What's in a label? One of the first things I learned when trying to avoid all things wheat related, was that it hides behind long names of regular things like "spices" and "flavours". MSG is also a no-no and is found in many sauces. The bright side of this is that you can make your own sauces and I'll offer some of my own recipes later in the blog. As for the labels, I encourage everyone to take a good look at all labels before buying foods and learn what those un-pronounceable names are. Google the words, learn which ones hide wheat in them. Many of these words it turns out, are made up and then trademarked for use in the food processing industry. When you see them on the label, they don't actually say "wheat derived" or anything about wheat at all! Also when doing my research I learned that many of the chemicals used in food processing are actually toxic in large doses but they keep the percentage just low enough to pass the FDA allowances. *rant* Guess who sets these allowances and does the 'independent' testing? --why the companies themselves. Do you think the FDA has the time and money to do the testing? They don't, so they take the industry's tests and use them to create the standards. And why do I care? because I am one of millions of people who are affected by these minuscule amounts of chemicals and I don't want to eat them and then feel lousy. Maybe the illness caused me to be super sensitive to all processed foods, it's possible but the more I read and understood about these processes, the more steadfast I became about eliminating the non food items from my diet. Emulsifiers and preservatives do not belong in my body any more than wheat, and my body protests their presence.
In the beginning, shopping was a hugely tedious task. Reading all the labels took time and caused eye strain. I now carry a small magnifying glass which really helps. It also helps when your partner checks labels for you. It's key to share the burden with your partner when you shop for groceries or go somewhere to eat. Dining is another major learning experience on this diet. We have to be calm, clear and patient when ordering and hope for the same from the servers. Most of the time these days I'm finding the servers to be well educated about gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. They will often ask the cook or chef if they're not sure about the ingredients in something. Dining out was a nerve wracking lesson for me for a long time. I didn't want to draw attention to myself by taking up the server's time, or by asking them to check with the kitchen more than once. I felt anxious that my friends would not understand my long interactions with the servers and I worried what their reactions would be to me. You can start to see how many ways we are affected by the diet, it's not just about the food. Even larger hurdles were yet to come. Beyond the required discipline I had to move toward resolve and acceptance.