Friday, April 2, 2010

Shopping success and failures

After my last lab tests for the week, which FINALLY included the celiac panel I have given 18 vials of blood, had 130 allergens scratched onto my back, 24 allergens injected under my skin on my right arm, been poked, prodded and generally observed, but I believe I am closer to knowing what is wrong with my health and how to improve it than ever before in my life.

To celebrate, we went to AJ's deli at 56th Street and Ray Road in Chandler, AZ. I wanted to go to their sushi bar, but wasn't sure which fish count as shellfish and which would or wouldn't cause an allergic reaction so even tho I had an EPI pen on hand, I thought I would go the safer route.  Chef Roger helped point out which of his meals I would not be allergic to. What a great guy taking the extra time! AJ's should be grateful to have such dedicated employees who give excellent customer service. As someone who is finding he is allergic to and intollerant of several different foods, it can be overwhelming to eat anywhere outside one's own kitchen but at AJ's I felt perfectly safe. We ended up deciding on Terriaki Salmon with a Verry Berry Salad. YUM!

After my visit to the deli, I stopped by the candy section to buy a small desert. A roller girl named Chachi was there. Yes, roller girls have day jobs. And she was kind enough to point out a desert which I could eat without becoming sick, and which turned out to be a unique and wonderful flavor which I had never tried before, Orange Chili Chocolate. Patch and I shared it and we both very much enjoyed the tasty little pyramid of creamy citrus with spicy hot overtones. I do not usually like hot things, but I risked it knowing that Chachi would not stear me wrong. Once again, customer service to die for. That's why AJ's is a great place to celebrate. And knowing I can get gluten-free treats there, is a bonus!

Obviously all of the above was shopping success. What followed next during our shopping trip at Bashas was not. Don't get me wrong, Bashas' staff was wonderful, and the meal that we had tonight based off our shopping trip was good. But I made a newbie mistake in the gluten intolerant world. The shelf said gluten free, and I saw 3 for 3 dollars, so  I grabbed three boxes of organic pasta. Unfortunately the gluten free pasta was NOT the organic was below it. YIKES! When Patch unpacked the groceries and lay out the ingredients for a gluten free spaghetti, she realized my mistake. I am grateful she read the labels, because I was looking forward to going 100% gluten-free for the first time today. I am looking forward to feeling better and better as I believe I will when I'm living gluten-free. Thankfully, we happened to have a box of brown-rice spaghetti left over from our previous gluten-free shopping trip at Fresh and Easy. YAY!  The italian sausage left over from a previous list of ingredients was perfect in the spaghetti sauce...and the only difference I would want next time would be to try cooking the spaghetti for a shorter amount of time. I'm big on al dente pasta and this was more the consistency of chow mein. NOT what my pallet was expecting with an Italian meal, although I could see this being good with a Chinese meal. Lesson learned... next time I am shopping for pasta I will pay closer attention. Still, I'm grateful we had been keeping our eye open on previous trips and knew we would be wanting gluten-free spaghetti at some point. PHEW! The whole family enjoyed dinner tonight, so don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, it simply can be better. I know we'll hit the nail on the head next time!

Happy eating all, please feel free to share your gluten-free favorites, tips and tricks for pasta, I'm a big pasta eater and am still hopeful.


Lauren said...

yea, GF pasta doesn't take anywhere near as long to cook...and it doesn't reheat very well either. It can become a glob of goo the next day. Brown rice and quinoa/corn blend have the best consistancy. I don't often do pasta for just this reason, favoring brown rice and regular quinoa instead.
So does this mean you got a Dx for Celiac?

Sean-Michael said...

Nope, just got the blood tests yesterday. Still have a couple other tests ahead of me, tho I'm trying not to think of that. Waiting for an appointment with the GI doc, and the blood test results. But in the mean time I'm going gluten-free so I can see how it affects me. I figure if I am gluten intolerant why keep putting poison in my body and why not start heading towards health. If I'm not, it can't hurt and it gets me used to looking at the ingredients of things.