Q: What’s the biggest challenge for you?
A: I’ve been gluten free for six years.The toughest part for me is trying to micro-manage an order at a restaurant where you try to think of absolutely everything that could have been put into a dish that you will have to ask the waitstaff about – soy sauce, chicken stock, blah blah blah. It’s like you’re in the dark sticking your hands out to see if you’re going to hit anything. Though I did meet with a nutritionist up at Columbia’s Celiac Center and her advice was to order your food the way you want it – just grill the chicken with salt and pepper, etc. The nice thing is that I can find something at most restaurants, other than Asian food, just because so much of that cuisine is done with soy sauce. I get anxiety at Asian restaurants. Very lame.
Q: What are your favorite places to eat?
In New York, it’s Pala Pizza. (Note from the editor: The lady has good taste.) I’m obsessed with that place because they have amazing pizza and gluten-free everything, but they also have a ton of great normal options so that no one feels like they’re left out.
In Portland, it’s Sizzle Pie all the way. Their pizza is amazing. Pala is more fancy, and Sizzle Pie is when you want delicious pepperoni. They began as a delicious normal pizza spot and just added gluten free dough to their menu which is genius. I’ve had so much terrible gluten-free pizza in Portland that I was really excited to have Sizzle Pie.
Portland has been really amazing for the gluten free thing. Maybe it’s all the hippies, or healthy people here, but I love them for it because most waitstaff here do not give you a blank look when you ask if something is gluten free. There are food carts that have gluten free options and two really delicious gluten free bakeries.
Q: What advice do you have for readers?
A: Doctors are not infallible. They’re smart, they want to help you, etc. but they’re not always right. And sometimes they can brush off something that you know is wrong. If you know something that is happening to your body is weird, then you have to persevere until you find a doctor that listens. I went through three doctors before one finally said, “I know you don’t have the rash, but I’m going to test you for celiac anyway.” I don’t know if it’s because they see a lot of hypochondriacs or they just don’t have the time to pursue a solution for you, but you have to be your own advocate and know when something is strange.