Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pre-made/Processed Gluten Free Foods

What a week. The weather has been terrible, it feels like it's the beginning of fall instead of the middle of summer, it mentioned yesterday (and today) that it was suppose to be 'party cloudy' and a 20% chance of rain. OMG I haven't seen so much rain in the last 2 days then I have seen in the last 2 months I think! To top it all off my mother-in-law ended up either fainting or indeed falling (I suspect fainted and found herself on the floor) last night sometime just around midnight so she went to the hospital by way of emergency just past midnight and this time without being able to fight because it was a '911' style call. She had called my brother-in-law (he has the spare key) telling him she had fallen and couldn't get up, we found that she had taken at least 2 if not 3 days worth of her medications within 24hrs or so of time. She's 80+ and the last few months has been really going down hill... not remembering to eat right, not being able to remember how/when to take her meds, how to clean/able to clean (herself, her apartment, taking care of her cat ect). Either she's had another stroke (had one already) or she is getting more and more and quickly into the dementia stage.

I sit here this afternoon writing this, wondering what the next stage will bring. Will she be allowed to come home at all with the down hill spiral that has been happening the last couple of months and if she will what will happen then? Now we at least have the standing that she fell/fainted and that she took too many days worth of meds together to hold our case better that she needs help. I think in the last month or 2, if, she's even lost about 20pounds. Not that it's a bad thing since she was a bit over weight any how but now she is again looking very lost, scared and just.... I dunno... not good. I wish her my best, she is part of the family I have chosen out here but in the same I hope for her sake and the sake of her kitty that someone listens to this and forces some help on her. I think tomorrow I shall go to the local cat shop and get a new litter box, litter, food and toys and take her kitty in with me and my 2 other ones. I know it'll be a big big thing but with the way she is no longer able to take care of herself, I think it's only for the best. A kitty is still another life and he needs to be loved and watched over also.

BUT! This is not a 'family' blog... above brings me to the posting today. I know in the few posts already I mention about how I try to stay away from the pre-processed foods as much as I can but there are still times when it's needed due to even say lack of time or even just sure want for something fast and easy. I still have my favourites and I still have processed stuff such as lunch meats, bread, chips and what not.

Keeping in mind that I live in a country that is very limited on it's supplies in the gluten free department being that until the very last couple of months were only able to be found at speciality shops like bio stores or stores that specialize to diet needs. Only recently did one of the major chains of grocery stores start making their 'own' brand of gluten free stuff but I have to admit, it's shit... it's dry and to me flavourless.

Why do you ask does the start of my post bring me to this, because one knows that in this busy world that stuff happens and sometimes soooo much that there just isn't time to sit down to plan meals much less be able to find the time to cook them or even just to find a quick snack.

I have my favourites too! I'm very fond of chips, almost any chip will do as long as it's not really spicy or any where near being sweet. I expect it to be salty and crisp not hot and soggy. My favourite still stands that I have and always will LOVE Doritos but sadly they have started to make a recipe out here that even included wheat flour in their ingredient list. So now my next best is flavoured Lays.

A while ago, my sweetness of a husband, took my to one of these stores that specialize in diet needs, gluten free being one of them. I was in heaven. I bought over 100euro (130USD) of 'new' items, new to me and well most of them new at least. From cookies to pasta to pre-made meal in a dish to even frozen small cheese pizzas! I was in a gluten free lover's heaven. From that experience I have come away with knowledge though more then any thing else. Pre-made 'meals' gluten free are 2 things...

1) They are NOT worth the COST of the product! For a 'stick in the microwave' dish with some pasta & sauce cost me over 5euro ($7USD) and I think wouldn't fill even a kid much less an adult.
2) They do not have nearly the flavour or spices that you would get if you made your own at home.

It would have taken me less time to get a bag of dry pasta out of my cupboard (usually on stock), cooked it up and add a jar of what ever sauce I wanted, a bit of cheese (can't have a good pasta without cheese!) and micro'd it again to ensure it was hot from the jar of sauce added to it then it would have taken me to go to this store, found the item/s I wanted, paid for it, got home and then only got to removing it from it's packaging and microwaving it. Oh and not to mention if I had done it myself, I would of had like 4x's more food for the cost seeing as a bag of 250grams dry gluten free rice based pasta is less then 4euro ($5USD) and less then 1euro ($1.50USD) for a jar of some sort of sauce, even adding some cheese it's still cheaper.

This is why I try to stay away from pre-processed foods to be honest. Is it nice to just grab something off the shelf and micro it, sure. Is it nice to know there is something just able to had and not worry about when how or what ect, oh yea. Is it worth the cost or effort to find these items to start with, oooo heck no.
I also do know there are some items that are so good that they are worth the cost at least but it's not in the 'meal' aspect. They are in the snack and dessert departments (just like me to get into sweets and salts). I have my favourite little snack cakes that are small things, 2 layers of cake with chocolate frosting/cream in the middle and then coated in a thin layer of chocolate as well. They are not just cake though but it also has a slight splash of some sort of liquor as well. Of course, my beloved chips will always be a part of my life but I need to limit them which I've been really bad on lately but then come a few healthier snacks such as pure corn balls that are just that, corn and salt. And then kick it up a notch for some nutrition benefits and we have something I think has become a new love with exception of the cost which is at 6euro ($8USD) a bag and that is a cranberry maple kind of cereal. But it's well more like a chunky granola and has lots of great seeds/nuts/fruit in it.

I still say after this experience that you should still test things out because in the end it's going to be what YOU like, what YOU prefer and what YOU find worth the costs over the quickness/taste and what not. If you don't try something, you'll never experience life and what it all offers. Just remember to learn from every thing you do and try... just like I did with this shopping trip.

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