This is the final installment in my little sister Althea’s series of guest posts about being diagnosed with celiac disease. If you haven’t already, read the first and second posts.
If your doctor told you you had one month to live, what would you do?
This is, more or less, the question I asked myself every morning in June and July. Well, if we’re being precise, the question was a bit clumsier, something like: If your doctor told you you were “allergic to the gluten” (yep, that’s a quote), and you gave yourself a completely arbitrary period of time to continue eating gluten, what would you eat?
There were, as usual, many things that I wanted to eat. Thus was born my gluten bucket list.
Learning that gluten is poison to your body probably made a lot of you go GF immediately. But my logic was, I had been poisoning myself for—who knows how long?—so giving or taking a month or two couldn’t make much difference to my gut. With this in mind, I decided to delay my gluten-freedom just a teeny bit.
[Disclaimer: I’m not arguing that this was the smartest decision I could have made. Cutting out gluten ASAP was obviously the healthy choice. But I knew I’d be making a lot of really healthy, really annoying choices in the future, so I was in no hurry to start.]
The idea behind this bucket list, just like with a regular old bucket list, was that I could go gluten-free, regret-free. It was meant to take me on a culinary journey, down memory lane to junk I hadn’t eaten in years (am I the only person who actually likes Zebra Cakes?), into the great beyond to treats I had never heard of, and, of course, into the pizza parlors and bagel shops of my brand new hometown.
Composing the list was surprisingly difficult. It’s like when you’re playing Scattergories and your brain is suddenly emptied of everything but pseudowords beginning with “N.” The celiac blogosphere is hardly helpful to the googler trying to increase her gluten intake. For example, Jane Anderson has this great list of gluten-free candy, but I couldn’t find a list of candy that does contain gluten, so I had nothing to work from. I almost forgot Twix!
My other major roadblock was that I got diagnosed just days before moving in with Molly, so all the meals I ate at home were GF. As for eating out, I often thought, Is that really worth the money/trans fat/effort? I’m sure I could make a gluten-free version of that, or there must be something else I could eat that would be more worthy.
My most memorable gluten extravaganza was at a Yankees game, where a couple friends helped me check off something that wasn’t on my list but should have been: fried dough, fried Oreos, and fried chocolate, all in one sitting (hey, we split them between the three of us, so on average, we only ate one fried delicacy each).
But in the end, I didn’t complete my bucket list. I never even got a Cronut (has anyone tried a gluten-free one?). Rather than the systematic search-and-devour mission I had imagined, my quest panned out more like a series of impulse deli purchases and accidental Wheat Thin binges.
Now it’s over, and I’ve been gluten-free for almost a month. I actually feel a bit relieved from the phony pressure I put on myself to eat a bunch of junk I didn’t even always want. There’s no shortage of GF junk food, after all. I hate to end on a dreary note, but the whole thing made me realize that it’s not the gluten I’ll miss, but the flexibility to buy snacks on the go or enjoy food with friends in any locale.
Well, dear readers, this is the end of my final guest post, but my very own sprue story is—unfortunately—just beginning. My current food quests? Perfect my homemade Grape Nuts imitation, and taste-test every gluten-free beer on the market. Wish me luck!
What did you all eat just before going gluten-free? What did I miss? (So much for regret-free.) Do you hate me for making you look at fried Oreos? (Sorry! I know it hurts.)
Giving up gluten is definitely not easy, and I think most people go through a sort of “last meal” type of mindset. I totally agree with you about the convenience factor – that’s definitely the hardest part, in my opinion. I wish you luck and hope that you feel much better after going gluten free! 🙂
Fried chocolate sounds delicious, but think of how BAD it is for everyone who eats it, and you can feel sorry for them for not knowing the different kind of damage all those calories and cholesterol are doing to their bodies! Losing the ease and flexibility of being able to eat out anywhere is definitely going to be hard. I hope you notice a difference in how you feel that will make it worth it!
Good luck with your diet, believe me after more than two years, I no longer miss gluten breads and pizza. I feel great! So I guess it’s just a matter of getting used to it!
[…] everyone says I’m better off: my friends, my sister (once your pal, she too has given you up), and even my doctors, not that my love life is any of their business. Certainly, my parents have […]