Thursday, May 8, 2014

Small victories

Sometimes the gluten-free diet is an uphill struggle, I’m not gonna lie. No matter how positive you try to be, there are days when you just want to go to your room, put your cell phone on mute, turn off the lights, and pull the covers over your head.

Sometimes I can’t face my daily activities, especially if they involve having to eat somewhere besides home, because I just don’t feel like going through the ask-educate-defend-explain routine that it takes to order a safe meal.

Last year I drove weekly the 30 miles to my hometown to do a little work, to walk with my friends, and to eat lunch with my mom and my pal Nancy. We almost always ate at Wendy’s because it was quick and inexpensive, and because they serve an Apple Pecan Chicken Salad that is safe for me to eat.

Oops, wait! I should say almost safe for me to eat. For some reason, the packet of pecans that Wendy’s gives you to put on the salad—the icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned, since I love nuts—has a little bonus ingredient listed on the packet: wheat!

“For crying out loud,” I exclaimed each week, as I passed my pecans to Nancy, “Why do the nuts contain wheat?!?”

Although the Wendy’s salad was a go-to favorite, even without the nuts, I stopped eating raw salads for a while (at Wendy’s or elsewhere), after I had an unexplained flare up of celiac symptoms early in the year. After following a Specific Carbohydrate Diet for 90 days, the symptoms have fortunately subsided, and I have been able to reintroduce salads to my diet with good success.

So, last week, when Doug and I were traveling in the Atlanta area, I stopped at Wendy’s for my first Apple Pecan Chicken Salad in three months, and—lo and behold!—the nuts came in a new package with my favorite words, “Gluten-Free,” printed clearly on the front!

Thanks to someone at Wendy’s who is listening to the ask-educate-defend-explain routine of folks who are gluten intolerant, I can now have my entire salad—and eat it, too!