The Continued Adventures in Stupidity!

There is gluten in my food. I just know it. Recently I have not been feeling one-hundred percent. I have a few theories at what might be the problem. Most of the problem stems from things I cannot fix, but I certainly can work to fix one major contributor: stupidity.

I make dumb choices. But really, who doesn’t? Generally I learn from my mistakes, but every once in a while, I just can’t help myself — I make the same dumb choice over and over. Often, these choices have no, or very minor, consequences, and then there are the times when those choices have pretty major consequences. Those mistakes have never landed me in  the hospital, but they have landed me in a world of discomfort.

One of my reoccurring dumb choices has to do with ignoring warning signs. Warning number one — there is a warning  on the allergens section of the website that none of the food at Taco Bell can be guaranteed to be gluten free. Did that stop me? Nope, not a chance; I really wanted a taco. I decided that, although they have flour tortillas that probably touch all the same surfaces as the corn tortilla, the corn tortillas tacos would be fine. Luckily, I was right, but that wasn’t always the case.

I used to have the same misguided belief that the fries at Pepperdine were fine to eat. Even though the fries and the breaded chicken nuggets are cooked in the same oil, I decided that the contamination really couldn’t be that bad. For the most part, I was fine after eating the Pepperdine fries, but small amounts of gluten seeped into me from this contamination.

Taco Bell and the fries at Pepperdine were honest mistakes. Dumb choices I continued to make because nothing bad had happened, yet. But other times I make REALLY dumb choices. Really really dumb choices that I fully knew would come back and get me. One of those stupid choices came about when I accidentally bought a peanut snack mix that had honey-roasted peanuts, peanut brittle, yogurt covered raisins, and pretzels. I hadn’t noticed that there were pretzels in the mix when I bought it, but I did notice before I ate some. And yes, I did indeed eat some. I didn’t eat any of the pretzels themselves, but their mere presence contaminated the entire mix, making all of it unsafe to eat. It all started with just one little bit of the peanut brittle, then one yogurt covered raisin, then a honey-roasted nut. With each little piece that I ate, I opened the can, ate one thing, closed the can, and put it away. Soon I was digging through the can, searching out the little bits of brittle. I finally made myself stop, and left a note on the lid saying: “Not Gluten free, whoops. Eat me!”

A couple of hours later I was really regretting my dumb choice. The little bits of delicious food covered in even smaller bits of poison had made it through my body and into my intestine, where my immune system goes crazy, and starts attacking me. Woo! How fun! Not.

Another time, I was at Jack in the Box. They have delicious milkshakes, and I went to get one. I walked in, and ordered my shake, then noticed that they do not change or clean the mixer between shakes. That means that the Oreo shake made right before mine had left little bits of gluten on the mixer, and that they had migrated into my milkshake. Did that knowledge stop me from drinking the shake? Of course not, but boy did I regret my choice later.

I may make dumb choices like assuming the tortilla chips at a restaurant are fine because they look like corn rather than flour chips (I was right both times, thank goodness), but once I learn that something isn’t as gluten-free as I once thought, I stop eating that food. No more Pepperdine fries or Jack in the Box milkshakes for me.

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