Fabulous. I couldn’t give less of a shit. Since being forced to go gluten-free, I have been innundated by many kind forwards of these resources from friends. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful – but the simple fact is, for whatever reason, I am angry about having food-choice ripped away from me. And I am desperate for a way to let that anger go, but I just haven’t found it yet.
In the meantime, for context let me lay out a few details:
- Some people go gluten-free to “treat” their ADHD or to try to find causes of their children’s ADHD-type issues. I am not one of those people. I have stopped eating gluten because it was making me sick.
- A side-note to that is that it is now very clear that my ADHD issues were not in any way related to gluten/wheat consumption.
- My mother and sister are both gluten-intolerant also, so it’s apparently a really special genetic connection we can all share (insert sarcasm here).
- I am also lactose intolerant.
- I am also hypoglycemic – that is, possessing of frequently low blood sugar.
- I hate cooking. I’m not bad at cooking, but I utterly detest the process, mostly because I’m pretty sure there are 150,000 other things I’d rather be doing, the entire time I’m doing it, and I generally have a ton of other things I need to be doing just to keep this life chugging along. Aside from bigots, rapists, and liars, there is nothing I hate more than I hate cooking (punchline here is that my father and sister are both chefs). I would rather stab pencils through my hand, eat rats, or burn a pile of money, than have to cook for myself. I am only 50% joking.
- I’m usually a very solution-oriented thinker. At the moment: total #FAIL. But not because I haven’t tried. I spend several days a week trying.
I am also fully aware of the fact that no single or combination of these is the worst that life has to offer.
Nonetheless I just sat on the floor of a corner of my kitchen crying, because I just can’t stand it. I feel this way about once a week these days, and then I power through it, mostly because I feel guilty, or obligated to the nice people trying to help me feel better. I power through it for about 4-5 days before I totally lose my shit again. I spend those 4-5 days eating about 350 calories worth of food/day and mostly not eating. Because in order to power through this, I literally become numb to eating and only eat out of a sense of obligation. I start to crumble again after several days, the second I have a genuine urge for a food, and inevitably it is a food I can’t eat (because it’s either full of gluten – which incidentally is in EVERYTHING – or it’s a fresh dairy product, or it’s a high-glycemic index food which will sabotage my blood sugar <—–oh look, that eliminates everything except fresh vegetables and meat).
I have come to really almost love the numb feeling because it allows me to function. As I crumble, I crumble around the fact that I will never again be able to eat any of the foods that I truly love, never again will I eat the foods I actually crave. My stress level rises and the problem is compounded, because when I am stressed out, I crave the things that my body rejects: dumplings with meat in them, generally, and anything drowned in cream sauce.
I have made attempts at making this work…the un-awesome result of those attempts, is that I am now officially sick of the foods that I can eat. I not only don’t want to eat them, I am disgusted at the thought of them and as I chew them, the numb feeling comes back.
Food is a basic building block of life. You cannot live without food. I do not believe that I am suicidal and I do not believe that I have an eating disorder, but I do believe that my relationship with food is concerningly impaired. And a creative-gluten-free-eating blog sure as shit isn’t what is going to save me.
While I’m in the process of trying to figure out what will, it would be wonderful to have a day free of genuinely nice people offering me foods that they’ve forgotten I can’t eat. My father (well meaningly, and as just one example from this particular day) asked me to go out for ice cream with him earlier. When I simply declined, he got pushy, when I got specific and said “I can’t eat that” he said “what are you talking about?!” and then I had to remind him that I can’t eat dairy and he said “oh, I was thinking there wasn’t any gluten in ice cream I forgot about the dairy thing”. I know…my eating issues aren’t everyone else’s number one priority, nor should they be. But I forgot my bag of “safe food” this morning on the counter in my kitchen and arrived at work just in time to watch coworkers enjoying a plate of fresh baked cookies…and then offering them to me…gah. By the time I got to the ice cream conversation I was starving and I had already watched other people enjoy something I dearly love. You know, eat a food that actually gives a person a moment of enjoyment.
Of course there are the gluten free alternatives: 80% of which taste just about as great as you would expect an “alternative” to taste, and 20% of which I’m sick of eating because they’re all I can fucking eat.
I’m not miserable enough to kill myself, but I’m miserable enough to fantasize about performing some kind of home surgery on myself to remove my desires for food of any kind.
You know those people who obsess over what they “can’t” eat who actually just have disordered relationships with food and feel that they have more control over their lives because they can control their food? I used to be able to look at them with understanding and now I just want to slap the shit out of them. I’d better steer clear of the local co-op, if I have to listen to someone obsessing over the source of their fucking chakra cleansing snack crackers I’m gonna lose my shit. You don’t realize how fucking good a can of beef raviolis, in all their overprocessed, corporately-farmed shame are until you can’t eat them. Ever.
I actually LIKE whole, healthy food, but now that it’s all I can eat I resent it.
And there is no joy left in eating out, ordering out, or eating at other people’s houses. My options there are:
- Ask for a gluten-free menu, which will be a list of about 10 items, none of which being foods I would normally order when going out to eat. The numb feeling sets in.
- For ordering out, my only option is Dominos gluten free pizza. That’s it. There’s one semi-Mexican place I can eat at but I don’t want to overdo it because I’m starting to get sick of that too…and financially, eating out isn’t a great option anyway.
- I now bring a bag of food with me to other people’s houses. It’s rude, but the alternative is having to ask them to tell me every single ingredient in every food that they are serving…and then ask them if I can please read the bottles for the salad dressing, the barbecue sauce, any marinades, any ingredient that isn’t a whole food. Which is also rude. So I’m now, officially a rude houseguest every time I try to eat at a friend’s house. There is a third alternative: not eating. Also rude. See, no way out on that one.
I totally get that there are other people in the world who have NO food. I get that. But I’m going to bet that even people who have at least a very little food, would LOVE to have something that went a little further in pleasing their palates.
Let’s just leave the pity party there. If you are a person that quits eating certain things because it seems like the cool thing to do, don’t even think about commenting on this post, because you are, yes you are, an asshole. And please, PLEASE don’t send me any links to GREAT gluten free resources.
Please, GAWD let this mental state evolve in some permanent, more livable way. My mother says it took her two years to get used to it. Groan. How does it happen? How do we win these unwinnable games of the mind?