As some of you may have already heard, I was given the terrible news this week that, for health reasons, I will have to go without gluten for about 10-12 months. This may not be an entirely awful things for some people – hell, some of you out there have probably given up gluten willingly (why!?). But for me, the news was fairly devastating. My love affair with chewy pizza, durum wheat pasta, and crunchy bread with soft interiors will be coming to an end. And, over this past week, I believe that I have gone through the 5 Stages of Grief. I kid you not.
1) Denial: Upon first receiving the news, I began to stop listening to the doctor as she rambled on about things I couldn’t eat and substitutions (“no wheat, no spelt, no soy sau….” “you can try quinoa, bulgur, rice past….”). I didn’t care. It wasn’t happening to me, so I started to day-dream about the perogies I was going to devour later that evening.
2) Anger: While walking back to work, I started to let the news of giving up gluten sink in, and what that would mean. No more pizza (at least not the delicious, chewy kind I love that only can be created by developing the glutens in the flour). No more gnocchi and pasta – especially none that is drenched in a white sauce that was thickened with a roux. No more No Knead Bread! I lost it. I started to pace when I got back to the office – I couldn’t sit still. I wanted to hit something, someone! And then I got pissed off at my body for being an idiot and potentially not being able to tolerate gluten. Thanks for nothing body.
3) Bargaining: When the reality of the situation started to register, I began to think “What if I don’t care about getting better? Can I eat gluten?” “What if I don’t want the end result? Will I be able to consume wheat products?” I scoured the internet for all resources on gluten intolerance and celiac disease – I convinced myself that I did not have one symptom, so I thought “what if the doctor is wrong? and it’s just something else?” I think I was slipping a bit back into the denial stage…
4) Depression: When I realized that there wasn’t much I could do about the situation (if I wanted to attempt to get healthy), I got full-on depressed for 2-days. The mere thought of any dish I loved that contained gluten would send me into a crying fit – whether it was a sniveling, snotty wail or a quiet tear running down my cheek. Picturing my life without spring rolls and cookies almost seemed more than I could bear, and this tiny part of me felt like I was alone in the world. To make matters worse, Kyle is still out of town, and I won’t see him for another week from today still … so thinking about enjoying my last meal with gluten without him crushed me.
5) Acceptance: The past day and a half I have fully acknowledged that to attain my goals, I will have to give up gluten for 10-12 months. I’m still not entirely okay with it, but I’ve accepted it as reality. I am starting to remember that there are plenty of other delicious foods on this great Earth that do not have any gluten in them whatsoever. Yes, how could I forget oozy risotto? buttery lobster? fresh salads? and juicy PORK?! Plus, for now, this is temporary. Perhaps it will become a permanent part of my life, but I take solace in dreaming about being reunited with pizza again. Yesterday I even stocked up on some gluten-free products to try to pump myself up about this new way of eating – retail therapy anyone?
What will this mean for Gorging George? Not much. The irony is that in October/November I developed a gluten-free section in the Recipe Index when one of my good friends had to go without gluten for a month. She was told by her doc to go on an elimination diet to determine which foods she had sensitivities to. Turns out it wasn’t gluten (it was eggs), but I kept that section on the site anyways. And it sure isn’t a small section of the site – so I’ve got lots of gluten-free stand-bys already. Yes, there will be some changes, and you may even see a few gluten-free “substitute” recipes for our favourite meals. And lucky for this girl: I have the most amazing, supportive husband who is right on board with me!
Anyone care to share some stories of finding out you had to cut something out of your diet?