I love pasta. I know, everyone says this, but I love pasta so much that my 2018 resolution was to eat more of it. ‘It brings me joy,’ I rationalised when my friends questioned my decision.
You can then imagine my heartbreak when, after many, many exhausting years of struggling with tummy problems and being told I suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, my gastroenterologist told me I had to cut out all gluten for two months. There I was, groggy and recovering from having a camera inserted down my throat, another up my lovely bottom, mourning the loss of a love of my life. My boyfriend, a beautiful, paleo health freak, held my hand and tried not to laugh as a tear rolled down my cheek.
It has been months since that day, and this is what I’ve learnt since going gluten-free
1 People’s eyes will roll
Whether you’re at a dinner party, grabbing lunch with a colleague or visiting your Greek mother’s house for Sunday lunch, pretty much the entire gluten-eating population will roll their eyes at you when you utter the words, ‘I don’t eat gluten.’ Do I blame them? No. I was that person for 25 years (or at least, for as long as I understood WTF gluten even was). In fact, I am still that person. I roll my own damn eyes at my own damn self.
2 Cauliflower masquerading as noodles does not a pasta dish make
If you’re reading this, I assume – like me – you’ve spent a fair amount of time hunting for ‘alternatives’. Alternative pasta, alternative bread, an alternate reality in which you can eat whatever the damn well you please. Woolworths, I adore you, but I have drenched your cauliflower noodles in homemade napolitana, and I’m sad to report that they taste like, well, neither noodles nor spaghetti. They don’t even taste like cauliflower, to be f*cking frank.
3 However, there are some dank-ass options out there
Take, for example, the day I discovered an organic grocery shop that sold a loaf of gluten-free white bread that looked COMPLETELY NORMAL. It was white and soft and of perfectly average aesthetic. I was ecstatic. Fast-forward to 3am the next morning, as I sat champagne-tipsy on my couch, crying over the fact that I was enjoying my first toasted cheese and tomato in a month. It tasted completely normal, too. There was no delicate, lone tear rolling down my face this time – I’m talking a full-blown ugly cry. My point is, while there are many options that are trash, there are some really good ones. When you find them, stock up.
4 You really do feel better – devastating, I know
Listen, if a specialist of some kind has suggested you cut gluten out of your diet, there’s probably a reason. It pains me to admit it, but I am no longer in pain. I’ve suffered from chronic constipay-pay (does that make my mention of constipation any more charming? Let’s hope) and chronic diarrhoea (I’m over being charming and have opted for candid honesty), and within two weeks of going gluten-free I was officially a normal person. No crippling stomach spasms, no insane bloating that prompted pregnancy tests I certainly didn’t need, no pain.
5 You’re only human
I’m not going to pretend I haven’t eaten any gluten since the day of my scopes at the gastro. After the two-month mark, I was curious to see how I’d react after reintroducing gluten into my diet. I had some homemade pasta here, and a Portuguese bread roll there, and I didn’t die. I did bloat a little, and I felt a little heavier and more uncomfortable than I had in months, but I realised that every so often, it’s alright for me to have an affair with my long-lost love. Please bear in mind that if you have a severe AF gluten allergy, my relaxed attitude will likely hurt you a shit ton (hah!) more than it hurts me. I’m not the authority on this – in case I hadn’t made that abundantly clear through my use of the word ‘constipay-pay’.
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