Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grocery Store Review: Walmart

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for ways to keep my grocery bill to a minimum. I used to be one of those coupon clippers, and could get a lot of food for near to free, but most of those items are laden with gluten and I have since cancelled my News and Observer Subscription.  I was one of "those" who only got the paper for the coupons, occasionally I glanced at the headlines, but if I were honest, I really glanced at the front page and the comics.  

I live in West Cary, as in, just about as far as you can get from Trader Joes and Whole Foods and still have a Cary address.  Which isn't really so bad, but I have to admit, the trek to that side of town still seems like a trek, and often times, hardly worth it.

So I have to admit I have paid more.  I became acutely aware of what Harris Teeeter carried that was gluten free, and Food Lion as well.  Most of the time I would do just fine, and found myself only going to the other side of Cary on occasion.  

A few weeks ago, those of us in West Cary celebrated the opening of the new Walmart naer I-540 and Hwy 54.  And as I always do when I walk into a new grocery store, I immediately started checking aisles for gluten free options.  There were several that I was aware of, not because of any markers or tags on the shelves, but because I know what brands have gluten and which ones label correctly at this point, but imagine my surprise when I also stumbled upon a section completely dedicated to GLUTEN FREE PRODUCTS!

Walmart we welcome you to west Cary, and we thank you for catering to our gluten free lifestlye!

An introduction: Pam McKerring

Several months ago, Zach put it out there that he was looking for additional bloggers in the Cary area.  I responded with something like, "I blog, and can blog occasionally about being gluten free in Cary, but will admit, that I don't blog very often these days."  I received an email, inviting me to join the blog, and asking me to introduce myself...I think that was about 2 months ago.  I hope this is not the trend for me. 

My name is Pam, and next week will mark the 1 year mark for my official diagnosis of being gluten free.  It was a long journey for me, I was living in Africa and got really sick one weekend.  For about a year and a half I was sporadically ill.  Seeing as I was living in a 3rd world country we assumed I had some sort of parasite, amoeba, or strange illness and treated myself for all of them, with no luck. After a year and a half I found myself in a doctors office in the states and was introduced to Celiac's Disease.  And life changed forever. 

It's been a year since I officially ate gluten free full time.  I was one of those who in the process of trying to figure out what was wrong with me cut out wheat for a time, which I know is exactly what the Doctors tell you not to do, but I didn't know at the time.  It has been an eventful year, but I can say, 100% worth it to have a diagnosis and treatment plan.  It is a wonderful thing to feel healthy, to have energy, to not be in a mental fog and to not have eczema patches on my skin.  Yes, it is frustrating to have to be so careful about what I eat, but the outcomes are so worth it.

This post is supposed to be an introduction of myself.  And one thing that I have fought this year, is the idea that my diagnosis does not define who I am.  In the first year of diagnosis changing this mental perspective is difficult because it seems like everything revolves around the "g word" and so it is so easy to let it define you.  Yes, it places boundaries on my life, BUT, I am so much more than a person living without gluten.  

I am Pam, I live in Cary, I love hiking, kayaking and anything that gets me outdoors, I serve on staff as a missions Pastor at a local church, I relieve stress through creativity in my kitchen, have a deep love for the continent of Africa, and yes, I live gluten free.   I look forward to getting to know you better, and letting you into my crazy world of living Gluten free in Cary, and wherever life takes me.