A Weak Moment: How Hunger Clouded My Judgement

celiac hungry

I read the books on staying healthy. I subscribe to Men’s Health. I follow the “healthy living” blogs.

And they all say the same thing: Do not let yourself get too hungry. This is when eating mistakes happen (i.e. overeating, eating crap, etc.)

For celiacs, I’d say it’s even more problematic.

And when we don’t have a contingency plan, bad things can happen.

I was invited to a golf outing for charity on Monday about 20 minutes from the Dude Ranch. I had to leave the house at 11:00 and I figured I’d be home by 5 at the latest.

I ate a big breakfast and on the way to the course, I stopped at our local health food store and picked up a variety of four gluten-free bars. I figured I’d eat two on the front nine and two on the back nine and that would hold me over just fine until I got home for dinner.

The weather was perfect and the golf was respectable.

My day was a success. I ate my four bars along with about three gallons of water (yeah…it was pretty dang hot outside.)

There was a banquet dinner after the golf but since I knew I couldn’t eat there, I figured I’d just pass and have dinner at home.

What I didn’t realize is that the banquet dinner was part of the charity. There would be a raffle and a silent auction. And because I was an invited guest, I felt it would have been quite rude to just golf and leave, so I decided to stay.

It was the right thing to do, but my lack of planning cost me.

The banquet lasted a full three hours.

By the second hour, I was absolutely starving and I decided to take a peek at the food that was available.

It was one of those banquet setups where you served yourself so I waited until all 150 people had gotten their food.

It wasn’t pretty.


Roast beef prepared with a seasoning…no.

Fish, turkey…right on down the line…no, no, no.

But then I saw fresh, steamed veggies.

I knew I shouldn’t even think about it but I was beyond hungry.

I asked the waiter and he checked with the kitchen. Seasoned with salt and pepper. That’s it.

But what about cross-contamination? How was it prepared in the kitchen? Did they use separate utensils?

I didn’t ask.

The question is…why didn’t I ask?

Was it because I knew they wouldn’t have an answer?

Or was it because I didn’t want to know the answer?

I ate the veggies.

It was risky. It was stupid. It was weak.

The ironic thing is I couldn’t even enjoy them because I knew I shouldn’t be eating them.

For 5+ years, I can count on one hand the times I ate something where I knew there was a small risk involved.

And each time, I say never again…it’s just not worth it.

But then I have an occasion where I don’t plan ahead enough and hunger takes over.

The lesson learned? Always pack more food than you think you need. Always.

The second lesson? Don’t beat yourself up over it.

We’re only human.

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32 thoughts on “A Weak Moment: How Hunger Clouded My Judgement”

  1. What a bummer!

    I’m super-crazy sensitive (to much more than gluten). If I get merely cc’d I try to explain it as 3 days of food poisoning followed by 3 weeks of the flu. I have congenital lupus as well. My theory is once auto-immune is ticked off, ain’t nobody happy. My symptoms have always been more systemic. It wasn’t til I *finally* got the C diagnosis and got clear of it that the common symptoms started. It’s just terrible and people do not understand 🙁

  2. Dude!
    Oh MAN have i been in that situation a few times and it’s so true you don’t want to be rude and just bail after a great day but you also feel uber awkward just sitting there mindlessly sipping ice water while everyone is enjoying a delicious meal. You did good, cut yourself some slack. In a perfect world everything on the buffet table would be GF 🙂 One can dream.


  3. You’re only human, Dude. It happens occasionally. I call it risk rationalizing in my head when it happens, and it happens about once a week or so for me. Sometimes plans just don’t work out as we planned them.

  4. Been there – done that. Haven’t we all?!?

    I find myself at many formal dinners, banquets, etc., and I have had some success with contacting the organization prior to the event and telling them I need a gluten-free dinner. Even if it is a salad, fruit plate, plain meat and veggies, at least I get to eat.

    That said, I’m not super sensitive.

    Glad the golfing was good!

  5. I love Connie’s term “risk rationalizing”. I did it so many times when I was just new to celiac. Sometimes you get lucky and don’t get smacked down with gluten, other times it’s you are miserable and sick and yell at yourself about how dumb it was to take a chance.
    Life with celiac is more than a bit of a challenge for sure!

    Hope you’re doing well, dude!

  6. Not enough people realize (including physicians) how dangerous something as simple as steamed vegetables can be to those of us with gluten intolerances/sensitivities.Most seem to think it’s only about the ingredients and they aren’t even sure what they should be..

    I read this Jennifer Esposito interview yesterday and she addressed having CD and the dangers of eating food that you don’t prepare in your own home. (You may have already seen it.) At least this is one celebrity who doesn’t paint being gluten-free as a walk in the park or a weight loss/high energy wonder diet. She addresses cross-contamination risks and states that it’s been a long slow healing process.

    We’ve all had “buffet” experiences and threw caution out the door.. I’m sure we will all do it again when faced with hours of hunger and no safe choices.

    My most recent stupidity was during a 14-hour drive from Michigan to South Carolina. My gluten-free “cooler” stash was totally depleted after the 6th hour. After the 8th hour on the road I caved and ate from a truck stop salad bar rather than stoically watch the mister eat a Taco Bell burrito while I ate a banana (the only “safe” food I could find at the place).. I kicked myself afterwards and forced him to drive straight home the six remaining hours without stopping because I wanted to be home in case I got sick.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      I did read her interview. I actually saw her speak at the Schar factory opening a few weeks ago. But did not get the chance to meet her. She indeed seems to “get” it.

      As far as your salad, I understand. I’d like to think I wouldn’t risk it, but once you’re in that situation, you just never know.

  7. I agree with this big time. I’ve been traveling so much lately and have found it difficult. I try to eat all day long as I need to but it’s much more difficult. I’ve made some mistakes as well buddy! Get well soon!

  8. Dude, we’re all human and we all make mistakes – and I guarantee we have all made THIS mistake at one point or another. Hunger easily takes over… and I love this term “risk rationalizing” from Connie – because it’s SO true. This is the first thing I warn “newbies” about – to always bring more than enough snacks just in case. Of course, we’re all bound to forget that ourselves from time to time and sometimes the situation is just out of our hands (as you did not expect to get caught in a 3 hour long buffet!) Sh*t happens…and then we move on.

    P.S. Great song by the way! 😉

    1. The Gluten Dude

      I suppose in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to rationalize the risk. But our world is far from perfect.

        1. Nope. I don’t even go down the bread aisle unless the grocery store is laid out in a way that I must! If I have to, then I make it super quick and hold my breath!

  9. Thanks again, Gluten Dude, for another excellent post. Just leaving the house for the day takes careful planning for us celiacs, due entirely to cross contamination. This is definitely representative of a day in the life. When you’re tempted to leave the house unencumbered by your bag of GF safe foods and realize later you have no idea what you’ll eat! The horror. And the feeling, in that moment, of just wanting to be NORMAL, bargaining with the universe, and then betting it all on the steamed veggies.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Very well stated Jen. I tend to do a lot of bargaining with the universe…not all related to celiac of course.

      1. I started carrying an insulated bag instead of a structured cooler. A couple of them are actually fashionable looking. I throw in a little ice pack and I’m good to go. They make them in masculine looking styles too. If you google insulated bags you’ll find a lot. They’re bigger than lunch bags and less dorky than structured coolers. It’ll just look like a workout bag. And there are side compartments for flatware and stuff. You might’ve already found these, as I’m only coming up on my first anniversary, but thought I’d mention it just in case.

        I’m still trying to get better at making and freezing food to have ready. :-

  10. Very excellent advice. It is a weak point for me still. I try to precook now all the time so I have lunch and several snacks as I get mighty cranky when I’m hungry.

  11. Interesting that you “precook” Wendy. I do too and wrap individual portions in saran and then put them in large freezer bags. It makes snacking so much easier and keeps me from the junk food. I find my life has to be much more preplanned with celiac but it’s just “one of those things” I guess.

  12. I was recently diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and am learning the necessity of what seems like excessive planning, asking questions, adopting new habits, etc. Avoiding gluten sounds simple enough until you (quickly) realize it is a whole freaking lifestyle!

  13. I did this towards the end of my Ethiopia trip. It was the last day and I felt sick already, and was sick of my snacks, so I just ate the restaurant food. Boy did I pay for that. Felt HORRIBLE for a week, in fact I think my stomach is still upset at me for it. It does get exhausting, doesn’t it?

    1. The Gluten Dude

      I was wondering how you did eating Alysa. Do they have a sense of what is gluten-free in Ethiopia? Sorry to hear you got hit.

      Exhausting.? Yeah…you could say that.

  14. Sorry, just recovering myself, and I never chance it, but for all the reasons you stated,,,,it happens, didn’t you say you were a guest?, it would have been nice to have a separate safe GF table for you, I am sure others could have used it!

  15. With myself being knew to celiac, although I have two tots with celiac for a few years now.. I find its easier to slip up ok myself where I never not once (intentionally) with my babies. I understand all too well how easy it is to rationalize the slip up… Prior to celiac I had hypoglycemia, has meaning that was all and am currently trying to figure out how to balance that crazy diet.. I’m starving every hour on the hour and consume 6000 calories a day.I am 110 and 5.7.. Not only is it expensive but some times ask most impossible to pack that much snacks. I have been known to knowingly take the risk once or twice for the sale of hunger…its NEVER worth it but what do ya do, beside feel like poop for the next week to three. Feel better and if you have heard of anyone with both these hypoglycemia and celiac I would LOVE done insight on how to manage it well. Much love misa

    1. The question of diet becomes very interesting when you have multiple health issues. There is lots of info online about treating specific issues, but not much that I have found on combinations of issues, where dietary recommendations are often in conflict with one another.

      For me it’s non celiac gluten sensitivity and ulcerative colitis. It would be great to find a website where you could select multiple health issues from an index and then get customized advice for that specific combination.

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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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