Moving! And Imported Gluten-Free Deliciousness (6e)

I moved! I went from a small one-bedroom in a run-down building with bad management and tenants who really enjoyed their weed and cigarettes, to a large one-bedroom in a high rise building that makes me feel fancy. I even have underground parking. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve really moved up in the world.

Why Move?

Problems with my oven were part of the reason why I decided to move (read about that here). I cook most of my own food since I’m too cheap to pay money at restaurants for food (I think) I could make better. Because of this, a broken oven didn’t work for me. Management wouldn’t fix it. They tried twice and didn’t really help either time but insisted they did (it’s a long, angry story).

So I went out on a hunt for a new apartment. I saw some pretty grungy, nasty, dark, dingy, way too expensive for what you get places. It horrified me to the point of seriously considering staying in my apartment. But, after two weeks, I raised my budget and kept looking. After just looking at two other places, I found the apartment I’m in now.

My new kitchen!

The best part? A huge kitchen with plenty of counter space and even a dishwasher. Since I use about as many dishes as a four person family in one day, this has made my life much easier.

The other cool part? A solarium. Basically a room with big sliding glass doors and floor to ceiling windows. My cat loves it. She likes to sit on the window ledge even though it’s too narrow for her, so half her body hangs off. She also enjoys running headfirst into my  bedroom closet, since the sliding doors are mirrors. It became our morning tradition. I made coffee in the kitchen, heard her meow, then BANG! She crashed into the mirror. I’m guessing she thought she had to take down that weird cat staring back at her.

After I took a few minutes to introduce my cat to her mirror-self, she now only crashes into the mirror about once a week.

It Couldn’t Be Done Without My Parents

Since my parents are awesome, they came to help me move. And not only did they drive eighteen hours across the United States and cross the border into Canada, my mom brought me some gluten-free goodness:

  • Gluten-free crackers (Glutino)
  • Two types of gluten-free all-purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill and Arrow Mills)
  • Xanthan gum (Bob’s Red Mill) Fun fact: xanthan gum works with certain types of gluten-free flours to help replace the missing gluten. It is not necessary for every type of gluten-free flour, so check your flour bag to find out if you need to add it!
  • Gluten-free pizza crust mix (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Gluten-free lasagna noodles made from brown rice
  • Gluten-free curly noodles and linguini made from quinoa
  • Gluten-free seasoning mix for chicken/meat
  • Five bags of my favourite gluten-free, no preservatives popcorn (Indiana)

YES! Some of this stuff I thought I couldn’t find in Canada, but as soon as she brought all of it, I went to the grocery store and saw an entire display with Bob’s Red Mill products. Then I went in another aisle and there was my favourite Indiana popcorn. Neither of these things had been in the grocery store a week before.

Coincidence? I’m not sure yet.

Packing

In two and a half days, we packed up my whole apartment. My dad and I took frequent breaks to play on my iPad and watch TV, while my mom persevered in packing and cleaning. My dad and I also decided to put my giant poster of The Titanic (yep, I’m a nerd for that part of history) into a real live frame. My way of framing the poster had been using tye-dye coloured duct tape to attach string to the back. Then I hooked the string onto a nail….and it fell in the first week.

In the process of putting the poster in the frame, we managed to put the poster in the frame the wrong way so it would hang upside down. It just shows that our minds were far too busy contemplating intelligent things to deal with mundane things like putting a poster in a frame.

Or we just weren’t paying attention.

Moving: Super Awesome Fun Times

On the morning of the move, I packed up my cat, who had a really awful morning, from making mad escapes from her carrier to being locked in my car for a couple hours, to being locked in my new bedroom, to being locked in the big storage closet in my new apartment. Sorry, Lena!

Then I loaded my car with my other valuables: my tv, laptop, iPad and school books. I once read a book where this family moved and the moving truck never showed up at their house – all their stuff was stolen! It has forever left me with paranoia towards movers and moving trucks. So that’s why I put my most expensive possessions in my car.

Another couple days passed with scrambling to unpack all my stuff, hang pictures (with the right side up) and lights (thanks, Dad!) and set up my new apartment to my liking. I have a gluten-free section in my kitchen cupboards now! Which is already being depleted….

My parents took off for home, and I started using my new kitchen. The oven works! The dishwasher works! I made an entire gluten-free cake (recipe here) a week after moving in. Life really just got better. More gluten-free recipes and experiments, here I come.

Need any packing tips or have your own moving stories to share? Let me know!

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Goodbye Gluten (1e)

No cake? No pasta? NOOOO!

Me: “I eat gluten-free. I’m allergic to gluten.”

Person: “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! That must be terrible. I couldn’t give up gluten.”

Me: “I’m not really giving it up … it makes me sick so I don’t eat it.”

Person shakes head. “That must be so hard.”

That’s the true story of almost every conversation I’ve had when the truth comes out about me being gluten intolerant. But hey, at least this means I’m just like Miley Cyrus, who admitted to being gluten and lactose intolerant on Twitter. (Okay, not a good thing. Have you seen her hair lately? Yikes. And yes, I follow Miley Cyrus on Twitter. Go ahead and judge.)

It’s either that “how awful for you” reaction or no reaction … because that means the person doesn’t understand what gluten is. But with references to gluten-free food being mentioned on TV shows like “90210,” “Ben and Kate,” and a variety of morning talk shows (including “The View”), the gluten-free lifestyle has become a popular fad. If you don’t know what gluten is, read about it here.

I’ve had many reactions from friends and family to my own gluten-free diet. I’ve also had many of my own battles staring at the bread, pastries and desserts people around me eat and contemplating if the awful stomach pain I’ll get later is worth it.

It usually isn’t. Unless we’re talking cake.

Lovely gluten filled food I miss:

-Cake, cookies, brownies, quesadillas, hamburgers, boneless wings, croutons, and garlic bread

The gluten food I do not miss:

-Bread, pasta, chips, ice cream, pastries, doughnuts, and pumpkin pie

So no, Ms. Your Life Must Be Awful Now Without Gluten, I’m not that upset about it. Fact is, I never really liked bread or pasta and just ate it when that was all there was. And now, as my body further forces me to be healthy, it also rejects fried food, too much dairy, and chocolate.

Yes, there is something worse than being gluten intolerant. Getting hives in my mouth from chocolate.

The good news is I can still eat rice! Except eating it way too much as a child ruined if for me, since it served as my dad’s go-to dinner side dish whenever he cooked.

I can eat potatoes! But really, in my opinion, the only way potatoes are good is when they’re mashed up with garlic or cut up and fried. But guess what? French-fries apparently have gluten.

So what does this leave me with? Chicken. Vegetables. Fruit. Meat. Fish. Carefully reading every label to see if there is any mention of wheat, barley or rye. And gluten-free food substitutes. Read my thoughts on some of them here.

But really, I’m not complaining. I did the free at-home test to see if I was gluten tolerant by avoiding gluten for a few days. And guess what?

I FELT SO MUCH BETTER! (That deserves all caps because really, it’s made a huge difference in how much Advil and Pepcid I choke down on a daily basis.) I’ve had migraines since I was 10 years old. For a week, I couldn’t go to school due to debilitating pain in my head. Lights felt like red hot pokers sticking ripping into my brain. I had no idea what was going on. My parents gave me Advil and Tylenol but nothing worked. I ended up going to the children’s hospital for heavy duty pain relievers and even got a CAT scan to check for a brain tumour. Turns out, I just had plain old migraines, just like my dad and older brother.

But now, since I’ve been eating gluten-free, I haven’t had a single migraine. It’s a migraine MIRACLE.

The craziest part? Now that I (almost always) eat gluten-free, when I do have gluten, the reaction is much worse than it’s ever been before. Immediate stomach ache. The next morning, it’s a flour hangover. Exhaustion, headaches and nausea. It’s like I’ve trained my body to reject any gluten I dare swallow.

Bye, birthday cake. It was nice knowing you. Your gluten-free substitute just isn’t the same.

Got the same problems as me? Leave a comment here, so we can cry together about eating gluten-free.