Tomorrow marks my fifth anniversary of my celiac diagnosis, which threw me for a loop just before Christmas weekend in 2010.
And I just got an email reminding me of how maddening that weekend was. It was a general message from Mellow Mushroom reminding customers that its restaurants will close at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
I spent Dec. 24, 2010, frantically visiting every grocery store in the area before they closed for the holiday, looking for anything with this mysterious "gluten-free" label to make sure I would have at least have something to eat over the weekend.
Meanwhile, I had learned on the Internet that at least one restaurant in the area, Mellow Mushroom, had gluten-free pizza. So I figured I could at least keep my tradition of Christmas Eve pizza alive.
Assuming that the restaurant would likely be closing early, I headed to Mellow Mushroom in Jacksonville Beach shortly before 5 p.m. planning to order a pizza to take home. Of course, I arrived to find the parking lot empty and the doors locked. I was crushed -- the perfect ending to a perfect 24 hours.
Five years later, I'm much more knowledgeable and there are a lot more options available, so I'm well prepared for Christmas without gluten. And while I resolve to not whine too much about our gluten-free diet, I can't help but reflect about how difficult and frustrating it can be at times.
Hopefully things will continue to get better for those of us stuck on the diet.