When You Gluten Yourself & You Know It


got gluten'dOh hells. You guys, I’ve been busting my ass to make zero mistakes, especially after the last few months. Which is pretty freaking difficult when you’re on the road (unless you’re in Portland, more on that later). So what I did yesterday is basically inexcusable. INEXCUSABLE. Here’s what went down.

I have a lunch problem. This existed way before my celiac diagnosis. I always hate trying to figure out lunch. Breakfast? Lay it on me: gluten-free cereal, bar, gf oatmeal, eggs, whatnot. Dinner? Well, I think you know I can fry up anything and put some gf pasta on it. I’m cool. But lunch is so freaking challenging and I’m not sure why. If I don’t have leftovers, I’m a wreck. I drive around in a daze trying to figure out a) who has the best parking, b) and has gluten-free food, and c) is going to make me feel okay in the middle of my work day. Don’t think that I don’t get that ‘c’ might be the most challenging part of this equation.

So yesterday I did not have any of that delicious gluten-free deconstructed lasagna on hand (See: Recipes, Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes & Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free) so I drove aimlessly. Sure, I needed some Mucinex, because GD I’ve got this upper respiratory situation again, but I wasn’t exactly planning on ending up at the Whole Foods in Santa Monica where everyone is angry and sometimes they give you nachos with all of the cheese melted on the bottom. But I did. You know who doesn’t carry Mucinex? Whole Foods.

Anyhoo. I’ve had a very abusive love affair with the mini nachos at the WH on Wilshire and 23rd, and I went back for more. Even though the last three times I was there I had one dude do that cheese thing I mentioned earlier, another gal say to me, “Oh my god, is it time for my break?” and a third guy look at me like I was speaking Spanish when I asked for mini nachos. Which, okay, maybe I was. The point is, this is not a great joint for the gluten-free. And it should be, I mean, Whole Foods, WTF?

Perhaps I should I have run for the door when the guy who literally handled 4 pizza slices right in front of me grabbed my corn tortillas, but I was just like, “PLEASE GOD, LET ME EAT LUNCH AND LET IT BE TACOS.” But for sure when that same guy threw my tacos on the grill that had just been used for paninis, yeah, I should have run as fast as I could have. Instead? Instead I took the tacos, paid $6.99 and ATE THEM. I think you all know what came next.

So here it is, friends. Not only a warning to avoid the hot food bar at the Whole Foods on Wilshire & 23rd (or is it 24th?) in Santa Monica, but to not do that thing where you’re all, “Oh, hey, how bad could cross contamination be?” Learn from me. Don’t have to drop your pants at work.

Image via Kulfoto

22 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Uncategorized

22 responses to “When You Gluten Yourself & You Know It

  1. Meghan Vashko

    You poor thing. :(. One time I ate 3/4 of a giant bag of Twizzlers before it occurred to me to check the ingredients. So effing stupid, but it happens.

    For lunch, I stick with salads almost exclusively. Anything else is takes too much forethought

    • Jeanne Schnefke

      Meghan, I did the same thing with Twizzlers. Had 4 of them before I read the ingredients and I had a severe allergic reaction to the wheat that night. Although I have a wheat allergy, I’ve been trying to go gluten-free as well. And like you, salads are my go-to lunch.

  2. Cory

    Twizzlers?? Really? Dammit. I did the same thing with Pringles…. ate 1/2 the can and then read the label. *sigh*

  3. I’m so sorry you went through this! I get where you are coming from though, sometimes I make choices to have something that I know is going to hurt me but at that moment I just want food and/or I just want to be able to eat what I want. It is rarely worth the aftereffects.

    You should speak with management there. If their employees are not educated on cross contamination, they need to be.

  4. emisformaker

    I find Whole Foods in general does not live up to their (admittedly self-established) online reputation. Their website goes on and on about how great they are for sustainability and a happy planet, while at the store I’m informed that if I don’t get one of their bags, I will have to have EVERY ITEM I’m buying stickered as proof of purchase (cuz the receipt’s not good enough). Also, as wonderfully knowledgeable as their butcher counter attendants are, what’s with the lack of nose-to-tail product on offer? So much for ‘whole’ foods, amirite?

  5. Nooooo. Shopping hungry = bad. Shopping mid-workday-hungry = horrible. Sorry to hear about your GF tacos that weren’t. Whole Foods, and here in NY Fairway, are so much less good for celiacs than they should be. At Fairway, every single cheese says it was processed alongside wheat. W. T. F., Fairway?

  6. Kat

    Aw man…that really does suck. Lunch has always been a challenge for me as well. Oh, who am I kidding, any meal planning is challenging for me. Hope you feel better soon.

  7. I am now so sad about Twizzlers, Pringles, and Fairway. I used to LOVE Fairway and have fantasized about moving back to New York and shopping at Fairway. So it’s awful for us? Sad.

  8. Lunch is the hardest part of the day… on a regular basis I end up feeling awful an hour or two later or completely crash… what would be nice is to have someone magically appear with a good lunch whenever you need it where ever you are!

  9. Stephanie

    I can so relate. Eating out totally sucks with celiac, especially when you live in a rural area. Usually when I ask the server “do you have a gluten free menu” and she say’s “whats that”….I think OH HELL NO!! and just why oh why do twizzlers and licorice contain wheat (I lived on licorice before diagnosis). Made me want to cry when I realized I couldn’t eat licorice anymore. :( CRAPOLA!!

  10. Oh no!! I thought Whole Foods would be an excellent choice for a safe celiac lunch… that’s so dumb! xoxo

  11. Susan C.

    Brunch – I miss brunch. You can’t have salad for brunch. But it’s been a good week for me in gf junk food. The Crunchy Cheetos are now labelled gluten free and so are Ore-Ida Tater Tots! I thought for sure those would have wheat flour, but no, it’s corn. Their hash browns are gluten free, too. I’m still sad that most chocolate ice creams AND Fudgesicles have wheat.

  12. Jeni

    So we just moved to Portland and all my regular brands of staples, of course, have to be changed. My doctor recommends sticking to fresh veggies, fruit and small amounts of animal protein and nothing else. Awesome when you’re in a town that’s known for its FOOD. So I’ve been trying to just stick to gluten free since there are so many options here anyway. But…I have been feeling like shit ever since we’ve gotten here. Couldn’t figure it out. Well look what I found! There are “cross reaction” foods! Did anyone know this? This website explains it and lists the foods:

    http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/03/gluten-cross-reactivity-update-how-your-body-can-still-think-youre-eating-gluten-even-after-giving-it-up.html

    Dang. Shoot me now. But I do think it’s the answer.

    • So I wonder what the chances are of health insurance paying for that extra sensitivity test?

      • Jeni

        Maybe it’s a good time to go with what my doctor recommends and give the old digestive system a rest. Protein, veggies and fruit and then reintroduce the cross reaction foods. That takes so much discipline that I am so bad at but I’m beginning to think I can test for the test of my days or be disciplined. Blah. Especially since I have no insurance now that we have moved. But it’s something to investigate if you’re insured. I want to go to Dick’s Kitchen…your photo, your words…ahhhh. No discipline.

  13. Soni C.

    Count me in among the “gotta have it now” crowd. Two weeks ago we ordered Chinese takeout. I took one bite out of my veggie fried rice before it occurred to me that it’s made with soy sauce. But I was starving and misguidedly thought “Oh what the hell; I’ve been really good for 9 months and feel fine. It’s an acceptable risk.” Thankfully I don’t get the gastrointestinal reaction but I spent the next five days enveloped by brain fog and mood swings that rivaled my worst PMS days. Most days gluten-free is second-nature and I can even forget I have celiac for a while. But when I feel like crap I throw myself a pity party.

    BTW, thanks for mentioning Mucinex. I gather that if you can take it then it’s gluten-free. I actually found this post because I was Googling to find out if Mucinex is GF. Hope everyone feels better.

  14. amy

    I recently glutened myself with my own spice cabinet! I ran out of my last years favorite-Sea Salt and garlic (the kind in the grinder), so I used the one from before….TWO days in a row!!! Luckily, since it’s garlic salt, I wasn’t using a ton of it, AND for some reason I get itchy ears when I eat gluten-I was able to figure it out. Note to self: Clean out spice cabinet more often

  15. Brant

    I work in downtown LA and eat out most days, and I also worry about the cross contamination thing. I hate going to lunch meetings and not being able to eat, and then having to eat after the meeting, which is even more time. As for mexican food, at places like la salsa, baja fresh, Ochos, you have to, if you can, ask for hard corn tortillas, which they don’t heat up on the same grill as for flour tortillas, or you have to ask them to wipe down the plate or grill with a clean towel before heating up your corn tortillas. Otherwise you will get cross contamination. I like trader joes for shopping for gluten free items over whole foods. Great restaurants are the counter, the daily grill, the border grill, and PF Changs, and almost any steakhouse. I hate having to ask for special treatment, but it is the only way I don’t get sick.

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