A couple of things happened that prompted me to write this post tonight. Part of it probably due to the fact that I just haven’t felt good this week. A big part of it is that I need to find a doctor who will adequately treat my hypothyroidism, but I haven’t had any luck in finding a new one. It seems most want to prescribe synthetic thyroid hormones, and they don’t help me much.
Another reason is because when I don’t feel good, I crave comfort foods that I’ve loved for most of my life. But thanks to the fact that gluten makes me so sick, I can only come up with foods that are like shadows of former favorites.
Imagine wanting your morning coffee and being served a cup filled with a clear, brownish colored liquid. It’s coffee all right, but there’s barely any in there. If you concentrate hard, you can taste it, but mostly it’s just water.
That’s kind of what it’s like with gluten-free substitutes. Sure, some things come very close to what I used to make, but many others do not.
So why do I hate gluten?
1. Because I love gluten. I love everything about it – except for the fact that it gives me digestive problems, makes me feel exhausted, swells me up like a balloon, and makes it feel like the Incredible Hulk is squeezing my lungs for a few days.
2. Because I love going to restaurants. It used to be one of my favorite things to do. Now eating out is nothing but a reminder that I’m different, that I have to question the waitstaff and manager like I’m from the DHS to see if there’s anything safe for me to eat. And if there is, it’s a sure bet it won’t be as good as what everyone else will be ordering. I’ve only eaten at a restaurant three times since last May. Given the risk involved, and the fact that I can’t have what I want anyway, what’s the point?
3. Because I have to read every freaking label on every freaking item I buy that doesn’t specifically say ‘gluten-free.’ For a person who would rather scrub toilets than set foot inside a store, it’s turned shopping into a nightmare.
4. Because in most cases, anything gluten-free costs at least three times as much as its gluten-laden counterpart…and it usually doesn’t taste as good either.
5. Because I hate having to cook everything I eat from scratch. Except for a couple of brands of chicken nuggets/tenders, and two varieties of soup, there are no quick meals for me – except eggs. And I’m really tired of eggs.
6. Because the food part of family get-togethers sucks now. When I go, I have to make something I can eat because the odds of anything else on the pot luck table being safe is slim to none. So while I won’t go hungry, I have to pass up my aunt’s cheesy potatoes with the crushed corn flake topping, my uncles chicken and biscuits, and my sisters chicken and noodles. And let’s not even get into the desserts. Thank God for Jello, right?
7. Because I hate always having to be the one to ask, “What ingredients did you use in that?”
8. Because I just want to be like everyone again. I want to not have to think twice about grabbing a burger or a taco on the run. I want to go enjoy a meatloaf dinner at Country Kitchen on a Friday night. I want to stop feeling like the misfit.
9. Because after about ten years of driving forty-five minutes – one way – to get my favorite pizza, they finally built one less than fifteen minutes from my house. I got to enjoy it for about a year before I had to give up gluten.
10. Because I hate having to make do with stuffing, pie crust, and bread products that don’t taste even close to the real things. That, or I do without them entirely because my taste buds have not yet accepted the fact that some of the food I’m stuck with now is always going to taste like crap.
11. Because sometimes I just want a soft, chewy, yummy jelly doughnut.
12. Because my bread machine, which I always used a lot in the winter, now mostly collects dust. The main reason I used it is because I love homemade bread. Trust me, gluten-free bread isn’t worth the trouble.
13. Because I hate having most of the people in my life think I’m paranoid. But then I suppose that I have gotten very paranoid, mostly because I enjoy breathing though.
14. Because I hate having to be afraid of food.
15. And because I really hate that there are so many people who think that Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity are jokes instead of the real food allergies or health issues that they are. Everyone takes peanut, dairy, and shellfish allergies seriously, but gluten? Yeah, not. Seriously, I don’t know many of us who would choose to do this diet for fun. At least I know I wouldn’t.
And there you have my list. I try not to focus on these reasons, and most of the time now, I accept my lot in life. It doesn’t mean I hate these things any less, it just means I’m learning to live with what can’t be changed. Short of a miracle anyway.
I know there are a few people who read this blog who live with the same dietary limitations I do in regard to gluten. But do any of the rest of you find yourselves in similar situations with other issues? If so, what do you do to make your life easier? Do you ever get used to it?