Soy sauce? Seriously?

Two weeks in and I seem to be doing OK. I have my prepared lunches for work (rice risotto, salads and soups) and I’m finding dinners easy enough. Breakfast was a little harder but I’ve found some gluten free cereals. The weekends are a bit tricky at lunchtime as we often grab a quick bakery lunch to fit in around sports and other events. Of course, bakeries are anathema now, all the local ones anyway. I’m eating a lot of salads and trying out gluten free bread and can I just say – blech! I make the mistake of making sandwiches for picnics two days in a row. I use frozen GF bread at 9.00am for eating at lunchtime and am horrified to discover when we unpack the picnic that they’re still frozen! Note to self: defrost GF bread before making sandwiches. I’m beginning to find the bits of supermarkets with gluten free sections, but am seriously missing bread and pies.

Then work events start kicking in – two trade shows and a rugby game. The trade shows are a nightmare. Food is provided but the only gluten free things they offer are hot chips! Hardly a healthy option, but they go nicely with the peanut slabs and pineapple lumps, which seem to be OK when I read the labels.

At the second of the trade shows, I’m on a stand with a man whose wife has been gluten free for 10 years. He’s a fount of information, including telling me about a gluten free bakery in Auckland called Marx in St Heliers. He offers some tips and tricks and also the unwelcome news that his wife has gained lots of weight as, you guessed it, hot chips are often the only GF option available! He suggests that I don’t have the beef curry on rice that looked safe to me, as the paste for the curry was probably made with wheat flour. Doh!

The rugby event is slightly better as I’ve organized the food, but as it’s at a pub, the platter options are still very limited. I have a beer, and then another colleague, whose family has been gluten free, breaks the bad news to me that beer is a no-no owing to the malt. Arrgh. More research follows, leading to the information that opinion is divided about beer, but it’s better to avoid it. So the list is getting bigger.

A lunch at work provides still more unwelcome news. The same work colleague breaks it gently to me that sushi is OK but the soy sauce is not. Seriously? Soy sauce? I go home and check the label, and sure enough, there’s wheat. Sushi is just not the same.

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