I’ve been a Celiac for almost 20 years.

Up until a few years ago, I would disclose that to someone and get *blink* as the response. With the rise in anti-wheat propaganda, and the popularity of the Paleo movement, suddenly, in 2014, being gluten free is popular and common. It’s like a weird fever dream come true. I’m talking eating out with ease. Regularly discovering new products and bakeries and  ingredients created specifically to make me happy. I love it. I’m in love with the fact my intestines are inferior because it doesn’t matter anymore.

But not every celiac is doing leprechaun heel clicks, and that makes me angry and frustrated.

I blog about living gluten free, and have surrounded myself with a vast and supportive online community of people who live without wheat and gluten. Sometimes they are pouty bitches. They yell and stomp and wail and I’ve had enough.

These are not valid complaints:

Cooking gluten free is so expensive/hard/confusing.

Buy a beautiful cut of meat, season it liberally with bright pink peppercorns, and sear in a hot pan until desired warmth and bloodiness. Dump a handful of new potatoes, skin still on, into heavily salted water. Boil until fork tender, drain and mash with nutty roasted garlic, 4-5 pats of salted butter, liberal amounts of salt and pepper, and a splash or two of cream. (For extra decadence, plop in a lump of cream cheese.) Roughly chop all your favourite vegetables and roast in a 400 degree oven until their edges char. Whisk lime juice, honey and cilantro over low heat until honey melts. In a big bowl toss this dressing over the still warm veggies. Serve all. Make gross moaning noises. Congratulations. You just ate gluten free.

Every vegetable is gluten free.
Every fruit is gluten free.
Every cut of meat from every animal is gluten free.
Every dairy product is gluten free.
Every herb is gluten free.
Game on NOT Game over.

Also, the internet has been gluten free for fucking YEARS. If and when you get stuck, GOOGLE THAT SHIT. Ask your Doctor. Buy one of a gazillion different recipe books and bookmark the millions of gluten free websites that have vast libraries of recipes to plunder. Find a gluten free blogger you like and follow them on social media. Join online or local gluten free communities. Sign up for newsletters. Buy dedicated gluten free magazines. Or, all of the above. Yes, you will have to learn new things and try new things and make some changes. Remember when you had a kid and knew nothing but were willing to learn? Your brain is capable. Don’t be a dummy. Your resources are endless, so button up and start reading.

Social media makes fun of me and I wish they’d take my choices/ailment more seriously.

Guess what? The Internet thinks 9-11 didn’t happen, the Internet loves Justin Bieber and the Internet can be an anonymous port-a-potty for any idiot with wi-fi. The second you get your feelings hurt by the Internet, you need to pack your life up, move to the swamps and sit very very still for a very very long time. No matter what anyone thinks or says, if you don’t like the way wheat makes you feel or your body literally cannot process it, the very last thing you need to be wasting energy on are people who can eat wheat talking shit. You could get angry that they can eat donuts willy-nilly or you could come to Vancouver and I’ll hook you up with three different bakeries here making gluten free donuts. Your call.

Now, here are two things you are absolutely allowed to flip your lid over:

Shitty over-priced gluten free food.

As we all know, where there is a fad, there will be ruthless and tacky profiteers. I know because I’ve for the last 20 years I’ve studiously choked down all their crackers, cookies, pasta and flour. Eventually the cream rises to the top, but believe me; every day there is a new and gross gluten free product ready to dupe you. Pay attention to trusted gluten free sources online – they’ll let you know what is knocking their socks off and what needs to be avoided. Read those ingredient labels too. If there is a lot of sugar, fat and salt, it’s not good. If the expiry date is 2 years later, put it down. I promise after a while you will know what you love and what feels best in your gut, and then want to start experimenting in your own kitchen so you never have to fork out $7 for 4 cookies again.

Immoral dicks who claim to have a cure for celiac disease.

Know this: in 2014, there is NO cure for celiac disease. There is NO pill or liquid or remedy of any kind that you can eat/drink and then safely eat wheat or gluten. Do not buy any product that makes these promises. In fact, go one step further and report them as frauds to the FDA or whatever governing agency overlords your food and medicine. Vulnerable and uneducated people will hurt themselves if they swallow this snake oil medicine. You’re allowed to be super fucking upset about this.

Okay, I’m done lecturing. Thanks for quietly listening because now I want to get thoughtful for a quick second. Living gluten free has taught me a lot. You need to be humble and realize the world isn’t going to cater to you. When it does, you need to be grateful and loyal. You need to be willing to keep learning, ask questions and mind your instincts. Remember: one false mouth move and you’re down for the count. But you need to get up, brush off the crumbs and stay curious, stay positive and forge on to the next bite.

Brooke Takhar
Author

Brooke Takhar is a Vancouver-based mama to one goon and busy body to all. She loves the Internet, glittery nail polish, over-sharing and teaching her kid outdated dance moves. If you really love her, you'll fight in public.

6 Comments

  1. Sarah del Rio

    At first I thought the word “bloodiness” was written as “bloodliness” and I couldn’t figure out if it was a typo or the best new word ever invented.

    Carry on.

  2. Thanks for this post Brooke. It summarizes everything I try to tell clients who have just given up gluten – yet you say it in a much more entertaining and persuasive way. I’ll refer to your article from now on and won’t waste my breath. Be healthy – eat real food! Thanks x

  3. I so agree with your post, to many people think just because something is gluten free that it’s good for them, my grandkids saw a packaged sweetened breakfast cereal that I could eat it, like I used to, but with the advent of finding out many of my chronic health issues were from fibromyalgia, I also have arthritis,(I’ve had to have surgery on both hands), and what is called reactive airway disease, I can go from fine to not being able to breathe within a couple of minutes, and then researching fibromyalgia, I found that these things can be affected by foods, especially nightshade vegetables, but even after adopting a healthier way of eating and living, I still had stomach problems, my Doctor did no tests but told me to try going gluten free, and alas rather quickly my stomach issues went away too, but as i’ve looked at many gluten free foods I’ve found that many may not be gluten free, but there definitely not healthy either. And yes certain things about eating gluten free can be expensive if you want to buy all that prepackaged junk, I make most of my stuff from scratch and yes it’s a little more expensive, but it’s not totally out there either.

  4. Brooke Takhar

    Lori – isn’t it fascinating how what we put in our mouths matters? I think the recent homesteading movement has come about because we all started to REALLY care about what we eat and wanted to have full control over every ingredient. Eating gluten free can force us to start from scratch, eat very plainly and then slowly see what our bodies react to and what we thrive on. I wish you the very best of luck with all your health issues going forward. Stay strong!

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