Tag Archives: gluten-free lifestyle

Gluten-Free Astrology: Capricorn (born December 22 – January 19) AND Aquarius (born January 20 – February 18)

Since I missed posting my usual personality analysis, predictions, and advice for gluten-free eaters born under the sign of Capricorn back in December, I’m mixing it up this time with a special double edition of Gluten-Free Astrology.

I’ll cover all the need-to-know facts about Capricorn and Aquarius, then we’ll play a little game with celebrities. Got a goat or a water-bearer in your life, or are you one yourself? Then read on!

The GF Capricorn

Capricorn’s symbol is the goat, and there’s a good reason for that. GF Capricorns are surefooted, able to pick their way over obstacles to reach whatever peak they’ve set their sights on. Like Virgos, Capricorns are organized creatures who set goals, make plans, and proceed steadily toward them.

goat silhouette standing on mountain

Calmly looking back at the path you’ve trod.
Photo © BR0WSER | Flickr

But Capricorns’ ambitions are often higher than Virgos’, and always less negotiable. While a GF Virgo might set up a safe, tidy, 95% gluten-free kitchen and allow his/her family to keep eating Triscuits, the GF Capricorn—uncomfortable with ambiguity—won’t rest until every last crumb has left the building.

You’re diligentpractical, and as stubborn as a Taurus, which combine with your rigid sense of organization and clarity of thought to make you, as I’ve said before, basically the best sign ever at being gluten-free.

Self-sufficient, you may volunteer to handle the food at professional and social events, but after painstaking preparations you have trouble letting go and enjoying the secure gluten-free party you’ve planned. Others may see you as distant or even controlling, especially when you’re slapping their hands away from your tortilla chips. Naturally a loner type, Capricorns risk becoming even more isolated once diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder—too bad, because inside, you honestly long to be loved. Spend this month working toward your goals, for sure, but don’t be afraid to make companionship a priority, too.

Black and white goat behind fence

Don’t get trapped by your gluten-free diet and health goals.
Photo © Rachel Groves | Flickr

The GF Aquarius

Like our friends, the GF Capricorns, you can be obstinate when you’re sure you’re right (and, since Aquarius is the Ravenclaw of the astrology world, you’re right annoyingly often). Also like Capricorns, Aquarius can come off as distant—in your case, because you really do prize independence over all else. For the most part, the similarity ends there.

Uranus

Your ruling planet, Uranus, represents the unconventional and unexpected—and it’s really pretty too, right?
Photo © wstera2 | Flickr

Where Capricorn is steady, Aquarius is zany, constantly changing directions and cooking up wild schemes. You’ve probably had so many gluten-free business ideas, you’ve lost count. Maybe you’ve even tried to make some a reality: tossing ideas around and getting to know potential clients is lots of fun. Tying yourself down longterm? Not so much.

The GF Aquarius is outgoing, a traveler, and willing to experience just about anything other than boredom. You love learning and sharing ideas and information: your sign, the water bearer, represents that passion. If anyone can manage to enjoy going gluten-free, it’s you: learning all that new lingo and science, mastering the baking learning curve, and enlightening everyone you know about what exactly is a “villus”? A fascinating challenge!

You trade tips with every gluten-free person you meet, put your rapier wit to work when someone criticizes our lifestyle, and try all the new restaurants. (You might get glutened more often than average, but for you, that’s part of the journey. Yeah, you’re a little odd.)  There’s a decent chance you’re a gluten-free blogger—and, if so, you’re very good at it, besides a slight tendency to overestimate your own expertise.

A little more trivia

When it comes to health, GF Capricorns suffer from stiff joints, rheumatism, and orthopedic problems. GF Aquarius struggles with arterial troubles, as well as shin and ankle sprains and breaks. I probably don’t need to tell you these are all symptoms of gluten-related disorders.

Now, time for a pop (culture) quiz. Here are a few well-known faces, some Capricorn, some Aquarius, some gluten-free, some not. Take a stab at guessing who’s who, then scroll down for the answers.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

James Joyce

James Joyce

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Drew Brees

Drew Brees

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

How’d you do?

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.: Capricorn (Jan. 15), not GF (he preferred southern food such as fried chicken and pecan pie—decidedly glutenous, but I’m sure you could find GF versions to make in his honor today)
  • Lewis Carroll (originally “Charles Lutwidge Dodgson”): Aquarius (Jan. 27), not GF (according to one biographer, he subsisted primarily on fruit, dry biscuits, and—in his younger, “greedier” days—cakes)
  • James Joyce: Aquarius (Feb. 2), not GF (suffered from mysterious stomach pains, often attributed retrospectively to syphilis, but who’s to say it wasn’t really that other “great imitator,” celiac disease?)
  • Oprah: Aquarius (Jan. 29), briefly GF (in 2008 she tried a 21-day “cleanse”; despite enjoying gluten-free waffles throughout, by the end she was “sure . . . happy to return to gluten”)
  • Drew Brees: Capricorn (Jan. 15), GF (and dairy- and nut-allergic too; if press releases can be believed, he loves So Delicious)
  • Ellen DeGeneres: Aquarius (Jan. 26), not GF (and rather annoyingly put down Gluten-Free Singles on her show in November)

Hope no one minded the double feature! (I’d never get away with it for Leo.) Next month is Pisces, the last in the rotation—hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am.

Capricorns and Aquariuses (Aquarii?), duke it out in the comments, and if you liked the post, please share.

As always, the “information,” such as it is, in this post has been largely ripped off from The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk, which is in fact the only astrology book you’ll ever need (need here being a relative term). Celeb photos from Wikimedia Commons.

See also: AriesTaurusGeminiCancerLeoVirgoLibra, Scorpio, Sagittarius

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I’m gluten-free. I’m single. Do I need Gluten Free Singles?

Gluten Free Singles dating site

I am a gluten-free single. I have celiac disease, so I’ll never eat gluten again. I do still want to date…but what does that have to do with gluten?

Judging from the response to the newly launched dating site Gluten Free Singles (hereafter GFS), the majority opinion is “nothing.” Reactions to the site from the non-gluten-free have ranged from bemused to dismissive to downright derisive.

But the premise isn’t really all that crazy. Here’s why:

1) Eating gluten-free (really, truly, not-continuing-to-damage-your-body-through-lax-adherence gluten-free) is hard. Lots of packaged foods are off the table, and it’s recommended not to eat out at allanywhere, until your symptoms have resolved, which can take six months to two years. Even then, most places boasting “gluten-free” menu items aren’t actually trustworthy. One bread crumb or a few drops of soy sauce cause harm, and most restaurant kitchens are too cramped and frenetic to prevent such contamination. Eating at someone else’s house? Forget about it.

2) Dating someone who isn’t gluten-free, if you’re gluten-free, is really hard. Not only because the person might not fully get it or even believe you. And not only because our dating culture is so intertwined with food—think dinner dates, ice cream cones on the beach, romantic home-cooked meals in. It’s also because you, as a gluten-free person, might not want to hold hands with someone who was just holding a sandwich, in case you forget and touch your own food afterwards. Or you may not want to tongue-kiss someone who drinks beer, because research suggests that food particles linger in saliva for hours in high enough quantities to trigger reactions. And, eventually, if you start thinking about moving in together, you won’t want your squeeze to move a bunch of gluten into your kitchen. Cross-contamination city.

3) Convincing someone who doesn’t need to eat gluten-free to eat gluten-free just so you can be together is really really hard. Because, let’s face it, eating gluten-free kinda sucks.

Given all of this, when I was diagnosed in January, my usual priorities—from intellect to appearance to love of board games—shrank to nothing compared to the need for a significant other to be either gluten-free or super supportive. (Here’s a flowchart demonstration.)

Since GFS didn’t then exist, I set out to hack OkCupid into a gluten-free dating site of my own. Under “stats,” you can label your diet vegan or kosher, but not gluten-free (an unfortunate oversight), so I couldn’t search that way. Instead, I dropped my usual criteria (“single,” “needs photo,” “minimum height,” even “male”—because if I’m going to make this work, I’ll need to be flexible) and searched by keyword. Show me, I asked, anyone who has mentioned “gluten” or “celiac” in their profile. ANYONE.

At that point, I learned why dating, even with gluten-free boys, is still hard:

1) The options, even in a metro area, are scant. After weeding out the profiles that claimed, “I love anything with gluten” or, perhaps worse, “I’m gluten-light,” I was left with…not many.

2) Not every gluten-free boy likes me. Of the handful I messaged, only half responded. Huh, I thought. Don’t they know they need me?

3) I don’t like every gluten-free boy. I learned this after meeting up with two of them. They were nice enough, but it turns out there’s more to compatibility than gluten-free.

I decided to put the whole thing on ice and focus more on fixing my own intestines than on finding a matching set. I learned my way around the diet, hunted down new recipes, started a blog. As for dating? Let it be, I thought. It’ll happen.

Six months later, I’m still single. You see? Gluten-free dating is hard.

Enter GFS. The solution, right? Well…maybe. It levels the playing field, sort of. Everyone is gluten-free, so you can concentrate on things such as, say, your sexual orientation. If the site manages to amass a large enough pool of daters, it could make dating more convenient.

At first glance, such convenience is appealing. But on further examination, it’s less so. In the founders’ words, this is a network in which “you never have to feel alone, awkward, or a burden because you are gluten-free.” This implies that around “normal” people, you do feel this way—but that shouldn’t be the case.

Of course, shared qualities and logistics play a role in every relationship. Some long distance relationships fizzle, and some couples whose lifestyles don’t mesh call it quits. But, says the idealist in me, those aren’t the relationships I want. I want a relationship in which we do compromise—even in big ways—and do it well, without breeding resentment.

My family and close friends, for example, have gone above and beyond in accommodating my gluten-free diet. My parents bought new cutting boards, bowls, and cooking utensils when I visited, because those things can harbor gluten. A friend brought gluten-free groceries to my “safe” kitchen and cooked for me there. My sister agreed not to eat gluten at home when we moved in together (and then found out she had celiac disease herself—but that’s a different story).

I don’t take their consideration for granted, but if these loved ones can do it, can’t a lover do it, too?

To join GFS seems almost to answer that with “no”—to suggest that a guy wouldn’t find me worth compromising for. I don’t want to send that message to a potential date, and I don’t want to date someone who feels that way about himself, either.

My dad has always said that true love is waking up to make coffee every day even if you don’t drink it yourself. In an admittedly larger way, that’s what I want for myself. I wouldn’t say no to a gluten-free boy (or hell, who knows, a girl), but only if we also fit in other ways. Should that match not appear, I’m sure I can find love with a non-gluten-free boy, one who will look out for me as loving people do—that daily cuppa, if you will.

I’m not saying there’s nothing appealing in the idea of meeting someone who shares my lifestyle, and I don’t think a website for gluten-free singles is worthless. I’m just saying that having celiac disease doesn’t make me worthless, or worth something only to others who have it. I am not only a gluten-free single, you see; I am also an intelligent, attractive, talented, ambitious, (mostly) confident young woman well worth a compromise or two.

So…will I join GFS? I can’t say for sure I won’t (I’m curious). But if I do, I won’t give up on meeting folks offline, and I won’t abandon OkCupid, either. After all, with all those 93% matches to choose from, I’m bound to find the one sometime.

Note: I originally posted this on Kinja in response to a Jezebel post about Gluten Free Singles. I’ve now reposted it in full here.

Gluten-Free Singles online dating logo

What are your thoughts on dating gluten-free?

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Riddikulus! Gluten, boggarts, and powerful magic

Are you sick of the Harry Potter references yet? No? Good, because there’s more where that’s coming from.

Recently, as I was cataloging the changes to my malleable psyche effected by my celiac diagnosis (nearly six months—that magical number—ago!), it occurred to me that were I to encounter a boggart in a dark alleyway, wardrobe, or Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, it would probably now take on the form of a gigantic piece of wheat bread shedding crumbs as it staggered toward me on crusty legs. (Before, it definitely would’ve been bedbugs.)

WalkingBread_original

This is a sticker I received in a Breaking Up With Captain Crunch giveaway. Too good not to share.

If you, like me, devoted years of your child- or adulthood to reading and internalizing the Harry Potter series, you already know that the only charm to defeat a boggart—a shape-shifter that instinctively takes the form of its opponent’s greatest fear—is Riddikulus. The charm, as dear Professor Lupus put it, “is simple, yet it requires force of mind.” You must close your eyes, concentrate hard, and dream up a way to make fun of your greatest fear. Once the boggart has taken on its new and hilarious form, there’s just one thing you must do to vanquish it: laugh.

hp3_16

That walking bread? Give it a big toaster-burnt spot in the shape of a mustache. Or envision a gigantic toddler picking it up and gumming it to smithereens—with a bib to catch the crumbs, of course. Or speckle it with freezer burn, open up a big air hole in the middle, and imagine it as gluten-free bread from the nineties—which, from what I hear, was either very funny or very scary. Cross-contamination, schmoss-contamination, and boggart begone!

Photo © kaylacasey | Flickr

Photo © kaylacasey | Flickr

At the NYC Celebrate Celiac event this past Saturday (more details to come), I talked to a bunch of great people, and speaking about my blog helped me to put into words a mission statement I hadn’t concretely realized before: Gluten-free is for life, so you’d better start finding ways to laugh about it.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed and afraid you’ll never fit in or eat well again, or a seasoned g-freer who dreads the idea of a waiter chirping, “Whoo-oops, I thought you said vegan!,” chances are if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity you’ve got a gluten-related boggart or two. It is my hope that my posts do less to feed your demons and more to dispel them, using the most magical weapon at our disposal: laughter.

I’m not saying being gluten-free is fun—I’m just saying it’s funny. It’s comical that I get twitchy about passing a dish of wheat noodles at the dinner table or standing too close to someone eating a bagel on the subway. It’s silly that I have to keep a sponge in my desk drawer and carry it to the sink to wash dishes at work. It’s hilarious whenever someone asks me, “What happens to you when you eat gluten?”

For me, every time the concept of Gluten-Free For Life starts to seem serious or scary, I can find a million reasons—starting with the word gluten itself—to laugh about it instead. I hope you feel the same way about celiac, or NCGS, or whatever else ails you. After all, as Dumbledore would certainly agree, to the well-organized mind, it all is but the next great adventure.

By the way, in case you were wondering: Yes, this blog is written pseudonymously by J. K. Rowling.

Tell me what your boggart would turn into, and how you’d defeat it. What’s the funniest thing to strike your gluten-free fancy recently?

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