>A Lament for Gluten

by Ms. Joy


A lament for all the food I will never have, a sigh for all the recipes that will remain locked in between the tattered pages of my beloved cookbooks. It is in these moments of sorrow that I second-guess my decision to divorce gluten. Chewy dinner rolls that tear under the weight of butter will no longer patiently sit at my table, their yeasty scent enticing my diners. It is into this self doubting hell that I descend and it is precipitated by only one thing or perhaps many: I remember that my dream to live in France and attend cooking school is probably a bad idea. My kids are away for the night, my hubby is at work and I am left to my own devices to cook for myself (I am unabashedly lazy about cooking for myself). I start flipping through my stack of cookbooks and realize that I can’t just walk into my kitchen and whip up any given recipe, I’ll have to do some math, use a million flours and hope for the best. Why?

Why does it matter if I don’t eat gluten? In a very small voice I will sometimes ask Mr., “Do you think it matters, I mean, really? What if we went out for brunch tomorrow and I had toast. Real toast with crevices for pools of butter, so sweet and milky and just the perfect size for a fairy to swim in, or enough to make me sigh with pleasure ….” and Mr. doesn’t say anything. He just smiles because my eyes are going to fill with tears and he knows I won’t do it.

I sometimes feel like my gluten intolerance has gotten out of hand, as if it is no longer in my control. A few months ago I went off my medication for bipolar disorder. I was tired of feeling sick all the time, the horrid headaches, the hand tremors and the brain fuzz. I am a writer and I couldn’t always spell or tie together complex ideas. That is not exactly helpful to a Literature and Women’s Studies student. Instead, I started doing research into alternative treatments for my disorder and one of them is to forgo gluten because gluten has been linked with mood swings. Let me just say, I do not, in any way, ever, at all recommend going off of psychiatric medication. It will lead to The Incident.
Whenever I have my big doubting moments about living gluten free, the times where I lay on the floor and sigh dramatically Mr. will gently remind me that the digestive problems I have dealt with my entire life are finally gone. The debilitating leg pain and headaches have faded away. If all of this isn’t enough, Mr. will take me down to Pete’s and buy a bundle of cheese, gluten free crackers and a lovely bottle of wine which we will eat in the sun on our balcony. That makes gluten-free life a little easier, doesn’t it?