Gluten Free Partying (originally published August 15th, 2011)

This weekend was a test.  And one that I didn’t really pass all that well.  A party.  A baby shower, to be more specific, for a friend.  Parties are the hardest for anyone on a restricted diet.

It doesn’t matter how much your friends love you and want you to be healthy – your diet restrictions are not their diet restrictions.  This was a potluck party between friends and I didn’t even bother to request gluten free food, since between all of the new mommies there with their own diet restrictions (who would have thought that babies could be so sensitive to so many things?), it wasn’t worth stressing anyone out over.  I volunteered to bring veggies and hummus, since I knew I could eat it!

The savory food wasn’t really a huge problem – I had to decline the pasta salad and egg rolls that everyone was raving about, but I was able to eat as many fruits and veggies as I wanted, and brought myself some rice crackers so I could partake in the cheese plate.  When it came to dessert, though…  That was my downfall.  I really did make a conscious decision (this wasn’t an accident – I specifically chose to ingest gluten) to eat a few bites of cupcake.  My friend Katie is an amazing cake baker (she has her own cakery!) and always brings the most luscious cakes.  She outdid herself yesterday with lemon cupcakes and fresh blueberry icing.  I enjoyed every tiny bite I took with my fork to make it last longer.  I only ate just a tiny bit – not quite half of a cupcake – and thought maybe I’d be okay.

Sadly, I woke up in the middle of the night.  Cramping and bloating, and something I didn’t realize had anything to do with my gluten intolerance – a totally stuffed up nose.  I’ve been using Breathe Right strips on and off for the last few years, realizing that they helped me breathe more deeply to sleep.  It didn’t occur to me last week when they ran out that I wasn’t having trouble sleeping anymore.  Last night, unfortunately, I couldn’t undo my nasal inflammation, so I had a fitful night’s sleep.  I can still feel the bloating in my abdomen right now, although luckily I don’t have any cramping.  I should say that this wasn’t the epically horrific scene that I faced last Sunday, or for weeks before I finally took the chance on going GF.  But it was not.fun.  And I’ll be dealing with it at least until this evening, of that I’m certain.

I’d chalk this up to a rookie mistake (I am, after all a total rookie at this), except that it wasn’t a mistake.  It was a decision.  I guess it’s more rookie poor reasoning.  I figured that if I wasn’t super intolerant (some people get a whiff of gluten and start tossing cookies almost immediately) I was probably ok having a little gluten.  And I might be, in the future.  Maybe after a while my body will be less sensitive to the stuff.  Right now?  Uh uh.  I’ve got to prepare better for the next party.  I’m going to have to bake my own cupcake so I can celebrate my friend’s birthday next month (while everyone else eats whatever awesomeness Disneyland can serve up).  Because no amount of lovely gluten-laden cakey goodness is worth the misery I go through.  And every bit of annoyance I have at not being able to just grab a sandwich when I’m on my way somewhere (or worry that I have that I’ll end up getting a vendor meal at an upcoming wedding that ends up being a gluten bomb!) is worth how amazing I feel.

Maybe this wasn’t a stupid episode – maybe it was a learning experience, so that I could keep the memory of living with gluten fresh while I pursued a gluten free life?

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