There were a few events here this week worth noting. First, I tried gluten-free oats. It was pretty exciting; I hadn’t had oats in over a year. Now, if you’re not celiac, you’re probably wondering why such a big deal over oats. Oats are healthy, right? For you, maybe; for me, they are problematic. Originally, oats were thought to be a gluten grain. But numerous studies suggest that for most celiacs, the oats themselves are not the problem, it’s how they are grown. American oats (i.e. Quaker, etc) are a fine product, but they are cross-contaminated with wheat. American farmers rotate wheat and oats in their fields, and all oat crops have wheat in them. Therefore, for me, they are seriously painful, and eventually deadly. I have to avoid all American oat products like the plague.
A company called Cream Hill Estates (see the link on the right), however, has made it possible for celiacs to eat oats without a gluten reaction. The owner’s daughter is celiac, and the company was created to provide a safe, gluten-free product. As far as I know (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong!), this is the only company in North America that provides gluten-free oats.
I am happy to report that I had no ill effects from the gluten-free oats. No discernable reaction. Yay! I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to bake with them again. I have several cookie recipes that I can now indulge in again. For those of you that bake, you know there is just no substitute for oats in the oatmeal cookies! Now if I could just come up with something that tastes like coconut, but isn’t…
The next big event was I worked my last day at the non-profit-from-hell. I’m still working part time at the print shop, and hopefully go full time there in September. But for now, it was time to give up temping. I won’t miss the organization at all, but I will miss my coworkers. I think all the adversity, especially during the reign of the boss-from-hell, bonded us together. I was so touched that my coworkers threw me a surprise going-away party, complete with a Styrofoam cake. Finally, a cake I can have! They put so much thought into it, coming up with crazy gag gifts to remind me of everything we’d been through – I felt like I’d worked there for years, instead of four months.
Finally, on Friday, I went out to eat. Let me say that again. I went out to eat. Are you taking the journey with me? I went out to eat. Some of you don’t know that since I went gluten-free a year ago, I don’t really go out to eat. The risk of cross-contamination, combined with all the other intolerances, has made dining out such a nerve-wracking experience that it just isn’t worth it. Honestly, I’ve been in restaurants maybe four times since August 2006. But damn it, I wanted to go out to eat to celebrate my last day at the non-profit. So when David got home, I suggested we try Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, Italian food? All that pasta, all that GLUTEN? Wait, it’s not like that. Carrabba’s, and its sister companies, Outback and Bonefish Grill, are celiac friendly. They have extensive gluten free menus, and train their employees on proper handling of the food to avoid contamination. So that’s where we went. It was fabulous! I had a lovely, gluten-free, worry free meal. I wasn’t able to avoid all of my other intolerances, but those merely cause discomfort, not actual physical damage, so I was able to deal with it. I will definitely go back.