Gluten Free at the Carnival
On our way to the festival we stopped at a Publix for some cash and for me to pick up a few items I could bring with me to eat (my at home stash was running low). I decided on a Lara bar, a banana and a bag of pistachios. Yeah! I did opt for a Chocolate Chip Brownie Lara bar….one of my Go To Eats when I am anticipating a “feeling sorry for myself” moment.
From Publix we drove on using Map Quest to find the festival. We arrived just before noon and there was the big luminous, anticipated by Me sign, “NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINKS”.
Having kids for a long time took away my intimidation towards these signs. I have had a lot of practice in bringing snacks into places for them when they were babies and toddlers, ready and willing to stand up for my kids being picky eaters and needing to eat at any time. They also though could eat other stuff if needed as they had no food allergies. Spring forward and I have a new intimidation…if they take away my food, I have nothing. It is amazing how the need to survive feeling kicks in once your food sources are severely threatened.
I held on to the hope that I might be able to eat something, but you must always be prepared with a food intolerance issue/allergy. Bringing safe food choices everywhere you go is a must.
Back to the festival: We entered the front tent where the seafood was going to be sold. They did not have separate vendors selling different types of seafood, which we all found quite weird. It’s a Seafood Festival for goodness sakes, right? But it was all from one group and from the looks of the Menu board none would be safe for me. I do need to add that I did not bother asking.
The only other vendors were the Midway Ride food booths scattered around the property: burgers, chicken on a stick and Italian sausage, buttered popcorn and cotton candy, ice cream, and fried desserts (think Oreos) as well as the booth for Elephant Ears and Funnel Cakes . Gluten, Dairy, Dairy, Gluten and more Gluten. Yes, I am dairy free too now and about this time I was feeling my inner Whining emerging. I try to keep her at bay, but during moments like this it is rather difficult. And yes, I’ve been reading Fifty Shades, can you tell? Only my Inner Goddess is mainly focused on Food 24/7.
We walked around the carnival area, the kids riding rides, “K” enjoying some crazy ones for the first time ever, me staring at the food stands, and no one else staring at the food stands until it was time to eat. The family chose a burger, a chicken on a stick and a grilled Italian sausage sandwich. OK, so none of this stuff is good for you anyways, but it’s moments like this that you feel very left out and just want to be normal again…..Not “Special” as I now sarcastically tell my husband I am, but “Normal” I wanna be normal for a day, ok, no really, a week or two would be nice.
As everyone is ordering I say, “Just get a water for me please”. Does the food vendor notice there are 4 of us ordering only 3 meals?? I certainly do.
While the family is munching on their gluten….I munch on my banana and my Lara bar…thank God it is a brownie! Have I mentioned how much I love the Lara bar brownie? Well, I do, especially during moments like this…I really appreciate someone having made something delicious that I can savor for a moment or two before the silent whining reemerges. Anyway, it only took me a second and then I am looking around and wow, I think I see something Gluten Free!! I’m reading …..”Whine, No it says Wine, Wine, Yea! And at 1pm in an ocean of gluten this sounds really wonderful right now!” Alright, so I did not have one….but at least they were nice enough to offer wine amongst the bottles of Gluten.
My husband wondered later why I was so quiet while we were out. “Oh, I was just having lots of conversations with myself. Sorry honey.” It still surprises him sometimes that I still have issues a year later as I often present myself as "an I've got this" kind of person. Most of the time I feel this way now, but on days like this not so much.
While I was having one of my "Inner Whiny Goddess: Why Am I Gluten Free? Moments"….I was dreaming about the perfect fair, art festival (that’s more my style) and carnival for my kids….
And it goes like this:
1. An ice cream cart by Silk Coconut with gfree, soy free Oreo cookie crumbs to make a “CocoFlurry”. Gfree ice cream cones and dairy free chocolate sauces are a must as well.
2. A Jules Gluten Free cart with the best brownies ever, taste like girl scout gluten free cookies, pretzels, a King Cake and Beignets! And how cute would her cart be? Pink and orange stripes….no red and yellow needed to make me mental for food.
3. A Bald Strawberry Cart from Cape Canaveral, FL featuring all their delicious desserts and gluten free/dairy free sandwiches. And also burgers and sausages with grass fed beef, Applegate Organic and Natural Meats.
4. A Fried seafood cart if we must … but fried with gluten free flour.
5. A grilled seafood cart with grilled veggies to boot.
6. A seafood boil cart New Orleans style: Crab, Crawfish, Shrimp with potatoes, onions, garlic, lemons, and mushrooms.
7. A snack cart filled with fresh fruit and gfree nutritional bars. Water, water, water and real fruit juice.
8. A Green Smoothie Cart – lots of fruit, some hemp shake mix and other gluten free protein mixes to add and greens….lots, and lots of beautiful greens.
Really though ....What's a Carnival Really All About
It used to be all about the rides when I was growing up. My Dad happened to do taxes for the Carnival guys in Louisiana. I was one of the lucky ones I thought....unlimited rides for me and my friends. It Really Was Quite Awesome. I don't remember the food.
Now as an adult with food intolerances It is unfortunately the Foods that I now focus on, but now that I have had my moment.... I am going to take my own advice.
It is important for us with food intolerances to focus on our improved Life....life does revolve around our food, but we also must not let it overpower or happiness and time with family and friends. Watch your family and kids soar... just like me when I was a kid....they came for the rides not the food.
Ignore the "No Outside Food or Drinks" Sign ... stand up for yourself, bring your own food regardless, keep a laminated letter from your doctor to back you up, pout a little but be thankful for good gluten free foods, advocate for all of us with food intolerances, push for more choices, less discrimation, eduacate the world and above all this enjoy your time with your family.
Eating healthy has given us the chance to continue this ride..... Take your shoes off and Fly a little ... Just maybe stay in a straight line. Next blog ~ Carnival and Amusement Park Rides that accomodate those with food intolerances. Hey, hey.. stay tuned. ; )