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Celiactive: The night I didn’t skim the ingredient list

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Food is constantly on my mind. The only time I don’t think about food is when I’m sleeping.

Isabela Moreno

Isabela Moreno

Food is constantly on my mind. The only time I don’t think about food is when I’m sleeping. That said, I eat my feelings to various degrees. It doesn’t matter which feeling I’m experiencing; I’m eating it.

On particularly bad days I reach for comfort foods that I enjoyed as a child like graham crackers, macaroni and cheese, or english muffin pizzas. Unfortunately, these foods don’t exist in the celiac world as I’ve known them.

I’ve recently recreated these foods to support my diet but about a year ago I had no idea how to cook or even shop for food. I usually picked up fruit and various boxed foods. This was also around the time when I had a terrible job in the hospitality industry, one that was particularly people heavy. I was depressed much of the time and found myself reaching for various comfort foods.

One day after a particularly bad shift I stopped by the local superstore to grab snacks. I had planned out a highly lucrative night with my boyfriend to stay up til the wee hours o’ the morn playing video games and eating anything we could lay our hands on.
I was not wrong; it did cheer me up substantially.

I picked up my usual stock that night: Glutino Oreo knock-offs, Annie’s boxed Mac-n-Cheese, oranges, popcorn, etc. I wanted something different though. Something I hadn’t eaten in a long long time.

I scoured the aisles until I spotted in the distance a pulsing light emanating from my edible treasure. I swiftly crossed over to it in delight and snatched a box of Annie’s Bunny Crackers before anyone could lay eyes on it.

I never had Annie’s Bunny Crackers before. I always ate those Goldfish crackers as a kid but I figured that these couldn’t be much different and they weren’t.

I never got around to eating them that night. But the next afternoon was a different story. I had the day off and I wasn’t going to let anything stop my Gorge Smorgasbord.

I cracked open that box and dined on delicious cheddar bunnies. It was magical. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten such a beautiful taste.

But something wasn’t right… They didn’t taste exactly right…

That’s when I went pale white with shock and dread. I rushed for the box and skimmed down its length to find that the first ingredient used was wheat. I almost screamed. How could this be? This was by a company that I bought food from regularly. What if…?

Oh no… I raced for the pantry and I felt my stomach turn as I reached for the first box of Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese. I sighed in partial relief as I found that it was safe as was all the rest of my food. At least there was that because I saw a spider at that moment that turned my gluten-altered anxiety into full fledged paranoia for the next 3 hours while the gluten left my system (and my bowels) violently.

Obviously, I gave the remaining crackers to my non-celiac boyfriend. But I learned quickly that even if a brand and a food are familiar, always check labels. It’s your best shot at staying completely gluten-free.

And recipes and companies change. Nacho Cheese Doritos were made with wheat a year ago, now they’re not.

Keeping that in mind, I never put anything into my shopping cart without scrutinizing the ingredients list. It’s the only way I can ensure that I’ll never again find solace in a deceitful snack.

2 Comments on Celiactive: The night I didn’t skim the ingredient list

  1. Good advice, Isabella. I have almost done the same thing more than once, but so far I’ve been lucky. I’m not the celiac, but my 10 year old son is. I have made our whole house pretty much gluten free, except for a few items where it’s just too expensive for all of us (myself & my other son, also non-celiac) to eat, like cereal, where there is little chance of cross contamination.

    I like your blog. I was just turned on to it by a friend of yours – Tania from Rancho Family Medical Group? I’ll be reading it regularly now!

    Thanks & be blessed – Alan Salls

    • Isabela Moreno // December 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm // Reply

      Thank you for reading and your lovely comment. I’m glad that you’ve been able to elude my awkward fate for your son’s sake. I wish you and your family luck in keeping a celiac-safe household.

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