Rebecca's Ponderings

February 6, 2010

Have I Thought of Everything?

Filed under: Parenting,What's for Dinner? — Rebecca @ 5:49 pm
Tags: ,

Families living with gluten intolerance (or any food allergy) must put a great deal of thought and planning into ordinarily minor things. It is not simply a matter of ordering a burger without the bun. Unfortunately, there is much more we must do to ensure that we do not get sick. Here are just a few examples of what we go through on a daily basis.

Last weekend, Peanut got to attend a pre-teen conference with our church. In addition to the normal preparations, we had to contact leaders to find out what snacks would be served, what restaurants might be visited, and other details. We researched brands of ice cream and beverages and emailed two companies since their websites were lacking information about gluten. We purchased and packed snacks as well as an emergency lunch. I printed out a couple of gluten-free restaurant menus and attached a brochure listing safe, unsafe, and questionable ingredients. We also rehearsed talking with restaurant managers and requesting that staff use fresh gloves.

This week, a relative of my husband passed away. In determining whether or not traveling to the funeral was feasible, we had to consider food for the kids and myself. Our restaurant options are severely limited. Gluten-free flours are not readily available in small towns. Cross-contamination is a serious concern in the average family’s kitchen (mayonaise, baking powder, butter, etc. are always suspect). In addition, I do not know whether my husband’s family would be understanding. Some of my own relatives have been the most obstinate, making get-togethers difficult. We ended up deciding not to go for a number of reasons, though food was one.

We have several other events on our calendar this month. Valentine parties, baby-sitting fundraisers, and catered dinners all require that I bring food comparable to what is being served, or make special arrangements. I am already planning for summer camp with Peanut. I will attend with her and will pack all of our food and snacks for the entire week.

It can be overwhelming at times. When I first discovered that I was gluten intolerant, I felt as though my entire life revolved around food. In many ways, it does. However, it has gotten much easier with time and practice. I have learned to be more assertive. I have also learned to keep cupcakes in my freezer.

As I ponder these things, I am very grateful. Our health has improved greatly since going gluten-free. I am thankful that we do not have severe food allergies which would require even more diligence. I am thankful that God has used my story to help other people who have also suffered for years. Best of all, I am thankful for several very understanding friends who have taken incredible steps to accommodate our needs. Their gestures of love and friendship have warmed my heart more than they will ever know.


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