I recently decided to go gluten free again. Don’t ask me why. But if you did ask me why I would probably tell you that I have a gluten intolerance. At one time I was diagnosed with full blown celiac disease. When you have celiac disease even the tiniest crumb of gluten will cause your immune system to attack your small intestines. Luckily for me after six months of rice bread and other unamusing foods it was decided that I did not in fact have celiac disease but rather gluten sensitivity. So from time to time I get the bug to deprive myself of the joy that is gluten. And in the spirit of hope and hopelessness, I am posting this previously written story called: The Girl Who Cried Over a Plate of Golden Beats.
Once there was a girl who could only eat certain things and couldn’t eat certain other things. It had been many years since she had known the pleasure of eating whatever she wanted without worrying about what it would do to her lovely but overly sensitive system. Those had been the years of wheat and roses. The “sweet years”she thought to herself. Roses, at least she could still enjoy roses. Eating them was probably out of the question but ah, the smell of roses. Sometimes when dining out with friends she would ask if she could smell the decedent deserts, the strong, creamy coffee or the crusty french bread they were about to enjoy. The smell was often enough. She could imagine how the chocolate would taste and maybe that was all she needed. Just the memory and the smell. Her friends thought it was kind of strange when she asked to smell their food. She tried to be discrete. Her husband was used to it, happy to oblige and happy to eat the whole thing himself. Not that he wouldn’t have liked to share his meal with her, but he couldn’t really say it was a hardship.
The foods on her”yes” list changed through the years. The foods on her “no” list changed just as often. She adapted easily for the most part. There had been some rough spots to be sure but they were few and far between. She became accustomed to deprivation. Indulgence was never her strong point, even moderation was difficult. But deprivation, that was something she could sink her teeth into.
It had been six whole months since she had tasted sugar, the longest she had ever gone. Let me rephrase that. It had been six whole months since she had tasted white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, wild honey, tamed honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or molasses for that matter (she had always loved molasses). It had been six whole months, since she had eaten bread. The longest she had ever gone without bread. To be more specific, no white bread, brown bread, sprouted bread, French toast, English muffins or Belgian waffles. She was beginning to buckle slightly under the pressure. No one else would have noticed it, the way she looked at he basket of freshly baked bread placed right under her nose by the careless waiter; or the hint of disappointment in her voice when she ordered peppermint tea for dessert. No, no one else would have noticed but it was there. Still she felt proud of herself. She knew she would be rewarded for her strength and determination. She knew that the God of Fairness and Justice and Healthy Eating was watching over her. Her sacrifice would not go unnoticed. She was not a religious person or even spiritual for that matter, but she simply could not believe in a world where good deeds and good intentions went unrecognized. She was undaunted by the facts. The facts beings these: after all the years and all the diets and all the goodness and perseverance and trying so hard her health had not improved.
So she kept at it, one more day, turned into one more month. Until one day she snapped. It was such a little thing really. She had picked a restaurant that she knew would be sensitive to her “situation”. She had picked a friend who’s company she enjoyed immensely , she picked a meal that would be satisfactory. A meal that would work under the current conditions. She just had one simple request, “could the chef please leave the carrots off the dish?” she asked a little sheepishly. “Of course” replied the extremely helpful and friendly waitress. Carrots and beets. The only two vegetables in the whole wide world that she wasn’t supposed to eat. It wouldn’t kill her to eat them, of course. But she wanted to be good. Let me rephrase that, she wanted to be in control of one little thing. If she was going to indulge, if she was going to cheat, it wasn’t going to be with carrots or beets. So when the extremely friendly and helpful waitress returned to the table and set the plate in front of her and explained that the chef had replaced the carrots with golden beets, the girl cried.