Monthly Archives: January 2014

Brain Drain

I had one of those moments today. I won’t call it a “senior” moment as I just hit that stage of life that used to be called “over the hill” before 50 became the new measuring stick. I am sure everyone has had them but, of course, that didn’t make me feel any less ignorant.

I took the two kids to the grocery store with me. My wife left me a list, appropriate store discount card and various coupons. Not to mention, she has trained my daughter on the proper way to navigate the store and shop. She had almost fool-proofed the plan. To start, we did great. We only had to backtrack to one aisle. We picked the checkout line with the shortest wait time. The bagger was friendly and engaged in conversation with Cam. I even picked the actual products associated with coupons. So where did I go wrong you ask? It was when the cashier gave me our total and I reached into my coat pocket to find nothing but air that my moment of ineptitude was realized. No wallet. It’s a big coat so I checked several pockets, much to the chagrin of the lady in line behind me. My hands found nothing but the grocery list and some tissues. I had officially forgotten to bring any form of payment. Disappointment tinged with a hint of annoyance flashed across the cashier’s face. She quickly glanced to the bagger for help in how to dispatch of the obvious moron in front of her. I took action by stating the obvious.
“I forgot my wallet.” My tone was soft and sheepish. The cashier opened her mouth but nothing but disbelief came from it. I spoke again.
“I only live five minutes from here. Can I run home and get it and come back?” My only other option was to barter one of the children but both are probably worth more than the $47 bill so I nixed that idea.
Fortunately, the person who bagged my groceries was also the store manager. She came to the quick decision that they could put my bagged items by the customer service desk and we could ring them through again when I came back. Her main concern was that my ice cream could melt before my return (if only that was the extent of my troubles).

I find myself having similar lapses in judgement when continuing my personal education with my son’s condition. I’ve been guilty of eating a sandwich (on regular wheat) and then grabbing his sports drink and taking a sip. After an eye roll, he grabs another drink out of the fridge. I’ve also made his lunch in the morning and cross-contaminated his food by forgetting a hand wash after my breakfast. After an eye roll, my wife takes over and packs the rest. (Yes, they have the same eye roll.) It’s a hard transition to learn and remember all of these nuances but I remind myself that these “moments” are ultimately harmful to him. This thought process keeps me on my toes and will hopefully get easier over time. I’ve heard that it does so that’s a good thing as he definitely is worth more to me than $47.

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The Teen’s GF Pizza Picks

Part of the idea for this blog was to also get feedback on the Gluten Free experience from my 12-year old son’s perspective occasionally. He’s now been on his strict diet for over four months and we rely on his opinion to tell us what he thinks tastes good, what he wants again, what reacts poorly with his system, etc. Before his diagnosis, he was your typical pre-teen boy in that his diet wasn’t the most healthy and what he liked he ate a lot of. One of his favorites was, of course, pizza. Papa John’s was his “go to” but any type of pizza didn’t last long on his plate. So, now that his body has decided that pizza and other grains were not going to play nice any longer, we’ve been on the search for the best that he can eat.

I asked Cam to give me some his best and worst pizzas that he has found so far. These are strictly pizza company (take out style) of pizza. We have not done many frozen pizzas so we will not rate these. If you have a Celiac teen, share these opinions with them in hoping that they may find a brand that they may like but, mostly importantly, so they can make a connection and find out that they are not alone in going through this.

Automatically Disqualified:
1. Papa John’s – You were my favorite. You don’t have anything for me now. When can I get your pizza again?

2. Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Jet’s – Same reason.

Worst:
3. Mellow Mushroom – It just reminded me of wet cardboard. It didn’t really taste like pizza.

OK:
4. BJ’s Brewhouse – Good service, pizza wasn’t bad but still not Papa John’s.

Best:
5. Donato’s – Tastes almost like their regular pizza. Crust is a little more chewy but other than that, it is a delicious pizza (Parent note: We get the take home and bake version as there can be cross-contamination at the local Donato’s when the pizza is cut.)
6. California Pizza Kitchen – Their new gluten free crust tasted like normal crust. We had the BBQ chicken. Looking forward to trying the pepperoni.

Filling the Bottomless Pit

Do you remember when you were a teenager? OK, there are things that none of us want to remember from those crazy, hormone-inflicted, formative years but, specifically, do you remember how much you could eat? When I was a teen, I could eat a lot. Looking back, It’s almost scary to think about the types and amounts of food that I threw into my body during that time in my life. Well, my son is at that stage of his life right now. We can’t keep the boy fed. Four meals a day are the norm. Throw in extra-curricular activities and after-school workouts and his body is in a constant “I’m hungry” state.

Celiac’s has thrown a curve ball into this entire process of continuous crave and satisfy. For me, it was easy. Hungry? Grabbed a sandwich. Not full? Took another slice of pizza. Late night snack? Went to Taco Bell. He doesn’t have it that easy. As many of you know, gluten-free choices are non-existent at fast food restaurants. The opportunity to hit a drive thru on the way back from a workout is not an option. Grabbing a pizza for a Friday night can be more of a thought process than a fun activity.

In time, these things can change. New options may come about to help fill the seemingly bottomless pit of his stomach as easily as I used to in my youth. But until that happens, as parents, my wife and I need to be prepared for the constant requests for food. She does a great job already. Having cookies baked. Keeping a loaf of homemade bread ready so he can quickly grab a sandwich. Keeping a GF frozen pizza close by to pop in the oven. I can help her in making sure that we have ample supply for him at the ready but I’m still finding my role in this. Right now, it’s trying to be an advocate for Celiac’s and expressing the need for more choices and understanding of food sensitive lifestyles. My role is also to try to continue to educate myself about the entire GF/Celiac community so I can answer any questions when he asks. It is, right now, what I feel most comfortable doing.

Will this change? Sure it will. Everything changes as more research is done and strides are made.
Here’s to main stream pizza chains and fast food restaurants developing more options for Celiac’s during this time. For when they do, I know of one customer who is ready to eat.