I need to rant today.
I used to love going out to dinner. It was the highlight of a busy week-spending much needed time with my husband. When we were both working, we hardly saw each other. Sharing a meal together that I didn’t have to cook, or he didn’t have to clean up was pure bliss.
But all that became a nightmare when I went gluten and dairy free. At first, when it was just gluten, it wasn’t so bad. But since adding the dairy aspect, it has become almost impossible.
Dining out is just one of the may things that I have had to give up on. Even shopping at the grocery store now is a challenge. Today at Walmart, I was looking at salad dressings. Ranch contains buttermilk. Italian contains parmesan. Balsamic contains honey. I just threw up my hands and made my own old standby Russian dressing by adding ketchup to mayonnaise. It seems that has become the norm lately. I am having to make my own everything in order to avoid those things that will make me sick. And it is a pain in the butt.
I try to focus on what I can do, and not what I can’t-which is really hard for me because I am a pessimist at heart. But I have really had to do so. But there are days, like today, that I get utterly frustrated and disgusted with the lack of products available to those of us who have allergens besides gluten. Gluten free is a multibillion dollar business. What’s wrong with dairy, egg, nut, and fodmap free foods being available on the same widespread scale?
Luckily I am a very good cook and decent baker-but what if I wasn’t? Sure, I could stop using “convenience” foods. I practically make everything from scratch anyway. I could give up carbs altogether and would probably be much healthier. But I don’t want to. I have given up enough already. How much more do I have to do without?
There are days, like today, that I am bone weary and don’t feel like making a big meal. This leaves few options. I usually make two big meals a week so I can have leftovers. But sometimes I just want to pop a frozen dinner in the microwave! I can’t just order pizza, or chinese food for delivery. I can’t just go to McDonalds, Burger King, Zaxby’s, KFC, or any other fast food place. I can’t just go over someone’s house for dinner. I have to plan every meal down to the last detail. And I’m exhausted.
Thank God my husband supports me and eats whatever I put in front of him, but I think he misses going out. It isn’t fair for him to have to give up restaurant meals because of me. There are times when I feel really guilty. And really, really tired. It just isn’t worth the hassle for me. But I don’t want to give it up, either. I try to prepare myself by looking at online allergen menus (they don’t make it easy). Then either they are out of that particular dish I spent four hours researching, or the kitchen screws up and I am sick. I wish that they would list every ingredient in every dish. Some do this, but most don’t. Even when you ask the waiter or kitchen staff, they will no doubt miss something.
Menus need to list every ingredient in every dish so that even if they think it is allergen free, the diner will know just by looking if it is or isn’t. This is much easier than having separate menus or lists of “free” foods that aren’t always “free”. Leave it up to those who know best-the person with the allergies or intolerances.
I am hoping that things will eventually change. In the meantime, pass the steak, grilled salmon, or grilled chicken with the dry broccoli please.