Praises to the glory of gluten-freedom for I have found salvation and release from the worldly desires that once bound me. Be they hamburger, pizza, or Bagel Bite, I’ve done cast all ye out for sake of a cleanliness a purity that brings a tranquility to my mind, a consistency to my rest, and balance to my creativity.
Least, going gluten-free feels like religion, I’m beginning to think. Something that you have, know to be the truth, and are eager to tell everyone about but… yeah, some listen, but unless it’s a very popular religion, or you evangelize when someone’s at an extreme health low, most aren’t too keen on your proselytizing.
Google has a bountiful wealth of gluten-free resources now. A simple search will really turn up everything you need to know, so it’s not difficult to get people to understand as long as I refer to it as an illness, a disability, a problem…
Which is where my problem with it has more or less come in.
There–especially back when I first found out about it–there wasn’t a lot of information on how to deal with going gluten-free in a world so culturally pro-gluten. I mean, I’m pretty comfortable with less traveled roads, but going gluten-free brought on some shockers.
I had awful asthma the majority of my life (perhaps contributing even further to my artistic-analytic introversion), and I mean awful on the level of emergency room visits, oxygen tubes hooked up to your nose, ambulance rides–the inhaler always in your pocket sort of asthma, the weekly allergy shots so the springtime doesn’t kill you asthma, the ‘am I going to live past 30?’ sort of asthma.
So, when my Mom (after six doctors failed to determine what was causing hairline fractures on her spine) was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (interfering with her calcium intake), on a gut-level I knew that I had something like it.
So I went to the hospital and took the test…
and it came back negative.
The doctor just told me that, aside from asthma, my iron levels were kind of low, and I should probably take iron pills to solve that.
Unconvinced, I went off gluten away.
Within three-weeks, I was completely absolved of my dependency on asthma steroids. I didn’t need any Qvar, I didn’t need any Proventil, even my allergies had lessened to the extent that my Flonase and Nasarel must have felt exceedingly nostril deprived, until the day I threw them into the trash.
It was unbelievable. I was so excited. I wanted to tell the whole world.
The responses were baffling:
“Are you sure?”
“You might want to talk to your Doctor about it first.”
“Oh, too bad for you.”
Even more surprising were the responses of outright fear-anger. The ‘My Great Great Great Grandmother’s Apple Pies Have Been Family Tradition for Generations. How Dare you Even Conceive the Notion that they can Be Anything but Holy.’
I couldn’t understand how people could be upset with me for curing my asthma, or how people could think I valued apple pie over oxygen, or how they would tell me to talk to my doctor after I told them my doctor provided me with an insufficient answer.
I mean, it’s all quite simple:
Eat Gluten = Has Asthma.
Don’t Eat Gluten = Asthma Goes Away.
Why do you need a M.D. to know when you can’t breath?
It really shifts your perspective on the world. I basically pushed my diet after that point, focusing on my own internal reactions to things, until I wound up nearly Paleo (which can be difficult to pull off sometimes, but is comparatively very much worth it).
And I feel great.
Oxygen and life is good.
And 30’s looking to be just a drop in the bucket, rather than Mount Everest.
So, I guess like everything else, these couple years of transition have just made me a stronger person, this time physically as well as mentally.
If anything, my asthma was an illness of perspective and thought, cured by information and low-risk experimentation.
Asthma be gone; nonsense be gone.
And I learned to take a clue from the Vegans and Vegetarians I’ve met: ‘Keep it on the dl until you really need to bring it up.’ Because ‘no one likes a Bible Thumper, except for those who’re already keeping rhythm with you.
Though, really, I’d still like to tell the world.