Saturday, December 07, 2013
I had a nice day today. I had tickets to go to the White House to see it decorated for the holidays. My friend, who works there, invited me and 2 of her other friends. We had a great time!
We met beforehand to have lunch at a nearby restaurant. I ordered a "cauliflower steak" that was supposed to come with a barley risotto. As a person with celiac disease, I cannot eat barley, since it contains gluten. The server told me she would have them substitute another risotto made with rice. When they brought out the food, I asked to double-check that I did, in fact, get the rice-based risotto. He assured me it was.
As I was eating, the risotto seemed pretty chewy. After a few bites, I realized it seemed chewy like... barley!! Sure enough, that is what it was. I must admit, those bites of forbidden barley were DELICIOUS. I used to love that grain and really miss it. Today I remembered why!
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder whereby the body attacks its own small intestine when gluten is consumed. If a person with celiac disease eats gluten regularly, the villi in the small intestine are blunted and the villi can no longer do their job, which is to absorb nutrients from food. Some people with celiac disease experience immediate physical symptoms (most often GI issues or stomach pain) when they consume gluten. I am very fortunate in that I do not get sick when I accidentally eat wheat, barley or rye -- the 3 grains that contain gluten.
The server at the restaurant said in a very concerned way, "Are you going to be OK?" and I told her truthfully, "I won't die." :) While celiac disease is a bummer of a thing to have and it requires a lifelong strict gluten-free diet, it is not as serious as when a person with a life-threatening allergy eats something forbidden.
Regardless of my barley-eating adventure today, we had a great time and enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit.