Life has some truly unanswerable questions: what is the meaning of life? Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Do oats have gluten in them? If that last question means nothing to you, count yourself incredibly lucky. Go get a bagel and congratulate yourself, sister, because this is a strong indication that you are not gluten-intolerant.
Yeah, the gluten intolli life is a tough one. You don’t know what to eat, the stuff you can eat is pretty gross, and the nice stuff you think is okay to eat somehow manages to sneak in enough gluten to make you inflate quicker than a startled puffer fish. Before you know it, you’re sitting in a puddle of soy sauce screaming, “DAMN YOU, KIKKOMAN, YOU SNEAKY BASTARDS!”
But you are not alone. We are many. Why not enjoy relating to these gluten-filled titbits with a G-free cookie. Go on, treat yourself.
1. Gluten intolerance is depressing at the best of times. . .
. . .But it’s even more upsetting during the worst of times. For example: you break up with your boyfriend. What do you want to do? Eat. Eat everything. Eat everything in the whole world. So your loving roomies gently rap on your door after they hear you wailing the lyrics to, “Set Fire to the Rain” at 2am (again) and they say, “Hey, girl. We can see you’re hurting. So we’re going to take a little drive, get you some of those BK Mozzarella dippers you love so much and whilst we’re at it, we’ll hit the 24-hour convie store and pick you up a Men’s Fitness magazine and a tray of Krispy Kreme donuts. Because we care about you.” You feel their love like a warm coat, and all you want to do is stay up with your gal pals laughing through a mouth full of Original Glazed about how men are rubbish and all you need is your clan of besties.
But really, the only thing that’s going to make you feel worse than being dumped is falling asleep alone, feeling as though someone has over-pumped a rubber dingy in your stomach, except instead of air, you’re filled to the brim with donut batter and regret.
2. Eating out is tricky
Choosing something to eat from the menu is difficult, huh. What you gonna have? The dough balls? The pizza? The ravioli? And for dessert, should you go crazy and have the fudge cake? Argh!
Yeah, you Normals have it real tough.
Eating out is a lot less fun when you’re more limited there than at home. You become one of those people you see in restaurants who you instantly hate. You want everything on the side and you need a full list of the ingredients in the Pinot Grigio just in case. You can have a salad, but it’s likely you had one for lunch. And for breakfast. And for dinner the night before. Plus, by the time you’re done making the waiter read out every salad variation available to you, it’s inevitable that he will return to the kitchen, put all the gluten-free croutons down his pants and jump around before sprinkling them into your Chicken Caesar (dressing on.the.side). So now you’re now left with G-Free pizza or pasta. Great. But hold on one darn minute–you have to pay extra for gluten?
Why am I paying more for my pizza and pasta when it has fewer ingredients than everyone else’s pizza and pasta? Gluten intolerance is not a cheap allergy, let me tell you. It’s an allergy for rich people. Ever wondered why celebrities are so skinny? It’s because they’re the only people who can afford gluten-free food. Celebrities are never bloated.
3. You have to watch others enjoying the food you so desperately want to enjoy too
On every single co-worker’s birthday, you spend the whole day avoiding their desk like the plague. Sure, you might not be a massive fan of Paul from IT anyway, but that’s not the point. Look at all those CAKES ON HIS DESK. CAKES AND DONUTS AND PASTRIES AND MINI QUICHES. So many mini quiches. . .
Basically, all the fun foods that your body chooses to reject are taunting you from that desk. Whilst you are stuck at your own desk, eating your G-free sandwich, which, without the good stuff, crumbles to dust in your mouth. Then, all of a sudden, IT Paul is perching by your computer, asking if he can be cheeky and try one of your cookies because he’s “never tried gluten-free food before!” You already know the outcome, but you reluctantly let him have your last one anyway.
Yep. He hates it. He masks the horrifying taste by taking a big bite from the huge slice of birthday cake he’s been carrying around all afternoon. And for that moment, you hate him. You really hate him.
4. It’s a hard mistake to cover up
This is one I have learned the hard way. Let me paint this picture for you: my boyfriend and I are going food shopping; a pastime we both dislike. We agree that we should eat something before we leave otherwise we’ll come home with nothing but a week’s worth of Doritos again.
And you know what? I’m tired of eating salad. It’s a Saturday, man! I’m gonna eat me some bread! So when my BF was upstairs, I buttered two slices–it may have been three, or five, I was enjoying it too much to remember–and shoved them in my mouth. And it was glorious. I devoured them so quickly that the bread was stuck in my throat in a cartoonish fashion and I had to chug down a pint of water to shift the lump.
We get to the shops and it hits me. I expand. Full-on Violet Beauregarde. I have enough gas inside of me to send me blustering through the aisles like a deflating balloon. I have entered a faux-third trimester in a matter of minutes.
I’m there trying to avoid eye contact with my boyfriend by staring intently at a jar of pickles, because he keeps trying to scold me for my obvious bread overdose, when a nice, older woman begins to inappropriately caress my swollen stomach and asks me when my non-existent baby is due. And as much as I want to say, “I’VE GOT A GLUTEN PROBLEM, YOU HEARTLESS OLD LADY,” I just let out a chuckle and say “March 28th.”
You won’t be surprised to hear this is not the first time this has happened to me, and sometimes it’s actually quite fun making up a back story for little Gertrude, or baby Kanye. (“He was actually conceived on the back of a moving quad bike!”) I look over at my lover, who’s wearing a particularly smug look that screams ‘IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT.’ But still, I feel lucky–at least I had someone to stop me crying myself to sleep in the bread aisle this time.
So there you have it. A small selection of afflictions for the gluten-intolerant. There are many more problems that arise from this condition that makes bread your worst enemy and potatoes your new obsession (there’s just so many ways to eat one!). But don’t worry, it’s only probably forever.
Pascale Day is a content writer and blogger from the UK. She thinks referring to herself in third person makes her sound much more important. When she’s not regretting that extra cupcake/burger/glass of wine, she’s writing her blog at thedaycurse.com or crafting nonsensical tweets at@Pas__.