Even Justin Trudeau Can’t Compensate For A Life Without Gluten!
I have a wheat allergy, or more accurately, a gluten intolerance. I didn’t know I had an allergy to anything, other than stupid people, until a couple of months ago and, wouldn’t you know, it turns out to be wheat and gluten.
Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and other grains. It is what gives elasticity to dough and things like bread their chewy texture. You know what else gluten provides?
I didn’t know how much flavour gluten added to things until I started having to eat gluten-free stuff. It’s unbelievable how boring and tasteless things are without gluten. And that isn’t all. For some reason, when you take gluten out of things like bread, it turns them into building products. Some of this stuff is so hard, you could use it to build a foundation for your new garage.
I buy bread now that is made from things like flax and rice (doesn’t that sound enticing?). They have no gluten which means that they have the same texture as cinder blocks. This stuff is so tough that when I tried to make a grilled-cheese sandwich the other day, I couldn’t get the stove hot enough to even tint the bread. It was like trying to grill asbestos.
My grandson has a nut allergy and we have to be very careful because it is a seriously violent allergy that under certain conditions could kill him. Fortunately, nuts are not in most things and as long as we’re careful not to give him things that include or have come in contact with nuts, he’s fine.
Wheat, on the other hand, is like horsemeat in Europe; it’s in everything.
I can’t buy things simply because I like it and it tastes good, the way I have for most of my life. I now have to read the ingredients label which is conveniently written in type so small that even my reading glasses make it almost impossible to see let alone actually read. I almost didn’t buy something the other day because I thought the first ingredient was wheat until Maggie pointed out that the actual word was water.
It turned out to be a moot point. Once I got it home and tried to eat it, my first thought was to wonder if Health Canada knew people were trying to sell construction material as a food product.
Licorice has wheat in it and so does most of the snack food I used to – well – snack on. There’s gluten in pancakes, white bread, whole wheat and multi-grain bread, cupcakes, pies, cakes, French Toast, bagels and pretty much all the processed food in every grocery store in the world.
Gluten is like stupidity; it’s part of the air we breathe.
It also, apparently, is what keeps food affordable. Once you take the gluten out of a loaf of yum yum Kamute bread, the price doubles and the size of the loaf diminishes by half. The slices are the size of a thin piece of cardboard; just not quite as tasty.
I tried toasting corn bread the other day. It was gluten-free and yellow which is not the colour bread is supposed to be. I popped it in the toaster and let her rip only, it didn’t rip. When it popped up, the bread was still yellow and any resemblance to actual toast was non-existent.
I ramped the toaster’s dials up to ‘burn to a cinder’ and plunged the corn bread back into Hell. A few minutes later, it popped up again. The toaster was exhausted but the bread was unchanged, hard as a rock and suitable for reshingling your roof; especially if you have those nifty Spanish tiles.
You have to be very careful when you’re handling this stuff. If you drop it onto a plate; the plate will break. If you aren’t careful when you eat it, you’ll break a tooth.
If you try to give it to the dog, the dog won’t eat it. You know something is pretty bad when even your dog, who chows down on what he finds in the cat’s litter box and drinks out of the toilet, turns up his nose.
Once the allergy had been established, Maggie took me to an organic health food store that specializes in organic and gluten free products.
It was full of healthy people, all of whom were skinny, all of whom were wearing glasses and all of whom were wearing Birkenstocks (with socks because it’s winter). Like me they they were miserable because – well – like me. . . .
. . . THEY HAVE NO GLUTEN IN THEIR LIVES!
Gluten is the essence of life. It is what makes eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich fun. It is the secret ingredient that makes Licorice Twizzlers flexible and gives them flavour.
Gluten is a gift from the Gods.
I have no gluten in my life now which means I have no joy either. My taste buds are atrophying and my body is going through withdrawal. I am like a crack addict in rehab only there is no bright future on the other side of kicking my addiction; just a life that is perpetually gluten and flavour free.
I am no longer really living – just going through the motions.
Fortunately I still am not allergic to meat although trying to toast a steak and putting peanut butter on it isn’t as easy as it sounds nor is it as tasty as toast and peanut butter. I know; I’ve tried it – a peanut butter and jelly steak sandwich doesn’t quite cut it either.
Maggie, bless her heart, suggested that I try substituting fresh fruits and vegetables to replace the things I used to eat that contained gluten. I tried lettuce and peanut butter but that didn’t work out too well;. I couldn’t get the lettuce leafs to sit properly in the toaster.
No matter how tough life gets at times, we always have blessing in our lives. There is always, no matter how small it might be, something to be thankful for. I have discovered that among all of the blessings in my life, the one I most took for granted was gluten.
I guess the old cliché is true. “You don’t know what you got, until you lose it.
Even knowing that Justin Trudeau will win the Liberal Leadership thanks to the adoration of thousands of folks who can still eat wheat cannot make up for the fact that there is no joy in Mudville, not because the Mighty Casey struck out but because there is no gluten in my life anymore.”
The only thing that might possible cheer me up is if I develop an allergy to salad.
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved
The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others
Let’s connect on Twitter: @maggsbear or send a friend request on Facebook to: Maggie’s Bear