Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Vacation time for me! Look forward to some fab posts about North Carolina come next week. But for now ...

1. There is nothing wrong with eating a bag of Skittles for lunch if you chase them with two bottles of water. It does not, however, make you pee a rainbow (and yes, Skittles are gluten free.)

2. If you haven't checked out my husband's guest post about gluten-free at the ball park, you should. It's pretty awesome.

3. Since this weekend sort of officially marks the end of summer for me, let's all start thinking about some delish fall foods to try to convert to gluten free, 'mkay?

Peace out, cub scouts.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gluten-Free Baseball

My darling husband did some GF recon work for me at U.S. Cellular Field a couple of weeks ago, and he agreed to guest blog (my first guest blogger!) about the noms he found. Take it away, Luke!

When I was originally asked by my beautiful and talented wife to write a guest blog about baseball, I began gathering stats and career numbers of White Sox players ranging back to Shoeless Joe Jackson. If I were going to do a blog, I figured I would do it right. 

Then she corrected me. “About the food, you idiot. The food.” It then struck me, as it always does when I take Alissa to U.S. Cellular Field to see the White Sox play diamond bags, she does not now, nor ever has cared for the game. In fact, I recall her saying on 5 of 6 occasions that the only reason to watch baseball were “Men in tight pants and nachos."  I would typically take offense, but realize now that baseball draws all kinds and as long as she is coming to the game and humoring me while I yell at umpires, say “batter, batter, batter” endless times and insist that she be astounded by the 12-6 curveball that Chris Sale just threw, I am happy.

The Food:
I should preface this by saying that U.S. Cellular Field is by far the most celiac-friendly professional sporting venue in the country, so these results are not typical unless you live on the south side of Chicago. In fact, roughly half of the 30+ stadiums I researched, have no discernible gluten-free menu listed on any Web site.  To give you some scope: before we knew about the Celiac Monster growing inside Alissa (I like to envision him with arms of wheat and eyes as black as the night), we went to the world’s most known baseball stadium, Wrigley Field (about 8 miles north of U.S. Cellular) for a Billy Joel/Elton John concert . While, at the time, we were not looking for gluten-free food (and, in fact, ate a giant slice of pizza before we came to the stadium), we were saddened by the selection. Three (3) beers (Bud, Bud Light and Old Style) were the only ones available throughout most of the park and the concession selection was limited to hot dogs, pretzels and a few other baseball basics. Neither Alissa nor I were particularly impressed (the concert, however, was very impressive).  Back 8 miles south at “The Cell”, as it is known in the baseball world, the smell of the parking lot alone is unfair to a celiac. Sausage, burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken and other meats when cooked together, create a smell that I can safely assume angel farts smell like. Most of you gluten free people can eat many of these snacks, yes, but they are all nestled in a tight-fitting bun on game day. Sad gluten-free pandas. 
You then go off shuffle up a series of escalators to get to the cheap seats. As soon as you reach the top of said escalator, you realize why I consider it the “Electric Stairway to Heaven”. You are immediately blasted in the face with the aroma of grilled onions. Don’t fight it, just sit back and let it happen. Your clothes will carry this smell with you until the next day (if you don’t care for grilled onions, my guess is that you also do not care for America and you should probably look up a blog on the gluten-free concession offerings at stadiums in North Korea). Before you can reach your seats, you are in food paradise. Hot dogs, Polish sausage, nachos, ice cream, beer; you expect these things at a baseball game. But pulled pork nachos with fresh salsa? Five-hour oven-roasted turkey? Corned beef on fresh, local bakery bread? Welcome to baseball in Chicago. 

What is the first thing any good sports fan goes for? Booze. In our case, my entire party drank Crispin Hard Cider for the whole game. It was actually cheaper per ounce than Miller Lite and contained 10-15% more alcohol. Additionally, it has a crisp, clean flavor that makes it the perfect thing for a hot summer night.  Oh, one more thing: 100% gluten free and served in CANS! No cross contamination from an oft-used tap here. They sell it in three major spots in the park, but it is available to all sections who want it. We sat just three sections from this bar, so we had quite a few. They also have two locally brewed gluten-free beers, as well as Bard’s Tale GF. If you have celiac and prefer be trashed to watch sports, go to Section 525 at U.S. Cellular Field. I suggest not driving if this is the case. Perchance a DD or a trusty horse can get you home. Course: Sausage
Inning one came and went and then, as is tradition, it was time for sausage. You cannot escape the Cell without a Polish sausage. If you try, someone will likely throw a trident at you. I asked the regular concession lady if they had gluten-free buns. She said they did not have them there, but all of the free-standing hot dog and sausage grills were stocked with gluten-free buns. I asked a nice young man at the flat top set up right outside our section if the hot dogs and Polish were GF, he said “Yes, it is guaranteed by our distributor.” I asked for GF buns and he changed his gloves, got new tongs and opened a GF hot dog bun out of a sealed plastic pouch. He opened them and placed them, open side down, atop the mountain of grilled onions before him. “This works to loosen up the gluten free buns. They are a little rigid unless they steam.” (Clarification: Luke said the guy doesn't do that with regular buns, so no cross-contamination issue.) He then gave me a Polish and piled high with the onions. I went back to my seat SHOCKED at how easy that was. No eye rolls, no huffy language. The dude was knowledgeable, engaged and more than happy to work with me (he got tipped 2 greenbacks, in case you wanted to know). I chewed into it and it was delightful. The sausage casing snapped and popped, the onions added a well-received sweetness and the bun was…well, it was a bun. Admittedly, the damn thing fell apart on me after three bites, but who is going to complain?  I pieced it together and knocked down the rest of my Polish. Note: If you are concerned about ketchup getting all over your hands from your dog, realize this is Chicago and you should not be putting ketchup on a sausage of any kind. Course: Corn
I know what you are thinking here: “Corn? Who goes to a baseball game to eat corn?” Well, for those of you who know little to nothing about the south side of Chicago, it has one of the largest  Hispanic populations in the United States. In fact, for roughly 50 square miles around the park, you can find at least one Hispanic grocery store or deli about every 4 blocks. Corn, as many of you also may not know, is a mainstay in Mexican cuisine. At the Cell, it is called “elotes.” Interestingly enough, the elotes stands in the park (there are four of them) are all located near a Tex-Mex style grill and a churro stand (sorry, celiacs, churros are your equivalent to a pipe bomb and I would avoid at all costs). Where were we? OH RIGHT!  CORN! So, for like $4, a cook will reach into a giant pot of boiling water, pull out a large corn on the cob and then whack it clean with a few swipes of an unnecessarily large knife. The corn is then placed into a standard cardboard tray and treated to your liking. Options include salt, butter, parmesan, chili powder, hot sauce and several others that slip my mind at the moment. The butter, parmesan and salt are the only things a gluten free diet will allow here, but I only ever get butter and salt anyway.  They drown your corn, and then it is like soup by the time you get back to your seat. It has soup beat, though, because, instead of broth it is pure melted butter. I suggest drinking the leftovers like a little kid knocking down the leftover milk after a bowl of Lucky Charms or Gorilla Munch. Course: Nachos
Alissa’s personal favorite. In fact, having taken Alissa to White Sox games, Blackhawks games, Chicago Rush football games and both Illinois State and Bradley University basketball games, she always gets nachos and always comments about how it is her only reason for being there. Alissa does not care for sport. (Editor's note: TRUTH.) Interesting fact: Mission is the official nacho of Major League Baseball.  Mission chips and cheese sauce are both confirmed gluten-free! So anytime you walk by any nacho vender at any major league stadium, you gluten-free folk can rest assured that not only can you eat them, but there is virtually no chance of cross-contamination as most Mission stands have nothing near them but corn chips, cheese sauce and jalapenos. Nachos are nachos, but at the Cell they go one step further.  They have advertised on their website that at certain locations in the stadium, a person can order nachos made fresh with fresh melted cheese, pulled pork, chicken, beef or even steak.  If ordered GF, they can make that entire meal, and, having seen them in action, they are a meal and half. This alone will fill you for the whole game and is only like 8-10 bucks. You’ll notice that, by this point in the game, I had ingested quite a bit and didn’t want to have a food baby in the 7th inning, so I got standard nachos. Still, as quality as ever. Course: Ice Cream
U.S. Cellular proudly boasts one of the most extensive dessert menus in the bigs. Eli’s Cheesecake factory being located in Chicago helps a bunch. There is soft-serve anywhere in the stadium and you can order them in cones, waffle cones, standards cups, mini helmets or, my favorite, a standard size batting helmet. I suggest the gluten-free crowd avoid the cones. The ice cream, though, is advertised as GF.  So, I got the mini helmet and this is by far the best deal at the cell.  Four bucks?!  Dude, this is like a standard-size Dairy Queen sundae and I’m eating it at a ball game for four bucks?  Yes. Of course, add a dollar for the helmet (because who wouldn’t get the helmet for a dollar?). Delicious, and because they stop serving beer after the top of the 7th, this is a nice treat to end the night.  I usually buy this during the top of the 7th when everyone in the stadium is standing in line at beer stands and just ignoring everything else. 
Note: The cell recently added a few other GF desserts to the menu including a salted caramel cheesecake.  I looked for this for an inning and a half and could not find a vender that had not sold out of it.  It is my white whale, but I swear I will find it!  Call me Cheesecake Ishmael.

I know one of the hardest thing to do on a GF diet is feel comfortable attending events like baseball games or theatrical performances and knowing that you are going to be hungry.  It certainly looks like major sporting events are changing the way they look at food and U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago is certainly heading that charge. Feel comfortable coming to the Cell if ever in Chicago.  Enjoy your food with confidence and don’t forget to “root, root for the White Sox”.  

Thanks to Luke, and to our friends Dave and Jason, for being such good, umm, sports about a gluten-free night at the ball game. And as a disclaimer, make sure you feel comfortable with the prep and ingredients if you are celiac!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Celiac Disease is Stupid

There are sometimes stretches when I can go days at a time without thinking about celiac disease constantly. Like, when I am in the safety of my own home, where just about everything is gluten free. But sometimes, after a few days where all I eat for lunch is an apple and a KIND bar, all it takes is one little thing to turn me into a ball of disaster.

This morning, I overslept.

It has been a fairly stressful week in these parts, and it finally just caught up with me, and boy, wouldn't you know, my hands can find my iPhone to silence that alarm like a truffle pig can find ... truffles. Anyway. I didn't want to be late for work, and I was really hungry.

I trudged out of bed and got ready for work, grunting responses to Luke's attempts at conversations. I picked clothing out of a pile in the floor, hoping it matched (it did. Barely). When my husband told me to "cowboy up" and "try to have a good day today," I lost it. Now, I've met some pretty criers. I am not one of them. I have mastered the art of the ugly cry. What makes it even worse is that my gluten-free mascara is not waterproof, so I ended up looking a little Gene Simmons-y.

I sat there, black streaks running down my face, while Lola licked my elbow (she tries, in her little dog-brained way) with Luke looking on, totally confused as how I had let things escalate into the hot mess he was staring at.

I told him how angry and frustrated I was that, if I was running late, I didn't have the option to drive through Dunkin' for a Boston cream and a latte. I couldn't just pick up a McGriddle to eat at my desk. I have to be prepared, constantly, or go hungry, and sometimes, I don't feel like putting in the effort. Some days, I am tired, and I don't have it in me to have to keep up the vigilance. It seems so dumb, and maybe it is, but I feel trapped by this tiny little protein. And that is why celiac is stupid. It sneaks up on me, just when I think I've figured it out, and shows who really has control. As a control freak, I sort of resent that, and I hate that something as silly as gluten has the power to reduce me to a sniffling, gooey mess. Where is Ryan Gosling when I need him?

(Photo borrowed from Jules Gluten Free's Facebook page. And yes, I was quite late to work, thanks to the bath I needed to give myself to clean off my mascara. Wah wahhhhh.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Three Things Thursday

This week has been pretty slow moving, with nothing really exciting happening. Boooo-ring.

1. We had our annual kickball extravaganza on Sunday. Luke and I have been hosting for three years now, and it's low key, we just get a bunch of friends together and play grade-school style. 'Cept we're all close to 30. And none of us can move the next day. But we keep on coming back for more!

2. There is pretty much nothing at Buffalo Wild Wings that can pass my lips. I'm not complaining, because I hated B-Dubs before going gluten-free, but merely pointing out that if you'd like to poison me, that is a pretty good place to start.

3. I'm gearing up for my big vacay to the NC next week. Is it bad that I've already mentally checked out? Thanks to Marlow at Gluten Hates Me, I am equipped with a big list of restaurant choices, so now, all I have to do is wait.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

As American as Apple Pie, and Also Blueberry Crumble

I'm pretty sure I have made it abundantly clear by now that I harbor a bit of a crush on Sweet Ali's. You know, if you could have crushes on buildings. Or cupcakes.

So when I saw on Facebook that they were hosting a summer fruit/pastry sampling on Saturday, it took me all of about .5 seconds to clear my morning and plan to stop by. Free samples, plus the chance to buy some other odds and ends ( ... fine. By "odds and ends" I mean salted caramel cupcakes. Don't judge) meant that there is probably nowhere else I would be that morning.

I always joke that I need to have one of the "normies" try things, too, since I think my taste buds have become skewed in the past few months, and Luke's pretty good about giving it to me straight, so I took him along to get the gluten-eater perspective.

The first thing I tried was the appropriately named Juicy Blueberry Crumble. I love crumbles and cobblers (shocker, right?) and have an awesome recipe for an apple crumble that I make every year after we pick our own apples (P.S. I will continue that trend this year). I have sort of a love-hate relationship with blueberries, though. I love them in pancakes and waffles, but have had too many bitter berries to count them among my favorite fruits. The berries in this crumble, though, were sweet and juicy and awesome. I briefly considered having Luke cause a distraction so I could swipe the whole tray of samples (they even served it with a little dollop of vanilla ice cream! ), but they assured me I could sample as much or as many as I wanted (this could be your downfall, Ali's). Luke thought it was good, too, though he liked the crumbly, sugary butterfest topping way more than the fruit. They did crumbles with peaches and mixed berries too, and they were good, but the blueberry was definitely the standout for me.

Luke's favorite find was the apple pie. He's a big fan of apple pie, in general, and he swears that Sweet Ali's is the best he's ever had. It's true that the apples were seasoned and sugared perfectly, and the crust was golden and yummy. I just preferred the fruit:dough ration better on the crumbles. But if someone were to show up on my doorstep with a Sweet Ali's pie, I probably wouldn't turn them away.

Also, can I just tell you that I am a sucker for pretty presentation? The little dough cutouts were adorable, and really made the pie look like it could hold it's own on a Thanksgiving dessert table (but not too close to the gluteny desserts. And use a different knife, please. You know what, let's just metaphorically put it on the table). They had the filling recipe free for the taking, and the crust available in pre-made crust shape, but also as a ball of dough. We didn't take any home Saturday, but I have big plans for that pie crust come November.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Celebration Edition

Drum roll, please....

This? Is the 100th post here at Breaking Up with Captain Crunch. I cannot believe we're hitting triple digits here! I feel like I should bake a gluten-free cake or something. 'Cept I already made - and ate - cupcakes this week. So I guess it's imaginary gluten-free cake for us. Either way.

1. This week, I have discovered the following things are gluten free: Tootsie Rolls (as well as most other candy by the Tootsie company), Honest brand teas and lemonades, Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix, Pillsbury chocolate icing and (allegedly) the popcorn at AMC theaters. Healthy, not so much. But gluten-free. And also delicious.

2. I was working up a big post about my 10-year high school reunion last Saturday, but decided it didn't really matter. Drank some Woodchuck, saw some familiar faces, closed out another chapter. Here's some gratuitous photo-ness of 16-year-old me though, just to remind us all that we've come so far.
Me, in the pink, after a performance of Grease. I was a bit of a theater nerd.
3. If you haven't already, try to snag some of the Woodchuck Summer cider. It's seriously amazing, and limited in release, so as summer winds down, it's going to be harder to find. I already plan on buying a couple cases of it to store for the zombie apocalypse, I mean, winter. (And yes, I did fight the urge to type "Winter is Coming.")

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Office Glam

This month, J over at I Am J The Blog and Chrissy at Glam Without Gluten have deemed it to be Glam Month, and since I looooove anything sparkly, pretty, and well, glam, I thought it might be time to add some more glam to my life. So I glammed up my office.

We've been working on slowly but surely making our house more "us," including a revamp of our loft last year and some smaller tweaks here and there in other rooms. But we still had our white whale facing us: the office, or, the room into which we throw crap and shut the door.

It was bad, kids. Like, "husband-threatening-to-call-Hoarders" bad. It's just that in the four years that we've lived here, it was kind of a nothing room. Neither one of us works from home, and when we were both grad students, we spent too much time doing school stuff in there to even think about cleaning/organizing/redecorating. Mostly we were in survival mode. After grad school, we had The Big Decision to make (kids? No kids? Another dog? Laser tag room?) and right about the time we thought we had things figured out, then comes celiac, once again sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. It pretty much answered one of the questions for us (no kids right now, thanks for asking, but I would like another glass of wine) and while I would love to have a laser tag room, the fact that it is a tiny spare bedroom pretty much eliminated that. Lola was bound and determined to make it her room, but since she's already claimed every other room in the house, I took the metaphoric pee on the carpet and claimed it as my writing room. I've wanted a writing room, oh, I don't know, for my whole life, and I was pretty psyched Luke was giving me free reign to not only redecorate, but use it for entirely selfish purposes.

That was in late June. Since then, we've had an array of other things to take care of, like weddings and busy season at work and general summer stuff, so it took a little while to get the project off the ground. After more trips to Goodwill then I would like to admit to donate stuff, we had a clean, empty room, which of course meant arguing over paint colors for a good two weeks. The winner? A delightfully elegant shade called "Hydrangea" that fulfilled my need for fabulous color and Luke's need for our office to not look like the inside of a cartoon character.
We painted, installed a new lighting fixture (thanks, Dad!) and were ready for the hard part - decor and furniture.

Since I pretty much live at HomeGoods, it was no problem finding some wall art, and between Target and Ikea (the Bonnie and Clyde of the decorating world), we were able to grab everything we needed for my "vision."

The finished product looked way better than I had imagined - a completely me, completely glam space for me to use to write these fascinating blog posts, as well as a couple of side projects I've got going on.

Starting at the top, we've got Luke's desk for his "big" computer, my small bookcase, guarded by that awesome print of an eagle on a dictionary page (how perfect, right?), my awesome Craigslist desk and fancy memo board, and our superfind - the chair from Ikea. Love this so much.

But somehow, Lola still figured this was designed for her.
But Mom, I'm black and white so I match the theme in the room!

Now comes the hard part. Actually writing stuff. Guess I'm off to a good start ;).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nerdfest, Part Deux

I realize I am about to blow the cover that I had developed here of being a suave, hip .... nevermind, y'all know too much already. I am nerd, hear me roar. But that's okay. What's that saying, something about the geek shall inherit?

Saturday we nerded up hardcore to take a trip to Wizard World Comic Con. You may remember my previous geek outing, and this one topped it in that there was a whole group of us, all in costume.

Bad picture quality, but here we have Black Widow, Black Queen, Punisher, Wolverine, Enchantress and yours truly as Dr. Jean Grey. Be jealous of our awesome.

 One of the cool things about this con is that tons of people are dressed up, and they all want to take pics with other cosplayers (read: nerds with a faint, if any, grip on reality; see above). When you look this good, who can blame them?
Doesn't my beefcake husband make a fantastic Wolverine?
It was a blast hanging out with friends, checking out all the displays and artwork and costumes, and not once did I throw even the smallest of "woe is me" food-related pity parties. Because it SO didn't matter. When we broke to snacky-snacky, they ate their gluten-y treats, and I nommed some pretty good Bakery on Main "granola" bars.

There were a few celebs there, but I refused to pay $40 a pop for an autograph, even for people I'm a fan of, like CM Punk or Scott Bakula (he's probably still hoping that the next leap will be the leap home). I did catch a glimpse of both Joey Lawrence (wearing what I believe to be a women's v-neck, but I digress) and Luke Perry, sending my inner '90s child into a tailspin. And Luke got to meet Kevin Nash, who he pointed out was a wrestler long before he played a dancing stripper. Either way, good for you, Mr. Nash. Plus, I got some great goodies, including an awesome House Targaryen t-shirt, so I can rock my Game of Thrones love, sartorially.

And did I mention how hot my husband is?

Gah, I love a man in metal ... or in this case, spray-painted acrylic.
It made for a great day, with great people (geez, nerds are just so nice) and no food worries. It doesn't get much better than that for me. And the fact that I got to rock a lab coat? Icing on the cake.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Three Things Thursday

It has certainly been one of those weeks where motivation is sorta at a low point. Blame it one the Olympics, blame it on the time of year, but seriously? Productivity does not live here right now. Mostly. 'Cept for:

1. My writing room is 70% done - walls painted, furniture assembled, decor purchased ... just looking for a chair and we'll be all set. Then I am going to have to get to work, um, writing stuff.

2. I am headed out to not only Wizard World Comic Con this weekend, but also my (gulp) ten-year high school reunion. I already have an outfit for one of them planned out. Can you guess which?

3. Since I took a pass on going to the White Sox game last night, Luke and a couple of buddies tried out some gluten-free goodies for me, and he's going to guest post soon about gluten-free at the ballpark, so get excited.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fab Find: Breads From Anna

I'm not sure who Anna is, but I'd sort of love to give her a fist pound.

I loves me some breakfast pastries, and while I've got some mad love for Udi's blueberry muffins, I can't justify spending close to $8 on four muffins all that often, so I've been on the hunt for a good gluten-free boxed mix to tweak to my liking. So far, Namaste is a big NO, but King Arthur has been regally delicious. Both were pretty cheap in gluten-free dollars (roughly $6 a box), and were just a plain muffin base that you could add your own mix-ins to. I was hoping to find something a little more flavor-y, so when last I visited Natural Choices, I saw the Breads From Anna cranberry orange muffin mix and had to pick it up. At $8, I thought it was a little pricey, but figured I'd give it a shot.

The bad thing is I sort of forgot I bought it, and it got stuffed into the cabinet, out of sight. But since the hubbs and I are on a new grocery budget, I've been scouring cabinets and pantries for food, and I found the mix a couple days ago. I tweaked the recipe slightly, since I didn't have any butter left in the house, and instead subbed in a tiny bit of grapeseed oil and some applesauce, and I added a splash of OJ in for some added orangey goodness. I bought a ton of muffin cups at the Wilton sale in June, so my goodies got a fancy leopard-print coat, and I sprinkled them with just a little raw sugar before popping them in the oven.

I was skeptical at first, because I like a sweet pastry, and these didn't have an overly sweet smell, but I didn't have to worry. They were incredibly yummy! These muffins have a really interesting mix of flours, like millet and tapioca and chia seed, and you can taste the complexity in there. I'm glad I sprinkled them with sugar, because they did need that little extra sweetness, and the sugar added a bit of crunch, too. Plus, since I used grapeseed oil and applesauce, I felt like they were healthier than some of the other muffins I've tried to make. The non-GF hubster said he thought they tasted like bakery muffins and not "chemical-y" and he encouraged me to try some of the other flavors Breads From Anna carries. I can promise I will be picking up the pumpkin come September!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Can I just tell you how psyched I am to *officially* be on a three-day weekend? To borrow a phrase from the '90s, it's totally dope. And also phat.

1. More gratuitous co-worker love: This week, I got a fab gift from my partner in crime at work (a beautiful framed photo she took of a monarch butterfly), some seriously ego-boosting compliments, and a lot of understanding, since I spent Tuesday sick, again, from a gluten-related incident. I had to come into work, and it was miserable and painful and icky, and my work homies rallied to make my day better. Kudos, work homies.

2. I stole this recipe from fellow g-free blogger Marlow over at Gluten Hates Me, and it was yummy. We made it last night in the hopes that we would have leftovers (we did not). I can't wait to try this with some tweaks in other dishes. Also, you should check out Gluten Hates Me, because there's tons of recipes that regular, non-cooky people can make and eat with their faces.

3. We are going to Brookfield Zoo this weekend to check out their Extreme Bugs! exibit. Seeing as I go into panicked convulsions upon seeing a single bug in my bathroom, I am pretty sure I will not sleep for a week after this trip. Note to self: Buy RAID.

3.5. I know. Three things. But I also discovered this week that Skittles and Starbursts are both gluten free. Holler.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celiac Ruined My Olympic Dreams

It's that magical time, where nations far and wide gather together and forget about the day-to-day problems like genocide and hunger and terrorism and spend billions of dollars to flip around in shiny spandex.

Yay, Olympics!

Even I, with my lack of interest in all things sportlike, can't avoid getting sucked into the rainbow-ringed black hole (pretty sure that is a gay bar just waiting to be opened). Something about the drama, the high-running emotions, the sparkly leotards and well-developed abs ... I just lurve to watch.

When I was a kid, somewhere back around the '92 or '96 Summer Games, watching the women's gymnastics competition would prompt me to immediately flomp around my house like I was the next Shannon Miller, and I decided at the tender age of 8? 9? that I was going to be an Olympic gymnast. Never mind that I was already almost a decade behind on training and the only time I'd ever done so much as a somersault was probably accidental. It was going to happen. 'Cept it didn't.

"Wow, Alissa, you're such a good athlete," said no one, ever.

To be a star athlete, you have to have strength. Endurance. Drive. At the very least, coordination. I have ... none of the above. In fact, most of my athletic endeavors result in trips to the emergency room (such as the Great Rib Dislocation of Aught-Four, and the Batting Cage Incident of 2009).

I've decided I am going to blame my lack of athletic prowess on celiac. You know, because it sort of ruins everything and makes you a weak, achy, tired mess. Never mind that I have no interest or desire in sports. Or the motivation to stick to anything long enough to be not terrible at it. Totally celiac. But what if I didn't have celiac? What if I had been born sans autoimmune disease? Would I have thrived a little better as a child? Would I have had the energy to take on the world? Could I have been an Olympic all-star?

Likely not. But that doesn't mean I can't sit around in my replica leotard and practice dramatic floor routine poses while I watch along.

(Sidenote: None of the girls on this year's Team USA gymnastics team were out of diapers when the Magnificent Seven won their medals in 1996. In fact, most of the girls don't even remember a time before Michael Phelps was an Olympian. Brainsplosion).