Sunday, January 25, 2009

Read the Label!

“Read the Label” is the mantra of life for celiacs. Why would I ever put something in my shopping cart, a food product that I am expecting to eat no less, when I haven’t read the label? I do get lazy with the tried and true things like tuna fish or beans. But when something is new, it is pretty cheeky to just assume it’s gluten-free.

I made that mistake at Trader Joe’s last week. They were promoting Super Bowl foods and had a big display of turkey chili. It was a high of seventeen degrees out side and Thursday evenings are just horrible in my household since I am in and out of the car approximately every 45 minutes for basketball and swimming pick ups and drop offs, so I though this would be a great, quick supper for everyone. I dumped four cans into the cart and never even looked at the ingredients.

How long have I been a celiac? Long enough to know better! Thursday night I opened up the cans and warmed up the contents. I had garlic bread in the oven, and the whole house smelled like there was a hearty dinner cooking. As I stirred the chili, I realized that it had a nice, thick consistency. That “uh-oh” feeling of dread came over me as I reached for a can (meanwhile those cans had all been rinsed and thrown into recycling) and I finally read the ingredients for the first time.

“Wheat flour” was there as plain as day. In that pot, I had enough chili for six people. Two announced they wouldn’t eat it because “there’s beans” or “there’s green peppers” in it. Two of us now couldn’t eat it because it had wheat flour.

Dinner was a big let down. I had garlic bread and a couple of Clementine’s. I can’t remember what my celiac ate. My two picky eaters were quite happy with a bowl of cereal. My husband and daughter had the chili, but most of my quick dinner ended up in the garbage.

It could have been worse, we could have eaten it. As a seasoned veteran of gluten-free shopping and food preparation, I should have known better. I need to avoid gluten, so I need to read the labels. I won’t be making that mistake again anytime soon.
Kendall Egan


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that Kendall. I still do dumb things like that and beat myself up over it. Lucky I have two teens with better vision and clearer heads to keep me on track.

alison said...

I almost did the same thing with Trader Joe's chicken broth. The only reason I saw that it contained barley malt right before I used it in my family meal was because I was looking at how many cups it contained. I had that same feeling as you... how could I buy this? And almost eat it?? I was more mad at the makers of the chicken broth than myself though... :)

I can't post this comment with my name and website... can you change the settings to include someone who does not use Blogger?

Marty said...

Yes, I had an experience too. It was my own stupidity, though. I made elk stew with veggies and onions from my garden. It was only after I put beef base in it that I realized the base had gluten and MSG. After only 1 1/2 weeks gluten free I thought "oh well, one slip won't be bad." Wrong!! my heart tried to pound out of my chest! At least now I know gluten free is for me!

You can change your settings so everyone can comment. Just start at your dashboard and go to the comments section. Much more fun to hear from everybody. I did keep "moderate" on though, just in case.