My Special Diet

February 3, 2012 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

I used to be the rogue in my family.

I became a vegetarian more than 20 years ago, when vegetarianism may have been mainstream in California, but was a radical idea in my New Jersey suburb.

I was the veto vote. I was the one everyone had to accommodate. I got to pick the restaurants, I had the “pleasure” of asking the server again and again which menu items might be appropriate for me, and my family did everything they could to avoid having a holiday meal at my house. Face it, no meat eater likes Tofurky (and since my daughter’s celiac diagnosis, we don’t eat it anyway).

I remember how enraged I would get when a piece of sausage was found in my soup. I actually ended a friendship with someone because she fed my daughter a fish stick.

Life has gotten much easier for me. It’s hard to find a restaurant today that doesn’t have a vegetarian entrée to offer its guests. Restaurants understand that chicken stock is not vegetarian. I hardly have to ask questions anymore.

Now, my daughter, Molly, is the veto vote. She has celiac disease; I don’t. I can eat anywhere, but she needs to be picky. And if I thought eating out could be challenging with my preferential vegetarian diet, I was sadly mistaken. Exposure to a bacon bit might make my stomach turn, but that is entirely figurative. If my soup is made with chicken broth or my miso with fish paste, I might not even know. And I can go about my business undisturbed by the ignorance of the person who served me.

People with celiac disease and severe forms of gluten sensitivity do not have that luxury. Every business trip I go on, someone gets sick from cross-contamination. It’s impossible to go through every scenario to uncover every place where gluten might be hidden in a meal. You have to be educated, you have to be confident, and you have to be diligent. Every meal, even if ordered from a gluten-free menu, requires detective work. Every sauce is suspicious. Grill marks are a dead giveaway. And that gluten-free dessert may be riddled with airborne flour.

I sure hope it doesn’t take 20 years for the restaurant industry to catch up.

– Jennifer

Learn about NFCA’s gluten-free restaurant training program: GREAT Kitchens

Entry filed under: Jennifer. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Mrs. Alaska International 2012 Wants YOU to Attend NFCA’s Webinar A Special Delivery: Tweason’ale Gluten-Free Beer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Recent Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 175 other followers

Gluten in Medications Survey
Nourished Blogger Conference

%d bloggers like this: