Successes and Failures

Oh hey blog.

ImageI’m sorry for neglecting you, but 2013 has come on a little strong, and among work craziness, travel, seeing someone new and having a chest cold that morphed into a lung infection, I’m barely keeping up. 

I also seem to have forgotten all the things I worked very hard to learn last summer about taking care of myself with IBS, like:

– red wine + french fries does NOT = dinner;

– Jack Daniels in only pretending to be your friend; and

– eating dinner with someone you like doesn’t make you able magically able to tolerate gluten, dumbass.

So I’m taking a couple nights off this week to try to reset my poor, broken GI tract. And I’m cooking, even though my kitchen is too messy to photograph the process. Although my current project seems promising, I’m going to hold off for the moment and instead share a couple of travel stories.

Does everyone know how much I love Kansas? Actually, before I can even talk to you about this, click here, and then come back. Okay, so pretend it’s early February, it’s unseasonably warm and outrageously sunny and you’re driving though open country on your way to train students at Emporia University and this song is playing on the radio. See? You love Kansas, too.

Okay, so what happened in Kansas foodwise? I did a really good job packing oatmeal and snacks so that I was never caught without food. I did overestimate my ability to eat lots of nuts, so the cherry chocolate trail mix from Whole Foods turned out to be a delicious tactical error.

ImageEmporia is an itty bitty town about an hour from Topeka. The tough thing about being gluten- and dairy-free in an itty bitty town is everything. I’m not a super strict vegan by any stretch, so I will sometimes fudge and not ask about all the ingredients in a particular dish, especially if it means the difference between being able to eat and not. I did a quick internet search and found a reasonably well-reviewed Chinese restaurant near my hotel. At left is my Chinese food order – it’s a lot of food, but the idea was to have lunch and dinner and maybe some food to pack along for our lobby day in Topeka. The dish on the left is vegetable fried rice. It was pretty bland, and I’m concerned that they managed to turn the rice such a bright shade of yellow without adding any flavor at all. On the right is ma po tofu. Good to know: in Emporia, mo po tofu includes an unrecognizable ingredient that is either a new kind of meat(?!) or maybe gluten? I tried picking out some tofu pieces and wiping them off on the white rice, but I was just sort of squicked out by the whole mess and I ended up throwing it away.

ImageI did manage to get two meals out of the fried rice by adding sundried tomato hummus and microwaving. It added much needed moisture and flavor. In addition to this, I ate most of a bag of corn tortilla chips, because I have no self control it was Superbowl Sunday and I was alone in my hotel room watching Beyonce and the Puppy Bowl and trying to get work done. Also: if you find yourself in Emporia and need a place to stay, The White Rose Inn is an adorable bed and breakfast that is totally affordable and that you will love.

ImageOne of my more successful meals of the weekend happened at Free State Brewing Company, which has it’s own gf menu, but according to the reviews I’ve read online is really unsafe for folks with Celiac. It’s also not terribly thrilling for gf vegetarians or vegans, as their gf options are meat-based. However. Never underestimate the power of a server who is really fucking good at her job. I noticed that the menu item that I could almost eat was made with egg noodles, but one of the daily specials had rice noodles as an ingredient and asked if she could sub the noodles for me. The result was delicious and totally didn’t make me sick. Hooray for Kansas!

ImageOther success stories: I’ve started experimenting with gluten free bread from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking, which was an xmas gift from my little sister. It takes a LOT of ingredients, but it’s totally edible and makes excellent cheese toast with a little Earth Balance and some Daiya.

Apologies for the truly terrible photography accompanying this post. I haven’t put photo editing software on my computer yet and I forgot to edit them on the iPhone before I uploaded them. I promise to be better about that next time. And also to post at least once more this week. 🙂



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