Thursday, February 18, 2010

Traveling on a Special Diet

A pair of In-N-Out cheeseburgers.Image via Wikipedia
My wonderful Mother Pat recently sold a Texas beach house that has been in the family for more than 30 years. Family and friends gathered in Port Aransas, Texas to pack up Pat's belongings and send them to her where she is now living with my Step-Father, Lee. Lee is gravely ill and she cannot be away from him for long. Between that and a fast closing time, we had to hustle to pack up years of artwork as they are both fine art collectors as well as artists themselves. My Step-father's studio required 4 people packing for 3 straight days to get out all of his incredible sculpture. We packed up the entire house in just three days, which was no small miracle.

My Mother is a very warm and friendly person and she has tons of friends and they all wanted to help, some by having us over for dinner. I brought down three large Whole Food bags of food for me since I can't eat anything that has gluten, corn or casein in it. I figured I would eat mostly what I brought but attempt to get some non-buttered veggies and yummy fresh fish while out down at the Texas gulf coast.

I did quite well until we went to a friend's house for dinner. She was also gluten free and made a lovely and safe salad and a gluten-free lasagna. I ate it and it was GLORIOUS! I also ate it because she was very happy to present it to us and it felt odd for me to decline it (won't make that mistake again!). Only later, in the middle of the night when I woke up shaking did I remember why it was so damn good: the cheese! I was so tired from packing and so interested in the dinner conversation that I ate without thinking about it. Once you know you have massive food allergies, you can never again put anything in your mouth without thinking about it. I paid for that mistake for a full week, feeling lethargic and bloaty.

I asked on my favorite Yahoo group -- -- how long the general recovery time was for your guts to heal after you were poisoned and the heartbreaking response was six months! That is very depressing. I don't know that I have managed to go an entire week yet without getting an accidental poisoning so I have at least six more months to go before my gut heals. Part of the reason is my learning curve but the other reason is that corn, gluten and caseins are in just about anything but whole foods. I even worry about the meat I eat as that cow was fed corn . . . .

Other than the one cheese poisoning, I did alright on the road. One night we all enjoyed butter-free Mahi Mahi and that was worth the drive down to the coast just for that! The packers all wanted Whataburger for lunch most days because they were a dedicated crew and they didn't want to stop packing long enough to head to a restaurant. I ate from Whataburger as well, getting two hamburgers sans the bun and cheese and with the veggies and I have say they were quite good. I also ate the french fries and that may or may not have been a mistake. There is quite the raging debate in gluten-free communities about whether or not fast food french fries are safe or not because they are usually fried in the same batter as things like breaded onion rings. Once I looked up the ingredients, I felt sick and now have ruled out fast food french fries. I suspect I have an issue with dextrose but even if I didn't, when you look at the ingredients of these fries, it is apparent that these are not what I consider to be real foods:

Medium French Fries: Potatoes, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, dextrose, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color). (Note: Deep-fried in ZTF Whataburger liquid shortening and seasoned with Whataburger fry salt. Menu items that are deep-fried may come in contact with other products that contain gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soybean, fish, or animal products.)

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