Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Food.

Happy New Year.

Like many, I view New Years Eve as one of the most over-hyped holidays of the year, yet on almost every year I can remember I’ve spent this momentous stroke of midnight in some celebratory way. This year was no different. My boyfriend, Ernie, and I went to the quaint town of Galena for the long weekend. We rented an adorably charming chalet on a hill with a dozen friends. We rang in the New Year with champagne toasts and kisses.

While any normal weekend getaway with friends would have been a non-issue, my Gluten Free lifestyle proved to be a bit of a challenge. I was able to prep by bringing some gluten-free bread and crackers and hoped we would head into town for dinners where I can freely choose what to eat at an accommodating restaurant.

Day 1: NYE.

Not bad. Four of us went into town to eat dinner at the local McDonalds where I had a cheeseburger-no bun and some fries. Not the healthiest option but at least I had something in my stomach to provide a base for cocktails later in the evening. Back at the ranch, the gang had prepared a smorgasbord of appetizers, many which I could, and did, also consume.

Cindy: 1; Gluten: 0. It was technically only a half day here, but I was able to feel gluten-free and still partake in ringing in the New Year (in ice-skates, don't ask).

Day 2: Hang-over day.

This was the tough day for all of us. Due to the excessive celebrations and libations the night before, the majority of our team was down for the count. Read: Completely and utterly hung over. Most didn’t arise from our Seasonal Themed rooms until past noon. In a cleverly designed hat drawing, Ernie and I scored the “Summer” room with Fourth of July decorations and a creepy crow hanging over the window frame) Some of the ladies prepared brunch and I was able to eat a delicious wheat-free quiche.

Dinner time was the challenge. Since no one felt much like moving from the couch where everyone was engrossed in the "Jersey Shore" marathon on MTV, the decision was to order in: Pizza. This poses a bit of a problem since I haven’t had a proper slice of pizza in… I don’t even know. I wanted to go into town to get some food, but Ernie’s brother had taken our car back to Chicago for a hot date tonight. I felt stranded.

Thankfully, one of the couples was going into town to buy more water and paper towels. I was grateful that Ernie and I could tag along. At the local Piggly Wiggly, I spent 20 minutes debating between (1) disgusting frozen TV dinner and (2) week-old crusted over potato salad. Instead, Ernie encouraged me to get sliced turkey and cheese from the deli for me to add to my gluten free bread. Finally our pizza delivery came and everyone enjoyed cheesy, sausagy pizza – except me. After dinner, I then retreated to the basement to see the sad Bearcat loss to Florida at the NOLA Sugar Bowl. Will we ever win a bowl game?

Cindy: 1, Gluten: 1. Stranded with no car and a Pizza Delivery Dinner leaves me out of luck.

Day 3: Whoopee-Cushion.

We woke up a tad bit earlier today. Ernie made me some hash browns and eggs while I heated up a slice of left-over quiche. Yum. The other girls went over to the spa for relaxing massages. Three of us went into Galena and walked in the sub-zero wind chill through antique store after antique store – with a couple of old school toy stores mixed in. Where do they find all these chotchskies???

Our friend Patty bought a whoopee cushion which was used later that evening with much hilarity to most, and much dismay to some. Why do I bring up this old child past-time? My stomach felt like it was an automatic whoopee cushion. Although I was able to maintain my GFD today, my tummy still gets all riled up on occasion. It's often possible to consume gluten without knowing it. This weekend was no different.

After a tumultuous week for my tummy post vacation (check back for a post on traveling to Thailand/Cambodia on a GFD), I was looking forward to a more familiar meal plan. We did end up eating dinner in town where I ordered an almond crusted walleye and sour-cream mashed potatoes, modified to be gluten-free by the enthusiastic chef and server.

Cindy: 1, Gluten: 1, Tie: 1. While I was still able to eat Gluten-Free today with little hassle to the rest of the group, my tummy was miserable.

Overall, the weekend was fun. It was a nice way to relax with some friends and get to know everyone just a little bit better. On the downside, I was more high-maintenance that I wanted to be because everyone was so accommodating to my diet (thank you btw). I think some even felt bad about pizza as our best option since I couldn't join in. I hate to feel like I’m causing annoyance or altering any group decisions because of this GFD. Trust me, I do not choose this life-style. You can cope, but it never really gets easier when you’re out with a group and have no means of getting your own eats.

Note: I tried to think of some witty way to open this blog; some explanation of why I’ve decided to start blogging about living a gluten-free lifestyle. I came up short so I just rolled right into the meat of the sandwich. I can’t eat the bread anyway.

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