Knowing You're Not Alone
Since cutting out gluten in 2012, a friend of mine has been my gluten-free guru. She's been telling me to read Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free for several months. I finally picked up a copy.
April Peveteaux, author of the book Gluten Is My Bitch and the blog, is not only a knowledgable gf resource, but also a good writer and food enthusiast who is relatable. She grabs the reader's attention in the first sentence of the introduction, talking directly to the reader and showing us her humor from the beginning.
Peveteaux's book is a cross between a beginner's guide to going gluten-free with a few staple recipes and a personal account of some of her experiences. She acknowledges that the discussion is not pretty--there is a lot of talk about poop. The way Peveteaux discloses the uncomfortable side of ingesting the devil gluten is so similar to my experience that I thought she must know me personally. Although I am still undiagnosed, my symptoms when I've been glutened are similar to hers. I have felt the same way and said similar things about gluten and food restrictions. Peveteaux says, "Giving up gluten because you have to is far different than choosing a fad diet because you want to tweet, Instagram, and Facebook your fantastic dinner that's made from monks who don't even have a word for gluten" (Gluten Is My Bitch 128). Like the author, I would never choose this diet.
Peveteaux explores eating out, social events, and even traveling around Paris. She talks about what I consider the most intimidating aspect of being gf: ordering. When I began to weed out gluten, I was embarrassed to ask for a special menu. Dining out became a nightmare. I did not want to be that guy who makes the wait staff ask the chef if the fries are breaded or share a deep frier with gluten-filled foods. I chose what I thought was safe on the menu and picked around salads with croutons and pita bread. When dining out with my guru, I let her handle the gluten issue. A supporter of the gluten-free, I knew I could count on her to ask the waiter about everything on the menu as well as kitchen prep. I was still getting glutened and even ate the occasional scone from work. About 6 months into my gluten-free experiment, I'd had enough. It was easy to track symptoms and note if I had eaten any of the devil gluten that day. I cut it out completely.
Even though I hate having to nitpick the staff and menu, I had a huge realization: I should not be apologetic because my stomach sucks. I'm not asking them suck up to me and spoon feed me my gluten-free dairy-free tomato soup; I'm simply making the choice to not feel like ass.
Gluten Is My Bitch is entertaining and easy to navigate. The recipes are conveniently placed on blue pages to allow the reader to locate them quickly when hunger hits and you're too ravenous to look at the table of contents.
If nothing else, I hope you at least feel overcome with joy when you realize you are not alone in the war against gluten.
This week, I'll be making Peveteaux's Super Tex Nachos (although mine will also be dairy-free)!