Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Celiac's Day Out

A few months ago I mentioned how frustrating it can be when  people don't take celiac disease seriously.

Add other food and pet allergies and it can be downright scary to go out.  Just to go *out*. 

It's almost impossible to grasp how huge this is.  Just to go *out*.

I can't go to the grocery, the bank, the Doctor, anywhere, without the risk of coming across pet dander.  Think about how many people touch their animals before leaving the house.  Those people are all poison for me.

Look at the photo for a moment.  If I walk into this store, I have to think about which of these people has a pet - and everything they might touch and therefore transfer allergens while in the store.  Expand that to every store, every office, every crowd.

According to The Humane Society, in 2012 62% of American households had at least one pet.  That means in this photo two-thirds of the people I will come in contact with will have some sort of pet dander on them.  My grandkids are all part of that majority too, which means even if their Moms are careful about clean clothes and limiting contact with the dogs... even with a 20mg dose of prednisone, I will still have an allergic reaction after seeing them.  I usually take the next day to sit in my chair, crochet, and moan about it.  :oP  (Poor Steve!)

Adding food allergies on top of that means I also can't eat at most restaurants.  I have to bring my own food everywhere.

Not a big deal you say - I pack my lunch every day.  Sure... but that morning coffee on the go or the treat from the vending machine at 3pm?  Uh-uh.  And unless you made your sandwich bread from scratch it doesn't count.  Haha!

It's true that one meal isn't that tough to cover.  Picnic at the park?  Family BBQ?  Sure, but what about something longer like a weekend away?

I have to begin plotting weeks in advance in order to make everything I need from scratch. 

This year I found the Holy Grail of gluten and major allergen free cookbooks: The Healthy Gluten Free Life by Tammy Credicott of Celiac Maniac fame.  I have tried many recipes from this book and haven't found a single dud.  These recipes actually work, and are good on their own, not just 'ok for allergen free'. 

I also like The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread which has a great focaccia recipe.  Yep, you heard me right!  And that crowning glory donut I made for Grandson #2's birthday?  This book.

The third book I use on a regular basis is Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy.   She uses prepared flour mixes and a lot of her recipes use egg which is a no-no for me, but I have been able to get away with substitutes, and the Crazy Cake is truly quick & easy.

So if you are still reading... here's how I plan my big day out.

First, I check the freezer, the food allergy sufferer's friend because I can make things in advance and just take one serving at a time out of the freezer.

Sandwich bread - my favorite at the moment is actually a bun made from the Celiac Maniac English Muffin recipe.  I follow all directions in the recipe but bake them in a hamburger bun pan.  As a bun, I can make a cheese sandwich or indulge in the occasional burger.  It is great as morning toast too, so I'll want to take several with me.  This recipe alone is worth the price of the cookbook.

Breakfast - Ever thought about how most breakfast foods have grains?  Not just the obvious breads, cereals, baked goods, but even the flour in that sausage gravy.  Luckily, I can get away with commercial Rice Chex and non-dairy milk (which incidentally travels really well), and perhaps the occasional banana bread (THGFL cookbook).

Anything but another sandwich - Ever tried to eat the same sandwich for every meal four days in a  row?  It's a bigger challenge than it sounds, especially when everyone around you is enjoying a nice meal.  For these times, I try to change it up with some Bean Pie (Called Creamy Quiche from the Food Allergy Survival Guide).  It's not creamy and not even remotely quiche-like but it *is* hearty, filling, easy to carry and eat cold or hot... and *not* another sandwich!  I've taken a slice of this pie into the fanciest restaurants at Disneyland and felt almost normal, enjoying a meal with my husband.

Snacks - Ever tried to have a day out without a single treat?  No dessert, no granola bar, no fruit, no margarita.  Sitting there smiling patiently while everyone else gets to indulge in whatever they like?  Pretending like it's no big deal?  Yeah.  Give me a darn cookie or I swear, blood will be spilt!  :oP 

Thank goodness again for THGFL cookbook and almost completely allergen free recipes for chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and many more... that actually taste like they are supposed to taste!

Now plan all your meals and get them packed 'cause we're hittin' the road!  ;o)

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