A few days later, still GF (well …. almost)

Life has been in a cycle of eating out the past few days. This is due to one or more of the following: theses parts 1 and 2 (me), dissertation (fiancé), families, moving “prep,” work, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, trying not to neglect all friendships, and by being generally overwhelmed with everything. Thankfully, I have gotten several excellent suggestions from excellent friends. The first suggestion we decided to try was Uneedaburger in Fremont, Seattle.

Uneeda Burger:
Or do you?

Even though there was a huge line, the cute counter girl was super patient and helpful with me. She listed nearly all of the ingredients of the veggie burgers and the “special sauce” that they make in-house. I really wanted the grilled onions and she was cool enough to go back to the kitchen herself to instruct the guys not to grill the onions (or anything else) where gluten-ous things had once been.

I was surprised that the veggie burger, bun, and even their sauce were safe! I was, unfortunately, deceived. The veggie burger was supposedly GF because it was made from Emmer. I had no idea what this stuff was, but Uneeda-girl’s confidence and knowledge about ingredients led me to trust her every word. Emmer (Triticum dicoccon) is, apparently, a kind of wheat (also known as faro). I looked into it later still hoping to believe Uneeda-girl. I checked the Forbidden Food List and, to my dismay, Emmer is a big fat no no. I should have stuck to my guns and checked my Is That Gluten Free? App. Live and learn. Next time I’ll be even MORE annoying to the service industry and do a better job of protecting my internal organs. Sorry guys!

Nonetheless, Uneedaburger has gluten free buns. And based on how different they were from the normal buns, I believe that they are truly gluten free. This was my first experience with a gluten-free baked good. The bun was good … but different. It was a bit too dense to use both sides, so it turned into a fork and knife veggie burger minus the bottom bun. I would compare the bun to a scone. It was strange with the burger but overall; it was not nearly as bad as I was expecting a wheat impostor to be.

One thumb up for Uneedaburger for making a big effort, and for being understanding and cooperative. One big thumb down, however, for feeding me forbidden food.

Amy and Ms. Glutenfreeda
We later went to whole foods in search of some ready-made lunches to take to school/work. I had my heart set on some Amy’s meals because I have enjoyed them in the past and noticed that some of the meals were gluten free! To my dismay, even this was not so easy. Although some of their packaging screams gluten free, the fine print on the back says that the product was made in a facility that also processes items that contain –wait for it- wheat!

Amy’s has an entire section of their wepage that discusses gluten-free diets and their gluten policies and practices, but they are not Gluten Free Certified. They seem to spend a great deal of effort to maintain good manufacturing and keeping things gluten free blah blah blah ….

Do you know how much this matters? Should I not use items that have this disclaimer on the back even if they say “gluten free” in huge letters on the packaging? Do I need to be that avoidant of cross contamination? Can this be any more confusing? I’ll just have to “patiently” await the pathology and nutritionist.

So I am clearly confused about Amy. She has been aloof and enigmatic lately and our relationship has suffered. I hope that we can mend our differences some day soon.

Dear Amy: why would you spend so much time, energy, and money to ensure your products meet the FDA guidelines for being “gluten free” (<20 ppm gluten) and not get certified? I believe that you’ll increase your sales if you do. If you’re going to do something, shouldn’t you just do it all the way?

After my fight with Amy, I got upset and almost gave up. Thankfully Mr. Fiancé got me back on the horse and we found Ms. Glutenfreeda herself! I bought a few school lunch burritios to try them out. And I was pleasantly surprised! I loved these at school and I have a feeling that a beautiful friendship has begun. Glutenfreeda’s facility is in Washington state and she is a Women’s Business Enterprise!! You go girl!

Dear Glutenfreeda: You might just be my new BFF. I hope you will travel with me from Washington state to Texas!

Zucchini soup to come …
Once I have some tips and instructions from mom, I plan to make a warm zucchini, yogurt, and dill soup soon. It’s a longtime family recipe that I have always loved. It is great for summer and contains little more than those ingredients! I’ll take note of the amounts and share them with you soon.

Until then …. eat well.

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