If you are on a restrictive diet, like me, there are probably some foods you really miss. Foods you really crave. Foods that test your sanity. For me it was dippers. Or more specifically, any chip-like, tortilla-like, pita-like substance for dipping into my daily hummus or avocado mash. Because let's face it, carrot sticks only satisfy up to a point. When I started my rheumatoid arthritis diet I cut out gluten, corn and potatoes (among many other things). I knew this would be a difficult hurdle to jump, but what I expected to miss the most, namely breads, wasn't the issue at all. It was the "dipper". It was the "crunch". It was the chips. I had never realized it before, but that "crunch" was necessary for my well-being. Critical for my psychological health. But how would I get the crunch without eating gluten, corn or potato? Hmm...
I began my search in the gluten free aisle at Central Market. My friend, Sharon, accompanied me for moral support. "What about this one?" she chirped to me. "Nope" I said, that one has corn. "Hey, this one looks ok". "Nah, it has added sugar and sun dried tomatoes" I replied (also on my no-no list). "Oh, look at this one, it looks good" she said, holding up a bag of sticks and twigs. No seriously, that's the name of it, Sticks and Twigs. And let me just say it tasted like, well, do I have to say it? I may as well have stripped bark from the slowly dying, drought-stricken trees in our yard and eaten that. No, that one wasn't the answer. Nor was the next, or the next, or even the next bag I purchased. The GF aisle was full of snack bags that disappointed that day.
I had just about given up hope when my son and I decided to trek out to Whole Foods to see what they might offer. Again, the specific gluten free selection looked pretty dismal to my eyes. I felt my hope fading fast. And then I saw it. BEANITOS BLACK BEAN CHIPS. Amongst the "normal" chips. Right in with the corn chips and potato chips. I almost didn't dare to hope that it's ingredients list would fit my requirements. The bag proclaimed "gluten free, corn free, non GMO". My heart lifted just a bit at the sight of those words. "That's a good start", I thought, but I knew the back of the bag could still disappoint. I turned the bag over and held my breath.
"Ingredients: Whole black beans, whole grain rice, pure safflower oil, guar bean gum, sea salt."
I gasped. Out loud. Loud enough to scare my son. Loud enough to attract the attention of my fellow shoppers in aisle 4. I gasped and I whispered "yes!". Then I read on.
"low glycemic... high fiber... trans fat free... cholesterol free...kosher... 4g complete protein..."
It seemed too good to be true. So at the same time that my pulse was quickening I prepared myself for the possible disappointment in taste. I resisted the urge to rip open the bag on the spot and shove a handful down my throat. I was desperate, but not that desperate. We finished our shopping and checked out, my anticipation mounting by the second. Once in the privacy of my car I could wait no longer. I tore open the bag and breathed in deeply the aroma of salty chips. "Ahhhhhh...". I tried one. Then another. And another. Well, you can see where this is going. I couldn't stop eating them, they were so flippin' delicious. They were more than delicious, they were making me feel whole again, making me feel like my pre-arthritis self. Sanity!
At home, I raced to the fridge, Beanitos in hand, and pulled out my quart container of turmeric-spiked hummus. This would be the ultimate test. I didn't bother to portion into a bowl I just dipped right into the container. It was glorious! Heavenly! I am pretty sure I heard angels sing. I ate more than my fair share of beans that day but I didn't care.
After brushing the bean crumbs from my face I settled down at my computer to get more info on this sanity-saving product. Turned out it is sold at my Central Market, but since they stock it in the "regular" chip aisle with the tortilla chips, I had missed it during my expedition in the GF section. Also turns out it's an Austin-based company and that they just launched their products earlier this year. They have several flavors of bean chips but only the one that I can eat on my program. I ordered a case and vowed to return to Central Market the next day to get a few bags to carry me over until my shipment arrived. I facebooked and I tweeted. Within 24 hours I received tweets back from two Beanitos company employees thanking me for sharing my love of their product. Good customer service to boot, can't beat that.
Now, I know that some of you reading this will think I'm off my rocker, and that's ok. You're the ones who can eat whatever you want and not suffer ill effects, and that's ok too, I used to be one of you. In fact it's fantastic, and I'm only a little bit envious of you. But you should still try this product because it rocks. And there are those of you who will relate to my story utterly and completely. You're the ones who either can't, or choose not to, eat certain things out there in the world. You are the ones who will "get it". And I suppose there are also those of you who will chuckle under your breath at the potential "potty humor" here and wonder about the effect of all the beans. Well, for you I have some special information from the back of the Beanitos bag: "Beans without gas? It's true! We created a unique, natural and proprietary way to make Beanitos without the common side effects some people associate with eating beans." So there. Just in case you were wondering.