beer in my hometown, Indianapolis. I can’t drink wine or ciders, so that’s my only option. I’m not very confident I’ll be able to find safe options in a new town.

    Here’s my question: Do you think it’s safe to drink Corona or any other widely available beers that are not labeled GF? Do you? Would you? I’ve seen anecdotal gluten tests that show Corona is safe. I have a gluten intolerant friend who regularly drinks Bud Light.

    Thanks, Dude!

    1. Kay, I’m not an expert, but I recommend you don’t do it. All non GF beer has gluten, even gluten removed beers. Malt is a main ingredient of beer and it has gluten. I love beer and live in the Sacramento area where we have a huge craft beer community with dozens of breweries and not one of them makes a GF beer. Sucks! Even beers like Omission which says on the label brewed to remove gluten (they add enzymes that are supposed to break the gluten down) are not considered Celiac safe. See link: http://glutendude.com/alcohol/is-omission-beer-really-risk-free-for-celiacs/

      On a positive note I have found a new GF beer brewed in Utah called Unita. They make an IPA and an ale and the ale is pretty damn good. I haven’t tried the IPA yet. In my area the best GF beers I’ve found are Greens, Glutenburg and the Unita. Old Grist makes a GF pilsner that’s OK if you like pilsners. And tequila is GF!


      1. Thanks, Cali Celiac. I’m avoiding Omission, which is becoming widely available in Indianapolis. I usually drink New Grist or Red Bridge. I’m a lightweight. Guess I’ll pack some along for my vacation. Glad my first gf vacation is a car trip.

    2. As for travel…..try out Carnival cruises. I have cruised with them often. They have a GREAT GF policy and standards in place. Pretty much anything you want can be made GF on the ship. Simply let them know before you board and then you get to pre-view the next night’s menu for every day and put in your order. Then your food (the SAME food everyone else is eating but GF) comes to your table just like everyone else. Even their non-dining room burger joints, etc have GF buns and GF pizza, etc available. I can not say enough about how great Carnival is when it comes to their GF guests.

    3. If you end up sick for half your vacation, you’ll wish you had skipped the beer. Why risk ruining your trip?

  2. At our Sedar last night, my MIL made matzo ball soup. When I said “No Thanks” she replied with “Will you REALLY get sick?” Oy vey!!! Going on 10 years GF and some people still don’t get it!

  3. If it was a properly kosher seder, most of the stuff would have been gf ;P
    Here in Israel a lot of people keep kosher during the Pesach week, so it’s considered Celiac heaven since you can get (almost) every product in a special GF version, made just for this week. We stocked up.

    1. Yes but matza and matza meal are gluten! People use matza meal in everything and it cross contaminates like no other gluten substance…

      1. A couple of local stores (Chicago north suburbs) were offering Yehuda brand “Gluten-Free Matzo” a couple of weeks ago. Yehuda also has gluten free crackers. I seem to recall that someplace was offering some brand of gluten free noodles in their Passover specials. (I’m not Jewish, so I didn’t pay much attention, except to note that more and more stuff is coming out gluten free these days.) As usual, the GF stuff is expensive. The one store had the 10.5 oz. Yehuda Motzo for 5.99, the other for 7.99. (You could get 5 pounds(!) of motza for 3.99 or 5.99, depending on brand.)

      2. Went to a. Chabad sponsored Seder
        They don t use matzah meal etc. Fiod excellent
        Just skipped the smirah matzah

  4. I do hear you, and I get it. But there are times where I feel excluded. Like when someone is insistent we do a holiday at their house instead of mine, so I can’t participate in a Thanksgiving meal. Something that was always a favorite of mine. Most of the time I’m good with bringing my food. I think with everyone there is an exception.

  5. Oh, Dude. I’m printing this for my 7-year-old son who has celiac. I love what you said here: Life is not about what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you.

    It’s such a positive message! Much better than just saying Celiac Sucks over and over (although sometimes the situation calls for that too).

  6. Dining out with friends is a complex business!

    On the one hand they want to do everything they can to cook you a GF meal but on the other they unknowingly make you feel very ill.

    A recent meal with friends who went out of their way to research and cook me a lovely meal ended up with the usual week long regime of physical and mental issues. Turns out a random, gluten loaded, chicken stock cube was thrown in to improve the taste.

    I hate the typical reaction when I say I’m bringing my own food – it’s true that they just don’t get it. Some people are visually insulted until I educate them about how their GF meal in no such thing.

    My reaction to gluten has been described as bi-polar – the mental reaction is the worst. I feel isolated and sometimes even unwelcome – this disease is life shortening and life inhibiting.

    1. Brian, I find the mental effects to be especially problematic, too. I get very depressed and anxious and find my cognitive abilities quite impaired. When I tell people it causes depression they think I’m talking about being depressed from having a disease, not realizing it’s a physical symptom. I try to avoid eating at social gatherings, but it’s difficult. I’m going to a BBQ and jam with some musician friends today and will have to navigate the Celiac food minefield and explain why I won’t eat that to someone I’ve told before, but they weren’t really listening then and maybe aren’t now. It’s human nature and it sucks, but the smoked baby backs are GF and sweet music will make me forget for a while. Music to sooth the savage beast within!

  7. I am very lucky because I have friends who learned everything about cooking gf when I was diagnosed 4 years ago and will send me pictures of condiments and foods they are using for my approval before they will cook with them if they have even the slightest doubt. Food is important but friends are priceless.

  8. I’m glad it didn’t ruin your evening and you were able to roll with the punches. It’s something I’ve really had to learn over this last year of being diagnosed. Even so, there are times that I still get sucker punched by moments like this and inside I’m fighting the tears and frustration while trying to smile and shrug it off. Thankfully, there are fewer of those moments the longer I live with this disease.

  9. I once went to a Thanksgiving dinner where the hosts were very careful in providing gluten free food to two of us who are Celiacs.

    But while talking to someone, I was occasionally grabbing a GF snack. Next to it was a similar snack that was non-GF.

    Guess who got sick by grabbing the wrong snack and eating it while being distracted.

    I felt sorry for the hosts, since they tried so hard and I was careless!

  10. Passover is stressful for me as someone with celiac but my mother in law tries so hard to make GF stuff for me. I have to bring my own matzah and take stuff before everyone gets bits of gluten everywhere and contaminates the spread. Glad you enjoyed the sedar minus your food snafu.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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