Saturday, November 3, 2012

It is getting easier to be gluten free

One's dietary life isn't always easy as a Coeliac.

Not so much in terms of eating and cooking at home, to be honest - after an inevitably painful adjustment period, most Coeliacs get the hang of gluten free home cooking and baking, and using substitutes becomes second nature. No, it's eating out that's the problem - both at the houses of friends who don't quite get the gluten free thing, and in restaurants / takeaways that may or may not understand gluten free by ingredient, but often cross-contaminate food because of shared cooking facilities.

When I was first diagnosed, almost 6 years ago now, eating out was a really risky proposition, and one I rarely indulged in without consequence. I developed a rota of boring but mostly safe gluten free go-to choices in the cafe-style restaurant and food court situation - with was, essentially, plain salads with only vinaigrette dressings, baked potatoes with cheese and salad, avocado or salmon sushi without soy sauce, steamed rice, and that's about it. Even sushi made me sick on occasion, if I wasn't really careful.

As for sweet treats, unless you went to a designated gluten free restaurant, you had to content yourself with fruit salad and maybe cream, or go without.

As the incidence and diagnosis of both Coeliac and gluten intolerance has risen in Australia, though, I have to say the eating-out situation has improved enormously. It's still wise to question providers about cooking methods - I know more than one person who's been the victim of unintended contamination - but lots of restaurants, and even takeaways, are getting it right, and being a Coeliac is feeling less and less like a weird form of first-world boo-hoo food martyrdom. (As in, the least catered for Coeliac in the entire western world still eats exponentially better than much of the world, and I'm under no illusions about that).

See what I had for lunch today? A delicious spicy pork quesadilla, in a rice flour soft tortilla. It was yummy, just what I felt like, and safe. (If it hadn't been, I would be sick by now!)

On Thursday, I bought prawn rice paper rolls and a bowl of pho from a fast food outlet on a university campus, and enjoyed every mouthful without ill effects.

A week ago, flying from one client site to another, I picked up some takeaway pad Thai rice noodles, which were delicious, and safe.

And perhaps even more excitingly - we gluten free people now get *desserts* Almost every cafe and restaurant has at least one cake or muffin in their cabinet that is gf now, and some have more than one. And lookit what I got for dessert today - macarons. Divine, beautiful macarons. Gluten free and wonderful.

You still have to be careful - of course you do - and contamination is always and ever an issue. But from my viewpoint at least, it's getting easier to be a Coeliac out in the world, at least here in Melbourne. And that is a good thing!

This is post 3 in NaBloPoMo. 3 down, 27 to go!

No comments:

Post a Comment