April 21, 2015

The Five Stages of Grief for the Gluten-Free.


It sounds insensitive or uncaring, but for a time I thought gluten-free was just a trend, a la vegan lifestyles & “twerking.”

Then came the day I found out I was allergic to pasta, pastries and bread (a.k.a anything yummy in life).

I used to eat anything I wanted, the only downside was the unfathomable amount of calories an item could contain and the inevitable weight gain. Over the course of 10 years I went on two huge diets.

The first being “the South Beach Diet,” which worked very well but once I stopped it I noticed some new food allergies—pistachios, milk and dark chocolate…and milk itself. Each of these didn’t last more than a year, except for chocolate, which used to be life threatening, but now just shows up as slight irritation if I eat the “wrong” brands. I’m still not sure which ones those are.

Next was a self-designed eating plan by paying attention to calories, sugar intake, and no bread, pasta or pastries. I stayed on this for a year and a half and succeeded in losing 97 pounds. Thinking, as well being told I had lost a very significant amount of weight, I decided it would be okay to slowly reintroduce carbs back into my life; my body didn’t agree.

Over the span of a month I had noticeably packed back on some of that dreaded weight. Not realizing why, I kept on with the carbs. I found myself wanting more of them each day in one form or another, there was nothing tastier on this planet.

Then I noticed my extremely dry and cracked hands. This was exactly what my mother kept on complaining about. Every time she ate bread her skin would break out. It finally hit me, I was now allergic to gluten! Although I topically understood what this meant and would entail, the process of beginning my gluten-free lifestyle was somewhat slow and painful. The realization and acceptance of my new reality went something like this:


“I have never been allergic to the nummiest stuff on the planet before! Why would my body betray me now?!”

“This can’t be. I will not be and am not allergic to Gluten!!”

(This exact thinking led me to continue eating everything I shouldn’t for another six months.)


“Why do they get to eat all the tasty things in life? Sonsabitches…

“Gaining normal weight wasn’t enough for ya, huh?! Had hasten up the torture? Ooh, look! Super speed weight gain!

{String of Expletives that would make Yosemite Sam blush}

What?! Did I break one of the seven deadly f***ing sins?! Does this gluttony offend?!


“Okay. So, I’ll just have a brownie, it won’t kill me. Then I’ll be gluten-free every other day!”

“There must be some sort of ‘allowance’ with this sort of thing. I mean who can live there life like this?”

When going out to eat: “Can’t I just have a normal burger?! With Actual bread without feeling like a blowfish for the following week?! I swear I’ll be gluten-free after that.”


“I can never have anything yummy in my life again! Nothing! If I do, I’m never going to be slender again.”

“I ate too many delicious things in my life! That’s why this is happening. I’m being punished.”

“This must be what it feels like to be fixed.”


Looking in the mirror: “I’ve packed on too much weight. I guess, I have to start taking this allergy seriously.”

Every time you go out to eat: “Hi, do you have a gluten-free menu?”

“No gluten-free menu? Okay, can I get that without any bun at all?”

“It’s better than nothing. I guess…if I have to.”

“At least I won’t regret this tomorrow!”

I have been truly lucky to have my sister around for this. She was the first to take it seriously, certainly way before I did. She would constantly tell me of a new place she found that offered gluten-free items, if not a small menu.

There were many times she would bring over a gluten-free products or direct me to the gluten-free section of supermarkets. Without her, I wouldn’t have had the courage to take it seriously and help myself. It took everyone else months to understand I was starting a new eating lifestyle, but it was a change that had to happen.

One of the true hindrances of a gluten-free lifestyle, even more than the pathetic excuse of “GF Substitutions” or lack of “GF Menus,” is the reaction from everyone around you. Friends, family, etc. Most think you’re doing this because it’s the new trend, you want to be pretentious or you just want to be a pain in their ass.

I mean before it happened to me, I thought all those things myself. Understand this is not the case. That gluten-free Individual in your life is doing this, in order to do what’s right for their body. So, be there for them and understand why they can’t eat at a certain restaurant or takeout place. For those of us who are gluten intolerant, once we take our allergy seriously, those around us will have to as well.



Is it Gluten Intolerance or are We Being Poisoned?

Author: MarieElena Guidry

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr/Kevin Stanchfield


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