Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gaming Risks

Daniel is off with friends to the Pokemon Video Game Regional Championships today. Up at the crack of dawn to drive a couple of hours to register for the gaming, and hope to be selected at random to play. Daniel's friend E. asked him to go, E's mom was driving, so it was set. He left a few minutes ago. The sun is now up, and the early dog walkers are making their way down the street. I have my first cup of coffee after a cough-y night of little sleep, and am listening to the birds twittering their morning greetings.

I'm always a little nervous about letting Daniel go on overnights, or on longer trips, because we've had trips to the emergency room because of diabetes/celiac complications when he's been far from home or at a sleepover. So I get jumpy. But I read a wonderful article on Health Central by Dr. Fran Cogen about preparing your diabetic teen for college. She talks about using the time while your teen is home to GO on those sleepovers, GO on those little trips. Take the smaller risks while still relatively close to home, while mom and dad are still nearby. These small, independent steps will help your child build confidence and experience to handle difficult health situations when he is on his own. With Dr. Cogen's article in mind, I gave Daniel my blessing to go.

I know when the starting time of the competition is, but have no idea when these boys will be headed home. We packed a rather large lunch box, because traveling gluten-free is always chancy at best, especially when the most likely food stops will be fast food establishments. Daniel made a large sub sandwich with an Against the Grain baguette. These are a staple in our house, for both sandwiches and "french bread pizzas." Daniel loves these guys sliced in half lengthwise, slathered in tomato sauce, and topped with mozzarella and pepperoni slices! But for this trip he made an Italian sub. We sliced the sub into 3 pieces, and sliced tomatoes and put them in a container so that he could layer them into his sandwich later (to avoid super soggy sub syndrome). He also packed Glutino vegetable crackers, which are one of his new favorite snack foods. I made chocolate chip cookies the other night from the recipe on the Pamela's Flour Mix bag, and there were a few left to put into the lunch bag. There was just enough room for a couple of cans of diet coke, some Sunbutter crunch bars, and a giant banana. That should hold my hungry teenager through mid afternoon!

It's a pain to have to carry all your food around all the time, especially when you are a kid. Celiac kids can't just stop for pizza or a burger with their friends. Some restaurant people GET IT when we explain about celiac, and requiring separate prep areas, etc. etc. Some restaurant people are clueless. In their cluelessness they smile and say they can try to accommodate us, but we have learned not to trust these places. Daniel has been accidentally glutened before, and he goes through too much misery to make these risks worth it.

I was happy to see an endeavor by the Celiac Chicks to create a gluten-free map of the world. Here celiac people everywhere can sign in and add their favorite gluten-free restaurant/store locations to the map, and can benefit from the knowledge of others. The map is here. I've added Lilit Cafe in Bethesda, and will add more places like Roots Market, and My Organic Market, where I frequently shop for gluten free foods. I love the idea of the map. I can access it from my iTouch, it's free, and it is growing all the time. Please add to it if you know of some great gluten-free places.

It's still early; no one else in the house is awake, so I'm going to go add to the map. The sun is shining and it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day!


ccinnkeeper said...

If you haven't already discovered this, Asian markets are a good source of gluten-free snacks. They have rice-based crackers, cookies & noodles. Also buckwheat noodles, which are gluten free (unless wheat flour has been added). I'm sure you know by now that soy sauce contains wheat, but most brands of Tamari are wheat-free. Daniel should have a supply of this.

In the world of "fast" food Daniel's best bet is going to be Chinese as long as he can get plain steamed rice, vegetables & chicken. With his own Tamari sauce and maybe a dash of hot sauce, he can add flavor to a bland, but safe, meal.

If one of my guests tells me they have celiac I can guide them through a lot of the restaurant choices here; which ones understand it and some of the things that are/are not safe for them that might be surprising. Fore example, there is a restaurant in Provincetown that does not thicken their clam chowder at all so it is gluten-free (yes, I've checked w/ the chef), but their rice pilaf contains wheat berries, so that's a no-no. I guess part of what I'm saying is that when traveling Daniel should consider staying at B&B's because the innkeeper can be a valuable guide to the area's food.

Naomi said...

We have some great Asian markets close by, so I'm lucky to be able to fill up on gf snacks! I knew about the soy sauce, and we keep tamari around for stir fry, etc. I bought some rice paper wraps to do spring rolls but haven't tried that yet.

You are a sensitive and resourceful innkeeper, and it's great that you help celiac guests with their food choices! When we travel this summer we're actually staying in a house so we can cook for ourselves. We will be staying 1 night in a B&B, but I haven't talked to the innkeeper about food yet. It's on my list. My long list...