In which I find myself firmly out of denial about my celiac, and full-throttle into anger.
These people are fucking crazy.
If you read my first column about my recent celiac disease diagnosis, you know I dallied with denial. I transitioned from that right into anger and, well, let’s simply say I have lots of feelings about this stupid new lifestyle, none of which you would call “calm” or “accepting.”
Here’s how that went:
So, OK, I have celiac. Sure. So, um, give up breads, right? I can probably swing bread. It’ll suck some, because nothing compares to a hot loaf of bread with feta and smoked beef, or my dark chocolate bread smeared with Brillat-Savarin, accompanied by a glass of dry merlot and maybe a few walnuts. And the occasional late-night English muffin, like Barry and I do sometimes, with a little butter and strawberry jam…
Stop. Thinking. About. Bread.
You know what sucks? I gave up most “white” foods years ago because of the sugar (diabetes runs in my family). So I’ve been eating those goddamn whole-wheat English muffins for, what, 10 years now, and it’s done me no good whatsoever. Sure, I don’t have diabetes, but hell, at least every now and then diabetics can have a slice of white bread.
Oh, shit, pasta. I’m going to gave to give up pasta. Listen, that’s not exactly a Dutch name up on my byline, there. One of the best memories of my grandmother is making macaroni with her — cutting them on her hand-cranked machine and letting them dry all over the house. It’s safe to assume there was gluten everywhere, from the distinctively Italian wrought-iron wall by the stairs to the crushed-gold velvet striped wallpaper. This is like watching my childhood die.
Although I have a few days before I meet with Dr. Gorgeous (whose PA has asked me not to ask Dr. Google about my condition) and a week before I’ll have a session with a dietitian, I can’t wait that long. I’ve decided that I’ll quit gluten New Year’s Day, so I want to be prepared. I head over to Facebook — after all, that’s not Google and the PA didn’t say anything about social media, right? — and start seeking out celiac groups. Taking a deep breath, I post in one, explaining that I’m a recent diagnosis who previously viewed the GF movement with disdain. But now, in a turn of karma so severe 2,000 years from now Buddhists will meditate about me, I need advice.
“You’re going to have to throw out all your pots and pans and cutting boards and dishes.”
Um, excuse me? I can understand the wooden stuff — wood’s porous, so maybe some gluten got ground in there. However, I have my grandmother’s pots. When my father was a baby, she cooked breakfast for him in those. No way in hell do those go. And the dishes? Jesus fuck, it’s not like they’re made of bread. They’re ceramic. One set is depression glass. No fucking way.
“Make sure your makeup and lotion are GF!”
GF? WTF? I absorb gluten through lotion? Aside from my Sephora stuff, I don’t buy cheap lipstick. I’m not throwing out my Dior, not even if it’s made with camel feces, which, come to think of it, might be gluten-free, so maybe that’s the way to go. But no. The Dior lasts forever and looks amazing. And my lotion? My conditioner? This is too much. These people aren’t doctors. Some of these comments are helpful while others are clearly over the top. For example, the lady who won’t let gluten in her house. Can you even accomplish this? It would be easier to move than to do that, right?
I scroll away from my post and read others.
“I pooped my pants!” one post reads.
These people are fucking crazy.
I shut my laptop.
Grocery shopping also makes me rageful. See, I’m trying to buy things that don’t have gluten in them because in a few weeks I’ll be totally GF, so I have to start studying labels like there will be a test later (and there kind of will). And of course I forget my damn glasses. Trying to figure out if Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce has gluten in it or not, I about lose it in front of the Lululemon-clad suburbanite and the middle-aged hipsters stocking up on Three-Buck Chuck for their shitty dinner parties and the poor cashier who doesn’t understand why I have a nasty look on my face.
In our pantry, I have two shelves filled with bread flour, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, White Lily all-purpose flour, semolina flour — you get the idea. I start putting everything I can’t have anymore into a big copper basin, the kind you use to hold drinks at a party. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m thinking that arranging it all pretty-like will make this easier. I develop a rhythm: Read the label, swear, put it in the bin.
Flour, the stuff of bread, macaroni, pie crusts and muffins.
Oh, bloody hell.
Durum wheat semolina elbows. Mixed with peeled tomatoes and butter and salt…
Peanut butter pretzels.
Wait a minute, fucking soy sauce? *Rereads label.* Fucking soy sauce.
This fucking sucks.
Next up: Bargaining.
This article originally appeared in Creative Loafing.