2 Ways I Ate Gluten, And What I Learned From It

The First Gluten Encounter:

It was three days before Christmas, and I was feeling healthy and energetic for the first time in a long time (after the salsa incident). Karl and I were Christmas shopping and decided to make a quick stop at the local Jamba Juice. I love their all-fruit smoothies because they’re delicious, and you never have to wonder what’s in them! Well, if you order it right…

I figured I could use a little pick-me-up for the ridiculously crowded mall we were about to tackle, and got a free Energy boost in my smoothie. As soon as I was done drinking it, I could hardly move. I was so weak, and so tired, I just ended up sleeping in the car while Karl went shopping. I couldn’t figure out what the heck had happened.

After a little online research, I found out that the boosts ingredients at Jamba Juice had recently been changed. The Energy boost now contains gluten (bet you didn’t see that coming). Christmas was definitely low-key that year. And poor Karl is pretty much Father Christmas, he loves it so much. I’ll have to make it up to him next time.

Lesson Learned: Knowing what is gluten free and what isn’t is a constant journey. You can never assume that just because something was gluten free when you first checked, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be that way (you would think that I would have learned that when the salsa thing happened!). In short, it’s always better to eat as close to the source as possible, so you are in control of the ingredients going into your body.

The Second Gluten Encounter:

After that incident, Karl and I decided to do a cleanse and help the healing process along for me (I have such a wonderful, supportive husband). Instead of the lemonade fast, we did an herbal cleanse and decided to eat as close to the source as possible: mainly fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. You can read the details of our experience in the posts from January. I felt so good after eating vegan for two weeks, that I decided to keep at it. I was feeling really good, and even getting compliments on how healthy I looked. I was recovering so well, I suppose it just makes sense that something would go horribly wrong.

February was Karl’s and my 3 year wedding anniversary. He always plans the best weekends away, and we found ourselves in Hollywood for a vegan and gluten-free dinner and an Editors concert! The perfect weekend 🙂 Not only was I so excited to see the Editors that night, but I couldn’t believe that he actually found a restaurant that had vegan and gluten free menu items!

The name of the restaurant was Mani’s Bakery Cafe. The menu looked incredible! There were icons next to each item to tell you if it was vegan or gluten free. I ordered a gluten free quinoa salad, and Karl got a wrap of some kind. The waitress was a little snobbish, but I didn’t pay much attention.

When we got our food, I noticed a cracker garnish on my salad. I was so excited! I hadn’t had a gluten free cracker in months! I couldn’t believe how good it tasted, so I asked the waitress what the gluten free cracker was made of. Her reply: “Oh, that’s not gluten free.” My heart sank. I told her that the item I had ordered was a gluten free item. She said it must have been a meal that ‘could be modified to be gluten free’. I asked if she would bring over the menu, and sure enough. The item was labeled plainly as ‘gluten free’. I couldn’t believe that I had started another 6 month cycle of illness all because some waitress didn’t know her menu, and some cook throws cracker garnishes on everything. They comped my part of the meal, but that’s all we got.

I later emailed the restaurant politely explaining the seriousness of what had happened and suggesting that their staff be trained to serve someone who needs actual gluten free accommodations. I never received a reply. A few weeks later, I sent another email asking for some sort of response… and nothing. If you want to be treated with respect, and you want to stay away from gluten, please do not go to Mani’s Bakery Cafe in Los Angeles.

Lesson Learned: Always ask if something looks suspicious about your meal. I made the mistake of not wanting to hurt Karl’s feelings, but now my poor husband feels awful about taking me to that restaurant on our anniversary. I used to have hope that someday I would be able to go to a restaurant and not have to worry, that I could pretend I’m a normal person. But that, I have found, is far too dangerous. It’s much better to be safe and be different, then try to be normal and just keep getting sick.

So now it’s time for healing again. I’m in the process of being tested for some other various conditions, so I’ll be posting how all that works out. In the mean time, enjoy life and eat safe!

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