Like OMG Kim Kardashian totally avoids all things gluten, and did you hear that even Miley Cyrus is "GF"? Totes!
Just shoot me.
A true condition has gone Hollywood and beyond, like all the trends before; Atkins, ombre hair, the macarena...the only dance I'm doing is to the restroom. Gluten free diets have become glamorized, the "it" condition to be afflicted with. Who knew hypochondria could be cool? Your grandma was ahead of her time, and that time you read part of her Merck Manual, you, too were certain you both had typhoid, smallpox, multiple personality disorder, and phantom limb. Now all you need -shove granny and her Merck Manual aside, is a celebrity and bam! That celeb is totes legit and you hashtag gluten free like no ones business, you trendsetter.
All the marketing and celebs aside, being gluten intolerant or having Celiac Disease is anything but hip and cool, glamorous, fun.
Here is where I "totes go tmi" so if you have a squeamish side, don't read my next spiel.
When your ankles and calves itch from the inside to where you bruise yourself just trying to soothe the itch, and you get covered in dermatitis herpetiformis (nothing with herpe- is pretty) scabs and look like the local herion tweaker, you think to yourself....I doubt Kim looked or felt like this. When you have four days of sheer liquid stinky oily diarrhea with specks of fresh blood and you can't leave the house let alone the restroom, you think, fuck you Kim Kardashian. I hope your trendy celeb gluten free diet blows chunks. Literally. I hope you get some karma and end up actually with celiac disease you whore. Sorry. Four days of diarrhea have made me have no tolerance for much of anything let alone someone hawking some trend.
Why? Because then when you tell someone, sorry, I can't eat that sandwich or, excuse me, can I check the ingredient list for wheat? People Either roll their eyes or nod, yeah, like I totes lost ten pounds cutting out gluten no wonder you're so skinny!
No. I am skinny because my body decided to react to gluten and make my intestinal villi not wiggle. I no longer absorb nutrients, so I am in a sense one of those famished malnourished third world folks you see on TV except I have plenty of food to eat and medicines at my disposal. It just so happens, no medicine cures my problem and your cupcake there is a delicious death sentence.
Some people will treat a GF diet as just that, a diet. "Dude, it's Chrissy's baby shower, c'mon you can have a cheat slice of cake, it's a celebration! "
"Tee hee, I'm on a diet too but YOLO right? And those Christmas cookies are to die for so what d'ya say, let's have a few and hit the treadmill tomorrow, m'kay?"
No. Just no. It is NOT a diet. One little cookie isn't gonna disappear on the treadmill, it will render me stuck on the toilet, crying, itching my bruised scabby ankles as I pop another immodium, wailing "whyyyyyyyyy?"
I do admit I am human. I suck. I thought, hmm, maybe it is all in my head. Maybe it is a phase. Screw it. I want an In N Out burger and hey look pierogies My favorite! Sure I will have a bite of your pizza, yum!
And I ended up the next day at my pre-scheduled physical, trying tp stay seated (not laying down in fetal position), eyes open, to talk to my doctor. Stupid wheat. But...but....doctor, why? Why did my blood test give a negative for A wheat allergy and Celiacs, when I suffer like this with wheat? Why does the elimination diet work if the blood work, my medical record, says I can have all the killer brownies, crusty french bread, fettucine, pierogy, naan bread I could ever dream of? It seems to all be in my head since it isn't in my record but heeeeeeelp I am suffering.
Luckily, my doctor rocks. The only reason I have stayed with my very crappy, neglectful, wait over six months to see anyone medical network from hell is him. He actually listens to me. We have actual discussions. A visit isn't "temperature, blood pressure, how ya doin', here is a prescription, crap I spent three minutes with you, must hurry to the next patient". Nope. My recent visit lasted 25 minutes - a minute or so for weight and blood pressure and stuff, and the rest, discussion.
Where am I going? Hello? Tangent anyone?
He said, well you are healthy as can be except for adrenal fatigue (stupid network refused to renew an asthma steroid, sending me into a very bad place called adrenal fatigue) and gluten. (But doc, it says I am cool with wheat). Apparently, if you take an allergy test or celiac test but have not had wheat, you get a false negative result. The only way to "prove" your gluten problem is to gorge yourself on wheat and then take a blood test while having gluten allergy issues. Since they don't draw blood while you are on the pot for obvious reasons.... My test results were wrong. Let me clarify that the test had been done when I was NOT eating wheat, because I knew better than to eat it and suffer. At this very appointment I had had a lapse in judgement and decided wheat was a delicious food and screw it that fluffy burger bun and those pillowy pierogies and that spicy saucy pizza HAD to get into my mouth pronto. And my doc and I both agreed adding a bloood draw to my already miserable adrenal fatigue, seasonal allergies, and gluten death was a bad idea to simply prove what I already know - Gluten hates me.
So. As I write this, I still dream of certain wheaty foods. I know, I know part of the whole commercialism thing has made GF foods totally popular and accessible. Yippee! But nothing will replace the crusty european sourdough rolls I love to dip in soup, and most GF bread tastes like cardboard or some really sad remake of white bread (which is ick to start with), but luckily there is pao de quiejo cheesy bread rolls. I will miss my pasta machine, and rice pasta tastes like nothing (so much nothing that it takes away flavor, like a black hole, suddenly your bolognese on buttery fettucine becomes not bolognese on gluten free rice noodles, but, red colored wet air.) Luckily corn pasta works, for spaghetti, but I still want my penne pesto and butternut squash ravioli and pierogy. And don't get my started on quinoa as a replacement. I hate quinoa. There. I said it. Ive tried to love it (nutty, seedy, hell I could eat my weight in sesame and sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds...) but somehow it is just....no.
To conclude my long winded manifesto, hi. My name is _________ and I cannot have wheat. Any wheat. If you roll your eyes at this inconvenience, or hand over a "cheat cookie" with a wink, or tell me how you are on it too, just like Kim and Miley, I won't hold back. I will give you every bloody detail of my diarrhea and dermatitis herpetiformis and give you nightmares.
Cheat cookie my ass.