Gluten-Free Lifestyle is Possible While Eating Italian Food
Gluten-free lifestyle is very possible even while eating Italian food!
My gluten-free lifestyle made it almost impossible to include Italian food. I’ve even brought my own gluten-free pasta to a local restaurant and asked for a cup of spaghetti sauce so that I could enjoy Italian food with my family.
I know, I know – a bit over the top, but I missed the atmosphere of my local Italian restaurant.
Now, for a little history:
My Italian grandparents operated a deli/grocery store/fruit market in Paterson, NJ for several decades. My great-grandfather, Andrea, started this business in 1905 (approx.) and then my uncle sold the building in 2005, so our family business was around for 100 years! Love that.
My Mom worked in the store from 1955 until 1967, so all of my days off from school were spent here (see photo of the store above).
Needless to say, pasta was eaten at least once a week!
For most of my life, I suffered from stomach aches and fatigue. In 2001, after trying the Atkins Diet, all of my intestinal pain disappeared! You’d think I would’ve put two and two together at that point but I was in denial that wheat/gluten could actually be the cause of my pain and that I needed to maintain a gluten-free diet.
So, after not eating wheat for 2 months or so, I felt great and decided to indulge in a wonderful meal of bread and pizza. Big mistake. My hubby had to take me to the ER several hours later.
That’s the day I woke up to the fact that I had to change my diet to one that was totally gluten-free. No more wheat. No regular bread. No pasta or pizza. Oy!
Let me tell you, my doctors were very skeptical that wheat was the cause. They didn’t have an alternative answer, but they were adamant that wheat was not harming me. The fact remains, though, that abstinence from not only wheat but also corn and soy totally gave me my life back.
But the problem was this: I loved Italian food. And it seemed I wouldn’t be able to eat much at my favorite restaurants until recently.
I picked up a recent copy of the “Gluten-Free Living” magazine the other day and was pleased to see:
1. Ads for restaurants who are sensitive to those of us who are gluten intolerant.
2. Interview with the wonderful chef, Tsai Ming, who explained why and how he works hard to provide alternatives to restaurant customers who have various food sensitivities.
3. Another interview with a well known television actress, Jennifer Esposito, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009. Jennifer explains how going gluten free impacted her health and her career.
So, you see, when I see restaurant owners like Chef Peter Ingrasselino (Weehawken, NJ) or the owners of Alfredo’s`in Port Orange, FL add gluten-free entrees and pizza to their menu, it literally brings tears to my eyes and gives me many choices within this gluten-free lifestyle.
It’s wonderful, after 11 years, to finally have the opportunity to visit an Italian restaurant with my family to enjoy pasta or pizza.
Many thanks to all of the restaurant owners who have become more aware of food allergies and how to serve all of their customers’ gluten-free lifestyle. Let’s continue to support and encourage their efforts.