Hoping to be of help to all those living gluten free in the United Arab Emirates – نأمل أن نكون عوناً لكل من يعيش حياته خالية من الجلوتين في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة
One of the most challenging meals in our family after diagnosis was breakfast and snack times. Bread had always been a big thing in our house. As Northern Europeans we eat a ton of open sandwiches, not just for breakfast, but often also for lunch and as snacks throughout the day. It only took us about a week from diagnosis to ban gluten from our house entirely. A piece of bread now represented something dangerous, with crumbs that could almost jump across a table and ‘attack’ the little Celiac. Breadcrumbs DO jump a lot when bread is eaten by a 4 year old sibling, so banning gluten from our house was the right thing to do.
Personally I believe all Celiacs (gluten intolerants, or people with wheat allergy) need to have a ‘safe place’. A haven, somewhere where they can just BE, and not worry about contamination.
Off course, the perfect place to be this safe place, is your home. Managing the kitchen and dining area is also a lot less stressfull if there is no gluten around at all. No separate cloths or equipment. We dumped all the wooden untensils and got new chopping boards. The Teflon pans went too (to a good cause), I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that there is no gluten to be found in my kitchen (apart from one tiny area, but we will get to that another day).
When other Celiacs visit my home they can touch anything they want and lick their hands after (although I hope they dont!). They can open any cupboard or the fridge and everything they see is safe to eat. The soaps are all gluten free, as is my floor cleaner, bathroom cleaner and kitchen cleaner. Some people would argue that its not necessary to go that far, I argue that why buy a cleaning product with gluten when ones without are just as easy to buy? Do you really want to wipe your gluten free kitchen down with a cleaning product containing gluten? With small kids anything can happen, and I mean anything. While an adult wouldn’t lick the sink or suck on the corner of a sofa cushion, to a child, this is just a natural part of exploring their environment.
So Breakfast, what did we do at first? We bought bread, we made bread, we tried all the bread mixes, and we pretty much dismissed all of it. It wasn’t nice, it didn’t taste ‘ right’, it wasn’t gluten. Because in the beginning, thats the taste you look for, weather you realise it or not, so anything that doesn’t taste like gluten just doesn’t cut it. Someone told me it takes time, and that eventually our tastebuds would change, we would forget the gluten taste and everything would taste better.
We used Gluten Free cereal, we gave up on bread and used corn crisp bread and rice cakes.
A Sandwich in our now house means rice cake with topping. We also took all the pre set expectations of what a certain meal is meant to be and threw them out. If the kids want soup for breakfast or snack time, let them, have some yourself too! Who says you cant have soup in the morning anyway? There is no rule anywhere as far as I am aware. Let the kids have those gluten free crisps in the afternoon if they hate every single gluten free cracker you try. Its not the end of the world (as long as its not every afternoon for months on end).
Almost a year down the road it turns out the person who told me our taste buds would change, she was right. We are now going back to products we tried at the start, and they aren’t so bad. I am baking cakes and bread and it tastes good. Different yes, but not bad. 4-5 months ago I had a moment and I don’t know what happened, but I bought a subway sandwich when I was out, I only had 2-3 bites because frankly, THAT tasted bad. Gluten wasn’t all what I remembered it to be, and no, I don’t miss it. If you still do, then find alternatives that suit your life and lifestyle. Don’t go without, go with something else.
-by Linda Forster