Pain cravings

August 29, 2014

It starts with chocolate. The next stage varies, but it always starts with chocolate.

I once read about why chocolate helps with pain. It affects some neurotransmitters or something. Mostly I think it’s a distraction.2014-08-29 14.49.20 I really like it. And that’s probably why I crave sugar, too. Two days ago I opened a bag of kettle corn. If I’d had more sugary foods, I’d probably have eaten those, too.

Then there’s the craving for fatty foods. I don’t eat a lot of fatty foods normally, and when I do, it’s in small quantities. But as the pain has gotten worse, I’ve really wanted fatty foods. I asked a visitor to go to a place nearby that has gluten-free french fries and get me a large order. In hindsight, I should have asked for 2.

Since I can’t leave the house, and I don’t keep a lot of sugary or fatty foods at home, pain cravings always leave me in a bind. I know from experience that I can eat a lot of this junk, but be thinner than usual when this current wave of worse-than-average pain finally subsides. I think that’s why I crave fatty foods – my body is looking to make up for the extra calories I’m burning off just by being in pain. Whatever the reason, I just wish I could walk down the street to buy a bag of Cheetos. Unhealthy? Yes. But will they comfort me? Yes!

I’ve been wondering, does anyone else get food cravings when they’re in pain? If you do, what do you crave? And does it help physically, mentally, and/or emotionally?

In search of chocolate and reasonable customer service

June 3, 2014

The thing about avoiding gluten is that it isn’t always obvious where the gluten is hiding. I do web searches, but often there’s no clear indication about the product I’m searching, or there’s something clear but it’s 5 years old. Sometimes a product is well labeled, but often it isn’t. And that brings me to my two-day search for chocolate chips.

A different cake made by my aunt

A different cake made by my aunt

Chocolate itself usually doesn’t have any gluten-containing ingredients (though there are exceptions.) However, flour is often used on conveyor belts to prevent sticking, and that means that the chocolate isn’t actually gluten-free. If the chocolate package isn’t labeled, then, how do you know? The answer is that you call the company.

I decided not to have a birthday cake this year. Just having a party will be exhausting enough and I didn’t want to have to worry about stopping at the gluten-free bakery that day. I didn’t mind. Well, not too much. Then my aunt offered to bake me a cake! She’s always been so considerate of my food restrictions, and she’s one of the few who I trust to cook or bake for me.

The other day, with my party fast approaching, she emailed me a list of ingredients. She said she wanted to use Ghirardelli chocolate chips. Yum! I could find the info on the web site, so I called the company 6 times and each time I heard the same message about how no one was available and I should leave a voicemail and it would be returned. I left a message, but it was never returned. Not helpful.

With Ghirardelli not an option, my aunt suggested Callebaut. Again, the information I needed wasn’t on the web site. The first time I called, I got a message about how no one was available, etc. I didn’t leave a message. When I called later, I got a human being – success! Or so I thought. She needed a product number. When I said I didn’t have one, she said she couldn’t help me because they have multiple products. I asked her to tell me which of their chocolate chips are gluten-free, even if it’s more than one, and she said she couldn’t do that. Well, I’m not about to spend hours standing in a store aisle calling customer service numbers where I may or may not reach someone and reading off product numbers! That’s a #customerservicefail if I ever heard one!

Finally, my aunt said she could use Nestle, though it wasn’t her first choice. Maybe it wasn’t her first choice, but it sure was my favorite! I didn’t even check the web site this time. When I called I got a human right away. She didn’t transfer me. She apologized for making me wait about a minute while she pulled up the information. Then she read through multiple items and told me not only that they didn’t have any gluten ingredients, but that the equipment did not process wheat products. That was it. Simple. Straightforward. Easy. The way customer service should be.

I get that gluten-free folks, those of us with an actual medical condition and not just the ones doing a fad diet, might not be the most powerful demographic for companies to reach out to, but they still should. If they ignored every small group, they wouldn’t have many customers left. And really, it’s the right thing to do. Anyone should be able to find out if a product contains allergens. I understand that having a product number might be more convenient for them, but it’s just not realistic for customers. And it’s not necessary. If Nestle can be so helpful without a product number, then should the other companies have that same capability?

So it looks like I’ll get my birthday cake, and it won’t make me sick. Too bad it was so hard to get the information I needed to begin with!

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